A. Quinton — Aug. 26th 2016
The third issue of the digital “werewolves battle everything” magazine I edit, Werewolves Versus, is now available for pre-order! WEREWOLVES VERSUS MUSIC comes out on Tuesday, August 30th. It features over 150 pages of brand-new, never-before-seen werewolf stories, comics, art and essays, and a killer cover by Lew “Viergacht” Delport.
Like every WV issue before and after it, it’ll be pay-what-you-want, including $0, but right now I’m trying something new: if you pre-order it now for a minimum price of $1, you get an instant advance download of “As the Sun Sets”, the song my friend Colin Janz wrote as a contribution. Here’s how Colin describes the song:
This song is based on a character who built himself while I was writing. Every full moon, he transforms; however, he never remembers anything about his transformation, only that it happens. On full moon nights he travels to a grassy hill above his forested town, far away from people, to watch the light fade. But instead of succumbing to a torturous, violent experience, everything becomes hazy, peaceful and quiet, as if he was falling asleep to the sound of wind and morning songbirds.
A. Quinton — Aug. 25th 2016
I want to show the pain. I want him to be able to move around, he’s gonna pull his clothes off, we’re gonna see the whole body change — so figure out how to do that.
– John Landis describing the AWIL transformation to Rick Baker
John Landis’s An American Werewolf in London is 35 years old this week, and its showcase werewolf transformation scene is still regarded by werewolf fans as the best ever shown on film. Leave it to the invaluable and tireless minds of Monster Legacy to write a 4,000-word essay on the concept, design, planning and execution of that transformation scene, and then support that essay with an enormous photo gallery.
A. Quinton — Aug. 18th 2016
Another full moon has risen, and with it comes a Werewolf News exclusive! It’s “Blind Liberty” by Orlando Arocena, August’s teaser for the upcoming premiere issue of Joe Dante Presents: American She-Wolf.
The issue is a one-shot co-created and co-written by Kris Millsap and Lance Dobbins. Pencils, ink and colour are by Ario Murti, and Keenan Reed lettered it. I had a chance to read it earlier this summer, and even in greyscale pencils it was nasty, rip-your-face-off fun. The partially-transformed lady portrayed in Orlando’s teaser image represents her country very enthusiastically.
Ario’s character designs are great, and I wasn’t the only one who really liked the look of this particular American She-Wolf. In a recent email to me about the comic, Kris had this to say about Joe Dante’s reaction:
When I showed Joe the first round of pencils, his exact words were “THAT is the werewolf we wanted on The Howling!”
If that’s not the gold standard endorsement for werewolf aesthetics, I don’t know what is! If you’re near Paris in October, you have a chance to share your own werewolf opinions with Joe in person – he’ll be at Paris Comic Con.
This one-shot will be available digitally this autumn, and even more American She-Wolf will hit the shelves in 2017. For more information, keep an eye on the Caption Comics site.
Craig J. Clark — Aug. 17th 2016
Of all the werewolf movies that have yet to come out on DVD — and at this late date, there aren’t too many that haven’t — the most bewildering case has to be AIP’s I Was a Teenage Werewolf, a slavering beast that was first unleashed in 1957. It’s the kind of film where even if you haven’t seen it, you at least know of it, and there are many people who, almost six decades after its release, continue to seek it out. Amazon has multiple listings for the 1993 VHS release, which can be bought new in the original shrink wrap for the low, low price of $75, but on DVD it is decidedly M.I.A. Heck, even the 1997 Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode in which Mike and the Bots savaged it has yet to surface on home video, a sure sign that someone, somewhere is sitting on the property, hoping for a huge payday that has thus far been far from forthcoming.
Anyway, I Was a Teenage Werewolf is a typical AIP quickie, perfunctorily directed by Gene Fowler, Jr., but when it proved to be wildly profitable they rushed several follow-ups — including I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, which was released less than five months later — into production. Even Roger Corman’s Teenage Cave Man from 1958 could be said to be one of its progeny since it was shot as Prehistoric World before AIP changed the title. As for the film itself, it probably would have faded into obscurity if not for Michael Landon’s subsequent fame and his feral performance as tortured teen Tony Rivers (with more than a little James Dean in his DNA) who becomes the title character under the questionable care of hypnotherapist Dr. Alfred Brandon (Whit Bissell), who somehow believes that regressing mankind to a bestial state is preferable to having angry young men pick fights without provocation and throw milk bottles around.
As the film opens, Landon is involved in just such a tussle with a fellow student (Tony Marshall) who merely slapped him in the shoulder. This is enough to get the attention of kindly police detective Donovan (Barney Phillips) who recommends he see a psychiatrist about his anger management problem, but Tony isn’t having any part of it. Even Arlene, the nice girl he’s going with (Yvonne Lime), can’t convince him that he needs help, but after one too many blow-ups he’s placed in the care of Dr. Brandon, who injects him with an experimental serum and, using hypnosis, regresses him back to a time when all people were werewolves or something. (You remember that from your history books, right?) Brandon’s assistant (Joseph Mell) is skeptical about what this will accomplish (“You call it progress to hurl back the human race to its savage beginnings?” he quite reasonably asks), but the proof of the pudding’s in the eating, and soon enough Tony is sprouting fur and fangs and chowing down on his classmates.
Something similar occurs in “I Was a Teenage Werebear,” Tim Sullivan’s contribution to the 2011 horror/comedy anthology Chillerama. In it, closeted gay teen Ricky (Sean Paul Lockhart) finds out why he isn’t interested in his hot girlfriend Peggy Lou (Gabby West) when he’s bitten in the rear by leather-jacketed tough Talon (Anton Troy), forever dooming him to become a fur-faced leather bear whenever his libido rises. (Doesn’t sound so bad to me.) It takes a while for Ricky to come to terms with his new sexual identity, though, even after Nurse Maleva (Lin Shaye, channeling Maria Ouspenskaya) helpfully clues him in by reciting “Even a boy who thinks he’s straight, yet shaves his balls by night, may become a werebear when the hormones rage and the latent ways take flight.” Oh, and did I mention the whole thing takes the form of a beach musical set in Malibu, circa 1962? (Sample song titles: “Love Bit Me on the Ass” and “Do the Werebear (And Let the Werebear Do You.”) What’s most refreshing about it is that Sullivan ends on a note of tolerance and acceptance, which is in sharp contrast to Tony Rivers’s ultimate fate.
A. Quinton — Aug. 11th 2016
Whenever someone become a werewolf fan – within seconds of that tiny little full moon rising in their heart – someone in a suit knocks on their door and gives them their official copy of “An American Werewolf in London”.
Sometimes these mysterious agents are men or women, and sometimes they’re featureless shadows. They never speak, never make physical contact with anyone, and cannot be followed for more than 30 feet before they vanish down an alley or around a hedge. They just press a copy of John Landis’s seminal 1981 werewolf movie into your hands, nod, and are gone. It happens to all of us.
If it happened to you in the 80’s, as it did to me, they gave you a VHS copy. Most of you probably have a DVD version, and I’ve heard rumours that a few folks in the early 90’s got LaserDiscs. The format doesn’t matter, though – it’s the experience. You say to yourself “hey, I really like werewolves”, and an otherworldly entity appears within seconds to give you a physical copy of a film that hasn’t been bested in 35 years. It’s uncanny, undeniable, universal, Universal.
That encounter on your doorstep is one of the threads that binds you and the rest of the world’s werewolf fans together; that copy of “An American Werewolf in London” is a physical manifestation of your enthusiasm for werewolf movies, maybe even for werewolves in general.
You can probably see it from where you’re sitting right now, can’t you? That sacred copy of AWiL? Well, my friend, I want you to get it down from that shelf, take another look at that classically understated cover – and then throw it in the fucking trash. It’s garbage now.
Universal is releasing a “restored” 35th anniversary Blu-ray version on September 27th 2016. Does this version have any new bonus content not already available on the 2009 “Full Moon Edition” Blu-ray? No. Does that matter? No. The besuited spectres on our doorsteps didn’t hand over blooper reels or production still galleries, they gave us the gold standard of lycanthropic cinema, and that is the resource this new edition claims to enhance, with a “NEW RESTORATION of the film”. No one in the public sphere seems to know anything about how this edition was restored, but hopefully it’ll be an improvement on the “gaussian blur + sharpen filter every frame” transfer of the Full Moon edition.
In the end, it doesn’t matter. If you’re a werewolf fan, you have a copy of this film whether you like it or not. Doesn’t it behoove us to have the best-looking copy available? Don’t we want to keep those mysterious dark visitors on our porches happy? I say “yes, please God, yes.”
Also, the new cover art is dope.
Thanks to everyone who shared news of this upcoming release with me.
A. Quinton — Aug. 6th 2016
If you hate wearing shorts and being in the sun, and you’d rather spend the pinnacle of summer sitting in the dark, watching some shiny new editions of werewolf movies, I won’t judge you. Neither will Shout! Factory, who are actively enabling this kind of behaviour. Just a week or two ago they released new Blu-ray editions of 1973’s The Boy Who Cried Werewolf and 1996’s Bad Moon.
Full, crescent, quarter… each is a Bad Moon for Ted Harrison. By day, he’s a photojournalist visiting family in the Pacific Northwest. By night, he transfigures into a horrific half-human – a werewolf. Dead men tell no tales, so Ted’s sure he alone knows about his vile double life. The secret, however, may be out. The family dog Thor, devoted to defending the household, has his suspicions.
This re-release is loaded with new and exclusive extras, including a director’s cut, a making-of featurette, and commentary tracks by director Eric Red and photojournalist/werewolf actor Michael Paré. Just the thing to replace my VHS copy. Available direct from Shout! Factory for $22.99 USD or even cheaper through Amazon.
The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
Richie Bridgestone’s parents are getting a divorce, but that’s the least of his problems at the moment. Richie is hoping his parents will reconsider and on a visit to his father ’s secluded cabin, he witnesses his dad being attacked by a werewolf. Much like the tale of the boy who cried wolf, no one in the town will believe Richie’s claims that his father will change into a werewolf at the next full moon.
This one doesn’t come with a ton of extras, but it’s a new hi-def transfer, so you know those 70’s fashions will look crisp. This one’s also available direct from Shout! Factory for $22.99 USD or even cheaper through Amazon.
A. Quinton — Aug. 4th 2016
Thank you, PDX Werewolf. Without your post, I wouldn’t have learned about Werewolf Airline Simulator 2016 until I checked my “transportation hospitality simulation game” feed, which I only do on alternate Septembers.
This OS X / Windows game came out of April’s “Ludum Dare”, a thrice-yearly game jam in which “developers from around the world spend a weekend creating games based on a theme suggested by the community”. WAS 2016 features a bow-chicka-wow-ow musical score, infuriatingly callous passengers, and very nice, very 70s artwork. Its authors, the mysterious and unknowable Pestel Crew, describe the game thusly:
Werewolf Airline have chosen you to become a flight attendant of a first shapeshifter only flight crew. This is a great achievement for any shapeshifter and this is a great example for younger generation of shapeshifters that whatever they dream of, they can achieve it.
Try to keep all passengers happy and not get fired in the process. Use the powers of chainsaw werewolf, skating beaver and cute raccoon! Serve, cook and kill for the glory of Ludum Dare. Just one thing to remember, this is a non smoking flight.
I played this game for 10 minutes and I’m not very good at it, but I’m already looking forward to the new transformation modes in the 2017 update and the Merman Cruise Ship DLC.
A. Quinton — Aug. 1st 2016
NY Times Bestselling Author Micky Neilson worked at Blizzard for over 20 years, guiding the narrative of the Warcraft universe and writing many of the related comic series, including Curse of the Worgen. Now he’s debuting The Turning, his first self-published horror novel.
Years ago Brandon Frye was bitten, cursed to transform into a primal killing machine under the light of the full moon… until he met Celine, who introduced him to experimental pills meant to suppress the turning. Now, after a terrible tragedy has taken Celine’s life, Brandon boards a cruise ship bound for Alaska, intending to venture into the cold white north and never return.
But when Brandon meets Ginny, he gains a second chance at love. Nevertheless, circumstances align against him: a storm is building, a hunter is on his trail, and the pills that are meant to prevent the turning… are about to trigger it.
If I may be reductive for a moment, “werewolf runs amok on a cruise ship” sounds delicious. I’m buried in production stuff for the next issue of Werewolves Versus, so I don’t have much leisure time for reading, but I chomped off the first 16 pages and it’s got everything I want at the start of a werewolf horror novel: a dive bar, a grisly death, and some excellent werewolf action. Neilson’s been wrangling Worgen for years, so I have high hopes for his modern-day, Earth-based werewolf tale.
The Turning ebook comes out tomorrow, August 2nd – you can pre-order (it in the next 11 hours) or buy it on Amazon.
A. Quinton — Jul. 28th 2016
Craig has written up the entire The Howling cinematic oeuvre as part of The AV Club’s Run The Series feature, “which examines film franchises, studying how they change and evolve with each new installment”. His piece, “The Howling series got howlingly bad pretty quickly”, is 3,000 words long and concludes with a definitive (and henceforth canonical) ranking of the series’ seven films. If you’re wondering which one took top slot, here’s a hint: it’s the only one Joe Dante was involved in.
Craig’s movie reviews are consistently excellent, even if the films he reviews aren’t always. I’m lucky to have him writing about werewolf movies here on Werewolf News, and I look forward to seeing more of his work on The AV Club in the future.
A. Quinton — Jul. 23rd 2016
Two guys from the “making neat stuff and blowing it up” zone of YouTube are here in this video to exercise one of science’s primary directives: doing a thing not because you need to, but because you can, and it’ll be fun.
I liked watching this process because while both guys are clearly skilled, they didn’t edit out the technical problems, and they didn’t try to hide the fact that the results, while quite functional, weren’t Adam Savage-level perfect. Perfection isn’t required when you’re experimenting or making something cool!
My thanks to friend and colleague William K, who was worried that sharing this video with me might lead to reprisals from “the werewolf community.” Nah, William, it’s fine! I’m sure the werewolves out there are glad to know that anyone wanting to make their own silver bullets runs the risk of pouring molten silver all over their hands.