Craig J. Clark — May. 28th 2018
By the time the ’70s rolled around, the biker movie explosion that followed Roger Corman’s The Wild Angels had just about fizzled out. There was still time, however, to squeeze in a few outliers, like 1972’s Pink Angels, about a group of gay bikers riding to Los Angeles for a drag ball, or 1971’s Werewolves on Wheels. Co-written and directed by Michel Levesque, who directed one more feature before becoming the art director for Paul Bartel’s Cannonball! and a number of Russ Meyer films, Werewolves on Wheels is about a motorcycle gang called the Devil’s Advocates (meaning, I suppose, they’re in favor of him), which is made up of a dozen or so interchangeable hairy, bearded savages (who, let’s face it, are halfway to being werewolves before the story even begins) who decide they want to meet the big man himself and go on a field trip to the local Satanic monastery.
Turns out this is a bad idea because soon after their arrival some hooded monks surround them and offer them an unholy communion of drugged wine and bread, which the gang readily partakes of. Once they’ve all conked out, high priest One (Severn Darden, late of The President’s Analyst and Vanishing Point) invokes his master with the sacrifice of a black cat and calls the leader’s old lady Helen (D.J. Anderson) to be the Bride of Satan, which apparently involves her seductively wrapping a snake around her naked body and playing with a skull while One gestures lewdly with a phallic statue. Just in time her man Adam (Stephen Oliver) comes out of his drugged stupor, rouses a few of his fellow bikers and they interrupt the ceremony and bust some heads, but not before having their faces marked by the falling monks.
With a stark naked Helen in tow the gang hightails it out of there, but soon enough their resident mystic Tarot (Duece Berry), whose name gets pronounced every which way but the right one, realizes something is amiss with their vibes or something. This is confirmed over the next couple nights as various gang members (and their old ladies) start getting picked off one by one by vicious killers with hairy paws and a penchant for hiding in the shadows until the final reel. When they finally do show themselves it’s no surprise who they turn out to be (after all, this isn’t a film about lycanthropic unicyclists) and the remaining human members of the gang decide fire is the best weapon available to them. This provides an important lesson to all would-be werewolves: if you’re ever set on fire, “Stop, Drop and Roll” doesn’t really work if you insist on rolling over a roaring campfire while trying to put yourself out.
Their furry former compatriots dispatched, Tarot leads the surviving Devil’s Advocates back to the monastery to get their revenge, but in an incredible twist it turns out they’re the monks they were planning on attacking! Or something! I don’t know exactly, the ending is all kinds of confusing. All I know is the gang rolls on under the closing credits and maybe the rest of them have been turned into werewolves and maybe they haven’t. That’s something that may have been cleared up in the sequel had there been one. As it is, Werewolves on Wheels exists in exploitation isolation.
A. Quinton — May. 16th 2018
After some time off to work on other things, Scott C., the single most chill artist I’ve ever met at a convention, has resumed his delightful Great Showdowns painting series (“chronicling of some of the greatest confrontations in FILM HISTORY”). This week’s entry is a face-off between two of New Zealand’s most acrimonious crews: the vampires and the werewolves from Taika Waititi’s “What We Do in the Shadows”.
Scott’s art always makes me smile (much like every character and most inanimate objects in his paintings), and his Showdowns are great, even when I haven’t seen the film depicted. Werewolves do appear in some of his previous Showdowns, including Monster Squad, The Wolf Man and Teen Wolf.
A. Quinton — May. 12th 2018
In a world where supernatural creatures roam amongst us, Kristy Wolfe (Beckett), a tough private investigator, tries desperately to keep her secret hidden. She has descended from a long line of werewolves. When her uncle is brutally murdered, Wolfe must use her natural instinct and risk her secret to unravel the mystery before she becomes the next victim.
More family drama and secret werewolfery. We will never escape these tropes.
The Shadow Within was shot in 2015 and was noted at the time for being the start of controversially rowdy actress Lindsay Lohan’s “comeback” bid, but as of February 2018 it was still being shopped around at the European Film Market. I think Lohan’s presence might have been a bit of stunt casting meant to generate interest – note that she gets top billing on the posters despite not getting mentioned in the synopsis – but I don’t think it worked. One of the three trivia entries for the film on IMDB reads: “Will most likely be released in 2017”.
Posters via Flickering Myth:
Dramatic horror series “The Order” to bring werewolves, magic & college exams to Netflix this December
A. Quinton — May. 7th 2018
There’s a new Netflix series scheduled for release on December 15th, and it’s about (or at least contains) werewolves. According to Variety, the streaming service has picked up 10 episodes of The Order, which follows “college freshman Jack Morton [Jake Manley], who joins a fabled secret society called The Order”. Writes Deadline:
Created/written by Dennis Heaton (Motive) and Shelley Eriksen (co-creator of Private Eyes), The Order centers on college freshman Jack Morton, who joins a fabled secret society, The Order, where he is thrust into a world of magic, monsters and intrigue. As Jack goes deeper, he uncovers dark family secrets and an underground battle between werewolves and the magical dark arts.
[Sarah] Grey plays the female lead, Alyssa, a pretty and smart overachiever with a double major in poli-sci who is a member of The Order and is attracted to Jack.
Okay, so, points in favour: this is being produced by Nomadic Pictures, which also produces Van Helsing, Ghost Wars, and Hell on Wheels, and other successful series with critical responses ranging from “acceptable” to “great”. When Canadian productions are given the time and budget to do practical effects, they generally turn out well. If it gets renewed for a second season (the first has probably already wrapped), it might be filmed in downtown Vancouver, which means ya girl can lurk around the sets.
Points against: everything revealed so far about the storyline. I’m willing to give most things a fair shake, but I don’t need another supernatural drama about a handsome male protagonist who discovers a dark family secret while trying to balance his academic life and a will they / won’t they relationship with his “pretty and smart overachiever” female costar. I already saw MTV’s Teen Wolf, and a half-dozen movies that hit the “handsome guy + skeletons in the family closet” plot point. Also, Trollhunters.
Here’s hoping creators / writers Dennis Heaton and Shelley Eriksen steer things in a new direction. It’s hard not to be cynical about these things, but at the very least we’ll get a chance to see how a new horror franchise thinks werewolves should look.
A. Quinton — May. 4th 2018
The Kickstarter for Joey Vigour’s “turn everyone into a werewolf” card game has been funded 16 times over, and there’s still almost a week left! You can check out the post I wrote about GROWL a few months ago for details about how the game works, and here’s a recap from the campaign page:
There are werewolves among us! We’ll stab each other and try to avoid getting bitten, but when a human receives their third bite, they secretly become a wolf and turn against us!
GROWL is like Werewolf (aka Mafia), but as a quick 10-15 minute card game for 4-10 players of all ages
- The cards in your hand reveal whether you are a human or a werewolf
- Humans turn into werewolves if they get bitten 3 times!
- Everyone gets to bite, stab, heal, and give gold, so we all have power, not just the loud people
- Doesn’t require a moderator or phone app
There’s a lot going on with this campaign. There were 2o stretch goals, all of which have been obliterated, a bunch of add-ons, and a social engagement aspect called “The Wolf Hunt” that seems way too complicated for me, but which obviously works, given how well things are going. If you just want the game, you can sidestep the shenanigans and go directly to the $16 or $24 dollar tiers.
Congrats to Joey and his team for what looks like a super successful project! If you want to get a copy for yourself, head this way.
A. Quinton — May. 2nd 2018
There’s a great new animation making the rounds that explores the age-old battle between vampires and werewolves from some novel new angles.
To quote @EvilViergacht, who sent me the link, VvWW contains “Werewolves, hairy female werewolves, vampires in rubber pants, and butts.” That list has a near-perfect overlap with the terms people are searching for when they arrive here at Werewolf News, but this video presents a more cogent analysis of those subjects than I ever could. See for yourself:
safetyhammer (who goes by No-One Suspected the Cat on Facebook) did the animation, writing and voice work, and the incomparable Trudy Cooper (who also makes the comic Oglaf – maybe the most NSFW site I’ve ever linked to, but very good also) did the artwork.
By the way, I agree with every assertion made in this video, and you can quote me.
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!
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!
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.
A. Quinton — Apr. 13th 2018
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!