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Rage of the Werewolf   C+

Brimstone Productions

Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Kevin J. Lindenmuth
Writers: Kevin J. Lindenmuth, Santo Marotta
Cast: Santo Marotta, Tom Nondorf, Joe Zaso, Debbie Rochon, Sasha Graham, Hollis Granville, Mick McCleery.

Review by Michael Scrutchin

Kevin Lindenmuth's Addicted to Murder films may be horror, but I can't deny that they feel like soap operas that just happen to have vampires and serial killers as their heroes (or anti-heroes, if you wish). It's not a bad thing. I think it's refreshing, actually, because Lindenmuth's films don't have that formulaic feel that plagues so many independent horror films these days. Rage of the Werewolf feels like a soap opera, too, only this time its hero and villain are -- you guessed it -- werewolves.

In the year 2001, an asteroid crashed into the moon, bringing its orbit closer to earth and resulting in an outbreak of werewolves. It's now 2010, and the werewolves that inhabit New York City have become societal outcasts. Jake (Santo Marotta) was a werewolf before it became so prevalent, but he never wanted this wretched curse. His buddy Ralph (Tom Nondorf) is normal, but he wants to be a werewolf because he thinks it's kinda cool. Jake also has this habit of helping people in need, so when bounty hunters are trying to capture a fellow werewolf (played by the ever-watchable Sasha Graham), he leaps to the rescue.

Jake's brother Lazlo (Joe Zaso), on the other hand, isn't such a nice guy. He's ushering in a revolution, bent on destroying humanity so that the werewolves can rule the earth. And you thought you had a selfish, overly ambitious sibling?

First off, don't expect any cool Rick Baker-esque werewolf transformations or high-grade makeup effects here. Expect guys running around in full-body werewolf costumes. This really ups the cheese factor and actually turns Rage of the Werewolf into a bit of old-fashioned campy fun.

As the film's hero, Santo Marotta (who also co-wrote and produced) is quite good. He reminded me of Bruce Campbell without the sarcastic sense of humor, since he plays it straight. Sasha Graham (Addicted to Murder, The Vicious Sweet) is also a pleasure to watch (as always), but her role is, sadly, only a minor one. B-movie starlet Debbie Rochon (Tromeo and Juliet) has a role as a vampire the evil Lazlo captures to include in his world domination schemes.

Despite some good points in its favor, Rage of the Werewolf has its share of flaws. The action scenes are a bit flat, relying on an annoying tracer-like visual effect that many shot-on-video filmmakers are using these days. The sound quality is a little muddy and you might have to increase the volume on your TV to make out some of the lines of dialogue. Much of the music on the soundtrack is pretty good, though.

I think it's the quirky, low-budget attitude Lindenmuth injects into Rage of the Werewolf that makes it worth a look. Besides, can you honestly tell me you're not curious about a soap opera that culminates in a War of the Gargantuas-style clash between two guys in bulky werewolf suits?

Review published 08.04.2000.

Read our Interview with Debbie Rochon.

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