"THE COMPANY OF WOLVES" Intro
Joe Bob Briggs, and tonight, from the guy who brought you The Crying Game, "The Company of Wolves" -- one of the artsy-fartsiest werewolf movies in the history of cinema. It's kind of "Little Red Riding Hood" as told by Dennis Hopper in the sixties.
Speaking of artsy-fartsy remakes, I have a request. The next time I come to your town, for any reason, do NOT take me downtown to where it used to be a slum but now it's Riverplace Courtyard-on-the-Square Plaza. I've already been to Riverplace Courtyard-on-the-Square Plaza. I went to the one in St. Louis and the one in Minneapolis and the one in Memphis and the one in Little Rock and the one in Milwaukee and the one in Atlanta.
It usually starts out like this:
"Joe Bob, if you're not doing anything tonight, we have a bunch of people that would like to take you down to Riverplace Courtyard-on-the-Square Plaza." And I say, "Sounds great. What is it?" And they say, "Have you ever heard of Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco, or that place in Boston with all the shops? Well, it's like that. We built it to attract tourists back to downtown."
And I say, "Why?"
"Because all the people that live here are afraid to go there anymore."
So we all go down to Riverplace Courtyard-on-the-Square Plaza, and the first thing we do is we ride around in a horse buggy and look at the For Lease signs in the windows. The buggy driver tells colorful stories about what used to be there before they built Riverplace Courtyard-on-the-Square Plaza Banc Centre. The driver will say "This pharmacy you see is on the state register of historic structures. The original owners developed a mustard plaster that was used by President Woodrow Wilson."
Next we head over to Zach's Eatery and Bistro for some mozzarella fry sticks, barbecue-blackened shrimp fajitas and baked lobster gumbo. I can't begin to tell you how happy this makes me. Then we head for a relaxing ride on the Queen Belle riverboat and party barge. It's not till we get on board that they tell us that
a) it doesn't go anywhere except to the next bend in the river,
b) there aren't enough plastic deck chairs,
c) it takes three hours, and
d) there's nothing to do on board except order up some Greek orange sherbet surprise at Ye Olde Ice Creame Shoppe. And at the end of it all, they ask me, "Joe Bob, have you enjoyed your stay here in the city?"
No. I hope I've made myself clear.
I'm sorry, I got off the subject again, didn't I? Let's watch "The Company of Wolves." They had trouble marketing this thing when it came out, because even though it has some serious blood and gore, it's not really a horror flick. It's sort of a fairy tale, but it's rated R, so they couldn't do much with that aspect. I guess you could call it an art film. That's what you call a movie when you watch it and you still don't what the heck it was about. We'll do the drive-in totals at the first break. Roll it.
[fading] They have a Riverplace Courtyard-on-the-Square Plaza here in El Lay. Except for the river part. Here they have the Skid Row Courtyard-on-the-Square Plaza. After you're done at Banana Republic, you can pick up a date out in front of Don's Bail Bonds and take her to the museum. She'll like that.
"THE COMPANY OF WOLVES" Commercial Break #1
Okay, we're only twenty minutes into this thing, and I already don't know what the heck's going on. We're in a dream, right? A dream about wolves eating people, including her sister. Is that how we got from the Volvo station-wagon era to medieval village era? Actually, we're in a story WITHIN a dream, right? Angela Lansbury had just signed on to do twelve years of "Murder She Wrote" when she made this movie, so she figured she'd do something wacky before she settled into THAT grind, right? You know what, I don't like breaking in the middle of a story that's in the middle of a dream, so roll the commercials and let's get back to the movie. Oh, I promised you the drive-in totals.
Three dead bodies.
One dead cow.
Two fuzzy bewtocks.
Wolves wearing wigs.
Hot poker to the hand.
Long tongue effects.
Gratuitous Terence Stamp.
Three stars. Okay, go.
[fading] "Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple, and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet in the middle." Course, these days, men have stylists who wax their brows for em, so good luck. They go to these spas and get the Gentlemen's Treatment. I had one of those once. Manicure, pedicure, and my favorite part -- a woman named Sonya spanks you with a crooked stick for two hours. Very enjoyable.
"THE COMPANY OF WOLVES" Commercial Break #2
This is as close to PBS as we'll ever get on "MonsterVision." Rustics in frock coats cavorting on a woodland trail. But then, Stephen Rea peels his off own skin and becomes a slimy wolf whose head gets chopped off and dumped into a bucket of milk. That was one of the money shots of the flick. Chris Tucker, same guy who did The Elephant Man and Quest for Fire did the special effects for this thing. All he talks about in interviews from the time is doing better than Rick Baker did in American Werewolf in London. And I think that did top anything I saw in the John Landis flick. Neil Jordan -- you guys know who he is, right? Irish novelist who became a director when he made a movie in Ireland called "Angel." Here in the U.S. it was called "Danny Boy." Then he made this flick, then "Mona Lisa," the one where Bob Hoskins makes friends with a call girl. That did pretty well, so they brought him to Hollywood, where he made two or three bombs, including "We're No Angels" -- Sean Penn and Robert DeNiro escape from prison and hide out in a monastery, remember that one? Then he went BACK to Britain and made, of course, The Crying Game. Biggest surprise hit of 1992, and he was hot hot hot all over again. Then Interview with the Vampire, then "The End of the Affair" from last year. No one saw that. I BELIEVE Neil Jordan is setting a pattern, what do you think? Okay, commercials and then back to the flick.
[fading] Stephen Rea is in all of Neil Jordan's flicks. Starred in "The Crying Game." Remember when he pulls the girl's pants down and -- well, let's not spoil it for the one guy who doesn't know what happens. The guy who was in a coma in 1992. Let's not spoil it for him.
"THE COMPANY OF WOLVES" Commercial Break #3
So werewolves are the bastard children of priests who were born feet-first on Christmas Day whose eyebrows meet in the middle. Is that it? And they get visited by the Devil, who looks just like Terence Stamp. Am I missing something here? There's all kinds of symbolism here that I'm missing, right? The birds flying out of the well, the blonde wig, the chest hair potion used on the young swain, that weird mongoose thing on Angela Lansbury's wall that keeps coming to life. What is that thing? The critics, of course, loved this movie. I have a couple of reviews here. [Reading] "It attempts a reading of the horror film through images that combine detachment with a visual sumptuousness." Here's another one: "A renaissance for the British film industry." How about: "Someone smoked too much Arkansas polio weed in the sixties, got brain damage, and decided to be a director?" Okay, ads and then back to the flick.
[fading] Terence Stamp did his cameo for the price of a new suit. That was him in the limo. This movie is probly just over my head. I'm sure all those film students have deconstructed it and are callin me an idiot right now. I don't hate this movie. It's interesting. That's what my mama says when she doesn't like something she knows she's supposed to like. "It's interesting."
"THE COMPANY OF WOLVES" Commercial Break #4
Someone please explain to me the little statuettes that hatch out of the eggs. I've done extensive reading on werewolves and how they relate to the mythos of "Little Red Riding Hood," and I've never seen anything about eggs hatching little statues that cry. I mean, I looked at Scandinavian and Teutonic folklore, which are FULL of metamorphosis and murder -- they didn't say anything. The Norse, those guys had lots of gods who took animal form, but don't mention any eggs that take statue form. There's the Latvian tale, of course, that describes a 12-day march at Christmas-tide of thousands of demonic werewolves, led by Satan himself, so that covers the whole bastard-child-of-a- priest-born-on-Christmas-day thing, sort of. But I didn't find NOTHIN on those dang statues. Somebody write in and explain this stuff to me, care of TNT, 1010 Techwood Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30318. Or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All right, let's continue.
[fading] I did catch the allusion to "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." Only this time, he meant it. They turned Aesop's fable on its side. Either that, or Neil Jordan needs to get off the prescription painkillers. You know, these seem like such all-powerful wolves. So if that's true, are they really gonna fall for this duck trick? The old duck-with-a-rope-around-its-neck trick?
"THE COMPANY OF WOLVES" Commercial Break #5
Well, the all-powerful wolf DID fall for the duck trick, didn't he? Went right for the duck and got blown into smithereens. It's kind of a singles bar parable. But, that story within the dream where all the people in wigs and lipstick got turned into wolves -- that was pretty cool. That was the Merchant-Ivory part of the flick. Merchant-Ivory meets Andy Warhol. I know, I'm stretching. I'm trying to sound like I understand what the heck is going on in this movie. It's based on a 14-page short story by an English writer named Angela Carter. Then she turned it into a script for a short film, and Neil Jordan got a hold of it and said, "Hey, let's make this puppy two hours long!" And everybody went, "Hm, I don't know, Neil, it's kind of a skimpy story," and he went, "We'll put a lotta weird stuff in it so people think it's symbolic," and they went, "Okay." Hey, can we put that short story on the "MonsterVision" Web site? I don't know if we're allowed to do that, but check out the site anyway: tnt.turner.com/joebob. All right, back to the flick, after the ads.
[fading] Those fancy wig and make-up costumes, that's 17th century, right? In the SIXTEENTH century, 1573 to be exact, several little kids in a French village were killed and partially eaten, and the authorities forced a local recluse to admit to being a werewolf. In Germany in 1589, guy confessed to killing women, children and livestock while wearing a wolfskin girdle. His name was Franz.
"THE COMPANY OF WOLVES" Commercial Break #6
Ballet dancer Micha Bergese as the fancy-pants huntsman. We're thick into the "Little Red Riding Hood" portion of the flick now. I can understand "Little Red Riding Hood." Sarah Patterson, the actress who plays Rosaleen, was 13 years old when she made this movie. Can you say "statutory"? That's what this movie is about. It's an allegory for virginal girls coming of age, and being warned against the big bad wolf that is man. All the old fairy tales were lessons for children. AND lessons for traveling salesmen. Okay, commercials and then back to the flick.
[fading] "The Frog Prince" -- what's the moral there? A girl has to kiss a lot of frogs before she finds her prince, right? I like that one better. I can make that one work for me. "How will you know unless you do it?"
"THE COMPANY OF WOLVES" Outro
She WANTED to be a wolf? That was the moral of the whole story? She NEEDED to be a blood-thirsty animal? And her own sexual passion destroyed her. Is that what happened here? I don't know. I DO know that to do that effect where the wolf breaks out of the huntsman's mouth they had to have a wolf snout, a mask of the actor, and a family-size tube of K-Y jelly, but it was worth it, wasn't it? "The Company of Wolves," with one of our favorites around here, David Warner as the father. We didn't talk about David Warner tonight. Oh, well, he's in "MonsterVision" flicks all the time. I wanna let you know that next week on the show, Corey Feldman joins a college fraternity where they'd rather raise the dead than have a kegger, in the 1995 classic, "Voodoo." How's that for April Fool's Day?
That's it for me, Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that I thought about being born again, but my mother refused.
A blonde decides to try horseback riding, even though she has had no lessons and no prior experience. She mounts the horse unassisted and instantly it springs into motion. It gallops along at a steady and rhythmic pace, but the blonde begins to slip from the saddle. She's terrified, so she grabs for the horse's mane, but she can't seem to get a firm grip. She tries to throw her arms around the horse's neck, but she slides down the side of the horse anyway. The horse gallops along, oblivious, and finally she can't hold on anymore. She leaps away from the horse, trying to throw herself to safety. But her foot gets tangled up in the stirrup, so now she's at the mercy of the horse's pounding hooves as her head is struck against the ground over and over again. She's almost unconscious, screaming for help, when at the last minute, the Wal-Mart manager sees her and shuts off the horse.
Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die.
[fading] How does a blonde turn on the light after sex? She opens the car door.
How did the blonde get hurt while raking leaves? She kept falling out of the tree.