Archive for werewolves

AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Review of Stephen King’s Silver Bullet

Posted in 80s, books, Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2010 by Paxton

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Welcome to the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest 2010. This week I’m reviewing werewolf movies. Today, I’m reviewing the movie version of Stephen King’s novella, Cycle of the Werewolf, the movie changed the title to Silver Bullet.

Silver Bullet poster

Released in 1985, Stephen King’s Silver Bullet stars Corey Haim as paralyzed Marty Coslaw, Gary Busey as his alcoholic uncle and Megan Follows as his sister.  The movie was based on the 1983 graphic novella, Cycle of the Werewolf, also by Stephen King.  The movie follows the basic gist of the novella about a werewolf terrorizing the small town of Tarker’s Mill, Maine.

Silver Bullet VHS

This movie has garnered much hatred from Stephen King fans as well as horror movie fans due to the horrible quality of the movie.  And yes, the movie isn’t that great.  I watched it many years ago on video cassette and remember thinking it blew big time.  However, I DVRed it a few weeks ago off of EncoreHD and watched it very recently and didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would.  It’s a fairly decent B werewolf movie.

Check out the trailer:

While the movie does take the basic plot elements of the novella; a paralyzed boy discovers a werewolf is murdering the people in his town, it pretty much eliminates following the werewolf’s killing sprees during the different cycles of the full moon throughout an entire calendar year.  The movie takes place within a week or two during the Spring of 1976 (if the events do happen over several months like in the novella, the movie didn’t really do a good job of illustrating that).  It almost makes the werewolf killings seem like a recent occurrence whereas in the book the killings build up over months and the town labels the serial killer The Full Moon Killer.  Most of the movie is uselessly narrated by the sister from the future as if she’s looking back at that time in her life. There really seemed to be no reason to have this narration because the movie never really follows up on it.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: The Cartoon Adventures of Teen Wolf

Posted in cartoons, Halloween, holiday, monsters, TV shows, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2010 by Paxton

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Welcome to Day 16 of AWESOME-tober-fest. Today is the end of werewolf TV week. Yesterday I discussed one of my favorite cartoons, Fangface. Today, I’ll be discussing another personal favorite, The Cartoon Adventures of Teen Wolf.

Teen Wolf cartoon logo

The Teen Wolf cartoon was based on the characters in the 1985 Michael J Fox movie, Teen Wolf. Many of the movie characters show up in the cartoon. Obviously we see Scott Howard and his father Harold.  Also showing up is Scott’s friend Stiles, Boof, Pamela Anderson and her neanderthal boyfriend Mick. However, only Harold Howard is voiced by the actor who portrayed him in the movie, James Hampton. A few other famous voice actors filled out the cast. Don Most (Ralph Malph) voiced Stiles and the legendary June Foray (The Flintstones’ Betty Rubble, Looney Tunes’ Granny/Witch Hazel, Rocky Squirrel/Natasha from Rocky & Bullwinkle) voiced Grandma Howard.  So the cast was solid.  Plus it had a kick ass theme song and a ridiculously ’80s opening with Teen Wolf listening to a Walkman.

I love this cartoon and that opening sequence so much that I use a still from it as my avatar/buddy icon on Twitter, Flickr and WordPress.

Teen Wolf cartoon headshot

Obviously, being a big fan of werewolves, and also a big fan of the movie Teen Wolf, I was going to love this show.  Not surprisingly, the cartoon changed a few details from the movie. It added Scott’s entire extended werewolf family (see below), gave Scott a younger sister (he’s an only child in the movie) and making the fact that Scott is a werewolf a secret again.  I didn’t really have a problem with these changes because it added something to the show.  Making the werewolf thing a secret added a bit of drama that would be lost if everyone knew what Scott was.  I was able to go with it and still enjoy the cartoon.

Howard Family

The show aired from 1986 to 1987.  This encompassed two seasons, 13 episodes in the first, 8 episodes in the second.  The reason there are only 8 episodes in season 2 is due to a cartoon voice actor”s strike in late 1986 that halted production during the second season.  There was technically a third season aired, but it consisted entirely of re-runs.

Two VHS collections were released in the US. The first was titled Wolf of My Dreams and the second was All-American Werewolf (see below).
Teen Wolf VHS Vol 1 Teen Wolf VHS Vol 2
In the UK there was a 3 volume set of Teen Wolf episodes with funky artwork showing Scott transforming into the wolf across the three covers.
Teen Wolf cartoon UK VHS
In Australia, they actually released the entire series on DVD which makes me jealous and pissed off at the same time because the set is in the PAL format. However, I do have a DVD player that is region free and theoretically converts from PAL, but I don’t want to buy this set and then they release American versions very soon afterward.  Plus, I haven’t technically tested my DVD player’s ability to convert from PAL to NTSC so I don’t know how well it works.  The picture may look like crap.  So I’m stuck staring at this DVD box art and seething with unchecked nerd rage and envy at the “Land Down Under”.
Teen Wolf cartoon Aus DVD

So, like I said, I wait. And watch the crappy conversions of Teen Wolf episodes you can find on YouTube. Yay.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Fangface (1978)

Posted in cartoons, monsters, pop culture, TV shows, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2010 by Paxton

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Today is Day 15 of AWESOME-tober-fest 2010. I am in the midst of werewolf TV show week. The shows I discussed earlier this week were very short lived and I never watched any of them. However today’s and tomorrow’s entries were two of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid. They both involved the misadventures of cartoon werewolves. Today, I’m looking at the cartoon, Fangface.

Fangface Fangface and the gang

Fangface aired from 1978 to 1979. The format for Fangface was very similar to Scooby-Doo, which is not surprising since the show was produced by Ruby-Spears Productions who also produced Scooby’s adventures.  A group of teens, Biff, Kim, Puggsy and Fangs (Sherman Fangsworth) drive around in their “Wolf Mobile” solving crimes.  The hook is that Fangs is a werewolf.  Here is the intro to the cartoon that spells out the story.

Per the narrator:

“Every 400 years, a baby werewolf is born into the Fangsworth family, and so when the moon shined on little Sherman Fangsworth, he changed into Fangface, a werewolf! Only the sun can change him back to normal. And so little Fangs grew up and teamed up with three daring teenagers: Kim, Biff and Puggsy, and together they find danger, excitement and adventure! Who can save the day? Who can wrong the rights and right the wrongs? None other than Fangface!”

The first season ran for 16 episodes. The great Frank Welker (Fred from Scooby-Doo and Megatron from Transformers) would voice Fangs and Fangface.  While the show’s format was a copy of Scooby-Doo, it had a lot of it’s own fun, but goofy, character touches.  Fangs would change into Fangface not only when he saw the moon, but even a picture of the moon would trigger the transformation.  Likewise, either the real sun or a picture of the sun would change him back.  Also, neither Fangface nor Fangs were aware of each other.  When Fangface would show up he’d just start going crazy and kicking ass without wondering where the hell he was.  Whenever he would transform back, Fangs would be disoriented and wonder where he was and what happened.  Fangface also loved to try to eat Puggsy.  Whenever food was mentioned, he would swallow Puggsy and not let him go until Kim would tickle his foot to relax him.  This group just had lots of fun, quirky adventures.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Rick Moranis in Gravedale High

Posted in cartoons, Halloween, holiday, monsters, TV shows, vampires, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2010 by Paxton

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Here we are, Day 14 of AWESOME-tober-fest. It’s Hump Day everyone and we came here to talk about werewolves in TV shows. The previous two shows were live action, but our next three entries will be cartoons. Two of these cartoons were absolute favorites of mine growing up in the 80s.  Today’s cartoon, however, I didn’t really get a chance to watch on TV as it was only on for one season.  But it had a great premise that I love, even today, and I would have watched religiously.

Today we will look at Gravedale High.

Gravedale High logo

Gravedale High first aired in 1990.  It was very similar to another of one of my favorite cartoons, Galaxy High. Just swap out aliens for monsters and change the perspective as the main character in Gravedale is a teacher, not a student. However, the “fish out of water in high school” theme is prevalent throughout both cartoons.  Plus, it has Rick Moranis, who I love.

Here’s Gravedale’s intro.

The premise is, Rick Moranis voices Max Schneider, a human teacher who is hired at Gravedale High, a high school for the current generation of monsters.  Among the student population are vampires, werewolves, centaurs, Medusas, mad scientists, Igors, Gillman, etc.  It’s a great concept that I adore to this day.  Imagine Drak Pack, but instead of solving crimes the monster teens are actually going to high school. And obviously there’s a lot of monster/human relationship humor in every episode. Here’s some of the main characters in a great pic from DeviantArt :

Gravedale High cast

The show was voiced by a lot of very famous voice actors.The first student on the left is Reggie Moonshroud, the nerdy werewolf.  He was voiced by Barry Gordon, best known as Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Nestle Quik rabbit.  Rick Moranis’ Max is second from the left.  Vinnie Stoker is the Fonzi-esque vampire and was voiced by Roger Rose whose been in Knight Rider and voiced characters on The Jetsons and Batman the Animated Series.  To the right of Vinnie is Gill Waterman, the character based on Creature from the Black Lagoon.  He’s voiced by none other than Jackie Earl Haley, he of the new Nightmare on Elm Street and Watchmen movies.  Lastly on the right we have Frankentyke who is voiced by Frank Welker who famously voiced Fred from Scooby Doo as well as Megatron and Soundwave from Transformers.  Other voices included Tim Curry as a mummy history teacher, Rikki Lake as a fat mummy named Cleofatra (subtle), Jonathan Winters as a zombie coach and Eileen Brennan (Mrs Peacock in Clue the Movie) as a teacher that looks like the Bride of Frankenstein.

As you can see, it was a strong cast.  Unfortunately, it only lasted 13 episodes, and it’s unclear whether all of those episodes even aired.  I don’t believe this was ever released on DVD.  I thought it had been released in the UK or Canada, similar to Drak Pack, but I can’t seem to find it on Amazon UK.  You can see a few episodes on YouTube.

So that was Gravedale High.  The next two cartoon entries on Thursday and Friday are two cartoons I LOVED as a kid.  While Gravedale High has a werewolf as part of the ensemble, the next two cartoons both star a werewolf.  And one was based on a movie.  Can you guess?  Well, come back tomorrow and Friday to read about the final two werewolf TV shows for this week.

Aso, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Werewolf on Fox

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, nostalgia, pop culture, TV shows, Uncategorized, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2010 by Paxton

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So, another day has dawned on this AWESOME-tober-fest 2010. This week, we are discussing werewolf TV shows. Yesterday I looked at Wolf Lake on Sci-Fi. Today, we look at one of the first shows ever on Fox Network, Werewolf.

Here’s a promo for the series:

The story involves graduate student Eric Cord whose best friend reveals that he’s a werewolf and asks Eric to kill him with a silver bullet. Eric is forced to do so but not before his friend transforms and attacks him. Cord kills the werewolf but is now infected with the curse. In order to rid himself of his werewolf affliction, he either must kill himself or find the originator of the bloodline. A man Eric is told is the mysterious and crazy Capt Janos Skorzeny (played by Chuck Connors).

Werewolf pic 1

So, essentially the episodes involved Eric dodging a bounty hunter while searching for Capt Skorzeny.  Eric did manage to face and defeat the Capt, but in doing so found out that he wasn’t the originator of the bloodline.  It was another, 500 year old werewolf named Nicholas Remy.  So the searching and battling began anew.  And the audience would not find out if Eric found him as the show was canceled before that could happen.

fox Werewolf pic 2

While the show may have been average to good, the makeup effects were top notch. They were designed by none other than Rick Baker who famously designed the werewolf effects for An American Werewolf in London, The Wolfman (2010) and Wes Craven’s Cursed.

The complete series had been announced to be released on DVD, however it was eventually canceled.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Awesome-tober-fest 2010: Wolf Lake

Posted in monsters, TV shows, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , , , , on October 18, 2010 by Paxton

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Here we are, Day 12 of AWESOME-tober-fest 2010 and no signs of stopping. Two weeks ago I looked at werewolves in comic books. Last week I looked at werewolf novels. This week, we look at TV shows featuring werewolves.  Our first entry?  Sci-Fi Channel’s’ Wolf Lake.

Wolf Lake

Wolf Lake was a TV show on CBS in 2007. It was canceled after nine episodes.  The show had a pretty nice cast with Tim Matheson (Animal House), Lou Diamond Phillips (Young Guns, La Bamba) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Live Free or Die Hard, Scott Pilgrim vs The World).  However, the show was a little melodramatic.

Seattle police detective John Kanin (Lou Diamond Phillips as  Kanin.  Oh, get it?  Kanin/Canine?  Haha, so clever) proposes to his girlfriend but she suddenly disappears.  Kanin’s search for her leads him back to her home town, Wolf Lake, WA.  When he starts asking questions from the townspeople, it becomes clear that they are hiding information from him.  And that information is that everyone is a werewolf…including his fiance.

I’ve watched bits and pieces of this show.  It felt like a cheesy Twin Peaks rip-off.  I mean, the first episode is titled Meat the Parents.  So, that’s the level of cleverness we are dealing with (that and Kanin/Canine).

The reviews online aren’t that bad, considering, but again, it was canceled with only 9 episodes in the can.  Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t have the DVDs in stock so I’m forced to watched pieces of episodes off YouTube which is really not helpful because the series was filmed so dark that you can’t see a damn thing.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Review of the novel The Howling (1977)

Posted in books, monsters, reviews, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2010 by Paxton

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I didn’t realize the movie The Howling was based on a novel from 1977.  So while researching werewolf novels to review for this year’s werewolf themed AWESOME-tober-fest, I came across the original Howling novel and decided that I had to review it for this year’s Halloween celebration.

For some reason, I keep getting The Howling mixed up with another werewolf movie, 1981’s Wolfen (which was also a book first in 1978). But Wolfen was actually more about wolf spirits possessing ordinary animals so it wasn’t really about werewolves.  Which is why you won’t see it here.  But, Wolfen and Howling are now forever linked in my mind because of this.

Anyway, this week’s final werewolf book is, The Howling by Gary Brandner.

The Howling

As I mentioned, this novel was adapted into the 1981 horror movie The Howling, which kept many of the characters but drastically changed the story.  I’ll discuss the movie in two weeks for the last week of AWESOME-tober-fest.

As for the book, it begins with your typical suburban upper-middle class couple.  Recently married and living in an idyllic suburban neighborhood in Los Angeles.  While the husband is at work, the wife is violently raped by the community’s groundskeeper and she’s psychologically damaged by the experience.  The husband rents a home outside of the city in the mountain town of Drago (which has a very mysterious and violent past) to get away from it all and to help his wife relax. The surrounding town of Drago is populated by an assortment of weird characters including a hermit doctor, the chatty grocery store owner and the mysterious and beautiful antique shop owner. The couple is only there for a few days before the wife starts to hear inhuman howling at night. This, coupled with his wife’s inability to be intimate, causes the husband to act out in violent outbursts. He also becomes drawn to the town’s antique dealer, Marcia Lura.

The wife comes to believe that there is a werewolf stalking her, no one believes her and it’s up to her to prove it to everyone and destroy the werewolf.

The book isn’t bad. It’s very short (190 pages) and the story is low key. You don’t even see a wolf until page 90 and you don’t see a werewolf transformation until page 150.  The bulk of the story is the wife’s struggle to come to grips with her violent attack as well as the emotional distancing of her husband and the awful nightly howling.  Several twists and turns happen at the very end which is totally left open with hardly a resolution at all. You also learn next to nothing about Brandner’s werewolves until the very end.  They are big and almost bear-like and it seems they can change only during the nighttime.  They also keep a semblance of their human intellect when in wolf form as they attack people who have discovered their secret.  At the end they seemed to be killed via silver bullets but what is read in the story is not nearly conclusive enough to say even that.

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