Category: Pop Culture
A. Quinton — Sep. 12th 2016
I’m honoured to have been interviewed by author Stacey Leah Mewse as part of her ongoing “Interview with a Werewolf” series. The interview was conducted question-by-question over email and it took me the better part of the summer to complete, because I had (maybe too much) fun expounding on what I like, love and hate about werewolves.
It’s a long read, and definitely worth perusing if you’ve ever wondered what informs the Werewolf News / AQ “house style” of werewolf fandom. This bit about self-image and identity touches on something I’ve been fascinated by since I was a kid:
Are you still you if your hands are a different shape? If the scar you got at 14 by sliding into third base wrong is obscured by fur, or erased entirely by new skin? What if the temperament that informs your personality was merely a function of hormones that are now completely out of whack because the brain controlling their production decides that “eat ten pounds of living flesh ASAP” is more important than “re-write this buggy code so I can get a promotion”?
For more like this, plus a bunch of text-based hollering on the order of “I like werewolves because they’re fuckin’ nasty-ass monsters“, check out the interview. Thanks very much to Stacey for the opportunity, and for her patience over the summer!
A. Quinton — Sep. 5th 2016
Nodnash, AKA The Ugly Werewolf, invited me to help kick off the second season of his self-titled werewolf-centric podcast in an episode called “Interview With the News”. My suggested title of “An egg allergy, a $6 haircut, and lycanthropy: Scott Problems” was not accepted because I never actually suggested it, but I think we can make it the unofficial secondary title.
On this episode, Nodnash and I cover all kinds of werewolf topics, including tails, Howl Con 2017, and a conceptually dubious Bad Dragon product [link NSFW, discussion only slightly tasteless]. We also do a deep dive on the 1985 Michael J. Fox masterpiece Teen Wolf, for which I took over two typed pages of notes. Did we like it? You’ll have to listen to the episode to find out.
I love listening to podcasts, and it’s always a trippy honour when I get invited to be on one – especially one this fun. My thanks to Nodnash for having me on!
A. Quinton — Aug. 26th 2016
The third issue of the digital “werewolves battle everything” magazine I edit, Werewolves Versus, is now available for pre-order! WEREWOLVES VERSUS MUSIC comes out on Tuesday, August 30th. It features over 150 pages of brand-new, never-before-seen werewolf stories, comics, art and essays, and a killer cover by Lew “Viergacht” Delport.
Like every WV issue before and after it, it’ll be pay-what-you-want, including $0, but right now I’m trying something new: if you pre-order it now for a minimum price of $1, you get an instant advance download of “As the Sun Sets”, the song my friend Colin Janz wrote as a contribution. Here’s how Colin describes the song:
This song is based on a character who built himself while I was writing. Every full moon, he transforms; however, he never remembers anything about his transformation, only that it happens. On full moon nights he travels to a grassy hill above his forested town, far away from people, to watch the light fade. But instead of succumbing to a torturous, violent experience, everything becomes hazy, peaceful and quiet, as if he was falling asleep to the sound of wind and morning songbirds.
A. Quinton — Jul. 28th 2016
Craig has written up the entire The Howling cinematic oeuvre as part of The AV Club’s Run The Series feature, “which examines film franchises, studying how they change and evolve with each new installment”. His piece, “The Howling series got howlingly bad pretty quickly”, is 3,000 words long and concludes with a definitive (and henceforth canonical) ranking of the series’ seven films. If you’re wondering which one took top slot, here’s a hint: it’s the only one Joe Dante was involved in.
Craig’s movie reviews are consistently excellent, even if the films he reviews aren’t always. I’m lucky to have him writing about werewolf movies here on Werewolf News, and I look forward to seeing more of his work on The AV Club in the future.
A. Quinton — Jul. 23rd 2016
Two guys from the “making neat stuff and blowing it up” zone of YouTube are here in this video to exercise one of science’s primary directives: doing a thing not because you need to, but because you can, and it’ll be fun.
I liked watching this process because while both guys are clearly skilled, they didn’t edit out the technical problems, and they didn’t try to hide the fact that the results, while quite functional, weren’t Adam Savage-level perfect. Perfection isn’t required when you’re experimenting or making something cool!
My thanks to friend and colleague William K, who was worried that sharing this video with me might lead to reprisals from “the werewolf community.” Nah, William, it’s fine! I’m sure the werewolves out there are glad to know that anyone wanting to make their own silver bullets runs the risk of pouring molten silver all over their hands.
A. Quinton — Jul. 6th 2016
My wife and I were guests/vendors/attendees at HOWL CON 2015, a werewolf convention just across the river from Portland, Oregon, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. After a year off, the organizers have regrouped with an Indiegogo campaign to bring HOWL CON back to Portland over the weekend of February 4th, 2017.
If it’s successful, this campaign will help HOWL CON turn into something even better than the future I imagined in my effusive 2015 post. May I suggest that you pledge at the $40 level to get your two-day pass, then mark your calendar?
From the campaign:
The global community of werewolf lovers has their very own convention . . . sometimes. Hi, I’m Stephen, and I produced two HOWL CON events in 2012 and 2015. Hundreds of lunatics just like you got our socks charmed off by GRIMM’s Silas Weir Mitchell, line-moshed in costume to GrimWolf‘s blood-boiling werewolf metal, laughed ourselves silly at the instant cult classic film Wolf Cop, and raised money & awareness for Wolf Haven International.
Those were great cons, but behind the scenes they were pretty threadbare, achieved on charm, cussedness, and borrowed capabilities. If we’re going to howl together again, especially in the wake of 2016’s failure to launch, let’s do it without begging pardons or cutting corners.
If they can reach their $15,000 USD goal in the next two months, they’ll be able to mount the convention at an ideal scale and with guests they really want to bring to werewolf fans. As Stephen says, though, even if they only make the halfway mark, they’ll have “the wherewithal to secure a hotel and book featured guests, and a regular pre-registration campaign will have August-January to finish the job.”
Frankly, $15k is a tiny amount of money considering the amazing time it would fund, and I would like to see them hit at least 200% of their goal. Even if you can’t make it, you can support the convention as an Absent Packmate or Absent VIP, which is a cool concept.
I want to go to HOWL CON 2017, but more importantly, I want you to go. Check out the campaign, share it with your friends, and start planning your trip. See you there!
An adventure in South African horror conventions, industrial music and werewolf transformation videos
A. Quinton — Mar. 24th 2016
One of my favourite things about “online” is discovering new things through a series of unexpected causal connections. I recently went through one of these “one thing leads to the next” adventures. One tweet from a friend turned into multiple hours of enjoyment involving South Africa, werewolves, music and many things with ALL-CAPS names. Join me, won’t you?
My journey started when @Somnilux tweeted at me a promo trailer for South African HORRORFEST 2015. The trailer depicts a woman watching a mysterious VHS tape, sort of like “The Ring”, but with more immediate (and better) consequences: she turns into a werewolf. This gave me two cool werewolf-things to think about and research:
1. Check out South African HORRORFEST. I have never been (and probably won’t ever get a chance to go) to South Africa, but I know two people who live there, who might have attended the event during its 11-year run, and/or who might be going to (or submitting something) to the 2016 incarnation. I am convinced that every horror convention is a treasure trove of unique werewolf artifacts, so this bears further research.
2. Find out who did the werewolf transformation makeup work. Who’s responsible, and have they done more werewolf work? A little digging reveals that Clinton Smith & Cosmesis did the creature effects for Flamedrop Productions as part of the promo for HORRORFEST 2009. Their web site is a content-light placeholder at the moment, so not much else to find there.
Then South African pal Lew tweets that the woman in the video is the singer for TERMINATRYX, and that an expanded version of the promo was used as the music video for their song “Virus”. That puts another item on my list.
3. Watch TERMINATRYX’s “Virus” music video. TERMINATRYX is a “female-fronted Alternative band with Metal, Industrial and sometimes Gothic shades” – a descriptor that encompasses many of my musical tastes. The video for “Virus” does indeed expand on the HORRORFEST promo video, depicting the continuation of singer Sonja Ruppersberg’s transformation and the consequences it has on the people she meets. The werewolf design was great. Also, I really liked the song, and with all the running I’m doing lately I could use some new music in my library, so…
3b. Listen to more of TERMINATRYX’s music. Not yet in progress, but I’ll probably start with the self-titled 2011 album that “Virus” came from.
But wait, there’s more! The “Virus” video description text mentions another, longer, final version – a short film representing the conclusion of the project that started with the HORRORFEST promo, which means I need to
4. Watch MARKED, the 8-minute short film with “more special make-up FX”. I have not yet done this, but technology let me download the video for offline consumption while I’m on the train later today. I have high hopes, based on what I saw in the previous two versions.
Before I do anything else, though I have to
5. Finish this post so you too can check all this great stuff out. Done. And as I write this, guess who’s just tweeted another link at me. Is there such a thing as too much werewolf content?
Of course not.
A. Quinton — Feb. 5th 2016
Now, at long last, there’s a way to get dressed up in a werewolf costume and run around in a local park or forest… for experience points! The Laughing Hyena writes in to share news of a Kickstarter campaign for an officially-sanctioned, self-contained (and already funded) Werewolf The Apocalypse Live Action Roleplay book.
In the interest of getting you The Main Info I’m going to quote directly from The Laughing Hyena’s email:
This Kickstarter is from By Night Studios, which previously did the MET Vampire KS [which raised almost a quarter million dollars – AQ]. It’s all about live action role-playing or LARP’ing, if that’s your thing to do (Dressing up as werewolves or howling and growling at people).
By Night Studios is offering Tribe, Auspice, Rank, Breed, and Fera pins for the very first time as add-ons (if they get unlocked). Those that remember the old White Wolf pins know that Werewolf only got two official pins made for it previously, while Vampire got tons.
Also the Ajaba (werehyenas) never got a proper write-up of rules of any kind in the old White Wolf MET books, so this might be the first time they get in.
From the campaign:
Mind’s Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse draws on more than two decades’ worth of material from the iconic World of Darkness game setting. The rules are designed and adapted specifically for the Live Action Roleplay environment, while honoring the original editions. Modern design methods meet classic feel in our new expression of the game!
Our book is approximately 80% developed, and this Mind’s Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse Kickstarter allows us to complete the development and publication process. We estimate delivery on or before December 2016 for both PDF and Softcover versions of the book, as well as the Hardcover if it is unlocked. We have been working tirelessly for many months to write and test our new product.
A 400-page “gamma” PDF of the rules is available here, if you want to see what they’re up to. The finished book will contain art (like the image at the top of this post) by Werewolf fan and “Legendary Photographer and Artist” Scott Harben.
I have never LARP’d, and I may never LARP, but everyone I’ve ever met who did it seemed to regard it as a peak roleplaying / social experience. If you’re into playing Werewolf, live action role playing, or just chomping down on some juicy Werewolf lore, check this campaign out.
A. Quinton — Jan. 20th 2016
Final production work for the next issue of WV has distracted me from posting here, but some new shit has come to light, as the The Dude would say, and I wanted to get the word out so people can adjust their plans. HowlCon II, the Pacific Northwest werewolf convention scheduled for February 6 and 7, has officially been cancelled.
January 21 edit: here’s the official statement from HowlCon.
I say “officially” despite lack of an update on the HowlCon web site (as of this post, anyway) because I’ve been in touch with the convention’s organizer, Stephen Couchman. He told me over the phone that the demolition of the convention’s original home and the subsequent venue change had a big impact on pre-registration, which in turn affects cash flow and logistics. There were some other issues as well, most of which were out of Stephen’s hands… but some of which, in my armchair quarterback opinion, could have been avoided with better planning and/or project management.
It’s a shame that the event has been cancelled, and it’s kind of a pain in the ass that we’re only hearing about it now, less than three weeks before the event – and that you have to hear about it from me, rather than the event organizer. My overall impression, though, is that HowlCon II has been cancelled not because the idea is bad (the idea is extremely good in theory and in practice), or because the organizers don’t know what they’re doing (they clearly do, judging by the success of their other big convention) but because conventions are extremely hard to plan, fund and execute, and sometimes things just don’t work out. I have faith that HowlCon will return in some shape or form, and I look forward to supporting it – and attending it! – when it does.
Stephen tells me that an official post about HowlCon II and future plans will be up at howlcon.com within the next 48 hours. In the meantime, if you booked a hotel reservation or made travel plans, now would be a good time to get a refund.
A. Quinton — Oct. 1st 2015
Doris V Sutherland‘s inaugural article for Women Write About Comics is about Ulula the Werewolf Woman, an example of Italy’s sexy, violent and “gleefully pulpsh” fumetti comics. As you can guess, an illustrated assessment of a pulpy werewolf sex comic isn’t safe for work – there are some images of sex, violence, and sexual violence, so click with care, and make sure your screen isn’t mirrored to the Apple TV in the conference room.
Despite having spotted the first issue’s cover floating around Tumblr, I was unfamiliar with Ulula until I read Sutherland’s article. Now, having read her analysis, I’m not especially motivated to seek out any more of the series’s 36 issues than I’ve already seen. I can’t read Italian and I don’t have as deep an appreciation for pulp horror comics as my pal Joey, who was kind enough to share his knowledge on this very site three years ago.
However, what I did enjoy was Sutherland’s analysis, particularly on the subjects of femininity, beauty and the mutation of the werewolf’s portrayal in media over the years.
Today, we do not tend to associate werewolves with femininity, let alone physically attractive femininity. Cinematic werewolves have been portrayed as grotesque creatures from the genre’s beginning in The Werewolf of London (1935) and The Wolf Man (1941); this reached a height in the 1980s, when films such as An American Werewolf in London emphasised the visceral body-horror implications of the transformation from human to wolf. More recently, the likes of True Blood and Twilight have cast werewolves as earthy, conventionally masculine counterparts to refined and effete vampires.
But things were once very different. In the literature of nineteenth-century Britain, the favoured variety of werewolf was a beautiful—even ethereal—woman who acted as a temptress. This character type owes something to the widespread folktale motif of the animal bride, variations on which include swan maidens, frog princesses, and —yes— wolf women.
Sign me up for more of this! I’m a big fan of the modern Hollywood-informed portrayal of werewolves as slavering, bestial monsters, but I’m always ready to wash off the fake blood and learn more about the werewolf’s historical and cultural relevance in decades past – especially when the analysis addresses aesthetics, the subversion of conventional gender roles, or the fickle and contradictory tastes of the modern audience.
Sutherland concludes her piece by asking us to consider what Ulula The Werewolf Woman contributes to the world of fumetti (and, I would say, to literature in general).
…Is Ulula a contemptuous piece of exploitation, a harmless bit of derivative nonsense, or an enjoyably brash pulp adventure? Could we even make a case for it as being—at least in some respects—a progressive work, thanks to its gay portrayal and subversion of the male gaze?
My answer: “all of the above, and thank God for that!”