Werewolf: The Series

By Kraven: The She-Wolf

      In 1987, just as a new network took to the
air for the first time, a new and the first of its
kind horror series took fans on a ride that to
this day still holds its impact. The then new
television network was FOX and the new genre
series was called Werewolf and long before The
X-Files, Sleepy Hallow, Scream Queens, Lucifer and The Exorcist…..Werewolf was not only FOXs first
horror genre series but also the very first werewolf related series ever on the small screen. Long before
Teen Wolf on MTV, Werewolf told the story of young Eric Cord whose life is turned up-side down when he
is bitten by a werewolf.

      Played by actor John J. York, college student Cord never dreams that
his best friend Ted and the brother of his girlfriend has been turned into a
werewolf. When the friend tries to tell Eric about what he has become and
although Eric does not believe until his buddy turns into a monster right be-
fore his eyes. When Eric is forced to kill his friend during the struggle, Eric
is bitten and becomes cursed himself. Soon he too is turning into a beast
and goes on the run looking for the man who has bite his friend. Eric thinks
that if he can kill the werewolf who turned his friend that the bloodline would
be ended and he would return to normal once again. Only the bad part is
that this werewolf is nothing but true evil and Eric soon learns this as he
tracks down this monster.

      Janos Skorzeny is the evil wolf played by super creepy Chuck
Connors in his last TV role before his death a few years later. His
creature unlike Eric’s werewolf, is black in color with parts of his
face starting to rot away from the werewolf cursed after living for
more than 100 years. One of his eyes is so infected that its red
and rotted so badly that when in human form he has to where an
eye patch to cover the sore.  The Skorzeny wolf being far older
than Eric’s beast is also much stronger and Skorzeny also has
much more control over his beast within and can change almost at will.

      Unlike most werewolf films and stories, the creatures in this show are NOT controlled by the full moon.
The change from man to beast is random and can happen at any time of the month with a full moon or not.
The transformation is however always preceded by the sign of a pentagram scarred into his hand. This
being the sign of the curse and in the hours before turning into the beast, the pentagram would fill with
blood under his skin.  As the time grew near to transform, the pentagram image in his hand would rise
filled with blood and soon bleed out of his skin triggering the transformation. This unique and distinctive
action was only used in this series and gave the show its own take on the werewolf myth.

      Werewolf: the series was the creation of writer Frank Lupo who when in the shower one day dreamed
up the story and pitched it to the new FOX network. It being their very first season of broadcasting, were
looking for anything to run on the new network and so Werewolf started out as one of their very first series.  
It was in a way produced like two shows that came before them, The Fugitive and The Incredible Hulk. This
where the lead character would be on the run for the murder and in this case, for the murder of his friend
Ted in the eyes of the law. While on the road Eric, like in the other two series, meets people along the way
and for a short time interacts with their affairs until the beast within shows its true self and poor Eric must
more on.

      While on his trek for the evil wolf, Eric himself is hunted by a
bounty hunter who is tracking him named Alamo Joe who also
knows what Eric really is and track him with silver bullets, the only
thing that can kill these werewolves. Later in the series, Eric dis-
covers that the beast he is in fact tracking is not the leader of the
bloodline and when he at last kills the evil monster, he learns that
in-fact there is an even stronger and far older wolf that leads the
bloodline named Nicholas Remy played by genre vet Brian
Thompson, who almost always plays some sort of monster from
vampires to aliens.

      The werewolves used in the series were amazing looking and to this day are a favorite of mine and
this magazine’s publisher. The costumes used even for this little very low budget series were designed by
make-up artist Rick Baker, who is at his very best when it comes to werewolves and ape suits. In the
series, there were two main werewolf suits created, one for the Eric wolf and the other for the Skorzeny
beast. While the Eric wolf was scary in its own way, a big shaggy creature with brown fur and big teeth, the
evil werewolf was dark black and as stated before, had rotting facial features and even bigger, meaner
teeth. There were other creatures suits made also so when Eric would sometimes come across others of
his kind in the end of the episode, the two beast were fight to the death with Eric’s wolf coming out on top.

      The series ran for 28-30 minute episodes with a two hour pilot movie kicking it all off. Sadly the series
was not renewed for another season and the series ended with Eric never ending his nightmare of
becoming a werewolf. Although the series itself did not last long, the lasting impact on the horror genre
and TV programming has given rise to all the horror related series that came since its run 30 years ago.
Fans of the show still remember it and many like our publisher, owns the entire series on DVD. Until
Werewolf, TV had never…..ever had a werewolf related series before, never mind a horror series of its
kind. Remember this show came long before Buffy, Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries, Sleepy Hallow,
Grimm and so on. In a time when horror shows did not exist, Werewolf showed that a creature could carry
a series on its own.