Category: Film, Television & Music

“Typecast” returns with a new goal and the same pissed-off werewolf actress you know and love

A. Quinton — Apr. 3rd 2018

After a few months off to recalibrate their goal and bury the corpses, Mac Beauvais and Ben Paddon are back with a new and improved IndieGoGo campaign for their “monsters are real and they hate shitty Hollywood gigs” web series Typecast.

They cancelled their initial campaign last year when they realized that November is a bad time to ask people for a bit of their disposable income. They’ve also moved from Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing system to a platform that will allow them to keep whatever funds they’re able to raise, even if they don’t make it all the way to their $50,000 USD goal. I think that’s a good approach: I’d take fewer episodes of a good show over no show at all!

I’ve never met Mac (Hit Girl, The Gloaming, tons of amazing cosplays) or Ben (PortsCenter, Boomer’s Day Off) but I’ve known about them since the early days of Werewolf News. If anyone’s capable of making this series and doing it right, it’s them. Please check out the campaign, the press release (below) and the campaign video (also below). If you can pitch in, you’ll be helping make a good and funny show with practically-created monsters, and if you can’t, please consider sharing the campaign with your pals on Facebook, Twitter and whatever Discord and Telegram groups you’re a part of.

Typecast: A Monstrous Movie Tale

Hollywood may be the land of dreams and opportunity, but it’s not all red carpets and martini lunches when you’re an actual monster.

LOS ANGELES, CA, USA – From writer/comedian, Ben Paddon (PortsCenter, Boomer’s Day Off), writer/actress, Mac Beauvais (Hit Girl, The Gloaming), and featuring director Justin Zagri (Severus Snape and the Marauders) comes TYPECAST, a comedy of horrors about just how truly monstrous Hollywood can be.

TYPECAST is an original eight part web series about actual flesh and blood monsters stuck in an endless parade of sci-fi shlock and horror films. Most actors dread being trapped in the same kinds of roles project after project, but as bad as that may be for humans, it’s an absolute nightmare when you’re a real monster.

The show, described as one half ‘Being Human’ and one half ‘Extras’, follows the trials and tribulations of Tony, a bog monster, who dreams of playing the lead in a drama instead of generic beasts in lame sci-fi horror films; Abby, a werewolf, who wants to ditch her regular gig as a breakfast cereal mascot; and Leeroy, a zombie, who just wants people to take the living-impaired seriously, which would be easier if he didn’t have to keep gluing his ear back on.

But TYPECAST is not just about snappy dialogue and Hollywood commentary, it will also highlight a staple of classic filmmaking: practical makeup effects. The makeup department, headed by two-time Emmy-nominated entertainment veteran, Michael Spatola (Tales from the Crypt, Return of the Living Dead, Iron Man 2), will bring these characters to life using traditional techniques and application. A sample of his work on TYPECAST can be seen in the trailer on their IndieGoGo page, which features a live-action kids’ breakfast cereal commercial and subsequent epic meltdown from the werewolf, Abby: “Who are you? Who put you in charge?”

TYPECAST is currently seeking $50,000 in funding for its first season via the crowdfunding platform, IndieGoGo. This will cover costs of makeup, crew, and locations, as well as donor rewards that include downloads of the ‘Full Moon Flakes’ cereal box, a cereal perfume (yes, really!), and even an opportunity to be put in full monster makeup and appear in a scene during filming.

With the deadline for funding this truly original take on Hollywood closing on May 11th, the time to donate is now. Unless, of course, you’re okay with annoying a werewolf.

Full Moon Features: A Werewolf in the Amazon (2005)

Craig J. Clark — Mar. 30th 2018

Over the course of his five-decade screen career, Spanish horror icon Paul Naschy appeared as just about every monster imaginable — at least, those that walked on two feet — but the one he returned to time and again was the werewolf. Most often it was because he was reprising his most famous creation, Waldemar Daninsky, but he occasionally donned the fangs, claws, and fur for films unrelated to that long-running series. The first time was for 1982’s Buenas noches, señor monstruo, a family comedy in which he was El Hombre Lobo alongside other actors playing Count Dracula, Quasimodo, and Frankenstein’s Monster. Considerably less family-friendly is A Werewolf in the Amazon, which Naschy made for Brazilian director Ivan Cardoso in 2005.

In addition to playing the title character, Naschy also shoulders the responsibility of embodying one created by H.G. Wells a century earlier since A Werewolf in the Amazon serves as a belated sequel to The Island of Dr. Moreau, which Naschy’s Moreau directly refers to with his talk of once owning an island and a “legion of mutant creatures” before he was betrayed. As for how he came to be cursed with lycanthropy, this is thanks to an “incident in the Carpathian Mountains,” so his experiments in gene-splicing are as much about finding a cure for his own condition as they are about creating human/animal hybrids like his right-hand beast-man Zoltan (Guará Rodrigues), who yearns to be fully human, yet unmistakably likes it when his master scratches him behind the ears.

If Moreau kept his activities confined to making beast-men, that would be one thing (and if Cardoso could afford to show more than a handful of them, that would be another), but he has also hooked up with a bevy of buxom, bloodthirsty Amazon warriors who protect his secret jungle laboratory. In addition, Moreau has a sexual relationship with their queen, Pentesiléia (Joana Medeiros), which the 70-year-old Naschy can do little to make palatable considering he was twice the age of his co-star at the time of filming. Still, that’s no more gratuitous than, say, the shower scene at the top of the film in which female lead Natasha (Danielle Winits) is spooked by her roommate Samantha (Karina Bacchi), whose dialogue referencing Psycho is redundant since the soundtrack has already aped Bernard Herrmann’s score. Cardoso goes Hitchcock one further, though, by having Samantha disrobe and step into the shower with Natasha because clearly that’s what people want to see when they pop in a movie called A Werewolf in the Amazon. (For the record, close to half the film’s 77-minute running time elapses before the viewer gets a decent look at Naschy’s Moreauwolf, and even then he’s mostly in shadow.)

How Natasha and Samantha fit into the plot is barely worth getting into since they and their friends — who head into the Amazonian jungle in search of hallucinogenic herbs — are there to be little more than werewolf bait. (Well, Natasha is a bit more than that since she’s revealed to be a reincarnated Amazon warrior by a ghostly Incan priest who delivers the news in song, but still.) Also not worth spilling much digital ink over are the American zoologist and no-nonsense policeman assigned to accompany him while he investigates the bizarre murders that have been occurring the area. (And yes, the zoologist does get to say the deathless line, “These wounds were made by some large animal.”) Not only are they almost exclusively used for labored comic relief (including a Re-Animator-style gag where a corpse in the morgue briefly comes to life before being smacked down again), but they’re nowhere near as funny as the moment where Moreau dresses one of them down, saying, “I guess you don’t deserve the privilege of being turned into an animal.”

“Sirius the Jaeger” anime: a lone werewolf hunts vampires in Imperial Japan

A. Quinton — Mar. 23rd 2018

I’m time-constrained these days with some cool projects you’ll get to see this year, but I had to take a coffee break from work to post about a new anime series hitting Japanese TV this July: Sirius the Jaeger.

From Crunchyroll:

The creatures of the night stalk the streets of 1930’s Tokyo in Sirius the Jaeger, an upcoming original TV anime about a young werewolf seeking to avenge the slaughter of his clan by hunting the vampires responsible.

From the English-language version of the Sirius the Jaeger web site:

Imperial Capital, 1930.

A strange group of people carrying musical instrument cases landed on Tokyo station. They are called the “Jaegers”, who came to hunt vampires. Amongst them, there stood a young man with striking serenity and unusual aura. His name is Yuliy, a werewolf whose home village was destroyed by vampires. Yuliy and the Jaegers engage in deadly battle over a mysterious holy arc only known as “The Arc of Sirius”. What truth awaits them at the end…?

With eternal affinity and spiral of conspiracy entwine, the highly anticipated action-thriller anime begins!

From @Sausage_Spirit on Twitter, who shared the news with me and knows way more about the anime world than I do:

it’s being directed by the guy who did wolf’s rain and the cowboy bebop movie with character designs by the girl who does the designs for street fighter and some other capcom games

I’m not sure when or how this will become available to audiences outside of Japan, but I hope it’s soon!

Full Moon Features: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

Craig J. Clark — Mar. 1st 2018

I’m hopping a bit off the beaten path with this month’s Full Moon Feature, but with Early Man now in theaters, I can’t think of a better time to watch a cheese-loving inventor and his long-suffering pooch grapple with The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Made in 2005, it was the second feature for Aardman Animations after 2000’s Chicken Run and the first big-screen adventure for their signature characters, Wallace and Gromit. Directed by their creator Nick Park and Steve Box, the film amply illustrates the dangers of hooking yourself up to a Mind Manipulator-omatic and then plugging it into a BunVac filled with pesky rabbits and trying to brainwash them into not liking vegetables under the light of the full moon. There’s just so many ways something like that can go so, so wrong, as man and his best friend alike soon learn.

How it comes to that is simple: In the lead-up to their town’s annual Giant Vegetable Competition, everyone has signed up with Anti-Pesto, Wallace (voiced as always by Peter Sallis) and Gromit’s high-tech “Humane Pest Control” service. Their non-lethal methods especially impress animal lover Lady Campanula Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter), who has to fend off aggressive blueblood Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes), who resents the competition. However, after Wallace’s attempt at bunny brainwashing backfires, he literally creates a monster that is identified by Reverend Hedges (Nicholas Smith, Mr. Rumbold from Are You Being Served?) as the titular beast, carrotus apetitus giganticus. No points for guessing who it turns out to be.

Park and Box and their co-writers Mark Burton and Bob Baker pack as many vegetable puns as they can into the proceedings (under the headline “Night of Vegetable Carnage!” there’s the delicious subhead “Anti-Pesto Fail to Turnip in Time”), and they also managed to smuggle a few naughty jokes past the MPAA. (“Beware the moon,” indeed.) Even better, they work in numerous allusions to classic horror films, with my favorite being when the beast is vanquished and it returns to human form with the aid of a series of lap dissolves, just like in the old Lon Chaney, Jr. movies. I know that’s hardly extraordinary considering the entire film is stop-motion animated, but the gesture is appreciated.

Roald Dahl’s “Revolting Rhymes” animated shorts features very stylish wolves

A. Quinton — Feb. 23rd 2018

Roald Dahl’s collection of delightfully messed-up fairy tales has been adapted from a book into two half-hour animated short films directed by Jakob Schuh Jan Lachauer and narrated by Dominic West. The meta-story surrounding the two short films stars a wolf (potentially Big and/or Bad), which is werewolf-adjacent enough to be posted here.

The characters designs are fantastic – a kind of mashup of Quentin Blake’s illustrations and Aardman-style 3D figurines. Lupine bias aside, I love the variety of depictions the wolf (or wolves) have.

Revolting Rhymes was produced by Magic Light Pictures (London), animated by Magic Light Pictures (Berlin) and Triggerfish Animation (Cape Town), and aired on PBS in the United States. The first episode, featuring a radical reinterpretation of Red Riding Hood and Snow White’s stories, is currently in the running for an Academy Award.

It’s available to stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and you can obtain it on DVD or iTunes if you’d prefer something you can actually own.

You can’t watch “Monster Family”, the animated film that was based on a ride that was based on a book

A. Quinton — Feb. 19th 2018

“Monster Family” is animated family film of the sort where the trailer features a lovingly-animated fart joke. As far as I can tell, there is no way to watch it.

When I saw the character art I was sure it was a spin-off from the Hotel Transylvania series, but nope – it’s based on David Safier’s book “Happy Family”, which was then somehow turned into the premise for a 4D cinema/ride at a cave-based theme park called Wookey Hole, which was then – because this is how these things work – expanded into a feature film. It follows the misadventures of a shitty family who get turned into monsters because Dracula hates them for some reason. I’m posting about it because the boy becomes a werewolf who looks like Rhea Butcher.

This British-German production features the voices of Emily Watson, Nick Frost, Jessica Brown Findlay, Celia Imrie, Catherine Tate, and Jason Isaacs. The trailer and the airport scene that follows it seem to contain dialogue animation matching a non-English script – German, maybe, or perhaps Brazilian Portuguese, for the sake of the film’s premiere, which was in Brazil. It arrived in American theatres on February 9th 2018, and now doesn’t seem to be playing anywhere, nor is it available for purchase. It does not exist. Did it ever exist? Or did Genndy Tartakovsky have a bad dream that we all shared?

Wookey Hole, if you’re looking for another attraction to turn into a feature film, I have a suggestion.

Vote for “Timber”, a Storyhive project that pits lumberjacks against werewolves

A. Quinton — Feb. 5th 2018

Want to help bring a new werewolf web series to life? Starting today and running through Friday the 9th, werewolf fans can visit the Storyhive campaign page for “Timber” to cast one vote per day (no registration required). Those votes will comprise a large part of the decision-making process that will award 15 projects $50,000 each to fund a full series.

“Timber” is being pitched as “Lumberjacks Vs Werewolves” by its creative team. Here’s the synopsis:

In 1920’s Canada a doctor visits her estranged brother while he is working at a lumber camp. When she gets there she is shocked to learn that the lumberjacks are hiding the dark secret that werewolves are real, and she must discover who is and isn’t infected before it’s too late.

I’m writing this post on the 4th, before the big push for votes starts, and there’s already a ton of video and production stills on Timber’s Storyhive page and Facebook page. Watch the pilot episode below!

I asked Peter Kominek, one of the experienced filmmakers behind the project, about their plans for the werewolf design. I’m always interested to hear how the werewolf for a given project is going to be built, and here’s what he wrote me:

Our werewolf is going to walk on all fours, it is going to be a ferocious beast/hell hound rather than a wolfman type werewolf. Our intention is to make it hairy, and if possible have the face be completely hairy/flocked, unlike a lot of other movies. We are going to have arm extensions and make an animatronic head. There will probably also be a separate puppet head for maximum chomping. Our instagram has a couple sketches from our designer up on it, and there is also a short video about the history of our project.

“Maximum chomping”. Those two words alone are worth the 10 seconds it’ll take you to cast a vote.

Update 12:27: this post previously incorrectly stated that Timber was in the running for a $10k prize to fund a pilot; in fact, it has already won that prize and is now in the final phase of the competition.

Full Moon Features: Good Manners (2017)

Craig J. Clark — Jan. 30th 2018

Further proof that the most creative and inventive werewolf movies are being made outside the U.S. right now, Brazil’s Good Manners isn’t the first werewolf film to come out of that country — 1972’s O Homem Lobo has it beat by 45 years — but it’s the first one I’ve seen. (The second will be coming to Full Moon Features in the not-too-distant future.) Written and directed by Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra, Good Manners (original title: As Boas Maneiras) is a bit of a shapeshifter itself since its story cycles through a number of different genres, beginning with a social-realist drama about a financially strapped woman with no references and no work experience who gets hired as a live-in nanny for a single mother-to-be who’s still months away from giving birth. She just needs somebody to help with the cooking and cleaning and shopping and everything else she’s never had to do for herself.

The novice nanny, who trained as a nurse but had to abandon her studies to take care of an ailing grandmother, is Clara (Isabél Zuaa), and her employer, who moved into a spacious condo in downtown Säo Paulo after being cut off by her family and dumped by her fiancé, is Ana (Marjorie Estiano). At first, things are a bit bumpy between then, but Clara puts up with Ana’s spoiled and sometimes erratic behavior because, well, she needs the job. Then she figures out (which the help of a nifty lunar-themed calendar) that Ana’s behavior becomes especially erratic around the full moon, culminating in the scene where Ana goes out sleepwalking one night and eats a stray cat. (This is after her doctor has told her to cut out meat, a directive the baby growing inside her is clearly not on board with.)

Slowly but surely, Good Manners edges into horror territory (while also taking detours into lesbian romance and, strangely enough, the musical) in scenes like this and the one where Ana comes on to Clara, only to bite her lip and leave deep scratches in her shoulder. As for the identity of the baby’s father, which presumably would explain a lot, this is revealed through a series of drawings as Ana recounts the night she was seduced by a stranger who subsequently turned into a beast and fled when she shot it with her gun. His progeny, meanwhile, prematurely claws its way out of Ana’s belly one full moon and is, I must confess, cute as the dickens. The newborn pup is brought to life by a sophisticated puppet, but when the story jumps forward seven years, the transformed Joel (Miguel Lobo — yes, that’s the kid’s name) is entirely a CGI creation. Rojas and Dutra withhold his feral form until the film’s final act, but before that they do show the aftermaths of his nights in the “little bedroom” adjoining his own where Clara chains him to the wall. (Instead of reverting completely to human form, he still retains a coat of thick hairs that have to be shaved off and sharp fingernails that must be trimmed before he can return to school.) And it’s not until after Joel has killed one of his classmates (and makes the news) that the word “werewolf” is even spoken, but there’s never any doubt about what he is — or his father was.

The thing is, it ultimately doesn’t matter who Joel’s father is because he was never in the picture to begin with — much like Rojas and Dutra radically frame their story’s first half so no men are ever seen (although some are heard, chiefly Ana’s doctor). This way, the first clear sighting of one — the father of one of Joel’s classmates — is as much a shock to the viewer as it is to the young boy who has more questions about his parentage than Clara is prepared to answer. This is why it’s so easy to believe her when she tells him, “Everything I do, I do it to protect you.” Right or wrong, she’s only doing what she thinks is best for him, but let’s be honest. Keeping the kid on a strict vegetarian diet was always destined to fail.

Lycanthropy, motherhood collide in gothic Brazilian horror drama “Good Manners” (As Boas Maneiras)

A. Quinton — Jan. 11th 2018

When I asked folks on Twitter to let me know about any upcoming werewolf movies missing from my list, Full Moon Features writer Craig J. Clark sent in a link to Good Manners (“As Boas Maneiras” in its native Portuguese), a 2017 horror drama from writer / director team Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas.

The film tells the story of Clara, a nurse from a São Paulo favela, who finds herself the adoptive mother of a werewolf child after his mother dies giving birth to him under a full moon. And that’s just the first act!

Reviews so far are unanimously positive. The Hollywood Reporter described it as “a hybrid of art house and genre cinema [that combines] sharp social commentary with grand guignol fantasy”.

The synopses, the reviews and even the poster position this as the sort of story I want more of – lycanthropy is integral to the story, but not necessarily the subject of the story.

I don’t read Portuguese so it’s hard for me to be sure, but I think Good Manners is currently in what I like to call “international festival limbo”. It screened at a variety of South American festivals in 2017, but it doesn’t yet seem to be slated for any 2018 appearances, and there are no details regarding international distribution. Keep an eye out for purchase / rental links here when that latter bit changes.

Edit: Indiana University Cinema has screenings scheduled for January 25th and 26th, if you can make it to Bloomington.

Further edit: Writer / director Marco Dutra commented on this very post to confirm the film had two US festival appearances, and that more are on the way!

In the meantime, here are some promo photos and a trailer. This film looks gorgeous and I can’t wait for it to traumatize me!

Birth.Movies.Death on The Amicus Vault Of Horror: “The Beast Must Die!”

A. Quinton — Jan. 6th 2018

Birth.Movies.Death has an interesting review of The Beast Must Die. Writer Jacob Knight speaks more highly of the 1974 exploitation film than Craig J. Clark did in his Full Moon Features review, although both writers noted the laggy pacing and “it’s just a dog” werewolf effects. The film is getting a new release on January 16th as part of the Amicus Collection, where it will join And Now The Screaming Starts and Asylum on Blu-ray for the first time.

Yes, the basic concept behind The Beast Must Die! (’74) is one Amicus’ most ingeniously exploitive: an Agatha Christie riff (call it Ten Little Lycanthropes), combining the racial tension of Blaxploitation with the modern updates of monster movies the studio had made its calling card over the last decade, competing with Hammer Studios for supreme dominance of the ’70s British horror market. Soon, six associates will arrive at Newcliffe’s home, all with various shady backstories. One of the them is a werewolf, and when the full moon rises that evening, the noble hunter assures us all that the beast must die.

This strikes me as one of those werewolf films that everyone assumes every other werewolf fan has seen, but I missed it growing up, when it aired on channels we didn’t get, far after I was supposed to be in bed. Now that I can just watch it at home at my leisure, I might need to cross this off my list, although I might opt for the more affordable stand-alone DVD release from 2006.

The conclusion of Craig J. Clark’s Full Moon Features review nearly encapsulates the reason I haven’t bumped this film higher up my list:

The biggest disappointment, though, is when the monster is revealed to be a big, black German shepherd. That’s not a beast that needs to die. It probably just wants to go walkies.