Category: Pop Culture
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 — Feb. 2nd 2016
Just in time for Valentine’s Day / Horny Werewolf Day (née Lupercalia) / “Eat a lot of chocolate and watch Netflix” day, here comes WEREWOLVES VERSUS ROMANCE! This is the second issue of the “werewolves + everything” magazine I make in collaboration with rad contributors, and I’m very excited and proud to share it with you.
In the first issue, we spent 84 pages visiting the 1990s. This new issue is over twice the size – 176 sweet pages of gory / violent / funny / sad / disturbing werewolf short stories, illustrations and comics, all on the theme of “what happens when you love and trust a fur-covered killing machine?”
Nineteen contributors worked incredibly hard for countless hours to make this issue a reality, and now you can download it for free or for whatever price you name. If you do pay, whether it’s $1 or $10,000, all proceeds go to the contributors and to producing future issues.
Thanks for your patience over the last few months as I worked to put this together – my posting schedule here on Werewolf News definitely suffered, but I think you’ll agree it was worth it. Check out Werewolves Versus Romance, and if you like it, let me, my collaborators, (and your friends) know!
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!”
A. Quinton — Sep. 4th 2015
Werewolves and beer have been an oddly consistent pairing over the years I’ve been running this site, but the brewery involved has always been on the other side of an international border. This time it’s different!
Granville Island Brewing is a Vancouver microbrewery that shares space with a famous art school, a massive public market, an environmentally friendly concrete plant and this place, all on an island under a bridge. They make great beer and I can buy it anywhere in town, or take a tiny boat directly to their brewery – something I might be doing today, because this summer they’re running a monthly event called Growl at the Moon.
Starting June 2, we are launching a new taproom program called Growl at the Moon. With the rise of a full moon, we will release a one-of-a-kind limited edition brew. Available in growler form only.
I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t know about this until Facebook served me this photo in its sidebar the other day – the first instance I can think of where their data-mining was more useful than creepy. This is the limited edition Growl at the Moon growler that GIB’s monthly brew comes in.
This month the brew is Gosebumps, “a refreshing and crisp unfiltered sour beer” inspired by “German noble hops, wheat malt and nectarines”. I generally prefer stouts or GIB’s Cypress, but I’ll drink warm Gatorade if it comes in a container like this.
A. Quinton — Aug. 25th 2015
Hey, remember back in February, when there was a werewolf convention just north of Portland? Remember the comics, creature FX makeup, art, panels, friends and insane music? I sure do. That was HOWL CON, and it was the most fun I’ve had at a convention, ever. And it’s happening again.
Update September 2nd: HOWL CON’s original venue, the Red Lion at the Quay, is closing its doors and laying off its employees on October 31st 2015. HOWL CON has moved to the Red Lion in Kelso, WA, about half an hour north of Portland.
HOWL CON II is going down in Kelso, WA over the weekend of February 6th and 7th, 2016. Registration is open, and it would be extremely rad to see you there.
I recently had a catch-up call with Stephen Couchman, the convention’s organizer / director / best-beard-haver. He gave me a run-down on the plans for HCII, and here are some of the highlights I can share without jinxing anything.
- A celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Wolfman – a classic film worth partying about for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it set the template for 90% of what horror fans tend to think of as “werewolf canon”.
- A special guest, as of yet unnamed, who has some fundamental connections to the previous bullet point. Well, he or she is not unnamed. I know the name. I just can’t share it, yet.
- A renewed focus on art, including a “final reckoning” of featured artists, who will be “lashed to their easels” on a public stage and “forced to battle for their lives” through a real-time art competition driven entirely by the whims of you, the attendees. The event is real; quoted phrases are my own and may not reflect actual details.
- The Larry Awards, where you, the attendees, get to vote on the best werewolf stuff of the year. There may be a trophy involved, or the winners might be launched directly into the full moon as a kind of “nega-award”.
- Continued support of Wolf Haven International, a wonderful organization whose representatives started day 1 of the previous HOWL CON in a state I would describe as “bemused”, but who had graduated to “well into it” by day 2.
This is all great stuff and there’s more to come, but honestly, the best part of HOWL CON for me is meeting people. This year I got to hang out with PDX Werewolf, Kurt from Silver Bulletins, Mordrude, and so many other folks from the werewolf / horror / costume / art scene that I lost track. I even briefly got in the way of GrimWolf while they were loading their gear in. It was a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to see what happens at HOWL CON II. Come check it out!