Eyes of the Werewolf (1999)

Starring Mark Sawyer, Stephanie Beaton, Jason Clark, Kurt Levi, Tim Sullivan

Written & Directed by Tim Sullivan

Eyes of the Werewolf is the tale of a man blinded in a laboratory accident that receives an eye transplant from an unethical doctor that employs a gang of hunters to kill people so that he can harvest their body parts for his experimental transplant surgeries, unaware that the eyes have come from a murdered werewolf. He too becomes a werewolf and his monstrous side begins taking out its wrath on his cheating wife, conniving best friend, the diabolical doctor, and every other poor soul that crosses his path when big and hairy. With a lesbian policewoman in pursuit, his only help in dealing with his situation comes from his occult writer neighbor, a crippled dwarf who is an expert of werewolf lore, and the big breasted redheaded nurse he loves. What’s not to love?

Well, one thing that doesn’t deserve any love is the production values. Look, I’m used to watching no budget movies that were shot on digital, but Eyes of the Werewolf looks inexcusably grainy. If you can afford a werewolf costume and gore f/x then you have no excuse for having a picture quality that’s often looks like it’s being transmitted from a UHF station a hundred miles away. Some scenes that are supposed to be set at night were clearly filmed during the day but shot through a filter that’s supposed to make things seem darker, which really only make it look like the scene was being filmed during an eclipse. Because of this, numerous scenes appear to change from day to night to day in Plan 9 from Outer Space fashion.

Even the audio suffers as dialogue occasionally sounds blown out, tinny like its coming out of an old drive-in movie speaker, which does seem somewhat appropriate given the nature of the film.

The acting… well, the acting is exactly what you’d expect from a movie like this. Actually some of the actors fare a little better than others. I still wouldn’t call it good acting but most are perfectly acceptable for a bargain basement B-movie like this.

Eyes of the Werewolf opens with a gang of redneck hunters chasing a werewolf, although they are unaware that they’re chasing werewolf and think they’re just hunting down an ordinary unlucky fellow. Even after their potential unseen quarry savagely slaughters two of them, they continue after him, eventually gunning him down from a distance. It seems this werewolf can be killed with traditional ammo because when they come upon the corpse he’s human again. The lead hunter chops off the dead guy’s head because, “The doc only wants eyes this week.”

Scientist Rich Stephens awakens in a hospital bed, his eyes bandaged from lab accident involving exploding beakers that splashed acid directly in his eyes. A ludicrously staged flashback sequence recreates this moment complete with laughable voiceover dialogue like, “I could smell my eyes melting.” Buxom Nurse Sondra (scream queen Stephanie Beaton) tells Rich he has received an eye transplant. Dr. Atwell requests nurse Sondra take extra care of Mr. Stephens given the extremely difficult experimental nature of his surgery. Apparently extra care means letting him squeeze her massive mammaries while they have sex right there in his hospital bed. Where was Nurse Sondra when I had gall bladder surgery last year? All I got were freakin’ Jell-o cups!

Immediately after sex, the still blind and bandaged Rich informs Nurse Sondra that he’s a married man. She knew because he was wearing a wedding ring. Neither could help themself because they’re in love, but Rich has a wife who has yet to visit him in the hospital and wants to try and make the marriage work once he gets discharged.

The very day Rich gets the bandages removed, his eye sight restored, and released from the hospital, he learns that his friend Craig has been sleeping with his miserable fishwife Rita. Something’s not quite right about Rich being angry about this affair seeing as how he already got it on with Nurse Humps-A-Lot right after his surgery.

Uh oh! A really cheap matte painting of a full moon that looks like it was drawn in a junior high art class causes Rich to transform into a werewolf that first night out of the hospital. Wanna take a wild guess whose jugulars he rips out?

Rich the werewolf looks like a guy with big hairy arms and claws and elongated, expanded furry torso that almost gives him the appearence of being a hunchback in certain scenes, and a big werewolf head mask. It’s not a bad costume but looks ridiculous nonetheless because his top half is noticeably larger than his lower torso. From the waist down he just looks like a guy in jeans and sneakers.

After waking up in a forest wearing tattered blood-stained clothes unaware of what has happened, Rich wanders to the home of a crippled dwarf named Andros who befriends him and just happens to be an expert in werewolf lore. Rich’s neighbor Mr. Siodmak (named after the screenwriter of Universal’s The Wolfman – BOO!) also happens to be an author that specializes in books on the occult and he saw Rich in werewolf form the night before. Rich initially doesn’t believe them but after a few more transformations (A full moon several nights straight?) he seeks their knowledge and confronts Dr. Atwell. The doc doesn’t believe his werewolf tale but sends his head headhunter to deal with him since Rich’s status as the prime suspect in multiple murders could lead the police to eventually find out the truth about how he obtains his transplant organs.

Pursued by both the police and the doc’s thugs, Rich seeks refuge at the home of Nurse Sondra. Despite being wanted for multiple murders and rambling about being a werewolf, claiming to be terrified of transforming again at sunset, they still find time for a little mid-afternoon nookie. Can’t say I blame him. Afterwards, he transforms and runs off in another day-to-night-to-day continuity error.

The rest of the movie has werewolf Rich killing people, human Rich seeking help from Andros and Siodmak, all of whom eventually find themselves on the run from the psychotic lead hunter, and the lesbian policewoman investigating the murders in hot pursuit of him and Sondra, although for entirely different reasons if you catch my drift.

Ultra cheap, uber cheesy to an almost Ed Wood degree at times, and even just a tad sleazy at times, Eyes of the Werewolf is just imaginative enough, with enough oddball characters to be a passable way to waste 70-minutes if you have a tolerance for this sort of schlock. Heck, just scroll back up and take a good look at that box art and take that comical caricature of Stephanie Beaton. I think that’s supposed to be her looking scared. It’s probably the facial expression she made after getting her first look at the finished film. I know it’s definitely the facial expression I made.

2 ½ out of 5

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Jon Condit

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