Interview With Author Bryn Curt James Hammond Discussing His Highly Anticipated New Reference Guide, “The Complete History of the Howling”
The Complete History of the Howling is a new reference book from writer Bryn Curt James Hammond, which takes a look at the popular werewolf film franchise The Howling and the original novelizations that inspired them. The new book includes interviews with those involved in making the original film, new behind the scene photos and a new story arc from Nick Stead, author of the Hybrid book series.
With a limited release by Miami Fox Publishing at Horror Con UK, this promises to be the most complete guide behind the scenes of the most popular werewolf franchise of all time. I had the chance to ask a few questions of Hammond, discussing the book, its reception, his involvement in the horror genre, his career and his other upcoming projects.
INTERVIEW WITH BRYN CURT JAMES HAMMOND
Philip Rogers: Your booked launched at Horror Con Edinburgh. How do you feel the response has been so far?
Bryn Hammond: It’s been amazing so far, and it’s a huge relief as I have been so nervous. The opinions from the buying public and reviews have been positive. It’s still early days, and the only negative feedback was on Nick Stead’s homage to Gary Brandner’s 1977 novel The Howling, but you are going to win some and lose some with that.
Nick’s story takes place shortly after the original, and it’s more of a nod to the 1981 film. It’s an interesting take and is dedicated to the late author. Nick and Brandner are worlds apart in writing style, but for me that’s what keeps it interesting.
My humour — which is often off key — seems to have gone down a storm, and Bill Forsche’s pictorial has received high praise! One reviewer even said the book gave “RUBBERHEAD: Sex, Drugs, and Special FX Vol. 1” by Steve Johnson a run for its money.
Fangoria has also been a huge supporter, and I’m so grateful to them for giving the book several plugs.
I understand there will be people who won’t like “The Complete History of The Howling”, and I’m prepared for that. I don’t like everything I read or watch, that’s just life. But I’m humbled by anyone who shows any interest in my work and buys the book. It makes it all worthwhile — good, bad or indifferent.
PR: Your next signing will be at London Horror Con in September. For anyone who may be looking to purchase the book,” what can they expect from The Complete History of The Howling”?
BH: We look at the production of each movie from start to finish. This includes the writing of the movie and when it gets funded, to the on-set drama which comes with each movie, all the way through the editing and then the release. There are loads of new images, which no one has ever seen before It’s all done quite tongue and cheek, so readers can expect a fun book — especially if they are werewolf fans!
PR: On Twitter, you mentioned you would like to show one of the films at Horror Con London. Do you have any updates on that at all?
BH: I spoke with the organizer, Vic, from the Horror Con, and we are looking at screening one of The Howling movies and doing a Q&A. I don’t know which film we will show yet, as the con has moved dates. I highlighted Howling III (1987) as my choice. I also did a poll on @Howlinghistory, and Howling III was the voters’ second choice, while Howling II (1985) was the clear winner.
Director Philippe Mora is a good friend of mine and was a god send when it came to help with “The Complete History of The Howling”. Howling III: The Marsupials was the last in the series to receive a theatrical release, but due to bad marketing, it didn’t connect with its target audience at the time. The Marsupials has additionally not been available in the UK for some time and has been digitally restored by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia — the print is truly stunning.
There is also a wonderful spoof within in the spoof, which gives a wink to the audience and a nod to the classic transformations from the original Howling (1981) and An American Werewolf in London (1981) — as well as Mora’s own The Beast Within (1982). I think viewers will appreciate Howling III much more the second time around, and having a Q&A before the movie will be such a buzz.
PR: With the popularity of the book, do you plan to revisit the Howling franchise again for any of your future projects?
BH: I obviously have “The Complete History of the Howling” book tour, which will be taking me to Vegas in October. If the paperback does well as expected, my ambition would be to do some form of series reboot. I would need to look into leasing the name, etc. It is a long way off ,but it’s something I’d like to do. I do need to be able to walk before I can run. After the first round of book sales, somewhere in between the release of the second edition, I’d like to do a retrospective documentary in the same vein as the Friday the 13th documentary.
In regard to leasing The Howling name to produce a standalone film, I would never consider a direct remake of Joe Dante’s classic. How can you improve the powerhouse performances from Dee Wallace and Robert Picardo? But it would play either more faithful to Gary Brandner’s source material or be more of a re-imaging of Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988).
I’ve spoken with Nick Benson (The Blob, 1988), and we have some cool ideas to chat about when I hit the USA on October 23rd. There are a few franchises I have my eye on that I’d love to bring back from the dead. I wouldn’t be directing, as that’s simply not my thing, but I would love to bring back the good old days of practical SFX — and Nick’s an FX genius.
I also have another companion book in the works, which I’m excited about. Hopefully, I will touch base with Kevin S. Tenney during my USA tour in LA. I’ve known Kevin for almost a decade now, and he’s one of the nicest guys ever. In addition, Night of the Demons (1988) is one of my all-time favourite horror films. Kevin is a powerhouse of a director in my opinion!
PR: You also have another book coming out in August, which is part of your “A Case for Murder” series. This one is for the “Aaliyah Files”. Can you tell me more about that?
BH: I enjoyed writing the “Britany Murphy Files”, and it just felt like a very natural progression — because they both died in suspicious circumstances, and this feels like a good follow-on book. It is the most bizarre death, and something just does not add up. I won’t give too much away, but it took a while to finish that book. The fans are so committed to her, and I didn’t want to offend anybody by getting some of the information incorrect. So I did a lot of research on that case.
This is the third book in the series. The first book was “Anna Nicole”. I pulled that one from the shelves as I was not happy with it, but we are re-writing that. We have done more interviews with her personal assistant who was with her prior to her death. “”Brittany Murphy was the second book, which had a second addition due to the good sales.
PR: Going back over you career, you started the original Gorezone (GZ) Magazine. How did you first get involved in that? I understand you set it up yourself?
BH: Yes, it started with me and my ex-partner. I started with a newspaper called the Chronical and Echo, so I saw how they put together a newspaper. I thought, if they can do it I can do it, and I loved horror movies. The first issue went out in September 2005. As the issue went on, I continued to build up around it. It went on for many years and had a successful run.
PR: With Fangoria Magazine making a comeback in October, would you think about re-opening Gorezone Magazine?
BH: We are going to give it a facelift — digitally only at this stage, as the print media is so difficult at the moment. When it is reborn, we will see if there a market for it and see what we can do in the future. It will, however, be out in the next couple of months as a digital platform. Maybe we will do an annual of Gore Mags that we had from the beginning, featuring the original photoshoots that we did we Danielle Harris, Dedee Pfeiffer, and Natasha Allen. I am excited about that!
I won’t be an editor or choosing the content, because what I like is probably different than what the horror fans like. I am bringing people who are die-hard horror fans and leaving them to it. A new generation of people running the website.
The new generation of horror journalists are absolutely amazing, and the ones I have met in person have actually warmed to me. I am no longer in my own little bubble, with a handler pulling my strings like I was the first time around. The horror world has changed considerably, as has the media. I’m thankful I have re-joined the horror train, and I’m excited for the future.
I think I’ve given Jim Mcleod nightmares, and the next Horror Con I’ll be signing at he may be running in the opposite direction (laughs). Awesome guy, however. On the first night of Edinburgh Horror Con, I gave him the Mariah Carey glitter bomb treatment. He looked radiant all evening!
PR: Anything you would like to add about the book?
BH: “The Complete History of The Howling” paperback goes on sale worldwide November 7th. The book is a coffee table glossy, and a recent reviewer said the book was a glossy to end all glossies — which I thought was such a good tagline that I may steal! Prior to laying the book out, I looked at complaints horror fans had with books similar to my book, and I made sure I adapted “The Complete History of The Howling” to their comments.
[drocap]T[/dropcap]he book opens with a foreword from Philippe, and he really highlights the tone I went for — “grisly, fun, energizing read…but not superficial.” We then looked at the life and times of Gary Brandner, and we have some amazing stills from movies adapted from his books (or films he adapted into books). Visually, I do love the stills from Cat People (1982). Then we have Nick’s homage before we get right into the making of the movies.
Each ‘making of’ looks at the film from its conception right up to its release and how each films marketing was handled. Then we follow with solo cast and crew interviews. We only diversify from this format with Howling IV: The Original Nightmare which kick-starts with a pictorial by Bill. We have some amazing movie art, print adverts & even rare and unseen behind the scenes photographs.
I enjoyed putting the book together, and you get a real insight into how the movie business back then worked. I think people will be really surprised at some of the creature FXs that made it onto film but not into the finished film of ‘Howling IV: The Original Nightmare’. I’m so glad I can share this with the readers.
PR: Finally, do you have any other new projects which you will be working on?
BH: I’ve got the “Aaliyah” book coming this year and the “Anna Nicole Smith” book coming out in February next year on the anniversary of her death. My next film companion book will be Night of the Demons, which will be on the original movies and the terrible remake. If it was a standalone movie, I wouldn’t have hated it as much. But I don’t think it did the original justice. The effects were ok, but there is even one scene where you can see strings when the demons are flying. But that will be my next horror book.
Nick Benson and I have spoken about doing a few films together by buying relatively well-known film titles and giving them a new life. Nick is a great special effects artist, and he loves using prosthetics. So he is a great person to have involved when you are trying to give projects new life.