Category: Film, Television & Music

A behind-the-scenes glimpse of “The Monster Squad” monsters

A. Quinton — Feb. 21st 2017

The Stan Winston School of Character Arts recently put up a collection of behind-the-scenes photos and recollections from the crew responsible for building the titular monsters of The Monster Squad, including The Wolfman portrayed by Jonathan Gries.

“The challenge was to suggest those classic creatures, without really copying them,” explained  [lead mummy builder] Shane Mahan, “because we didn’t have permission or the license to use those specific images. So we could do a ‘Gillman’, for example, but it couldn’t look too much like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was frustrating for us at first, because, of course, we wanted to do the original designs! But we couldn’t. We could only suggest those designs.”

This isn’t a Monster Legacy level essay, but there’s some neat stuff on display, including Stan Winston’s original sketch of the Wolfman. Yep, you can thank him for those super wide-set eyes.

“Lore” 53: Trees and Shadows

A. Quinton — Feb. 14th 2017

The latest episode of the excellent podcast Lore examines a cryptozoological phenomenon near and dear to the hearts of midwest werewolf fans: the Beast of Bray Road.

Our connection to animals is ancient, intimate, and complex. Humans have worshiped them, sacrificed them, lived with them, and been buried with them. But folklore from all over the world hints at a darker connection, and it just might be true.

In under 30 minutes, writer/producer Aaron Mahnke explores the facts and speculations surrounding multiple wolf-human-hybrid sightings near Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and the impact the sightings have had on the town – including local election campaigns and cookie production.

Lore covered werewolves more generally in its phenomenal third episode.

Full Moon Features: Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004)

Craig J. Clark — Feb. 10th 2017

The list of period werewolf films is pretty short to begin with. Due to the compound challenges of producing a period film and adding werewolves to it, the list of successful ones is even shorter. For every Curse of the Werewolf, there’s a Van Helsing. For every Company of Wolves, there’s a Werewolf: The Beast Among Us. Try as they might, the makers of 2004’s Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning also fall short of the mark, but at least they’re able to rise above the level of, say, 1979’s Wolfman (admittedly, not the most difficult bar to clear and a film I intend to cover in this space in the near future).

Co-produced and directed by Grant Harvey, who previously served as second unit director on Ginger Snaps and also co-produced its sequel, Snaps Back is set in the winter of 1815 in the Canadian wilderness, in which sisters Ginger and Brigitte (Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins) are discovered wandering on horseback. How they came to be there is never adequately explained, but after they come across a ravaged Indian camp and meet an old seer who cryptically warns them to “kill the boy or one sister kills the other,” their horse gets spooked and gallops off, leaving them in a spot that is exacerbated when Brigitte steps in a trap meant for some other kind of animal. She’s helped out of it by an Indian named Hunter (Nathaniel Arcand) who tends to her wound and accompanies the sisters to a nearby fort — a remote outpost of the Northern Legion Trading Company — where they are a less-than-welcome presence because of the shortage of supplies (seems the crew that set out the previous spring never returned) and the supernatural threat from without that no one is eager to give a name to.

Inside the fort, the sisters are under the protection of Wallace (Tom McCamus), the man nominally in charge, but his second-in-command (JR Bourne) would just as soon throw them to the (were-)wolves, and the resident fire-and-brimstone preacher (Hugh Dillon) likewise urges Wallace to cast them out. That seems harsh, but if they had been, Ginger wouldn’t have been bitten by the deformed creature kept locked up in the basement (the aforementioned boy) and the fort’s dwindling population wouldn’t have fallen to her furry friends quite so speedily. It also would have prevented Harvey from displaying his fondness for time-lapse effects, which lose their novelty the more he uses them. Thankfully, the full-on werewolf attack that arrives at the film’s climax is worth sticking around for, but it does strike me as a case of too little, too late.

Help indie werewolf film “Betsy” raise a few bonus bucks for better blood and beasts

A. Quinton — Jan. 30th 2017

There are three days left to help nudge the Indiegogo campaign for Concept Media‘s indie werewolf movie “Betsy” across the finish line. Written by Shawn Burkett (who also directs) and Ayse Howard, the film boasts a great visual identity, a solid cast, and a… well, not a stunning plot, based on the synopsis, but you never know.

The story follows a young woman “Betsy/Kelci C. Magel” who survived a violent attack while leaving work [according to an older synopsis she’s an escort – AQ]. After a month Betsy has relocated to a new town with her friend “Kayte/Marylee Osborne”.

A new town. New friends. A fresh start. However, as the full moon gets closer something begins clawing it’s way into her new life.

The film’s core budget was covered by a prior crowdfunding effort; this campaign is looking to raise an extra $1,000 to help pay for better costumes, practical effects and cast/crew expenses. As of this post, they’ve raised $878. They’re not asking for a lot, and they plan to shoot in late February and get it into festivals by May, so they’re not wasting time, either. Check out the campaign and the Betsy Facebook page for more info.

Thanks to Michael P and Somnilux for the links!

“Open Mic Night”, a werewolf musician animatic by Kaili Myers

A. Quinton — Jan. 27th 2017

Here’s Open Mic Night by SCAD student Kaili Myers. This is an animatic (so expect scratch audio and camera movement arrows) depicting a guitar-slinging lady who works up the courage to get on stage, then puts on a performance much different than anyone was expecting.

I’m absolutely in love with this werewolf design. Kaili’s done great work here, and I look forward to seeing (and sharing) the final animation! Thanks to friend of the site @Somnilux for the link.

Moody, gorgeous Batman: The Animated Series “Moon of the Wolf” poster by George Caltsoudas

A. Quinton — Jan. 16th 2017

George Caltsoudas is a graphic artist who spent nine months applying his bold and colourful vision to the creation of iconic posters for every episode of Batman: The Animated Series season 1. Not because he was commissioned by Warner Bros. Animation or DC, but because he just felt like it.

That’s sixty-five individual pieces of art, each one perfectly capturing the brooding, timeless Art Deco production design of the show.

A gallery of the whole collection flew by on my Twitter timeline and I dove in immediately, partly because B:TAS was one of my favourite shows growing up, and partly because I wanted to see what George put together for episode 43: “Moon of the Wolf”. I wasn’t disappointed! Check out the whole series (and a lot more great artwork) on George’s Tumblr.

Full Moon Features: Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)

Craig J. Clark — Jan. 11th 2017

It’s increasingly rare for a werewolf film to actually be out in theaters when the moon is full, but as the one that’s currently playing on 3070 screens across this great nation is Underworld: Blood Wars — and I gave myself permission to skip any further films in that dreary franchise after the last one — I have chosen to devote this month’s column to another, decidedly more worthy, werewolf movie sequel.

Released in 2004, Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed came along four years after its Scream Factory-approved predecessor and found editor Brett Sullivan stepping into the director’s chair. It also sees surviving Fitzgerald sister Brigitte (Emily Perkins) barely keeping her nascent lycanthropy at bay while staying two steps ahead of a persistent male werewolf (dubbed The Beast in the closing credits) that’s looking to answer the call of the wild. On top of that, she’s periodically visited by the ghost of her dead sister Ginger (Katharine Isabelle), who may in fact only be a figment of her imagination. Either way, Ginger’s appearance generally signals that things are going south for Brigitte in one way or another, as they do early on when she winds up in a rehab facility and is denied the monkshood extract she’s been using to keep the beast within her in check.

The primary setting for the first half of the film, the hospital is where Brigitte runs afoul of administrator Alice (Janet Kidder), who works overtime to convince her charges she’s been where they are, and orderly Tyler (Eric Johnson), who takes advantage of the more vulnerable patients. It’s also where she makes the acquaintance of Ghost (future Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany), a chirpy eight-year-old who seems to have the run of the place and arranges for the two of them to escape together. Their destination: Ghost’s grandmother’s off-the-grid cabin, where Brigitte finds out what it’s like to jump out of a frying pan and into the fire. Considering she’s gradually turning into a creature that’s covered in hair (a welcome design change from the first film), that’s obviously less than ideal.

“Dances With Werewolves” trailer sure is a trailer for a movie you could watch

A. Quinton — Jan. 9th 2017

Dances With Werewolves is a feature-length film made on a music video budget by a dedicated schlockmeister whose recent writing credits include titles like “Countess Dracula’s Orgy of Blood” and “The Mummy’s Kiss: 2nd Dynasty”. Its main selling point: it’s the last screen role of Angus Scrimm, the guy who played The Tall Man in Phantasm. I thought I kept my expectations sufficiently low going into the trailer, but they deployed that howl sound effect (you know the one) in the first three seconds, and things got worse from there. By the end I felt a lot like this promo photo of Scrimm.

If you want to watch this, cool, I guess: Bloody Disgusting says Santa Fe’s Jean Cocteau Cinema will screen it on January 27th. I’d rather watch this other film by the same name, though, if it ever gets out of development hell.

Stephen Colbert and Kate Beckinsale’s Good and Helpful Tips For Werewolf Hunting

A. Quinton — Jan. 5th 2017

I’ve been pretty mean to Underworld: Blood Wars since the trailer came out, but this is good. Stephen Colbert interested me, the meatloaf bit hooked me, and the part about dating sold me.

Sold me on the clip, that is. I still don’t want to see Blood Wars.

“The Howling” gets an official follow-up comic & board game with “Revenge of the Werewolf Queen”

A. Quinton — Dec. 14th 2016

Space Goat Productions has just announced an officially licensed comic book and board game(!) based on The Howling werewolf film universe.

Not all of that colourful franchise is particularly worthy of adaptation or expansion, but don’t worry: the four-issue The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen will take place directly after the events of the first film. Given that title and the events of the second film, Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf, we might be in for some backstory on a certain powerful werewolf lady.

The comic series will be written by two-time New York Times best-selling author Micky Neilson, whose lycanthropic work you might already be familiar with: he wrote the Warcraft comic series Curse of the Worgen and the werewolf novel The Turning, previously mentioned here on Werewolf News.

The comic’s line art will be handled by veteran Jason Johnson, who says he’ll “bring this story to life like only a true werewolf connoisseur can”. If the teaser image accompanying this post is any indication, uh, yes, dude, I believe you will.

The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen comes out in Summer 2017. No details on the board game yet, but if it involves quoting lines from the film series, I’m gonna win every single round with this gem.

Keep an eye on Space Goat and the very web site you’re reading right now for more details.