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October 29, 2011 – In 2008 a couple of Minnesota filmmakers brought the werewolf to Slamdance with their short, There’s A Werewolf In My Attic. Director Sam Thompson and writer Tucker Dryden filled their water bottles with gin and headed for the silver screens of Park City. The duo arrived with thirty-five bucks worth of Werewolf posters, a rationed supply of sandwiches and a couple shoddy air mattresses. The filmmakers’ DIY spirits were well met by the Festival and earned them the honorary title of the Official Werewolf Experts of Slamdance. In the spirit of Howl-o-ween, Slamdance revisits There’s a Werewolf in My Attic.

The Plot: A young couple moves into a suburban home next to their favorite coffee shops and thrift stores. They soon realize why the rent is so cheap when they find a malnourished and feisty werewolf living in their attic.

“We knew we wanted to make a movie about monsters in a domestic setting. We were first talking about an evil-conjoined twin at the dinner table who vomited a lot. Then we were considering mummies for a while,” explains Thompson. The filmmakers eventually went the way of the wolf but approached it with a fresh spin, incorporating commentary on urban development and veganism.

The filmmakers’ werewolf mythology skews the commercial romanticism of the beast à la the Lautner lycanthrope in the popular Twilight series. According to Dryden, for example, werewolves do not necessarily require a full moon to mate. A couple of heated howlers might be spotted doggy-style “under the high school bleachers or next to a pinball machine on a Friday night,” he claims.

Slamdance programmer Andrew Piccone celebrates these filmmakers’ fresh stab at the wolf. “It could have easily been a Man vs. Beast bloodbath,” he says. “But hipster-kid gentrifiers don’t kill, they displace.”

Slamdance asks the experts: What is the best werewolf transformation in film history?
According to Thompson, "The transformation scene in The Company of Wolves (1984) was especially freaky. But for its long, deliberate, gruesome shots and choice of music, hands-down, American Werewolf in London (1981) is the best."

The two have followed up with a four-part “Werewolf Prevention Guide.” In this satirically self-aware web series, host David Jensen provides step-by-step instructions for keeping your home safe and free from werewolf attacks. Here’s a clipping from their brochure, “A Vegan’s Guide to Werewolf Ownership”:
Since the premiere of There’s a Werewolf in My Attic, Slamdance has continued to recognize innovative efforts within the werewolf subgenre. The 2009 Screenplay winner, Guilty Moon, by Brian La Rosa, follows a lycanthrope hit man. What’s next in the evolution of the classic beast? One can only hope it has little to do with shape-shifters.

For the record, Sparky—the Festival’s feral friend and faithful mascot—is NOT a werewolf. However, he is suspected to have rabies from spending so many years celebrating the underground. This news from nowhere is yet to be confirmed.

Check out this test footage from There’s A Werewolf In My Attic:


By Ben Hethcoat
ben@slamdance.com

[Ed. Tad Hethcoat]