Friday, May 5, 2023

Werewolves and chupacabras — best of both worlds?

By Michael Picarella Staff ‘Human World’ Columnist

Happy Cinco de Mayo! And a merry Full Moon!

This evening we can expect chupacabras and werewolves to be out and about, on the prowl and wreaking havoc on some human beings near you — maybe even on you. These beasties certainly have been in my thoughts the last few days.

I typically like to watch the 2013 “classic” made-for-TV movie “Chupacabra vs. the Alamo” on this day each May, but as the full moon was drawing closer this week, I dug into a new book that’s now got me stuck on werewolves. Ronald Kelly’s “Undertaker’s Moon,” which has been described as a graveyard feast under the summer moon about a rural Tennessee town facing a hellish lycanthrope from ancient Ireland, has sunk its teeth into me. While reading it, I’ve also been taking in a few full moon classics on Shudder.

As of this writing, the horror streaming service is offering various collections under the heading “Tales of the Supernatural.” One of the collections in that grouping is called “Full Moon Fever,” and there are currently 10 titles — movies and a TV series — that feature lycanthropes. In the last week alone, I’ve watched 1985’s “The Company of Wolves,” 1996’s “Bad Moon” and 2015’s “Howl.”

The latter film was a real treat. It kind of reminded me of the great zombie flick “Train to Busan,” which actually came out in 2016, a year after the release of “Howl.” “Howl” is a British horror film about the last train out of London on a dark stormy night that breaks down in a forest filled with — hint, hint — some creatures of the night that howl. I thought this film was made in response to the success of “Busan,” which is a South Korean action horror picture about passengers trapped on a train during a zombie outbreak, but it looks like “Howl” had it licked.

“Busan” is probably the better film, though “Howl” is a great, atmospheric, creepy werewolf tale with some grisly lycanthropes and lycanthrope action that you shouldn’t overlook.

And while I’ve been feasting on werewolves, and still wanting more, I did want to pay my respects to the goatsuckers of the world for Cinco de Mayo. Yesterday I discovered the werewolf-like chupacabra (perhaps the best of both the werewolf and chupacabra worlds) in the 2022 Netflix series called “The Imperfects.” This show is about three young adults who, after an experimental gene therapy that’s turned them into a human that transforms into a chupacabra, a banshee and a succubus, band together and hunt down the scientist responsible.

Perhaps “The Imperfects” is a bit too flashy, even for me — I love excessive style. Maybe it’s just too loud, too noisy. It’s a very cool idea, and I loved the monsters, especially the chupacabra. It could just be that the execution didn’t work for me. Or maybe I didn’t want to follow these characters. But after one episode, I haven’t been itching to watch another one. I hate to write that. Hey, the urge to jump back into the series might strike at midnight. 

Until then, however, I’m chomping at the bit to read more of “Undertaker’s Moon.” I’m reaching the halfway point in the novel, and as of now, I’m highly recommending it, for what that’s worth. Order the book on author Ronald Kelly’s website, and he’ll sign your book with an illustration. Totally digging what he put in mine ...

Now, if you must go out tonight to celebrate the full moon or Mexico’s 1862 victory over the Second French Empire, please watch for beasties. Track werewolves who may be near you with the Werewolf Locator app. As for tracking chupacabra, you’re out of luck there. I recommend brute force — strong blows to the creature’s noggin and hard kicks to the chest.