Werewolf by Night, the latest Marvel production, is the first-ever TV special by the franchise. The special, in its scope and nature, is quite distinct from the usual Marvel outputs. It is a fresh attempt by the franchise, whose products were famously termed “theme park rides” by iconic filmmaker Martin Scorsese.
Shot almost entirely in black-and-white and using 35mm cameras, the special is a throwback to the campy horror movies made by Universal and Hammer during the 1920s-1940s. Although the special introduces us to characters who we have not seen earlier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), there are a number of Easter eggs and homages one can locate throughout its 53-minute running time.
Nod to Marvel vampires
The Bloodstone family is known for their monster-hunting skills, and it can be said without a doubt that they have had meetings with some fierce vampires from the MCU. In the film’s opening sequence, a drawing appears that looks like a vampire. Moreover, there is a stuffed vampire bust present in the Bloodstone Manor. With the release of Morbius and the upcoming Blade film featuring Mahershala Ali, is this Marvel’s way of saying they are going big on monsters soon?
Also Read| Werewolf by Night is a fun throwback to campy Universal classic monster movies
The Wizard of Oz
At the end of the fight between Verussa’s monster hunts and the team of Russell and Elsa Bloodstone, Elsa sits in a chair and takes ownership of her father’s property. This is when her body fills up with colour. The music that plays in the background at this moment? Judy Garland’s Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz. In a wonderful cinematic reference, Giacchino makes us remember that in the 1939 classic, the screen turned from black-and-white to colour as soon as Dorothy reaches the Land of Oz.
Both in the trailer and the special, Giacchino, an Academy Award-winning music composer himself, uses the violin screech made famous in the bathroom murder sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal 1960 film, Psycho. Just like Norman Bates in Psycho, here too when the uninitiated first meet Jack Russell, they hardly know he is capable of turning into a vicious monster.
Also Read| Werewolf by Night director says ‘no immediate plans’ for a Moon Knight crossover
Names on the tombs
Although we may wonder whether the names on the tombs among which Elsa and Jack get locked might be references to Marvel characters, such is not the case. Some of them are homages to Giacchino’s friends. For example, the name Mika Brandonen Kleyla appears on a stone. It is a reference to Brandon Kleyla, an art director who has worked as a Disney Imagineer.