A. Quinton — Oct. 20th 2017
I consume more podcasts than any other media, and this week I was delighted to find two of my favourite shows discussing werewolves.
First up is a Sawbones episode about every werewolf’s best friend, the full moon. Sawbones is a medical history podcast that examines all the “odd, weird, wrong, dumb and just gross” things humans have done to themselves and each other in the name of medicine. In this latest episode, hosts Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin explore the full moon’s connection to lunacy, rumours of crowded hospital ERs, and – of course – lycanthropy.
The moon is more than just a big hunk of cheese. Actually, it’s not even really cheese. Did you think it was cheese? Wow, you know less about the moon that we thought. Dr. Sydnee and Justin’s history of all the things we blame the moon for is going to be extra super educational for you, huh?
Next up (and currently paused in my earbuds while I type this) is Lore episode 71, “Silver Lining”, in which writer / producer / narrator Aaron Mahnke visits the werewolves of 18th century France.
We’ve conquered much of our world, but even with all of our great cities and urban sprawl, there are still shadows on the edge. And it’s in the shadows that the greatest threats still exist—creatures from our darkest nightmares that threaten our feeling of safety. Which has led some to strike out into the dark and hunt them.
Lore is a phenomenal show about the true-life roots of monster myths and scary stories. This month it debuts in a new form – an Amazon Prime Video series that combines “dramatic scenes, animation, archive and narration” to re-visit classic episodes of the podcast. The fifth video in the series is an adaptation of Lore’s first werewolf-themed episode “The Beast Within”, which I wrote about in 2015. I’m not a Prime subscriber so I’m not sure how or when I’ll get to watch this, but the key art alone (the featured image on this post) makes me pretty sure I’ll love it when I do see it.
A. Quinton — Oct. 13th 2017
Werewolf News readers who’ve seen Andrés Muschietti’s stellar film adaptation of “It” know that it had one glaring omission, and now thanks to artist Carlos Huante we know why.
The tale’s eponymous monster wears a variety of shapes, each attuned to its prey’s deepest fears, its favourite (and most iconic) being that of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. In Stephen King’s novel and the 1990 made-for-TV adaptation, one of those shapes was that of a werewolf.
When the trailer for Muschietti’s film arrived earlier this year, I took a particular scene as solid evidence that we’d see another depiction of Werewolf Pennywise. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Muschietti’s decision to slightly modernize the story’s setting included a revamp of It’s fear-based forms, leading to the absence of a few “classic monsters” (including the werewolf) and the introduction of some new ones. Effective, but kind of a bummer for werewolf fans.
Today, this Instagram post by artist Carlos Huante – who’s been designing creatures for Hollywood features for nearly three decades – revealed that Werewolf Pennywise was under consideration for the 2017 adaptation, but was ultimately excluded when “the money people shot it down”. The drawing is part of a set of commissions done in relation to Huante’s latest art book, Rasca, and shows what he might have pitched if the money people had decided to allocate some of the film’s USD $35 million budget to a lycanthrope with pom pom buttons.
I’d like to think that Huante’s vision of Werewolf Pennywise might still make an appearance in the second film, due out in 2019. Considering the first film’s astonishing box office success (USD $604.4 million and counting), I doubt funding will be an issue.
A. Quinton — Oct. 10th 2017
‘NAMWOLF is a 4-issue comic series published by Albatross Funnybooks that ran through the Spring and Summer of 2017. It didn’t appear on my radar until friend of the site @RealizationNews tweeted at me earlier today, and now I’m firing up Comixology to buy the series – the synopsis and what I’ve seen of the art is too good to resist.
When scrawny Marty Spencer is drafted into the Vietnam War, he finds himself smack dab in the middle of the heart of darkness. But Marty has a secret. A secret even from himself. And Vietnam is a hell of a place to find out you’re a werewolf.
When news of the series first dropped in January, Nerdist ran a write-up in which the creators, Fabian Rangel Jr (whose work I enjoyed in an earlier werewolf comic, Extinct) and Logan Faerber shared some of their influences.
“I’m a huge werewolf fan, especially 80’s werewolf movies, explained writer Fabian Rangel, Jr. “So the inspiration is definitely ’80’s style action movie with a werewolf.” told us. When you read ‘Namwolf, a real ‘80s grindhouse feel comes through, like a throwback to a time when you discovered stuff like this on VHS at your local video store. “Ultimately, this was combining elements we both love; monsters, werewolves, cheesy action movies, and Vietnam flicks. Maybe if Predator weren’t so high budgeted, [and] replacing Arnold with Bill Paxton, [‘Namwolf] could’ve been one of those ’80s straight-to-VHS classics!” artist Logan Faerber added.
The Nerdist article also has several preview pages, including alternate covers by Eric Powell (creator of “The Goon”) and the legendary Mike Mignola (“Hellboy” and its extended universe). You can see all four standard covers and two pages of Marty making a “discovery” below.
Craig J. Clark — Oct. 4th 2017
As long as I’ve been a fan of John Landis’s landmark lycanthropus An American Werewolf in London (the subject of my very first Full Moon Feature six years ago), I’ve stringently avoided exposing myself to its late-arriving sequel for fear of tainting the original in my eyes. Released in Japan on October 18, 1997, and the U.K. on the 31st (fans in the States would have to wait until Christmas Day to feast their eyes on it), An American Werewolf in Paris can’t even be considered a proper sequel to London since they have no characters in common (this despite the opening title that says it’s “Based on Characters Created by John Landis”). At most, director Anthony Waller and screenwriters Tim Burns and Tom Stern (whose also co-wrote Alex Winter’s bizarro cult item Freaked) borrow some of the werewolf lore Landis invented for his film.
The main thing they play around with is the notion that a werewolf’s victims are doomed to return as the undead, but even then they muck it up (or at the very least muddy the waters) because Landis specified everyone in the werewolf’s bloodline had to die for them to stop walking the Earth. (This is why Jack is around to haunt David.) Here, only the werewolf that carried out the attack has to be destroyed, a challenging proposition since they all look exactly alike when transformed. Waller, Burns, and Stern also add a wrinkle about werewolves not being haunted if they eat their victims’ hearts. Furthermore, a werewolf can cure themselves by eating the heart of the one that bit them. Shockingly enough, with all the talk of heart-eating in this film, at no point does anybody — werewolf or otherwise — say “eat your heart out,” but then again, the script’s often ill-fitting humor runs more to physical gags than verbal jokes (one exception: the stiff in the morgue who moans, “A guy can’t rest in pieces around here”), so perhaps that’s just as well.
The trouble begins with the substitution of three college bros on a “daredevil tour” of Europe for the down-to-Earth David and Jack. Of the three, Andy (Tom Everett Scott) is the least aggravating, so naturally it falls to him to rescue distraught Parisian Sérafine (Julie Delpy) when she throws herself off the Eiffel Tower — which he was planning to do himself, only with a bungee cord attached to his feet. (This is the first of many poor special effects scenes that have failed to hold up, as if they were remotely convincing 20 years ago.) As for Andy’s buddies, Brad and Chris (Vince Vieluf and Phil Buckman), I guess he was given two so one could be werewolf chow while the other becomes a pawn of the werewolf cabal when its leader, Claude (Pierre Cosso), attempts to recruit the newly lycanthropic Andy, whose condition is poorly explained to him by Sérafine.
It turns out Claude likes to throw parties for American tourists, which he and his hand-picked goon squad proceeds to tear apart at the appointed time. Alas, these party scenes leave an opening for Waller to fill the soundtrack with ’90s alt-rock tripe by the likes of Bush, Better Than Ezra, Smash Mouth, Skinny Puppy, and Fastball. (Cake gets a pass because they’re Cake and their song is a cover of Barry White’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”) When you’re making the follow-up to a beloved film with an iconic soundtrack, the last thing you want to do is set a montage sequence to “Walkin’ on the Sun,” which goes completely against the spirit of the song choices in the original.
In spite of that lapse, Paris features a few deliberate echoes of London, including a pipe-smoking authority figure and the reality that the police are mostly clueless about the nature of the beasts they’re confronting. There’s even an homage of sorts to the Piccadilly multi-vehicle pile-up when Andy steals a car and almost immediately crashes it. One area where it doesn’t even attempt to follow in the first film’s paw prints, though, is the transformations, which are accomplished via rubbery-looking CGI. The fully transformed wolves are also digital creations, with the few practical effects reserved for extreme closeups. Instead of taking stock of this and realizing which effects were convincing and which were not, Hollywood doubled down on the ones and zeroes, believing that eventually technology would catch up to what Rick Baker accomplished with latex appliances and sheer ingenuity. Twenty years later, we’re still waiting.
A. Quinton — Oct. 4th 2017
Sorry for the late post but here is a picture of Werewolf Meowchi releasing tomorrow at 4 PM EST! Trying to coordinate all of this while setting up for NYCC is a bit rough! But he is just as fluffy as the picture leads him to be. Probably one of our favorite Halloween designs yet just based on the fur we used and those little danger claws.
Being unfamiliar with how Tasty Peach usually runs these things I had to dig around in the post comments a bit to find out the practical details. They say the pre-order will be happening “on our website” at 4 PM EST (1 PM Pacific), the price will be $25 USD, and they expect orders to ship out to customers by October 15th or 16th.
Edit: the pre-order is now live and available on the Meowchi Plush Werewolf product page.
I’m on more of a monstery werewolf kick these days so I won’t be jumping on this one, but I cannot deny that I want to squish this butt:
Thanks to Penningtonbeast and guyver47 for the link!
A. Quinton — Oct. 2nd 2017
Lest you think the video for Ghosted‘s catchy ode to teenage horniness is merely an “awkward duckling makes good” story, there’s a shot during the protagonist’s “getting ready” montage of some Polaroid photos of handsome dudes with their faces obscured by blood-red ink.
This video’s got some seriously great werewolf effects and gore. Thanks to Somnilux for the link!
A. Quinton — Sep. 6th 2017
Hi! If you’ve been wondering where the heck I’ve been for the past month or two, well, I was very busy working on the latest issue of Werewolves Versus, the digital (and maybe soon-to-be print) anthology I make in collaboration with artists and writers from the werewolf community – folks like you! This latest issue mashes up lycanthropes and film, and I’m extremely proud of the results.
Craig J. Clark — Sep. 5th 2017
Some werewolf tales are liberal enough that their lycanthropes are capable of transforming several nights in a row — as long as the moon looks full enough. Such is the case with the 1972 TV movie Moon of the Wolf, in which sheriff Aaron Whitaker (David Janssen) goes head-to-head with the uncanny when an unknown creature with superhuman strength starts chowing down on his constituents.
Set on the Louisiana bayou in the quaintly named town of Marsh Island, which gives director Daniel Petrie a fair amount of atmosphere to work with, Moon of the Wolf provides Whitaker with any of a number of suspects. There’s backwoods hick Tom (John Davis Chandler), who is out hunting with his pa (Royal Dano) when he discovers the werewolf’s first victim. Then there’s the victim’s distraught brother Lawrence (Geoffrey Lewis), who didn’t like her messing around above her station. And Whitaker also comes to suspect the town doctor (John Beradino), who apparently got the young lady in question pregnant and was pushing her to get an abortion. Meanwhile he rekindles a long-forgotten crush on Louise Rodanthe (Barbara Rush), whose family founded the town way back when and who’s just returned from the big, bad city. This doesn’t exactly endear Whitaker to her overprotective brother Andrew (Bradford Dillman), but until he solves his mystery it’s not like he has a whole lot of time for romancing anyway.
For such a short film (it’s only 74 minutes), Moon of the Wolf sure takes its time getting to the werewolf attacks (or even hinting that the attacks are being carried out by a werewolf). Apart from an old man on his deathbed raving in French about the “loup-garou,” no one even suspects that they have a lycanthrope on their hands (except maybe for the old man’s superstitious nurse, who knows how to ward them off), which leads the gun-toting populace to organize a wild dog hunt (the results of which are kept tastefully off-screen). Of course, when the killer finally does show his hairy face (and hands, which come complete with black fingernails) it’s none too impressive, so there’s a very good reason why the filmmakers kept his identity under wraps. It’s just too bad they also kept the body count down. A couple more murders would have livened the proceedings up immensely.
Craig J. Clark — Aug. 5th 2017
The year 2007 was rather a light one for werewolf films (the only one I’ve missed the anniversary of is the YA adaptation Blood and Chocolate, which I’m not exactly heartbroken about), and it would be even lighter had the Canadian-made Skinwalkers, which premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, not taken so long to get a theatrical release. (Oddly, there’s no Canadian release date on record, but it did finally come out in the States on August 10, 2007.) Directed by the late Jim Isaac, whose previous genre effort was Jason X, Skinwalkers features decent-looking creature effects by Stan Winston Studio, but all too often they’re obscured by flash cuts and camera-speed trickery that was probably intended to make the action scenes seem more exciting, but all it really does is detract from them. Its effectiveness is also blunted by how much it was whittled down from its original 110-minute R-rated cut to the leaner (but definitely not meaner) 92-minute PG-13.
The plot is centered around a boy named Tim Talbot (I wonder which of the three credited screenwriters came up with that name) born of a human mother and a skinwalker (which is a fancy Navajo term for werewolf) father who is on the cusp of his thirteenth birthday, when legend says he will be able to break the curse of lycanthropy — that is if he lives that long. Seems one group of evil skinwalkers (led by Jason Behr’s Valek) has developed a taste for blood and wants to go on indulging their bestial natures, while another (led by Atom Egoyan regular Elias Koteas’s Jonas) seeks to protect the boy (Matthew Knight) and his skeptical mother Rachel (Rhona Mitra, who went on to play the vampire love interest in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) at all costs.
At one point they hit the road in a converted RV that is incredibly easy to spot once you know to look for it (and which reminded me a lot of the fortified vehicle in George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead), and eventually wind up at an abandoned factory (that favorite locale of action directors) where the survivors of both groups duke it out and occasionally shoot at each other. (Did I mention there’s a lot of gun play in this movie? No? Well, there is.) Then comes the most unintentionally amusing moment in the whole film, when the two main werewolves square off against one another and the filmmakers quickly flash on the actors’ faces so you know which one you’re supposed to be rooting for. I guess it didn’t hit them until they were in the editing room that guys in furry werewolf makeup tend to look somewhat similar.
Anyway, in addition to the distracting editing tricks, the film also features plenty of digital effects that don’t do a whole lot to advance the story. Sure, they can make the moon look red and show extreme close-ups of animalistic yellow eyes, but are they doing anything at all to make me believe in the reality of what’s happening onscreen? (Not that realism is necessarily the first order of business when one is making a werewolf movie, but still.) One of the things that I did take away from the film that showed the filmmakers had actually put some thought into their premise, though, was the design of the restraints that the good skinwalkers voluntarily put themselves in when they know the change is coming on. Looking at them, one can imagine how they would have been handed down and modified over the centuries. Of course, with this film’s paltry box office take (just over $1 million in the few weeks it was in U.S. theaters), it’s no surprise we never got a Skinwalkers 2: Rise of the Skinwalkers.
A. Quinton — Aug. 2nd 2017
Hi hello yes I’ve been away working on my other werewolf project, WEREWOLVES VERSUS, but I’m back now in part because I have a brief gap in the production schedule for WV, and also because after years (literal YEARS) of walking into Michaels to scope their Halloween section and getting angry that they never seem to have good werewolves in their wacky Lemax “monsters doin’ stuff in a monster town” displays, the winds of change are here, and they bring with them the scent of hair spray and wet dog and the sounds of your very favourite club bangerz – those sweet bangerz you crave to hear all night long.
Okay. Deep breath.
Lemax, that famous company we all know and love at the “forefront of the rapidly growing pastime of holiday lighted villages for Halloween and Christmas”, is providing at least two werewolves to you this Halloween 2017. The first, I’m realizing, is actually from 2012, but they’ve re-released it for 2017: the Lemax Spooky Town Werewolf Grooming and Night Spa with Adaptor.
You have to say the whole name when you refer to it. It’s a miniature spa where they turn you into a werewolf, and then they sort out your scraggly pelt with a nice wash and blow-dry. If you’ve been a werewolf for a while they’ll probably give your claws a manicure, too, and help you with the weird halitosis you get from eating too many trick-or-treaters. And when you’re done, you can go chill on the Moon Deck with a cold one. Everything about this concept is so fundamentally delightful to me that I’m giddy. You can get it wherever Lemax stuff is sold – Michael’s, probably although it’s not on their site right now – and Amazon has a few, too. Oh, you plug it in and it lights up and plays sounds, but if you needed those features to push you over the edge you’re not the kind of werewolf collector I’m addressing right now (that is, excitable idiots like me).
What if you don’t want to spend almost eighty bucks on a werewolf spa? Shame on you, but I get it, and Lemax does too. Maybe perhaps instead you might fancy DJ Wolfman, the werewolf disc jockey who somehow looks even more serene than the one chilling on the Moon Deck, even as he crushes your eardrums with Porter Robinson or State of Mind or Run The Jewels (but never Monster Mash – don’t be normative). This dude comes with detached (sadly non-functioning) speakers (one with a jack-o-lantern and one with two crushed cold ones) and can be found online for $7 or less.
Thank you to my knick-knack-enabling partner Tandye for the links!