Monday, July 25, 2016

"Late Phases" (2014) d/ Adrian Garcia Bogliano

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We've had werewolves in girl's dormitories, American werewolves in London and Paris, werewolves on a train,  werewolves in Woodstock and Washington, and now, finally, we've got werewolves in a retirement community. Wait, what? Read on, I promise it's a lot cooler than it may initially sound. As we close in on the death knell of another summer month here at the Wop, our subject tonight falls once again upon lycanthropy, in an independent film by Spanish genre proponent, Adrian Garcia Bogliano, whose work can be examined in previous efforts like The ABC's of Death (2012), Here Comes the Devil (2012), and 2010's The Accursed. Here's how the story goes...

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"I'm sick of blind 'Nam vets who ain't got their shit together!", complains Delores (Karen Lynn Gorney).
After being dumped off in a retirement community by his son, a 'Nam vet named Ambrose (Nick Damici) who's as stubborn as he is blind,  and his faithful seeing eye dog, a German Shepard named Shadow, meet their friendly new next door neighbor, Delores (Karen Lynn Gorney),  and some other local snooty elitist in an elderly clique of bitches, named Gloria (Rutanya Alda),  Emma (Caitlin O'Heaney), and Clarissa (Tina Louise), respectively, before settling in to their new digs for the very first time that night. Just when he'd planned on briefly stagnating here and dying an ignominious death, Ambrose is faced with a werewolf attack, after hearing Delores being horribly gutted like a fish, next door. Though he's able to finally deter the beast with his gun, Shadow is mortally wounded in the scuffle, and the former soldier is forced to end the dog's suffering with a bullet. The next morning, police arrive and shrug the slaying off as another animal attack, due to the community's proximity to the woods, but Ambrose already knows better.

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Once, he knew you were alone, but now you're just gnawed to the bone.
Using a shovel as a makeshift cane and with the moon's cycle as his hourglass, Ambrose sets out to investigate the most recent murder, scrutinizing the locals for a wheeze he detected while squared off against the lycanthrope, including a cigarette-inhaling priest (Tom Noonan), Gloria's husband Bennet who's confined to an iron lung, and the priest's assistant, James (Lance Guest), who suffers from asthma. Hmmm... Meanwhile, he purchases a large, expensive tombstone for his dog's grave, which he digs daily, in his own backyard. He also starts training his body for combat again, with grueling push ups and weapon katas involving his favorite shovel, much to the dismay of his neighbors. Finally, he hitches a ride to the local gun dealer, whom he entrusts with a strange request: silver bullets of several different calibers. With his son feeling alienated and about to move to another city with his growing family, the war veteran once again dons his uniform, taking an overdose of heart meds beforehand to ensure that he won't be cheating death when the smoke clears, as another midnight howler. He leaves a parting message on his son's answering service, and prepares for a supernatural war that he won't be returning from this time, a last chance for spiritual redemption...

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Werewolf? Were-Fennec (vulpes zerda), more like.
There's all kinds of names on board, like Tina Louise, who you might remember from Stepford Wives (1975), but you'll more likely recall as Ginger on the long running tv show, Gilligan's Island. There's Caitlin O'Heaney, who you'll recognize from Wolfen (1981) and He Knows You're Alone (1980). There's Karen Lynn Gorney, who once shared the spotlight with a kid named Travolta in a movie called Saturday Night Fever (1978). Rutanya Alda, who scored credits in things like The Deer Hunter (1978), When a Stranger Calls (1979), Christmas Evil (1980), and Amityville II: The Possession (1982) over the years, is here. Lance Guest, who showed up in Halloween II (1981) and Jaws: The Revenge (1987), is also here. Lead actor Nick Damici, you'll remember from Dark Was the Night (2014), We Are What We Are (2013), and Stake Land (2010). Don't let the frivolous werewolf design, original if not particularly goofy, as provided by Robert Kurtzman, deter you from seeing this, as it's a solid effort overall and an entertaining ride to be had, for sure. On the scale, three very respectable big ones for Phases. Check it out!

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"I won't shoot until I don't see the whites of their eyes...", barks Ambrose (Nick Damici).
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