The Howling franchise is quite an eclectic series of films. Currently, there are eight films in the series which start out incredibly great with the first film but unfortunately decline in quality from there. I’m a fan of the series and the original Howling is my all-time favorite werewolf film. I was totally excited when I heard there was a new book on the way chronicling every film in the series.
The Complete History Of The Howling is an upcoming new book written by Bryn Curt James Hammond. The book will delve into the making of all eight feature films and also go in-depth into author Gary Brandner’s original trilogy of novels.
The Complete History of The Howling is richly illustrated and presents stunning pictorials recalling a quarter-century’s worth of behind-the-scenes stories – the struggles, feuds, foibles, controversies, and calamities.
Fully illustrated with never-before-seen photos, an all-new unofficial story arc by Nick Stead (Hybrid), along with tracing the complex history of the wolf men from their earliest origins, this is the ultimate oral and visual memoir of the most successful werewolf horror franchise in the history of motion pictures.
The Complete History Of The Howling will officially street on November 12, 2018, from Miami Fox Publishing where it will be made available worldwide from all major book retailers.
Bryn Curt James Hammond is a British best-selling author, journalist, and TV personality. He established a name for himself during the mid-millennium when he was catapulted into the spotlight and guaranteed studios’ DVD rentals and sales based on his views and opinions and loyal fan base. Bryn Hammond’s quotes featured on no less than 100 DVD covers,
In 2005 Bryn single-handedly launched GoreZone Magazine, which was later rebranded GZ Magazine. GZ closed in 2011 due to personal reasons.
I had the pleasure of checking in with Hammond and asked him some questions about his upcoming book on the Howling films. Read on to see what he had to say on the subject!
Horror Patch – What is it about The Howling franchise that wanted you to tackle the subject of your book instead of An American Werewolf In London or other werewolf films?
BCJH – Right in there with the million dollar question! The Howling is a much better movie in my humble opinion and Dee Wallace’s performance as television anchor Karen White was deeply moving and very powerful. Wallace is one of the last great celluloid character actresses and The Howling really showed off her versatility on screen.
When you watch a Dee Wallace movie you believe the situation she’s in; she has a gravitational pull like no other. No matter whether the role is in a lightweight bedroom comedy, a Sunday family film or a straight for the jugular horror movie, you’re there with her and she demands your attention. Dee’s portrayal of a character always feels honest and when it calls for a more dramatic role such as The Howling and/or Cujo she exhausts you to the very core, and that’s a very powerful quality. An American Werewolf in London is lightweight. Yes, it’s often considered the better of the two evils but I disagree and I found the film disjointed. The Howling is a dark dominant force to be reckoned with, with lashings of humour and nods to the genre.
Horror Patch – I’m an unbelievably huge fan of werewolves and they have been my favorite monster since seeing the original The Wolf Man in the classic 1941 Universal film as a child. How big of a werewolf fan are you?
BCJH – I’m not a huge werewolf fan by any stretch of the imagination, hence bringing Nick Stead (Hybrid) on board. I enjoy the odd werewolf romp here and there like Ginger Snaps, Wolf and, of course, The Howling. In terms of being an avid fan of werewolf entertainment, I never have been! I don’t watch Teen Wolf, I was bored to tears while watching Bitten, and Hemlock Grove lost me mid-season. I really wanted to like Red Riding Hood, released in 2011, because of my love for the original story, The False Grandmother. I found Catherine Hardwicke’s celluloid vision bordering on chloral hydrate. I didn’t enjoy Wer – it was tough going, and I generally find werewolf movies rather inconsistent and mundane. How ironic that sounds coming from an author who’s just finished penning a book on one of the most inconsistent movie franchises in cinema history! I’m a walking, talking contradiction aren’t I, lol?
Horror Patch – I’m a fan of the first Howling and Howling II but the rest of the series are average films, not great. How much depth to you go into the films that aren’t so great?
BCJH – I cover each movie equally and I approached every film with the same level of enthusiasm. I also didn’t want to repeat the same coverage readily available online, hence my decision to ask Philippe Mora to pen the foreword and Bill Forsche to write the pictorial. Other ‘History of’ books seem to only really cover the source film in depth and then rehash old ground. I feel that’s a real shame; I wanted to break that mould with The Complete History of The Howling, and based purely on early reviews it seems I’ve achieved what I set out to do. I’m aware that a few long-in-the-tooth journalists with bad comb-overs have poked fun at my choice of book for a horror comeback, but it’s the same writers who criticised me the first time around and they’re the ones getting a 31% 1-star rating on Amazon, not me. A bit of random trivia – Howling IV: The Original Nightmare was the first werewolf movie I had ever seen as a child, so I’m more emotionally invested in the fourth entry in the franchise than the others, so the fourth film does get a little extra TLC.
Horror Patch – I love the first three novels by the late Gary Brandner in which the first film is based on. Obviously, you couldn’t talk with Brandner himself, so what kind of research were you able to do for the original source material?
BCJH – I admire Brandner’s legacy, so prior to writing The Complete History of The Howling I consumed his body of work – the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I felt it extremely important to understand his style of writing and how he approached The Howling trilogy. One of my favourite books by him is the adaptation of Cat People; it’s a far more coherent story than the remake and he adds his concise, evocative and sultry magic to the narrative! I invested a lot of time into Brandner’s backstory and Nick Stead’s homage to Brandner’s source material is wonderful.
Horror Patch – I’ve met and interviewed Dee Wallace a few times and she is such a wonderful lady. What was her take on your book and was she supportive?
BCJH – Dee Wallace has been amazing and has been nothing but supportive, re-tweeting us and liking our content online. Dee’s interview is also really fun, and she conveys warmth even in text. She is yet to see the book but I’d like to hand it to her in person and explain the cover art. Based on her interview I respected her policy on nudity and I kept the A+T shots to a minimum for her. I’m excited to hear what she thinks of the book after she’s read it.
Horror Patch – We all know the story of how makeup FX legend Rick Baker was originally on The Howling to do the werewolf fx but was then asked by John Landis to do his film instead. Baker associate Rob Bottin took over the role of creating those iconic werewolves for the film. Were you able to talk to the notorious media shy Bottin at all about the film?
BCJH – Rob Bottin has taken a step back from the public eye. He was one of the best artists in his field, but I think the 80s lifestyle played a huge part in him shying away from the media spotlight. One of my interviewees likened the FX industry’s lifestyle in the 80s to “Sodom & Gomorrah” metaphorically… sex & drugs & rock’n’roll.
Horror Patch – I’ve heard stories of how Christopher Lee had disowned his role in Howling II. How much is fact or fiction?
BCJH – None of it is fiction! Lee banned the topic of Howling II from discussion. Mora fills in the gaps in The Complete History of The Howling.
Horror Patch – Howling IV: The Original Nightmare is basically a remake of the first film. What is the story behind that film?
BCJH – If I told you, your readers wouldn’t need to buy the book, lol. But what I will say is the making of Howling IV: The Original Nightmare was drugs, diva fits, rock n roll. Days before shooting there wasn’t even a script and almost all of the wolf action was left on the cutting room floor. We share many of the shots that got lost in translation, so to speak, and Forsche’s pictorial is phenomenal. I have to thank my good friend Nick Benson for all the help on Howling IV: The Original Nightmare; he was amazing at pulling everyone together. I’ll be touring with him in October with The Complete History of The Howling, which I’m ecstatic about. Nick has a wealth of behind-the-scenes stories and I’m trying to convince him to write a tell-all book – I’m 100% happy to be his ghost-writer!
Horror Patch – Are there any plans that you have heard or know of on making anymore Howling films in the future?
BCJH – Emaji Entertainment has optioned the rights to The Howling and at press, Robert Atwell is producing; it will be a remake. If The Complete History of The Howling paperback does well I’d very much like to tackle a Howling documentary (aka The Complete History of The Howling) and a movie (I’d not direct), and before M. J. Simpson has a chance to make a pop at me on Twitter, in the words of Renee Zellweger’s character (Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation), Jenny: “YOU SIT THE FUCK DOWN!”