Full Moon Features: The Wolves of Wall Street

Writer/producer/director/hack-of-all-trades David DeCoteau has had what could charitably be called a varied career. Over the past three decades he’s racked up more than 100 directing credits, many of them under pseudonyms, with cable horror staples like Creepozoids and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama among the earliest features he was willing to sign his actual name to. More recently his increasingly voluminous output has been alternating between the homoerotic “boxer-briefs horror” of the 1313 series, somewhat more family-friendly fare like A Halloween Puppy and An Easter Bunny Puppy, and hilariously overpunctuated titles like A Talking Cat!?!, A Talking Pony!?! and My Stepbrother Is a Vampire!?! — the last two of which are currently in post (where their myriad problems will assuredly not get fixed). A bargain-basement auteur who prizes quantity over quality, his films routinely wind up in the lower reaches of the IMDb’s user ratings, so why would I waste my time watching even one of them? The answer is simple: In 2002, DeCoteau made a werewolf movie. Sort of.

Wolves of the Wall Street (not to be confused with Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, although I’m sure it will be from here on out) is the rather fanciful tale of a hot young go-getter (William Gregory Lee) who moves to the big bad city to follow his dream of renting a filthy apartment from Louise Lasser and landing a job at a prestigious Wall Street brokerage firm. The first part’s a piece of cake, but as Lee discovers while pounding the pavement, his lack of experience hinders him on the second front until he meets wisecracking bartender Elisa Donovan, who brings him to the attention of Eric Roberts, the senior partner at Wolfe Brothers, which takes him on as a trainee along with four other hopefuls that we never see or hear from again after their first orientation session.

Right off the bat, screenwriter Barry L. Levy leans hard on the wolf metaphors, having Roberts make pronouncements like “This is a predatory business. In order to survive, you identify what you want and go after it.” Later, his right-hand man (Michael Bergin) comes right out and calls himself and his fellow brokers Roberts’s “pack” and repeats a lot of his dialogue, which becomes a running motif of sorts. (In fact, you could make a hell of a drinking game out of this movie merely by taking a sip every time somebody says “broker,” “pack” or “predator.” And you have to finish your drink whenever someone says the line “‘Can’t’ isn’t in your vocabulary,” which happens more often than you would reasonably expect.) Then there’s the scene where Roberts urinates on Lee’s leg, which is his way of declaring, “I own everything in here.” But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After he survives his first of two weeks as a trainee, Lee returns to Donovan’s bar and asks her out, but she turns him down flat with an “I don’t date brokers,” but that does little to deter him and the next day she’s cooking for him, giving him a fancy silver pen (gee, I wonder if that’s going to come in handy later on) and going to bed with him. Meanwhile, Bergin and his cohorts blow off some steam by stripping down to their black boxer-briefs and advancing on all fours on a couple of enthroned hookers they’ve hired for the weekend. Disappointingly, none of them grows so much as a single hair on his chest in the process, but they do proceed to sniff and lick the women all over — and presumably devour them after DeCoteau cuts away to a shot of the full moon, over which we hear their screams. (Incidentally, I would not recommend drinking every time you see the full moon because in this film it’s full for weeks on end and you would surely contract alcohol poisoning before you made it to the closing credits.)

At the end of his training period, Lee fulfills Bergin’s prediction by being the only one to make the cut, at which point Roberts bestows upon him the ring that all Wolfe Brothers brokers wear. The real transference comes that night, though, when he’s plied with shots and bitten on the neck under the light of the full moon. After that his wardrobe undergoes a transformation (even if he does not) and Bergin coaches him though his “growing pains,” telling him “You need to stop thinking like a human. You’re better than that now.” However, apart from his heightened senses (in one scene he smells another man’s cologne on Donovan, precipitating a fight), there are no outward manifestations of lycanthrophy, real or delusional, which renders Donovan’s claim that he’s becoming “some sort of monster” nonsensical. (At the point she says this, his worst offense is that he’s stopped returning her calls.)

There’s more — quite a bit more, in fact — but I’m going to take pity on myself and skip to the end, which finds Lee stupidly announcing in person his intention to leave the firm. (Why couldn’t he just give his notice over the phone?) This, of course, leads to a standoff between him and the non-hairy, barely-identifiable-as-such werewolves of Wall Street, who have, of course, taken Donovan hostage. And they, of course, all go down in turn, felled by Lee’s fancy silver pen, allowing him to return to a normal life. Sure, he has a few murders on his conscience (including one of a gay street hustler), but as long as he and his girl get to ride off into the moonset everything’s hunky dory, right?