Doctor Who: Missing You Missy

So: who is surprised by this revelation?

Not me and probably not countless other Whovians either. According to Michelle Gomez,  Missy will be returning to Doctor Who. Note: Missy won’t be returning in another incarnation or as The Master or another Mistress or in some of the weird forms that her previous incarnations in which her previous selves were forced to return.

It will be this Missy.

So, out of curiosity, how do you think she did it? Do you think that her brooch had something to do with her life being saved? Or perhaps one of the rings on her fingers? We know that this is how The Master survived after “Last of the Time Lords” and that one of The Master’s aliases back on Gallifrey, at least in some of the books, was Koschei: taken from the Russian folktale of Koschei the Deathless: a being who can’t die because his soul is held in an object somewhere else.

Or perhaps Missy sent an actual tactile hologram, or an android? Maybe it has something to do with the Nethersphere, which is supposedly running out of power and fading out of existence? Maybe Missy can convert herself into digital information. And let’s not forget that the Brigadier was using Cyberman technology that she, dare I say, upgraded herself. And we do know one thing about The Master: that when he was male, he certainly looked out for his own skin (and even looked for new skin in his failed regeneration) and if that well developed sense of self-preservation transferred over to Missy as it had so many other regenerations, she definitely has contingencies in place.

There are so many possibilities and, let’s face it, we’ve only just met Missy. There is so much that she can still do and having her as an ongoing nemesis, like she was back in the day, will only make Doctor Who stronger for it. I like the idea of Missy constantly hounding The Doctor. After all, there are still a few loose threads from the latter part of this series and the beginning of Doctor Twelve’s run.

The Doctor suspects that Missy has a TARDIS somewhere. But where or, chameleon-circuit withstanding, what is it? And who got The Doctor to go to the Oriental Express? Who created that politely malicious AI Gus? And did she write that classified ad for Clara and The Doctor back in “Deep Breath?” Were these part of Missy’s plans?

And let’s not forget another question. How did Missy survive? Yes, Gallifrey was saved but The Master’s DNA was destabilizing in a terrific way at “The End of Time.” Was there still enough of him and enough energy, which he had been expending much of, to regenerate properly? And how did Missy escape Gallifrey? Did she piggy-back transmat herself out when the Time Lords sent The Doctor a new regeneration cycle? Or go through the Gallifrey Falls No More painting?

Perhaps some of these answers will be revealed in the November 13th edition of Doctor Who Magazine but certainly, and in time, we will see what happens in the next season and just how Missy can outdo her own villainy this time around. I know I look forward to it.

Doctor Who Meets Santa Claus

There has been a lot of darkness, awkwardness, lies, uncertainty, and mayhem at the end of this season of Doctor Who. We’ve seen robots and balloons made of dead flesh, the insides of a Dalek, the monsters of the mind, a bank robbery, a rampaging weaponized alien robot, spider creatures and a creature hatching from the moon, an invisible mummy that attacks people in sixty-six seconds, and two-dimensional invaders manipulating our universe.

We’ve seen the loss of Danny Pink, who loved his young students, and Clara’s betrayal of The Doctor, and Missy. Just Missy.

So, you have to understand, after an arc with positively magical episodes that are few and far between (at least three of them), that when “Death In Heaven” ends on such a downer, that when Santa Claus decides to make an appearance (played by one Nick Frost and no, that is not a joke: that is really his name): who even says it shouldn’t end on this note and asks what The Doctor wants, you have to wonder where this is going.

This is not the first time Santa Claus has appeared in the Whoniverse. He has been in comics and stories and even got mentioned by the Eleventh Doctor as being called Jeff in “A Christmas Carol.”

The First Doctor first  meets Santa Claus in the 1965 comic "A Christmas Story"
The First Doctor first meets Santa Claus in the 1965 comic “A Christmas Story”

And now: here he seems to be in an actual episode.

There seem to be some pretty unfriendly and grotesque-looking creatures in the North Pole. If those are how elves are born, I don’t think I really wanted to know. Or maybe they are of Krampus’ species.  But I wonder if, like Robin Hood, this really is Santa. Maybe he is an Eternal or some other immortal being. Verity Lambert once compared The Doctor to Father Christmas.

Perhaps, now, he needs someone to bring him the joy more than ever.

The Doctor and Santa Claus will be appearing this December for the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

Jovanka Vuckovic Looks Inside The Box

I met Jovanka Vuckovic this weekend. It was the second and last day of the Suspect Video and Fangoria-sponsored Torontonian convention Horror-Rama and I stepped behind the curtain to sit in on Jovanka Vuckovic’s Hangout session: to listen to her answer questions about her career and her future plans. I didn’t go into the Hangout with plans to write an article this time. I have written about Jovanka Vuckovic before: specifically about her creating the film adaptation of Clive Barker’s short story The Last Will and Testament of Jacqueline Ess.

But in the midst of hearing about her time at Clive Barker’s house, an anecdote or two about Guillermo del Toro, her plans for and a few more details about Jacqueline Ess, her views on diversifying the roles of women in film as characters and creators, and advice about not necessarily requiring film school to direct a film Jovanka Vuckovic revealed something for the first time that day.

She told us that she would be writing and directing a short film based on Jack Ketchum’s story “The Box.”

I’ll admit that up until that moment I’d never read anything of Jack Ketchum’s, though I watched and loved The Woman that was adapted from his novel a few years ago at the Toronto After Dark. And I definitely heard of him in the horror community: as he is generally highly regarded there. So after being among those who got to hear the news publicly for the first time I just had to find this short story and piece together, in my mind and based on Jovanka’s works and thoughts, just how this might go down.

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There was one thing that Jovanka Vuckovic mentioned in her Hangout that really stands out for me: her need to bring her voice to the work in question. As someone who looks at a creator’s own personal bent or slant, and as a creator myself, I can tell you that this is really important and also challenging when you are working in another’s world.

Or someone’s sandbox. A box is created to contain something. It can be put together, and it can be taken apart. It can have beautiful red wrapping paper on the outside and look like a pretty present. It can be a heavy burden or something incredibly light. The thing to remember about a box is that it’s hollow on the inside: perhaps, dare I say, even bigger on the inside. A box has nothing inside of itself except for what you put into it, or how you make it …

Or what you might see in it.

After being introduced to Junji Ito’s bizarre and Impressionistic horror manga Uzumaki this past weekend, it’s tempting for me to say that just as spiral patterns are prevalent in nature and culture, so too are boxes prominent in human society: if only as metaphors. Boxes can be homes and coffins. They can also be check lists and labels. They can carry tools that build, repair, and take things apart.

Children play in boxes and imagine them to be something else.

The way I see it, these considerations are important in speculating just what kind of creative sensibility and voice Jovanka Vuckovic might bring into “The Box” of Jack Ketchum. And in order to ponder further on that, there will be some story spoilers.

Jack Ketchum The Box

“The Box” is a story about a man who watches his family slowly and peacefully starve to death after his son gets a peek at a stranger’s box on a bus ride. This box is like a twisted version of Pulp Fiction‘s MacGuffin. However, unlike that film’s briefcase we only get to see the box once: and even then we never know what’s inside of it. It’s gone: slipped back into the night. But, at the same time, this isn’t true.

The true horror of the story is the fact that the protagonist watches everyone he loves understand something he can’t, seen from that box, while slowly and gradually fading away: leaving him alone and desperate to find that man and his box again so he can finally feel what his family feels, and join them.

Jovanka Vuckovic is no stranger to families, death, and particularly children in horror. She isn’t even unfamiliar with Impressionist or the abstract: the Kafkasque in storytelling sensibility. All you need to do is view her short films The Captured Bird and The Guest to see that much. But here is where Jovanka’s voice comes into play with something like “The Box.”

It’s only in retrospect that I realize that she is making this film for Magnolia Pictures and XYZ Films’ all-female anthology XX and it makes so much sense. At the Hangout, Jovanka told us that she is going to make the film version of “The Box” from the perspective of the mother as opposed to the father. You might think that this doesn’t make a difference, but it does. It really does.

I already have my own speculation as to what was in that box. The story narrator’s son, who looked inside, told his father that he saw “nothing” in the box. At the same time, the man who carried it claimed it was a present. What if the box contained the truth: that life is meaningless in itself and the acceptance of such is positively liberating?

Then you also have to take into account that the father character makes a point of stating that he has always carried a deep sense of detachment and separation from the rest of the world: from all other people including his own family. At the same time, the father believes in routines and order. He believes in protecting and helping his family. He just can’t let go of needing to live so that he can continue that role: and it’s only at the end that he realizes that this role no longer exists. He has no emotional shelter — no box — around him any more. He needs to find a new one.

Now think about this. It’s very clear that society has different roles and classifications for the female gender. There are various expectations for women, some spoken and others not, that they have to struggle with every single day. And motherhood is loaded with even more cultural assumptions and scrutiny. A mother tends to be seen as always related to her family unit, particularly to her children. But a mother is also a woman and a human being first: someone who can’t always relate to people, even her loved ones, all the time. Sometimes she just doesn’t understand her family: and feels distance from them and the guilt that comes with it. Sometimes she needs her own time away from societal and familial obligation and deep down in a place she doesn’t always want to look feels the burden and wants to be rid of it all. In this way, a mother is a person who has to reconcile her own individuality with her family-identity: or a lack thereof.

What happens if her family finds that box and realizes that all of these roles are pointless? There is her love for her family and her sense of obligation. Would she hold onto it with a death-grip towards the very end? Would she be afraid of dropping that heavy burden off of her shoulders? Would she fight to save their lives? Or, at the end of the film, would there be a shift from the personal into the frighteningly transcendent? Would she finally accept the inevitable and realize that she — and they — are and can actually be free?

It would be quite a challenge: to create something that could become a feminist existential horror genre film: a very poignant and human story. But this is all speculation on my part. There is just so much potential here and we will only know if Jovanka Vuckovic turns this “Jack in the Box” inside out after the film is shot this December.

From The Wolf’s Mouth: An Interview With David Hayter – TADFF 2014

It was just before Werewolf Night at the 2014 Toronto After Dark where GEEKPR0N met with David Hayter the writer of the first two X-Men films and Watchmen as well as the voice of Solid Snake to have a chat about his new film Wolves

GEEKPR0N: What gave you the idea to make Wolves? Where did it come from? What were your inspirations?

David Hayter: Well. So people came to me wanting to do a werewolf movie. I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to do or something I could even pull off. I started to think about it, and I started to talk to people who wanted to see a good werewolf movie. And I started thinking about what had been done before and what makes a good creature film and I feel like the creature has to be used as a metaphor for something human: to tie it to us and make it feel real.

And I started thinking about the time in my life when I was going to high school in Canada actually, when I was about seventeen. And I was filled with rage and violence. And you’re dealing with sex for the first time: and, you know, all these crazy and roiling feelings, and you become almost a monster to yourself, or at least I did. But whereas in most werewolf films the goal is to destroy the creature, if the metaphor is this unformed sort of rage within yourself your goal is not to destroy that but to control it and to focus it into more positive aspects: so like protecting your family or the woman you love or whatever. I started thinking that’s kind of an interesting take on it I haven’t really seen before, so in a way it is sort of semi-autobiographical.

Cayden Wolves

GP: Yeah. You mentioned in another interview that there were some semi-autobiographical elements in Wolves. I was curious about what those may be.

DH: When I was seventeen we took a tour of Toronto Harbour for the Prom. And I got into a fight — into an argument –with a football player and he took a swing at me and I knocked him down and then I got into a fight with pretty much the rest of the football team and they had to turn the boat around. So at the beginning of the film you see [the protagonist Cayden] beating up a football player. And there is also a scene with him in a car making out with his girlfriend and where that occurred, where we shot that, was five hundred yards from my old highschool on little lane where I used to go with girls to park and make out. There was a lot that came from my life:  from my journey, strangely enough.

GP: That’s really interesting. I actually saw an advance copy of the film, so when you started mentioning all those scenes, I just thought “Wow: this sounds very familiar.” 

DH: Yeah. I mean a lot of that stuff really happened to me and I got expelled back in the day, got yelled at by the principal and all these things. I wasn’t necessarily a wolf, but I was a fairly vicious young man: for a short period of time.

GP: Yeah. Well, I guess one part of the movie that sticks out me is the idea of what is the most vicious part of the werewolf: the animal part or the human part. If anything, the animal part is the most honest. 

DH: Yeah. That’s right. And that’s really sort of the point of the film which is wolves themselves are not inherently evil. I mean wolves are very noble creatures who mate for life, only kill for food or defence like I say in the movie. And yeah, so it’s the human side that dictates whether or not the creature is going to be evil, which, again, is something that I don’t think has been done in this genre before.

So, you know, the idea was to create a wolf who by the end is a hero and has abilities that hopefully, like in a vampire movie the audience members say “I want that,” or “you know I wish I could have that power” which you don’t typically get in movies like this: usually werewolves are just horrible, ugly, hairy lunatics.

Cayden Wolf Powers

GP: And yeah, it’s interesting that even when you look at the wolf in mythology, there are various different facets of that, but the whole idea is that the wolf is supposed to eat the sun even: while at the same the sun is supposed to come out again from the maw of the wolf. 

DH: Right. You got Romulus and Remus raised by wolves. You know, they are not an intrinsically evil creature. They are a frightening creature to have to face if you are out in the wild. But I find them very noble and very beautiful and I wanted to bring that aspect to the film.

GP: I see. You said in your San Diego Comic Con 2013 panel that you watched a lot of werewolf films to study the strengths and weaknesses of your particular wolves?

DH: Well, I feel like An American Wolf in London is the greatest werewolf film ever made. You know I think the creatures hold up to this day and the design work is just astounding and the movie itself is just a miracle. There’s the dream sequence with the Nazi wolf men who come in and shoot his family and do all these horrific things. And the design on those was so striking and spectacular and each one was different and individual and that was a great inspiration to me on how to execute the design of a wolf man.

American Werewolf In London Nazi Werewolves

And there were a number of other movies I looked at on elements for what I didn’t want in the movie: so like the long nails or the pointed up ears or the snout. These are elements which I felt altered the human body in ridiculous ways so I wanted to minimize these elements as much as possible and come up with my own.

GP: I found it interesting how you were talking about your make-up team and how they found that nice balance between the elegance and grace of a wolf and the symmetry and proportions of a human being. I think the design that best strikes me as fulfilling that is the character of Angelina. 

DH:  They made her a whole wolf body and wolf breasts. Yeah that was the goal. I wanted the first werewolf love scene to be on camera and it’s hard when you’re covering up a woman with hair to retain beauty. But wolves are beautiful and so we worked very hard to retain her femininity in the execution of that and I think that Dave and Lou Elsey, who are academy award-winning creature designers, executed that in a pretty beautiful way. But I think I wanted them to all have this beauty, with the exception of Wild Joe who’s pretty twisted, but I wanted them to have this elegance and power and beauty that I think wolves have in real life.

He wanted sleek!

GP: Certainly even in the case of Wild Joe, you can see the definite personality there and the distinction between the other ones. For instance, you can see that Wild Joe looks different from Connor.

DH: Yeah, Wild Joe has serious problems. Now the other thing we did which was very important to me was a lot of the facial effects are swept back from the face as opposed to down and pointy and swept back. And the masks are glued down where the muscles of the face are so that when they act their expressions come through. There is one point where Lucas hears something devastating, I won’t say what it is, but his face falls and you can see his expression come over him and you see it through the layers of makeup and the latex. The makeup team did that well.

Cayden Wolf Wolves

GP:  Yes, the expressions of the characters definitely came through well. There are many fans of your voice-acting: especially with regards to your role as Solid Snake in Metal Gear. So I just want to clarify. Did you actually make the wolf sounds behind the characters’ voices in Wolves

DH: I did. That’s a very good question and you’re the very first person to ask that. And yes. I do the backing growls on Lucas [Till’s] wolf dialogue and some of his snarling and growling. And there’s an incredible voice and creator actor named Dee Bradley Baker who does Connor’s — Jason Momoa’s character. And Jennifer Hale — who’s my friend and one of the top female voice actresses in the world — does Merritt [Patterson’s]. Yeah, there are a few times, and particularly, where Lucas’ girlfriend punches him in the face and he growls: and it sounds just like Solid Snake. Not only do I do that, but I play two different newscasters in the film so you hear my voice throughout.

So the wolves’ voices are made up of the actors doing their dialogue with me, Bradley, and Jennifer doing growling accents and a combination of animals that were put together. I think we used gorilla snarls for Wild Joe, a lion for Connor and actual wolf sounds for Lucas. It’s a really cool process putting together those vocals.

GP: This isn’t your first time in horror film. Last year you worked in a movie called The Devil’s Mile. At the same time, you’ve also written the first two X-Men movies, The Scorpion King, and Watchmen. What was it like switching from these other genres of film as an actor and writer to the horror genre as a director? 

DH: Well, you know, it’s funny Wolves isn’t really a horror film to me. I mean, hopefully there are scary elements to it, but I look at it more as an action film. I think one of the things I learned is if you are going to do a murder scene: more blood … like lots and lots of blood. You really can’t have enough.

And you know, it’s like everything else. From an actor’s perspective you are always trying to avoid getting the blood in your eyes and your mouth. But beyond that a story is a story. And every story I do relies on tension: whether it’s action or horror or suspense. It’s sort of all the same tools. It’s great  fun. I mean: the freedom to do a horror movie is really fun: where you can mess people up and do terrible things and sort of check your morality at the door. That’s a very cool aspect of it.

GP: I believe, in another interview you gave, that you thought of Wolves as a hero’s journey and there was one scene in particular that caught my eye where Cayden, John, and his wife Clara are watching The Lone Ranger on the television and I thought, “Oh god: you totally went there.”

DH: Yeah well, we needed something on the TV. I’d written that something was on the TV but we couldn’t get it. Anything you show on the TV we have to clear. And then a production assistant brought me that clip and said “I think we can get the clearance on this.” I actually had to get clearance from the Lone Ranger’s daughter and Jay Silverheels’  — Tonto’s — family, to use that clip. I wrote them a really nice letter and they let me use that clip. It’s a funny clip but it also represents the idea of “I’ll shoot if I have to, but not to kill.” And that’s the hero’s dilemma. When you’re fighting a murderous group of people how do you defeat them without sacrificing your own morality? In a weird way that is kind of what Cayden’s facing.

The Lone Ranger

GP: Exactly. I mean, in addition to the reference towards the Lone Ranger’s weapon of choice, it was a very nice bit of foreshadowing with regards to Cayden’s choices: of dealing the beast inside of him and his own sense of morality when dealing with opponents who are also beasts but have no such compunctions. I mean, what do you do in those kinds of situations?

DH: Right and what do you do when it’s a life and death situation? I mean, you don’t want to kill but sometimes it’s got to be done and even the Lone Ranger had to face that. And plus I wanted the film to be funny in places and it was a fun place to put that. It’s also sort of the show that Tollerman would watch — an old farmer out in the middle of nowhere — just putting on the old Lone Ranger show.

GP: Based on how you ended the film, is there room for a sequel?

DH: I think so. Yeah. We discussed Wolves in the city and how we would bring back some of the people. At the end teeing them up to go off to the larger world and indicating to the audience that there is a larger world with these people out there. So yeah: there’s certainly room for a sequel if people are interested.

I suppose sometimes someone just knows you.

GP: If only to go further “back east,” as you put it.

DH: Yeah. Well, we haven’t even gone into the West coast wolves. We can do a battle reminiscent of the rap battles of the nineties.

GEEKPR0N would like to take this opportunity to thank David Hayter for his time as well as the Programming Manager of the Toronto After Dark Christian Burgess for arranging this interview. Wolves will have limited release in select theatres November 14, 2014. 

Wolves Poster

Welcome To The World of Wolves: At The 2014 Toronto After Dark

What are wolves? Are they solitary predators that attack the weak and helpless? Are they a pack of monsters? Or are they a family that merely tries to survive their environment? David Hayter’s Wolves explores these ideas well and, dare I say, quite subversively.

Of course werewolves are subversive in themselves. I mean, think about it: historically they are generally portrayed as human beings with animals inside of them, or at least as something Other that only comes out under a full moon. They are the hunger, the passion, and the violence that are parts of us and the natural world that we keep at bay until such a time as they have to be unleashed. But that, of course, is not the whole story and I will get back to that thought soon, I promise.

Wolves starts off not unlike the 1985 comedy film Teen Wolf. You have a popular student named Cayden, who seems to be a fine specimen of a young man in all ways — a good student and football player — who finds out that there is a beast inside of him. However, there are no kindly secret werewolf parents to guide him or girls attracted to his occasional hairiness. There is fear though: and blood, and horror. The first part of the film is like watching the wolf take off his human skin, his bland human life, or — if you’d like — stepping out of the sheep’s clothing and leaving a great sense of bloodstained shame, and a fear of one’s self.

It’s like watching teenage angst: only with the trappings of tropes shed and murder.

Naturally, Cayden wants to know where he comes from and what he actually is. And then we are introduced to the small town of Lupine Ridge. And David Hayter continues to play with your expectations. He presents you with the first-person narrative voice-over and perspective of an otherwise decent young man who seems to have committed horrible atrocities when he isn’t himself, and then a town of seemingly hostile people in a bar who, well, you expect to act in a certain way.

Frankly, I was surprised that Cayden didn’t get into a physical fight right away in that setting and leave battered and bleeding at the onset. And I haven’t gotten to the character of Connor yet. Connor, for all intents and purposes, pretty much rules Lupine Ridge as something of an Alpha Male. Jason Momoa certainly, in terms of physicality, fits into that role but even he is subversive.

For instance, you might expect Connor to be a thug or a beast that pummels and rips apart anyone in his way off the bat. But you would be wrong. Instead, Connor watches. He watches. He waits and he extends all of his senses out and tries to reason things through his mind even as he subtly intimidates. And for an obvious antagonist who could easily fit the thug mold, Connor has, if you will pardon the pun, a rather biting wit and a sense of honour and personal rules not unlike someone of the Lawful Evil variety. You can see a little bit of Khal Drogo in Momoa’s mien in addition to some StarGate Atlantis Ronen with his sarcasm. He does terrible things but, as you watch the film, you will begin to figure out why. Momoa’s performance as Connor is impressive and entertaining.

Just don't make him angry. You won't like him when he's angry.
Just don’t make him angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry.

I also like the addition of Stephen McHattie as the farmer John Tollerman. I admit when I first saw him in the bar I didn’t know whether he was a friend or foe. He was once Gabriel: an antagonist in the Beauty and Beast television series. So in a way it’s fitting that he would be dealing with a beast of a different kind in this story and he really grows on you. And you know, you definitely know when you see the enigmatic one-eyed, metal-braced Wild Joe that there is going to be some craziness and there is something strange about that man.

Some dogs don't like to follow orders. Sometimes they just like to do what they want.
Some dogs don’t like to follow orders. Sometimes they just like to do what they want.

I think I would have liked to see more character development with the female character and interest Angelina and some of the other characters. Certainly, at first she does seem very resigned to being “mated with” by Connor as only other “Pureborn” werewolf in town, though — granted — she is only doing so to make sure he doesn’t kill her loved ones, and somehow ends up liking Cayden for some reason: as what seems to be a stereotypical love interest. And while she starts off as far more advanced than Cayden is in knowing who she is, she ends up falling a bit into the powerful female assisting the protagonist trope. Still, I do appreciate the fact that Angelina sets a lot of facts straight for Cayden. She has roamed these woods, metaphorically or otherwise, before and her insights make you begin to doubt some of Cayden’s own perceptions of things: particularly about himself.

I suppose sometimes someone just knows you.
I suppose sometimes someone just knows you.

But I think what really strikes me about this film is how Hayter handles werewolves. He starts us off making us think they are monsters because of their bestial nature. We find out about the differences between Mutts (who are humans affected by the lycanthropic bites of werewolves and are always weaker than real werewolves) and Pureborns (who are born werewolves). You can also observe that even in their human forms there are tells: such as the occasional luminescent glint in their eyes, demonstrations of acute senses as well as extraordinary reflexes and strength. In addition you begin to realize that there is a difference between werewolves that stay as wolves and those that have stayed in their human forms for quite some time.

In addition, Dave and Lou Elsey are masters of makeup. They manage to combine the grace and elegance of a wolf and the symmetry and proportions of the human form.

In other words, Dave and Lou Elsey make these film werewolves  distinct and beautiful.
In other words, Dave and Lou Elsey make these film werewolves distinct and beautiful.

And David Hayter plays with film expectations of the werewolf trope. I like how werewolves apparently come from “back east”:  seemingly a reference to their origins in Eastern European folklore for this film’s purposes. Yet I think my truly favourite scene was when John, his wife, and Cayden are watching television and The Lone Ranger is playing. If you didn’t think Hayter was winking at you before, he definitely does so at that point.

And just wait until you see what comes from that.

This is actually a good point to get into one other aspect of Hayter’s werewolves: mainly their nature. One expectation of the werewolf is that it is their wolf nature that ultimately makes them into monsters. Time and again we horror film watchers see this primal instinct destroy humanity and cause nothing but suffering in its wake.

But what if it isn’t the animal — the wolf — that is the monster?

If you look at ancient werewolf folklore, werewolves were often depicted as humans — sometimes witches and sorcerers —  that took on wolf skins and committed horrible acts of cannibalism and murder. Human minds, twisted by their greed, lust, and madness do horrific things. Wolves are generally more straightforward and attack humans when they are attacked, sick, or starving. Humans kill for power and revenge.

He will make you wish that he just ripped you apart.
He will make you wish that he just ripped you apart.

Think about that when you see the end of the film. Think about what you actually see in the film. And then remember something else. Remember that Wolves, like its lycanthropes, has more than one skin and it doesn’t always show you its entire story … until something goads it into raw and bloody revelation.

Do What You Fear. Do What You Desire. Write For Clive Barker

Sometimes what you’re scared of the most is the very thing that you desire.

This is the first lesson from horror and fantasy writer Clive Barker: a lesson that branches off into mystery and mythos. So many of his stories have inspired countless other writers and creators. Jovanka Vuckovic, for instance, is in the process of creating a film adaption of Barker’s short story Jacqueline Ess. In fact, last year Clive Barker called out writing submissions for an anthology based on the world of Night Breed.

And now Clive Barker wants to read your writing.

Yes. You read that sentence correctly. You see, Clive Barker is not only an excellent story maker, but he is a talented artist as well. Your task prospective writers, should you accept it, is to look at and keep track of Clive Barker’s drawings on Deviantart, activate or make your login and write a story of anywhere up to two thousand words. Barker will go through your posted entries and decide which words capture the spirit of his artwork the most. He will read all of these stories by October 31.

Now if this isn’t a Halloween Event, I don’t know what is.

I’ll be honest with you ladies, gentlemen, and other beings. The idea of this event both terrifies and excites me. I myself am a writer and I have many projects that I need to do. And it is a rather intimidating prospect to have Clive Barker look at something I wrote. There is a part of me that is actually afraid to try this: for fear of whatever I make not being good enough. But then this is Clive Barker we are talking about here and not only would it be awesome for me to see something I made — even if it doesn’t embody his work — but he gives all of us writers something even more valuable than readership and potential critique and suggestions.

He gives us an excellent prompt to keep writing brilliant stories.

Sometimes that old lesson is true. Fear and desire are often the same sides of the coin, and when they are embraced, that’s where some of the best stories come from. I hope to see everyone in the Deviantart Comments. Oh and the above graphic in this article? It’s taken from the site. And that is your first prompt.

Image Credit: Clive Barker

Larry Wilson’s CINDY Kickstarter Campaign Needs Some Dust

Larry Wilson is the co-writer and co-producer of Beetlejuice, co-writer of The Addams Family, and writer and director for six seasons of Tales From The Crypt. Many of these shows informed our childhoods as geeks. Certainly, they did mine. Larry is working on a new Kickstarter Project. It is a web series called CINDY: a quirky dark fantasy and comic twenty-first century retelling of Cinderella. Larry has been good enough to take the time to tell us more about his current work and some details about his crowdfunding campaign.

GEEKPR0N:  So Larry, what is it about the story of Cinderella that motivates you to use it as the basis of your show? 

Larry Wilson: Once I had a “body of work” and enough years to look back on it, I realized that almost everything I write has this dysfunctional family at the center of it. (I’ll let you figure out what that means about how I grew up!)  For me that what’s Cinderella is really about.  If you watch the CINDY preview you see that Cindy’s first line is “I’m an orphan with no friends.” Family doesn’t get more dysfunctional than that!

GP: What inspired you to include elements from the Reality TV medium in CINDY?

LW: Well, Reality TV is the Zeitgeist, right?  And a certain amount of it makes me cringe!  So I thought it would be fun to satirize and I think we’ve done a really good job!

GP: Why have you chosen a web series as your show’s medium?

LW: I chose a web series because of the flexibility and creative freedom and also because I am HONESTLY BORED with pitching things in Hollywood the way it’s always been done.  Thanks to DIY & the Digital Age the “put your hat in your hand and go beg for money” pitch is slowly becoming archaic.  Hurray to that!

GP: To what extent do you think that your previous projects, your work with “the strange and unusual” might influence the spirit of CINDY

LW:  CINDY is full of “the strange and unusual”.  It’s the creative world I inhabit.  Again, looking back, the couple of times I’ve written “straight” comedy or drama, it’s not been bad, but it’s not been particularly good either.  So I’ve typecast myself and embraced my weirdness.  Guess what?  I like it!

GP:  Let’s talk about a reward on your Kickstarter for CINDY. Is it true that not only will you sign some of posters for your previous films, but Caroline Thompson — writer of Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas — is going to sign some movie posters of her work as well? 

LW: Yes.  It’s very true.  Caroline is not only my sometimes writing partner but my all the time good friend.  She wants to help CINDY succeed, God love her!

GP: Two of CINDY‘s Kickstarter pledge tiers revolve around screenwriting: one a screenplay development consultation and a personal development session with you. Basically you are offering to help donors for those tiers look over their script ideas and drafts. Many of us, including myself, are writers. Can you give us more information on what both of these rewards entail?

LW: I’ve taught screenwriting, in various classes, for over 25 years now.  I teach when my writing career is hot, cold and every temperature in between.  I’m not a screenwriter who staggered into teaching after an epic screenwriting career fail!  I teach because I love it and I think my methods are unique & inspirational.  It’s a bit of hype but not much to say I think the CINDY screenwriting consultation premiums are the biggest bargains on our list of goodies.

Fairy Manual

GP: What can fans do to help in funding your Kickstarter and making CINDY possible?

LW: JUST SEND MONEY AND SPREAD THE WORD, PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE!

GP: These are some very impressive incentives to back CINDY.  You can find more information about CINDY on its Kickstarter Campaign page as well as some actor, staff, and character interview snippets on its Youtube channel the Cindy Series. At the moment this show is still trying to fit into some glass slippers. You still have time to donate more than a pair … along with a little bit of Dust: for fairy motivation.

Myst: A Television Series

It was 1995. I was finishing elementary and headed for high school and I had a major need to fill myself with epic fantasy. I remember going on yet another shopping spree through Coles and I came across a book. It looked like a battered brown notebook with a strange crest in its centre. For me, Myst: The Book of Atrus contained all the elements of a brilliant world: a universe with Descriptive Books that led to alternate worlds — called Ages — linked to by the imagination and skill of a writer through the lost art of D’Ni writing. Just the idea of a civilization that could create worlds through writing books was enough to get me hooked: that and the character of Atrus as he deals with the intrigue behind his family and the reconstruction of an entire way of life.

I was hooked. As I read The Book of Ti’ana and discovered just why D’Ni fell and then The Book of D’Ni in which we get to see an adult Atrus attempt to rebuild D’Ni and uncover more than he bargained for, I was left with many more mysteries. Then I played Myst. Oh yes. I played Myst and Riven and kept writing in the notebooks thoughtfully provided by Cyan as I found alternate amounts of wonder and frustration in navigating my way through both games. I got to discover what happened to Atrus, his father Gehn, his grandmother Anna, his wife Catherine, their children, and the fate of D’Ni. I had a very different experience playing the games after reading the books and it made me both sad and curious to know more: to interact with the world that Cyan created.

I didn’t play the other games due to technological constraints, but I followed what happened in them. I was on a forum about Riven and I always wanted a Book of Gehn: to know about the years between the fall of D’Ni and his own travels and his fateful meeting with his wife Keta. I even created a fanfic idea: a lost Age and enemy as it were.

Myst is a world of possibility. I was lucky in that just last year I backed the Unwritten: Adventures in the Ages of Myst and Beyond Kickstarter and got to write a scenario for that table-top version of the universe I love. Just once, for a moment in time, I got to be part of the D’Ni Guild of Writers that I dreamed so much of joining when I was young. I got to make the Age I dreamed of making so many years ago.

I also wanted to see more of Myst. I’m one of those people still waiting for The Book of Marrim to come out: however long it takes. And I’ve heard about the Mandalay Television Pictures program, the Delve Films DVD movie adaptation of The Book of Ti’ana, and even the Dark Horse comics prequels to Myst that never materialized or simply didn’t work out.

But they are trying again.

Legendary TV & Digital Media has made a deal with Cyan Worlds to create a Myst television series and make a companion video game: perhaps to make the show more than just a viewing experience, but an interactive one as well. I’m not entirely sure, but I’m guessing that they are making the game a mobile app to interface with during, before, or after the airing of the program. Or hopefully something that can be on a computer as well. It is definitely an interesting idea and something that I would very much like to see happen.

When you think about it, we live in a world of linking now. The Internet is all about hyperlinks and mobile apps only increase the experience. In Myst, traveling into other Ages through Descriptive Book is called linking. Hopefully, if all goes well, we will all soon be able to link to another world of Myst.

My Impossible Girl. Thank You, And Goodbye: Jenna-Louise Coleman To Leave Doctor Who?

According to an article for Mirror written by Simon Boyle, the actress playing Clara Oswin Oswald will exeunt from The Doctor’s time-stream after one last role in a Christmas Special. If true, it wouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Aside from the fact that there have been rumours of Coleman’s leave-taking for some time, it already seems clear that Clara’s relationship with the Twelfth Doctor will be much different from the one she had with Matt Smith’s Eleventh.

Gone will be the flirting and skirting around the edges of mutual affection. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, we are told, will be more random, cantankerous, and far less patient and open about his priorities. Still, for me personally it rankles a bit. I have a confession to make. The truth is, I didn’t really like Matt Smith’s Doctor completely. I mean, he wasn’t a bad Doctor and he definitely had his moments. I suppose I truly appreciated Christopher Eccleston and, of course, the epic David Tennant. And I will also admit to you that I have something of a romantic streak and I really appreciated the relationships that Nine and Ten had with Rose Tyler. Back when the Time Lords were extinct and he only had so many lives left to him, I felt for him and hoped that he would find companionship with what time he had left. There was this great dichotomy of his physical age not matching his chronological or even intellectual capacity.

For me, Clara Oswin Oswald was built up to be this great mystery and in the beginning a very compelling and strong character. I admit I was fan-shipping them. I won’t lie: there was an excellent parallel between Clara existing in different historical eras and The Doctor traveling throughout all of them. I actually wanted to believe that she could have been that Companion that not only had the romantic love that Rose did, but could have been the first one that The Doctor actually consummated a relationship with. It’s true that he has had other romantic relationships, such as the one he had with River Song, but his relationships with his Companions have always been different. I personally hoped that with Clara there would be that interlap and, for the first time the man who was never involved with his Companions in that way,  might have truly found something else in his Impossible Girl.

I know many Whovians would like The Doctor to keep his other relationships separate from those that he has with his Companions or, indeed, not have any relationships but Platonic and asexual associations but there were so many hints, or I believed there to be some, that Clara — who has been in his time-stream and seen all of him — might have stayed much longer and created a different dynamic.

I also admit that while I’ve had issues with Steve Moffat’s writing style and how he portrays relationships, but at least this would hopefully not be like an otherwise brilliant writer such as Russell T. Davies and the cop out that was Rose Tyler and the Meta-Crisis Doctor. I do find it odd that someone who has been that close to him, indeed knowing him his entire lives, would just leave him. But, nevertheless, the prospect of seeing just what happens to Clara intrigues me and though whether or not we will all get to see Jenna-Louise Coleman’s final performance as The Doctor’s Companion some Christmas soon — or if this is just more conjecture and rumour — remains yet to be seen.

You And I have Unfinished Business: Tarantino Reveals The Whole Bloody Affair

They say there is just so much carnage that you can pack into one film. Director Quentin Tarantino doesn’t agree as he plans to release an uncut version of Kill BillThe Whole Bloody Affair.

Many fans of Tarantino’s Kill Bill already know that the two volumes of the film were meant, by its creator’s conception, to be one movie. What’s more is that there were quite a few deleted scenes: including the animated sequence in the film with O-Ren Ishii killing both the crime boss and the assassin that murdered her parents. That particular animation was supposed to be thirty minutes long: making the film in its entirety roughly four hours.

What is also fascinating to consider is that what would be called The Whole Bloody Affair was, in fact, shown to audiences before. It was shown at the New Beverly Cinema as the original print which, in turn had been shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003 complete with its French subtitles still intact. It even has a musical intermission between parts. The only difference is that the original print doesn’t have the extended animation sequence that Ghost in the Shell animators I.G. didn’t completely finish in time for the original release of the film. Germain Lussier’s /Film article ‘Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair’ Has Small Changes That Produce Big Results goes into some considerable detail as to what the original print was like compared to the two volumes that we all know now.

And it was during this past weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con and in an interview with Collider that Tarantino himself not only announced that he would be adding the whole animated sequence by I.G. into his film, but that The Whole Bloody Affair will be released “with limited theatrical engagement” by 2015. 

But while fans are probably elated by this news, a “limited engagement” seems to entail that it will only have a select few movie theatre showings: at least initially. And I’m sure there are many more fans that look forward to a DVD release of this film: myself included.

Either way, Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair is definitely some unfinished business that many will look forward to seeing.