You might think of Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein or The Mummy when considering the great monster films from the 1930s and 1940s that served as the inspiration for Werewolf by Night, the first-ever Marvel Studios Special Presentation. Bela Lugosi’s Dracula.
Claude Rains in The Wolf Man, of course. You might not realize that the 53-minute Halloween special, which will be available on Disney+ on October 7th, is inspired by important holiday icons like A Charlie Brown Christmas and the Rankin/Bass Frosty the Snowman TV specials.
However, Werewolf by Night is a stand-alone special rather than a feature film or episodic series, according to co-executive producer Brian Gay, who also claims that those perennial favorites are the reason for its existence.
“Funny how certain things just fall into place. It was simply another one of those. Where could Werewolf by Night be introduced is a question we’ve always had.” Gay exclusively revealed to ComicBook that Gael Garca Bernal’s character Jack Russell was cursed with the ability to mutate into a werewolf, a ferocious beast.
“The character is fantastic. How does it feel? Of course, there are movies, TV shows, and series of various lengths, but Disney+ gives us a lot of latitude in what we produce.”
Marvel’s Werewolf by Night is a 53-minute one-off, in contrast to other Marvel Studios series like Moon Knight and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (which is considered feature-length, per Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rules).
As Gay pointed out, “One of the things that had always come up is that we love a good old network special, something like Charlie Brown’s Christmas or Frosty the Snowman, things like that that were specials and they showed once, or maybe they showed every year.” “Well, could we do one of those, we asked. In fact, the response was affirmative. Werewolf by Night originated from this.”
Werewolf by Night introduces such supernatural figures as the monstrous Man-Thing, the undead Ulysses Bloodstone, and his (alive) monster-hunter daughter, Elsa Bloodstone. Werewolf by Night is directed by frequent Marvel composer Michael Giacchino (Spider-Man: No Way Home, Thor: Love and Thunder) in his feature directorial debut (Laura Donnelly).
It “seemed like a great way to introduce the Werewolf by Night persona, the concept of monsters in the MCU, but do it so there’s just a tease,” Gay said of the almost hour-long event. “So you become enthusiastic and involved, and then we’ll see what happens. Because, as you will see in the program, monsters have existed for a very long time. Therefore, this is only a taste. We’re opening up that curtain for the first time right now.”
Werewolf by Night is described by Disney as: “After the death of their commander, a hidden cabal of monster hunters emerge from the shadows and congregate at the ominous Bloodstone Temple on a dark and gloomy night.
The guests are forced into a deadly race for a powerful relic in a bizarre and gruesome memorial to the leader’s life; this search will finally bring them face to face with a frightening creature.
The unsettling special, which draws inspiration from horror films from the 1930s and 1940s, attempts to arouse a sense of dread and the macabre while also providing plenty of tension and scares as we travel through a new area of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
Executive producers include Kevin Feige, Stephen Broussard, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, and Brad Winderbaum. Co-executive producers include Brian Gay and Trevor Waterson. Marvel Studios’ Werewolf by Night, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Laura Donnelly, and Harriet Sansom Harris, will begin streaming on Disney+ on October 7.
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