Get a little WolfCop in your life / in your home / on your body

April 17, 2014 by in Film, Television & Music, Gaming & Collectibles

Every time the creators and filmmakers behind WolfCop come up with something new, I holler like a maniac and run in an excited circle. Friends, I’ve been hollering and circling all morning. Yesterday they launched a $10,000 Indiegogo campaign to “take WolfCop beyond the big screen”, and its centrepiece is a little WolfCop to call your own. For $75 USD, you can get a 7.5″ vinyl figure with 16 points of articulation, sculpted by WolfCop creature FX artist Emersen Ziffle and produced by Erick Scarecrow of ESC Toys. There’s also a $200 limited edition deluxe version for the “big kid collector”, with some upgraded materials and extra perks to sweeten the deal.

WolfCop Action Figure

WolfCop Graphic Novel PreviewWolfCop T-Shirt

There are a ton of other levels, with rewards including VIP screening tickets, getting listed in the DVD / Blu-ray credits, an exclusive t-shirt, a print of that bad-ass poster, and even something at the $2 level that involves SnapChat and “WolfCop’s fleeting moments in heat”. Everyone who contributes at the $15 level or higher also gets a digital copy of the first WolfCop graphic novel from Arcana Studios, with two more entries in a potential trilogy as a stretch goal.

I’m already contributing at the $75 level, but I’m considering ruining myself financially in order to obtain the single $10,000 USD “Unleash Your Inner WolfCop” reward. That’s the one where Emmersen flies to your town and transforms you into WolfCop – latex appliances, fur, claws, uniform and all. Interesting that the cheapest and most expensive backer levels get you intimately acquainted with WolfCop’s fur.

The campaign runs until May 16th and they’re already over halfway funded, so I think they’re gonna make it.

Oh, and two more things: a sincere thank-you to Sarah and the WolfCop team for choosing me as one of the winners in their draw for a signed-by-Lowell print of this great set still! And if you’re at Fan Expo Vancouver tomorrow, I will be there too, saying hi to the WolfCop folks – and to you too!


Full Moon Features: The Beast Must Die

April 15, 2014 by in Film, Television & Music, Reviews

The Beast Must DieThe discerning lycanthropologist might be interested to know that the recently published reference book Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks includes entries on a number of classic werewolf films, including Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, The Curse of the Werewolf and The Company of Wolves. (Full disclosure: I contributed the chapter on Werewolf of London.) And somebody was also willing to go to bat for the werewolf-themed whodunnit The Beast Must Die, which was released 40 years ago this month.

Made by Amicus Productions, which was better known for its horror anthologies, The Beast Must Die is about a rich, eccentric big-game hunter (Calvin Lockhart) who invites five strangers out to his secluded estate because he believes one of them to be a werewolf — and when he finds out which one it is, he plans to put a silver bullet right between its eyes. To this end, he’s had his property rigged up with surveillance cameras and microphones by security expert Anton Diffring, who’s about the only person on the premises who’s not under suspicion. For all he knows, it could even be his own wife (Marlene Clark, star of Ganja & Hess), but obviously he would rather that not be the case.

Those watching The Beast Must Die for the first time might be confused by the opening, in which Lockhart tests out his security system by pretending to be the most dangerous game and having his own men hunt him down. Those watching it for the second time, however, will find it fairly tedious since we already know what the score is. Its one saving grace, though, is that Lockhart doesn’t speak much, because for the balance of the film he’s given some pretty damned pretentious dialogue for somebody who’s hosting an Agatha Christie-inspired werewolf-hunting party. This comes to the fore when he introduces the suspects: ex-diplomat Charles Gray, concert pianist Michael Gambon, his ex-pupil and current lover Ciaran Madden, hirsute painter Tom Chadbon, and noted archaeologist Peter Cushing. As it turns out, Cushing is also something of a werewolf expert, which is unfortunate for him as it means he has to deliver reams of pseudoscientific exposition, and in a fairly shaky accent to boot. (For example, did you know that lycanthropy is caused by a lymphatic hormone, or that silver is only poisonous to a werewolf when wolfbane pollen is in the air? I didn’t, either.)

I don’t want to make it sound like I’m completely down on the film. It’s not the worst werewolf film ever made — not by a long shot — but it’s definitely one of the least enthralling, especially the second time around. It sure doesn’t help that director Paul Annett pads the running time with a pointless car chase when one of Lockhart’s suspects attempts to flee, and the way he alternates between scenes of Lockhart stalking his prey at night and being stalked himself during the day loses its novelty in a hurry. 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.


A “Curse” worth having

April 14, 2014 by in Books & Comics

Curse #4 CoverThe dangers of a long journey home from a distant land can cast a haze on the memories of the adventure as a whole, unless the traveller returns with some bauble or token to commemorate the experience. That is why I drove home from Emerald City Comic Con – the gruelling two hours between Seattle and Vancouver just straight up riven with gentle rain and outlet stores – with three issues of Curse clutched to my chest. It was important… that I remember.

This isn’t a review, because I’m bad at those. This is me, a werewolf fan, asserting to you, a fellow werewolf fan, that Curse is excellent, and worth your time. Its four creators have made something like a tender paternal heart, then wrapped it in chains and stuffed it with wiry grey fur, blood-stained snow and the specific sadness that comes when you were real good at football but then someone stepped on your leg. Michael Moreci and Tim Daniel are bad men for thinking up a story where the character with the sunniest outlook is a kid with terminal cancer, and Riley Rossmo and Colin Lorimer are suspiciously adept at drawing human entrails.

The fourth and final issue comes out this Wednesday the 16th, and you can see an exclusive preview on Bloody Disgusting, but I recommend that you read the first three issues before you go there. There are some Bad Decisions happening in the preview pages, and you’re better off understanding the characters before you take sides.

It is true that I collected some other artifacts while at ECCC: an advance DVD of the excellent comics documentary Stripped, a physical copy of the splendid werewolf comic anthology Wolfen Jump, a smile and chat from Anathema creator Rachel Deering, and a persistent cold that my wife and I received from inhaling the coughs of tens of thousands of people. But for me, Curse stands out as the jewel for two reasons: 1) I wanted to read it because everyone says it’s really good, and 2) it turns out everyone’s right, it’s really good. You should check it out.


Help “House of Monsters” cross the finish line

April 9, 2014 by in Crowdsourced Projects, Film, Television & Music

The Kickstarter campaign for stop-motion series House of Monsters is currently eight days out from finishing, and while it looks like it’s building some momentum, it’s gonna need a little juice from monster fans to go all the way. Take a look at the campaign page or my previous HoM post for a rundown on why this project is worth your contribution (short version: talented and experienced people building and animating incredibly detailed monster puppets, including an excellent werewolf), or check out this higher-level backer reward: get turned into a monster puppet and have a role in the show! I can’t even type that without my eyebrows going up in excitement.

House of Monsters custom puppetSuspend your anti-vampire prejudice for just a moment (I know it’s hard, but if I did it, so can you) and imagine how rad it would be to see yourself transformed into a werewolf in such a novel way. Now stop imagining, and recognize that this is a Real Thing That Could Actually Happen if you donate at The Broomstick level or higher. Go check it out!

 


Laura Imbruglia & Chelsea Wolfe music videos

April 8, 2014 by in Film, Television & Music, Pop Culture

Do you like music? I like music, and I like music videos that are trippy or funny, too. I have one of each for you on this Tuesday evening.

The first, submitted by the venerable Lew, is for Laura Imbruglia‘s song “Awoooh!“, which is from her new album “What A Treat.” Lew suggested that it would fulfill all my “disco line-dancing wolfgirl needs”, which it absolutely did. It also introduced me to Laura’s music, which is a poppy brand of country-rock – something I never would have sought out on my own, but which I find utterly charming.

The second video comes from a reader whose original email or tweet I have lost, but to whom I am indebted for giving me a such great flashback to the mid-1990′s heyday of music video production. The song is “Feral Love” by Chelsea Wolf, which you might recognize from this trailer for season 4 of Game Of Thrones. The song is originally from her album “Pain Is Beauty“, and the video by Mark Pellington is loaded with unsettling imagery.

Music.


Nicholas Pekearo’s “The Wolfman” novel gets a film deal

April 4, 2014 by in Books & Comics, Film, Television & Music

Pekearo - The WolfmanDeadline reports that a film version of Nicholas Pekearo’s “werewolf cop uses curse to kill criminals” novel The Wolfman is in the works.  The novel was up by Macmillan Entertainment and Everest Entertainment Group, who are working with Pekearo’s mother to develop the novel into a screenplay. Pekearo was a NYPD Auxiliary police officer who was killed in the line of duty in 2007. “The Wolfman” was his first novel, and was published in 2009.

I bought a copy of The Wolfman when it came out and never finished it because… well, I didn’t think it was a very good book. I feel like a turd for saying this about the posthumous debut of a murdered hero, but to me it read like satire written by someone who didn’t really like the subject he was satirizing. I would love to think that if I had given it a few more pages I would have “gotten” Pekearo’s angle and enjoyed it, as so many of its reviewers did. Okay, how about this: I hope the film adaptation cuts through the cliches that distracted me, does well enough to spin off into a TV series, makes Pekearo’s family a million bucks, and culminates in a six-episode cross-over with WolfCop. From what I’ve read about him, I think that would have pleased Pekearo.


Man in werewolf mask robs a Forever 21, because “Florida”

April 3, 2014 by in Pop Culture

Forever 21 Werewolf RobberyWhat else is there to say, really? It’s all there in the post title. Florida news-bots WESH and WKMG have more details if you want them, but as you can see from the surveillance photo, there’s nothing going on. Oh, well, I mean, there’s some skinny turd in a hoodie using a gun and a mask to get all the “big bills” from the poor manager of a women’s clothing store in an outlet mall, but unless you’re a vigilante superhero in Orlando who’s looking for a bottom-of-the-barrel villain to hunt, there’s not meat on this particular bone.

Criminals, quit it with the werewolf thing. Here in BC we have the werewolf BMX bandit, and Ohio’s got this creep – we don’t need more negative exposure. And Florida, I’m already committed to never visiting you, so “goodbye forever” even more.


Destroy bullies and witches with Sockweb’s “Werewolf” album

April 2, 2014 by in Film, Television & Music

Sockweb Werewolf CoverIf you missed my earlier post about Sockweb – “the world’s first father/daughter grindcore band” who funded their first album on Indiegogo last year – now’s your chance to experience the joys of a 7-year-old girl scream “bullies are mean!” over a solid wall of kick drums and crushing guitar riffs.  The entire “Werewolf” album has been delivered to Indiegogo supporters and is now available for purchase on Bandcamp. Buy it, and you won’t need coffee for a month. While her father Adam Young handled the music, Joanie “Bologna” Young wrote and delivered the vocals, and she also had final say on her father’s contributions. With song titles like “Monkeybar Massacre”, “Don’t Get Mad Get Fab” and “Salamander Karate”, the result is a candy-striped jackhammer to the ear.


The winds of change: a socially conscious Werewolf News reboot

April 1, 2014 by in Administration, Pop Culture

Welcome, friends. This week marks the six year anniversary of Werewolf News, and it also marks a major milestone in the site’s editorial vision. Over the years I’ve used the site as a lens to highlight aspects of werewolf media and fandom that I found personally interesting. I focussed almost exclusively on what I glibly referred to as the “Rob Zombie horror” aspect of werewolves in film, books, comics and the world in general. I enjoyed the shlock-y aesthetics and cartoonish gore inherent in the “werewolf as monster” paradigm, and that narrow vision lead to a particularly childish type of narcissism here on Werewolf News.

Hiding behind the excuse that I am “not a journalist” and that this site was “just a blog”, I wouldn’t post (or might even mock) werewolf content that didn’t stimulate the “dumb fun” receptors in my brain. That approach has prevented Werewolf News from reaching the popularity of other, less judgemental werewolf sites, and it’s also cultivated a community of readers that encourage – some might even say enable – more of the same myopic self-indulgence. But thanks to a recent crisis of conscious and a timely intervention from some peers, I am happy to say that I am ready to make a change. Not just for myself, but for the good of werewolves in culture everywhere.

Starting today, and with the full support of the Werewolf-Horror group on deviantART, I am changing the focus of Werewolf News. No longer will I be sharing any content that portrays werewolves as dumb beasts or violent monsters. I can’t keep promoting the harmful stereotype of the werewolf as a creature afflicted by curse or carnal desire run amok. This view of lycanthropy is intellectually puerile and worse than that, it does nothing to promote the values for which I know the werewolf truly stands: an icon of positive personal transformation, and a metaphor for man’s peaceful co-existence with nature.

Just as the wolf is gradually emerging from the medieval shadow of prejudice that has trapped it in the role of “nature’s villain” for centuries, the werewolf needs to shed its harmful labels of “killer” and “monster” and step into the light. I hope to use the platform of Werewolf-News.com to help that cause, and I invite you to shed your preconceptions of what a werewolf is and join me in my work of promoting the positive and noble side of lycanthropy. I won’t be taking down any of the existing posts, but I consider them to be part of a closed chapter. I have already created updated categories to reflect the site’s new directions, and I invite you to mouse over the menu at the top of the page to see where things will be going in the next few weeks.

I expect this change of focus to be unpopular at first, but I think most readers will quickly come to see that non-violence and joyful self-acceptance are the true tenets of lycanthropy. To those long-time readers who will undoubtedly accuse me of embracing the “cuddlewolf” culture that I have so long disparaged, I can only say: I am sorry to lose you as a reader. May Luna smile upon you, and may you be blessed, wherever your travels take you.

Edit: APRIL FOOLS, YA DANGUS. Rob Zombie schlock horror werewolves forever!


Ask Andronica! Hollywood & Vampires

March 28, 2014 by in Ask Andronica!, Pop Culture

Although I had intended to start this column with another amusing anecdote from my treasure-trove of lycanthropic lore, time is short this week, since I have been temporarily assigned to an MI6 listening-post in Kiev. Not quite as bad as Kazakhstan (the vodka is better), but still annoying, because it takes me away yet again from my search for Lysandra – just when I had received a fresh lead, this time from New York City of all places. The Big Apple will have to wait, however, as this whole Crimean affair has thrown the agency into a panic, and anyone with past experience dealing with the KGB has been ordered into the field. Почему они не могут оставить меня в покое?

Anyway, despite my excessive consumption of the local beverages, I shall take a stab at your questions.

Dear Lady Andronica,
How do you feel about the portrayal of werewolves in the popular cultures of the 20th and 21st century? Did werewolves themselves have any influence on how they appeared in the stories and films of the early 1900s? Does their current spookshow-cartoony portrayal amuse or annoy you?
Thanks,

A. Williams
Buffalo NY

Dear Ms or Mr Williams,

How do other minority groups feel about their portrayal in the media? Cutesy cartoon werewolves and furry basketball stars are an insult to the dignity of an entire species. Lycanthropes are victims of racial discrimination, pure and simple. It is a crude ethnic stereotype to portray us all as depraved monsters, howling mindlessly at the moon, and wanting nothing more than to feast upon beautiful young virgins. Wait, that last part could be true…

On the other hand, I suppose we should be pleased by all the attention. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. My personal theory is that most humans secretly want to be werewolves. The idea of having the freedom to kill with impunity (a privilege otherwise reserved for the state) is appealing to many. And the lycanthropic lifestyle projected by the media often portrays us as young and beautiful, well-tanned and with healthy muscle tone (Bitten, Twilight, Blood and Chocolate, etc.). Good recruiting propaganda!

The truth is much more like Josh and Nora in Being Human (Canadian/US version). It takes a long time to come to terms with what we are. Some never do, and some only fool themselves. As I pointed out in my last column, being a werewolf is more like being human than you might think – which is one reason I like that particular show, because it hits the nail on the head more often than not (except for the full moon bit, and that the werewolves look like naked bears).

Which brings me to our appearance in movies and television. The special-effects people are generally unconcerned with reality. One reason may be that they’ve never seen a real werewolf and lived to make a sketch of her. To my knowledge, no genuine lycanthrope has ever served as a technical advisor in Hollywood. I’d love to give that a try, though, so producers should note my e-mail address.

That having been said, some films do get closer to the mark than others. Portraying our four-footed form is easy, since there isn’t much to distinguish it from natural wolves except size. Bitten does a pretty good job of this, even if they do get everything else wrong. The hybrid wolf-woman is harder to visualise, since that state is achieved by stopping the human-to-wolf transformation somewhere in the middle. Because the resulting appearance depends on when the shift is halted, there is actually no single “right” answer. The Howling and Dog Soldiers come very close to things I have seen in the wild. What I am waiting for is a cinematic attempt at portraying a truly sexy glamour werewolf. Imagine Monica Bellucci in fur. Aaaaaaaooooooo!

Kind regards,
Andronica

P.S. Some time ago, I wrote an essay on the topic of discrimination against lycanthropes; see Werewolves of the world unite! Regarding Hollywood portrayals, read here for some Werewolf Fact and Fiction.

Hi Lady Andronica!
Are vampires real too? If they are, is the rivalry between races (or species?) a real thing, or was it made up like the full moon and silver bullets thing? If they aren’t, have you encountered any other supernatural creatures? Thank you!

Anna Maria
São Paulo, Brazil

Dear Anna Maria,

Asking if vampires are real is like asking if there is a God. Just because I have never seen either of them (or any other supernatural creature) doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t exist. What I can say for certain is that the idea of a vampire-werewolf rivalry (à la Twilight or Underworld) is nonsense. If there were vampires, we would kick their sparkly asses so hard that they would have to crawl all the way back to Transylvania. (Aside: I do like Jason McKinney’s fictional but amusing idea of vampires as cockroaches feeding on werewolves’ table-leavings, expounded in his novel “Dog World”).

When I lived back in the eighteenth century, lots of people (i.e. humans) did believe in vampires. It became a big scare after about 1740, with many reports coming from the eastern parts of the Austrian Empire. There was the famous case of Eleonore von Schwarzenberg, the so-called Vampire Princess of Bohemia, who allegedly drank wolfs-milk (!) to conceive a child. I’m not sure how that worked, but they did bury poor Eleonore under a heavy stone slab specifically to keep her undead body from rising again.

The Empress Maria Theresia became so alarmed by reports of vampires that she commissioned her personal physician, Gerard van Swieten, to undertake a “scientific enquiry” in those areas supposedly infested by them. Swieten’s expedition departed for Moravia on 27 January 1755 and returned to Vienna four months later, having found absolutely no evidence of vampires. Gerard van Swieten later became the model for Bram Stoker’s vampire-hunter Abraham van Helsing.

What the history books don’t say is the real reason for Swieten’s expedition. I know because I was there. (It will all be described in the forthcoming volume two of Memoirs of an Eighteenth-Century Werewolf.) In fact, peasants really were being killed by the dozens as they slept in their beds. But in their confused testimony, the benighted villagers got their supernatural beings mixed up. The culprits were actually werewolves – those unpleasant Apostates I have mentioned before. And since Swieten also happened to be one of them, he did everything possible to cover up the whole sordid business. The word “Werwolf” therefore does not appear even once in his final report to the Empress.

So to bring the discussion full-circle: because Swieten did not mention us, does it mean that werewolves are not real?

Kind regards,
Andronica

P.S. You mention silver bullets as being “made up”. In fact, our sensitivity to silver is one of the few legends which is really true. See the above-mentioned article Werewolf Fact and Fiction.

The next instalment of “Ask Andronica!” will appear on 14 April 2014. Send in your questions now!