Project Metalbeast

Year: 1995
Production Co: Blue Ridge Entertainment
Director: Alessandro De Gaetano
Writer: Alessandro De Gaetano/Timothy E Sabo
Cast: Kim Delaney, Barry Bostwick, Kane Hodder, John Marzilli

Along with Australian exploitation thriller Frenchman's Farm, I've had this movie on my 'to watch' list longer than any other. I finally tracked down a copy on DVD after years of waiting for the opportunity.

My first impression was that it wasn't nearly as bad as I spent years fearing it would be. The premise and conceit were pure B movie schlock, but despite the obviously low budget, everyone from the effects and make-up people to the cast (including then-babe Kim Delaney) give it their all.

Some time in the 70s, scary US secret agent Butler (Marzilli) is in Hungary trying to get a sample of werewolf blood, with the purpose of bringing it back to the US to create the ultimate breed of soldier.

When the unhinged Butler – in his frustration at the red tape surrounding him – injects himself with the sample, he goes the rest of the way bonkers, and is only narrowly captured and put in cryostasis before he kills everyone.

Fast forward to the mid 90s, when the delectable Anne (Delaney) and her team of Defence Department scientists are experimenting with technology that renders skin impervious to bullets by turning it into metal that grows to cover the whole body.

They come across Butler's body and decide to use him as a test case, grafting the skin to him and seeing what happens. Bad idea on a werewolf you've just woken up from cryofreeze. Before long the team realise what they've done when an angry werewolf covered from head to toe with bullet-immune metallic skin goes on a rampage through their base.

The creature (complete with deadly steel dreadlocks) picks them off one by one until Anne has to save the day – so far, so Alien.

But the director (smartly) doesn't scrimp on the blood and guts, and even though it's a guy in a suit (Kane Hodder, who went on to play Jason Vorhees in several of the later Friday the 13th sequels), the beast looks better than plenty of movie werewolves in bigger budgeted movies since then.

Like many werewolf movies it's far from a classic, but it's the best it can possibly be given the creative and production constraints.

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