The Werewolf of Woodstock
Directed by John Moffitt
In the wake of the Woodstock music festival, hippie-hating blue collar Burt is struck by lightning, which mysteriously turns him into a werewolf who just wants a little peace and quiet. Ironically, when Were-Burt begins slaughtering people, witness reports of a long-haired unkempt assailant leads to the belief that it's a hippie doing the killing. Talk about becoming the thing you hate.
Although the festival is over, a quartet of long-haired latecomers have just arrived to record a record demo "Live At Woodstock", giving Were-Burt not only prey, but scapegoats as well.
This made-for-TV movie--although it runs for just over an hour sans commercials, so maybe I should call it a moviella--was originally brought to us by Dick Clark's production company as part of ABC's Wide World Mystery series, sort of a genre take on the movie of the week. As far as I have been able to ascertain, it has never received a legitimate home video release, which has lead to its status as something of a lost cult classic.
It's not completely lost, and it's not completely a classic, but it lies somewhere in between. It's certainly a novelty item, and probably was at the time of it's release, too, since it was released seven years after Woodstock had ended and the hippie culture it represented was already all but gone. Plus, it was produced by Dick Clark the so-called Eternal Teenager, so the counterculture was actually treated with a little respect.
A lot has been made about how bad this movie is, but it's not so much bad as it is silly. The acting is typically pretty good, and the pacing works out well for the abbreviated running time. The special effects are shoddy, but what can you expect from mid-seventies TV?
It is a rather poor representation of a werewolf--he seems less like a wolf man than a hairy cross between an angry toddler and Quasimodo--but maybe that's because he's not a supernatural creature but one of pseudo-science. There's even a tender moment between victim and werewolf reminiscent of Fay Wray and her big ape boyfriend.
Further cementing the silliness of this feature is the fact that nobody seems all that surprised when they learn a werewolf is on the loose, and that the hippie girl is psychically attuned to her dog. In what is not only the greatest scene ever captured in video but is also a hell of an analogy for the entire decade, at one point the werewolf speeds off in a stolen dunebuggy. It is truly a beautiful thing.
Quick, cheap and cheesy. The Werewolf of Woodstock is the 7-11 nachos of horror film.
"Oh here we go. Trial by hair length."