Archie Comics turns Jughead Jones into a werewolf in “The Hunger”

A. Quinton — Mar. 3rd 2017

Until the Predator killed everyone in a recent Dark Horse crossover, I hadn’t read an Archie comic in years. Now writer Frank Tieri and illustrator Michael Walsh are sending me back to Riverdale with a new Archie horror one-shot, out March 29th: “Jughead – The Hunger“.

That’s right, Jughead Jones is now canonically a werewolf.

Tieri tells EW.com:

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Jughead? The fact that the guy’s always so damned hungry all the time, right? In Jughead: The Hunger, we ask why that is, and we reveal the answer is quite a bit more sinister than the guy just really liking Pop’s cheeseburgers a whole lot. It turns out our version of good ol’ Jug has a lot more in common with his dog Hot Dog than anybody ever realized. Well, other than the fact Hot Dog isn’t whacking and eating half of Riverdale, of course.

You can pick this up at any comic shop on March 29th, but if you want the variant cover by Francesco Francavilla (featured at the top of this post), order item JAN171319 from Previews.

Here’s a little sample from that same EW article, which has an exclusive 8-page preview. RIP, Miss Grundy.

Thanks to @Somnilux for the link!

Watch my favourite werewolf short film “Hair of the Dog” for free right now

A. Quinton — Mar. 2nd 2017

I’ve had a lot of nice things to say about Michael Butts’s werewolf film “Hair of the Dog”. Now you can see for yourself why I think it’s the best werewolf short I’ve ever watched: Michael posted the whole thing to YouTube.

I think that for a werewolf film (or story or comic) to be truly excellent, it has to be able to stand on its own without the benefit of a werewolf fan’s inclination to like it “because werewolves”. “Hair of the Dog” accomplishes that with ease. From an email I sent to Michael in December, right after watching it via a super-secret Vimeo link he shared with me:

I came to this expecting “a better-than-average werewolf short” – the teasers you’ve shared set the bar quite high so I knew it was gonna be good no matter what – but what I got was something that affected me on a scope beyond “fan watching something I’m predisposed to like”. There’s lots there for any werewolf/horror fan to enjoy, but you handled the themes of addiction, self-loathing and duality in a way that would have an impact on anyone with a heart, soul and brain.

You are a master of “show, don’t tell”. Editing and pacing were perfect. No fat on this at all, just lean and mean, but soulful. And the sound design! From the birds at the start to the various disorientating filters and effects to snarl at the end, just exquisite.

Watch it below. Sorry that YouTube selected a particularly graphic thumbnail image.

A new textbook for your werewolf film studies class: “The Werewolf Filmography: 300+ Movies”

A. Quinton — Feb. 26th 2017

McFarland Books has just released a monster of a reference book – and you know I’m serious because it takes a lot for me to break out a pun like that. The Werewolf Filmography: 300+ Movies by Bryan Senn is a 408 page hardcover with the dimensions and heft of a college textbook, and it contains the most comprehensive run-down of werewolf films I’ve ever seen.

From the horrific to the heroic, cinematic werewolves are metaphors for our savage nature, symbolizing the secret, bestial side of humanity that hides beneath our civilized veneer. Examining acknowledged classics like The Wolf Man (1941) and The Howling (1981), as well as overlooked gems like Dog Soldiers (2011), this comprehensive filmography covers the highs and lows of the genre. Information is provided on production, cast and filmmakers, along with critical discussion of the tropes and underlying themes that make the werewolf a terrifying but fascinating figure.

The book’s coverage is so comprehensive, in fact, that I’m out of my depth. To give you the best possible review, I am passing the book along to Craig J. Clark – Werewolf News’s in-house authority on werewolf movies. Craig has kindly agreed to report back to you and I on the book’s filmographic qualities.

If you’d like to conduct your own assessment in the meantime, you can purchase a copy on Amazon or direct from McFarland Books. Kudos to Bryan – this book is a huge accomplishment, literally and figuratively.

A behind-the-scenes glimpse of “The Monster Squad” monsters

A. Quinton — Feb. 21st 2017

The Stan Winston School of Character Arts recently put up a collection of behind-the-scenes photos and recollections from the crew responsible for building the titular monsters of The Monster Squad, including The Wolfman portrayed by Jonathan Gries.

“The challenge was to suggest those classic creatures, without really copying them,” explained  [lead mummy builder] Shane Mahan, “because we didn’t have permission or the license to use those specific images. So we could do a ‘Gillman’, for example, but it couldn’t look too much like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was frustrating for us at first, because, of course, we wanted to do the original designs! But we couldn’t. We could only suggest those designs.”

This isn’t a Monster Legacy level essay, but there’s some neat stuff on display, including Stan Winston’s original sketch of the Wolfman. Yep, you can thank him for those super wide-set eyes.

“Lore” 53: Trees and Shadows

A. Quinton — Feb. 14th 2017

The latest episode of the excellent podcast Lore examines a cryptozoological phenomenon near and dear to the hearts of midwest werewolf fans: the Beast of Bray Road.

Our connection to animals is ancient, intimate, and complex. Humans have worshiped them, sacrificed them, lived with them, and been buried with them. But folklore from all over the world hints at a darker connection, and it just might be true.

In under 30 minutes, writer/producer Aaron Mahnke explores the facts and speculations surrounding multiple wolf-human-hybrid sightings near Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and the impact the sightings have had on the town – including local election campaigns and cookie production.

Lore covered werewolves more generally in its phenomenal third episode.

Full Moon Features: Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004)

Craig J. Clark — Feb. 10th 2017

The list of period werewolf films is pretty short to begin with. Due to the compound challenges of producing a period film and adding werewolves to it, the list of successful ones is even shorter. For every Curse of the Werewolf, there’s a Van Helsing. For every Company of Wolves, there’s a Werewolf: The Beast Among Us. Try as they might, the makers of 2004’s Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning also fall short of the mark, but at least they’re able to rise above the level of, say, 1979’s Wolfman (admittedly, not the most difficult bar to clear and a film I intend to cover in this space in the near future).

Co-produced and directed by Grant Harvey, who previously served as second unit director on Ginger Snaps and also co-produced its sequel, Snaps Back is set in the winter of 1815 in the Canadian wilderness, in which sisters Ginger and Brigitte (Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins) are discovered wandering on horseback. How they came to be there is never adequately explained, but after they come across a ravaged Indian camp and meet an old seer who cryptically warns them to “kill the boy or one sister kills the other,” their horse gets spooked and gallops off, leaving them in a spot that is exacerbated when Brigitte steps in a trap meant for some other kind of animal. She’s helped out of it by an Indian named Hunter (Nathaniel Arcand) who tends to her wound and accompanies the sisters to a nearby fort — a remote outpost of the Northern Legion Trading Company — where they are a less-than-welcome presence because of the shortage of supplies (seems the crew that set out the previous spring never returned) and the supernatural threat from without that no one is eager to give a name to.

Inside the fort, the sisters are under the protection of Wallace (Tom McCamus), the man nominally in charge, but his second-in-command (JR Bourne) would just as soon throw them to the (were-)wolves, and the resident fire-and-brimstone preacher (Hugh Dillon) likewise urges Wallace to cast them out. That seems harsh, but if they had been, Ginger wouldn’t have been bitten by the deformed creature kept locked up in the basement (the aforementioned boy) and the fort’s dwindling population wouldn’t have fallen to her furry friends quite so speedily. It also would have prevented Harvey from displaying his fondness for time-lapse effects, which lose their novelty the more he uses them. Thankfully, the full-on werewolf attack that arrives at the film’s climax is worth sticking around for, but it does strike me as a case of too little, too late.

Pre-order “Moonlighters”, a comic about college-age werewolves for hire

A. Quinton — Jan. 31st 2017

Today Space Goat Productions announced their Backpack Edition line of 9″ x 6″ perfect-bound graphic novels with two new titles – Uncanny Valley High and Moonlighters. Guess which one is about werewolves?

Moonlighters features broke college-age werewolves taking supernatural odd jobs to pay the rent. Written by Katie Schenkel (writer at Comics Alliance, The Mary Sue, Panels, and the upcoming graphic novel The Cardboard Kingdom) and illustrated by Cal Moray (Monster Elementary). They are monster helpers for hire.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to build the world these characters exist in between the mundane and the supernatural,” said series illustrator Cal Moray. “But not gonna lie, I’m mostly excited to draw corgis.” Series writer Katie Schenkel said, “Writing these cute queer werewolves being friends and getting into shenanigans has been a dream so far. I really think Moonlighters is going to be special.”

Moonlighters #1 is available for pre-order on comiXology right now, with a digital release date of March 1st and a print release date of January 1st 2018. At first I thought that was pretty far away for a title launching a line distinguished by its physical dimensions, but then the rest of my brain engaged and I realized Schenkel and Moray probably want to do more than one single issue before Space Goat issues a graphic novel.

Moonlighters and Uncanny Valley High are geared towards younger audiences, but for werewolf fans with more mature preferences, recall that Space Goat is also working on an officially-licensed comic and board game (!?) set in the cinematic universe of the Howling franchise.

Help indie werewolf film “Betsy” raise a few bonus bucks for better blood and beasts

A. Quinton — Jan. 30th 2017

There are three days left to help nudge the Indiegogo campaign for Concept Media‘s indie werewolf movie “Betsy” across the finish line. Written by Shawn Burkett (who also directs) and Ayse Howard, the film boasts a great visual identity, a solid cast, and a… well, not a stunning plot, based on the synopsis, but you never know.

The story follows a young woman “Betsy/Kelci C. Magel” who survived a violent attack while leaving work [according to an older synopsis she’s an escort – AQ]. After a month Betsy has relocated to a new town with her friend “Kayte/Marylee Osborne”.

A new town. New friends. A fresh start. However, as the full moon gets closer something begins clawing it’s way into her new life.

The film’s core budget was covered by a prior crowdfunding effort; this campaign is looking to raise an extra $1,000 to help pay for better costumes, practical effects and cast/crew expenses. As of this post, they’ve raised $878. They’re not asking for a lot, and they plan to shoot in late February and get it into festivals by May, so they’re not wasting time, either. Check out the campaign and the Betsy Facebook page for more info.

Thanks to Michael P and Somnilux for the links!

“Open Mic Night”, a werewolf musician animatic by Kaili Myers

A. Quinton — Jan. 27th 2017

Here’s Open Mic Night by SCAD student Kaili Myers. This is an animatic (so expect scratch audio and camera movement arrows) depicting a guitar-slinging lady who works up the courage to get on stage, then puts on a performance much different than anyone was expecting.

I’m absolutely in love with this werewolf design. Kaili’s done great work here, and I look forward to seeing (and sharing) the final animation! Thanks to friend of the site @Somnilux for the link.

Third time’s the charm, hopefully! A new “Werewolf: The Apocalypse” video game is on the way

A. Quinton — Jan. 20th 2017

White Wolf rights-holders Paradox Interactive have just announced that they plan to release a game based on the World of Darkness roleplaying game Werewolf: The ApocalypseCyanide (Blood Bowl, Call of Cthulhu) will handle development, and Focus Home Interactive (Blood Bowl, Styx: Master of Shadows, Farming Simulator [!?]) will publish. The game will be available on PC and one or more as-of-yet unannounced consoles.

Things are still at the “corporate press release” stage, but a web siteTwitter account and Facebook page dedicated to the game have already popped up. Focus have said they will share more details at their “le What’s Next de Focus” event in Paris on February 1st and 2nd.

So far the reaction from the World of Darkness fan community has been a jittery mix of elation and scepticism. W:tA has a deep mythology and a lot of storylines and concepts from which to draw (as a certain film franchise is sort of proving). People have tried to mine this scene for video game gold twice before: a W:tA PC game was planned for a late 1999 / early 2000 release but the developer folded before it could be completed, and five years before that, Capcom was working on a PlayStation / Sega Saturn game that only ever surfaced as a prototype.

Can Cyanide and Focus succeed where others have failed, and deliver a Werewolf video game to satisfy fans who’ve been waiting all this time? One thing’s for sure: there’s no way for anyone to answer that question at all right now. You’ve waited over two decades; can you please be chill for, like, another twelve months? Eighteen, tops? Thank you.

From the Paradox Interactive press release:

White Wolf is pleased to announce its partnership with Paris-based video game publisher Focus Home Interactive for a licensed PC and console game set in the World of Darkness.

The partnership between Focus Home Interactive and White Wolf Publishing concerns the adaptation of a video game based on the acclaimed Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The game will be developed by the game development studio Cyanide (Styx: Master of Shadows, Blood Bowl, Call of Cthulhu…). In the game you will become a Garou, a rage-fuelled Werewolf warrior opposed to urban civilization and the destruction it brings. The Garou are born to fight the corruption of The Wyrm, a powerful supernatural force leading us towards an inevitable Apocalypse.

Thanks to @Somnilux for breaking the news to me, and to so many other folks on Twitter for providing additional details!