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The Beast of Bray Road (2005)

Based on an 'authentic' Wisconsin legend, this advances the notion that a Bigfoot-style creature is actually a werewolf and proceeds to riff through clichés from Jaws (the local official who is worried about the effect of the monster rampage on tourism, 'we've got to get some bigger guns') and Silver Bullet (a montage showing pre-1965 coins being melted to make silver bullets, a town full of bigoted idiots in a panic).

A new Sheriff (Jeff Denton) in the backwoods takes an interest in the monster sightings (and several dismembered corpses), then a cryptozoologist (Tom Downey) shows up to dispense advice – though he reads out all the business about the full moon and silver bullets from a handy reference book. It has a gross 'white trash' caricature of the neighbourhood - with slutty, overly made-up drunken women throwing themselves at abusive redneck clods at the local pick-up bar, a backwoods troublemaker (Tom Nagel) with a cache of automatic weapons, dimwit Sheriff's deputies and dolts wandering off into the woods to get slaughtered. The only reasonable person in town is the woman who runs the bar (Sarah Lieving), and she turns out to be the werewolf – even though at least one of the monster massacres takes place while it's established she's hard at work serving drinks to the surviving locals. The monster (Joel Hebner) is a shaggy-looking, low-rent freak, set on fire at one point, and the script by director Leigh Scott doesn't come up with any new wrinkles to basic lycanthrope lore.
KIM NEWMAN

First published in this form here.


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