Michael Giacchino Explains Why He Loves Monsters In Marvel's Werewolf By Night Documentary

Michael Giacchino recently broke the established Marvel formula with his television special, "Werewolf by Night," which /Film's Chris Evangelista described as "a quick, violent, funny monster movie homage." Giacchino's special presentation functions as a love letter to classic monster movies of the 1930s and '40s, and features creatures of the night that were made with the help of practical effects. "Director by Night," the latest making-of documentary about the latest MCU offering, similarly breaks the mold by taking a personal, heartwarming approach to highlighting Giacchino's love for filmmaking since he was a child.

Michael's brother, Anthony Giacchino, who is an established documentary filmmaker, maps the journey of "Werewolf by Night" in a refreshingly candid fashion. The documentary, however, is more focused on Michael's arc from a kid passionate about filmmaking to being widely known for his talents as a composer, to finally directing a Marvel movie about classic monsters. When his brother asks him, "What's with you and monsters?" Michael Giacchino explains his love for the fantastical:

"I was always into the fantastical...sci-fi and horror films. And I love monsters. Monsters are struggling with something. There's something going on in their lives that they can't control, and they're trying to figure it out and make it work. All of these monsters and creatures are allegories for the human hardships that we all go through. To me, it's the exploration of how they cope with the demons in their life."

Giacchino's perception of monsters is in full display in "Werewolf by Night" — he does not view them simply as horror devices meant to thrill, but as metaphors for human suffering and perseverance. For Giacchino, there's more to a monster than sharp claws and fanged teeth.

Monsters reflect the human condition

Giacchino's words are as sincere as they get, spoken while juxtaposed against footage of him passionately involved with the practical monster-costume creation process behind-the-scenes. The way in which Giacchino views monsters as more than sources of terror is interesting: he understands that they stand for something more, and reflect the painful process of contending with one's demons. In "Werewolf by Night," Giacchino employs age-old horror tropes like decrepit mansions and powerful artifacts to weave an engaging, gory tale, where are the monsters are meant to function as allegories for the human condition. 

Moreover, the hunters in the film are the ones actively engaging in a competitive tournament of sorts for the Bloodstone, thus fulfilling the tropes of "the thrill of the hunt" and the violence that comes with it, which are traditionally associated with monsters. Jack (Gael García Bernal) emerges as an interesting character with each foot in two different worlds, who is forced to face his demons head-on while trying to preserve his inherent humanity. There's a running metaphor of humans acting monstrous and monsters being humane beneath the bursts of CGI beam lights and cigarette burns, and Giacchino seems earnestly dedicated to this vision. His monsters grapple with who they are and what they're meant to represent while trying their damnedest to reconcile with their problems.

 Apart from explaining Giacchino's love for monsters, "Director by Night" also touches upon the composer-turned-director's dedication to filmmaking, which first actualized in the form of impressive, homemade features made on Super 8 film. Giacchino's reunion with his childhood friends, whom he acted alongside and made the films with, is easily a high point in this emotionally-resonant documentary. Please go watch it, it will be worth your time.  

"Director by Night" is currently streaming on Disney+.