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7 Modern Werewolves You Need To Know

Time to get in the mood for Halloween! While werewolves predate Greek mythology, the story of Lycaon is still one of the earliest examples of a man shapeshifting into an anthropomorphic wolf-like creature. If you recall, Lycaon was transformed into a wolf after eating human flesh. Skip ahead to our times and shapeshifters abound on big and small screens everywhere. Here are seven you need to know.

1. Wilfred Glendon

Werewolf of London, released in 1935, is one of the first werewolf movies and one of the first depiction of werewolves as we know them now: bipedal monsters who are affected by the moon. While in Tibet searching for a mysterious plant, Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull), a botanist, is attacked by a werewolf. All the basic werewolf mythology is there. Glendon turns into a wolf under the full moon and becomes a vicious killer. However, in this version, lycanthropy can be temporary cured by the same plant he happened to gather in Tibet. Convenient, eh? The wolf designs are basic and don’t do much to obscure the human features, but makeup artist Jack Pierce’s look became the foundation for all subsequent werewolf depictions on the big and smalls screen.

2. Larry Talbot

Six years later, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.) is bitten by a werewolf (Bela Lugosi) while killing it with a silver walking stick in The Wolf Man. It was the first time that silver was used as a weapon against werewolves. The wolf makeup, also done by Jack Pierce, evolved a bit, creating a less human, hairier monster. Although Talbot dies in the original, the wolf man appears in a few other films, including Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein, where Talbot is desperate to find and kill Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula. And in the land of denial, the 2010 remake doesn’t exist.

3. David Kessler

An American Werewolf in London features David Kessler and his friend Jack, American tourists in England. After they’re attacked, Jack dies and David is turned into a werewolf. That doesn’t stop Jack from coming to David, begging him to off himself in order to stop him from killing people. David ignores the warnings, transforms, murders a bunch of people and then is shot down. Not bad for a John Landis helmed horror comedy. Unlike the Wolf Man before him, Kessler’s transformation looks more wolf than man.

Hairy fact: Rick Baker’s special effect makeup designs were the first to ever win the Academy Award for Best Makeup.

4. Scott Howard

From the frightening to the ridiculous… Teen Wolf’s Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox?) uses his genetically-inherited lycanthropy to pick up chicks and win basketball games. Is it a metaphor for puberty? A lesson about accepting who you are no matter what? A way to capitalize on the success of the Back to the Future star? The werewolf design is really just a hairy Michael J. Fox in basketball shorts. Scott Howard made way for other cheesy werewolf underdog stories like in the Canadian TV series, Big Wolf on Campus.

5. Daniel “Oz” Osbourne

In a town filled with vampires, demons and praying mantis creatures, the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was no stranger to mythical creatures with bad special effects makeup. But at least the second season addition, Oz (Seth Green) was free from much of the angst that has plagued movie werewolves. His blasé attitude toward his curse and anything else that came his way was Oz’s key character trait. Unlike many other teenage werewolf depictions, Oz was cool (he played in a band) and got the girl without ever having to take his shirt off. Todd McIntosh’s werewolf design changed from season to season, going from full wolf to a man-faced hybrid.

Hairy fact: The part of the werewolf was never actually played by Green, but rather a rotation of stunt men.

6. Remus Lupin

What werewolf list would be complete without including Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’s Remus Lupin, the poor, weary Defense against the Dark Arts teacher? In the Harry Potter universe, werewolves are common knowledge but there is a stigma to the curse. The supernatural elitism makes it difficult for Lupin to find work, even getting him fired from his teaching post. The Wolfsbane Potion helps prohibit some of the full moon side effects, much like the plant in Werewolf of London. The film’s depiction of the werewolf is CGI.

7. Bigby Wolf

In the comic book Fables, fairy tale characters come to New York City to live in their own society. Their sheriff is Bigby Wolf, formerly The Big Bad Wolf. Opposed to the normal werewolf mythology, Bigby is a wolf who’s transformed into a human, using a lycanthropy-stained knife. He doesn’t need a full moon to transform. In wolf form, he’s bigger and stronger than any opponent, although silver is a weakness. Bigby’s hair grows so often that he is forced to shave multiple times a day. His supernatural senses are so intense that he must chain smoke in order to down them out.

Oh yeah, and he’s in love with Snow White.

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Jim Henson's Labyrinth Is Being Adapted Into a Stage Musical
Henson Company
Henson Company

More than 30 years after its cinematic debut, Labyrinth could be hitting the stage. In an interview with Forbes, Jim Henson's son and Henson Company CEO Brian Henson shared plans to transform the cult classic into a live musical.

While the new musical would be missing David Bowie in his starring role as Jareth the Goblin King, it would hopefully feature the soundtrack Bowie helped write. Brian Henson says there isn't a set timeline for the project yet, but the stage adaptation of the original film is already in the works.

As for a location, Henson told Forbes he envisions it running, "Not necessarily [on] Broadway, it could be for London's West End, but it will be a stage show, a big theatrical version. It’s very exciting."

Labyrinth premiered in 1986 to measly box office earnings and tepid reviews, but Jim Henson's fairytale has since grown into a phenomenon beloved by nostalgic '80s kids and younger generations alike. In the same Forbes interview, Brian Henson also confirmed the 2017 news that a long-anticipated Labyrinth sequel is apparently in development. Though he couldn't give any specifics, Henson confirmed that, "we are still excited about it but the process moves very slowly and very carefully. We're still excited about the idea of a sequel, we are working on something, but nothing that's close enough to say it's about to be in pre-production or anything like that."

While fans eagerly await those projects to come out, they can get their fix when the film returns to theaters across the U.S. on April 29, May 1, and May 2. Don't forget to wear your best Labyrinth swag to the event.

[h/t Forbes]

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10 Wild Facts About Westworld
John P. Johnson, HBO
John P. Johnson, HBO

The hit HBO show about an android farm girl finding sentience in a fake version of the old West set in a sci-fi future is back for a second season. So grab your magnifying glass, study up on Lewis Carroll and Shakespeare, and get ready for your brain to turn to scrambled eggs. 

The first season saw Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and her robotic compatriots strive to escape bondage as the puppet playthings of a bored society that kills and brutalizes them every day, then repairs them each night to repeat the process for paying customers. The Maze. The Man in Black. The mysteries lurking in cold storage and cantinas. Wood described the first season as a prequel, which means the show can really get on the dusty trail now. 

Before you board the train and head back into the park, here are 10 wild facts about the cerebral, sci-fi hit. (Just beware of season one spoilers!)

1. IT’S NOT THE FIRST TV ADAPTATION OF THE MOVIE.

Though Westworld, the 1973 film written and directed by Michael Crichton, was a hit, its 1976 sequel Futureworld was a flop. Still, the name and concept had enough cachet for CBS to move forward with a television concept in 1980. Beyond Westworld featured Delos head of security John Moore (Jim McMullan) battling against the villainous mad scientist Simon Quaid (James Wainwright), who wants to use the park’s robots to, what else, take over the whole world. It would be a little like if the HBO show focused largely on Luke Hemsworth’s Ashley Stubbs, which just might be the spinoff the world is waiting for.

2. THE ORIGINAL GUNSLINGER HAS A CAMEO.

Ed Harris and Eddie Rouse in 'Westworld'
JOHN P. JOHNSON, HBO

The HBO series pays homage to the original film in a variety of ways, including echoing elements from the score to create that dread-inducing soundscape. It also tipped its ten-gallon hat to Yul Brynner’s relentless gunslinger from the original film by including him in the storage basement with the rest of the creaky old models.

3. QUENTIN TARANTINO, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, AND MANY OTHERS COULD HAVE REBOOTED IT.

Speaking of Brynner’s steely, murderous resolve: His performance as the robo-cowboy was one of the foundations for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s turn as the Terminator. Nearly 20 years later, in 2002, Schwarzenegger signed on to produce and star in a reboot of the sci-fi film from which he took his early acting cues. Schwarzenegger never took over the role from Brynner because he served as Governor of California instead, and the reboot languished in development hell.

Warner Bros. tried to get Quentin Tarantino on board, but he passed. They also signed The Cell director Tarsem Singh (whose old West would have been unbelievably lush and colorful, no doubt), but it fell through. A few years later, J.J. Abrams—who had met with Crichton about a reboot back in 1996—pitched eventual co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy on doing it as a television series. HBO bought it, and the violent delights finally made it to our screens.

4. IT COSTS $40,000 A DAY TO VISIT THE PARK. (AND THAT’S THE CHEAP PACKAGE.)

Thandie Newton and Angela Sarafyan in 'Westworld'
HBO

In season one, Logan (Ben Barnes) revealed that he’s spending $40,000 a day to experience Westworld. That’s in line with the 1973 movie, where park visitors spent $1000 a day, which lands near $38,000 once adjusted for inflation. Then again, we’re talking about 2052 dollars, so it might still be pricey, but not exorbitant in 2018 terms. But a clever Redditor spotted that $40,000 is the minimum you’d pay; according to the show’s website, the Gold Package will set you back $200,000 a day.

5. BEN BARNES BROKE HIS FOOT AND DIDN’T TELL ANYONE.

Once Upon a Time’s Eion Bailey was originally cast as Logan but had to quit due to a scheduling conflict, so Ben Barnes stepped in … then he broke his foot. The actor hid the injury for fear he’d lose the job, which is why he added a limp as a character detail. “I’m sort of hobbling along with this kind of cowboy-ish limp, which I then tried to maintain for the next year just so I could pretend it was a character choice,” Barnes said. “But really I had a very purple foot … So walking was the hardest part of shooting this for me.”

6. THE CO-CREATORS RICKROLLED FANS OBSESSED WITH UNCOVERING SPOILERS.

Eagle-eyed fans (particularly on Reddit) uncovered just about every major spoiler from the first season early on, which is why Nolan and Joy promised a spoiler video for anyone who wanted to know the entire plot of season two ahead of its premiere. They delivered, but instead of show secrets, the 25-minute video only offered a classy rendition of Rick Astley’s internet-infamous “Never Gonna Give You Up,” sung by Evan Rachel Wood with Angela Sarafyan on piano, followed by 20 minutes of a dog. It was a pitch-perfect response to a fanbase desperate for answers.

7. IT FEATURES AN ANCIENT GREEK EASTER EGG.

Amid the alternative rock tunes hammered out on the player piano and hat tips to classic western films, Westworld also referenced something from 5th century BCE Greece. Westworld, which is run by Delos Incorporated, is designed so that guests cannot die. Delos is also the name of the island where ancient Greeks made it illegal for anyone to die (or be born for that matter) on religious grounds. That’s not the only bit of wordplay with Greek either: Sweetwater’s main ruffian, Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro), gets his last name from the Greek eschaton, meaning the final event in the divine design of the world. Fitting for a potentially sentient robot helping to bring about humanity’s destruction.

8. JIMMI SIMPSON FIGURED OUT HIS CHARACTER’S TWIST BECAUSE OF HIS EYEBROWS.

Evan Rachel Wood and Jimmi Simpson in 'Westworld'
HBO

In season one, the show’s many secrets were kept even from the main cast until the time they absolutely needed to know. Jimmi Simpson, who plays timid theme park neophyte William, had a hunch something was funny with his role because of a cosmetic change.

“I was with an amazing makeup artist, Christian, and he was looking at my face too much,” Simpson told Vanity Fair. “He had me in his chair, and he was just looking at my face, and then he said something about my eyebrows. ‘Would you be cool if we just took a couple hairs out of your eyebrows, made them not quite as arched?’” Guessing that they were making him look more like The Man in Black, Simpson said something to Joy, and she confirmed his hunch. “She looked kind of surprised I’d worked it out,” he said.

9. THE PLAYER PIANO MAY BE AN ALLUSION TO KURT VONNEGUT.

One of the show’s most iconic elements is its soundtrack of alternative rock songs from the likes of Radiohead, The Cure, and Soundgarden redone in a jaunty, old West style. In addition to adding a creepy sonic flavor to the sadistic vacation, they also may wink toward Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel, Player Piano, which deals with a dystopia of automation where machines do everything for humans, leading to an entrenched class struggle. The show’s resonant elements are clear, but Westworld also mentions that the world outside the theme park is one where there’s no unemployment and humans have little purpose. Like The Man In Black (Ed Harris), the protagonist of Player Piano also longs for real stakes in the struggle of life.

10. THERE ARE TWO JESSE JAMES CONNECTIONS.

Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Wright in 'Westworld'
HBO

Anthony Hopkins’s character Dr. Robert Ford is an invention for the new series, and he shares a name with the man who assassinated infamous outlaw Jesse James (a fact you may remember from the aptly named movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford). The final episode of the first season flips the allusion when Ford is shot in the back of the head, which is exactly how the real-life Ford killed James.

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