Is low budget found footage film “Wolf House” better than the sum of its parts?

A. Quinton — Jan. 20th 2018

I came across this 2016 found footage film from directors Matt D. Lord and Ken Cosentino while looking for recent werewolf films to add to the big list. I haven’t seen it yet and I wasn’t expecting to be interested, but after a little research, I’m intrigued.

The plot cooked up by writers Cosentino and Elizabeth Houlihan (synopsis below) sounds like a mashup of horror tropes way too ambitious for its purported $5,000 budget, and the trailer’s editing seems totally at odds with the vibe of the scenes it keeps interrupting, but the reviews tend to land in the “not bad” to “pretty good” range. The actors seem naturalistic and I’m pretty sure I can smell whatever’s in that blue tarp.

Wolf House is currently available on Amazon and Google Play. I’m not a fan of found footage movies (why are you filming your imminent death instead of RUNNING AWAY) but if this ever shows up on Netflix I might have to give it a shot.

Six friends on a camping trip think they have discovered, and killed, a sasquatch. But what they have actually unleashed is something more evil, more ancient and more deadly than they could ever imagine – an army of supernatural terrors that will hunt them until no one remains.

Weekly Werewolf Art: “Werewolf Heads” by Popuche

A. Quinton — Jan. 15th 2018

Popuche is an art student from France whose work focusses on sci-fi, cryptid and horror concepts. I particularly like her character and environment designs, and the organic warmth of her colour choices.

Her recent piece “Werewolf Heads” features the detached and mounted domepieces of fourteen of cinema’s most famous werewolves. It’s fascinating to see so many different werewolf designs presented in the same image, side-by-side. Depending on your point of view, the variety of aesthetics and scale either

  1. highlights the diversity of werewolf concepts, or
  2. underscores the reality that no one can agree what the hell these beasts are supposed to look like.

Check it out for yourself. Can you name them all without zooming in to read the tags? I got eleven out of fourteen.

Editor’s note: Weekly Werewolf Art is an old feature of Werewolf News that I’m hoping to bring back. I’ll be spotlighting werewolf art that I find interesting, technically great or otherwise noteworthy. Out of respect for the artists, I will never repost the original – only a cropped thumbnail, and an image embed where the source permits.

The Onion: “Townsfolk Strongly Prefer Man’s Werewolf Incarnation”

A. Quinton — Jan. 12th 2018

According to locals, blacksmith Hans Meyer sucks real bad, and everyone wishes he would just remain a terrifying human-wolf hybrid.

“We may lose a few sheep or cattle every month, but it’s worth it to get a break from that guy’s constant bitching,” said candlemaker Fritz Hermann, adding that at least when Meyer is a werewolf he doesn’t have that annoying laugh.

I love The Onion so much.

Lycanthropy, motherhood collide in gothic Brazilian horror drama “Good Manners” (As Boas Maneiras)

A. Quinton — Jan. 11th 2018

When I asked folks on Twitter to let me know about any upcoming werewolf movies missing from my list, Full Moon Features writer Craig J. Clark sent in a link to Good Manners (“As Boas Maneiras” in its native Portuguese), a 2017 horror drama from writer / director team Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas.

The film tells the story of Clara, a nurse from a São Paulo favela, who finds herself the adoptive mother of a werewolf child after his mother dies giving birth to him under a full moon. And that’s just the first act!

Reviews so far are unanimously positive. The Hollywood Reporter described it as “a hybrid of art house and genre cinema [that combines] sharp social commentary with grand guignol fantasy”.

The synopses, the reviews and even the poster position this as the sort of story I want more of – lycanthropy is integral to the story, but not necessarily the subject of the story.

I don’t read Portuguese so it’s hard for me to be sure, but I think Good Manners is currently in what I like to call “international festival limbo”. It screened at a variety of South American festivals in 2017, but it doesn’t yet seem to be slated for any 2018 appearances, and there are no details regarding international distribution. Keep an eye out for purchase / rental links here when that latter bit changes.

Edit: Indiana University Cinema has screenings scheduled for January 25th and 26th, if you can make it to Bloomington.

Further edit: Writer / director Marco Dutra commented on this very post to confirm the film had two US festival appearances, and that more are on the way!

In the meantime, here are some promo photos and a trailer. This film looks gorgeous and I can’t wait for it to traumatize me!

Birth.Movies.Death on The Amicus Vault Of Horror: “The Beast Must Die!”

A. Quinton — Jan. 6th 2018

Birth.Movies.Death has an interesting review of The Beast Must Die. Writer Jacob Knight speaks more highly of the 1974 exploitation film than Craig J. Clark did in his Full Moon Features review, although both writers noted the laggy pacing and “it’s just a dog” werewolf effects. The film is getting a new release on January 16th as part of the Amicus Collection, where it will join And Now The Screaming Starts and Asylum on Blu-ray for the first time.

Yes, the basic concept behind The Beast Must Die! (’74) is one Amicus’ most ingeniously exploitive: an Agatha Christie riff (call it Ten Little Lycanthropes), combining the racial tension of Blaxploitation with the modern updates of monster movies the studio had made its calling card over the last decade, competing with Hammer Studios for supreme dominance of the ’70s British horror market. Soon, six associates will arrive at Newcliffe’s home, all with various shady backstories. One of the them is a werewolf, and when the full moon rises that evening, the noble hunter assures us all that the beast must die.

This strikes me as one of those werewolf films that everyone assumes every other werewolf fan has seen, but I missed it growing up, when it aired on channels we didn’t get, far after I was supposed to be in bed. Now that I can just watch it at home at my leisure, I might need to cross this off my list, although I might opt for the more affordable stand-alone DVD release from 2006.

The conclusion of Craig J. Clark’s Full Moon Features review nearly encapsulates the reason I haven’t bumped this film higher up my list:

The biggest disappointment, though, is when the monster is revealed to be a big, black German shepherd. That’s not a beast that needs to die. It probably just wants to go walkies.

“Lycanimator” trailer leans hard into goopy, colourful B-movie territory

A. Quinton — Jan. 5th 2018

Whatever you might say about its production values or its gratuitous fetish content (“Who’s afraid of the big slimy wolf?” sounds like a writing prompt for a very DeviantArt sort of short story), writer / director / actor Sébastien Godin‘s upcoming film Lycanimator certainly looks fresh as hell. I spy that one werewolf mask everyone’s using in their low-budget werewolf movies, but it gets remixed into a horrific neon nightmare of ooze and incredibly long claws. Dread Central has the exclusive trailer (or watch it below) and more credits. Keep an eye on its Facebook page and its Werewolf Movies entry for release dates.

Full Moon Features: Something with Bite (2008)

Craig J. Clark — Jan. 1st 2018

This holiday season, Netflix subscribers received a lump of coal in their stocking in the form of Bright, a movie with more than a passing resemblance to 1988’s Alien Nation since it’s about a human cop reluctantly partnered up with an orc. Coming on the heels of 2015’s poorly received Victor Frankenstein, screenwriter Max Landis’s last high-concept genre effort, this doesn’t exactly bode well for his plans to retool the story of his forthcoming American Werewolf in London remake, but if one looks back about a decade in his CV, it’s possible to have a glimmer of hope for what might be.

It’s hard to imagine now, but long before he had any features to his name, Landis was just an up-and-comer whose sole writing credit was on the Masters of Horror episode Deer Woman, on which he collaborated with its director, who just so happened to be his father. When Showtime decided two Masters of Horror seasons were enough, creator Mick Garris sold NBC on a similar anthology called Fear Itself and brought the younger Landis on board to pen one of its episodes. The result was the scrappy werewolf tale Something with Bite, which never aired on the network because it pulled the plug on the ratings-challenged series after eight episodes in favor of airing the 2008 Summer Olympics. Talk about shortsighted.

Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson — another Masters of Horror veteran — Something with Bite stars Wendell Pierce as tubby, lethargic veterinarian Wilbur Orwell, who’s good with animals but whose home life isn’t all it could be. (His wife and son both feel neglected, and with good reason.) Then he gets bitten by an injured werewolf that’s brought to his clinic when it’s hit by a truck and, well, things start turning around for our man Wilbur. Not only does he develop a heightened sense of smell (along with the ability to transform into a large, hairy, ravenous beast at will), but he also becomes more assertive with his employees and attentive to his family. The only hitch is the series of apparent animal attacks that has been plaguing the city. The police detective on the case believes they’re the work of a man (“A disturbed man, but still a man.”) and somehow comes to suspect Wilbur, which puts him on the spot. After all, if he doesn’t remember everything he does when he’s a wolf, how does he know for sure that he didn’t do them?

Maybe I’m biased, but when I eventually caught up with Something with Bite on DVD, I found it to be one of Fear Itself‘s better episodes. Its take on werewolf lore is interesting (for instance, did you know there are vegan werewolves?) and Landis leavens the script with enough humor to keep it from getting too dark. I also like the design of the beast, which Dickerson is able to give a fair amount of screen time at the climax. Even in extreme closeup it manages to be convincing, which is quite an achievement given the budget constraints. Should Landis’s American Werewolf redo see the light of day, I hope to be able to say the same thing about the creature his special effects team conjures up.

UK werewolf film “Carnivore: Werewolf of London” is out in North America

A. Quinton — Dec. 23rd 2017

Writer/director Simon Wells‘s low-budget feature film is now available for purchase States-size from Amazon and Google Play. It stars Atlanta Johnson and Ben Loyd Holmes  (who also produced), plus this wooly, beady-eyed werewolf.

“Whilst trying to reignite their relationship at a remote cottage,” the promo copy reads, “Dave and Abi are stalked by a terrifying secret.”

I searched the trailer for hints as to what the secret could be, since the presence of a werewolf is right there in the title. Here’s my guess: the secret is that the poster art bears no relation whatsoever to the content of the film, which does not take place in London, and which seems like a thin story wrapped around excuses to have Johnson scream very loudly and show a fit Holmes with his shirt off.

Conduct your own investigation with the trailer here:

“Night Shift” comic by Tandye Rowe shows why you don’t force a werewolf to work late

A. Quinton — Dec. 18th 2017

For our twelfth wedding anniversary, my wife Tandye surprised me by creating this four-page comic in which a fictionalized version of me works at a fictional job and runs into a little problem with a fictional asshole boss. It’s called “Night Shift”, and I got her permission to post it here for Werewolf News readers to enjoy. You can check out a preview page below, and you can download it as a PDF here:

Tandye Rowe – Night Shift.pdf [12.7MB]

If you’d like to see more of Tandye’s monster art, you can check out her Redbubble site, where many adorable killer creatures lurk.

Watch “Transitions” horror short’s award-winning werewolf effects

A. Quinton — Dec. 17th 2017

Edit 2018-01-06: the Vimeo link was password protected for a few days in December, but it seems to be public again.

Werewolf short film “Transitions” was an Official Selection in the 2017 Bleedingham Horror Short Film Festival, and it won four awards, including Best Special Effects and a respectable 3rd Place in Cinematography. Congratulations to director Eddie Hayes and the rest of the folks involved! This was a great little short with some nice transformation effects, although the werewolf could’ve used a wet wipe and I feel like there could have been two howls at the end.