It’s pretty amazing that this French-language film played cineplexes in the United States, but I saw it twice in theaters during its run and bought the DVD as soon as it came out. This is a film that I am evangelical about, purchasing numerous copies for people and recommending it to countless more.
How many other movies do you know that have incestual werewolves battling the martial arts of a royal naturalist and his Native American companion while Monica Belucci plays a courtesan who is really an assassin for the Pope?
Grégoire de Fronsac, a knight of King Louis XV of France, and his Iroquois friend Mani (Mark Dacascos) have come to the French village of Gévaudan. A mysterious beast has been killing people and seems to be controlled by a human master.
The truth is that the town — in fact the entire country — is consumed in a conspiracy to undermine the king of France. Somehow, this beast will help their cause, as the Brotherhood of the Wolf wants to restore God through blood and chaos.
Not many period pieces combine horror, martial arts and mystery all in one movie, but I’ve always found this combination to be perfect. There’s also an audacious shot of Belucci’s cleavage that transforms into a mountain range that is so ridiculous that I cheered in the theater.
This was based on a true story, as the Beast of Gévaudan was a wolf-like creature that killed 100 people in the Auvergne and South Dordogne regions of France from 1764 to 1767. Also, all od the primary characters, with the exception of Mani, actually were real people who lived during the time of King Louis XV.
Director Christopher Gans also made Crying Freeman, a Japanese anime adaption also with Dacascos, a 2014 reimagination of Beauty and the Beast (starring Vincent Cassel as The Beast, who — spoiler — is a member of The Brotherhood of the Wolf) and video game adaption Silent Hill.
There’s really no other movie like this. I’ve barely scratched the surface of it in my explanation, but that’s because I want you to discover it for yourself.