S.M. Douglas

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The Sequel That Never Was

As it turns out John Landis had an idea for the An American Werewolf in London sequel that unfortunately never happened.

American Werewolf In London Poster

Landis explains his idea in an excerpt from a new book by Paul Davis entitled Beware The Moon: The Story of An American Werewolf In London:

“The movie was about the girl that the boys talk about at the beginning of the movie, Debbie Klein. She gets a job in London as a literary agent and while she’s there, starts privately investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Jack and David. The conceit was that during the time in the first film where Jenny (Agutter) goes to work and David is pacing around the apartment, he actually wrote Debbie Klein a letter. It was all to do with this big secret that David had never told Jack that he had a thing with her. She went back to the Slaughtered Lamb and everyone is still there! I think the only changes were a portrait of Charles and Diana where the five-pointed star used to be and darts arcade game instead of a board. It’s then when she speaks to Sgt McManus, the cop from the first movie who didn’t die, that she finds out that Jenny is still in London. She calls her and leaves an answer phone message, which we then reveal is being listened to by the skeletal corpses of Jack and David, watching TV in Alex’s apartment! The big surprise at the end was that Alex was the werewolf. It was pretty wild. The script had everybody in it from the first movie, including all the dead people!”

Off the top of my head I am wondering how this would work. Consider that the werewolf infecting Jack and David had been killed on the moors and thus could not have been Alex. For that matter, why was Jack in limbo again? After all, the werewolf that killed him was dead? David didn’t kill him, it shouldn’t have mattered that David was still alive except for the people he killed.

Anyone else with me on this? Or am I missing something that explains like a pretty glaring plot hole in the original movie (a movie which I love by the way – so don’t crucify me about this) regardless of what it would mean for a sequel?

Anyway, obviously Landis’ idea was never fleshed out. The upshot being that we got the mediocre American Werewolf in Paris CGI cartoon fest for our sequel – ugghhh!

Of course, I would love to see you read my work. But if you aren’t reading my werewolf book then have at this one! Anything about one of the best ever werewolf movies always looks pretty good to me!

On select nights from Sept. 20 to Nov. 2, guests’ worst nightmares will be unleashed as evil takes root at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 23. Universal Orlando’s award-winning Halloween Horror Nights event transforms Universal Studios Florida into a realm of movie-quality haunted houses, incredible live shows and streets filled with hundreds of horrifying “scareactors.”

Follow Up: So far I’ve already received a ton of feedback. The best answer to the bloodline questions above went like this: “The bloodline wasn’t severed with the death of the werewolf on the moors, it was passed on to David. Think of the bloodline as children; if a person is infected, then they become children of this lycanthropic family tree. Killing one werewolf wasn’t enough, eradicating every member of this “tree” was the only true way to lift the curse of the undead. It’s the only way to explain why Jack was still around even though the werewolf that killed him was dead itself.”

Werewolves Done Right

Since Apex Predator (https://www.amazon.com/Apex-Predator-S-M-Doug…/…/ref=sr_1_3…) was published last year I get questions regarding the inspiration for the look of my book’s werewolves.

My usual response is Bernie Wrightson’s beasts from “Cycle of the Werewolf” or Rob Bottin’s werewolves from the original “Howling” movie.

However, here’s some lesser known artist’s work that also inform the shape and form of my favorite beasties. Enjoy! And, yes I included one of Bernie’s werewolves – I can’t help it, the guy’s a legend!

Werewolf Pic 1 Werewolf Pic 2 Werewolf Pic 3 Werewolf Pic 4 Werewolf Pic 5 Werewolf Pic 6

Does Gal Gadot’s Attractiveness Represent a “Step Back” For Strong Female Characters in Film?

James Cameron has been making waves because of his claims (most recently in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter) that Gal Gadot was a poor choice to play Wonder Woman. He stated that she can’t be considered a feminist icon because of the way she was physically portrayed as “an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing…I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards.” From there, Cameron further shoved his foot into his mouth; “She was Miss Israel, and she was wearing a kind of bustier costume that was very form-fitting. She’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. To me, that’s not breaking ground,” Cameron said. “They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the ’60s.”

Really? By putting Gal Gadot in the outfit she is famous for we haven’t advanced in our portrayal of Wonder Woman? Hmmm…I beg to differ:

Wonder Woman 1

Cameron then put his other foot into said mouth by offering Linda Hamilton’s portrayal of Terminator hero Sarah Connor as an example of a real feminist hero. Cameron singled out Hamilton because she “was not a beauty icon” and the character Sarah Connor as being “strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit.”

Both the director of Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins, and Lynda Carter (who previously played Wonder Woman in the 1975-1979 TV series) hit back. Jenkins stated Cameron’s “inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands for, to woman all over the world is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman.” Carter piled on, “To James Cameron -STOP dissing WW: You poor soul,” Carter wrote. “Perhaps you do not understand the character. I most certainly do. Like all women–we are more than the sum of our parts.”

Now, my readers know that the co-protagonist of my werewolf book “Apex Predator” is, and I quote myself here, “an irredeemably wicked hot woman by the name of Tanya”. However, they also know that in spite of Tanya’s beauty the influences that went into creating her as a character include Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, Elisabeth Brooks portrayal of Marsha Quist/Marcia Lura from “The Howling”, Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley in four “Alien” movies to date, Jennette Goldstein (who played Vasquez in “Aliens”), and other equally strong but attractive women. The example of my Tanya is one reason, among many, why I believe Cameron should probably shut up. But, it’s not the only reason. Let’s take another look at Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor. Not only is she hot:

Linda Hamilton_Sarah Connor_Terminator

But, unlike Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman, Hamilton shed her clothes for a fairly steamy sex scene (in the original Terminator film). Moreover, and unlike Linda Hamilton, Gal Gadot served two years in the military (the IDF), and as a combat trainer! None of which is to imply that Gal Gadot is somehow superior to Linda Hamilton. The point being that Gal Gadot is anything but a poorly considered choice to portray Wonder Woman.

For that matter, take a look at the male superheroes – like Superman. I mean the guy’s a stud. Furthermore, he has long since been portrayed as a sex symbol. Take a look at the picture here of the iconic Christopher Reeve version. Please note the skintight clothes showcasing the “super package”:

Superman 1


I’ll leave this with Jenkins, who perhaps best stated in response to Cameron that: “There is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman.”

Jaws on the Big Screen

I’m still working my way through this year’s edition of shark week. Other than the Phelps fiasco (why must you start each season of Shark Week with such schlock, Discovery Channel), most of the episodes are quite good. I loved the early attention given to the Great Hammerhead, Mako, and Porbeagle Sharks. As I have commented before, recent seasons of Shark Week overall have been trending toward educational over sensationalism. That’s good – keep it up.

From there, and with sharks on the brain, I had no problem saying ‘yes’ when one of my friends asked me if I wanted to see Jaws at the local small-town theater. Of course I loved it (my all time favorite movie) but I also loved the experience. This fifty-plus-year old theater not only put actual butter on the popcorn but the ticket cost only three bucks – you can’t beat that! It was heartening to see quite a few teenagers and millennials in the packed theater. It’s great to know there’s a new generation of fans. Needless to say, Jaws was a huge influence on my life and my writing (with a certain police chief providing much of the inspiration for one of the leading characters from my werewolf book Apex Predator).

ARD DER WEISSE HAI (jaws), USA 1974, Regie Steven Spielberg, am Samstag (02.12.06) um 23:10 Uhr im Ersten. Brody (Roy Scheider) ist der Polizeichef des Badeortes Amity. © ARD Degeto - honorarfrei, Verwendung nur im Zusammenhang mit o. g. Sendung bei Nennung Bild: "ARD Degeto" (S2), Programmplanung und Presse (069) 1509-334 oder -335

What’s amazing is that even though I’ve seen the movie probably a hundred times on TV – it makes such a huge difference seeing it on the big screen. For instance, I just noticed that it was Old Spice Brody was dabbing on his handkerchief when he was chumming off the stern of the Orca. Or that Charlie’s ferry charges extra if you use it between 7pm and midnight – according to the sign in the background you can’t really read on TV and as seen in the film (when Brody is asking Charlie to take him over to the boy scouts and get them out of the water).

What a great movie. What a great experience. And yes, I saw Dunkirk at the IMAX big chain theater the week before (a solid effort with almost no CGI, real WWII aircraft and equipment, and some fantastic dog-fights between Spitfires and Me-109s). However, just like I support local used and new bookstores I also try and support the small town theaters that add so much to a community. I’m sure there’s quite a few of you who would agree.

BTW – if there’s anything in Jaws that didn’t catch your eye until recently please let me know. Otherwise, enjoy the behind the scenes movie pics I included with this post (and if you have any good one’s then please share).

Jaws Behind the Scenes 1 Jaws Behind the Scenes 2

Jaws Behind the Scenes Pic Jaws Cast Jaws_Behind the Scenes Pic

Werewolves and Us

Two illustrations. Two werewolves. Two people. In the first, the Polish artist Jakub Rozalski (aka “Mr. Werewolf”) showcases a new work titled “hunt or be hunted” (from his Wolfpack 1863 series).

Werewolf_the hunter or the hunted

Since I discovered Jakub early this year I’ve been a huge fan. Perhaps not surprising considering my werewolf book Apex Predator (published last year) features a winter werewolf hunt of it’s own – one that similarly leads one to wonder who is hunting whom.  A question that leads one to also re-examine the werewolf’s role in defining who we are as people. A thought that leads to our second image.

Werewolf Chasing Woman

I get a kick out of these old pulp magazine/book illustrations featuring a werewolf invariably chasing a scantily clad woman. Don’t get me wrong – I get it. Perhaps one of the signature concepts behind that of the werewolf is as a representation of man’s untamed, shall I say, err “impulses”.

However, werewolves are meant to be more than that – they are what is wild and untamed in ALL of us.  One of the things I really enjoyed about creating the werewolves in my novel Apex Predator came from flipping stereotypical images such as these upon their head – presenting both females and males at various times losing control to the beast within. This goes back to the thought I would like all my readers to ponder. Do we love werewolves because of what they say about our worst fears regarding our darkest impulses? Or do we like werewolves because they are representative of the reality that is the human animal?

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