Article by Adrian Garcia Bogliano, director of Late Phases (now in theaters and VOD platforms):
Of course, we all love the transformations in John Landis’ An American Werewolf In London and Joe Dante’s The Howling just as much as the ones in the classic Universal monster films, but here are some other cool, crazy transformations that I love and were influential on Late Phases.
NAZARENO CRUZ Y EL LOBO (Nazareno Cruz and the Wolf; Leonardo Favio, 1975)
One of the highest grossing Argentinian productions of all time, this film has some of the craziest, most beautiful visuals I’ve ever seen. However, the director chooses to be absolutely elliptical in the transformation, a ballsy decision as ever since The Wolf Man. It adds to the strange and supernatural tone of a wonderful film.
LA NOCHE DE WALPURGIS (The Werewolf Vs. Vampire Woman; León Klimovsky, 1971)
The fourth entry in the classic Spanish “Waldemar Daninsky” saga starts with a bang, with two men performing an autopsy in the middle of the night. Upon removing the silver bullets from Daninsky’s corpse, he comes back to life in full werewolf mode and ready to kill. Again, the first transformation here happens without transitions, immediately surprising the audience while also establishing the type of movie you’re going to get.
LA LOBA (The She-Wolf; Rafael Baledón, 1965)
Directed by the prolific Rafael Baledón, this early Mexican entry into the genre brings a female werewolf transformation to the screen. The fact that Baledon sets the scene in motion– unlike the static stop motion classics—coupled with the set piece’s sexual overtones, make it a fun sequence to watch.
BAD MOON (Eric Red, 1996)
For me, Eric Red’s approach to the genre is still the most interesting one of the past couple of decades. Even though the CGI looks unsatisfying nowadays, the concept of breaking Michael Pare’s transformation into very few shots captures the moment’s power, making it one of the biggest influences for me on Late Phases. It’s interesting to note that Wes Craven tried a similar approach in Cursed, but the texture and quality of the CGI prevented the scene to be impactful and believable.
THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (Neil Jordan, 1984)
Definitely for me the most powerful transformation sequence ever is this climatic scene in Neil Jordan’s masterpiece. With a fairy tale look and a strong sexual element, the moment when the wolf emerges from within the huntsman in front of the beautiful Sarah Patterson is the obvious reference for many other transformations, Hemlock Grove to name a recent one.
ABOUT LATE PHASES
Penned by Under the Bed‘s Eric Stolze, LATE PHASES stars Stake Land‘s Nick Damici, Ethan Embry, Lance Guest, Erin Cummings, Rutanya Alda, Tina Louise, Caitlin O’Heaney, Karen Lynn Gorney, Dana Ashbrook, and the great Tom Noonan.
In the film, “Crescent Bay is not the ideal place to spend one’s golden years, especially since the once-idyllic retirement community has been beset by a series of deadly animal attacks from the ominous forest surrounding it. When grizzled war veteran Ambrose McKinley (Nick Damici) is forced into moving there by his yuppie son Will (Ethan Embry), the residents immediately take offense to Ambrose’s abrasive personality. But that take-no-prisoners attitude may be just what Ambrose needs to survive as it becomes clear that the attacks are being caused by creatures that are neither animal nor man, and that the tight-knit community of Crescent Bay is hiding something truly sinister in its midst…”