B Movie Challenge: Face of the Screaming Werewolf

Let’s say you’re a cheap bastard (no offense if they were married) and you have access to not one but two horror movies (or two horrific movies, depending on your tastes). What do you do? Spend the money to advertise one film and hope (and pray) the audience will come to help finance the advertising for the second feature. or would you get more creative, like producer Jerry Warren (Producer/Director of such classics as Man Beast and Teenage Zombies), and splice footage from the films La Momia Azteca and La Casa Del Terror, spend a couple of bucks shooting an over-the-hill horror actor for a couple of hours, and spend the money promoting one killer slobbering snowzer called Face of the Screaming Werewolf, starring the legendary horror hound Lon Chaney, Jr.!

You don’t need to be a dish-faced movie snob to understand the importance of Lon Chaney. Jr. The son of the ‘Master of a Thousand Faces’ Lon Chaney (Phantom of the Opera and The Hunhback of Notre Dame), Chaney Jr. followed (the trail) in his famous father’s footsteps, landing one of greatest gigs as the werewolf for Universal Studios The Wolf Man (becoming an OG Universal Monster along Bela Lugosi, Roco Browning, and Boris Karloff). However, after being typecasted (and even taking over the reins from Karloff as The Mummy for a lot of films, Chaney’s alcoholism and rough behavior led to a slew of low-budget hock in the Warren-vein. Face of the Screaming Werewolf has a sullied reputation, not only the last time Chaney Jr. would portray the mummy but the last time he glued on fake whiskers (and cashed the check faster than you can bark at the moon). For a film made on the moviola instead of the studio, it should be less coherent than it already is, but the only sole (if you have one for sale) reason to even watch this mish-mash of weird science is to see Chaney bark at the moon (for the last time)!

Usually, this is the spot where I tell you the plot, but for the first time in history, I am truly stumped. I believe it is about a scientist who has gone mad (big leap there, I know) in the past lives field. Upon hypnotizing a young student, she is discovered as a reincarnate Aztec princess, or something like that. The doc and his pals think she can lead them to the lost treasure but they find zilch, except a long-forgotten mummy (Chaney). However, buried within the mummy is an even better treasure: the gift of being a lycanthrope (werewolf for you heathens who never read)! If you can follow the plot from there, then good luck, bless your journey, and pat yourself on the back (or at least get a nice belly rub) cause you are a genius. Some science that will blind you, terrible edits throughout, and a werewolf that changes body sizes left and right and you have one heck of foreleg only true believers in the Chaney jr. legacy would hump (bad movie watcher, bad!)

Spayed and neutered at a slobbery 60 minutes, and co-directed by Gilbert Solares and Rafael Portillo (whose films were chewed apart), Warren had previously clipped the films in a movie titled Attack of the Mayan Mummy (it bombed as well). Due to the nature of the film it automatically fell into public domain, so you can find this flea-ridden mongrel on most streaming platforms. So prepare to be hypnotized by severally terrible acting, disjointed mise-en-scene (the werewolf is played by two actors with different fur patterns), and whistle Bob Segar’s “Blame it on the Moon” as Warren blames himself for unleashing the last chance any of us to puppy love with the great Lon Chaney Jr.!

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues, his thesis film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands, the novel Lucky for Newfangle Press, and he has written short stories for Weren't Another Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by Waylon Jennings, The Creeps, Vampiress Carmilla, The Siren’s Call, and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights audio cast. Klink shares his talents as a teacher of multimedia studies in Pennsylvania.

View all posts by Ian Klink

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