Friday, July 15, 2022

Double Feature: The Professor and Howl from Beyond the Fog

The Professor

Tom McCain

OK this plot rules: A communist agent looks to destroy America by creating werewolves that will cause mass panic and allow the commies to swoop in and take over the USA. Pretty cool, right? We get all kinds of 1950s goodies here: commie conspiracies, mad science, and werewolves. What could possibly go wrong?


OK this movie sucks:  With a runtime of 25 minutes this appears to be a failed pilot of some sort, although what kind of show you could make out of such a listless story is beyond me. Most of the story takes place in a lab with people talking. If you go in expecting some hot werewolf action, you’re in for a big disappointment. There’s nothing here I would qualify as entertaining, even the hardiest of bad movie fans will find it difficult to unearth anything of worth beyond the general premise of the film.

Due to its rarity, the only existing version you can find is in pretty bad shape, but there isn’t much to see anyway. Even on a TV pilot budget, The Professor looks dire, cheap sets, little location work, and the less said about the werewolf the better.

I would avoid it, unless you have 25 minutes of your life you don’t value (like me). If you are looking for a much better werewolf movie from the 1950s, I would recommend The Werewolf (1956) a traditional lycanthrope story but told with an atomic horror angle, or the far more well-known I was a Teenage Werewolf (1957).

Howl from Beyond the Fog
Daisuke Sato

Takiri (Akane Kanamori) is a young blind woman in Meiji era Japan. She befriends the local monster, a giant sauropod named Nebula. Local land developers look to wipe out her village but they don’t count on her special connection to the monster that she unleashes on the people who would harm her.
Howl from Beyond the Fog is a fascinating short film. A kaiju film told purely with puppetry and miniatures. Traditional kaiju films employ a number of techniques, including puppetry and most certainly miniature work but it is an interesting approach to produce the entire film in this fashion. The love and skill put on screen is breathtaking, every frame is lush with detail. The story centers around vengeance and the environment, often reoccurring theme in kaiju films.


When still and contemplative Howl from Beyond the Fog works extremely well. The monster action is lively although it occasionally shows the limits of the budgets with some dodgy video editing. It’s never enough to sink the whole production, the opulence of the images far outweighs the flaws.

The film clocks in at a leisurely 66 minutes, and it is the perfect length, any longer would threaten to bog down this simple slow-paced story. This is a film to be enjoyed for its visuals and not its plot. A gorgeous film and a reminder  that even a monster movie can approach its often-maligned content as something beautiful.

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