When The Wolfman first hit theaters earlier this year, what struck me most was the art direction. This was a werewolf thriller that had the look and the texture of those wolfy classics we’ve come to love. It exuded atmosphere and tension. (Read my review)
From the costumes to the cobblestone streets to the old-school logistics – a bunch of guys with guns set out into the moonlit field to hunt a furry demon – this wasn’t a Francis Ford Coppola twist to the formula. It was old school, ferocious, B-movie camp. And while I didn’t think everything about it worked, I loved this sense of spirit.
Anyway, The Wolfman hits DVD and Blu-ray today, and as part of the release Universal has decided to play up this retro aspect of the Anthony Hopkins-Benicio Del Toro thriller. For the first time ever, if you buy the Blu-ray – and have your player hooked up to the web – you’ll be able to access a whole boatload of exclusive content through BD-Live, pocket BLU and UniversalHiDef.com. One groundbreaking example: You’ll be able to stream the full 1941 Wolf Man, starring Claude Rains.
Talk about B-movie fun. Check out this hilarious clip from the original, which uses a slow fade and two furry prosthetic legs to capture a werewolf mid-transformation:
In all seriousness though: This is a very creative and refreshing special feature, allowing viewers to compare the low-tech original Wolf Man with its modern equivalent, where we can see Benicio altering in real-time, his eyeballs switching from sexy man to scary wolf.
And the online Wolf Man feature is only one of a variety of special features packed into the Blu-ray. I’ve been surfing through the disc, checking out all the alternate endings and cast interviews; it’s an impressive array of footage, the kind of stuff that helps you to appreciate all that it takes to bring a monster tale to the big screen. And as for home entertainment, I hope it points to a future where our discs enable a whole lot more interaction with reservoirs of online content.
There’s a lot of potential with BD-Live; I think we’ve just begun to claw the surface.
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