Werewolves abound in these student video projects from LCAD Animation

A. Quinton — May. 2nd 2018

While updating the Laguna College of Art + Design Animation YouTube channel late last year, Chair of Animation Dave Kuhn noticed that two group projects from their 2015 Summer Master Class happened to be werewolf-themed. He writes:

The first is “The Big Dad Wolf” which is traditionally animated and was created under the mentorship of Disney supervising animator James Lopez. The second is a stop-motion project “Un Garçon et sa Bête (A Boy and his Beast)” which was made with the guidance of stop-motion director Stephen Chiodo of Chiodo Bros. Productions.

You can watch both projects below!

“The Big Dad Wolf” took me back to the slapstick delights of the Disney and Warner Bros. shorts I remember from the 1990s (when the gurney rolled into the nursery I honestly felt like I was watching Tiny Toons or Animaniacs).

“Un Garçon et sa Bête” has a creature that isn’t strictly a werewolf, but which is close enough for the purposes of all concerned, and the production features some sincerely lovely animation and character / set designs.

Visit the LCAD Animation YouTube channel for more wonderful animations. Thanks for the links, Dave!

Sponsor: “Primal Progeny” – a Werewolf Horror Series by S.L. Mewse

A. Quinton — Apr. 30th 2018

S.L. Mewse has long been a friend of Werewolf News. She’s an artist, she’s got a long-running interview series featuring people from the werewolf community (including yours truly), and she’s a prolific author whose work focusses predominantly on werewolf horror. I’m so delighted to thank her for sponsoring the site for the month of May with her Primal Progeny series of books.

Hunter Dalton had a harder start to life than most. At less than five years old a terrible creature stalked into his home and took the lives of his parents, departing only once it had eaten its fill; leaving him for dead. Miraculously he survived, and for decades lived a peaceful life troubled only by carefully managed monthly transformations… But it was not to last.

The return of the beast threw his life into turmoil, opening up a world he never knew existed. Suddenly he was no longer a lone werewolf adrift in the stormy sea of humanity. Werewolves and other shapeshifters were everywhere, and he was plunged headfirst into their society with the kidnapping of the only true friend he had ever had. With time running out he was forced to make a choice, go it alone or step in with the pack. He had no choice, and so his world was changed forever.

Appropriately savage cover art and samples of the three books are available in Mewse’s bookstore, as are links to purchase each from Amazon or Smashwords. The series (and her other books) have stellar ratings on Goodreads, so if you’re looking for some new werewolf horror to sink your fangs into, here’s your next couple of weeks covered.

Thanks again to S.L. Mewse for sponsoring Werewolf News!

Full Moon Features: Werewolf (1995)

Craig J. Clark — Apr. 28th 2018

Over the course of its initial, decade-long run on cable, Mystery Science Theater 3000 tackled werewolves exactly twice. The first time was in the show’s third episode for the Comedy Channel (later renamed Comedy Central) when Joel Robinson, Crow T. Robot, and Tom Servo riffed on 1942’s Poverty Row Wolf Man knock-off The Mad Monster, which starred George Zucco as the requisite mad scientist who tampers in God’s domain by injecting wolf blood into a farm hand with predictably hair-raising results. After that, they waited until they were deep into both the Mike and Sci-Fi Channel eras to take down 1995’s Werewolf, one of the freshest examples of cinematic roadkill they ever sank their teeth into since its comedic evisceration premiered on April 18, 1998, in the midst of the show’s ninth season.

By that time, the folks at Best Brains had settled into a definite groove and, after much flitting about in time and space the previous season, the show’s trio of villains — Pearl Forrester, Observer, and Professor Bobo — had settled into Castle Forrester for the long haul, or at least until the plug got pulled the following year. Suffice it to say, compared to their first such effort, made while the writers were still finding their feet, the crew of the Satellite of Love was a well-oiled joke-delivery machine when Mike Nelson and his robot pals gave Werewolf the business. Then again, Werewolf offered up plenty of material for them to work with, alongside the ability to make then-contemporary references to the band Hanson, Janet Reno, rejected Supreme Court Justice Robert Bork, and Eddie Vedder.

Your standard cheapjack lycanthropic doggerel, Werewolf (also known as Arizona Werewolf) is comparable in quality to one of the later Howling sequels. Its Flagstaff setting even recalls the same year’s New Moon Rising, but thankfully this one features less line dancing. In its place, co-writer/producer/director Tony Zarindast presents the unwary viewer with a borderline nonsensical plot about a werewolf skeleton unearthed during an archaeological dig and the trouble this causes various actors for whom English is clearly not their first language.

Chief among them is top-billed George (actually Jorge) Rivero, a Mexican actor whose career stretched back to the mid-’60s, when he divvied up his time between westerns and wrestling pictures in which he was often teamed with legendary luchador Santo. Here he’s Yuri, an opportunistic foreman who uses the werewolf skull to infect multiple people with lycanthropy, including one of the dig’s Native American workmen (who’s subsequently shot and killed by two of his buddies), an unsuspecting security guard (who transforms while behind the wheel of a car, a true recipe for disaster), and a self-proclaimed “struggling young writer” who moves to Flagstaff following the death of his mother and takes up residence in her attic. This is Paul Niles, who’s played by Fred (actually Federico) Cavalli, starring in his one and only feature film. Similarly inexperienced is Adrianna Miles, who plays his love interest Natalie and whose pronunciations of the word “werewolf” are a wonder to behold. (Weirdly, whenever Mike imitates her, he sounds like Tommy Wiseau.)

Rounding out the cast are Joe Estevez (“one of the lesser Estevezes,” per Crow) as Joe, one of the skinwalker-averse workmen, and Richard Lynch (a genre veteran with credits going back to the late ’60s) as lead archaeologist Professor Noel, who absents himself from the plot partway through the MST3K edit, leading me to believe he may have more scenes in the uncut version, which runs a full 22 minutes longer. I’m not about to seek it out to test that theory, though.

Besides, anything that fell by the wayside was for a good cause since it made room for host segments like the one where Mike, having tripped and cut himself on Crow while leaving the theater, abruptly turns into a were-Crow, a two-step process that mirrors the discrete stages of lycanthropy Paul and his fellow werewolves pass through in the film. At first they merely have extra hair plastered to their faces. Then the actors are given a heavy makeup job that makes them look more ape-like than wolfish. The final stage, though, is a barely articulated wolf head puppet, which is seen in extreme close-ups, along with fleeting glimpses of a stuntman in a gorilla suit with a wolf’s head for the long and medium shots, none of which are remotely convincing. Late in the film, at a point where Paul is in the second stage, Tom Servo quips, “Oh, that fiend Rick Baker tackled him and did this to him.” He wishes.

“The Werewolf Colouring Book” is fun for lycanthropes of all ages

A. Quinton — Apr. 13th 2018

Friend of Werewolf News and WEREWOLVES VERSUS: SPACE cover artist Ben Geldenhuys has created a fantastic werewolf colouring book, and is taking pre-orders for it now!

This book contains 16 unique werewolf colouring pictures, alternating with some fun werewolf facts, making it possible to cut out the image pages without losing out on an image on the back. It is printed on high quality paper suitable to most media, including markers (just put a sheet of paper behind your page to prevent bleed through). It is not ideal for very wet media like watercolour, but handles small amounts of watercolour/aquarelle pencil fine. Two of the pictures are double page spreads.

Size: A4 (21cm x 29.7cm)

For about $10 USD + shipping from South Africa, you can get a copy for yourself. Ben’s werewolves are actual big monstrous werewolves (“proper” werewolves, I might say if I wanted to get yelled at), and I was responsible for two of the (somewhat spurious) werewolf facts contained within. Take a look at some previews below, and head over to Etsy to get your copy!

“Typecast” returns with a new goal and the same pissed-off werewolf actress you know and love

A. Quinton — Apr. 3rd 2018

After a few months off to recalibrate their goal and bury the corpses, Mac Beauvais and Ben Paddon are back with a new and improved IndieGoGo campaign for their “monsters are real and they hate shitty Hollywood gigs” web series Typecast.

They cancelled their initial campaign last year when they realized that November is a bad time to ask people for a bit of their disposable income. They’ve also moved from Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing system to a platform that will allow them to keep whatever funds they’re able to raise, even if they don’t make it all the way to their $50,000 USD goal. I think that’s a good approach: I’d take fewer episodes of a good show over no show at all!

I’ve never met Mac (Hit Girl, The Gloaming, tons of amazing cosplays) or Ben (PortsCenter, Boomer’s Day Off) but I’ve known about them since the early days of Werewolf News. If anyone’s capable of making this series and doing it right, it’s them. Please check out the campaign, the press release (below) and the campaign video (also below). If you can pitch in, you’ll be helping make a good and funny show with practically-created monsters, and if you can’t, please consider sharing the campaign with your pals on Facebook, Twitter and whatever Discord and Telegram groups you’re a part of.

Typecast: A Monstrous Movie Tale

Hollywood may be the land of dreams and opportunity, but it’s not all red carpets and martini lunches when you’re an actual monster.

LOS ANGELES, CA, USA – From writer/comedian, Ben Paddon (PortsCenter, Boomer’s Day Off), writer/actress, Mac Beauvais (Hit Girl, The Gloaming), and featuring director Justin Zagri (Severus Snape and the Marauders) comes TYPECAST, a comedy of horrors about just how truly monstrous Hollywood can be.

TYPECAST is an original eight part web series about actual flesh and blood monsters stuck in an endless parade of sci-fi shlock and horror films. Most actors dread being trapped in the same kinds of roles project after project, but as bad as that may be for humans, it’s an absolute nightmare when you’re a real monster.

The show, described as one half ‘Being Human’ and one half ‘Extras’, follows the trials and tribulations of Tony, a bog monster, who dreams of playing the lead in a drama instead of generic beasts in lame sci-fi horror films; Abby, a werewolf, who wants to ditch her regular gig as a breakfast cereal mascot; and Leeroy, a zombie, who just wants people to take the living-impaired seriously, which would be easier if he didn’t have to keep gluing his ear back on.

But TYPECAST is not just about snappy dialogue and Hollywood commentary, it will also highlight a staple of classic filmmaking: practical makeup effects. The makeup department, headed by two-time Emmy-nominated entertainment veteran, Michael Spatola (Tales from the Crypt, Return of the Living Dead, Iron Man 2), will bring these characters to life using traditional techniques and application. A sample of his work on TYPECAST can be seen in the trailer on their IndieGoGo page, which features a live-action kids’ breakfast cereal commercial and subsequent epic meltdown from the werewolf, Abby: “Who are you? Who put you in charge?”

TYPECAST is currently seeking $50,000 in funding for its first season via the crowdfunding platform, IndieGoGo. This will cover costs of makeup, crew, and locations, as well as donor rewards that include downloads of the ‘Full Moon Flakes’ cereal box, a cereal perfume (yes, really!), and even an opportunity to be put in full monster makeup and appear in a scene during filming.

With the deadline for funding this truly original take on Hollywood closing on May 11th, the time to donate is now. Unless, of course, you’re okay with annoying a werewolf.

Full Moon Features: A Werewolf in the Amazon (2005)

Craig J. Clark — Mar. 30th 2018

Over the course of his five-decade screen career, Spanish horror icon Paul Naschy appeared as just about every monster imaginable — at least, those that walked on two feet — but the one he returned to time and again was the werewolf. Most often it was because he was reprising his most famous creation, Waldemar Daninsky, but he occasionally donned the fangs, claws, and fur for films unrelated to that long-running series. The first time was for 1982’s Buenas noches, señor monstruo, a family comedy in which he was El Hombre Lobo alongside other actors playing Count Dracula, Quasimodo, and Frankenstein’s Monster. Considerably less family-friendly is A Werewolf in the Amazon, which Naschy made for Brazilian director Ivan Cardoso in 2005.

In addition to playing the title character, Naschy also shoulders the responsibility of embodying one created by H.G. Wells a century earlier since A Werewolf in the Amazon serves as a belated sequel to The Island of Dr. Moreau, which Naschy’s Moreau directly refers to with his talk of once owning an island and a “legion of mutant creatures” before he was betrayed. As for how he came to be cursed with lycanthropy, this is thanks to an “incident in the Carpathian Mountains,” so his experiments in gene-splicing are as much about finding a cure for his own condition as they are about creating human/animal hybrids like his right-hand beast-man Zoltan (Guará Rodrigues), who yearns to be fully human, yet unmistakably likes it when his master scratches him behind the ears.

If Moreau kept his activities confined to making beast-men, that would be one thing (and if Cardoso could afford to show more than a handful of them, that would be another), but he has also hooked up with a bevy of buxom, bloodthirsty Amazon warriors who protect his secret jungle laboratory. In addition, Moreau has a sexual relationship with their queen, Pentesiléia (Joana Medeiros), which the 70-year-old Naschy can do little to make palatable considering he was twice the age of his co-star at the time of filming. Still, that’s no more gratuitous than, say, the shower scene at the top of the film in which female lead Natasha (Danielle Winits) is spooked by her roommate Samantha (Karina Bacchi), whose dialogue referencing Psycho is redundant since the soundtrack has already aped Bernard Herrmann’s score. Cardoso goes Hitchcock one further, though, by having Samantha disrobe and step into the shower with Natasha because clearly that’s what people want to see when they pop in a movie called A Werewolf in the Amazon. (For the record, close to half the film’s 77-minute running time elapses before the viewer gets a decent look at Naschy’s Moreauwolf, and even then he’s mostly in shadow.)

How Natasha and Samantha fit into the plot is barely worth getting into since they and their friends — who head into the Amazonian jungle in search of hallucinogenic herbs — are there to be little more than werewolf bait. (Well, Natasha is a bit more than that since she’s revealed to be a reincarnated Amazon warrior by a ghostly Incan priest who delivers the news in song, but still.) Also not worth spilling much digital ink over are the American zoologist and no-nonsense policeman assigned to accompany him while he investigates the bizarre murders that have been occurring the area. (And yes, the zoologist does get to say the deathless line, “These wounds were made by some large animal.”) Not only are they almost exclusively used for labored comic relief (including a Re-Animator-style gag where a corpse in the morgue briefly comes to life before being smacked down again), but they’re nowhere near as funny as the moment where Moreau dresses one of them down, saying, “I guess you don’t deserve the privilege of being turned into an animal.”

Roman centurions get bit by a werewolf and create an “Empire of the Wolf”

A. Quinton — Mar. 28th 2018

From writer Michael Kogge (Star Wars), artists Dan Parsons (Star Wars, Game of Thrones) and David Rabbitte (Star Wars Insider) and colourists Rabbitte and Chris Summers (Spartacus: Blood & Sand) comes Empire of the Wolf, a graphic novel about an alternate history in which the banana bread that was the Roman Empire got garnished with the chocolate chips of lycanthropy.

During a vicious battle with the wolf-king Caradog, two Roman centurions fall victim to the werewolf’s bite. Now, as werewolves, Lucius and Canisius are cursed to relive the legendary feud between the wolf-brothers Romulus and Remus. As their hostility grows, a war erupts that will not only decide the fate of the Roman Empire, but also threatens to claim the life of the woman they both love.

Empire of the Wolf is published by Alterna Comics, who have a landing page on their site with a 5-page preview, but curiously, no link to purchase the graphic novel in any format, and no way to find more information. This title is from 2014, so the page might have been orphaned through subsequent updates.

Don’t worry, though, I got you some links: you can buy it in physical or Kindle formats from Amazon, or digitally through comiXology. You can also follow the project on its Facebook page, which has artwork and relatively current signing event info.

“Sirius the Jaeger” anime: a lone werewolf hunts vampires in Imperial Japan

A. Quinton — Mar. 23rd 2018

I’m time-constrained these days with some cool projects you’ll get to see this year, but I had to take a coffee break from work to post about a new anime series hitting Japanese TV this July: Sirius the Jaeger.

From Crunchyroll:

The creatures of the night stalk the streets of 1930’s Tokyo in Sirius the Jaeger, an upcoming original TV anime about a young werewolf seeking to avenge the slaughter of his clan by hunting the vampires responsible.

From the English-language version of the Sirius the Jaeger web site:

Imperial Capital, 1930.

A strange group of people carrying musical instrument cases landed on Tokyo station. They are called the “Jaegers”, who came to hunt vampires. Amongst them, there stood a young man with striking serenity and unusual aura. His name is Yuliy, a werewolf whose home village was destroyed by vampires. Yuliy and the Jaegers engage in deadly battle over a mysterious holy arc only known as “The Arc of Sirius”. What truth awaits them at the end…?

With eternal affinity and spiral of conspiracy entwine, the highly anticipated action-thriller anime begins!

From @Sausage_Spirit on Twitter, who shared the news with me and knows way more about the anime world than I do:

it’s being directed by the guy who did wolf’s rain and the cowboy bebop movie with character designs by the girl who does the designs for street fighter and some other capcom games

I’m not sure when or how this will become available to audiences outside of Japan, but I hope it’s soon!

Great werewolf transformation in Google Cloud / NCAA micro-advert

A. Quinton — Mar. 13th 2018

Friend of the site John Dillard sent me this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it video ad for Google Cloud, featuring an animated werewolf transformation and a pertinent bit of college basketball trivia. It’s onscreen for less than two seconds but I think it’s a perfect transformation scene. The only way it could be improved is if the lycanthropic basketball player’s jersey number was “42” instead of “4”.

Joey Vigour’s upcoming board game “Growl” asks you to bite everyone you can

A. Quinton — Mar. 7th 2018

Growl is an upcoming board game where the point is to be a werewolf who infect as many villagers as possible. That’s the only win condition. At the end of the game you and every other player you’ve sufficiently bitten all literally growl to declare victory. Okay, yeah, you can also play as a human and try to rid your village of lycanthropy (and you can win by keeping at least one human alive until the end), but if you’re reading a site called Werewolf News, I think we all know which side you’re rooting for.

This card-based game was designed by Joey Vigour, features artwork by Rob Joseph, and comes out later this month. To get instant access to a printable version of the basic game system, you can sign up for a game release notification here. According to that page the first 500 copies of the game will be free, which seems too good to be true, but maybe get your email address in there just in case. I was never really a fan of the original Werewolf social game, so it’s nice to read positive reviews of this potential successor and see Joey playtesting it to a fine polish. I look forward to getting a copy of this whether it’s free or not!

Below is a summary of the gameplay mechanics from the BoardGameGeek page. If you want to follow the game’s development and release, you can also check out its Facebook page.

4-7 players (up to 10 with more cards) all claim to be innocent villagers, but one of you is Wolf Zero, the original werewolf that intends on turning the whole town wolfy….

The deck of cards sits face-up in the middle of the table. One by one you take turns picking up the top card and giving it to whichever player you want. The cards can be a Bite (which brings you closer to becoming a wolf) or a Wound (which brings you closer to dead), or cards that cancel other cards. When a NIGHT card is revealed, the full moon comes out and werewolves and villagers get to pass cards anonymously, which is how the infection spreads and turns villagers into wolves. 3 Wounds kills either a human or a werewolf. 3 Bites turns a human into a werewolf, and only wolves can pass Bites at night.

When the deck is exhausted at the end of the third night, Wolf Zero begins to GROWL and slowly other wolves (even dead wolves) join the growl! If any humans are left alive, all humans (even dead ones!) win. If all the players who are still alive are growling, all wolves win!