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

A. Quinton — Dec. 17th 2017

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.

Concept art & CG demo reel scene for “Bitch” werewolf

A. Quinton — Dec. 16th 2017

I can’t find any information about the status of director Matt Oates‘s action/horror film “Bitch” (its absence on his kind-of broken web site doesn’t bode well), but Digital Frontier FX did an excellent job on the creature design and execution in the trailer pitch. It’s nice to see a long take of a shadowy werewolf lit just well enough to show off some of its eerily human features, like its (her?) hands.

Max Landis is retooling “An American Werewolf in London” story

A. Quinton — Dec. 15th 2017

From ComingSoon.net comes news that Max Landis, son of American Werewolf in London writer / director John Landis, is making some changes to the storyline presented in the original film.

A fan posed a question to Landis about a sequence in the original film, specifically about the village of East Proctor, its citizens, why they didn’t attempt to stop the werewolf before the events of the film, and whether they knew him as a person or not. Landis replied:

“Answering this question and the nature of the village’s role in the plot in the second and third act as of now are the biggest changes I’ve made to the original structure… I always wondered about that Pentagram. Doing some fun stuff.”

Say what you want about the guy (and plenty have), but he does take writing seriously. I don’t have any expectations for this remake so there’s nothing to crush.

Issue 2 of “Jughead: The Hunger” hits shelves

A. Quinton — Dec. 14th 2017

From Comicbooks.com:

Archie Comics has provided Comicbook.com with an exclusive preview of Jughead: The Hunger #2, from writer Frank Tieri and artists Pat and Tim Kennedy, Joe Eisma, Bob Smith, Matt Herms, and Jack Morelli.

Set in a world where Jughead Jones is a werewolf by night, The Hunger started as a one-shot but sold enough to be upgraded into a full-length series, retaining writer Tieri.

This issue hit shelves yesterday – Wednesday the 13th – so if you want it, you better hit up your local shop quick! If you live in Vancouver, please leave at least one copy for me at Golden Age Collectibles, though. Thanks in advance.

Full Moon Features: Werewolf: The Devil’s Hound (2007)

Craig J. Clark — Dec. 2nd 2017

In a just world, you would be reading my review of Another WolfCop right now, but as this world is not just, the closest the sequel to 2014’s premiere Canadian werewolf film is playing to me is a four-hour drive away. Plus, it’s only being screened at midnight, making it especially inconvenient for out-of-towners (and out-of-staters) such as myself. So, in its stead, my final Full Moon Feature of the year is dubious also-ran Werewolf: The Devil’s Hound, which went straight to video ten years ago this month.

Right off the bat, The Devil’s Hound puts the wrong furry foot forward by claiming that “The events that follow take place in the near future,” which doesn’t seem all that necessary since there’s nothing in it that’s even vaguely futuristic. (And considering it was released in 2007, the odds are good that its “near future” has already come to pass.) It also doesn’t waste any time in revealing its poorly designed title creature, which looks like a white, long-haired yeti. After mauling a couple of unnamed Germans, it gets tranqued and packed in a crate so it can be shipped to some guy named Kwan, but instead it gets delivered to a small special-effects company in Connecticut owned by portly Phil Madden (co-producer Phil Gauvin), who runs it with his son Kevin (Michael Dionne) and daughter-in-law Char (Tamara Malawitz). His wife, meanwhile, is local vet Elizabeth (Jennifer Marsella), but the cutaways to her office reveal she’s more than that.

Since Dionne is top-billed, naturally it falls to Kevin to be the one who gets scratched when the werewolf decides it’s spent enough time in the box, and before long he starts exhibiting all the signs of the newly bitten: increased sex drive, heightened senses, voracious appetite, fast healing, and yes, all of a sudden he doesn’t need his glasses anymore. He also starts running into pale-skinned, leather-clad goth chick Christine (Christy Cianci), whose identity isn’t much of a mystery, especially after she eviscerates a homeless guy right in front of him. (What is a mystery, though, is what becomes of her black leather ensemble when she changes into the Abominable Snowman, or why Kevin does little more than grow fangs, sprout sideburns, and develop slightly hairier arms when he wolfs out.)

Clearly lacking the wherewithal to make a straight-up horror film, writer/directors Gregory C. Parker and Christian Pindar stack the deck with a surplus of comic-relief characters, including Dionne’s alien-obsessed brother Michael (Adam Loewenbaum) and his vacuous girlfriend Krystal (Kirsten Babich), Phil’s ultra geeky assistant Steve (Michael Wrann), and the aforementioned Kwan (Lance Hallowell), who turns out to be quite the pratfall-prone buffoon when he finally shows up. Parker and Pindar also photographed and edited the film, which explains why it goes a little overboard with the creative camera angles and quick cutting. This is especially apparent in the climactic battle, for which Kwan dons a set of leather armor that doesn’t do much to protect him and looks damned silly to boot. Not that I expected any different at that point.

Lack of werewolf in “Rampage” trailer chomps my heart, just like this giant wolf chomps a helicopter

A. Quinton — Nov. 16th 2017

They made a movie about the video game Rampage. That’s right, the one where you take on the role of a giant 8-bit ape, lizard or werewolf and fuck up skyscrapers while tiny helicopters shoot at you. They put Rock “The Dwayne” Johnson in it, playing his usual charming self. They shot it in Vancouver, my home city, and pretended it’s Chicago. They asked Jeffrey Dean Morgan to come along and channel his Walking Dead character in a suit. They just released a trailer that features a Smashing Pumpkins song.

Friends, this whole thing is a casserole I can’t make heads or tails of. The one thing I knew for sure was that I was going to get to see a giant werewolf named Ralph crushing digitally composited office towers on the Vancouver waterfront, and that it was going to be beautiful spectacle. Now my dreams have been dashed, just like a digitally composited office tower on the Vancouver waterfront. There is a wolf, and it is big, but it contains no “were”. He’s not Ralph, the canonical Rampage werewolf. It’s just a giant spiky CG wolf that really hates helicopters.

Oh well.

Thanks to @EvilViergacht for tweeting about this!

Game Review: “Hunter’s Moon” for Android

A. Quinton — Nov. 15th 2017

Last week I wrote about Hunter’s Moon – an endless runner game by Seb Woodland – but without an Android device of my own, I’ve unable to play the game, a generally-accepted prerequisite for writing a review of the game. Leave that to Werewolf News reader, Werewolves Versus contributor and friend Juan C. Moreno, who shared his thoughts in the Werewolf News Slack group (want an invite? hit me up). Here’s Juan’s take on Hunter’s Moon:

I downloaded the Hunter’s Moon infinite runner game this weekend and it’s definitely a fun little time-spender. The controls and mechanics are pretty simple (tapping makes you jump or double jump) and anyone familiar with runner sidescrollers will know what to do from a few tries. It took me a few attempts to keep from falling into the trap-filled forest below and meeting a spiky end. When you finally get the hang of dodging traps and leaping over rooftops, you get to duel a werewolf (tap up to block, tap down to attack) who can dodge and attack as well.

The first time you fall victim to a trap or take a paw to the face, you can watch an ad to get a free resurrection and try the section again. Subsequent revivals can be bought for a bit of the gold coins you can collect as you run and defeat werewolves.

Falling into the forest of misery is tense and exciting since the traps are more frustrating than any creatures of the night. However, survive enough traps and defeat a wolf (which is harder in the dark forest because their attacks are harder to see coming) and you can return to the lovely rooftops. That’s a cool idea, and it works well.

There are power ups to give the hunter some help, although I only know how to use one, and you can only use it once for 100 coins before you need to buy it again. Overall, it’s a fun game with a great gothic atmosphere I would love to see more of! If the creator wants to add more or make more games in this setting, I will definitely leap at the chance to try them out!

Want to play it yourself? Click around here. Wish you could play as a werewolf? Seb knows – and even thought about making a “play as a werewolf” game as an earlier project – and as I mentioned in my previous post, the best way to motivate a creator to make more stuff is to support the stuff they’ve already made.

Thanks again to Juan for the review!

“Typecast” werewolf loses it on set in the best Kickstarter video I’ve seen

A. Quinton — Nov. 13th 2017

I’m very excited about this Kickstarter campaign for Typecast, an 8-episode horror-comedy web series from creators Ben Paddon (PortsCenter, Boomer’s Day Off) and Werewolf New friend Mac Beauvais (Hit Girl, The Gloaming) about a trio of monsters tired of being boxed into unfulfilling careers.

An ambitious web series to be sure, we decided to take the struggling/disenfranchised actor trope and turn it on its head by imagining a world where all the creepy crawlies you’ve ever seen on the screen were played by actual monsters. If you need the elevator pitch (that’s Hollywood-speak for please compare your stuff to other people’s stuff), it’s a bit of Being Human meets Extras.

We’ve written a first season arc consisting of 8 episodes, all aiming to be around 6-10 minutes in length, telling the story of these actors and their journey. We want to deliver the best quality possible, and that requires great locations, crew, catering and, of course, some truly monstrous makeup.

They’re looking to raise $52,000 to pay for the production (including copious practical makeup effects by Michael Spatola) and they’re well on their way, with $4,615 as of this post and 28 days to go. Rewards include thanks in the credits, HD downloads of the episodes, Full Moon Flakes / “Moony the Werewolf” cereal box art and fan club merch (including perfume!), and even a chance to be made up as a monstrous extra.

Here’s the pitch video, which starts off with a proof-of-concept mini-episode featuring a fantastic, profanity-laced on-set freak-out from werewolf Abby (played wonderfully by Beauvais).

I’m hyped about this project – it’s got a great cast and crew from top to bottom and I want very much for it to succeed, so check it out!

Hunt werewolves in free Android game “Hunter’s Moon”

A. Quinton — Nov. 10th 2017

Got an Android device? Great! Then you can play this new game Hunter’s Moon in the warm glow of your Galaxy or Pixel while I stand outside in the rain with my iPhone 7, pawing forlornly at the window. From the Google Play page:

Take on the role of a lone werewolf hunter. Leap across the rooftops of an ancient city in this infinite runner, and use your sword to vanquish the evil werewolves who await you. Collect gold along the way, always aiming to improve your score. Don’t fall into the forest below, or you’ll have to navigate a gauntlet of deadly traps.

This makes me think of Blood of the Werewolf and Altered Beast, except here you play as a human (or at least, as a non-werewolf) instead of a pissed-off werewolf mom or undead therianthrope wizzen fwum yo gwabe. Your dude’s whole deal, as depicted by the lovely pixel art animation in the trailer, is 1) running, 2) slashing at werewolves, and 3) wearing wide-brimmed hats.

Bristle at the idea of hunting werewolves instead of being one? Relax, the developer has you in mind. “I hope in the future to add some sort of powerup,” they wrote me, “where your character actually becomes a werewolf.”

Hunter’s Moon is free to play and supported by in-game advertising, which I mention specifically because it was developed by one person, which is bad-ass and worthy of support. Think of it this way: every ad you tap on gets you a little closer to the dev investing the time to add that “be a werewolf in the game” feature, and also gets them one step closer to dinner at the best restaurant in western Canada. Gosh, I miss the bread there.

It’s worth mentioning that the developer, Seb Woodland, also wrote all of the music in the game, which you can check out (along with a bunch of other music) at Seb’s Bandcamp page.

I don’t generally express strong opinions about which mobile phone platform is “best”, but I have to admit I’ve been shooting my iPhone dirty looks as I write this post.

Full Moon Features: Lycan (2017)

Craig J. Clark — Nov. 3rd 2017

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Some college students head into the woods under some flimsy pretext and get picked off one by one by a POV camera that knows the terrain better than them. In the new indie Lycan, the pretext is that the six students are working on a group project where their vaguely defined assignment is to “recreate a moment of history,” and between the title and the fact that the landmark they’re looking for (on horseback, no less) is the supposed grave of the Werewolf of Talbot County (get it?), it’s reasonable to assume that whatever is stalking them is a werewolf. Then again, the opening title does specify that it’s “A FILM Based on a TRUE LEGEND,” so the chances of anybody in it actually sprouting fur and fangs before going on their co-ed killing spree land squarely between slim and none, and slim isn’t liking its chances.

Set in the year 1986 for no discernible reason (although it does allow writer/director Bev Land and co-writer Michael Mordler to shoehorn in references to Sixteen Candles and Mr. T with impunity), the film announces its intentions with two solid minutes of a naked, overweight farmer having vigorous sex with a prostitute, followed by his discovery that something has killed his chickens and his dog and is about to do the same to both of them. On the other side of the opening titles, a history prof with a prickly sense of humor (played by Vanessa Angel, previously known to me as the Soviet snow bunny Dan Aykroyd cozies up to in Spies Like Us) sets things in motion by throwing six Breakfast Club types into one group and addressing them all by name so the viewer knows which characters they’ll be following and what their defining traits are.

The one that doesn’t fit into the John Hughes mold is Kenny (Parker Croft), the Bolex camera-toting horndog pothead whose character seems modeled more on Jamie Kennedy in Wes Craven’s Scream than, say, Judd Nelson’s “criminal” Bender. As for the others, Irving (Craig Tate) is definitely the overachieving “brain” of the group, putting him in Anthony Michael Hall’s shoes. Baseball player Blake (Jake Lockett) is the Emilio Estevez “athlete” equivalent. Stuck-up rich girl Blair (Rebekah Graf) and her dutiful sorority pledge Chrissy (Kalia Prescott) have to split the Molly Ringwald “princess” role between them. (Blair even makes multiple references to the debutante party she doesn’t want to miss.) And bringing up the rear is social outcast Isabella (Dania Ramirez, also one of the film’s producers and a contributor to its story), who’s working the Ally Sheedy “basket case” angle something fierce but needs more than a simple makeover to fit in.

Unsurprisingly, Isabella is the character we learn the most about, including that she lives on a farm with an older woman she calls “mama” (Gail O’Grady, who made her screen debut as “Victim in VW” in the pilot for the ’80s Werewolf TV series) who isn’t her real mother, she takes medicine for some unspecified condition, she sleeps in the barn, and she has a fairy tramp stamp (which is tastefully revealed by Land, who incidentally is also Ramirez’s husband). Furthermore, when the group sets up camp for the night, she repurposes her own childhood trauma by relating how her actual parents were slaughtered in the very same woods when she was eleven as a campfire story, which none of the others pick up on. Soon after the party turns in (with Irving having been drugged by Kenny, who intended to roofie Chrissy), one of them is dragged out of their tent by something with enormous claws and the game is afoot (or aclaw, as it were).

Even in the light of day, the boobs falls prey to various traps, with one getting his foot caught in a coyote trap, another stepping in one that leaves him hanging upside-down from a tree, and a third falling into a pit (and pulling the fourth down into it with him). Finally, the survivors make it to Isabella’s house, where they’re greeted by a couple of not-terribly-intimidating-looking wolves and their number is further reduced by a booby-trapped piano. (Don’t ask.) There follows one of the most blatantly foreshadowed reveals ever, a poorly choreographed fight to the death, and an unnecessary flash-forward to the present day, when Kenny’s Bolex is happened upon by a little girl. Based on the footage he got and the condition it will be in after being out in the elements for three-plus decades, I don’t foresee anyone making a Blair Witch-type feature out of it.