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Jan 042012
 

An old fairytale takes a modern twist in Red Riding Hood. In this musical adventure, Red Riding Hood (Morgan Thompson) lives with her family in a lighthouse near the ocean. It looks bigger inside than it does outside, but it’s not wired for video games. I admit that can be rough.

Red gets sent to her Grandmother’s (Lainie Kazan) house on a cliff near the ocean to deliver some chicken noodle soup, but her Mother (Debi Mazar) tells her to stay on the main road, and sings it too, because of the Wolf out in the woods. Does Red listen? Of course not. Red is a young teen, so she thinks she can handle the woods and doesn’t believe the Wolf exists.

As it turns out, the Wolf (Joey Fatone) does exist, but he’s not just any wolf. This is a werewolf named Jack De Wolf, who can shape shift into anyone he has eaten. He really craves Red Riding Hood. I’ll tell ya, this wolf is definitely a watered down version of what he’d be in horror movies, but he’s so animated.

Jack isn’t the only threat Red has to deal with. She comes to a bridge guarded by the three bully girls gruff, known as the three Ashleys (Ashley Rose Orr, Andrea Bowen, and Callie Waterman). That was very creative, but those mean girls weren’t very likable villains.

Soon Red Riding Hood walks by several wolf traps, which look like neat obstacles. I’m actually a little surprised that Red didn’t step on any of them. After getting more lost in the woods, Red calls her annoying little brother Rusty (Sam Stone) and he comes to the rescue. He makes it to Red and they both get to their Grandma’s house. Unfortunately, Jack gets there first and eats her. It was clever how Rusty labeled that meal the senior special.

Rusty gets caught in a wolf trap and Red gets inside Grandma’s house, which appears spooky with the power out and a storm outside. It makes for a neat “haunted house” effect. Right before Red walks up to her Grandma’s room and finds Jack in the form of her Grandma. I’m sure you know what happens after that.

This was an interesting version of the Grimm fairytale, which shows the moral of the story in a more adventurous manner, not to mention that it’s more on a family friendly level compared to Red Riding Hood (2011). The songs weren’t very catchy, so I’m sure that if this movie hadn’t been a musical, it still would’ve been just as good.

Oct 312011
 

Happy Halloween, everybody! Vampires and zombies are not the only top monsters of the horror genre. Another classic beast is the werewolf a.k.a. lyconthropes. The curse of the werewolf is easily spread like a zombie virus, courtesy of its sharp claws and teeth. When the full moon is out, the victim becomes a wild beast that’s out of control and allergic to silver. These are my most favorite werewolves.

#10) Scott Howard from Teen Wolf: Scott is an underdog teenager, who comes from a family of werewolves. Sure, the full moon causes his transformation, but it can also be triggered by anger. However, Scott is always cautious about anyone seeing him wolf out in public, even when it can be useful.

On a side note, Michael J. Fox played Scott Howard on the original Teen Wolf movie and Jason Bateman played the role in the sequel, Teen Wolf 2, but it was the cartoon series I remember best.

#9) Velkan (Will Kemp) from Van Helsing: He was a werewolf hunter along with his sister Anna until their latest catch broke free and attacked. Now Velkan is a werewolf that can smoothly crawl up walls, run long distances, and has the strength to kill vampires. The transformation was graphical because both his clothes and skin get ripped up. Now isn’t that just creepy?

#8) Jack de Wolfe (Joey Fatone) from Red Riding Hood: Now here’s a unique werewolf. He’s a shape shifter with a huge appetite for human beings. However, Jack’s transformations are limited to only his eaten victims, but mostly prefers the form of his very first victim.

#7) Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) from Ginger Snaps: She was a gothic teen along with her sister Brigitte. After being attacked by a werewolf she becomes more dangerous, not only as a wolf girl, but also as a girl who is not afraid to take vengeance on her tormentors with deadly results. However, Ginger does fear the extra hair from her scratches and the tail growing from her tailbone. Of course, who wouldn’t be?

#6) Fangface from Fangface: Unlike most werewolves, he is eager, friendly, and heroic, like a superhero. Fangface’s transformations are entirely based on whether he sees the sun or the moon. That can be easily controlled with any pictures of the sun or the moon. The only time Fangface gets out of control is when anyone mentions food, which makes him want to eat his friend Pugsy. Rubbing Fangface’s paw is the only way to calm him down if that were to happen.

#5) Professor Lupin (David Thewlis) from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: During Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts, Lupin was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. When the moon is out, he becomes a werewolf with the posture of a human and not as hairy compared to other werewolves. This curse prevents Lupin from teaching, but still remains to be a great ally in later Harry Potter films.

#4) Oz (Seth Green) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: As a human, he’s a young bass player and Willow’s love interest. Every night of the full moon, Oz becomes a dangerous werewolf. What’s really touching is that Willow still loves Oz for he is still a good soul. It’s too bad the relationship didn’t last after awhile.

#3) Free from Soul Eater: He’s an immortal wolfman with amazing powers that control ice and snow. However, Free likes to brag and is a bit of a klutz, which makes him hilarious. However, Free is still a very dangerous opponent because he’s a lot tougher than most keshans.

#2) Fangster from Ghostbusters: He’s a futuristic ghost werewolf that’s strong and muscular as he is scary. Like his other ghostly comrades, Fangster can sneak into tight places by materializing into spirit form. However, he never reveals his human form and the closest Fangster has ever come to infecting anyone with the werewolf curse is by turning dogs into savage werewolf slaves with a magical arch built out of bones.

#1) Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) from The Wolfman (2010 version): This was the latest remake based on the old movie monster. Talbot was an American citizen, who was summoned to England to search for his missing brother, only to be attacked by a werewolf and possess the curse. Now he’s a graphical beast that smoothly slashes up innocent people at random with his claws. Even though that movie was slow-paced, it still makes me think of how far this mythical monster has come over the years in both movies and TV shows.

 

Werewolves

Honorable mentions: Believe it or not, werewolves have left their mark on video games also. In the Super NES game Zombies Ate my Neighbors, the werewolves were fierce, but were easily defeated with silverware. Now isn’t that just silly?

The video game I remember best from this category is Werewolf: The Last Warrior for the NES. The hero is a man, who becomes a werewolf by picking up red ‘W’s. (Blue ‘W’s weaken him.) The more wolf he is, the more powerful he becomes in order to fight evil. Here’s an example that I found on YouTube to help set the mood for the werewolf’s howling success.

Apr 112011
 

 

Now here’s a great animated parody on the story of Little Red Riding Hood. It’s called Hoodwinked (Widescreen Edition), which stars Anne Hathaway as Red. She did very well as a princess in The Princess Diaries films and as a fairytale heroine on Ella Enchanted, where she showed some amazing fighting skills. I wonder if that was what inspired the writers to make Red a black belt in this movie.

The story starts the same way that the original fairytale ends, only to be broken up by the police. However, the story goes further than just a break in at Granny Puckett’s (voice of Glenn Close) house. There’s a goodie bandit on the loose putting goodie shops out of business all over the forest. There are four suspects who get questioned, Red, Granny, Kirk the woodsman (voice of Jim Belushi), and the Wolf (Voice of Patrick Warburton), which means four perspectives.

It starts with Red. She sings while making deliveries on her bicycle. Then after seeing the different goodie shops closing, she goes to see Granny. Red rides a cable car, but falls out of it and lands in the woods where she meets the Wolf and escapes. It’s neat that this fairytale forest even has a cable car that’s driven by a Bunny (voice of Andy Dick).

Red soon finds a singing Goat (voice of Benjy Gaither) to help her out. He’s a great character with a catchy song and lots of different horns. The Goat is also hilarious when his constant singing annoys Red. It’s too bad that we don’t get to see more of him in this movie.

Next up is the Wolf’s side of the story. It turns out that he’s a reporter on the trail of the Goodie Bandit and Red is his prime suspect. That’s why he was after her, with the help of Twitchy the fast talking squirrel who can swallow a camera with one gulp.

After that, Kirk gets questioned. He’s not really a vigilante. He’s an actor preparing for a commercial about bunion cream. Kirk is clearly innocent. As for busting into Granny’s house like he did, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The final story comes from Granny. She’s not the Goodie Bandit either, but she did reveal another secret. Granny is an extreme sports champion. She was participating in a ski competition and it gets real exciting, going up against those hardcore European skiers trying to take her down.

Even though all of the suspects are cleared, the mystery of the Goodie Bandit begins to unfold, which makes an amazing plot twist. It also gets exciting as Red fights the Goodie Bandit, but ends up captured instead. Now it’s up to Granny, Kirk, and the Wolf to save her and the recipes of the forest.

This was a terrific movie and definitely a favorite. I heard that a sequel is coming soon and I’m looking forward to it.