Guest Blog: Author Karen Koehler's Look Back at Wolfen - Dread Central
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Guest Blog: Author Karen Koehler’s Look Back at Wolfen

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Guest Blog: Author Karen Koehler's Look Back at Wolfen (click for larger image)Wolfen isn’t a werewolf movie. I should make that clear from the start. In fact, Wolfen has more in common with the monster animal genre of films so popular in the 1970’s like Willard, The Food of the Gods, and Night of the Lepus.

And like those movies (and their many nuclear predecessors like Them!, Black Scorpion, Tarantula, and other atomic creatures) Wolfen was, and remains, a movie about predation by things that are bigger, badder and more intelligent than we are. Except that the Wolfen were not created by mad science, atomic explosions or toxic waste. Rather, they evolved alongside human beings. They kill like animals, but they think like humans. And humans are, in fact, their meat animals. They haven’t come to the ghettos because they were pushed out of their environment by some manmade factor, so forget that “going green” message. Rather, the Wolfen follow human migration. Without humans, they couldn’t exist.

NYPD Captain Dewey Wilson (played in a brilliantly detached and alcoholic fugue by Albert Finney) is assigned a bizarre string of violent murders with no seeming connection. A high-profile building magnate, a bodyguard, various homeless people and a scattering of cops are all either missing or found with their throats ripped out by some enormously powerful beast. Wilson partners with criminal psychologist Becky Neff to solve the murders, and the two investigate everything from terrorism and voodoo to the idea that something both less and more human is out there slaughtering people in a secretive yet discernible and intelligent pattern, if they can only find it.

Wolfen is part horror movie and part police investigation, but in many ways it’s also a psychological thriller as the Wolfen pack play a very dangerous game of cat and mouse with Wilson and Neff, a game that eventually culminates in a confrontation that shakes and displaces everything that Wilson knows and nearly everything he’s ever believed in.

Wolfen has often been ragged on in the past, mostly because so many people who watch it insist on comparing it to the Whitley Strieber novel that inspired it. I love the book, but the truth is I love the movie more. I love its despondent and nearly post-apocalyptic visuals and harrowing music. I love its gut-churning build-up of mysteries leading to horrors that lead to yet more mysteries, some of which can never really be solved—at least not to the satisfaction of Dewey Wilson. Wilson’s life has been falling apart for years before the story even begins, but he clings stubbornly to resolving mysteries like an alcoholic clings to his last bottle. He’s naturally a man who finds order in chaos. Now, for the first time, he’s out of his element and with nary a lonely English moor or horror set in site. The horror has hit close to home. The horror is home, in the urban decay all about him.

I love Wolfen because at one point in Wilson’s investigation, he seeks the advice of a group of Native Americans, themselves outsiders to the New York they’re helping to reconstruct, and their leader tells him, “They might be gods,” after which Wilson develops the “eyes of the dead” rather than the “eyes of the hunter.” And therein lies the true horror of the Wolfen: that once our own fabricated veneer of the world we think we know is torn away, we really aren’t prepared to face the truth. What we perceive as evil might in fact be divine. What we assume is good and true might be our own self-induced fugue that we, much like Wilson, use to navigate through a completely alien landscape.

I also love Wolfen for its atmosphere, its mindless and almost joyous decay, its ruthless attempt to display the shit and squalor of a decaying civilization so awful it manages to transcend the hideous and become something close to art. The Wolfen, and the victims they pursue, move through orchards of shattered buildings, mine fields of broken church glass, and hills of human debris as if to state that yes, this is the end of the road, the new Eden, and the meek shall inherit the earth. Only the meek won’t be us. The meek won’t be human at all. Because the Wolfen, like the Native Americans who revere them, know just how badly humankind is trashing their world.

They only need to wait. And watch.

Guest Blog: Author Karen Koehler's Look Back at Wolfen
5 pentacles out of 5

Agree or disagree? Share your opinion below.

***

This blog is part of “The Werewolf Run” to help promote the release of my own werewolf novel, A Werewolf in Time (Mrs. McGillicuddy #2). Please visit Amazon and Barnes & Noble online for information on ordering a copy of the book for your Kindle or Nook. To see where I’ll be in the next month, visit the official Karen Koehler website!

Guest Blog: Author Karen Koehler's Look Back at Wolfen

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 140 – Pet Sematary 2

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Ahoy there, fuckos! This week’s episode is brought to you by none other than Chris Franco! That’s right, it’s a Chris pick! So you know what that means, we’re cranking the cheese factor up to eleven! This week we’ve got $5 Furlongs, naked women with dog heads, and accents that are more forced than a Bill Cosby sexual encounter! That’s right, we watched  Pet Sematary 2 so you don’t have to!

Ever wonder which of us knows more lyrics to Ice, Ice, Baby? Well, Patreon found out, but perhaps there’s more singing in the actual episode. Download to find out!

Sometimes, dumb is better. It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 140!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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Night of the Living Dead 4K and The Silence of the Lambs Come to the Criterion Collection

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It’s been a long time coming for these two classics, especially Night of the Living Dead after the ridiculously bad transfer put out by Mill Creek Entertainment, whose transfer was supposedly remastered from a new 2K scan. I swear I thought it was some kind of a joke when I first put it on to watch. In any event…

IndieWire is reporting that horror classics Night of the Living Dead and The Silence of the Lambs will be added to the 2018 Criterion Collection, a hallmark label for home video cinephiles.

According to the site, Criterion will release a new 4K digital restoration of The Silence of the Lambs, which has been approved by the movie’s cinematographer Tak Fujimoto. Included on the DVD and Blu-ray sets are 35 minutes of deleted scenes and audio commentary from 1994 featuring the late Jonathan Demme (director), stars Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas.

Night of the Living Dead will also be released in 4K with never-before-seen 16mm dailies included as a bonus feature(!).

These will be added in February of 2018 so make sure you save up some cash after the holidays!

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DIS Review – Not for the Faint of Heart!

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Starring Bill Oberst, Jr., Lori Jo Hendrix, Peter Gonzales Falcon

Directed by Adrian Corona


I’ve made this claim many a time on this website before, and in the company of film friends as well: Bill Oberst Jr. is one of those actors that can literally be thrust into ANY role, and deliver a performance with so much harnessed electricity that you couldn’t believe that it was possible. I was the lucky recipient chosen to get a look at his latest project, titled DIS, and I think that I can honestly say – this is the stuff that nightmares are constructed of.

Directed by Adrian Corona, this 60-minute dive into the black depths of hell, and in actuality DIS is located between circles # 6 and 9 in Dante’s Divine Comedy, and trust me when I tell you – there’s not a shred of comedic relief in this demented presentation. Oberst Jr plays an ex-soldier named Ariel, and his seemingly harmless jaunt through the woods will become anything but that, and judging from the film’s opening scenes, you are meant to feel as uncomfortable about this watch as any you might have checked out in recent memory.

Perversion is the norm here, and lord help you if you’re caught where you shouldn’t be…my skin’s crawling just thinking about what I saw. Ariel’s travels are basically dialogue-free, but it only adds to the infinite levels of creepiness – you can tell he’s being stalked, and the distance between he and the horrors that await are closing in rather quickly.

Visually by itself, this hour-long chiller can sell tickets without any assistance – hollowed-out buildings and long sweeping shots of a silent forest give the movie that look of complete desolation. Sliced up into three acts, the film wastes no time in setting up the story of a killer needing fresh blood to appease his Mandrake garden – seriously guys, I can’t type as much flashy stuff as there needs to be in order to describe this innately disturbing production.

If you’re one of those types who tends to shy away from the graphic side of things, then I’d HIGHLY advise you to keep your TV tuned to the Hallmark Channel for some holiday entertainment, because this one registers high on the “I can’t believe someone thought of this” meter. So the quick recap is this: Oberst Jr in a standout performance, visual excellence, and an unshakable sense of debasement on a cellular level – keep the kiddies out of the living room with this one. Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended, and one that I’ll throw down as a top 5 for me in 2017.

  • Film
4.5

Summary

Director Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended!

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