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As this website shows, Werewolf by Night is most likely set in 2025. Because of this, why is the whole film (except the ending) black and white, and what significance does this technique have?

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    Why is the date it is set relevant?
    – iandotkelly
    Oct 19, 2022 at 21:07
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    I think that if you asked the question in a different context rather than basing the question of it being in black and white solely on the year that it was set in, your question might be received more favorably :) Oct 19, 2022 at 23:47
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    @iandotkelly Films set around the black-and-white era of film may be black and white simply to match the aesthetic of films in that era for one reason or another (not that this is the only reason a film might be black and white).
    – NotThatGuy
    Oct 20, 2022 at 11:59
  • It makes the visual effects much cheaper, you don't have to pay for all those differently-coloured pixels. Oct 20, 2022 at 12:59
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    @steelersquirrel When it is set is (somewhat) relevant because if it were set in the black-and-white era of film, then that may have been the reason why it's in black and white (not: this film is in black and white because it was set in the black-and-white era of film, as you're reading it).
    – NotThatGuy
    Oct 20, 2022 at 15:14

2 Answers 2

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Werewolf by Night is a homage to classic horror films from the 1940s and 1950s (back when most films were in black-and-white). According to Michael Giacchino, Werewolf by Night director, "from the very beginning, [Werewolf by Night] needed to be in black-and-white."

Another reason was to allow more blood and gore in the TV special and still have a content rating (TV-14, rather than TV-MA) consistent with other MCU films and TV shows.

Men's Health: The special is packed with references to classic horror movies and monster movies. What are some of your favorites that maybe people have missed so far?

Giacchino:: The whole film is basically a love letter to all of them, and a lot of my favorites were, I mean, King Kong, I loved The Wolf Man, Werewolf of London, An American Werewolf in London, all of these things are so ingrained in my heart, from years of watching them…The Creature From the Black Lagoon— all of the Universal stuff. But then all of the stuff like Ultraman. I loved Ultraman growing up as a TV Show, and I also loved Godzilla. There’s a little bit of that in Man-Thing, you know, that sort of giant creature thing. It’s sort of a mash-up of everything.

- Michael Giacchino Grew Up Loving Classic Horror. With Werewolf by Night, He Made a Horror Classic. Men's Health (emphasis mine)

“Monster movies to me are nothing but allegories for people with problems,” Giacchino muses. “Every time I would watch ‘King Kong’ or ‘The Wolf Man,’ and everyone would be chasing them with torches, trying to kill them, I would always feel so badly for them. I’m like, ‘Guys, he doesn’t want to be doing this! He doesn’t want to be rampaging! He’s got an issue and he needs help.'”

So “Werewolf by Night” isn’t just a scare fest. An homage to 1940s horror films (like those ’70s comic books), it invites sympathy for its characters and even has a sense of humor. Giacchino especially admired 1982’s “Poltergeist” as “a film that wonderfully walked the line of heart, humor and horror. It’s not easy; you need a lot of checks and balances,” he says. “If a story keeps its sights on heart, humor and humanity, then you are free to do some crazier stuff on the fringes of that story.”

The 53-minute one-shot special is also in black-and-white. “In my mind, from the very beginning, it needed to be in black-and-white,” he says. There was skepticism from the upper echelons of Marvel, he hints, so it was filmed in color but “we had a special monitor that allowed me to see what it was going to look like” in case the monochrome plan was finally approved.

- Werewolf by Night’ Director Michael Giacchino Explains How He Convinced Kevin Feige to Let Horror Special Be in Black and White. Variety (emphasis mine)

Collider: You got away with a lot more blood and guts than I expected. I was very surprised. Do you think that happened because you were shooting it in black and white?

Giacchino:: I think that helped us. It certainly didn't hurt us. I think that doing something like this, we were able to push a little further into that direction than we might have if he had done it any other way. I think people will still be surprised when they see it. The people who are just turning it on and seeing, but hey, that's part of the fun of it. I felt like as long as it didn't become sadistic ... that was our thing. Because I'm very squeamish generally. I don't like slasher movies for that reason. So, I didn't want it to ever get into that realm where it's just indiscriminate killing. Everything needed to have a reason and a why and a how and all of that. So, I do think that being in black and white helped us with a lot of that, keeping it in that realm.

- Michael Giacchino Talks Directing ‘Werewolf By Night’ and How Shooting in Black and White Allowed For More Blood & Guts. Collider (emphasis mine) (Video of interview)

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Explained here:

Speaking with ComicBook.com's Phase Zero, Werewolf by Night executive producer Brian Gay noted that this color palette was utilized to give extra emphasis to this special presentation being something "really different."

"What I think is is it's about the story. We knew we were gonna tell a story. These are vicious monster hunters. They're not gonna sit around and just have a nice dinner. We're gonna get them out there. They're gonna be fighting. They're gonna be hunting. And with that, the story requires that we give you that scare and give you that element of what it is," Gay said. "I think the black and white is something that makes it special and makes it, I'll call it just like a little bit of an extra twist on top that makes you, 'Oh, this is really different and this is cool.' There's a stylization to it that not only is an homage to those classic monster movies but just feels new within the MCU."

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    Also note that Marvel avoid an R rating as any blood will be black and not red. The ratings people have a real issue with buckets of scarlet gore.
    – Paulie_D
    Oct 19, 2022 at 20:42

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