A group of monster hunters compete to take down a fearsome beast in order to gain possession of the Bloodstone, a powerful supernatural MacGuffin. However, one of the hunters may not quite be as human as they seem…

Presented in highly stylised black and white – with the Bloodstone and a rare few other elements notably causing splashes of colour – Werewolf by Night is a deliberately campy and atmospheric throwback to classic monster movies of the mid-20th century. Neat stylistic touches are thrown in even as early as the Marvel Studios logo; some evoke the technical quirks of old film reels too.

It’s a nice done-in-one, with Marvel billing it as a ‘Special Presentation’ – too long to use the old ‘One Shot’ label they used for MCU shorts, but with it being a one-off I guess some sort of identifier was needed for this type of story.

It’s well written and surprisingly gory; much more graphic than the films it seeks to so cleverly ape. Master composer Michael Giacchino is clearly a fan of vintage monster movies; both the visuals and score (also provided by Giacchino) evoke a fantastic and authentic ambience.

An appearance from a classic Marvel monster is probably the highlight of the Special; he’s brought to life brilliantly and in a sympathetic way that again evokes the monster movies of yesteryear.

If I have a complaint, it’s that the Werewolf design itself is a bit of a letdown, especially given the strong and iconic look of the original comic character, who’s been a favourite of mine since I first discovered unloved, discounted Werewolf by Night comic books in a comic shop bargain bin in the 80s.

Other than that, this is a roaring success – it’s definitely a shame that this is a one-off special, but if it leads to more Twilight Zone-esque tales of the macabre set in the MCU, that’s certainly something I’d welcome.

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