Trash your house and ruin a babysitter’s life as a tiny werewolf in “Where’s Baby?”

Oct. 25, 2018

Where’s Baby? is an award-winning asymmetrical multiplayer game. Each player assumes the role of a rowdy monster baby or a beleaguered babysitter, and respectively trashes the house while escaping capture or tries to fix all the broken furniture before slam-dunk the kid back in their crib.

One of four playable babysitters attempts to un-trash a bookshelf while a baby werewolf goes buckwild

From the developer’s web site:

Play as a baby critter, wrecking everything in the house and having a blast! Power ups along the way will help amplify your natural toddler abilities, including diaper bombs and a foot-powered pink plastic car (beep beep)! OR play as the baby sitter, and try to keep things together until the parents get home and the round ends! If you are lucky, you’ll be able to find a blanket, put that little guy to bed, and have a little peace!

It’s a Steam Early Access game that you can download for Mac or Windows for less than the cost of a bad cup of coffee. Currently included:

  • Single Player AI Verses!
  • Local Split Screen Multiplayer!
  • Beta-ish Online Multiplayer (via Steam Chat’s Join Me Function)!
  • 4 Power Ups for Both Sitter and Critter!
  • 4 Sitters!
  • 2 Critters!
  • 2 Levels!
  • And a whole lotta love!
All vampires are terrible and this baby is no exception.

One of the two critters is a baby werewolf who seems just as adorable as they are destructive, and the other is a baby vampire who – well, I’m not going to write profanity about a cartoon infant, but you know how I feel about vampires.

Here’s the announcement trailer, which shows some gameplay:

You can check out the game on Steam and follow its development on Twitter at @WellBredRhino.

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John Dillard

Rick Baker shows off “American Werewolf” head sculpts & behinds the scenes info

Oct. 24, 2018

Monster maker extraordinaire Rick Baker has been posting videos of his award-winning “An American Werewolf in London” werewolf sculpts on Instagram. The first is a looped zoom on fully-transformed David Kessler’s face, showing off the muzzle and right eye. This head was used on-screen, and after almost 40 years the “foam latex has turned to graham cracker”, but it still looks amazing.

The second is a longer video in which Rick explains why “Change-o Head #2”, used during David’s first transformation scene, was intentionally sculpted with an asymmetrical face. This is a more recent cast from the original mold. Just think about that – this guy has the ability and desire to just make a new one of these whenever he wants.

It’s so cool to see the skill and forethought that makes Rick a legend today was already in effect when Jimmy Carter was president.

Full Moon Features: Carnivore: Werewolf of London (2017)

Oct. 24, 2018

Typically, when the director of a low-budget werewolf film is presented with a naff-looking monster suit, they compensate by keeping it in the shadows and showing it as little as possible. This, however, was not the tack taken by Simon West, the writer, producer, director, and editor of 2017’s Carnivore: Werewolf of London, in which said carnivorous beastie first shows itself 32 minutes in and keeps on showing itself until the credits roll 48 minutes later. And even then it’s not a werewolf “of London” so much as it’s one that lives about an hour outside of the city in the vicinity of an isolated cottage with few amenities that a British bloke unwisely chooses for the romantic getaway where he plans to propose to his girlfriend, an American actress played by a London-born actress whose accent slips occasionally, but that’s really the least of Carnivore’s problems.

Following the traditional pre-credit kill in which an anonymous girl running through the woods is stalked and slayed by… something, West introduced Dave (Ben Loyd-Holmes, his co-producer) and Abi (Atlanta Johnson), who take a taxi to the aforementioned cottage, which has been let to them for the weekend by Sam (Gregory Cox), who shows no sign of actually leaving them alone to have some privacy. West also throws in a number of POV shots of something watching the couple from the woods, and we know it isn’t Sam because at one point it kills and eats a rabbit. All the while, West pads out the preliminaries with two separate sex scenes, Dave’s ill-timed proposal, and an interminable search for Abi’s phone, all of which plays like a warmed-over variation on the relationship issues in Bryan Bertino’s home-invasion horror film The Strangers. Then comes the first of many, many window scares, which become tiresome and predictable in a hurry but still somehow manage to get a scream out of the protagonists.

With no way of calling for help or keeping the monster at bay indefinitely (although it pointedly never breaks through the cottage’s many unprotected windows), Dave and Abi put aside their personal problems and try to figure out how to make it through the night in one piece. Dave even gets proactive, hatching a plan to lure the werewolf inside the cottage and burn it down, which goes about as well as his marriage proposal. As for Sam, he eventually reveals what he’s up to and why he’s able to tell the werewolf that it’s dinner time without being on the menu himself.

Viewers looking for gratuitous nudity and gore to compensate for Carnivore‘s unconvincing werewolf will feel somewhat slighted on the former front as West holds off on it about as long as he keeps the monster off-camera. (Loyd-Holmes and Johnson are both seen in the buff for their second sex scene, though, which comes right before the big reveal.) As for the gore quotient, this gets upped by the random driver who pulls up to the cottage and has his hand bitten off, as well as a later scene where one of the characters is mauled and their intestines removed. It’s doubtful even the most forgiving gorehound will be satisfied, however, by the epilogue which circles back to London (where this carnivore is supposed to be from, remember) and perfunctorily introduces a group of club kids who exist purely to be werewolf chow. But hey, at least they don’t have to hang around for an hour waiting to be devoured, which is a lucky break for them. Pity that doesn’t hold for anybody unfortunate to call up this film.


The Wolf Clan of Erin: A Saga of Ireland’s Legendary Tribe of Werewolves

Oct. 24, 2018

The Wolf Clan of Erin: A Saga of Ireland’s Legendary Tribe of Werewolves featured image

Cover art for the print edition of The Wolf Clan of Erin

Last month I shared journalist J.D. Thompson’s short film Hunting the Hound of Cold Hollow. Now the novel based in part on the research he did for that documentary is available for pre-order at a nice discount in advance of its October 31st release.

The Wolf Clan of Erin: A Saga of Ireland’s Legendary Tribe of Werewolves

In days when heathen gods were honoured and the old ways were still held in the hearts and minds of the native folk. In a time when fairies, wights and even werewolves were not just the things of fantasy.

Follow Maewyn as he discovers the truth about an ancient tribe said to be shapeshifting “Wolf
Men”. With his faith in the One True god to guide him he embarks on a journey to crush whatever evil he may find, but with his mysterious companion Elcmar by his side he may discover more than he had ever imagined.

Full disclosure: I’ve been sent a copy of this book, which I have not yet read. I enjoyed the documentary, and I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of story Thompson can weave out of his research.


Werewolf House: Synthincisor is the kind of weird, wonderful werewolf game that could only exist online

Oct. 23, 2018

Werewolf House: Synthincisor is the kind of weird, wonderful werewolf game that could only exist online featured image

Werewolf House: Synthincisor cover art (image: Cat Rogers)

An browser/mobile game styled after 8-bit text adventures? I think I’ll pass. I make corporate web applications with middling JavaScript for a living and I don’t need to be reminded of the radical shit that people have made with bad JavaScript.

But what’s that, you say? The game plunges you into an eerily synth-scored story where you play as a vaping EDM DJ who gets hired to play a gig at Werewolf House, but who has their fresh new beat blasted out of their head by lightning, and who must have “an unforgettable, Webby-deserving interactive adventure in the Werewolf House in an attempt to create a new beat before the moon is full”?

Don’t mind if I do.

This is Werewolf House: Synthincisor, the third and final instalment in writer/musician Andy Kneis‘s trilogy of absurd browser-based werewolf-laden choose your own adventure games. I haven’t played any of them for longer than 10 minutes, having only just learned about them, but they all look deeply funny in a way that blends the chunky GIF-style graphics of the point & click text adventure genre with Kneis’s beautifully slapdash/smartass writing.

I beat this computer’s haunted web site by clicking past a GIF of a werewolf labelled “sensuality”.

The first two games in the trilogy, Werewolf House Rising: Werewolf House of Wolves and Werewolf House Rising: Werewolf House of Wolves – Arbor Day Edition, seem to be single-page HTML documents stacked with wonderful GIFs, music embeds, and links that jump you around in the narrative. Synthincisor is quite a bit more involved, though.

The full moon is out and what started as a choose-your-own adventure site has transformed into a full-on interactive fiction game with a unique mechanic that lets you to add new layers the game’s soundtrack as you progress.

“The art in the game is silly and the writing is really silly,” he told the Los Feliz Ledger in an interview, “so I wanted the music to be as good as possible.”

An animation from a Werewolf House pop-up ad

The music seems quite good indeed. During my brief playthrough, I made it through the ground-level room of Werewolf House, which was just far enough to enhance the pulsing 80’s slasher flick style music with some “modem sounds” I earned by helping a (potentially evil) web site exorcise itself by banishing 2002-era pop-up ads for werewolf pills.

This is the kind of weird, wonderful, fully-committed-to-the-goof stuff that I love. I made myself click the “save” button and come over here to write this post. As soon as I hit “publish” I’m going back over to that other browser tab to resume my game. I need to recover that missing beat, play a killer set for the Werewolf House denizens, and then maybe down some werewolf pills.

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John Dillard

Full Moon Features: Wildling (2018)

Sep. 24, 2018

Much like a fairy tale, 2018’s Wildling opens with a man (played by reliable genre stalwart Brad Dourif) telling a little girl about the title creature — which has long, sharp teeth and nails, and long, black hair all over its body — as a way of explaining why he has to keep her locked in a room with bars on the window and an electrified doorknob. “Do you want to hear more?” he asks and she shakes her head, but it won’t take long for the astute viewer to catch on to the fact that these precautions aren’t in place to keep the wildling out, but rather to keep the girl, whose name is Anna, in. (Some other clues that she’s far from ordinary: her incredibly acute hearing and the all-vegetable diet the man has her on, as if he’s afraid what would happen if she ever ate meat.)

Thankfully, director Fritz Böhm (making his feature debut) doesn’t make the viewer wait long for their first glimpse of a wildling, even if it’s only in Anna’s dream. While it’s debatable whether it qualifies as a werewolf, it lives up to its billing, ravenously devouring its victim while Anna watches, at once repelled and attracted by the bloody sight. This confusion carries over to the next morning when it’s revealed that Anna has had her first period, prompting Dourif’s conflicted Gabriel to start injecting her with “medicine” to halt her development. By the time Anna has reached her 16th birthday (and is played by Bel Powley from The Diary of a Teenage Girl), the “medicine” has taken its toll on her health in general, but instead of putting her out of her misery like she asks, he attempts to put himself out of his, a desperate act that lands them both in the hospital.

Suffice it to say, this is an extremely disorienting place for Anna to wake up since she’s spent her whole life in a single room with a bed frame made out of tree branches. Instead of being packed off to the sinister-sounding Bellington House, though, she goes home with kindly sheriff Ellen Cooper (Liv Tyler, also one of the film’s producers) and makes the acquaintance of her jerky younger brother Ray (Collin Kelly-Sordelet), who’s a pussycat compared to the real bullies at the high school where she’s enrolled, the payoff for all those years of home-schooling. From there, Böhm and co-writer Florian Eder trace Anna’s integration into society as she eats her first hamburger, is given her first feminine hygiene product, and (continuing the Carrie parallels) spends an awful lot of time in the library researching predator behavior and the Aurora Borealis, which she’s mysteriously drawn to. She also attends her first party where she has her first taste of alcohol and her first close encounter with a would-be rapist, who doesn’t get to live long enough to truly regret his choice of target.

After that, things start moving pretty fast, which is a good thing because Anna’s started losing her human teeth (shades of Cronenberg’s The Fly) and growing the clawed hands and feet that have been her birthright all along. Speaking of which, she finally learns some things about her real parents from a fur-clad hunter (James Le Gros, listed in the credits as “Wolfman”), who tells her he hasn’t seen one of her kind in “16 years, since the last purge.” Seems these things have a way of going in cycles.


“Hunting the Hound of Cold Hollow” short film explores the werewolves of northern Vermont

Sep. 20, 2018

“It’s a werewolf. It’s not like it’s some crazy monster… it’s just a werewolf.” For me, this is the take-away quote from freelance journalist J.D. Thompson’s short film Hunting the Hound of Cold Hollow.

Thompson put the 25-minute film together to capture his experience “working for Playboy on a story investigating a weird little part of America where the locals still believe in werewolves.” The premise he explores in the short film (and the article itself) is that werewolves are responsible for dozens of disappearances and deaths along the Vermont / Quebec border.

This is not a detective story and I think that’s just as well – I imagine the real causes of the disappearances are a far more banal class of evil than French-Canadian lycanthropes. Rather, the film’s focus is the nervous enthusiasm the interviewed locals have for the idea that they might have secret werewolves among their neighbours. The pervasive vibe from the subjects interviewed, and the interviewer himself, is a low-key “we all want this to be true, right?”

The article, “Werewolves Are Definitely Not Real… Right?”, was published in Playboy in October 2015. You can find a reprint on the “Cold Hollow” web site, but I recommend watching the short film first. It’s expertly made, with lots of excellent interview and location footage intercut with stock drone shots of the region’s foggy, snowy forests.

Are the werewolves of Vermont real? Thompson draws no conclusions on the matter, but he seems to say (and I will explicitly state) that many of us would be delighted if they did exist, especially if they continued to spend their full moon time chasing cars for fun, and less time murdering hikers.

“Creatures from Russian Myths and Fairy Tales” artwork by Victor Sukhochev

Sep. 18, 2018

This beautiful image set of Russian monsters and myths rendered in Illustrator and Photoshop by Victor Sukhochev was part of the weekly “cool art & design you might like” email I get from Behance. For once, an algorithm got something right – my old friend the Wilkołak was front and center in the thumbnail image. Click through to see all eight creatures in one huge image (or visit Victor’s Instagram to check them out individually). My favourites are the decidedly un-decrepit Baba Yaga and a radical fellow labelled only as “Water Little Devil”.

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Workplace werewolf short “Overtime” shows why you should never get too close to your coworkers

Sep. 13, 2018

Overtime is a beautifully-shot, genuinely delightful short film from Craig D. Foster and Emma McKenna that showcases a great mix of humour, tension, and gore. After its release in 2016 it received a ton of festival accolades, and now it’s available to watch in full on Vimeo, where it became an official Vimeo Staff Pick this summer.

For an in-depth review, including background on the cast, crew, and effects team, check out this Birth. Movies. Death. post. You might also want to check out the film’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for updates and behind-the-scenes photos, like this one of Ralph (played by Aaron Glenane) getting a manicure.

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Craig Ian Mann

Fright Rags launches official Teen Wolf shirt collection

Sep. 12, 2018

The OG, very good, very 1980s Teen Wolf movie spawned a lot of knock-off “Dicknose” t-shirts, but as far as I can tell, it’s never had an official line of apparel, until now. The venerable horror & sci-fi t-shirt company Fright Rags has secured the official Teen Wolf license – it says it right there in the banner! – and they aren’t sleeping on it. Starting today, you can buy one of six different designs on a variety of shirt styles. I think my favourite is the cartoon-style “85” design, but the Howard’s Hardware flyer is pretty great, too.

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