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Month of the Werewolf…Day 1: Werewolf: The Beast Among Us, Ward’s Island, Game of Werewolves

My plans for Month of the Werewolf 2012 have been delayed due to a death in the family, but for now, have some werewolf-inspired links.

Werewolf film Ward’s Island, about an outbreak of werewolves in NYC, was shooting in Buffalo. I’m a little intrigued at Buffalo being used as NYC.

Toronto After Dark 2012 final films announced, including Game of Werewolves (Spain).

When a struggling young writer returns to his remote village home after years away in the city, he’s shocked to discover it’s become cursed by werewolves and also that he might just be the only one who can stop them. Fantastic old school effects, great werewolf fight scenes and kills, and an endearing misfit hero makes multiple Audience Award winner GAME OF WEREWOLVES an absolute delight for fans at every festival it plays!

Werewolf Wednesday…All Hallows Evil (Lord of the Harvest) trailer, Skittles + werewolves, Carrie Vaughn interview, werewolves and mental illness

From DreadCentral.com, a new trailer for All Hallows Evil (Lord of the Harvest).

Synopsis: The sleepy town of Hallowed Hill is known by many as the Halloween capitol of the world because of its history and its pagan origins. People from all around come to visit the town on the night of All Hallows Eve. Two hundred years ago, on Halloween, a great evil was unleashed on the town by a witch who dabbled in the black arts. After a long night of mayhem brought on by this terrible evil, a select group of townsfolk were able to stop the witch and dispatch the evil back into the darkness from whence it came. Now, 200 years later, a young girl finds an ancient pagan book archived deep in the old cellar of the local library, and with the help of her wicked foster mother, the two again release the evil Sam Hain from his hell-bound prison to once again wreak havoc on Halloween night. The question is, can the town join together to stop the evil, or will Hallowed Hill be completely devoured by the Lord of the Harvest.

That trailer looks incredibly, horribly cheesy. Terribly cheesy. Unbelievably cheesy. I really want to like this movie (a town banding together to save itself, a werewolf, full moon, monsters everywhere), but oh my god, the acting and the effects in that trailer, no. Maybe itw ill end up being so cheesy it is awesome. I hope.

Speaking of werewolves and cheesy things that are also delightful, this Skittles commercial is something else.

Weird! Hilarious! There are a ton of commercials in this set, and I’m having way too much fun watching them. Oh, Skittles.

91.5 KUNC has an interesting interview with Carrie Vaugh, author of the Kitty Norville series. In particular, I was interested in what she had to say about the appeal of werewolf stories.

Excerpt:

Ensuing Chapters: What is the fascination with the werewolf? Maybe a theory on what, culturally, the fascination is, and personally, why you chose a werewolf?

Carrie Vaughn: I can tell you what traditionally the werewolf is, and the werewolf is interesting because for about the last 130 years it’s been pretty much the same thing. It hasn’t changed. The vampire has changed a lot. It’s become this other creature representing sin and decay coming from outside the community, and now it’s a symbol of power and immortality and forbidden pleasures and all of these highly sexualized, highly powerful metaphors. So the vampire has changed a lot.

Werewolf stories just have never gotten their time in the light. There have always been werewolves, but culturally, they’ve kind of been stuck in this ‘beast within’ type story. I’ve been calling it the Jekyll and Hyde story. With a few exceptions, every werewolf story—that has focused on werewolves specifically—has been the Jekyll and Hyde: Somebody who’s been overwhelmed by their base instincts and the beast within bursts out and destroys everything and then it dies. The end.

There’s just not a whole lot you can do with that. If that’s the story you’re focusing on, it always has the same trajectory and the same end. You can tell really good stories with that. I think An American Werewolf in London is brilliant, but it’s the same. You get infected, you struggle with the beast within, which bursts free and does horrible things, and then you die. Ginger Snaps, which is another great, recent werewolf movie, the same kind of thing. Even though it kind of turns it on its head. I feel like culturally, people haven’t gotten past the idea that werewolves represent the struggle with base nature, and it’s always the struggle with the beast within. And the beast within always has to lose.

One of the reasons I decided to make the main character a werewolf was to try to get past that metaphor. We can have good stories about werewolves if we’d just get past the idea that werewolves are always doomed to fall victim to this beast within dichotomy. Let’s pretend that you can actually be a well-balanced, functional werewolf who is in control of the beast within and you can actually function in society. What happens then? That just opens it up. Werewolves can then become characters rather than these metaphors, which is what they end up seeming to be in most of the stories that you see them in.

While I think she’s said some interesting things here, I do think there are stories to be told using the monster within metaphor. In particular, I often tell stories where werewolves and mental illness are entwined, and I think those are important stories to tell. In my experience, dealing with a mental illness often feels like dealing with the monster within, and I want to see stories that explore having functional lives while at the same time having that monster within that never goes away. Because you can have a beast within and have a life where you function in society.

I Recommend…Trick ‘R Treat (2007) (Month of the Werewolf Day Four)

Well, Month of the Werewolf ended up being a fail for me, in part because I either incorrectly set up some of the posts to publish or WordPress had a big glitch, and in part because I got sick and then incredibly busy at work and with my family and didn’t have time to troubleshoot or write more posts.

But there are three days left, and I am going to slip in smaller versions of some of the posts I intended to do. We’ll see how many I can get done. I am also working on a story for an anthology that is due on Tuesday, and I have other work to do, so I must split my time between projects.

Here is what would have been Month of the Werewolf Day Four.

Trick R’ Treat (2007): Four interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the one guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband.

I love stories that weave through each other, and I love horror movies, and I love Halloween stories. Mostly, I find Trick ‘R Treat to be fun, sometimes slightly cheesy horror and occasionally a little boring, but I love one of the four stories so much that it really carries the rest of the movie for me and makes it one of my favorite Halloween movies.

Below the cut, there will be spoilers for that plot.

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I Recommend…Never Cry Werewolf (2008) (Month of the Werewolf Day One)

I know the trailer looks incredibly cheesy. No, really, I do. And the movie is a little cheesy, the special effects not awesome. However, this is one of the best werewolf movies I’ve seen, for a lot of reasons, but mostly for this: Loren, the main character, played by Nina Dobrev, kicks ass. She’s amazing, tough and smart and determined and brave. Things I love: women kicking ass, siblings teaming up to hunt monsters, girls with crossbows and guns, werewolves on motorcycles, dramatic shots of the full moon. Things this movie has: all of that and more.

So yes, at times incredibly cheesy, and I absolutely do not buy Peter Stebbings as this hot new guy whom all the women want, and there is more women-as-victims than I like, but mostly, this movie is a joy and a delight, and I highly recommend it for you Month of the Werewolf movie needs. (Or your horror movie needs. Or your Halloween needs. This movie is multipurpose, obviously.)

Plus, if you like Nina Dobrev in The Vampire Diaries (which I do, though I’ve only seen season one), she’s kick ass and badass and awesome here too.

I actually don’t own this one yet, because I hate the only cover I’ve ever seen in person, which has Loren looking like a victim and is from one of the few scenes I really hated, but maybe I will buy it and then paste this picture on top of it, because it makes Loren look like she’s a motorcycle riding werewolf hunter and oh, god, how much do I need that sort of story in my life? A LOT.

Loren is my favorite werewolf hunter ever.

Film Friday…Riddick 3, Resident Evil, and Fangland

1) Vin Diesel and Riddick 3

From a few different places, but most recently Boomtron, Vin Diesel reveals new Riddick 3 art. I sort of love that Vin Diesel shares concept art via his Facebook. I’m also thrilled with a new Riddick movie. Pitch Black is amazing. The Chronicles of Riddick, not so great, but I do have a certain fondness for it, too. And I am always a fan of Vin Diesel. (Less than a year until the next Fast and the Furious movie, and I could not be more excited about it!)

Speaking of actors I love who have been in the Fast and the Furious series, check this out!

2) Michelle Rodriguez and Resident Evil

From Bloody-Disgusting.com, Michelle Rodriguez to reprise her role as Rain in Resident Evil. I freaking love Michelle Rodriguez (I was just telling someone today about why I stopped watching Lost), and I found her so intriguing as Rain. I’m excited to see what will happen now that she’s back. (Downside of being a Michelle Rodriguez fan: she tends to die in her roles. Or at least appear to be dead and then return later, which I would be frustrated with, except it means we get more Michelle Rodriguez and that is a good thing. I’m not just looking at Resident Evil here, either.)

I really have no segue into the next movie. Sorry.

3) Stake Land (The most dangerous thing is to be alive.)

Via From Midnight, With Love, a vampire movie released in 2010 that I had no idea existed, and it looks incredible.

I’ll say right off the bat that I wish the main character, who appears to be Martin, was a girl. I am tired of all the stories being about the boys, and then the girls are the victims, the villains, the love interests, or all of the above. (Oh, Supernatural, why must you hate women and characters of color?) That being said, however, I need to purchase this movie immediately, because the trailer is full of things I love. Traveling to survive, banding together to survive, road trips, horror in the corn fields (god, corn, so freaking creepy and yet so delicious), characters fighting for their lives, guns, stakes, monsters that actually eat people — I could go on and on.

I think I’m going to start doing mini movie reviews for Film Friday, as well as talking about movies I can’t wait to see. I tend to write long reviews, which I simply don’t have time to do right now, but maybe if I try hard, I can keep it to a few hundred words and check some things off my To Do list. (For example, I still have “review Fast Five and heist movie + characters of color” on my To Do list. I watched Fast Five awhile ago now. (Though it feels like it was just the other day. This year is getting away from me.) I’m focusing my writing time on fiction mostly, but a few hundred words about the movies I enjoy would be fun.)

What movie news has you excited right now?

Werewolf Wednesday…Dog Soldiers Red teaser (Dog Soldiers 2), The Howling Reborn dvd trailer, Monster Brawl trailer

1) Dog Soldiers Red teaser

From Bloody-Disgusting.com, stills and a teaser for Dog Soldiers Red. So apparently we are going to get a Dog Soldiers 2, which fills me with such joy I can barely sit still long enough to type this. Dog Soldiers is one of my favorite werewolf movies, and I wasn’t sure we would ever get a sequel to it.

Though, I’ll admit, after watching this Dog Soldiers Red teaser for Dog Soldiers: Legacy, which will be a web series, I am somewhat less than thrilled. While the werewolf make-up is still the amazing Dog Soldiers style, the minute plus we get of the teaser shows nothing new from werewolf stories. Grandmother, Red, werewolf, been there and done that. I expected more, especially with the use of Little Red Riding Hood + werewolf, which is my favorite way to retell the story.

(I am frequently disappointed by such retellings, though. I may need to reconsider my love of it. And I really should vent here about Red Riding Hood at some point.)

Still, a new Dog Soldiers movie, that’s pretty thrilling.

2) The Howling Reborn dvd trailer

Speaking of sequels/remakes to werewolf movies I love, and also from Bloody-Disgusting.com, a new trailer for the straight-to-dvd release of The Howling Reborn.

I am wicked sad that this won’t be released in the theaters, even though I think it will be ridiculous. It also looks like it will be a lot of fun. (Fire! Werewolves! Guns! Teens bonding together to fight monsters! Teens both embracing and fighting the monster inside! A gorgeous, haunting version of “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” [I actually collect covers of this song. GORGEOUS.] I believe this is Gus’s cover, but I am bad at Name That Tune.)

I am almost ashamed of how much I am looking forward to this movie. I mean, it’s a remake of a movie I love, the ultimate horror movie for me, the horror movie that begat all other horror movies in my world. It is why I write the things I do. (Well, it and The Lost Boys.) This remake is certain to be terrible. And yet I am ridiculously thrilled over it.

3) Monster Brawl trailer

Speaking of ridiculous, Monster Brawl. Underground fighting + monsters. GO WEREWOLF GO.

I am pretty sure this will be the most intentionally ridiculous movie I will watch all year. Maybe in my life. And I can’t wait.

Werewolf Wednesday…BLOOD MOON: A WEREWOLF WESTERN trailer

Movie poster for BLOOD MOON: A WEREWOLF WESTERN

I haven’t heard much about BLOOD MOON: A WEREWOLF WESTERN, but I love werewolves and I like westerns (though frequently the misogyny, homophobia, and racism is too much for me), so I am intrigued by this trailer. (No, I still haven’t seen COWBOYS & ALIENS, though it is on my to watch list.) I was able to track down a poster for it, as you can see, and it looks interesting.

The trailer looks fairly interesting; a little too much woman as damsel in distress and woman as monster, nothing in between, but it is a trailer, and the movie might be better than I expect. I’m also side-eyeing the gunslinger creepy-ing all over the main woman we see in the trailer. Still, I think the movie has a lot of potential, and I hope we get to see it. Nice fire flashing to life, wolves howling in the distance, and people moving weirdly as they become wolves. Are the werewolves wearing masks, or is that just really horrible special effects?

The speech and the music levels aren’t really balanced, so I had a hard time hearing some of the dialog. I just realized that they’re talking about skinwalkers, and considering this is a western, I worry a lot about what sort of appropriation is going on here and how badly Native Americans are going to be portrayed. Side-eyeing you even harder now, movie trailer, but we will see.

Werewolf Wednesday…”The Howling Reborn” Trailer and Analysis

The Howling is one of my favorite movies. It means a lot to me; it was the first horror movie I ever watched, and it was the beginning of my love of werewolves. I enjoy the rest of the series, and I’ve watched a lot of werewolf movies in my time, good and bad, but none have ever been as awesome or meant as much to me as The Howling.

If you haven’t heard about The Howling Reborn, here is a blurb:

On the eve of his high school graduation, unremarkable Will Kidman finally bonds with the girl he has long yearned for, reclusive Eliana Wynter. But he also discovers a dark secret from his past… that he is about to become a werewolf. Now, in an effort to fight destiny and save their love as well as their lives, they must battle not only Will’s growing blood lust but an army of fearsome beasts bent on killing them… and then, us all.

Based on that, the remake sounds less The Howling and more a mix of Skinwalkers (2006) and the movie adaptation of Blood and Chocolate, but let’s take a look at the trailer.

I love YA fiction, and I can understand wanting to focus on younger characters to hit some target markets, but it completely doesn’t feel like The Howling from the first second simply because the characters are in high school. I’m afraid this is going to be one of those remakes/sequels where they would have been better off not to attach the franchise name to it (I’m looking at you, sequels to The Lost Boys.)

Will opens with some cheesy language about the days that change your life forever. He also hits on Eliana, and as cheesy as it is, I do love the line about how she’s in color when the rest of the world is in black and white. (The trailer makes a lot of use of black and white scenes juxtaposed with scenes in color, so it is good to open with this line.)

Eliana has a line about not biting…much, and it is just as ridiculous as you’d expect in a werewolf movie. However, I’m a pretty big fan of Lindsey Shaw as an actor, and I’m looking forward to watching her in a movie. Lots of time to enjoy the way she says her lines, and also, she’s gorgeous.

The metaphor of graduation, high school students becoming something else and the werewolf story of a teen becoming something else could be really nice.

I love Eliana with her flame thrower and her gun, but it already looks like she’s going to walk the line between victim and villain, as is usual for women in horror and for women who are werewolves. I am tired of men being the heroes in everything, and I am tired of women getting to be victims or villains and that is it. (Supernatural, I am looking at you.) Maybe The Howling Reborn will surprise me. I hope. (This is probably one of the reasons I love The Howling so much. It is obviously Karen’s story, and though there are some issues, she gets to be more than the victim, at least for awhile. UGH, now I am angry at my favorite horror movie, too.)

The trailer is very shiny, lots of black and white scenes versus color scenes, and lots of pretty shots of the full moon (including a blue moon literally shot in shades of blue), which yes, is typical and cheesy, but is also something I love. The bits of destruction in the high school we see is very nice, tying into the metaphor of high school is hell that Buffy the Vampire Slayer did so well as well as the theme of metamorphosis as you approach graduation.

Underground parties, werewolves in leather stalking down the hall in a badass powerwalk, howling in the distance, werewolves in human form leaping over things in inhuman ways, the shot of a girl’s spine as she transforms, the blood inside changing you into something inhuman, fire to purge the wolf, the use of the blue moon in the story, and technology being used in the fight against the werewolves: at least from the shots in the trailer, this movie was made with me in mind. (If the trailer whipped out parkour for the werewolves, it wouldn’t matter what else happened, I’d watch the movie.) (Okay, with a werewolf movie, no matter what the trailer says, it’s pretty much a given I’ll watch it anyway.)

From the trailer, it is not a very diverse movie. The black best friend probably gets dead, or at least knocked around. Almost everyone is thin and pretty and white and able bodied. The characters come across as very straight, though sexual preference is harder to show in the short clips in a trailer. Very male dominated, with the few women appearing to be villains and maybe a little victims.

It looks like it might be an entertaining werewolf movie, but I think it would do better to not be a remake of The Howling, which brings in expectations that I am doubtful will be met.