REVIEW: Ravenwolf Towers, Episode One: Bad Mary
– By Dave Dubrow
Ravenwolf Towers, a serial program, is the latest offering from Charles Band’s indispensable Full Moon Features production company. Horror fans young, old, and in-between (like me) will remember Full Moon fondly from classics like the Puppet Master series, the Demonic Toys series, Dollman, Dollman vs. Demonic Toys (natch), The Gingerdead Man, and the Trancers series (my personal favorites), among many others.
The first episode of Ravenwolf Towers is titled Bad Mary, and it has every single element of a Full Moon feature that you remember from years’ past, making it an instant hit: gratuitous nudity; blood-splattering gore; horrible screams of agony; and a story that combines magic and science into a bizarre, fascinating mix. Characters from previous Full Moon productions make themselves known throughout the episode’s 30-minute runtime, like Dr. Lorca from 1997’s Hideous! and the clownified Mr. Mascaro from 1999’s Blood Dolls. Nevertheless, enjoying Ravenwolf Towers doesn’t require you to be familiar with these characters; it has a story all its own.
The titular setting is a rundown Hollywood hotel that houses some particularly strange figures, including the altogether disgusting Family who owns it (oh yes, this Family needs a capital F). Jake, a blandly handsome young man, has just become the assistant manager of Ravenwolf Towers, and…well, you just have to watch what happens. Weird characters go in and out, like the compelling Dr Ivan Ivanoff and the revolting, deformed twins who speak their own language, among others. Accepting employment at Ravenwolf seems very much like a last resort-sort of enterprise, but we don’t see enough of Jake to understand why he’s here.
If there are any weaknesses to Ravenwolf Towers, it’s that the material is bigger than some of the actors’ ability to portray it (a not-uncommon issue of Full Moon productions). There’s complexity, intrigue, and hints of darker things than we’ve already seen, making this must-see TV for any horror fan.
Full Moon Features will release a new Ravenwolf Towers episode every full moon, and the next full moon rises on January 12. I’m counting the nights until episode 2.