Rick Baker grooms his “American Werewolf” in 3D
(image: Rick Baker)
Rick Baker’s Instagram is a great place to go if you want to get a peek at his workshop and his creature experiments, but you don’t have $300 to spend on his books. Lately, he’s been posting 3D renders of creature busts and maquettes that he’s scanned with his Einscan Pro 2X scanner, and most recently he’s turned his attention to his American Werewolf in London “Kesslerwolf”.
Here’s hoping he keeps working on this and sharing his efforts! The AWIL werewolf design as seen on-screen is not in my top 5 favourite werewolf “looks”, but this update is undeniably rad.
2020-04-16 update: Baker posted one more photo with some textural tweaks, and has called it good. Yeah, man, I agree with you: it’s very good!
Round-up of 4 one-of-a-kind werewolf Etsy finds
Every now and then someone – generally my wife Tandye or my friend Viergacht – sends me an especially cool werewolf doll they find on Etsy. They’re all one-of-a-kind art objects, handcrafted by artists whose interpretations of lycanthrope aesthetics are wonderfully diverse. Enough of these links have accumulated in my open browser tabs that it’s time to share them all here. Click on any title or image below for the Etsy product page.
Considering the state of the world right now, it feels especially important to note that these are expensive luxury items on which many of us don’t have the resources to splurge. However, if you’ve got the financial stability, supporting artists is an extremely cool thing to do!
This posable friend from the bayous of Louisiana looks incredibly soft and hold-able, which is a dangerous deception because they will absolutely chomp your hand if you try to grab them.
I generally don’t go for any werewolf that reps the “shaman” look or who carries a weapon while in werewolf form, but the bared fangs, gnarly claws, and overall craftsmanship of this polymer clay & faux fur demand that I make an exception.
Listed as an “anthropomorphic furry”, this polymer clay and alpaca wool creation is indisputably a doll version of Tandye if she was a werewolf.
The four things I can tell you about this munchkin:
- she’s a collaboration of two artists, based on a Blythe fashion doll
- she has four different eye types that can be swapped out
- she’s the most costly of the four dolls in this post
- she is my daughter and I love her very much
Again, these are all one-of-a-kind, so if you see something you like, act fast!
5-minute werewolf short film “Morbach Monster Terror”
Dominik Starck – the actor who starred in and also co-produced this month’s Full Moon Feature, Iron Wolf – reached out on Twitter in response to Craig’s frank assessment of the film, and he was very cool! He also let us know about another, shorter werewolf film he helped produce: Morbach Monster Terror, based on an urban legend about an American military base in Germany with a lycanthrope problem. You can watch it for free on YouTube right now!
I agree with Craig’s review on Letterboxd – this one works because it’s short and to the point. The werewolf effects are better than serviceable for an ultra-low-budget affair, and I really wasn’t anticipating the final scene. This was all done on a single night, and Starck has offered to share some stories about that night. I for one would love to hear them!
Full Moon Features: Iron Wolf (2013)
I’ve seen it reported that this month’s Super Pink Moon is going to be the biggest full moon of 2020. In keeping with that, I wish I had a good werewolf movie to write about, but instead I’ve got 2013’s Iron Wolf. Following in the paw prints of Project: Metalbeast, the German-made Iron Wolf also followed closely on the heels of the previous year’s Iron Sky, which was about Nazis biding their time on the dark side of the moon following the defeat of the Third Reich. Iron Wolf stays decidedly earthbound, however, opening with a 15-minute pre-title sequence set in Germany in 1945 as the Russian army (i.e. kids playing dress-up) is bearing down on a Nazi research facility (guarded by some other kids playing dress-up) where the obligatory mad scientist Dr. Müller (Urs Remond) is hard at work on “the most powerful weapon in the entire war” — a werewolf that has been trained not to attack soldiers in German uniforms. “All right, gentlemen,” says Major Schilling (producer/executive producer Nico Sentner), the officer in charge of the program. “Create a whole army of these… creatures. We have a war to win.” Within minutes, however, the compound is overrun, everyone who knows what’s what is shot, and Müller’s sole success (a gypsy werewolf that has had its genes spliced with a German shepherd) is locked away for 65 years.
There follows a five-minute title sequence during which a homeless man (played by screenwriter Marco Theiss) tools around the facility with his shopping cart and decides to hunker down in front of the room where the werewolf has been locked away and is somehow still alive and kicking after six and a half decades without a meal. That presents itself when the story jumps ahead to the present day (i.e. three years later), when famous punk rocker Spike Jones (producer/co-executive producer Dominik Starck) arrives with his entourage to convert the building into the venue for a punk show to be headlined by his band, Scum of the Streets. Spike’s hangers-on — none of whom are bothered by the fact that he’s nicked his stage name from a famous bandleader — include his girlfriend Jersey (top-billed Carolina Rath), brother Leon (Roland Freitag), and upstart Trigger (Hannes Sell), who appears not to mind being named after Roy Rogers’s horse. He does mind Leon’s neo-Nazi past, however, and is at loggerheads with him right from the start, while his bandmate Todd (Michael Krug) is much more easy-going as long as the beer doesn’t run out. Also in the bargain is Todd’s girlfriend Lynn (Caterina Döhring), Trigger’s girlfriend Kate (Ildiko Preszly), and Sandy (Annegret Thalwitzer), a random girl Kate met at a club and brought along so the werewolf would have one more victim when Spike stupidly releases the monster from its prison.
It’s at this point that co-producer/co-editor/cinematographer/director David Brückner begins giving the viewer fleeting glimpses of his werewolf (which is played by producer/production manager/stunt choreographer/co-editor/co-director Jens Nier, who also cooked up the story with Sentner), which is eventually revealed to be a guy wearing a largely immobile werewolf mask in a tattered Nazi uniform. “You gotta give that to the Nazis,” says one of the characters. “When they did something inhuman, they did it thoroughly.” The same, however, cannot be said for Brückner and Nier, in spite of the copious blood and gore they throw into the mix (and all over some of the supporting players). They do make sure viewers know how many jobs they and their friends did on the film, though, by repeating most of the credits twice during the eleven-minute closing crawl. All the better to make sure you can avoid anything else they’ve work on.
28 were-creature tales in short fiction anthology “Mark of the Beast”
Can a book that was published five years ago be “news”? It can be if it’s news to me! Chaosium Inc.’s “Mark of the Beast” is a collection of 28 were-beast short stories edited by Scott David Aniolowski. It’s got good reviews on Goodreads, and Paul Mudie‘s cover art is the sort of gnarly lycanthrope I want on my bookshelf, digital or not.
Every civilization has some story or legend of creatures half man and half beast. Indigenous native peoples around the world held beliefs about shamans and witch doctors who could transform themselves into animals. The ancient Egyptians worshiped a whole pantheon of animal-headed gods. The superstitious folk of medieval Europe believed that a witch or a gypsy could curse a man to become a werewolf by night. Pacific islanders told tales of men changing into sharks. Certain African peoples feared leopard men.
Herein are gathered a number of tales portraying the glorious and bestial nature of the werewolf. There are horror, sci-fi, Gothic, cyber, fairy tale and fantasy stories and poems that embrace the essence of the beast, told by an assortment of scribes with diverse styles and voices.
Full Moon Features: Outcast (2010)
It may not strictly be a werewolf movie, but there’s a full moon on the cover of the Bloody Disgusting Presents release of 2010’s Outcast, which premiered ten years ago at the South by Southwest Film Festival, so it will make do for this month’s Full Moon Feature. There is, in fact, a creature called The Beast in it, but when we get a good look at it, there’s no denying that it is quite hairless, with glistening, rubbery skin. Then again, the werewolves in Ginger Snaps are also pretty rubbery, so one can’t be too particular.
At any rate, the film takes place in and around an Edinburgh housing estate, which overprotective mother Mary (Kate Dickie) and her sheltered teenage son Fergal (Niall Bruton) move into not expecting to stay very long. That’s partially because they’re travelers from Ireland, but mostly because they’re being pursued by the mysterious Cathal (James Nesbitt), who’s been endowed with magical powers and has a guide by the name of Liam (Ciarán McMenamin) to instruct him on how to use them. Good thing, then, that Mary knows some magic of her own, even if it isn’t much use when Fergal starts showing an interest in local girl Petronella (Hanna Stanbridge), who tries to bring him out of his shell, little realizing how much effort it takes him to stay inside it.
As much as I appreciate when a horror film puts a new spin on a familiar story, I do wish co-writers Colm McCarthy (who also directed) and Tom K. McCarthy hadn’t been so coy about it and simply made their monster a werewolf (or at the very least given it some hair). They also hint at a larger mythology with the character of the Laird (James Cosmo), who knows all that goes on in his domain and whose permission must be asked before Cathal and Liam can carry out their hunt. Maybe if the McCarthys had been a little clearer about how all the pieces fit together, the end result would be more satisfying. As it is, Outcast will have to remain a curious could have been.
Join the “Full Moon Club” with this werewolf-survivor denim jacket
Let’s get right to it because there’s less than a week to go on the campaign: this “Full Moon Club” denim jacket kicks ass, and I want its Kickstarter to succeed. I might even need it to succeed. I’ll have to check, but I think my denim vest is out of room for new pins and patches, so this would add some much-needed real estate.
The campaign details are simple: if you want this jacket, pledge to get it. If you want two or three, pledge more. No stretch goals, no extra swag. They’re focused on making one thing: a very good jacket that shows you got initiated into the Full Moon Club by surviving a werewolf attack.
Here are the details (although really, this is selling past the close, since a single glimpse at the photos above should be enough to show you how powerful this garment is):
This jacket is loaded with details, and the techpack alone is heavily detailed to ensure YOU get more bang for your buck! (Sorry Deers). This jacket is HEAVY, averaging 1.1kg [2.4 pounds] across all sizes, this is a jacket that’ll make sure you have something for the colder days and the adjustable zips allow more room for when you want to wear a hoodie under it.
- 100% Denim with faded areas.
- 100% Inner polyester lining with inner pocket and diamond stitching.
- Inner polished chrome metal coat hanger chain. (Will be added on bulk production)
- Werewolf claw rips on the rear, with screen printed text.
- Men’s/Unisex fit.
- Front body, pockets, side and cuff polished metal chrome zips. (Polished chrome zips will be added on bulk production)
- Branded debossed polished chrome rivets.
- Finishing V-Art swing tags and poly bags
If you want to show off your lycanthrope love with a garment but you don’t want another black t-shirt, this jacket is just the ticket. Check it out before the campaign ends on Wednesday March 4th!
Full Moon Features: Project: Metalbeast (1995)
Five years ago, when the theme of the inaugural issue of Werewolves Versus was announced as being “The 1990s,” I determined the way to tackle it was to review a film from that decade without the benefit of the IMDb or Wikipedia, relying only on my hazy memories. The film I chose was 1995’s Project: Metalbeast and after re-watching it for this month’s Full Moon Feature, I found my memories were mostly accurate, even if I didn’t know the names of most of the actors or behind-the-scenes personnel. In fact, the only ones I did remember were actor Barry Bostwick (who plays the film’s slimy human villain) and stunt coordinator Kane Hodder (who gets the “and _ as the MetalBeast” credit). Sorry, top-billed Kim Delaney!
I should also extend my apologies to co-writer/director Allesandro De Gaetano, but only if he apologizes to me first for bringing 2010’s Neowolf into the world. Then again, he may have done that simply to make his first werewolf film look better in comparison. One thing both films have in common is Eastern Europe as the source of their lycanthropy. In Neowolf, it was the eponymous rock band. Project: Metalbeast, on the other paw, opens in 1974 with a U.S. Military Intelligence infiltration of a Hungarian castle in the Carpathian Mountains.
Given the code name “Operation Lycanthropus,” its objective is the retrieval of a sample of werewolf blood for the purpose of creating a “superior combat agent.” That’s precisely what rogue operative Butler (John Manzilli) wants to be and why he has no compunction about letting their werewolf blood donor attack his partner, allowing him to get the drop on it. Back at the U.S. Secret Ops Center, though, Butler gets impatient with all the incessant testing (who cares if the blood has an extra chromosome, will it turn him into a bloodthirsty beast or not?) and recklessly injects himself with what’s left of the sample he took. In short order, he gets what he wants, but when he transforms and start mauling the medical staff, his smug superior Miller (Bostwick) plugs him with three silver bullets and has his body sent down to cryonics, where he spends the next two decades on ice. “This little experiment just gets more and more interesting, doesn’t it?” Miller asks no one in particular before the fade to black.
When the story picks back up in 1994, the “New U.S. Secret Ops Center” is being used for the development of an experimental synthetic skin by Dr. Anna de Carlo (Delaney), who keeps running into the problem of the skin hardening. That’s not an issue for Col. Miller, though, who gets himself put in charge of the project and provides de Carlo’s team with a test subject that’s more than just human. “These scientists don’t know it,” he tells Butler’s frozen popsicle of a corpse, “but they’re going to give you a skin of steel. You’ll be indestructible and under my control.” Of course, why he thinks the metal-skinned lycanthrope he shot 20 years earlier will be inclined to take orders from him is a real mystery. I guess he hopes Butler will let bygones be bygones.
As is often the case in werewolf movies, all it takes is for the silver bullets that killed the monster to be removed for it to come back to life. Unfortunately for de Carlo’s team, this occurs after they’ve covered most of Butler’s body with synthetic skin, resulting in his transformation into the MetalBeast when the full moon rises. As I wrote in my Werewolves Versus review, “There’s lots of running through dark hallways and warehouse space, gunfire galore, and even an explosion or two.” I also compared to Miller to Paul Reiser’s duplicitous company man in Aliens (an obvious antecedent), but it took this re-watch to remember how gruesomely Miller dies at the MetalBeast’s claws. Before he does, though, he straightens his tie and smooths down his hair. He’s fooling himself if he thinks he’s going to leave a good-looking corpse, but the effort is noted.
Thomas Jane, Jay Mohr & Sean Patrick Flanery run around the yard under a “Hunter’s Moon”
Hunter’s Moon from Lionsgate! Coming to digital and DVD in March! Starring Thomas Jane and two of the guys from Suicide Kings! Another entry in the “werewolf threatens people in a house” genre of films! It’s like Dog Soldiers but without the guns and the complaints about missing the football match! I’m so exhausted by this stuff!
Thomas Jane (The Mist) and Jay Mohr (Suicide Kings) star in this chilling home invasion horror thriller. When their parents leave town, three teenage girls decide to throw a party in their new country home. But when a gang of dangerous local boys with sinister intentions turn up, the women are forced to not only defend themselves from the evil inside of the house but an unseen bloodthirsty predator that is hunting them one by one outside of the house.”
This does not sound like ground-breaking cinema, nor does the trailer really help:
I am just not excited about this, but the grizzled presence of Thomas Jane might just elevate this out of direct-to-digital purgatory. Here he’s putting out big “secret werewolf” / “werewolf enabler” vibes, but even if he’s just a grizzled cop who knows how to prep a house for a siege, I’d watch him sneak around a garden in the dark for a few hours. Why not?
Werewolf effects corner: The werewolf shots from the trailer definitely show someone in a practical suit, which you love to see, but the end of the trailer does that “staccato shot of snarling jaws” thing, showing a mask with a skin texture like a no-bake cookie with fangs.
Hunter’s Moon will be available on March 24th.
The balance of monster & human is perfect in this Neal Harvey werewolf mask
Lurking in Facebook’s Latex Mask Central group continues to pay off. First I learned about Russ Turk’s “Hungry Werewolf” mask, and this week I discovered what may well be the best latex werewolf mask I’ve ever seen. Collector (and former werewolf mask maker, but more on that later) Paul Gill posted some photos of this snarling rat bastard of a lycanthrope, created by Neal Harvey of Rubber Gorilla. I contacted Paul privately and he was kind enough to provide more of his photos and some background on the mask.
Let me say right away that this is a werewolf mask that Neal makes and will sell to you, but you cannot succumb to poor impulse control and simply put it in an online shopping basket. According to Paul – who, may I remind you, figured out the secret because this is his mask you are looking at in this post – one can purchase this mask two ways: go to a convention where Neal is selling them, or ask him nicely through his Facebook page. I would be trying the latter approach if I hadn’t just made a purchase that depleted my monster acquisition funds for the next three years.
The monstrous mix of human and lupine features on this mask really appeals to me. Consider the long, lupine muzzle, the nearly-human ears, the incisors, and the blank eyes: a combination of features that underscore the werewolf’s subsumed, but still present – if vestigial – humanity. This is far more evocative to me than “a wolf’s head on a human body”, and I love seeing it executed so well.
Paul, by the way, is not just a collector – he used to make werewolves, too, under the name GDS-Fx, most famously for crowdsourced werewolf movie Bonehill Road, for which he crafted articulated werewolf heads. His site has many examples of his work, which I also quite like – his werewolf gloves, in particular, are something I would like to Have and Own – but he’s stopped selling his masks. He’s still obviously big into werewolves, though, and I’m grateful to him for sharing his time and these photos of his new Neal Harvey mask.