Werewolf: Hulk By Night

“Growin’ up, I remember reading the book Alice in Wonderland. After Alice went down the rabbit hole, a flower talked to her. She was surprised. You don’t need to be a psychiatrist to know if a flower ever spoke to a man, that man would know terror. When the world isn’t the same as our minds believe, then we are in a nightmare. And nothing is worse than a nightmare… except one you can’t wake up from.”
-‘Alamo Joe’ Rogan

Eric Cord is a college graduate, loves old cars, has a beautiful girlfriend, and a best friend, Teddy, who is the girlfriend’s brother. One evening Teddy asks Eric to come by, it’s really important. When Eric gets to Teddy’s apartment, all the lights are off, the dog is terrified, and Teddy is sitting alone with a gun. He needs Eric to kill him.

Teddy tells a story about how last summer he had been attacked by a wild animal. After that he would wake up in random places, nude, covered in blood, not knowing what when on. Until he started seeing newspapers, triggering some comprehension that he had done it. Reading lore, he realized he had been attacked b a werewolf and was now one of them. For almost a year, he’s been looking for the one that bit him, locking himself up at night, suppressing the beast within from hurting his loved ones. Until one day he stopped. He wanted the change and now fears what he might do to Eric or Kelly, his own sister. That’s why he has a gun loaded with silver. But he’s not brave enough, strong enough to take his own life. He needs Eric to save him from the monster he’s becoming.

Teddy explains that the transformation isn’t based on the moon and is very random; but is always preceded by the pentagram forming on the palm of his hand, bleeding right before the wolf takes over. Eric, of course, thinks this is all insane. Teddy begs Eric to stay with him just until midnight with Teddy tied to a chair. If nothing happens then whatever, he’ll seek help. BUT if he changes, Eric has to promise to kill him. Eric agrees. Teddy’s tied up, Eric and the dog keep watch. Eric, unfortunately nodded off and woke up well past midnight.

Eric comes to untie Teddy before leaving but noticed Teddy’s hand bleeding from the pentagram on his hand. Teddy’s yellow eyes focus on Eric as he snarls, agonizingly transforming into a huge lupine creature. Eric goes for the gun that’s been knocked under the couch, but Teddy tears into his best friend. Eric gets the gun, pleading with Teddy not to come closer. Two shots ring out as the commotion has gathered Teddy’s neighbors. Eric stumbles out, gun in hand. Teddy lay nude on the floor, human, with two bullet holes in his chest.

Teddy is buried. Eric is sent to the hospital and awaits trial, but is plagued by nightmares of attacking Kelly. He offers up his classic car as collateral for his bail and meets Kelly at Teddy’s grave, where she reveals Teddy came to her first about putting him down. Then they both notice a pentagram on Eric’s hand. Rushing to where they know they can lock him up, Kelly takes Eric to his storage unit. Moments after locking him in, Kelly hears growling and the door attempting to be smashed out.

The next morning, Eric wakes up; everything is torn apart except a model ship, a keep sake of his departed father’s. The owner stands over him cursing up a storm as Kelly swoops in to drive Eric away. A newspaper reads more victims during the night. Eliminating himself as the culprit, Eric heads to the man Teddy had worked for last summer, Janos Skorzeny: an old, tall, eye-patched, pirate-like sailor who owns a rundown, spooky boat. After looking him over, Skorzeny knows Eric is one of his, a “descendant” from his werewolves, and is quite forth coming. Eric wants it to stop, but Skorzeny explains that werewolves die by their own hands, silver, or by other werewolves… Skorzeny laughs at the realization Eric is their to kill him, but lets him know he’s been with the curse long enough to know they’re changing tonight, well before the pentagram even appears. After Eric is tied up in a motel bathroom, Kelly is kidnapped by Skorzeny, who taunts Eric that she’s going to be gobbled up by “The Big Bad Wolf”.

Eric is found by bounty ‘Alamo Joe’ Rogan, hired by the bail bondsman as soon as Eric left town. He begs Rogan to tie him up in his truck but to go find Kelly, but it’s too late. Eric transforms. Rogan shoots several rounds into the beast, but Eric is unfazed and runs to find Kelly. Skorzeny has made it to a shack he likes to take victims and begins to transform in front of the terrified girl, when Eric on all fours breaks down the door and rears up. Skorzeny tears off his own face, letting the wolf emerge. The two begin to fight, breaking a lantern and setting the place ablaze. The older werewolf beating the younger down and running off.

Eric wakes up to Kelly overlooking him, crying. They can’t be together while he’s like this. Eric vows to kill Skorzeny and return to Kelly. ‘Alamo Joe’ can’t be reached by his employers, he’s too busy making silver rounds for his riffle. And Eric is hitchhiking until he notices the sign on his hand and the full moon high in the sky…

And that, dear readers, was the beginning of the show “Werewolf”. It had a simple premise: Eric wanders from town to town trying to find Skorzeny, helping the locals, and getting out of trouble by turning into a werewolf, all while being pursued by Alamo Joe. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the same plot as the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno “Incredible Hulk” show. And funny enough, was going to be recycled by Joss Whedon for a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” spin-off about, you guessed it, Oz the werewolf character. “Werewolf” may not have been terribly original, but the characters are great: Eric is competent and sympathetic, Skorzeny delightfully relishes being a monster, and Alamo Joe is Boba Fett levels of cool bounty hunter! Oh, and the werewolves themselves are still the coolest I’ve seen; when I think what one should look like, I picture these beasts!