Wolfen (1981) – The Bronx
Polarized first-person perspective hunting shots are awesome, as seen in flicks like The Terminator and Predator, and to integrate that with Native American werewolves stalking their prey ratchets up the scare-factor tenfold. Based on a novel by author/alien abductee Whitley Strieber, Wolfen is sort of the odd duck among three werewolf movies from ’81 that dropped the creature into an urban setting (the other two being An American Werewolf in London and The Howling), yet while the other two had a lot more humor this one has a genuinely stark, chilling atmosphere. An abandoned church in the South Bronx is a particularly memorable location in which NYPD Captain Dewey Wilson (Albert Finney) investigates a series of grisly murders. This is also, weirdly, the only narrative feature by documentarian Michael Wadleigh, who directed Woodstock.
Dark Water (2005) – Roosevelt Island
Jennifer Connelly no doubt saw Naomi Watts bringing prestige to the horror genre while making hella bucks, and said, “I want me some of that ‘Ring’ money!” So, the Oscar-winner hopped on board the J-horror train with this remake, where she plays a mother in distress after the ceiling in her new apartment starts leaking icky water from the floor above. Without spoiling it, let’s just say landlord negligence is only PART of the problem. Any New Yorker who has paid the toll to ride that aerial tramway from Manhattan’s 2nd Ave knows how creepy Roosevelt Island is, filled with near-empty streets, perpetual cloud cover and even an abandoned mental institution or two. It’s a creepy place, and director Walter Salles nails that atmosphere in Dark Water.
Staten Island and Long Island play host to two classic terror flicks starring Margot Kidder on Page 5!