Ravenwolf Towers: Episode 1 – Bad Mary: the Nerfed Llamas Review – Strange things are afoot at this ol’ famous Hollywood stomping grounds…
I’ve been diving pretty deep into the classic Full Moon Features catalog for my coverage this month. Given my age and upbringing, this makes a lot of sense. The vast majority of established memories of Full Moon movies come from the bygone days of VHS rentals. To that end, I’ve reviewed Oblivion (1994), The Pit and the Pendulum (1991), Cinderella (1977), Creepozoids (1987), and Spellcaster (1987) so far, and that’s been great fun (for the most part), but now it’s time to do the time warp and fast forward to a film made in 2016. It’s good to keep a finger on the pulse of the modern Full Moon Features because they are still churning out quality low budget content. This brings us to today’s offering, the first in a new episodic series titled: Ravenwolf Towers. Full Moon started episodic content back in 2013 with the series Trophy Heads, and this new series aims to keep the ball rolling.
What is Ravenwolf Towers: Ravenwolf Towers is an episodic horror series that is written by Roger Barron (Trophy Heads, Puppet Master: Axis Termination), and directed by Charles Band (creator of Full Moon Features and director of too many b-movies to count). This series stars Evan Henderson (The Meanest Man in Texas, Compadres), Maria Olsen (Trophy Heads, Paranormal Activity 3), Michael Citriniti (Goodfellas, Hideous), George Appleby (Game of Thrones, Sherlock), Sonny King (Reno 911!, Drone Wars), Jesse Egan (The Vagina Dairies, Jelly), Rosemary Brownlow (Murder Book, Unusual Suspects), Arthur Roberts (Not of This Earth, Up In Smoke), William Paul Burns (Blood Dolls, Lipstick), Nihilist Gelo (13/13/13, Dragonquest), and introducing Shiloh Creveling as Mary. Ravenwolf Towers follows the bizarre events that have befallen the tenants of a once proud and celebrity rich Hollywood apartment complex. Most of the strange happenings can be traced to the mysterious 11th floor, which is out of bounds for anyone at all times and owned wholly by a wealthy and eccentric family. Truthfully, eccentric doesn’t begin to describe the family. In actuality, they are a bizarre family with inbred monstrosities and creepily sinister lab equipment that they use to perform experiments on other people. They are a curious lot that keep to themselves until one day a leak springs on their floor and the young assistant manager Jake of the apartments is allowed on the 11th floor to fix the leak. All seems normal on the 11th until a young lady named Mary comes crawling out of one of the rooms begging for help. Jake rescues the girl and starts to learn about the mysteries of Ravenwolf Towers.
What I liked about Ravenwolf Towers: The first thing that I genuinely liked about this series is the atmosphere. There is a really good mixture of horror and the bizarre. Everything feels off, purposely so because in Ravenwolf Towers little is as it appears. This balance struck by the director, Charles Band, is nearly magical in how it keeps you guessing. Characters are introduced, like the odd clown man, seemingly just for effect… and it is chilling. I’m sure the clown man will be relevant to the story later, but the way some of these characters are introduced are reminiscent of classic horror films where creepy ambiance was more important than gore and terror. Again, with this series there is a balance, a bit of horror for everyone. There is plenty of what you expect in a b-movie horror production: monsters, blood, gore, torn off limbs, twisted characters, sex, etc., but they are sprinkled around in a way that never devolves into tedium or predictable. The first episode of Ravenwolf Towers is proper well done horror.
Working hand-in hand with the atmosphere of the film is a perfect horror soundtrack by Richard Band. The orchestrations meld effortlessly with each scene, transforming into unique music that is well suited for each situation. Tense scenes have a score that are specifically designed to keep you on the edge of your seat. For such a short episode, a lot of craftsmanship went into making this most excellent soundtrack. This is top notch spine tingling music!
It’s all about the characters! Ravenwolf Towers has a lot of characters, and they stand out from each other rather well. Jack is the affable assistant manager who starts to find out how shitty his new job is. Mary is a damsel in distress… or is she? There’s a lot more to Mary than what we are initially shown. Ma & Pa are a twisted bunch that have brought all manner of monster children into the world. Dr. Ivan Ivanov is a shrewd researcher that may have found a bigger mess than even he can deal with at the apartments. The 3 inbred siblings are bizarre mutants that speak in their own language and have a freaky sense of humor. There are even deep connections to the overall Full Moon Features universe. The clown is creepy as hell and seems to serve no purpose other than to be creepy, also he is the human form of Jack Attack from Demonic Toys, Mr. Mascaro. Dr. Lorca from Hideous! is back to his old tricks. All in all, there are a ton of characters, and they are all unique and fascinating.
The twist at the end is gold! I won’t ruin it, but the last minute of the episode of Ravenwolf Towers ties the whole experience together expertly and makes you want to watch the next episode to see what happens.
What I didn’t like about Ravenwolf Towers: No complaints here. It is a great set up “pilot” episode that engages the viewer and hooks them into wanting to see more.
Bottom Line: You should definitely check out Ravenwolf Towers, it is a wonderfully creepy peek into a bizarre horror filled world that has as many layers as it does monsters and villains. This is the good stuff folks, every bit as engaging as classic Empire and Full Moon films from the 80’s and 90’s. It’s a well matched marriage of all of the various aspects of filmmaking that makes Full Moon movies so much fun to watch. It has a little bit of everything for the b-movie lover, and it does all of them very well. I highly recommend giving Ravenwolf Towers a viewing. Trust me on this, you will not be disappointed! Currently there are 3 episodes available of Ravenwolf Towers to watch on Full Moon’s Streaming service, or you can purchase them individually on DVD at the Full Moon Direct online store.
Check out the trailer for the series Ravenwolf Towers and see if you are ready to pay cash on the down low for a haunted apartment in Hollywood…