• President Wolfman

    Directed By: Mike Davis
    Released By: Wild Eye Releasing
    Released On: June 17, 2014
    Cast: Dean Stockwell (uncredited), Marc Evan Jackson, Paul Alvarez, Ashley Ann
    Year: 2012
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie

    President Wolfman is the sophomore film from writer-director Mike Davis (Sex Galaxy). The concept for the movie, much like Davis' debut, is that it's a film made out of “recycled” film clips. Taking it one step beyond similar movies like Woody Allen's “What's Up Tiger Lily?” and the Steven Martin comedy Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, President Wolfman doesn't just use stock footage from old films, everything in the movie comes from something else. There were no additional scenes shot for the movie, President Wolfman is made entirely out of public domain films, stock footage, old commercials, and other various and sundry sources.

    The movie begins with a fake FBI Warning that immediately sets the tone of the satirical horror comedy to come, followed with an advisory stating the the film was entirely made out of public domain and “recycled” film footage “of variable quality.” It also mentions that no one involved with the original filming of the footage used had anything to do with President Wolfman. Following this warning, the movie treats its audience to a great opening credits sequence that mixes footage of President Wolfman terrorizing the populace while a groovy theme song (performed by a band allegedly called Where Da Wolf?) plays in the background. It's a frenetic and surprisingly skin-filled opening that mixes grindhouse movie and Adbusters magazine aesthetics. Unfortunately, the movie is all downhill from here.

    Most of the footage used to make President Wolfman was recycled from the obscure 1973 film, The Werewolf of Washington. The movie starred Dean Stanton as the titular werewolf, so for the most part this movie also stars an uncredited Dean Stanton as President Werewolf, overdubbed by Marc Evan Jackson. I say “for the most part,” because in a few scenes other actors are substituted in place of Stanton. Knowing that most of the footage came from The Werewolf of Washington makes the concept seem less original, but this public domain film provides a strange context for a movie that is ultimately too bizarre for its own good, but I'll get to that later. The basic plot goes like this: Congress wants to pass a bill that will turn American into Chimerica, a country of cheap goods and mass exploitation run by Red China. President Wolfman opposes the bill, but after his secret is exposed and his son goes missing, things go belly up for President W.

    The plot gets more complicated than that, much to the movie's detriment. It doesn't help that the film's constant jumping to different kinds of stock footage makes the plot tough to follow. The jokes come fast, but they all fall flat and come way too often for any of the humor to make an impact. The first joke to genuinely make me laugh came almost thirty minutes into the movie, when an attempt to cure the President's lycanthropy had the unexpected side effect of turning him into a hippie. Overall though, this is a brutally unfunny comedy, and there really needed to be more than one writer involved.

    With a movie like this, the voice acting is going to be what either makes or breaks the film for you. Most of the voice actors in the movie have this self-aware “I'm trying to talk like they did in the 50's” way of doing their lines, but it's too cornball and played out to be funny. The president's son is voiced by a woman with a voice that is possibly more annoying than the voice of Bob in The House by the Cemetery. So to answer the question of whether or not the voice acting breaks this movie, yes, yes it does. There's also little to no attempt made to match the overdubbed dialogue with the footage used, so if that irritates you, just don't even bother giving this movie a chance.

    On top of its lame jokes and annoying voice acting, President Wolfman is really racist for a movie made by political progressives. It tries to do Daily Show or Colbert Report style humor, but it mixes that up with a lot of Jerry Lewis/Charlie Chan racial mimicry that is really tasteless. There a lots of unfunny ethnic accents used for American Indians, African-Americans, and Chinese people. South Park might get away with that shit because the voice acting is hilarious and the show is both bitingly funny and incredibly well written, but President Wolfman is neither of those things. President Wolfman doesn't earn the right to be offensive because it's not funny enough. Maybe that's a double standard, but the constant ways that this film annoys stacks up more and more against the things it does well, which is mostly in the editing and the mixing of the found footage. Some of the stranger recycled film clips include footage of a woman giving birth, a burned up corpse from a car accident, Smokey the Bear, Dean Stockwell chained up in a room that looks full of leftover props from Manos: The Hands of Fate, and more.

    If you're not on the same hallucinatory wavelength as President Wolfman, it will lose you entirely and just wind up annoying you with its ADD editing, unfunny humor, and general lack of direction.


    President Wolfman arrives on a Region 0 DVD courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing. As the advisory at the start of the movie mentions, the quality of the video footage varies from clip to clip. However, most of it actually looks pretty good. Most of the stock footage is in pretty good shape and the movie uses enough post-production visual flair that that rougher, grainier footage never seems out of place. It all looks like a glossy grindhouse film mixed with an Adbusters magazine aesthetic.

    On the audio side, President Wolfman sounds even better than it looks. Despite only having a 2.0 Stereo track, the music has a full and dynamic sound. The dialogue, as much as I didn't care for the voice actors, was also recorded cleanly and there are no issues with clarity or differences in dialogue audio quality, which is a common issue with low budget films like this.

    Extras on this release include a Director's Commentary, Outtakes, a President Wolfman music video, and a highlight reel (which I'd honestly recommend you watch instead of the whole movie). Also incuded are a number of short films, none of which have anything to do with President Wolfman, but are all overdubbed, recycled footage in the same style as the movie.

    The Final Word

    President Wolfman plays like an unfunny version of Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter or someone's idea of what Mystery Science Theater 3000 is like, minus all the great comedy writers and voice actors involved with the show. Outside of being a strange experiment in montage and political satire, President Wolfman doesn't offer much to those looking for either comedy or horror. Vote No to President Wolfman.

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    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -