Category: Film, Television & Music

Rick Baker resurrects the amazing werewolf mask he “let George use” in Star Wars

A. Quinton — May. 25th 2017

The Star Wars werewolf connection hinges entirely on special effects legend Rick Baker deciding to use some of his off-the-shelf creature masks during re-shoots of the Episode IV cantina scene in 1977. Among those masks was a werewolf Baker had created on his own in 1973. As with seemingly everyone else in that cantina, the werewolf extra gained an official name – Lak Sivrak – and an elaborate backstory full of intrigue, romance, tragedy, sacrifice, most of which was told through Star Wars comic books.

Then in 2012, Disney consigned everything about the character except his name and species to Legends, the phantom zone for all retroactively non-canonical Star Wars artifacts. And that was it for poor Lak until earlier this week, when Baker set about re-casting a new mask from that original 1973 mold.

He posted four photos of his work – which I’ve embedded below – on his Instagram feed. The quality of his design and work is astonishing, and consider that he did all of this in three days.

The hashtags and reminiscences in Baker’s comments make this seem like an observance of the film’s release anniversary – Star Wars hit theatres 40 years ago today –but it could also be a coincidence. Baker seems like the kind of person who’d resurrect a 43-year-old mold and then and pour, pull, paint, hair and trim a new mask on a lark – simply because he loves doing this sort of thing (and happens to be really, really, really fucking good at it).

Comic Review: “The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen” issue 1

A. Quinton — May. 24th 2017

How do you write a worthy sequel to a (cult) classic werewolf movie that spawned a rogues gallery of generally putrid follow-ups? In the first issue of the officially licensed The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen comic series from Space Goat, writer Micky Neilson (no stranger to werewolf stories) doubles down on all the things that made The Howling a werewolf icon: creeping dread, brutal gore, characters making implausible but entertaining decisions, and multiple full-frontal werewolf transformations. The result is an experience so satisfying that it simultaneously redeems and obviates the seven other films in the series. This is the new Howling canon.

Werewolf Queen picks up just a few weeks after TV reporter Karen White’s dramatic revelation at the conclusion of The Howling. The first issue divides its time between Karen’s colleague Chris Halloran, who’s charged with murder, out on bail and having a hard time sleeping – and the titular werewolf queen Marsha Quist, who escaped the Colony with at least a few of her werewolf “brothers” and is now on the hunt for a valuable artifact.

Neilson’s script cleverly recaps the film’s conclusion for newcomers (and the forgetful) by serving it as part of Chris’s sweaty apartment-bound paranoia and confusion. The general public is either skeptical of or indifferent to the newly-revealed existence of werewolves, but Chris knows they’re dangerously real. He’d be happy to discuss the subject with the police or his KDHB co-workers, if only they would stop dying mysteriously.

Marsha, meanwhile, pays a visit to Vera, an antiques dealer whose stodgy outfit and shitty attitude made her my instant Comic Book Avatar of 2017. Vera deals in more than just antiques, and Marsha has some uncomfortable questions about one of these illicit transactions. This leads to a chase scene, a lovingly-rendered werewolf transformation and an accompanying monologue that all add up to pure horror cheese.

It’s good, the cheese. It’s very good. The last few pages of the issue would border on satirical nonsense both in setting and in content if it weren’t for the fact that it’s all so fucking fun. Any horror fan could look at the setup and predict the conclusion, right down to the jump scares, and what makes that such a delight is that Neilson and artist Jason Johnson know you know what’s going on.

They’ve been given a chance to revive a languishing franchise, and they’re already laying the groundwork for a direction that doesn’t involve Christopher Lee selling bad dialogue or werewolf castle orgies, but first they’re going to take a little detour through a literal horror funhouse. That’s what you came for, isn’t it? Arcane McGuffins, dress-shredding wolf-outs, snub-nosed revolvers, rotary telephones, gratuitous beheadings and all the best fashion of 1981? This stuff is a blast, and it’s this sense of smirking dangerous fun that makes this issue (and hopefully the rest of the series) work so well.

Available through comiXology right now and in print on May 31st.

THE HOWLING: REVENGE OF THE WEREWOLF QUEEN #1 (of 4)

SKU: HWLG0101
UPC: 711099797381 00111 (Covers A & B)
UPC: 711099797381 00121 (Cover C)
UPC: 711099797381 00131 (Cover D)
Price: $3.99
Rating: Teen+
Writer: Micky Neilson
Art: Jason Johnson (A), Milen Parvanov (C)
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Cover: Kevin West (A), Yvel Guichet (A, C), Carlos Eduardo (A), Chris Summers (B), Anton Kokarev (B), Bill Sienkeiwicz (D)

There are wolves everywhere in the music video “The Wolf” by SIAMES

A. Quinton — May. 18th 2017

It’s not strictly werewolf-related, but this music video by RUDO Co. for the song “The Wolf” by SIAMES is fucking great.

This is the first single from SIAMES’s 2016 debut record “Bounce into The Music”, available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and YouTube.

Thanks to JD for (retweeting?) the link (I think?)!

Pre-order Shout! Factory’s deluxe “Teen Wolf” & “Teen Wolf Too” editions

A. Quinton — May. 12th 2017

Continuing its mission to release every 1980’s film – no matter how cult or cheesy – as a super-deluxe Blu-ray, Shout! Factory is now taking pre-orders for collector’s editions of Teen Wolf and Teen Wolf Too. They’ll be released August 8th in the United States and Canada and can be ordered directly from Shout! Factory or through Amazon (TW, TWT).

No on-disc extras have been announced yet, but Shout! Factory is known for developing extravagant bonus content for their re-releases, so I have high hopes. They’re setting the bar high with these two new lovingly-painted covers. I’m not sure who the artist is – I see the initials PS – but they crushed it, especially that Michael J. Fox version.

Edit: commenter Sykes let me know that the artist is Paul Shipper.

 

May is the month of werewolf cakes! Check out this prize-winning “American Werewolf in London” creation

A. Quinton — May. 11th 2017

Werewolf News reader Jacob Bellingham shared a photo he took (and a link to a Dread Central article about) this prize-winning An American Werewolf In London-themed cake. Created by Karen Mitchell of Sugarlicious Cakes by Karen, it won a silver medal in the Decorative Exhibit category of the 2017 Cake International competition in London in April.

The level of detail on this thing is incredible, from the bloodwork to the details on the box. Check out the Sugarlicious photo gallery for more, including some close-ups.

Jacob’s family runs Little Brown Fairy Cake, who took home a Bronze in the same competition with the excellent Penguin cake pictured below. Despite looking like one of the least-tasty DC villains, it’s all edible, even the monocle. I told Jacob this in confidence but I think I’m a big enough person to admit it to the world, regardless of what it might do to my werewolf fan credibility: the David Kessler cake is impressive, but I kind of prefer the Penguin cake. What can I say? I like the prospect of eating Danny DeVito’s head, and of course, I didn’t have to travel to London to see (or eat) the best werewolf cake ever – it was right here in my kitchen in 2012.

Get Matt Ryan’s Mondo “American Werewolf in London” poster today if you’re in Texas, or online later if you’re not

A. Quinton — May. 5th 2017

Mondo’s got this thing where they commission great artists to make incredible posters, then sell 95% of the stock at an event in Texas and let those of us elsewhere (say, Vancouver) fight for the remaining 5% online.

Well, they did it again, commissioning Canadian artist Matt Ryan to create the lycanthropic entry in “a line-up of awesome new horror posters”. Writes Matt:

There hasn’t been many “alternative” posters created for An American Werewolf in London. I think that was what initially drew me in wanting to create something for it for the Mondo fam. I’m usually drawn towards posters that dont have too many pre-existing pieces of print work under their belt. It means the subject matter hasnt been played out and/or over saturated.

I love the look of the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain and wanted to subtly illustrate the famous Rick Baker Werewolf into the fountain itself, so at first glance perhaps you dont even see it. Just some ornate aspect to the fountain. Originally my idea was to keep the wolf even more hideen and smaller in scale, then I hit the “fuck it” button. I also wanted the poster to sort of trick the eye into almost thinking its an 1800’s period piece in its look and rendering of the fountain but then have the glow of tacky retro neon signage…dating it firmly in the 80’s.

Pictured below is the “regular” edition. Visit Matt’s site to see the Glow In the Dark variant, featuring “a more reto, sun-bleached-black-brown color palette”.

Your best shot at getting one of these 24″ x 36″ beauties is to attend Texas Frightmare Weekend, starting pretty much right this instant and running through Sunday the 7th – Mondo will be selling these and other horror posters at booths 160-162. If you’re not in the Dallas–Fort Worth area this weekend, keep an eye on the Mondo web site poster collection, which is where any extras will pop up.

Thanks to Craig J. Clark for the link.

Edit: I just saw Matt did this frankly gorgeous Silver Bullet screen print (with metallic inks!) as a private commission. This exists somewhere in the world and it’s impossible to obtain without some combination of graft and teleportation. Fuck.

5-page preview, 4 covers & publication details for “The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen”

A. Quinton — May. 4th 2017

Space Goat Productions has shared publication details, cover art and five preview pages from the first issue of their upcoming comic series “The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen”.

The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen #1 picks up where the cult-classic 1981 film left off: Three weeks have passed since Chris Halloran revealed on national TV that werewolves walk among us. No one believed him. Now Marsha Quist has returned for revenge–and now there is no colony to hold back her blood lust. For fans of Evil Dead 2, The Walking Dead, and Silver Bullet.

When news broke late last year that Space Goat had secured the rights to produce a canonical comic series tied to the The Howling film franchise, I got good vibes about the project on the grounds that it had a great title, a talented writer, a killer cover, and a tacit acknowledgement that the story would be derived from one of the good Howling films.

Now that we’re getting close to the July publication date, preview pages and review copies are making the rounds, and I’m relieved that my good vibes were accurate. This looks hot as hell. Check out these five pages from this first issue, then keep scrolling for publication details and a look at the alternate covers.

THE HOWLING: REVENGE OF THE WEREWOLF QUEEN #1 (of 4)

SKU: HWLG0101
UPC: 711099797381 00111 (Covers A & B)
UPC: 711099797381 00121 (Cover C)
UPC: 711099797381 00131 (Cover D)
Price: $3.99
Rating: Teen+
Writer: Micky Neilson
Art: Jason Johnson (A), Milan Parvanov (C)
Cover: Kevin West (A), Yvel Guichet (A, C), Carlos Eduardo (A), Chris Summers (B), Anton Kokarev (B), Bill Sienkeiwicz (D)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Horror
Publication Date: July 2017
Format: Comic Book, FC
Page Count: 32 pages

Crowdsourced werewolf movie “Bonehill Road” seems very successful and a little weird

A. Quinton — May. 3rd 2017

The crowdfunding campaign for Bonehill Road, a “fun, scary old school style monster flick” from Todd Sheets, has a week to go and it’s 429% funded.

Bonehill Road is my newest film.  It is an homage to classic monster films like The Howling and An American Werewolf In London.  In some ways, it is a throwback to the films we grew up with… the real horror movies that we all love so much, and in another way it is a modern horror flick that uses old school techniques, including Practical Monster Effects.  NO CGI at all here.  Our goal is to make an exciting, scary monster movie with some really cool werewolves.  Every dime will be put into the monsters.  This whole campaign is ALL about the werewolves.  We have our base Budget and distribution is already in place, we just need extra funds for our creature effects.  If we are lucky enough to go OVER the budget listed here, we will use every dime for more effects and production costs.  No salaries are ever taken by me, the director.  EVERY dime will be put on screen, so the more money we have, the better.  This budget listed was our BARE MINIMUM for extra creature stuff.  But if we go OVER what was listed, that is simply amazing and it will  mean MORE Monsters, MORE special effects, MORE stunts… a bigger and better movie!!!!!

This project has generated a lot of interest from Werewolf News readers and grindhouse horror fans in general. I can definitely see the appeal of practical creature effects, and there’s no doubt that Sheets has made his bones in the world of low-budget monster movies, but I don’t know if this project is for me.

They’re leaning heavily into the practical effects, which the campaign updates say are being handled by GDS-Fx. The GDS-Fx Facebook page has lots of photos showing the two masks that have been created so far, and they look appropriately grotesque. Curiously, the campaign also shows (uncredited) photos of pre-made werewolf suits, including a $1,700 Midnight Studios FX werewolf suit with the caption “this is one of the Werewolf suits we will be getting with YOUR help!!!” They obviously want as many werewolves as possible in the film, which, hell yeah, but it seems strange to have them all look so different.

Then there’s the fact that they’re leading off with unlicensed Narnia concept art, there’s no plot summary or story cues mentioned anywhere, and they’re making a character’s non-humanity (“a very cool TRANSFORMATION scene of a WOMAN into a Werewolf!!!”) a stretch goal. The whole concept seems a little… unfinished.

Nevertheless, I’m all for more werewolf movies, and I wish Sheets and his crew all the best.

Full Moon Features: Neowolf (2010)

Craig J. Clark — Apr. 10th 2017

Having run the Howling series for The A.V. Club last year, I have witnessed the depths to which a werewolf movie can sink — namely, to the gaping abyss that is 1995’s The Howling: New Moon Rising. This is why I can be inclined to go easier on an aggressively mediocre one like 2010’s Neowolf than I previously would have. Made by French director Yvan Gauthier, who was so proud of the finished product he chose to be credited as Alan Smythe (not Smithee as the IMDb incorrectly states), and based on an original story by producer Alessandro Di Gaetano (of Project: Metalbeast infamy), Neowolf is the kind of film that opens with an anonymous couple leaving a club to have sex in the parking lot only for them to be interrupted by a very hairy creature (guess what) which slaughters them both. Then, and only then, do Di Gaetano and co-writer Michael January bother to introduce their protagonist.

That would be Tony (Michael Frascino), an aspiring rock singer/songwriter driving cross-country to get back together with his girlfriend Rosemary (Heidi Johanningmeier), a college student whose studies in Gothic literature and botany come in handy when she begins to suspect her wayward boy with the wandering eye has fallen in with the titular band of ravenous werewolves. Of course, it takes a while for this to happen because it takes a while for anything to happen in Neowolf with the notable exception of Gauthier’s (or his editor’s) rush to get to the sex scenes, of which there are three within the first half hour.

It’s during the third one that Tony is bitten by Neowolf groupie Paula (Megan Pepin) because if Eurotrash bandleader Vince (Agim Kaba) had done it that would have been a little too gay, and when he comes to the next morning in his motel room with an enormous hickey on his neck and evidence of their tryst on his phone, Rosemary springs into action, Googling Neowolf because “something weird’s going on” and “the energy wasn’t normal.” Her best friend Kevin (weak comic relief Ryan Ross) is skeptical, but she hits the jackpot when she finds What Neowolf Doesn’t Want You to Know.com, a website put up by Romanians for Truth which asks, “Is it a coincidence that the band’s tour has been followed by a long line of mysterious killings or something more heinous?” Also, Vince apparently “only looks Pretty on the outside,” which is funny because I think he looks much hotter after he wolfs out (as far as anybody does in this movie, which isn’t very).

Coming to the only logical conclusion — that her strung-out-looking boyfriend is in danger of becoming a creature of the night — Rosemary consults with her literature professor (Sevy Di Cione), whose accent is such that he referred to “Dr. Jakyll and Mr. Hyde” in his first lecture, and nursery owner and self-proclaimed “crazy old loon” Mrs. Belakov (a slumming Veronica Cartwright), who conveniently grows wolfsbane (referenced in every story Rosemary can find about “werewolfs,” as she calls them) and resolves to help save her boyfriend. Kevin, alas, isn’t able to pitch in because he becomes werewolf chow when Vince gets a little bite-y while going down on him, a cringe-worthy moment that simultaneously brings to mind Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left and Lowell Dean’s WolfCop. And it all wraps up with an unearned tragic ending stolen wholesale from David Cronenberg’s The Fly. Okay, I’ve convinced myself. Neowolf is beyond mediocre. It’s actively terrible.

Listen to this great performance of werewolf screenplay “The Hounds of House Rearden” on Black List Table Reads

A. Quinton — Apr. 3rd 2017

Last week friend of the site / New Orleans legend @colonelnemo sent me a link to “The Hounds of House Rearden”, the latest episode of the Black List Table Reads podcast on Earwolf. It’s a live-action performance of a werewolf movie script, and an excellent way to pass an amount of time equal to, say, what it would take to assemble two IKEA Kallax shelf units.

Black List Table Reads “takes the best and most exciting screenplays Hollywood hasn’t yet made, and turns them into movies, for your ears”. The scripts are selected by host, narrator (and Black List founder) Franklin Leonard. Each monthly table read is recorded as a group performance by “a rotating cast of talented actors” and then supplemented with audio cues, sounds effects and music. The result is a feature-length audio experience they call an “earmovie”.

“The Hounds of House Rearden” was my first earmovie, and I was impressed. The cast (listed below & pictured even further below) did an excellent job, particularly Cooper Thornton and Greg Itzin. The sound effects and foley work were top notch, rendering the werewolf transformations (spoiler: there are many) and gruesome dismemberments (ditto) effectively. Check this killer poster designed by Erika Deoudes that went up with the podcast post. Details like that have nothing to do with the audio experience but demonstrate the level of care and attention to detail that went into the episode.

The screenplay itself was not bad, as potential werewolf movies go. It started off strong, with a nice antagonistic father-son dynamic and quick pacing, but lost momentum by introducing a few too many dudes with trope-y sub-plots – one of which had me wondering when Mushu was going to appear. There’s a ton of good werewolf action, though, and the identity of the titular Hounds caught me by surprise. I couldn’t find anything else by its screenwriter, Sean Geraghty, but he wrote a better werewolf action-horror movie than some others I could name that made it all the way to the screen.

Subscribe to Black List Table Reads on iTunes or Overcast, or find other links to this specific episode here.

“The Hounds of Rearden” written by Sean Geraghty. It stars Cooper Thornton (Peter), James Callis (Sir Julius/Cortez), Greg Itzin (Sen. Warren/Hunter), Charles Shaughnessy (Cromwell/Clark), Sachin Bhatt (Raj/Ranger #1), Gregg Daniel (Leopold), Andrew Roa (Johnny Napoleon), Ben Lawson (Hastings/Collins), Laura Kai Chen (Khan), and Franklin Leonard (Narrator).