Category: Film, Television & Music
Craig J. Clark — Jul. 26th 2018
Just as the 1987 Richard Dreyfuss/Emilio Estevez buddy-cop comedy Stakeout begat Another Stakeout in 1993, adding Rosie O’Donnell to the mix for some reason, lowbrow Canadian horror-comedy WolfCop has sired Another WolfCop, which premiered as a work-in-progress at Austin’s Fantastic Fest in 2016 before making its proper debut one year ago at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. To make up for its Rosie O’Donnell deficit, returning writer/director Lowell Dean cast an uncredited Kevin Smith in a glorified cameo as Bubba Rich, the interim mayor of Woodhaven, which is still reeling from the severe power vacuum it suffered following the events of the first film. Dean even contrives to let Smith perform his scenes in a hockey jersey since the supernatural threat facing Woodhaven in the sequel is personified by transparently evil tycoon Sydney Swallows (Yannick Bisson), whose plan to reopen the town’s long-defunct brewery (the ominously named Darkstar) and hockey arena smacks of Brewmeister Smith’s world-domination scheme in the 1983 Bob and Doug McKenzie vehicle Strange Brew.
Unlike that film, Another WolfCop skips the Hamlet allusions, and even eschews the fairy-tale references that littered the first film. It does, however, appear to take a page out of the Bubba the Redneck Werewolf playbook by having Leo Fafard’s Lou Garou hole up at the town animal shelter on the nights of the full moon. Even so, his hairy alter ego (which has become the “official” mascot of Liquor Donuts, naturally) is in the habit of defying recently installed police chief Tina (Amy Matysio) by going out on patrol whenever the mood strikes him. As a matter of fact, WolfCop is introduced in hot pursuit of four miscreants in a truck (three of them played by members of Canadian film collective Astron-6) making a special delivery to Swallows that turns out to be Lou’s buddy Willie (Jonathan Cherry), who was merely being impersonated by one of the Shifters in the first film. Willie’s return to the fold is not without complications, though, as he has been seeded with an alien that spends a good part of the film sticking out of his torso like Kuato from Total Recall.
In addition to the alien-impregnation plot, which is reminiscent of the Roger Corman-produced Carnosaur from 1993, Swallows throws in a cyborg named Frank (Alden Adair) for good measure and sends it on a killing spree at the local strip club to draw WolfCop out. Frank’s defeat comes at a cost, though, prompting Willie to drive the injured Lou all the way to Regina so he can get patched up by Willie’s estranged sister Kat (Serena Miller), who has just the thing for him: a piece of moon rock from one of the Apollo missions. This not only does the trick, it leads to Another WolfCop’s requisite bestial sex scene, in which the roles are reversed this time. The moon dust also comes in handy since Lou needs all the help he can get for his showdown with Swallows at the Darkstar Arena, where the whole shebang comes to a head — and the film ends with a bang.
This probably goes without saying, but fans of the first WolfCop will find plenty to like in Another WolfCop, from the hard-rocking score by Shooting Guns to Emerson Ziffle’s gruseome makeup effects to the committed performances by Fafard, Matysio, Cherry, et al. And they will likely greet the closing promise of WolfCop’s return with a cheer. If I may, I humbly suggest Dean and company consider sending Lou Garou (and whoever wants to tag along with him) overseas next time. How does A Canadian WolfCop in London sound?
A. Quinton — Jul. 19th 2018
Bobcat Goldthwait’s new truTV series, Bobcat Goldthwait’s Misfits & Monsters, started airing last week. Last night’s episode, “Face in the Car Lot”, takes place four decades ago but satirizes the political climate of present-day America. David Koechner plays Del Wainwright, a good ol’ boy who ends up on track to become the next president of the United States, despite having some significant skeletons in his closet.
If you missed it, like I did, you can watch it right on the truTV web site, which is where this synopsis is from:
Set in the 70’s, an uncouth car salesman with no political experience leads the presidential race, while a determined journalist is out to prove that he’s an actual monster.
Watch journalist Regina Bailey get some real dirt on Koechner in this clip, which features a very acceptable CG werewolf transformation and a great looking practical costume for the post-change shots.
A. Quinton — Jul. 17th 2018
I’ve been listening through the backlog of Sawbones, a informative and darkly funny medical history podcast hosted by Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin. Last year they talked about the full moon and its connection to clinical weirdness, including werewolves, but way back in 2015 the show got even more lycan-specific. In the episode “Aah, Real Monsters!” Sydnee and guest host Rileigh Smirl (Sydnee’s younger sister, subbing for Justin and crushing it) discuss “the Halloween diseases” – werewolfism and vampirism.
This isn’t just a recounting of the Wikipedia entries for hypertrichosis and ergot poisoning. In typical Sawbones fashion, Sydnee presents an insightful and cogent history of lycanthropy and porphyria – including a surprisingly compassionate recap of Peter Stumpp‘s story. Rileigh provides enthusiastic and delightfully pro-werewolf colour commentary, and influences the episode’s vibe in such a way that “having a real disease” comes off as a bad situation, but “being a Halloween monster” is extremely good. That’s as fine a Sawbones conclusion as any they’ve reached in all the episodes I’ve heard.
A. Quinton — Jul. 11th 2018
The werewolf from the 2015 Goosebumps film is back for the upcoming sequel, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. He’s lower-resolution, true, but he’s still got his basketball shorts, and he still cannot get enough of the cold cases at the local grocery store. Extra lean ground beef and blackberry Liberte greek yogurt? He goes wild for the stuff. Check him out (and a bunch of other monsters too, I guess) in the trailer.
Know who’s definitely not back? Anyone from the cast of the first film (including, most regrettably, Jack Black), nor the writers and director who made the first film a weirdly polished nostalgia trip. The trailer gives Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween a kind of made-for-streaming-TV look, but then, it comes out in October, when I’ll watch just about anything with a goofy/spooky vibe to it. And I mean anything.
A. Quinton — Jul. 10th 2018
Inhumane is a feature-length werewolf film from writer/director Eric Winkler that, like so many other promising werewolf films, doesn’t quite exist yet. It’s currently in search of investment based on the strength of a teaser trailer, some cool concept art (see the image at the top of this post) a shorter version already in the can.
Lisa [Lindsay Lillig] runs a bookstore in her rural Missouri hometown. Assaulted at work by the town sheriff’s son, she reports the crime only to be victimized once more: The son and his cronies rape and beat Lisa, leaving her for dead in the woods.
Taking on superhuman abilities after being bitten by a werewolf, Lisa begins exacting brutal revenge on her attackers. Is she justified in her actions? Can she retain her humanity as she cedes more and more of herself to her animalistic ways?
Inhumane’s being pitched as “a female empowerment movie”, but a post-assault revenge tour sounds more like a grindhouse or exploitation film. That’s not an indictment, and there’s certainly a precedent for good films that merge the two, but I’m relieved that Winkler is involving Lillig and his wife / production partner (whose name I can’t find anywhere) in the writing and overall vibe of the film.
From an interview Eric did in May with Velvet Film and More:
We filmed a short version of the movie last Fall. Our lead actress lived in LA at the time (she’s since moved back home to KC), and she and her husband (he’s also an actor) were back in town for a wedding. We had them for two days. We filmed for 17 hours each day. Then we did some pickup shots. I found the filming process to be absolutely exhilarating. And I was in awe of the professionalism and talent of our crew. I’m so honored to even be associated with them! …the main goal has always been to make the full-length movie. Not unlike many independent films, we’re seeking the funds to do that. We currently have a rough cut of a teaser trailer finished, and it’s fantastic, even in rough cut form!
A version of that trailer (see below) was posted to the Inhumane web site, and while the name makes it seem like it might not be the final version, I’m already pretty impressed, particularly by the very nice kill towards the end. Here’s hoping Winkler and his team get a chance to put together a feature length cut that delivers the same kinds of delicious “fuck you” moments.
Craig J. Clark — Jun. 27th 2018
After its twin successes with 1957’s I Was a Teenage Werewolf and I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, it’s only natural that AIP would want to pair up its two monstrous creations, Universal-style. And it did so the following year in How to Make a Monster, released 60 years ago on July 1, 1958. The form that monster summit took, though, was the fictional (and generically titled) Werewolf Meets Frankenstein being produced (in self-reflexive fashion) by American International Studios, which not only has its own lot, but also a proud history going back 25 years.
Much of the credit for American International’s longevity is due to the work of its tireless makeup man Pete Dumond (Robert H. Harris), but when he’s given the shove by the new regime that has taken over the studio, he fights back by adding a special ingredient to his foundation cream that gives him influence over Larry Drake and Tony Mantell, the young actors playing the Teenage Werewolf (Gary Clarke, taking over for Michael Landon) and Teenage Frankenstein (Gary Conway, reprising his role from the earlier film). They are then dispatched to murder the new studio heads, who only want to make (ick) musicals. Naturally, this attracts the attention of the police, who turn the heat up on Harris’s nervous assistant, Rivero (Paul Brinegar), after the monstrously made-up Tony is spotted running from the scene of one of the crimes.
The funny thing about the film, which was shepherded by Teenage Frankenstein director Herbert L. Strock, is while Pete starts out extremely mild-mannered, over time he becomes more and more of a raving lunatic, taking on the mad scientist role previously played by Whit Bissell in the earlier films. And things take a definite turn for the macabre when he creepily invites Larry and Tony over to his house (where the film abruptly switches from black and white to color) so he can immortalize them as he’s done with his other creations, which are displayed in a room populated by props from previous AIP films. Suffice it to say, whatever his actual plans are (the dialogue is vague on that point, but I think it’s something along the lines of what Vincent Price does to his victims in House of Wax), the boys are right not to want any part of them.
Craig J. Clark — May. 28th 2018
By the time the ’70s rolled around, the biker movie explosion that followed Roger Corman’s The Wild Angels had just about fizzled out. There was still time, however, to squeeze in a few outliers, like 1972’s Pink Angels, about a group of gay bikers riding to Los Angeles for a drag ball, or 1971’s Werewolves on Wheels. Co-written and directed by Michel Levesque, who directed one more feature before becoming the art director for Paul Bartel’s Cannonball! and a number of Russ Meyer films, Werewolves on Wheels is about a motorcycle gang called the Devil’s Advocates (meaning, I suppose, they’re in favor of him), which is made up of a dozen or so interchangeable hairy, bearded savages (who, let’s face it, are halfway to being werewolves before the story even begins) who decide they want to meet the big man himself and go on a field trip to the local Satanic monastery.
Turns out this is a bad idea because soon after their arrival some hooded monks surround them and offer them an unholy communion of drugged wine and bread, which the gang readily partakes of. Once they’ve all conked out, high priest One (Severn Darden, late of The President’s Analyst and Vanishing Point) invokes his master with the sacrifice of a black cat and calls the leader’s old lady Helen (D.J. Anderson) to be the Bride of Satan, which apparently involves her seductively wrapping a snake around her naked body and playing with a skull while One gestures lewdly with a phallic statue. Just in time her man Adam (Stephen Oliver) comes out of his drugged stupor, rouses a few of his fellow bikers and they interrupt the ceremony and bust some heads, but not before having their faces marked by the falling monks.
With a stark naked Helen in tow the gang hightails it out of there, but soon enough their resident mystic Tarot (Duece Berry), whose name gets pronounced every which way but the right one, realizes something is amiss with their vibes or something. This is confirmed over the next couple nights as various gang members (and their old ladies) start getting picked off one by one by vicious killers with hairy paws and a penchant for hiding in the shadows until the final reel. When they finally do show themselves it’s no surprise who they turn out to be (after all, this isn’t a film about lycanthropic unicyclists) and the remaining human members of the gang decide fire is the best weapon available to them. This provides an important lesson to all would-be werewolves: if you’re ever set on fire, “Stop, Drop and Roll” doesn’t really work if you insist on rolling over a roaring campfire while trying to put yourself out.
Their furry former compatriots dispatched, Tarot leads the surviving Devil’s Advocates back to the monastery to get their revenge, but in an incredible twist it turns out they’re the monks they were planning on attacking! Or something! I don’t know exactly, the ending is all kinds of confusing. All I know is the gang rolls on under the closing credits and maybe the rest of them have been turned into werewolves and maybe they haven’t. That’s something that may have been cleared up in the sequel had there been one. As it is, Werewolves on Wheels exists in exploitation isolation.
A. Quinton — May. 16th 2018
After some time off to work on other things, Scott C., the single most chill artist I’ve ever met at a convention, has resumed his delightful Great Showdowns painting series (“chronicling of some of the greatest confrontations in FILM HISTORY”). This week’s entry is a face-off between two of New Zealand’s most acrimonious crews: the vampires and the werewolves from Taika Waititi’s “What We Do in the Shadows”.
Scott’s art always makes me smile (much like every character and most inanimate objects in his paintings), and his Showdowns are great, even when I haven’t seen the film depicted. Werewolves do appear in some of his previous Showdowns, including Monster Squad, The Wolf Man and Teen Wolf.
A. Quinton — May. 12th 2018
In a world where supernatural creatures roam amongst us, Kristy Wolfe (Beckett), a tough private investigator, tries desperately to keep her secret hidden. She has descended from a long line of werewolves. When her uncle is brutally murdered, Wolfe must use her natural instinct and risk her secret to unravel the mystery before she becomes the next victim.
More family drama and secret werewolfery. We will never escape these tropes.
The Shadow Within was shot in 2015 and was noted at the time for being the start of controversially rowdy actress Lindsay Lohan’s “comeback” bid, but as of February 2018 it was still being shopped around at the European Film Market. I think Lohan’s presence might have been a bit of stunt casting meant to generate interest – note that she gets top billing on the posters despite not getting mentioned in the synopsis – but I don’t think it worked. One of the three trivia entries for the film on IMDB reads: “Will most likely be released in 2017”.
Posters via Flickering Myth:
Dramatic horror series “The Order” to bring werewolves, magic & college exams to Netflix this December
A. Quinton — May. 7th 2018
There’s a new Netflix series scheduled for release on December 15th, and it’s about (or at least contains) werewolves. According to Variety, the streaming service has picked up 10 episodes of The Order, which follows “college freshman Jack Morton [Jake Manley], who joins a fabled secret society called The Order”. Writes Deadline:
Created/written by Dennis Heaton (Motive) and Shelley Eriksen (co-creator of Private Eyes), The Order centers on college freshman Jack Morton, who joins a fabled secret society, The Order, where he is thrust into a world of magic, monsters and intrigue. As Jack goes deeper, he uncovers dark family secrets and an underground battle between werewolves and the magical dark arts.
[Sarah] Grey plays the female lead, Alyssa, a pretty and smart overachiever with a double major in poli-sci who is a member of The Order and is attracted to Jack.
Okay, so, points in favour: this is being produced by Nomadic Pictures, which also produces Van Helsing, Ghost Wars, and Hell on Wheels, and other successful series with critical responses ranging from “acceptable” to “great”. When Canadian productions are given the time and budget to do practical effects, they generally turn out well. If it gets renewed for a second season (the first has probably already wrapped), it might be filmed in downtown Vancouver, which means ya girl can lurk around the sets.
Points against: everything revealed so far about the storyline. I’m willing to give most things a fair shake, but I don’t need another supernatural drama about a handsome male protagonist who discovers a dark family secret while trying to balance his academic life and a will they / won’t they relationship with his “pretty and smart overachiever” female costar. I already saw MTV’s Teen Wolf, and a half-dozen movies that hit the “handsome guy + skeletons in the family closet” plot point. Also, Trollhunters.
Here’s hoping creators / writers Dennis Heaton and Shelley Eriksen steer things in a new direction. It’s hard not to be cynical about these things, but at the very least we’ll get a chance to see how a new horror franchise thinks werewolves should look.