By: Joe Meyers


Viewed at an advance screening at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theater on 6/22/21. In theaters on 6/25/21 and available to rent on VOD starting 7/2/21

Based on/inspired by the Ubisoft game, WEREWOLVES WITHIN is about a group of people trapped in a hotel/bed & breakfast, and cut off from the rest of the world in a tiny, mountain town. When bodies start popping up they realize the killer is among them, and the murderer just may well be…a werewolf!!? WEREWOLVES WITHIN is the horror-comedy offspring of CLUE and KNIVES OUT, raised by NORTH EXPOSURE while residing in TWIN PEAKS…and I absolutely *LOVED* the movie.  

Writer Mishna Wolff (I mean, with that last name you’re required to create werewolf entertainment, right!?) turns in a sharp, witty, and hilarious script full of quirky, fun characters. If this is what she can do with her first screenplay, I can’t wait to see what else she gives us in the future. Horror-comedies are hit an miss with me at times, but she managed to write one that is all kinds of my brand of humor. There will be several lines of dialogue I know I’ll be quoting often. Director Josh Ruben, who gave us the amazing SCARE ME last year (available now on horror streaming service, Shudder!), once again proves he’s a filmmaker to watch. I honestly can’t recall the last time a director had a one-two punch like this at the beginning of their feature film work. 

While Mishna and Josh provide the foundation for this horror-whodunnit, the entire cast brings this world alive. While it is an ensemble, Sam Richardson’s Finn is the leading man glue that holds everything together, and he is our touchstone into the town of Beaverfield and the story. A clear stand out performance for me was Milana Vayntrub as Cecily, Beaverfield’s mail carrier and Finn’s/the audience’s de facto tour guide introducing him and us to all the quirky citizens. I only knew Milana from the AT&T commercials, but I truly hope her performance here catapults her into more projects. The chemistry between Sam and Milana is undeniable, and the film shines any time they share scenes together. I won’t go into the rest of the characters so you can meet them during your viewing without any spoilers, the less you know the better-trust, but you will see some familiar faces like Harvey Guillén (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS), Michaela Watkins (CASUAL and TRANSPARENT), Cheyenne Jackson (30 ROCK and AMERICAN HORROR STORY), and Michael Chernus (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK). Every single one of them is incredible, and all of the characters get their moment in the spotlight. 

If you’re able, I highly recommend seeing this in the cinema with a crowd. I believe the film will play best in that setting, but it would also be highly entertaining if you do utilize VOD to watch instead. In time I can see WEREWOLVES WITHIN becoming a beloved, cult film and midnight movie staple. Seeing people dressed up as various characters, and everyone quoting the lines in unison, would be sheer bliss to me. With it leaning heavily into the comedy part of horror-comedy the film feels made for that destiny. As always, horror is subjective and comedy may be even more so. This was totally in my wheelhouse, so I hope it’s the same for you. If not, I hope you do find something to enjoy with the film. It’s a special one, and the perfect shared cathartic welcome back to the cinema we need as more and more theaters begin to reopen and audiences return. 

Friday Night at the Video Store: Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988)

By Joe Meyers

My father is the King of horror B-film lovers so I wasn’t shocked when he told me on the morning of September 14th, 1991, “I caught part of a movie called ‘Sorority Babes in the Bowl-O-Rama of Death’ last night, let’s head to the video store to rent it later today.” How do I know the exact date? Because what he caught was part of an UP ALL NIGHT with Rhonda Shear episode that aired Friday the 13th, on the USA Network, featuring MEATBALLS III and SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA.


So, instead of discovering that hidden horror gem in the video store as we roamed the aisles, we began a trek to find this supposed cinematic horror masterpiece like it was The Holy Grail. Our stops at the video stores near us (this was the era where mom and pop shops still thrived alongside chain video stores, so we made many stops) proved unsuccessful. None of them had it on the shelf, and inquiries with the staff resulted in blank stares and “I’ve never heard of it before” replies. Dejected, but refusing to quit, we returned home where I was tasked with cracking open the phone book to call other video stores in the area.

Lucky for us an employee at a place I contacted looked the movie up in their VHS catalog, because he thought it “sounded cool.” Thankfully this is where the clerk gave me the correct title for the film, but followed that revelation up with bad news. They didn’t have it, although they could order it for us, BUT we’d have to pay roughly $80.00 for them to buy the VHS tape from their supplier. Surprisingly, usually not one with impulse buying control, my dad declined the offer. Armed with the actual title of the film I did hit pay dirt a few calls later at a mom and pop shop forty minutes away from us. Not only did they have the film, the tape was in, and they agreed to hold it for us.

Finally, back home with our VHS treasure, my pops and I settled in to view the David DeCoteau directed, and Sergei Hasenecz written (their only feature film writing credit), horror movie. It begins with three sad sacks, Calvin (Andras Jones), Jimmie (Hal Havins), and Keith (John Stewart Wilman) deciding to spy on the Tri-Delta sorority’s initiation ceremony.


Tri-Delta members Babs (Robin Stille), Rhonda (Kathi O’Brech), and Frankie (Carla Baron) haze sorority pledges Taffy (Brinke Stevens) and Lisa (Michelle Bauer) by having them strip down, and lean over the couch for spankings with the sorority house paddle. This is followed by a little whipped cream action which, OF COURSE, leads to Taffy and Lisa needing a shower. The guys decide to sneak into the sorority house, adding breaking and entering to their “Peeping Tom” resume, to watch the ladies showering only to get caught in the act by the Tri-Deltas.


As punishment (I guess?) Babs sends Calvin, Jimmie, and Keith with Taffy and Lisa on the final part of their initiation, breaking into the mall bowling alley to retrieve a bowling trophy. Bab’s father runs the mall so the Tri-Deltas are able to watch the heist attempt from monitors in the mall security office. The group successfully breaks in, only to find bad-ass biker chick, Spider (Linnea Quigley), already robbing the place. After some tense moments Spider helps them break into the trophy room, they retrieve their prize, and then all Hell breaks loose as the trophy is accidentally dropped…releasing an Imp (a puppet voiced by Michael David Sonye, better known as Dukey Flyswatter of the L.A. horror punk band Haunted Garage) who was trapped inside.


The Imp, looking like the love child of Shrek and Donkey, offers to grant everyone present a wish. Naturally there’s a catch as we enter “be careful what you wish for” territory. In quick secession all the wishes begin to go wrong, some of the group are turned into “Uncle Impie’s” demon minions, and others are dispatched in various ways around the bowling alley until the climatic, final battle against the Imp concludes. I’m being vague, and super “wrap up-ity” here, as to not spoil the fun for any potential first time viewers.

Was this the VHS gold at the end of the video store rainbow my dad made it out to be? Debatable, to be sure, but sixteen-year-old me enjoyed it for the horror sleaze that it was. Forty five-year-old me, watching again last week for the first time since that September day in 1991, sure sees it as a trashy, horror nostalgia trip best enjoyed with fellow horror-loving  friends/family and COPIOUS amounts of beer and pizza. Besides, you can’t go wrong with the awesomeness that is Linnea Quigley. There’s a reason the episode of UP ALL NIGHT my father happened upon that Friday the 13th almost three decades ago is a fan favorite of the series.

Now, if you’re from the UK, you may be thinking this sounds exactly like a movie you’ve seen before, but it wasn’t called SORORITY BABES IN THE SILMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA. That’s because it was released on video there under another title…THE IMP. I have to say I prefer the US title. I mean, yes, it’s a mouthful but it lays everything out on front street. This movie is exactly what it sounds like…pure 80’s, low-budget, T&A horror cheese. If that’s in your Film-watching wheelhouse, then dive on in with the rest of us slimeballs.