Werewolf (1996 film)

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Directed by Tony Zarindast
Produced by Tony Zarindast
Written by Brad Hornacher
Tony Zarindast
Starring Jorge Rivero
Richard Lynch
Federico Cavalli
Adrianna Miles
Joe Estevez
Music by Keith Bilderbeck
Cinematography Dan Gilman
Robert Hayes
Edited by Peter Taylor
Distributed by A-Pix Entertainment
Release dates
  • 1996 (1996)
Running time
99 mins.
Country United States
Language English

Werewolf (also known as Arizona Werewolf) is a 1996 American direct-to-video horror film by Iranian-born director Tony Zarindast. It is best known for being lampooned in a 1998 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.


Archaeologists working in Arizona find a werewolf skeleton. The ill-tempered foreman, Yuri (played by Jorge Rivero) gets into a fight with his crew: Tommy, Joel, and Bill. In the course of the fight, Tommy is scratched by the werewolf skeleton. This greatly alarms his fellow diggers, especially Joel. The head archaeologist, Noel, details what he knows of werewolf behavior, which he bases on American Indian mythology. Here the werewolf, or yetiglanchi takes on strange behavior including "sleeping nose to anus."

Tommy is taken to the hospital, where he begins showing signs of lycanthropy, and he eventually turns into a werewolf. Joel and Bill arm themselves with shotguns and silver bullets and succeed in killing Tommy.

The scene shifts to a house in suburban Flagstaff (which resembles the real Flagstaff very little) and a writer named Paul Niles (Federico Cavalli) arrives to live there. At a party, he is introduced to one of the archaeologists, Natalie Burke (Adrianna Miles) and takes a romantic interest in her. Yuri is jealous and behaves badly, which leads to his expulsion from the party by his boss Noel. Yuri, (whose hair drastically changes hairstyles) walks to the laboratory and conspires to create a new werewolf; he drugs a security guard (played by director Tony Zarindast) and injects him with blood he earlier drew from the werewolf, Tommy. He creates a new werewolf, but the werewolf makes the unfortunate choice of driving itself home, and suddenly crashes into some oil drums (inexplicably placed in the middle of the road) and dies in the ensuing fire.

The following day, Paul visits the lab at Natalie's invitation. He gets into a fight with Yuri, who attacks him with the werewolf skull. Paul is scratched by the skull, and now it is his turn to start showing symptoms of lycanthropy. Natalie visits Paul at his apartment to help with his wound and they then have sex. Paul, as a werewolf, starts attacking people at night, but remembers little of it. Finally, Natalie and Yuri spy him changing. Yuri plots to capture Paul and take him to the lab, and convinces Natalie to help him. In a murky chase sequence, Paul, in werewolf form, kills Yuri. He and Natalie (now a werewolf) reunite at the end of the movie.


  • Jorge Rivero as Yuri
  • Richard Lynch as Noel
  • Federico Cavalli as Paul Miles
  • Adrianna Miles as Natalie Burke
  • Joe Estevez as Joel
  • R.C. Bates as Sam "the Keeper"
  • Randall Oliver as Billy

Production notes[edit]

Several scenes from Werewolf were shot on the campus of Glendale Community College in Glendale, California. The lab scenes took place in the old Physical Science building before it was refurbished in the early 2000s. The footbridge that crosses Verdugo Road, in front of the College, is seen in several nighttime shots.

The account of a Werewolf crew member:

I had never heard of Tony when I got a call one evening to replace the boom op who had not shown up for work on this show. Part of it (house interiors and werewolf crashing out a second story window) was shot in Echo Park (Los Angeles). The stunt guy was banged up and only had some skateboard pads under the old fur coat. Tony (the director) asked to borrow a car from someone in the crew for the stunt guy to land on. When no one volunteered their car Tony said then he would use his own old stationwagon. When he landed, the stunt guy crunched the top of the stationwagon about three or so inches and Tony asked the guy to do it again after he managed to push the roof back up a little.

What a night - low low budget filmmaking in LA. The sound mixer (Chris LePlus) decided to quit and asked me if I wanted to go to Arizona to do the sound mixing - I said no, but I did have my Tony story and shared with everyone I knew. We, (Chris and I), did get paid so no problem there, unlike many lo no budget shows of that time.

Mystery Science Theater 3000[edit]

Werewolf was lampooned in a 1998 episode of movie-mocking television comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000. It is noteworthy for having been mocked on MST3K only two years after its release, and was also the most recent film to be featured on the series until Future War was featured the following season. Mike and the bots joked about the film's incredibly poor sound editing and special effects, with the titular monster appearing to be "simply a wolf, other times a kind of man-bear, other times a sort of fruit bat puppet, and at still other times, just a guy with the mumps overdue for a shave."[1] – and the thick accents of its leading actors ("Paul! You is a waerwelf!"). All the profanity was censored, most notably "I just found out that Count Dracula was a f****t!"[2]


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