Horror apparel company Cavitycolors is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic werewolf horror film The Howling with a new line of licensed clothing. Have you ever dreamed of wearing Eddie Quist on your legs? Now, your dreams can become… reality.
This isn’t a review, because I – Angela – do not review anything anymore, I don’t really care for the whole World of Darkness setting, and I’m so mired in gaming’s yesteryears that I’m currently replaying The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on my DS. Cyanide’s highly-anticipated action role-playing game is one of those werewolf artifacts that seemingly everyone is excited for, but which is so clearly Not For Me that all I can responsibly do is tell you that it’s out now, and you can buy it. It’s available for Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X, and can be found on Amazon or your preferred digital retailer.
If you would like a review, I can safely point you to this video by Cannot Be Tamed, whose gameplay footage and assessment of the lore and mechanics lines up with the vibe I’d been getting over the past few months.
Would you care for an informed and nuanced editorial assessment of this game and its place in the historically rocky landscape of Werewolf: the Apocalypse video games? Keep an eye out for a guest post by a friend of the site and W:tA veteran. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this take, which has all the nuance of a grouch (me) posting off the cuff on Discord (which is where it’s from):
It seems unwise to make a game in a lore-heavy setting and cut out all the interesting lore. If you’re going to do that for the sake of making the game more appealing to casual players, I think your best angle is to present the game as one where you get to be a cool scary werewolf who rips shit up. That approach requires that your werewolf have, like, a transformation scene, and combat that feels & looks visceral. You know, the things that might make a werewolf action horror game fun. I don’t see any of that either.
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?”
January brings with it the Wolf Moon, so it’s appropriate that this month’s Full Moon Feature is The Wolf of Snow Hollow, which is set in a Utah ski resort town experiencing a sudden upswing in what appear to be werewolf attacks. (The subject gets danced around at first, but once the w-word is invoked 28 minutes in, it’s never far from anyone’s lips.) As if that wasn’t bad enough, Snow Hollow’s sheriff (played by Robert Forster in his final screen role) is in his “last quarter” due to a heart murmur, which the department is trying to keep the public in the dark about, and his son is feeling the stress of being his heir apparent, which is bad news for the hard-won sobriety he’s all but guaranteed to lose before all is said and done.
Following the standard introduction of a couple of vacationing city slickers renting a cabin in the woods only for one of them to be horrifically mutilated by something off-screen that leaves a giant paw print behind in the fresh snow, writer/director Jim Cummings goes about introducing his protagonist, John Marshall (who happens to be played by Cummings), leading an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. “If you can just focus and not let the monsters inside of you come out, if you can just concentrate on the 12 Steps,” he says shortly before losing his concentration and trailing off, a signal that he’s a man with a lot on his plate. In addition to keeping his father’s failing health under wraps, John is also taking charge of his college-bound daughter and worrying about the onset of ski season, the sole reason for Snow Hollow’s existence. (The Wolf of Snow Hollow takes place around Christmas, but this amounts to little more than window dressing.) As the unsolved murders pile up, though, and John becomes an unwelcome presence at successive funeral services, his grip on the situation and his sanity rapidly unravels.
All in all, this is not a bad set-up for a werewolf story, and Forster lends gravity to the role of the ailing sheriff, giving Cummings someone solid to play off of. The problem is most of the time Cummings’s performance is overwrought, his character’s hair-trigger temper causing him to mistake shouting at the top of his lungs and throwing things at people for shows of strength. Cummings also intercuts his werewolf attacks with the subsequent investigations, which catch John at his most frazzled and disorganized. Next to him, Riki Lindhome’s patient detective looks like Snow Hollow’s most capable and dependable law enforcement officer by default.
I’m probably making The Wolf of Snow Hollow sound worse than it is, but I’d be more inclined to give it a break if Cummings had a better handle on the mystery aspect. Since he tips his hand early on by showing the second attack being carried out by a hulking wolf creature, the only question that remains is who the monster is when there isn’t a full moon out, and one obvious red herring aside, the viewer isn’t presented with any likely (or even unlikely) suspects. And when John does show up on the killer’s doorstep, the realization that Cummings has lifted his climax straight out of The Silence of the Lambs doesn’t make it go down any easier.
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!
Arriving at the end of a year that has been fairly dire on all fronts, Cartoon Saloon’s WolfWalkers comes as a blast of fresh air. The latest feature from the animation studio behind The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, WolfWalkers is of a piece with them since it is steeped in Irish folklore and revels in the traditions of hand-drawn animation.
Its story, devised by co-directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart and fleshed out by screenwriter Will Collins, has the simplicity and directness of a fairy tale. Robyn Goodfellowe (Honor Kneafsey), the headstrong young daughter of hunter Bill (Sean Bean), has moved with him to the walled city of Kilkenny, Ireland, where he is employed by the autocratic Lord Protector (Simon McBurney) to hunt the wolf pack that threatens their ever-expanding outpost of civilization. Of course, the wolves wouldn’t be a problem if the humans weren’t so intent on encroaching upon their enchanted forest.
This enchantment comes by way of the WolfWalkers, a mother and daughter who can communicate with the wolves and become wolves themselves — but only while they’re asleep. They also have mystical healing powers which work on ordinary wounds but not WolfWalker bites, as Robyn discovers after she’s bitten by the semi-feral Mebh (newcomer Eva Whittaker), who’s responsible for keeping the pack in line while her mother searches for a new forest for them to move to.
Without being heavy-handed about it, WolfWalkers dramatizes the conflicts of civilization versus nature, Christianity versus paganism, even the English versus the Irish. (Robyn and her father are outsiders in the country and the townspeople never let them forget it.) And it does so with fluid animation, dynamic characters, and some of the most breathtaking action sequences this side of a Hayao Miyazaki film. Best of all, it’s about people who become wolves when they go to sleep. Sounds like a dream come true.
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.