Angela Quinton is a writer, designer and web developer from Canada. She's also a colossal werewolf nerd who wrote her first werewolf story on her mom's typewriter at age 11. When not writing code or geeking out over werewolf stuff, Angela runs trails, spots trains, and throws rocks at the Pacific Ocean. She lives near Vancouver, Canada, with their lovely and tolerant wife, three feline malcontents and an increasingly terrible dachshund.
Eight for Silver is a new film written and directed by Sean Ellis. Described in its promo material as a “gruesome gothic spin on werewolf lore”, word from friends and reviewers is that it may be that rarest of creatures: a werewolf movie… with an actual, cool-looking werewolf… that’s also a good movie.
In the late nineteenth century, brutal land baron Seamus Laurent (Alistair Petrie) slaughters a Roma clan, unleashing a curse on his family and village. In the days that follow, the townspeople are plagued by nightmares, Seamus’s son Edward (Max Mackintosh) goes missing, and a boy is found murdered. The locals suspect a wild animal, but visiting pathologist John McBride (Boyd Holbrook) warns of a more sinister presence lurking in the woods.
Unfortunately, I have not seen Eight for Silver (other than a few screengrabs and a story synopsis provided in private by a friend), and as of this post, there’s no way for anyone else in the public to see it, either. It premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, where it was on the schedule for a mere two screenings, accessible only to American audiences with $15 and the ability to sit down and watch the stream at the appointed time. There appears to be no press material other than what’s on the Sundance page – not even a trailer or poster. That it’s made such an impact on Werewolf Twitter despite the narrow window of visibility says much about its qualities!
I hope it picks up some awards and a North American distributor so those of us without a time machine and a VPN can buy or rent it. I complain a lot about the dearth of decent werewolf films, and I’m looking forward to supporting the seemingly great ones when they come along.
If you saw one of the screenings – or if you didn’t but you don’t care about some moderate spoilers – this 30-minute Q&A with Ellis, Alistair Petrie, and Kelly Reilly is worth a watch. Topics include the design decisions behind the werewolf, the decision to go with practical effects, the lucky breaks with location, English accents, film influences, nursery rhymes, and “why weren’t the werewolves hot?”
Got some bare shelves and some disposable income? Friend of the site PenningtonBeast found a good way to solve both conditions. Omega Studios is preparing to release a line of nine original werewolf (and werewolf-inspired) figures under the banner “Dawn of Monsters”. They’re billed as action figures and “collector’s items suitable for all ages”. Each is 9″ tall, with 20 points of articulation. The initial round of figures was funded by a Kickstarter project that received 978% of its goal, and now the line is being distributed exclusively through BigBadToyStore.
Here’s the lineup, with selected images to follow. Note that there aren’t any official images of the Mid-Transformation Werewolf or the Undead Werewolf, and that Garm the Cursed is a CG render. Presumably their designs were still being finalized when BigBadToyStore set up the products.
Garm the Cursed
Fenrir, Hati and Skoll were part of the initial campaign. There’s an attempt to tie them into a flimsy story concept, but it looks like Omega dropped that pretense once the stretch goals unlocked the other characters. I think that’s a good idea – the designs are cool enough that we don’t need a retread of the “alpha / alpha’s mate / alpha’s grudging nemesis” thing.
As reported by Deadline and shared with me by reader Avery G., we have another potential werewolf movie in the pipeline. Zombieland: Double Tap‘s Zoey Deutch loved Lisa Duva‘s script The Hound so much that she’ll be starring and producing the feature for Searchlight.
The story follows a timid dog-groomer, Callie (Deutch), who after being bitten by a mysterious stray dog, she’s forced to wrestle with dark, new desires as her body goes through unexpected changes.
So, no direct mention of werewolves, but “bitten by a weird dog”, “dark desires” and “unexpected changes” are themes so common to modern werewolf movies that they might as well be boilerplate text in press packages. I hope Deutch’s enthusiasm prevents studio execs from sanding off whatever weird edges Duva’s script has. I would love for this to be a black comedy that leans hard into body horror territory!
I’ve heard good things about Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest, but I kept pushing it off my mental radar because it’s an ongoing problem with me that I never make time to play video games. Luckily, Werewolf News reader Denise wrote in with a great capsule review, which she graciously allowed me to share:
I would like to recommend Werewolf the Apocalypse: Heart of the Forest to the werewolf fans out there. It’s a visual novel that’s on Steam as of today; set in the World of Darkness tabletop roleplaying series. Though the game is somewhat short compared to similar Choose-your-adventure/visual novel type stories I’ve played, the atmosphere and art are top notch. You play a character, Maia, and through choices, her personality evolves into one of the various “classes” of Werewolf; warrior, talesinger, shaman, and the like. You can play her as rage-filled and impatient, or introspective and friendly, and others in between. I’m also a fan of the WtA RPG, and I think it does it justice. I’m not sure how approachable it’d be for those that are new to the setting, but I think it’s a decent story on its own.
Denise’s review and the game’s “Very Positive” Steam rating make me feel quite confident that, against all odds, there is a good W:tA game for you to play on macOS, Windows or SteamOS right now!
I didn’t see 2020 werewolf movie Beast Within despite it being the 3rd most popular Canadian film on the country’s VOD platform a month after it came out. I probably won’t ever see it because apparently it just wasn’t very good. It’s a “which one of us is the werewolf” mystery with weird musical choices, poor acting, sloppy editing, and a premise that might have worked better if the filmmakers hadn’t played it straight? That’s a familiar refrain around here.
If it ever comes across the desk of werewolf movie poison-eater Craig J. Clark and he says it’s worth checking out, I may reconsider, but for now, its trailer and its weirdly desolate Instagram account (that features a prominent misspelling of the movie’s tagline) are enough to warn me away.
Beast Within is directed by Chris Green & Steven Morana, and stars Steven Morana, Holly Deveaux, Ari Millen, and Colm Feore. You can rent or buy it on Amazon or Youtube.
Jim Bycznski is a monster maker, and he’s really good at it. I have one of his pieces – the werewolf mask in this post’s featured image is mine – and like any collector of werewolf stuff, I always want more. Here’s the thing with Jim’s work: more are available, and it’s not just more of the same. He possesses a mastery of the different ways a werewolf or a wolfman can look, and his designs always have such astonishing character.
Check out the gallery of his recent werewolf work below (my thanks to him for sending the photos), and know that if you see anything you like… well, in Jim’s word, “All of the pieces attached are custom made and all available”. Some are wearable, some are display-only, and all of them make me very happy. To enquire, email him at bycznski at wowway dot com, or message him on Facebook. Tell him Angela sent you!
Postscript: I searched for Jim’s name to see if I’d written about him before, and it turns out yeah, I first posted about his werewolf work almost 11 years ago. What is time?
Next month, horror streaming service Shudder is premiering a new anthology film, and at least one shot in the trailer indicates we have some werewolf action on the way!
In “Scare Package” seven directors each showcase a different sub-genre of horror, all set in a world where “cell phones magically stop working and help is always a minute too late.”
Chad Buckley is a horror aficionado [who] spends his days at his struggling genre video store arguing with his only regular customer, Sam. When an unsuspecting applicant shows up, Chad begins to teach him about the rules of horror and his video store at large, much to the chagrin of Sam. During Chad’s on-boarding process, we weave in and out of different hilarious horror shorts, each one geared at a different set of horror tropes. As this new applicant learns the ropes, he begins to suspect Chad of something sinister, but we quickly learn that he may have a secret of his own.
Is Chad the werewolf, or the applicant? Or does he appear in one of the seven shorts, as listed on the VHS cassettes in the poster?
There’s no way to know without watching, since the official website follows Horror Movie Promotion Protocol 4: “only post promo photos of your human actors looking scared or vaguely spooky”. Nevertheless, this looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun!
If you have access to Shudder, you can watch Scare Package beginning June 18th.
Mythological memories from shooting an ultra-low-budget werewolf movie
Editor’s note: this is a guest post from Dominik Starck, actor in and co-producer of Iron Wolf, this month’s Full Moon Feature. My thanks to Dominik for taking the time to write this, and for sharing the photos that accompany this post!
“It’s about a Nazi-werewolf”, the voice on the phone revealed to me. Pause. “I know what you’re thinking,” the voice continues. No, you don’t.
It’s early 2012 and I’m on the phone with producer Nico Sentner, whom I’ve met on the set of the German slasher SIN REAPER, starring one of my favorite genre actors, Lance Henriksen. Sentner and I got along well, ultimately bonding over our common love of Henriksen and some of the same genre movies. I mentioned to him that I’m looking into making movies, not just writing about them (I was a film critic at the time).
A couple of months later I received this fateful call. Sentner was about to make an ultra low budget movie and offered me a small part in it. I’d also be able to serve as one of the producers. But here’s the hook; I wouldn’t have any creative control over it and, well, it’s about an effing Nazi werewolf. I told Sentner I’d have to sleep on it, but I’d call him back within 24 hours.
It sounded like trash from the get-go. Should this be my glorious entry into the industry? I had doubts. Huge doubts. I didn’t even get to see a script. On the other hand, I would never have forgiven myself for not taking the chance.
A couple of weeks later I was on set, playing the character of bandleader Spike Jones and showcasing my own favorite leather jacket. My gig only lasted a couple of days, one of them including a sex scene, a fight scene and my death scene. Laying on the dirty ground in freezing temperatures on a cold March night in Eastern Germany felt fantastic.
Jens Nier (co-director, -editor and –producer as well as werewolf performer) choreographed the little brawl I had with the homeless man (played by writer Marco Theiss). Training and shooting that was intense too – even though we later learned that one of the camera operators failed to get the best angle in focus so that the scene turned out to be nobody’s favorite.
To be honest it’s also pretty intimidating to be in front of a camera for the first time performing intercourse with a woman you just met. I got the script about three days before shooting started, read it, and scene 16 simply said “Spike and Jersey have hard sex in the basement” – Wait, what? Nobody said anything about a sex scene at any point!
Sentner assured me I’d be in good hands and shouldn’t worry about anything. His amused laughter should’ve been a warning sign. When I met my co-star Carolina Rath on set we asked director David Brückner how he intended the scene to be shot. His vision was to shoot in the dirtiest room of the old slaughterhouse we were filming in. The crew would put a half-way decent couch in that room for us to perform our relationship on. Obviously that didn’t make any sense. We skipped the couch and solved the issue in a different way.
I love horror movies and I have a huge affection for werewolf movies. Aside from AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, my personal favorite might be GINGER SNAPS 2 (yes, the sequel, Elisabeth Perkins is just amazing in it). To be on a set filled with enthusiastic film students was great. It felt like summer camp (even though I never went to summer camp). I even wrote a scene because they were afraid the movie might turn out too short. It eventually got cut from the movie because it would’ve made the opening too slow.
When I was wrapped it was hard for me to leave. Fortunately, there was a chance for a surprise return. When the rough cut was done it was obvious that some things didn’t work, among them the ending. It was supposed to end on Spike’s girlfriend teaming up with his brother Leon (named after the protagonist in Hammer Film’s only werewolf movie THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF), defeating the beast and riding off into the sun dawn. The way it was shot and the missing romantic energy between the characters on screen made it unsatisfying and the producers thought about a way to fix this.
In low-budget filmmaking, you’re always looking for a simple way to exploit an asset one has access to and deliver on a horror cliché that’s a cliché because it works. Since Spike was the only lead character we didn’t truly see dying on screen it was fairly easy to bring me back for a cliffhanger ending. We shot these tagged on scenes months after principal photography in the director’s basement. It’s my favorite scene I did in the movie.
IRON WOLF uses a trash premise, feeds off of the Nazi-exploiting concept behind IRON SKY and is underfinanced as hell. It basically was shot with a bag of pennies and a roll of tape. That said, it was inspiring to make the movie, and I made some friends I collaborated with on later productions (like my hitmen thriller THE HITMAN AGENCY, that’s available on Amazon and Tubi).
The producers did their best to make the movie as good as possible in the very limited time before it had to be ready for the film markets. It’s never good to work against a ticking clock. But on the other hand; I’m friends with filmmakers that had a ten times higher budget on a short film with two people talking in a room. Making a good werewolf movie demands proper planning, shooting and time for post-production to make it as effective as possible, even on a budget. Take time for prep away and cut the time on post-production and you’re set for failing.
Werewolves are cool. And the saving grace of IRON WOLF is that even cheap werewolf-movies with trash concepts behind them are still better than boring cheap vampire movies.
In the years following the production, there was actual talk about another IRON WOLF. While Sentner’s focus was on more Nazi exploitation in a prequel movie I pitched a true sequel about Spike struggling with his curse while looking for his big love Jersey. Meanwhile, she fully embraces her inner beast. Once they reunite they’d go full “Bonnie & Clyde in Furs”. We all moved on at this point. I worked a lot in action films, wrote a lot of screenplays and am in development on a completely different supernatural thriller. But there’s a part of me that still would like to make that sequel.
There are many more tales to tell and lessons learned in filmmaking, but for now, I have to finish this article. It’s already getting dark. And the moon is rising.
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!