Recap #190: Cursed (2005)

Title: Cursed (2005)

Summary: A werewolf loose in Los Angeles changes the lives of three young adults who, after being mauled by the beast, learn that the only way to break the curse put upon them is to kill the one who started it all! [Wing: There is so much wrong with this summary.] [bat: It didn’t sell me on watching it, that’s for sure.]

Tagline: Beware the full moon. [Wing: So simple. So cheesy. So perfect.] [bat: Sometimes the simplest things are the best things.]

Initial Thoughts

This movie is kind of terrible and a whole lot ridiculous and I love it so, so much. Unrated version all the way, so you know. [bat: UNRATED VERSION IS TRUE CANON; IGNORE THE STUPID RATED VERSION!]


Opens with one of my favourite songs {insert link} and an opening that sort of screams we wanted to make The Lost Boys with werewolves. I’M FUCKING SOLD, Y’ALL. (Random fact: when I first showed Ostrich the trailer, waaaay back before the theatrical release, he swore it was going to be a vampire movie because there was a shot of Ricci’s character biting the throat of Jake’s character. He was wrong and should know better than to question me when it comes to werewolves.) Rock concert, boardwalk, characters walking together through the crowds — I’m a fan, especially when we hit the big full moon over the ocean shot.

We meet Zela, a fortune teller whose booth on the boardwalk makes her look like a fun-and-games fake, but who apparently really has “the gift” and foretells blood in Jenny’s and Becky’s future. She freaks the women out when she talks about them needing to fear the beast and warns Becky that she needs to beware the moon because it feeds in the moonlight. In the few moments that Becky is left behind with Zela, Jenny disappears.

(This soundtrack is so much fun.)

We pop on over to the Hollywood Wax Museum where Brooke befriends Zipper, an adorable doggy who Jimmy is clearly using to flirt with Brooke. They have a bunch of classes together, but Brooke doesn’t recognise him at all. Brooke’s boyfriend, Bo, shows up with some thug friends who don’t get named, and they pick on Jimmy, who is the scrawny high school loser character. He’s apparently the dodgeball crotch target. Lots of fun homophobic jokes, but they’re actually leading somewhere.

Jimmy’s waiting on his sister, Ellie, but she’s still over at Tinsel, her boyfriend’s (Jake) new classic-horror-movie-themed club. No lie, I would spend forever in this club, it’s delightful. My favourite piece is the silver wolf’s head cane replica from the Wolf Man 50th anniversary. (My heart.)

(Back when I first watched this, I did not find Joshua Jackson attractive, but then I watched Fringe and saw the appeal and now he’s retroactively hot, especially when he’s teasing Ellie with the kinky fun of medieval torture devices. Also, Christina Ricci is smoking hot as Ellie, both when she’s all sharp suits and slick buns and when she quite literally takes her hair down.)

[bat: I, too, had zero interest in Joshua Jackson until Fringe; that’s why I bothered to find/watch this film, and thankfully found the unrated version first.] [Wing: Fringe was very, very good for him.]

Ellie’s been missing Jake, who’s all caught up with his new club, but when she suggests they hook up after the opening, he says he’s exhausted and all he’s going to want to do is crawl into bed for three days. I die. She offers to join him there, and he turns that down, too, because Jake is kind of an idiot. (I mean, I know why, but damn, dude.) Ellie’s hurt when he asks for time and space, which he has every right to do, but of course it hurts her feelings. I love you, Ellie. Come hang out with me instead.

Everyone but Zipper is grumpy on the drive home, Ellie because of this stuff with Jake and her guilt over Jimmy leaning so hard on her and Jimmy because he had to wait over an hour. Their argument is interrupted by a giant wolf leaping over the car, breaking the windshield and sending them careening into another car, which gets knocked down a fairly steep incline.

Ellie leaves Jimmy to call for help and climbs down to the car, which is conveniently lit by dramatic moonlight and has some weird creepy noises around it. It’s upside down and the driver is trapped. There’s no way to get inside but through the open window, and oh, shit, it’s Becky! Becky’s stuck upside down, and Ellie tries to both calm her and get her out; Jimmy’s struggling to get service on Ellie’s phone but finally gets ahold of 911. Ellie, meanwhile, is dealing with something creepy around her, and we get our second jump scare in less than five minutes when Jimmy comes up behind her.

Becky starts freaking out over hearing something leaking and thinks it’s gas and that the car is going to blow up; Jimmy is no help on this, because he agrees with her. He climbs in to try to get her free, though, and Ellie is super useless when she hears more things moving through the undergrowth and tells them to hurry up.

Just when Jimmy gets Becky free, we get jump scare number three when something lunges into the car and a giant wolf grabs Becky and drags her out of the car and into the bushes. [bat: Maybe should have taken Zela’s warning a little more seriously, huh.] Jimmy grabs her and gets pulled, too; Ellie grabs him and gets pulled along for the ride, and this is a ridiculous train. Ellie and Jimmy both get injured by the animal, but they’re left alive to flee back through the car and up to where emergency services is coming. Jump scare number four when the werewolf throws Becky’s head and torso at them; she’s still alive and actually tries to crawl before she finally dies.

Jimmy keeps telling emergency services that it was a giant wolf, but no one believes him and Ellie can’t back him up, because she says she didn’t see anything, it all happened too fast. Emergency services think it might have been a mountain lion or a bear, but there hasn’t been a wolf sighting in southern California in over 70 years.

I have no idea if that was true or not in 2005. In the 2010s, gray wolves are returning to the area, though. [bat: Enter OR-7, the first confirmed wolf to return to California via Oregon after 87 years, so yeah, no wolves in that part of California for seven decades is pretty much true.]

When Jimmy checks on Zipper, Zipper growls and snaps at him, getting his finger and drawing blood and when they get home, Zipper doesn’t want to come inside and then runs to hide once he does. [bat: I love that they include the family dog in this. In the tradition of Nanook and Thorn, Zipper is in my movie doggo hall-of-fame.] [Wing: That is a great hall of fame.]

Jimmy is even grumpier at Ellie now, because she refuses to back him, even though she didn’t see what he saw. They argue some more and he goes up to bed, leaving her to mournfully close some windows (you left a window open in L.A.?!), lock the front door, and look at a picture of them with their parents which is conveniently in a silver frame.

I love stories about siblings trying to take care of younger siblings after their parents are no longer around. (See, my love for Lilo & Stitch.)

Jimmy’s doing research upstairs and has a bedroom full of horror comics, including some about werewolves. [bat: And a Distillers poster, which I find hilarious and adorable, because Brody is married to Joshua Homme, one of my favorite musicians on the planet.] Once again, it feels like this movie is trying to do The Lost Boys with werewolves, and once again, I am here for it. He finds a bunch of stuff about wolves and one link about werewolves: fact or fiction, which of course is the one he chooses. This leads him to unsolved animal attacks, which are usually attributed to bears or cougars. You can see where this is going.

Ellie leaves her bedroom, wearing a dramatic silk robe that flutters around her. The window she very carefully closed earlier is open again; she hears something at the back door, and we get another jump scare with a little red riding hood cuckoo clock. I WANT ONE. The front door’s open, then, another jump scare with Jake coming up behind her, they make out for awhile, and then Ellie rips out his throat, sending a great gush of blood up to the ceiling, which is part of what makes this unrated and also makes me die laughing. (This is the scene from the trailer which made Ostrich think vampire and not werewolf.)

There’s some fun camera angles throughout this scene, slightly off-kilter, just enough to add to the strange feeling of the scene.

And then Ellie wakes up, in bed, alone. Jimmy, meanwhile, wakes up outside, naked, and not alone, because there’s a neighbour staring straight at him. He climbs straight up a wall back into the house, like that’s normal.

Down in the kitchen, Ellie drinks coffee, watches a news report about the accident, and snatches a fly out of mid-air with her injured arm. Jimmy grabs meat from the fridge and tells her about waking up in the bushes while he eats it with nothing else. It looks like roast beef, but I think we maybe are supposed to think it’s rarer than that. Jimmy adds salt (because he’s missing the blood taste, you see), and they talk about his research. (Poor Ellie wishes he’d just download porn like regular boys.)

“Everybody’s cursed, Jimmy, it’s called life.” TITLE DROP. And Ellie grabs a piece of meat as she goes.

Ellie works on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, apparently, and is wearing her hair down, which she rarely does at work, so everyone is taking notice — or maybe it’s that animal magnetism she suddenly has. (Yeah, I went there.) She meets up with Kyle her — assistant? coworker? It’s not actually all that clear — who warns her when Joanie turns up, an obnoxious publicist trying to get her client, Scott Baio, more time on the show. She snarks at Ellie about dating Jake and is just generally annoying. I love her.

Ellie goes in search of some delicious smell, sniffing her way through the office with a real nice animal walk (I love werewolf!Ellie), until her nose leads her to a coworker having a bloody nose. Which, of course, freaks Ellie out, because she can’t stop staring at it.

Over at the high school, Jimmy psychs himself up to go talk to Brooke at the soda machine and flirts a little over change and the werewolf books he’s carrying around like that’s a totally normal thing. Of course Bo interrupts and picks on him and makes more homophobic jokes until Jimmy turns it on him (Bo is the wrestling team captain). Again, since I know where this is going, I’m okay with it, but it’s still pretty shitty.

(Randomly, I’m pretty sure the high school for this shot is the same one they used for Buffy the Vampire Slayer the tv show. That staircase looks familiar, as does the courtyard. [Once, long ago, I got to go on a tour of the high school and check out some of the set pieces at the studio. It was pretty cool.])

That night, Ellie’s working a fancy dress party where people have come as their favourite endangered species. Joanie, of course, didn’t tell her about it. While Joanie is off getting her client, Jake shows up to talk to Ellie about how he always used to run away when things would start to get serious in a relationship for a bunch of reasons he can’t even begin to go into. Now, that makes more sense if you know where this is going, but at this point, for Ellie, that sounds like a load of shit from a smooth talker (…sort of, he’s not actually getting the smoother talker part down), and Ellie’s expressions are gold throughout this scene, that disdain and disbelief. Ellie is just about to give him some more of her time when Jenny shows up to hit on him. No word about her friend Becky who was just, you know, torn to pieces by an animal, but whatever. Joanie turns up a second after, also hitting on him with some history, and this, of course, pushes Ellie away because god, he really is just blowing smoke. (There are way too many ie/y names in this movie.)

I … sort of ship Ellie and Joanie. They’re so sharp together. I love it. Also, Joanie is looking gorgeous in cream and gold, a beautiful contrast to Ellie’s dark colours.

Ellie tries to talk to Scott about the line-up (he’s third after Ashton Kutcher and Carrot Top); as she talks, Ellie starts to get distracted by the full moon and moving her hair all sensual and acting a little weird and having this “aura” per Scott — he rubs her leg, she shoots him down, and then leaves, because she sees a bunch of women all over Jake. He catches up to her, but it’s her turn to blow him off because she’s not feeling well and she’s grumpy and tense. She even calls herself weird and says she’s taking a queue from him and disappearing for a few days. I don’t even know if this is intentional, but I love the layers of meaning here. It’s fun dialog. And then Jake swears he can change, which makes me laugh out loud, because literally, dude. Literally. [bat: For all the film’s MANY MANY MANY faults, the writing hits levels of awesome, especially after a second viewing, when you know what everyone is really saying.]

There’s a creepy empty parking lot and Ellie hears a weird noise. We see something approaching her car (from its POV), but Ellie leaves before it can do anything to the car or to her. When I first watched this movie, I expected this part of the scene to be creepier, to build the tension, and was disappointed when Ellie just drove away.

AND THEN IT KEPT GOING. This is one of my favourite scenes in the movie.

Jenny comes into the parking garage all by herself. Parking garages are inherently creepy, especially at night and alone, and this plays on that well, shadows and darkness and rows of cars making it difficult to see and strange noises in the distance and the sharp clack of her heels as she walks.

And then the weird footprints through the oil that are human and barefoot and then kind of not. God, I love that visual trope in werewolf (and other shifter) stories.

Jenny does not immediately jump into her car and gives the werewolf enough time to grab her and throw her away, scraping up her elbows and knees. She hides under a car when the werewolf jumps up on top of another one, then climbs up onto the footboard of one when the werewolf checks the floor. We see too much of the werewolf at this point, though; a full reflection in the car when it throws Jenny, two of its paws as it walks around on two legs, and its ears and part of its head, which is really where we get too much, because the effects here are not living up to the gloss of the rest of the movie, especially because we see a face shortly after, and while the eyes are pretty good, the fur and the face itself are pretty terrible.

[bat: This is the film that Rick fucking Baker was fired from. THE MAN WHO KNOWS WERWOLVES. As appalling as that is, the end result of the werewolf is fucking awful. Back in 2014, he released a concept photo of what he envisioned. I will not link to it yet, because spoilers, but my god, how much better this film could have been will haunt us all.]

I really love this cat and mouse scene (werewolf and human scene) as the werewolf hunts and Jenny tries to escape. The werewolf scrapes its nails along a car for awhile to try to draw Jenny out; Jenny sets off her car alarm to distract the werewolf and makes a run for the elevator. Somehow, despite the werewolf leaping from car to car, it does not catch her. The elevator gets stuck between floors, the werewolf tries to climb inside, Jenny tries to climb up to the ceiling, falls when the rail breaks, stupidly sticks her head right by the door, and the werewolf gets her from the next floor up.

Back at the house, Jimmy is still doing werewolf research; one of the signs is are a set of five dots on the palm of his right hand, a pentagram, the mark of the beast. That is such a fun bit of worldbuilding. [bat: And such a lovely callback to 1941’s The Wolf Man!] He tries to tell all of this to Ellie, who, understandably, doesn’t want to believe any of it. (The only way to kill a werewolf: separate the head from the body, silver will only hurt, not kill.) Jimmy’s actually kind of down with this werewolf thing, enhanced senses and unnatural sexual allure. Not even clear whether they will ever sprout hair and pointy ears according to the book he’s reading.

Ellie, of course, also has the five marks on her right palm. Ellie tries to blame it all on their dead parents and how they’re still struggling with that loss, but Jimmy is having none of it, so she puts it to the test and goes to grab the frame that their family picture is in. She bought it and it is sterling silver, so it should hurt her. She grabs it. Doesn’t hurt. She sends Jimmy to bed but is looking pretty shaken herself.

Later that night, dogs start to gather around the house while Jimmy continues to read werewolf comics. Jimmy and I could clearly be friends. The dogs start barking and annoying him, and he’s feeling on edge and rubbing at his skin like it feels too tight. He yells for the dogs to shut up, but it doesn’t work; he howls, and they shut up immediately. Also, that is no human howl and it’s pretty hilarious.

The next morning, Ellie and Jimmy fight over the mirror as they get ready, both of them looking a little different than usual. That unnatural sexual allure is kicking in hardcore.

At work, Ellie finds a waiting room full of “gypsies” (every time, huh? Every. Single. Time.) who are auditioning for a seance section. Oh, look, it’s our old friend Zela who apparently really can see when things are about to go horribly wrong, at least as far as Becky and Jenny went. She accosts Ellie to tell her that she’s in danger and “it” is coming for her. She immediately looks at her palm, the markings of the beast, and tells her that she’s been infected, that she’s cursed, and she has to sever the line of the beast or she’ll stay cursed. (Find and kill the head vampire, anyone?) [bat: Try city hall, ghouls and werewolves aplenty there!] Zela also warns her not to forget that the beast is human, too.

That is one of my favourite things about werewolf stories, that it’s not just about being a human or a beast, it is about being both, about having something potentially dangerous lurking beneath your skin and how you survive that, if you survive that, if everyone else survives it. My favourite metaphor for bipolar. [bat: Amen.]

Another favourite scene! Jimmy does go to wrestling tryouts, mostly to flirt with Brooke, but he’s feeling himself and his new werewolf power. He leaps down from above to land on the bleachers and really shows off when he’s called down to actually try out. It’s a great and ridiculous little scene of the nerdy boy suddenly strong and sexy, and I like that Ellie isn’t the only one getting the unnatural sexual allure. (However, Ellie is the one showing more skin in order to be sexier.) He stands up to Bo, too, and calls him on his internalised homophobia, which, of course, sets Bo off.

Coach won’t let Bo wrestle him first, though, but does let Jimmy try out. In about thirty seconds, this is going to go from amateur wrestling to pro wrestling. The first time I watched this, I did not yet watch pro wrestling, but now I do and I am even more delighted by this scene.

The first couple of times, Jimmy gets slammed around, but he refuses to give and eventually he turns the tables, of course just as the rock soundtrack kicks in. Bo finally gets to take a turn at Jimmy, and ugh, you guys, I love them so much, they’re so ridiculous.

It culminates Jimmy lifting Bo straight upright, completely vertical, and then slamming him back to the ground in a pure pro wrestling move. Everyone’s cheering for Jimmy now and it’s a teen boy fantasy come true.

Over at work, Ellie is prepping Craig for his guests; he opens a soda can and cuts his finger. No one has a tissue, so Ellie sucks the blood off it, because that’s totally normal. (And again with the unnatural sexual allure, because yeah, that’s exactly how it goes.) [bat: I think this is one of my favorite scenes. Craig Kilbourne’s face when Ellie sucks on his finger is fucking priceless. Craig plays it so perfectly, even the stumble towards the stage. I laugh every time.]

Also, Scott is bumped from the show so Carrot Top gets more time, which of course is going to piss Joanie off. I cannot wait for that shouting match.

Ellie is freaked out over how much she loves the blood and runs outside for a break; Joanie tracks her down to yell at her and when she grabs Ellie’s arm, Ellie snaps at her and runs off to the bathroom to splash water on her face and freak out in the mirror. One of her coworkers comes in and sends her into a bathroom stall, where she hides and sounds like she’s freaking out. We get a fun overhead shot of coworker on one side of the door and Ellie frantically pressing herself against the wall to get farther away from her on the other.

Coworker pushes open the door, because Ellie didn’t lock it, but Ellie grabs it so hard that her fingers dent the metal and she starts to bleed. Then, when the door finally opens, she snarls at the coworker to leave her alone and she’s all low rough voice and weird eyes and black veins beneath her skin.

When Ellie comes back out, though, she’s fine again.

Jimmy goes over to Tinsel, where Jake is setting up the hall of mirrors (and making me think really pervy thoughts). Jimmy’s there to talk to him, because … I don’t know why. Anyway, he tells Jake about the accident and his theory of them becoming werewolves. Delightfully, they have this talk in front of the Wolf Man section, because the creators of this movie love me and want me to have nice things. Jake is in black and looms creepily in the background, but of course tells him to calm down and that they need to sit down with Ellie to discuss it. I am still not sure why he went to Jake in the first place. [bat: Potentially because he’s the only male authority figure in his life currently?] [Wing: That is an excellent theory.] Jimmy takes off when Jake doesn’t believe him, because of course he doesn’t believe him.

Cut to a fun shot of the full moon/just past full moon through bare tree branches. I love that kind of shot (and seeing it in real life). Jimmy has already made it back to the house, because he gets around L.A. faster than anyone else can [bat: Only Jack Bauer is faster then Jimmy! What L.A. traffic?!], and he’s about to tear into a raw steak when Zipper starts whining at him. Zipper’s hiding in the corner with his head, adorably, on a chair.

While looking for a knife, Jimmy sees the silver cake server; when he grabs it, it burns his hand pretty badly. Before he can do anything else, though, he’s interrupted by a knock at the door: surprise!Bo, looking a little sheepish and shy. UGH I LOVE THIS PART SO MUCH.

He’s there, of course, to talk about the stuff Jimmy told him earlier, because Bo is deeply closeted and terrified and he thinks Jimmy has figured it out and he thinks Jimmy is gay, too, and Bo’s got a crush and tries to kiss him and ugh, so much. I ship Bo/Jimmy/Brooke HARDCORE.

They talk at cross-purposes for a moment, until Jimmy tells Bo that he’s a werewolf. Bo, of course, thinks that he’s just pretending so he doesn’t feel so bad about hiding it, and agrees when Jimmy says the crush is just part of the werewolf thing because of his unnatural sexual allure. UGH BOYS I LOVE YOU.

Jimmy tries to get rid of Bo and heads back inside, where he checks out the silver picture frame and sees that it’s actually stainless steel (which is my favourite fake silver). Zipper steals his steak and when Jimmy goes to get it back, Zipper has already turned into a werewolf!dog and attacks him. Of course, Jimmy grabs his tail to try to get his attention before he does so, and normal dogs will turn on that, sometimes.

Bo is still there, still knocking on the door, and they flee to Bo’s red sports car as Zipper breaks through doors to get at them and nearly tears through the car door, too. He gives chase a little, and then howls. Bo finally starts believing him, because sure, roll with it, Bo. I love you two.

Jimmy can’t reach Ellie via cell phone, so he and Bo head to Tinsel to find her, instead. Ellie is just leaving work when she sees a news report about Jenny being torn to pieces at the charity party the night before. Huh, beautiful women keep being torn to pieces around you, Ellie.

Ellie asks Kyle to cover for her at work because she needs to go home, but before she can leave, Jake shows up for another jump scare. She cracks the window because she’s all grumpy and on edge and I love her. Ellie tells him that he knew those girls, the ones who died. He promises that he can explain everything, and when she rolls up the window, he smacks his right hand against it, showing the mark of the beast. On him, it’s not just the five dots, but the full pentagram. How … how exactly have you kept that hidden this long? Does it only show up around the full moon? Do you wear gloves all the time during sex? How has no one noticed it in just day to day life, we haven’t actually seen you wear gloves yet. [bat: That is one giant plot loophole.]

He shatters the glass when she tries to flee and then takes the keys out of her engine because that’s not creepy as shit or anything JAKE. He makes her get out of the car to talk to him and apologises for the window (not making it better). He asks her to listen to him because what he’s going to tell her will sound really “crazy.” She demands her keys back, first, and he gives them to her, then starts to tell her that what attacked them in the canyon wasn’t just an animal. You don’t say. He looms and touches her, she stabs him with her keys and drives away, because Ellie is goddamn amazing and I love her so much.

Jimmy and Bo sneak into Tinsel at the tail end of a group of people, which is pretty slick, and Bo goes to look for Ellie while Jimmy finally calls her. He tells her about Zipper and she warns him about Jake being the one who attacked them. She tells him to find Kyle and stay low, and she’ll be there as soon as she can, then flips around, but she’s pretty far out at this point.

Of course, the second they end the call, Jake turns up asking where Ellie is, but Joanie and Scott interrupt them long enough for Jimmy to get away, find Bo, and go find someplace to hide. In the mirror maze, because all those reflections certainly won’t give them away.

Ellie shows up ridiculously fast, because apparently a werewolf talent is getting around L.A. faster than ever. She also goes into the hall of mirrors, because everyone wants to be there for some reason. [bat: I don’t. I hate mirrors.] Jake, of course, is also in there, and they can all hear each other talking. Their voices echo, too, unlike anything I’ve ever heard in a mirror maze before.

Jake swears that he’s not the werewolf that hurt them, that there’s another one around who killed the women, who is trying to get to him. He was born a werewolf and he knows how to control it. He has learned to live with it, and he and Ellie are similar, and she can learn to live with it, too. He tells her he loves her, and she’s sort of buying into it when the werewolf breaks through a mirror and attacks Ellie. Love all the shattered mirrors in this scene.

Ellie scrambles behind some of the display mirrors and the werewolf attacks her through them; there’s a similar scene in Ginger Snaps in an unfinished space, and I find it creepy as hell there. Not quite so well done here, but a nice nod to other werewolf movies.

Ellie manages to get the werewolf to punch an electrical box, giving her enough time to run away. The werewolf comes after Bo and Jimmy, they get separated, the werewolf takes out Bo, and just as Ellie makes it to one of the officers on duty, begging him to shut it down, the werewolf breaks through a wall.

Things get ridiculous, people running and being thrown around and trampling each other. This is definitely how things would go, but it is done really cheesy.

Ellie gets back inside just as the metal security door comes down, because Jimmy’s still somewhere inside, and there’s a nicely done (but ridiculous) shot of Ellie standing up all slow and afraid and dangerous. I love it.

Ellie goes searching through the displays, which are pretty nicely creepy, we get another jump scare, this time from Jimmy, and then again with Kyle, who talks about people screaming and, of course, Ellie demands to see his hands. He only shows her one hand, but not his right hand, which of course makes him look guilty as fuck, but then he’s snatched from behind them, because the werewolf is above them on the catwalk.

Blood drips down onto the floor in front of them, and this entire scene is reminiscent of the superstition display scene in The Relic. I don’t know how intention any of this is, but it’s very fitting for a movie where a bunch of the action takes place in a club dedicated to showing pieces of horror movies. [bat: Oh The Relic, such a delightfully weird film, which I saw in the theater and actually figured out while everyone around me was all ‘I don’t get what the creature is after.’ And I didn’t even read the novel beforehand. Also, there’s that whole superstitions exhibit in the museum, which Cursed riffed, too.] [Wing: I would pay good money to go to the superstitions exhibit from the movie.]

Kyle’s body hits the floor, Jimmy and Ellie go running to find the emergency exit which is hidden behind one of the displays (…that does not sound up to the fire code). Of course, the werewolf is hiding behind one, too, and comes out — as Joanie! Why she changed back, I have no idea, unless she just wants to monologue at them. Which she does. So … I guess for that.

[bat: NOW I WILL LINK TO THE AWESOME, SO MUCH BETTER, WEREWOLF CONCEPT ART!] [Wing: I am not normally a fan of the hairless face, but I like that a lot.]

She talks about how she didn’t ask for this, she just had a hot night with one of the most eligible guys in town and whoops, werewolf time. I love that, though I’m not so down with the metaphor of werewolfism as sexually transmitted disease. She says they got a little rough in bed and that did it. Kinky. I love it.

She is, of course, going on this rampage because if she can’t have Jake, no one can. She says she never saw Ellie as a threat, all damaged and depressing, and they all three fight for awhile, including Jimmy trying to stab her with a sword he pulls from a Xena display. (I think.)

Jimmy asks for a fair fight and tries to get into a wrestling position; Joanie kicks him in the face and then comes for Ellie again. She even goes back for the sword, because why the hell not, werewolves certainly need weapons.

Ellie sprays her in the face with pepper spray, which burns like hell, and she and Jimmy run off.

Jake turns up, realises it’s been Joanie all along, because “there’s no such thing as safe sex with a werewolf,” which is funny, but if it’s true, there should be a hell of a lot more werewolves running around. He tells her she can control it, but she’s having too much fun killing the competition.

Then my favourite thing about Joanie: Jake says he won’t let her kill Ellie and she promises she’s not going to kill her, just rip her to pieces, let her choke on her own blood, and then maybe eat her. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, JOANIE.

Jake says she’ll have to kill him first, but Joanie’s too smart for that trick, so she puts him out of commission by racking him real damn hard and then knocking him out. [bat: Jake, you’re a werewolf, use your power.]

We get the real reason that Joanie switched back to human for awhile. She eats some of Kyle’s blood and then goes through a transformation, pulling out her own hair, which is a transformation detail that is beautifully done, even though the rest isn’t great. (Too much CGI, not enough practical effects.) [bat: I STILL CAN’T EVEN BELIEVE THEY FIRED RICK BAKER.]

There’s a nice moment where she sees herself in a mirror and punches it because she doesn’t like how ugly she’s become. Aww, Joanie, if you weren’t going on murderous rampages, I’d feel for you.

Law enforcement turns up, Ellie and Jimmy are hiding in the Wolf Man display, because of course they are, there’s more fighting, and finally Ellie stabs her with the silver wolf at the top of the Lon Chaney cane even though the silver is burning her, too, which is completely badass. Also, gee, Chekhov’s silver wolf came in handy, did it?

But Joanie is not dead, yet. She scrambles up to hide; Ellie gets her to come out by insulting her bony ass and fat thighs and bad skin. She falls after all those bullets, but still isn’t quite dead; the cops kick her body, she sits up like horror movie killers do, and then a cop shoots her right between the eyes, blowing out her brains (literally), which severs her head from her body.

Ellie runs to find Jake, Jimmy runs to find Bo, because, you know, parallels. They find Bo, whose pretty banged up, but not Jake.

Over where she’s in a body bag, Joanie has turned back into human form, which is creepy as shit and really doing a number on the cops who shot her. [bat: I like this twist, even if it’s been done in a lot of werewolf films.]

Ellie and Jimmy go home (I assume after dropping off Bo); Ellie thinks everything’s done now, because Joanie is dead. Jimmy’s disappointed to go back to his pre-cursed life. The house is trashed, of course, because of Zipper, and they have quite a mess to clean up. Also, the power is out in a lot of the rooms, including the kitchen.

Jimmy tells Ellie that it’s good that Jake left, because when it comes down to it, a monster is still a monster. Ellie snaps at him, then he goes downstairs to check the circuit breakers, leaving Ellie alone. downstairs is creepy, flashing lights and weird shadows, and as he walks around, black veins start to show up in his hands.

Back upstairs, there’s a gorgeous moment when the black veins show up on Ellie’s neck and her spine starts to twist and change. The spine thing has been a favourite of mine since The Howling and even in the cheesiest werewolf movie, it never gets old. When she goes to feel it, though, it’s not there.

In her sweeping, Ellie uncovers the silver pie server and, of course, it burns her when she touches it. So much for being cured, huh.

The front door swings open, much like that dream just a handful of days ago, and she can hear something howling in the distance (probably Zipper). Oh, and look, Jake is there for another jump scare. Ellie clings to him, at least up until the change starts to hit her. She’s in pain and scared, and she’s changing because it’s almost midnight. Which is … something, I guess.

Jake reassures her, though gets a little creepy with how she needs him; he promises to teach her how to live with it, how to control it, and they can live together happily ever after. He tries to talk her into it but she’s reluctant (like five seconds ago, you were all for embracing this, Ellie, damn).

Meanwhile, downstairs, Jimmy is also going through the change, his stomach rippling and changing, body breaking in strange ways.

Ellie demands to know how to get rid of the curse, and Jake tells her that the only way is for him to die. Things then take a terrible turn, because Jake insults how she’s taking care of her brother and how she’s a disaster and then he says he’s going to kill Jimmy because there’s only room for one alpha male.

… damn it, Jake. Why? Why you gotta be like this? WHY? I was on your side! I was charmed by the idea of a werewolf family! I was rooting for you two kids to make it work. Damn it. [bat: This is what pissed me off. Such a failure in the plot. Like, they totally could have lived together, but the writers went with some alpha male werewolf bullshit. Ugh.]

(…this is also quite like The Lost Boys, where most of the movie seems to paint the vampires as the protagonists in a lot of ways, and certainly as the better choice, but then cuts back to human triumph, like oh, shit, didn’t mean to make everyone root for the vampires, gotta bring it back around.) [bat: Damn it, Joel, you made the vampires too awesome then ruined everything by letting the humans win. I know I am biased. I will always be biased towards my favorite vampires.]

Ellie tries to stab Jake with the silver cake server, but he’s too quick for her. She does manage to distract him long enough for Jimmy to get out of the basement. Ellie’s nails turn to claws, Jake insults her about being too weak and too timid, she tries to rip out his throat, he beats her up some because the change comes and goes at first, and now they both have to die. [bat: This is just shitty script writing at best.]

Jimmy hits him with a shovel then uses his claws to climb along the ceiling to escape, which is ridiculous and hilarious. Ellie and Jake go back to fighting, and I like that they don’t pull any punches with the women fighting, too.

Jimmy dramatically returns into the house, also by the ceiling, leaps down onto Jake, and bites him long enough for Elie to stab the silver cake server into his heart. She then uses the shovel to cut off his head, because Ellie is the best.

So Ellie and Jimmy are human again, Jake bursts into strange flames, because apparently that’s something that happens to the beginning of the werewolf line? and yet somehow the house doesn’t burn down. The kitchen doesn’t even burn down. Convenient, that. [bat: I liked you, Jake, but then you were an asshole and had to die. Sigh.]

Ellie and Jimmy hug it out, Brooke found Zipper running around and brought him back; Bo told her where Jimmy lives. Jimmy walks Brooke home, after kissing her a couple times, but calls for Bo to join them, because hello beloved trio.

Ellie’s left home to clean that terrible mess of a house, but not before she dramatically gazes up at the full moon.

Final Thoughts

Damn it, Jake, we could have had it all. Werewolf found family, southern California adventures, not-so-monstrous predators in human skin, but noooooo, you had to go all alpha male at the end, which is my most hated part of werewolf stories.

This movie is ridiculous and cheesy as hell and has terrible special effects, but it’s so much fun, and the soundtrack is fabulous. I listen to it regularly all these years later.

So. Werewolves. Yay.