Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 2nd, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: USA, October 1971
Director: Michel Levesque
Writers: Michel Levesque, David M. Kaufman
Cast: Stephen Oliver, D.J. Anderson, Duece Berry, Billy Gray, Gray Johnson, Barry McGuire
DVD Released: February 28th, 2006
Approximate Running Time: 79 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Dark Sky Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.95
Synopsis: The Devil’s Advocates are bikers who roam the land and terrorize anyone who crosses their paths. They are on a road trip a desert and along the way they run into some satanic monks who put a hex on two of them making them werewolves. When a few members of The Devil’s Advocates start to turn up horribly mutilated or missing the rest of gang have only one option left and that is too confront the satanic monks who put this curse on them.
Werewolves on Wheels was produced Paul Lewis, a frequent collaborator of Dennis Hopper, who had only two years before directed the quintessential biker road movie Easy Rider. The film Werewolves on Wheels contains all the cliche tracking shots and other standards that we have come to expect from these types of films. And this film also mixes genres as the second half of the film adds the supernatural in the form of werewolves into the mix. With the werewolves look like something out of a werewolf out of a Paul Naschy film and the violence is mild and the werewolves’ subplot feels added in and underdeveloped.
Werewolves on Wheels is the directorial debut of Michel Levesque, who would go on work Art Director on the Russ Meyer films Supervixens, Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens and Up!. And for a first-time director he manages to handle the material with utmost care and professionalism.
The film is beautifully photographed by Isidore Mankofsky who fills every inch of every frame with interesting compositions that are never too flashy or overtly distracting. One scene that is quick to get the blood pressure rising is when Helen dances naked with a snake wrapped around her while the monks watch. Don Gere’s score the film perfectly captures the mood with its southern rock roots.
Werewolves on Wheels starts off good, as the bikers travel aimlessly and the scenes with the satanic monks are really well done. These scenes with the monks have late 1960’s psychedelic style written all over them. After the bikers leave the monks is when the film starts lose focus and the final section with the werewolves is the weakest part of the film. There is a lot of humor in this film and most of it derives from the delirious dialog.
Acting wise many of the performers sin this film are actually stunt men or bikers so outside of a few of the leads most of the cast is essentially playing themselves. And despite having werewolves and other elements that are predominate in horror films I would not call Werewolves on Wheels a horror film. Also, the violence is mild at best and there real is never a moment of real terror in the film. Overall Werewolves on Wheels tries to mix too many genres into one cohesive film and what we are left with is a highly entertaining, but flawed film.
Dark Sky Films present Werewolves on Wheels in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The image is colorful and flesh tones look dead don. Black levels are solid and the image looks sharp through out. There are no problems with compression or artifacts. Overall the source used is nearly flawless outside a few minor instances of print damage.
This release comes with only one audio option an English language track that is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Dialog is crisp and clear. The music sounds evenly mixed and never distorted as it blends perfectly with the rest of the mix. There is no problems hiss or any other sound defects. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
Extras for this release include theatrical trailers for Werewolves on Wheels and The Losers. Other extras include two radio spots and a photo gallery with lobby cards, stills and posters from the film. Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary track with director Michel Levesque and writer David M. Kaufman. Bothe men have plenty to say about the film and they are obviously enjoying themselves as they talk about the film. They talk about working with producer Paul Lewis and Easy Rider’s influence on their own film. My favorite story is how there apparently was a rumor going around that Dennis Hopper directed Werewolves on Wheels under a pseudonym.
Dark Sky Films have given Werewolves on Wheels a first rate release that comes with stunning audio/video presentation and an exceptional audio commentary that is almost worth the price of admission by itself.