Werewolf by Night Review
I never saw the Universal Monsters movies before, but I know about their impact on pop culture. They provided the public with definitive versions of famous monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster. Now, even the MCU’s trying to emulate the classic monster movies for Halloween. The end result, Werewolf by Night, is a triumphant masterpiece. A perfect blend of classic horror and the often-overlooked horror elements of Marvel comics.
Monster Hunters Ain’t That Surprising
In a universe filled with heroes, gods, magic, time travel, does the existence of monsters come as any surprise for anyone? The answer is a resounding no: monsters exist in the MCU, and so do the people that hunt them. Thus, when the most famous monster hunter of all, Ulysses Bloodstone, dies, the best hunters in the world congregate to choose his successor via a trial.
There are several candidates that show up, but the ones that should be the main focus are Jack Russell, an unassuming guy with a high kill count, and Elsa Bloodstone, Ulysses estranged daughter. It’s never explained why, but it seems that she left her home due to not being on good terms with her stepmother. To be fair, though, her stepmother is a very unpleasant woman! The only reason Elsa returned is so she can gain her father’s bloodstone, which provides longevity, among other powers. Thus, we get to the main event of the special: the monster hunt. Each hunter enters a maze to chase a monster with the bloodstone attached to it. The first one to kill it and get the stone wins.
On the surface, it seems like a simple premise. However, it soon becomes clear that it’s not so simple.
Not Evil, Just Misunderstood
As it turns out, Jack wasn’t interested in getting the bloodstone for himself. He just wanted to help out the monster, AKA Ted, AKA Man-Thing, a being that’s the product of a science experiment gone wrong combined with mystical energy. Despite his monstrous, plant-like appearance, though, Man-Thing’s a gentle giant, and a friend of Jack. He only acts threatening to those that seek to do him harm, as he chooses to spare Elsa when she chooses to not attack him.
I picked up on it early on, but I want to say it anyway: most of the monster hunters are racist Van Helsings. They automatically assume that anything that looks like a monster is a threat and must die, regardless of whether or not it actually is a threat. In this case, Man-Thing’s not evil; just misunderstood, as is Jack.
As it turns out, Jack is a werewolf, albeit one that goes out of his way to make sure he can’t hurt anyone when he turns into a werewolf. Despite this, Mrs. Bloodstone and the other hunters don’t care, since they capture him and Elsa and trap them inside a cage with the goal of having Jack, the Werewolf by Night, kill Elsa.
Sometimes, the biggest monsters in the universe are the ones who think they’re doing the world a favor. In reality, they’re just being bullies who need a swift kick in the butt. In this case, Jack delivers a well-deserved ass-kicking as he proceeds to break free as a werewolf and kills all the monster hunters. Except for Ulysses Bloodstone’s widow; she dies at the hands of Man-Thing.
The Monsters Win!
Thus, the story ends with Elsa reclaiming her birthright, the bloodstone, and her dad’s home. As for Jack and Man-Thing, they get to walk away. Happy ending for the good guys!
Overall, I thought that this was a very fun Halloween special for Marvel to do. It pays homage to classic horror with its black-and-white appearance. It doesn’t go too heavy on CGI in favor of practical effects. There’s even a shout-out to The Cryptkeeper in the form of Ulysses Bloodstone’s corpse acting like an animatronic. It’s a lot of fun. Hopefully, Marvel will decide to do more horror-themed stuff in the future. I wouldn’t mind seeing this sort of stuff for Halloween.
I Give “Werewolf by Night” a 4.5/5
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