A. Quinton — May. 24th 2016
Paul Simon is one of those musicians who’ve always just been there during my life, even though I’m only – deeply – familiar with one of his albums. That shallow knowledge is going to get a little deeper on June 3rd, when his album Stranger to Stranger comes out.
The opening song on that new album is The Werewolf, a tune that would have fit perfectly on Graceland, with its quirky instrumentation, drawling vocals and black-humoured lyrics about modern dread.
Two things I learned about Paul Simon today: he’s one of those people who pronounces it “WURR-wolf”, and his singing voice has not changed a bit in 30 years.
NPR’s All Songs +1 podcast has an interview with Simon about how The Werewolf was conceived, written and recorded. “We’re about to get hit with all the stuff that people’ve been saying we’re going to get hit with for a long time, and it’s coming.”
Thanks to @burntwolf for the link!
Craig J. Clark — May. 20th 2016
A British horror-comedy that succeeds at being neither horrific nor funny, Crying Wolf fails on the former front because it’s too incompetently made for any of its intended shocks to register. And it fails on the latter front because its humor is far too broad and its cast of characters stocked with insufferable caricatures given naught but inane dialogue to recite. The only thing remotely “funny” about it is the fact that its top-billed “star” — horror vet Caroline Munro — appears in one scene only at the very beginning of the film, never to return. I hope she made a point of cashing her check as soon as it arrived in the post.
Set in the quaint country village of Deddington (are we laughing yet?), Crying Wolf comes burdened with a cumbersome framing story about a private detective (second-billed Gary Martin, whose character is never given a name) who buys a book of that title from an antiques dealer (Munro) which he proceeds to peruse at the local pub. Instead of being an ancient tome, though, it rather improbably tells the tale of a modern-day pack of werewolves which fell prey to a pair of paranormal pest controllers in the none-too-distant past. These events are so recent, in fact, that the reason the detective is nosing around town is because he’s looking into the death of a newspaper reporter who was looking into the mysterious death of a local girl, both of which are recounted in flashbacks that are not to be confused with the stories told by the pack to pass the time while they’re out on a camping holiday-cum-hunting expedition together or when they were bullshitting the soon-to-be-dead reporter. Yep, totally straightforward, movie. Not unnecessarily convoluted at all.
At the center of the drama, such as it is, are alpha Milly (Gabriela Hersham) and her recently turned lover Andy (Kristofer Dayne). In fact, everyone else in the pack has been recently turned as well since Andy put the bite on them within minutes of being infected by Milly at the same time she eliminated the aforementioned local girl. (Seems she’s not fond of competition.) The others are a varied lot, each with a single defining trait — one’s a toothless old codger, another smokes a pipe, etc. — but they all turn into the same exact black-furred, rubber-faced creature when they transform, and the only way to tell which one is which is when they’re killed and revert back to human form. They’re also subject to the same cheap-ass digital effects when they let their wolfish side out, which doesn’t happen en masse until the end of the film, when director Tony Jopia lingers on the worst CGI transformations I’ve ever had the misfortune to see.
Not content merely to half-ass their way through a werewolf film, Jopia and his co-writers, screenwriter Andy Davie and story collaborator Michael Dale, periodically digress into other genres, including gangster films (pointlessly referencing the Coen Brothers’ Miller’s Crossing and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction), slasher movies (in the scene where one topless sunbather tells her impressionable friend about all the bad things that could happen to them out in the woods, including being stalked by a hooded killer), and action films. The latter come into play during the climactic showdown between the pack and the well-armed hunters that have led them down the garden path, and frankly, by the time they started getting shot to pieces and otherwise dismembered, I was more than ready to see their ranks thinned out. There’s even a dollop of torture porn courtesy of the scene where one of the hunters chains up one of the werewolves and pulls out a chainsaw, prompting the wolf to say, “Oh, great. A fucking chainsaw. What are you going to do with that?” “Funny you might ask that,” the hunter replies. No, it is not, Crying Wolf. It’s lousy screenwriting and you should be ashamed of it.
A. Quinton — May. 14th 2016
I’m writing my first novel.
The draft will be around 120,000 words, if my outline is even remotely accurate. I’ve been trying to put down 1,000 words a day since the beginning of the month. That’s an ambitious daily goal for a slow writer like me, and I’m not quite making it, but I’m getting closer with each day.
I’m finding some comforting parallels between this effort and the 4 months I spent training for my first marathon, which I ran the day before I started writing this novel. Getting up early to run or write, grinding out 10 miles or three pages when I’d rather be reading or having a leisurely breakfast (especially when my goal was 12 miles or five pages) and then knowing I have to do it again tomorrow… it can be miserable, but the delight and satisfaction that comes from the cumulative result far outweighs the disappointments.
My posting schedule here will continue to be sporadic as I dedicate my daily commutes and lunch breaks to the novel. My goal is to get the first 30,000 words done as quickly as possible, then take a break to write more here and focus on Werewolves Versus Music while that first quarter draft mellows. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience and your continued readership.
I’m superstitious and shy and I’ve learned to under-promise and over-deliver, so I’ll share just two things about this novel for now. The working title is “Lilly & Jack”, and one of those two people is a werewolf.
A. Quinton — May. 10th 2016
THR adequately describes Curse as the story of Laney Griffith, “a widowed father who inadvertently captures a werewolf, who will either become the broken family’s reluctant savior or its final destroyer.” Sure, that’s fine. For a more in-depth assessment, may I direct you to my 2014 post on the comic in question, A “Curse” Worth Having. An excerpt:
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.
I’m excited that such an excellent werewolf comic is being adapted for film, especially in what sounds like it might be a joint project between horror producer Blumhouse and Boom!. I know he’s probably busy with The Dark Tower, but I’d love to see Laney Griffith played by Idris Elba.
A. Quinton — Apr. 29th 2016
The story follows a ski bum who’s pushing 40 and still has a penchant for drugs, babes and transcendental meditation. He’s forced to become an unlikely hero in order to save a mountainside community too drunk on wild parties and over-development to notice that their kids are being systematically turned into werewolves.
There’s nothing about The Realm on the Bron Studios web site, but The Wrap describes it as “a genre label that specializes in director-driven films across multiple genres”. So, probably not horror-centric label, but something more boutique-y in general. I’m happy to see werewolf films getting some traction in these channels.
I can already think of several Vancouver-area mountainside neighbourhoods where over-development and parties are a thing. Of course, what this means is that once again, somewhere within 20 miles of me there will be cinema-quality werewolf costumes and makeup in play, and I will have no credible reason to be involved.
A. Quinton — Apr. 25th 2016
Pop Culture Shock announced a range of new figures, including An American Werewolf in London‘s unlucky backpackers Jack Goodman & David Kessler. From PCS’s newsletter, which I’m still not subscribed to:
12″ Jack & David Figures from An American Werewolf in London!
We are still working on getting the likeness right for the David Naughton figure so please dont judge too harshly just yet!
It’s a testament to the sculptor’s skill that I went from “who cares about figures of two floppy-haired dorks in puffy coats who don’t listen to advice re: moors, and staying off them” to “these look extremely cool” in under 60 seconds.
No news yet on release dates, but if you sign up for their newsletter (which, by this point in the post, I can confirm that I have done) you’ll get details as they become available.
If you’re more interested in the version of David Kessler that eats motherfuckers, PCS has you covered there too: the massive 1:4 scale “Kessler Wolf” statue I told you about last summer is now available for preorder.
A. Quinton — Apr. 23rd 2016
Set in New Jersey in the 1980s, “the story follows a teenage girl [Gabrielle] who believes she’s been bitten by a savage werewolf. Soon after she begins to experience feverish nightmares that seamlessly bleed into her everyday reality.”
This interview with Tommaso on The Frog Queen has some great background on the setting and his reasons for writing a book about werewolves:
I’ve always loved werewolves and I’m always disappointed when they’re given such small parts in fantasy/monster movies (Harry Potter is the best example of that). It was just a matter of coming up with something interesting to do with them. Once I thought about my High School years and trying to hide your bad habits (drinking, smoking, etc.) from your parents I felt like I had a good place to work from.
The dreamlike nature of Gabrielle’s situation is underscored by the curving elegance and surreal high contrast of Tommaso’s artwork. Frankly, I can’t stop looking at it. This post took an afternoon to write because I kept opening new tabs to check out Dark Corridor original pages. This cover he designed for Dark Corridor #6 is insane. The creative force behind that kind of imagery, applied to werewolves? Yes PLEASE.
She Wolf issue 1 comes out June 22nd, 2016, and issue 2 follows on July 20th. I asked Tommaso on Twitter how many more he has planned, and to my simultaneous delight and consternation, he said “I’ve got it written as a 4-issue series. If it does well, I’ve got more I can do with it.”
Werewolf comic fans, help She Wolf do well because [altruistic: it’s important to support creators] [greedy: I want Tommaso to make as many issues of this as possible]! You can order issues 1 and 2 from your local comic shop right now with Diamond IDs APR160661 and MAY160656, respectively. A trade – presumably collecting the first 4 issues – will be out November 16th, but don’t wait that long to get into it or there won’t be more issues to collect in a second trade.
Watch out for SHE WOLF, little puppy dog! pic.twitter.com/utdijiijBy
— Rich Tommaso (@RichTommaso) April 18, 2016
Just sold this original cover for the She Wolf trade. It's bittersweet to lose art before a book is even published. pic.twitter.com/lZf8zELpYZ
— Rich Tommaso (@RichTommaso) April 16, 2016
— Rich Tommaso (@RichTommaso) April 6, 2016
Craig J. Clark — Apr. 21st 2016
When we first meet Joe Griffin (Ed Speleers), the protagonist of the British werewolf film Howl, things aren’t going so hot for him. Not only has he been passed over for a promotion at Alpha Trax, the rail company he works for, but the guy who got the job in his stead is a real jerk who makes him take a double shift and he’s shot down by a co-worker (Holly Weston) when he asks her out. Then, to top things off, the dreaded Eastborough red eye (which they’re both on) suffers a breakdown in the middle of a forest infested with werewolves. Talk about your hairy situations.
Writers Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler were on the ball when they named the company Alpha since much of the drama arises out of who takes the lead when things go pear-shaped and the train’s driver (played ever so briefly by Dog Soldiers vet Sean Pertwee) goes missing. Try as he might to maintain his authority, Joe is swiftly undermined by a entitled first-class passenger (Elliot Cowan) who’s accustomed to taking charge and an uptight businesswoman (Shauna Macdonald). Just about everybody takes a turn putting him in his place, though, including a narcissistic teenager (Rosie Day) and the elderly couple (Duncan Preston and Ania Marson) who share her compartment and have to put up with her inconsiderate behavior.
A funny thing happens, though, as the situation grows more dire and everyone comes around to the realization that the threat they’re facing is supernatural in origin: Joe becomes more confident and decisive, and he even gains some allies (starting with the similarly marginalized Sam Gittins and Amit Shah). That this coincides with director Paul Hyett’s decision to show off his creatures more is surely coincidental. After teasing the viewer with fleeting shots of digitigrade legs and twisted claws, once Hyett does the full reveal he keeps his monsters out in the open, while being mindful that the worst villains in these films are often the ones still standing on human feet.
A. Quinton — Apr. 18th 2016
Continuing the “werewolves and music” trend, here’s Untamed, a beautiful, touching and intense short film from a team of 3rd year Character Animation & CG Art students at The Ani-mation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark.
Sally, an introverted 15 year old girl, lives and bears with her wolf-father in the city of New York where Wolf is slipping more and more into his world of wilderness.
Sally still remembers the man he used to be; a brilliant and talented jazz trumpeter. Where did her father go? And can he still be found somewhere within the Wolf?
This got to me. Something bad happened to these two, and not only is Sally coping with whatever it was, she has to deal with her father’s grief/depression/alcoholism induced werewolfism as well. Get it together, Wolfdad.
It was a little strange to see a stop-motion effect applied to a CG world, but the character and set designs were so carefully done, so tactile, that I think it worked. That Wolf is scary.
This link came via Mr. Kate, who you might remember as the musician making werewolf-themed beats last year.
When you’re Rick Baker even your “unfinished sketch” of a werewolf makes fans like me lose their minds
A. Quinton — Apr. 12th 2016
Yesterday creature effects legend Rick Baker tweeted what he referred to as an “unfinished sketch” of a werewolf rendered in a style reminiscent of his 2010 Wolfman lycanthropes. Is this Larry Talbot posing with his own tombstone? I like dapper snarly werewolves and this fellow wrecked my damn shop.
Then today Rick followed the sketch up with a self-effacing note expressing surprise at the positive response it got. He “almost didn’t post it because it is so un dynamic”, he wrote.
The person who’s taken home two (2) Academy Awards for his Werewolf Work is sandbagging his own artwork online. The dude responsible for some of the most iconic werewolves of the past 35 years is surprised that fans like me want more. MORE! Your modesty becomes you, Rick, but come on – I could write an entire blog post about that gnarly badass clawed hand alone! RICK. You don’t elongate a palm like that by accident!
Rick’s tweets are embedded below. Follow him on Twitter at @TheRickBaker just in case he posts more of these “unfinished sketches” and you want to get your brain’s werewolf zone obliterated directly by the man himself.
1 of the unfinished sketches I have been working on.
Having fun using a pencil and paper. Haven't done that in ages pic.twitter.com/VW3xvpO78D
— Rick Baker (@TheRickBaker) April 12, 2016
Wow,I'm really surprised at the response ,my drawing is getting.I almost didn't post it because it is so un dynamic.I guess the details help
— Rick Baker (@TheRickBaker) April 12, 2016