Reviews

Miss Werewolf (2001)

Outside of the historic Music Box theater in Chicago, Janet peers into the camera and remarks, “I bet people think we’re nuts around here.” The Rock’s reply? “We’re proud to be weird. It’s fun to be weird, ain’t it?” Janet nods a reassuring yes. Moments like this make me smile.

For every thousand “normal” people who just go through the motions, there’s just one David “The Rock” Nelson. He isn’t out to save the world (or even his block). He’s not clamoring to be famous. He’s having fun making obsessively bizarre monster movies, pure and simple. Rocky Nelson’s eccentric video visions are unique slices of life that demand celebration. And what better way to celebrate than with the brilliantly-titled Miss Werewolf?

Our film opens with a narrated disclaimer. This alerts the audience of the gore quotient included herein, as well as offering earplugs and blindfolds at the concession stand for those that are too terrified to confront the Rock’s latest hijinks. While on a routine zoo outing, Janet (Janet Lynn) is bitten (I think) by a wolf. In keeping with her other stellar performances, Janet looks directly into the camera a lot and laughs after almost every line. Then she disappears for awhile. In the meantime, Detective Rock (David “The Rock” Nelson) gets down to bizness: time for some eats! Potschkies, fried chicken, quesadillas, doughnuts — you name it. Between chow-downs, we meet Dr. Weirdo (David “The Rock” Nelson), who argues with Detective Rock (David “The Rock” Nelson), and other minor characters like Dinosaur Woman (David “The Rock” Nelson), Rocksella (David “The Rock” Nelson), and the Rock’s parents, who are usually sleeping. In a new twist, the Rock’s telephone gets a bigger part than ever before. And who’s on the other end of that line, anyway? A benevolent being perhaps? The reverb is a definite clue.

Miss Werewolf soon shows up and begins her “air-clawing” reign of destruction. She attacks everybody from portly party dudes to families with kids to Herbert “The Fiend” Bussowitz. Many tangents are taken, some within context of the movie, but most involving just hanging out, eating, and watching monster movies. And then…out of nowhere…a horrific castration scene! Well, it’s not too horrific, but it is rather shocking to see a fake “wiener whistle” (Rock’s words, not mine) fly through the air with gobs of ketchup gore on it. Night of the Demon, take a number! Eventually, Miss Werewolf dukes it out with Dr. Weirdo in his basement laboratory, ending the whole shebang with a plastic machete and scads of charm. We’re left with Detective Rock and Vernon Nelson (Rock’s dad), surveying the scene in a strangely effective Ed Wood-sian wrap-up.

But of course, nothing is linear in the world of Rocky Nelson. In keeping with Nelson’s other films, the narrative arc is bursting with eccentricities: Detective Rock howling about “Gibberish! Hearsay! Old wives’ tales!” pretty much nonstop, an innocent bystander interrupting filming to ask what’s going on, tours of Chicago’s Resurrection Cemetery (home of “Resurrection Mary”) and Chet’s Melody Lounge, the narrator feasting on potato chips, Nelson falling asleep while watching one of his own films, and the monumental soundtrack, comprised of 1940s B movie bursts and spooky organs. Glorious.

At one point in the video, Janet stops werewolf-ing and takes five. Peering through a rubber wolf-man mask, she mutters, “I ran out of gas!” Yeah, it is good to be weird, isn’t it?

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