Werewolf (TV series)
|Created by||Frank Lupo|
|Written by||Tom Blomquist|
|Directed by||James Darren|
|Starring||John J. York|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||29|
|Executive producer(s)||John Ashley|
|Running time||24 min|
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original release||July 11, 1987 –|
August 21, 1988
The show follows the adventures of Eric Cord (John J. York), a college student transformed into a werewolf who undergoes a quest to rid himself of his curse by killing the apparent originator of his 'bloodline,' a drifter named Janos Skorzeny (the character's name is a reference to the name of the vampire in the classic TV film The Night Stalker) played by Chuck Connors (in his last television role). While pursuing Skorzeny, Cord himself is pursued by the persistent bounty hunter "Alamo" Joe Rogan (Lance LeGault). Later, Cord hunts Nicholas Remy (Brian Thompson), the real originator of the bloodline.
The show aired a two-hour pilot and 28 half-hour episodes before being cancelled in 1988. In the United Kingdom the series aired on Sky One from 1989-1990.
Eric Cord is a college student whose average life comes to an end on the night that his roommate Ted hands him a gun loaded with silver bullets. Ted is a werewolf who has been killing people, and tells Eric to kill him, seeing this as his only way out. A red pentagram on Ted's right palm is the sign that the metamorphosis is coming. Confronted with Eric's disbelief, Ted decides to prove his situation, and asks Eric to tie him up in a chair and wait until midnight, at which time he'd either see for himself or call in professional help. When midnight comes, Ted transforms into a werewolf, forcing his friend to shoot and kill him-but not before he manages to bite Eric. Before long, Eric discovers a pentagram on his own palm, and soon after undergoes his own transformation into a seven-foot-tall werewolf. Now on the run for his friend's murder, Eric Cord spends the remainder of the series on a quest to find and kill the originator of his bloodline, the mysterious Janos Skorzeny, which will break the curse.
The series was similar in tone and formula to shows like The Fugitive and The Incredible Hulk, but achieved a contemporary feel by mixing a decidedly rock soundtrack with suspense-themed music. Eric wandered from place to place, hitchhiking, taking odd jobs and befriending various characters whose paths he crossed along the way, before invariably being transformed by his werewolf curse just in time to save his new friends from the clutches of some evildoer. Though Eric appeared to have no control over his actions while in werewolf form and typically retained no memory of them afterward, he seemed to prey almost exclusively on villainous characters, never attacking or killing an innocent person. There were hints as the series progressed, however, that this self-control was slowly eroding, as indeed Ted had warned him it would, threatening to destroy Eric's conscience/will if he could not end the curse soon.
Near the end of the series' run it was revealed that the originator of Eric Cord's bloodline was not, in fact, the evil Janos Skorzeny, but rather an even more powerful and malevolent werewolf named Nicholas Remy (played by Brian Thompson). The series ended before Eric could be rid of his curse.
The special effects techniques used in production were considered first-rate and impressive for the time, specifically the transformation sequences, in which, for example, the pentagram-shaped scar on Eric's right hand would rise, thicken and grow three-dimensionally, and begin to bleed.
Replacement of Skorzeny
According to script editor Allan Cole, after the series had started production, Chuck Connors wanted to renegotiate his contract for more money. Various episodes written to feature Skorzeny were shot without Connors—using only scenes with Skorzeny in his werewolf form, plus a human body double with no dialogue. Series creator Frank Lupo asked Cole and Chris Bunch to kill off Skorzeny in "To Dream of Wolves". Connors agreed to return for his finale, according to Cole. The script was originally written as a three-parter with Connors in the first two parts, but two days before shooting Cole and Bunch were informed that Connors would not take part. The first two episodes were collapsed into one, all of Skorzeny's new dialogue was cut (aside from flashback scenes of young Skorzeny played by a different actor), and Skorzeny's part was rewritten to show him cravenly (and silently) kneeling before Remy. In the final fight between Eric and Skorzeny, Eric now scarred his foe with acid and then electrocuted him—allowing Connors' human-form body double to play the death scene in disfiguring makeup.
It was co produced by John Ashley.
The werewolves in the show were immune to the effects of aging or disease, with the exception of Skorzeny himself. Although Skorzeny was apparently a young man as shown in a flashback scene when he was bitten by Nicolas Remy in the 19th century, he appeared to be in his mid sixties in 1987. Nicolas Remy explained to Eric Cord that Skorzeny was slowly dying from a "sickness brought about by his own evil", that was decaying him from within. Nicolas Remy himself was over two thousand years old, yet appeared to be a man in his late 30s with the exception of a streak of gray hair near his right temple.
The werewolves in the series were apparently vulnerable to harm in their human forms from ordinary weapons but with no permanent effects. In an episode titled "A World of Difference", Eric is shot dead in human form (he was just beginning to undergo the metamorphosis), only to resurrect in the morgue by transforming into his werewolf form at sunset. In another episode titled "Nightmare at the Braine Hotel", Eric meets a werewolf named Servan, who tells him a story in which he had been executed by hanging in his human form. He seemed greatly amused by the memory of the looks on his executioners' faces as he leapt off the undertaker's table when he transformed at sunset and rose from death. Another werewolf character, a hobo named Hank who was featured in the episode "King of the Road", dies in his human form from having his throat cut, only to resurrect in his werewolf form as soon as night falls. This ability is reminiscent of the "Eddie Quist" character in "The Howling", who is shot dead by police during the beginning of his transformation at the adult movie theater, only to come to life later by transforming in the morgue.
The werewolves themselves transformed into large, almost bearlike bipedal wolves with long simian arms that allowed them to run on all fours as well as two. All the werewolves transformed by sprouting fangs, claws and fur, except for Skorzeny, who peeled back the skin of his face to reveal the werewolf form within. In their human forms they had no traditionally distinguishing marks, such as eyebrows meeting over the bridge of their nose, or hair on the palms of their hands. It was also never explored as to whether or not werewolves could reproduce sexually in their human bodies.
Although the werewolves did completely recover from wounds made by non-silver weapons, the series never explored whether or not werewolves could regenerate missing limbs. Skorzeny, who wore an eye patch over his left eye, did seem to regenerate his missing eye when he transformed into his werewolf form. But when he returned to his human form, he once again wore the eye patch. It was explained that Remy is the one who cut out his eye in the episode "to dream of wolves."
Werewolves in this series did not transform during the full moon; The pentagram on their palm was the only signal that the metamorphosis was approaching. In the pilot, Eric Cord's roommate Ted stated that its appearance was very random, and that he had not discerned any pattern to when or how often the metamorphosis would occur. Older werewolves like Skorzeny and Remy had the ability to induce the metamorphosis without the appearance of the pentagram, unlike Eric, who seemed to be at the mercy of the curse's cycle. In the episode "To Dream of Wolves", Remy also showed an ability to shapeshift single body parts at will, as shown when he shapeshifted his right arm into its werewolf shape to kill Dianne for disobeying his order to kill Eric. Remy also seemed to have a form of psychic control over those of his bloodline: In "To Dream of Wolves", he toys with Eric by telepathically forcing him to press a silver dagger to his own throat, drawing blood.
Shapeshifting into a werewolf
While the bite of a werewolf was the standard way to pass the curse to another person, blood transfusion appeared to be effective in the episode titled "Big Daddy". No mystical talismans, salves or hexes seemed to have any place in the series. It was also never suggested that the curse was hereditary.
The werewolves had only three known weaknesses mentioned in the series; Any weapon made from silver, being killed by another werewolf or suicide.
Eric is told of other bloodlines by Gray Wolf in the episode of the same name. It is unknown if it is a complete list or just the bloodlines that he knew of.
- Nicholas Remy
- Janos Skorzeny
- Ted Nichols
- Eric Cord
- Ted Nichols
- Janos Skorzeny
- Gray Wolf
|Nº||Title||Directed by:||Written by:||Original air date|
|1||"Werewolf"||David Hemmings||Frank Lupo||July 11, 1987|
|Pilot: Eric is attacked by his best friend, who is a werewolf. Now afflicted with the curse, Eric must track down the originator of his bloodline in order to rid himself of his new alter ego, while also avoiding the bounty hunter who's been sent after him.|
|2||"Nightwatch"||David Hemmings||Frank Lupo||July 18, 1987|
|After trailing Skorzeny to a shipyard, Eric is set upon by a pair of seamen looking to collect the bounty on his head.|
|3||"The Boy Who Cried Werewolf"||Larry Shaw||Mark Jones||July 25, 1987|
|Injured by Rogan, Eric seeks shelter in a young boy's treehouse, and soon runs afoul of his mother's abusive boyfriend.|
|4||"The Black Ship"||James Darren||Chris Bunch,|
|August 1, 1987|
|Eric is captured by an old friend of Skorzeny's and must find a way to escape before Skorzeny comes for him.|
|5||"Spectre of the Wolf"||Lyndon Chubbuck||Craig Tepper||August 8, 1987|
|Eric consults Dr. DeGoethels, a well-known author and professor of werewolf lore, for help in finding a cure.|
|6||"The Wolf Who Thought He Was a Man"||David Hemmings||Chris Bunch,|
|August 15, 1987|
|While on the road, Eric meets up with a hunter who takes the phrase "hunt like a wolf" a little too far.|
|7||"Nothing Evil in These Woods"||David Hemmings||Sidney Ellis||August 29, 1987|
|Lost in the woods, Eric happens upon a local witch who claims she has the power to rid him of his curse.|
|8||"Running with the Pack"||Guy Magar||Craig Tepper||September 5, 1987|
|Working at a small diner to make ends meet, Eric gets more than he bargained for when a cutthroat motorcycle gang rides into town.|
|9||"Friendly Haven"||David Hemmings||Tom Blomquist||September 26, 1987|
|Eric takes refuge at the home of an old woman while being chased by Skorzeny.|
|10||"Let Us Prey"||James Darren||Chris Bunch,|
|October 3, 1987|
|Chasing reports of a wild cougar, Eric takes refuge at a monastery where he soon learns that some of the staff prey in a different way at night.|
|11||"A World of Difference: Part 1"||James Darren||Craig Tepper||October 10, 1987|
|Rogan finds Eric locked up in a small town, but when his captive changes into a werewolf and escapes, the bounty hunter finds he's no match for the hunting skills of the wolf.|
|12||"A World of Difference: Part 2"||James Darren||Craig Tepper||October 17, 1987|
|In the hospital recovering from a werewolf attack, Rogan reflects on how to deal with his dilemma. Things get sidetracked in a hurry when he learns that Eric isn't dead after all.|
|13||"The Unicorn"||Lyndon Chubbuck||Mark Jones||October 25, 1987|
|Eric gets kidnapped by a pimp when he saves one of his charges from a brutal beating. Meanwhile, Rogan is hot on Eric's trail, not realizing he's actually closer to finding Skorzeny.|
|14||"All Hallow's Eve"||Larry Shaw||Craig Tepper||October 31, 1987|
|Eric holes up in an abandoned house on Halloween night in order to lock himself up before the change, not realizing that the house isn't actually abandoned.|
|15||"Blood on the Tracks"||Rob Bowman||Christian Darren||November 1, 1987|
|Eric gets a job working the railroads and runs into one of his childhood heroes, a former heavyweight champion with some demons of his own.|
|16||"Nightmare at the Braine Hotel"||David Hemmings||Craig Tepper||November 8, 1987|
|Eric crosses paths with a slasher and a sinister hotel manager. But is it real, or only a dream?|
|17||"Wolfhunt"||Bob Bralver||Chris Bunch,|
|November 15, 1987|
|Eric and a wolf form a bond of friendship out in the wild, but a rancher is out to hunt them both down with silver bullets thanks to a visit from Rogan.|
|18||"Blood Ties"||David Hemmings||Christian Darren||November 22, 1987|
|Working as a groundskeeper at a high class residence, Eric must clear his name when he is framed for murder.|
|19||"Big Daddy"||Larry Shaw||Chris Bunch,|
|November 29, 1987|
|Forcefully taken by a state trooper to Big Daddy Frasier's home, Eric learns that Big Daddy has an idea of what Eric can do to help cure his cancer.|
|20||"Eye of the Storm"||Sidney Hayers||Tom Blomquist||December 6, 1987|
|Eric finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery at the Simms Lodge. He convinces the other lodgers to work together in order to find the culprit, but his plans change when he is about to.|
|21||"Nightmare in Blue"||David Hemmings||Chris Bunch,|
|January 17, 1988|
|The long arm of the law finds Eric when he is at his most vulnerable. To make matters worse, Rogan's reach is even closer.|
|22||"Skinwalker"||Rob Bowman||Christian Darren||January 24, 1988|
|Eric learns that the Native American legend of the Skinwalker is true, and that it's up to him to stop the bloodshed.|
|23||"King of the Road"||Richard A. Colla||Chris Bunch,|
|February 17, 1988|
|Hopping a train, Eric runs afoul of a group of homeless travelers trying to escape a "ripper" who's been preying on vagrants in their small hometown.|
|24||"A Material Girl"||James Darren||Chris Bunch,|
|February 14, 1988|
|Eric chases Skorzeny into a mall after business hours. He meets a girl who lives there and learns he wasn't chasing Skorzeny all along.|
|25||"To Dream of Wolves: Part 1"||James Darren||Chris Bunch,|
|February 21, 1988|
|Eric finally tracks down Skorzeny, but learns that contrary to what he was told, his old nemesis is NOT the originator of their bloodline.|
|26||"To Dream of Wolves: Part 2"||James Darren||Chris Bunch,|
|February 28, 1988|
|Eric breaks into the home of Nicolas Remy and learns that Remy is the one he must destroy in order to rid himself of his curse.|
|27||"Blind Luck"||Jon Paré||Dennis Foley||March 6, 1988|
|Working at a carnival, Eric runs afoul of a group of schemers who are taking advantage of blind women.|
|28||"Gray Wolf"||James Darren||Norman Spinrad||March 13, 1988|
|While being chased by Rogan, Eric meets an old werewolf from another bloodline. Together they can defeat Remy, but only if Eric can keep the man on his side.|
|29||"Amazing Grace"||Richard A. Colla||Chris Bunch,|
|May 22, 1988|
|Eric saves an old lady who loves to tell stories from two thugs. Soon she is placed in a mental institution and Eric tries to break her out.|
In other media
In July 1988, Blackthorne Publishing released a five-issue comic book series based on the show.
From 2007 to 2009, Chiller aired reruns of Werewolf. Chiller premiered the series with a marathon on June 6, 2007.
Werewolf: The Complete Series was to be released on DVD by Shout! Factory by October 6, 2009, but was later pushed two weeks to October 20, 2009 to include special features. The release was eventually cancelled because of a music license issue concerning 3 songs. As a result, no official DVD release exists.
- "The Silver Bullet Sanction". 2012-07-13.
- "Chuck Connors Kisses the Ring". 2012-08-03.
- D'Arc, James V. (2010). When Hollywood came to town: a history of moviemaking in Utah (1st ed.). Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith. ISBN 9781423605874.
- Vagg, Stephen (December 2019). "A Hell of a Life: The Nine Lives of John Ashley". Diabolique Magazine.
- Lambert, David (2009-06-25). "Werewolf – Shout! Factor Delays The Complete Series, Leaks Info About Some Extras". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 1 August 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- "Werewolf: VHS". amazon.co.uk.