Color, 2012, 80 mins. 24 secs.
Directed by Mike Davis
FilmFest (DVD / VOD) (US R0 NTSC), Wild Eye (DVD) (US R0 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1)
Promoted as an entirely "green" film composed of 100% preexisting footage, President Wolfman belongs to the proud tradition inaugurated with What's Up, Tiger Lily?, which created a new comic voiceover for a '60s Japanese spy film. Since then we've had many variations on the technique, though President Wolfman is a bit difference since it uses the 1973 Dean Stockwell creature feature The Werewolf of Washington as its base, with various other cinematic odds and ends like educational films and even footage shot by crew members to flesh out a new storyline.
Mike Davis, a longtime stock footage coordinator on a number of genre films, directed this goofball pastiche (after a similar approach with 2008's Sex Galaxy) with a surprisingly robust roster of actors and comedians providing voice talent including the busy Marc Evan Jackson as the title character. After a raucous opening animated sequence set to a faux-blaxploitation-style theme song, the film more or less follows a plotline about a PR campaign to turn America into "Chimerica" by selling the entire nation to China, a prospect that has all of Washington, D.C. chattering. One of the movement's biggest opponents is President Wolfman, who's suffering from a major case of lycanthrophy and dealing with a Vice-President eager to take over the reins. Various cure attempts and terrible puns abound as the country enters a major crisis with an werewolf Commander in Chief at the helm.
Definitely designed to be enjoyed in an altered state of consciousness, this is the kind of ridiculous enterprise that will have you either giggling like an idiot or reaching for the eject button a few minutes in (most likely due to some very exaggerated racial stereotypes that will probably hit some as wildly over the line). As a technical exercise this is especially interesting to see how the entirely new sound mix and collage approach to editing create a new viewing experience out of familiar elements, and some of the verbal humor is actually pretty funny at times. (South Park fans in particular will spot a gag at the end that will seem oddly familiar.) If you're in the mood for something in the same family tree as Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or the later Leprechaun or Critters films, this is a very scrappy party movie that should do the trick.
Originally released on DVD back in 2014 from Wild Eye Releasing, President Wolfman has been brought back via on-demand streaming and a new DVD edition from FilmFest in 2020 to tie in with the Presidential election (of course) that somehow seems more surreal than anything in this film. The anamorphic transfer looks fine given the very wide range of material involved, and the Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track is punchy and fun (especially when it comes to the groovy original songs). Optional English SDH subtitles are also provided. Ported over here is an audio commentary with director Mike Davis and producer / art director Miles Flanagan, which walks you through the process of assembling the film including ID-ing the sources and covering the process of developing the jokes and surprisingly complex plotline. You also get a trailer, a silly reel of "outtakes" (1m42s), a faux "Campaign" endorsement short (6m13s), a quick "She-Wolf" (1m44s) nudie short, the odd and very entertaining 1969 educational short "The Talking Car" (16m2s) about car safety for children, the 1966 childbirth short "Sudden Birth" (22m9s), the fake 1940 Soviet propaganda short "Experiments in the Revival of Organisms" (19m39s), and a trailer for Sex Galaxy under the title Space Prison for Nymphomaniacs.
Reviewed on July 12, 2020.