President Wolfman (2012)

preswolfmanAt the peak of the DVD market, I hatched a great idea about making a film called Public Domain: The Movie, which would assemble footage from dozens of the copyright-free titles populating every bargain-bin box set into an overdubbed comedy. As with all my grand visions, I never proceeded past the thinking stage. Mike Davis essentially beat me to it anyway, first with 2008’s sci-fi romp Sex Galaxy and then 2012’s President Wolfman.

Using the 1973 B-horror cheapie The Werewolf of Washington as its base — and Lord knows how many other flicks for frames here and there — President Wolfman rejiggers the Dean Stockwell vehicle into a rollicking tale about POTUS John Wolfman (voiced by Marc Evan Jackson, 22 Jump Street) making good on his last name by becoming a real werewolf after acquiring a Native American curse during a hunting trip. This occurs in the midst of Congressional shenanigans involving a Chinese buyout of good ol’ America and all its waving wheat.

preswolfman1This story is thin and messy, as it should be; Davis knows he needs only just enough spit to hold the disparate pieces together. From there, it’s all about firing the jokes quickly and persistently, and that he does with R-rated glee, sticking the landing not with consistency but regularity. Little footage matches from one scene to the next — or even within the same scene — which is not only part of the fun, but part of the point. If the experiment were polished, it would fail.

Instead, President Wolfman is infinitely creative, leaving no stock footage unsqueezed for potential laughter, from a crudely animated Smokey the Bear PSA to a surprisingly graphic educational reel on childbirth. Only a gyrating go-go girl during the opening credits appears to account for original footage … and who’s going to complain about such sights? (Don’t answer that.) —Rod Lott

Get it at Amazon.

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