CITES ROMANEK, RAISING CAIN, THE FURY, CARRIE
Mark Romanek, who was one of the students who made Home Movies with mentor Brian De Palma in 1979, had put a lot of energy into making The Wolfman before quitting over budget issues just before filming was to begin. According to a CHUD interview with Joe Johnston, the director who took over the project, Romanek had left behind some choice ingredients. Armond White at the New York Press concludes his mostly negative review of "the loudest horror film ever made" with a discussion of Romanek's vision, citing De Palma a few times along the way:
Here’s a puzzle for film historians: The Wolfman was conceptualized by music video director Mark Romanek, who studied under Brian De Palma on 1980’s Home Movies. Although Romanek left The Wolfman before capable Joe Johnston took over direction, this is the most complete representation of Romanek’s sensibility yet to reach the big screen. Every shot features enormous artistic detail (Romanek’s encyclopedic visual mastery). It is sumptuously art-directed with Gainsborough interiors and exquisitely photographed (by Shelly Johnson) so that moonlight, candlelight and dust motes play in a single shot. And the genuinely malevolent slaughter scenes evoke Goya’s richly tragic disasters. This isn’t sentimental cruelty like Peter Jackson’s silly King Kong remake nor Sam Raimi’s ridiculous Drag Me to Hell. But like De Palma’s grievous violence, it’s artful.
At the core of Del Toro’s performance is the same Oedipal anguish as De Palma’s Raising Cain; and though a father-son werewolf clash turns ludicrous, there’s a final flourish straight out of The Fury. Best of all is a liebestod, staged Romanek-style against a jugendstil waterfall where Lawrence grabs Gwen’s wrist—a shocking gesture of love just like the climax of Carrie. What’s missing from The Wolfman is De Palma’s sophisticated, humorous purpose, as Romanek surely intended.