Category: Pop Culture

Sorry, football fans! That scary werewolf suit is not a new team mascot

A. Quinton — Jul. 13th 2018

Everyone else in the world seems to be hyped about the World Cup, but for the past four days, the only football chatter I saw online was about was the new would-be mascot for Lobos BUAP, a team in Mexico’s Liga MX.

Photos and videos of this absolute lad started circulating on Twitter earlier this week. Without researching its provenance – I don’t know Spanish and I just assumed it was a cool Underworld Lycan / Dog Soldiers mashup costume someone wore to a convention – I tweeted a dumb quip and moved on. Then word started spreading on Twitter and in the media that this was actually a controversial new mascot for Lobas BUAP, whose previous mascot designs had been a bit more conventional.

I love this bit of editorializing from La Verdad [translated from Spanish]:

The primary objective of having a mascot is to capture the affinity of the little ones and to be able to interact with the fans in the stadiums, but the new Lobos BUAP team mascot has generated controversy due to its fear-giving aspect, having a height of almost two meters.

I can only speak for myself, but seeing a two-meter-tall werewolf roaming the crowd at a stadium when I was a little one would have made me a football fanatic for life.

News sources couldn’t pin down whether this horror-centric new design was a gimmick or a longer-term change established for the duration of Torneo Apertura 2018. That’s because the whole “new mascot” story was a misunderstanding that got blown out of proportion as football and pop culture sites repeated it. According to an article posted to Mileno today [translated from Spanish]:

The supposed werewolf mascot that went viral in social networks is nothing more than a project separate from the professional team, since its developers were only visiting the University Stadium.

The suit is actually a project by brothers Erick and Ivan Olarte, pictured above with their family. The latter is an architect who graduated from UAP, and he and his brother created the suit in their spare time for the sake of the challenge. The Olarte brothers have worn “Licaon” – as the suit is called – to a variety of events in the past few years, and while the media attention of the past week has been a wild experience, they are already setting their sites on their next project.

Disappointed? I am too, a little, but I also personally find “two brothers made a radical animatronic werewolf suit in their garage” a more exciting story than “football team tries to psych out its competitors by terrorizing fans”.

La Sportiva Lycan – the shoe for werewolf trail runners

A. Quinton — Jul. 3rd 2018

My first post in a month and a half and it’s about a piece of gear related to one of the several things that have kept me otherwise occupied – trail running! (a post about the other big thing that ate my late spring is coming later today).

Yes, I’ve been getting deep into trail running as a way to keep fit, balance out all the time I spend staring at screens, and enjoy the mountainous coastal rainforest I live in (prime werewolf turf). One of the most prominent and trusted voices in the sport, Ethan Newberry (aka The Ginger Runner), just posted a video review of a product that made me realize it was time to overcome the self-annoyance of not having been here in a bit: outdoor gear company La Sportiva’s got a new trail shoe called the Lycan. Says the company:

The Lycan is the ideal Mountain Running® Shoe for training on off-road, rocky terrain where long-lasting sticky rubber and good shock absorption is needed.

Why they think “mountain running” is a registered trademark is beyond me, but I’ll give them a pass because they named a damned shoe after the Underworld-coined term for “werewolf”. Nothing about the shoe’s marketing explains why they went with that name, but as Ethan’s video (linked here, embedded below) and a variety of other online reviews indicate, the shoe does have some werewolfy traits: it’s hard, fast, unforgiving, nimble, grippy, and maybe a little bit bulky. I even like the design, although it seems like they missed an opportunity to add a fur pattern or some other indicator of dangerous animality to the print.

It comes in men’s and women’s styling, with two different colourways for each, and retails for $115 USD. There are places online to order a pair for yourself, but if you’re in the market for something as niche as a running shoe built for trails, you probably already have a go-to merchant where you can try them on. I certainly do, and I’ll be checking them out as soon as I’ve worn out my current shoes.

Vampires, werewolves, female CEOs, tight rubber pants and plasticine: a video

A. Quinton — May. 2nd 2018

There’s a great new animation making the rounds that explores the age-old battle between vampires and werewolves from some novel new angles.

To quote @EvilViergacht, who sent me the link, VvWW contains “Werewolves, hairy female werewolves, vampires in rubber pants, and butts.” That list has a near-perfect overlap with the terms people are searching for when they arrive here at Werewolf News, but this video presents a more cogent analysis of those subjects than I ever could. See for yourself:

safetyhammer (who goes by No-One Suspected the Cat on Facebook) did the animation, writing and voice work, and the incomparable Trudy Cooper (who also makes the comic Oglaf – maybe the most NSFW site I’ve ever linked to, but very good also) did the artwork.

By the way, I agree with every assertion made in this video, and you can quote me.

Great werewolf transformation in Google Cloud / NCAA micro-advert

A. Quinton — Mar. 13th 2018

Friend of the site John Dillard sent me this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it video ad for Google Cloud, featuring an animated werewolf transformation and a pertinent bit of college basketball trivia. It’s onscreen for less than two seconds but I think it’s a perfect transformation scene. The only way it could be improved is if the lycanthropic basketball player’s jersey number was “42” instead of “4”.

“Dust” introduces werewolves, vampires, cashews & terrifying dolls to The Adventure Zone canon

A. Quinton — Mar. 3rd 2018

Do you know what The Adventure Zone is?

If you answered “no” but you like great audio storytelling, may I suggest jumping in at the setup episode for this current arc? It’s a long-running actual play roleplaying podcast by a family of funny, thoughtful and inclusive writers/actors. If you start at the link above, no prior knowledge of the show is required.

After the conclusion of their years-long main arc, “Balance”, the McElroy boys (Justin, Travis and Griffin of MBMBaM fame) and their dad (Clint) are taking turns running short 5- or 6-episode campaigns as a way to narrow down their next long-form story. This is the second-to-last mini-arc, and as much as I’m looking forward to a longer adventure, each of these has been superb (Clint even made me like “tights and fights” superheroes with “Commitment“).

If you are familiar with The Adventure Zone, then you probably already know that Travis’s new arc “Dust” just started, and it’s high in lycanthrope content. The western / supernatural crime procedural continues TAZ’s trend of storytelling excellence. Griffin plays Errol Ryehouse, a permanently-half-transformed werewolf. He’s an excitable politician who leans into his semi-lycanthrope status with enthusiasm as he strives to protect his neighbourhood from crime, vampires, and bad zoning laws. There’s also Gandy Dancer (an orphaned magic user played by Clint) and Augustus Parsons (an asshole and cashew magnate ghost played by Justin). The story so far involves a murder investigation that starts at midnight and which must be concluded by 8 a.m. the next morning, lest the werewolves and vampires of the territory take matters into their own hands.

The first episode of gameplay came out March 1st and it’s really, really good. Future episodes will arrive every Thursday around 11am Pacific. You can subscribe in Apple Podcasts, or in the podcast app of your choice using the direct feed.

Trying to enumerate why The Adventure Zone deserves your attention – especially if you’re not usually into roleplaying podcasts, roleplaying, or podcasts – is too big a job for me to tackle in a single blog post. The show packs a ton of story into each episode, making it hard to provide an overview that remains both comprehensive and interesting to people who aren’t already listening. All I can do is recommend it as ardently and sincerely as any other thing I’ve posted about on this web site in the past 10 years: please listen to The Adventure Zone.

To close out this post, here’s a tiny sample of Twitter fan art depicting Errol, Gandy and Augustus. #TheZoneCast fans are prolific (there were over 40 pieces of art of these characters posted in the eight days since the arc started) and I love popping into that hashtag every now and then to see how characters are being portrayed.

The Onion: “Gruesome Werewolf Slayings” moves cities to outlaw hollow-point silver bullets

A. Quinton — Feb. 12th 2018

Exactly one month after an article about a local asshole who has a better reputation as a werewolf than as a human, the Onion is back at it again with another werewolf post.

“There is simply no place on our streets for ammunition with the destructive capability to blow off a werewolf’s entire head in one blast,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who was moved to champion the bill after the brutal December slaying of beloved physical education teacher and nightwalking loup-garou Davis Johnstone.

The short article is great satire and refreshingly pro-werewolf, but the accompanying image (rather graphic, despite being a stock composite) is funny and weirdly heartbreaking in a way The Onion has mastered.

The Onion: “Townsfolk Strongly Prefer Man’s Werewolf Incarnation”

A. Quinton — Jan. 12th 2018

According to locals, blacksmith Hans Meyer sucks real bad, and everyone wishes he would just remain a terrifying human-wolf hybrid.

“We may lose a few sheep or cattle every month, but it’s worth it to get a break from that guy’s constant bitching,” said candlemaker Fritz Hermann, adding that at least when Meyer is a werewolf he doesn’t have that annoying laugh.

I love The Onion so much.

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.

Sponsor: Nodnash The Ugly Werewolf

A. Quinton — Oct. 24th 2017

I’d like to express my gratitude and deep admiration for Nodnash The Ugly Werewolf, host of a podcast that’s not afraid to confront the reality of murder clowns, toilet vipers or that scene at the end of Teen Wolf where the guy in the bleachers maybe pulls his pants down.

He’s also sponsoring Werewolf News for the entire month of October, so in a fiduciary sense I’m obligated to tell you again that he hosts a very enjoyable podcast that streams live on Youtube every Friday at 8PM Pacific and that is also on iTunes and Podbean for your subscribing convenience. However! No amount of money could compel me to say that Nodnash is a stylish, funny, kind boon to the werewolf fan community, and the only person I would trust to organize a successful werewolf pizza bash at the last moment on Super Bowl weekend. Nope – I’m saying those things because I think they’re true, and I’m glad to know him.

Now come and join the Snak Pak!

Werewolves in Podcasts this Week

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?

Sawbones is one of my favourite podcasts and I’m so glad they took a short break from dunking on Pliny the Elder to discuss that big white orb.

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.

Thanks to @Somnilux and @colonelnemo for equipping me with advance Lore knowledge!