WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS
For the most part Werewolves on Wheels does a fine job of presenting itself as a serious biker movie. The bikers look like real bikers in fact, the dvds directors commentary tell us that there were only six actual actors in the film, the rest were stuntmen or genuine bikers. For the majority of the film, director Michel Levesque convinces us that we are seeing a real biker gang on the road. Levesque has an interesting way of directing he sets up long pieces of mise en scene and the whole film seem to come in a series of self-contained scenes drunken tomfoolery around a pit stop cafe; the bikers arguing with a peppery gas station owner (Leonard Rigel) in the middle of the desert; accusations that one of their number is hoarding all the beer; the monks presenting them with a meal of bread and wine; and the lengthy Satanist ceremony.
When it comes to the werewolf half of the premise, Michel Levesque interestingly keeps the werewolf attacks all off-screen. It is over 70 of the films 85 minute running time before we actually get to see a werewolf, for instance. This has the effect of transcending the films undeniable schlock premise and treating the concept with a seriousness that is very different to what one expects of the film. Ultimately though, the downside of this is also an avoidance of the premise the werewolf is on screen so little that the only dramatic thing for the film to do is play a game of whodunnit in trying to work out which of the gang is the werewolf and then, once it is found, quickly mount a climax to kill it off. The last few scenes do have the great schlock image of the werewolf fleeing on a motorcycle pursued by the rest of the gang on bikes with burning torches just like the villagers in a standard B werewolf movie of the 1940s. The Satanic ceremony upon which the film spends a lengthy fifteen minutes or more comes with a flavour of authenticity as though the filmmakers had gone out and researched the real rituals.
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