Correia's Top 5 Werewolf Movies

In the pantheon of monster movies, the big three are vampires, zombies, and werewolves.  Today I’ll talk about the hairy ones, and hit the undead next time.  There are a lot more to choose from on zombies and vampires on the shelves, primarily because it is a lot tougher to do decent special effects.  Some hamburger and fake fangs, and you’ve got vamps or zombies.  Werewolves take work. 

Now, the original,  The Wolf Man  isn’t on the list.  Primarily because that was the beginning of the genre.  Hell, the rules that define most of the others come from this movie.  It is, no pun intended, the Big Dog.  If you haven’t seen this movie, and you’re one of those folks who think, but it’s OLD, just trust me and watch it.   Sure, it comes from the days before pretty colors, and directors that are MTV refugees, (Quick cut!  Quick cut!  Motion sickness!  AAAHHH!)  just trust me and check this out. 

5. Big Bad Wolf Squeaking into the top 5 is a relative new comer.  I watched it recently, and loved it.  It starts out with a setup that leads you to believe it is going to be another bunch of college-kids-trapped-in-a-cabin-with-a-monster-outside movie.  But nope, then it turns into something else entirely.

The werewolf costume was borderline old school.  Yes, he is even wearing pants!  But despite the Guy In A Suit monster, this werewolf is extremely entertaining.  Major bonus points because A.  He talks, and B. He’s psychotic.  He takes his werewolfing old school, like medieval witch burning old school, in that he doesn’t just turn into an animal that wants to eat you, he’s going to rape and pillage first, because he’s just plain bad. 

The characters start out as stereotypical cut outs, and because of a couple of really good performances, turn into real people you can root for.  It ends in a way that leaves it open for a sequel.   So fingers crossed, we need more original stuff like this.

4.  Ginger Snaps   Now this one isn’t fair, in that you can’t just watch one movie, but you have to watch all three to get the whole picture.  Think of them as a werewolf/coming of age/chick flick.  The appearance of actual monsters is kept to a minimum until the 3rd movie, which somehow takes the main characters from the first movies set in the present, and travels back in time to the 1800s, and then it is werewolf o’rama.  No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense in that respect, but it is still awesome. 

The acting is excellent.  The characters are weird.  And best of all, if you significant other says, “Oh no, not another stupid monster movie.”  You can, while keeping a straight face, reply “No, this one is actually a drama about a young girl facing the struggles of growing up in Canada.  Look, it has angst!” 

3.  American Werewolf in London   Now a lot of monster movie fans probably have this as their number one, no real disagreement there.  The only reason this doesn’t rank higher for me is because I find most of the movie kind of dull.  Honestly, if you’ve got this on DVD, how many times have you gone back and watched the whole thing?  No, you skip ahead to the single greatest transformation scene in the history of movies.  That scene is movie gold.  It is painful and visceral. 

No wimpy CGI there.  Just latex and suffering.  This move set the gold standard for transformations, and nobody else has come close.  Keep in mind that this is from 1981, and that makes it even more impressive.  I was probably 10 years old when I first saw this, and I’ve been screwed up ever since.

2.  The Howling Also from 1981, this is the other great 80’s werewolf movie.  Now I’m talking about the original, not the huge number of bad sequels, though honestly I have watched every single one of those, and they do have a few good points.  (Come on, Marsupial werewolves, you know you want to watch #3). 

But the original was something different.  It starts off gritty and trashy, with serial killers in the red light district, and just goes on from there.  If American Werewolf in London is the icon, this is its seedy cousin. 

This movie also has the 2nd greatest non-CGI werewolf transformation ever.  Man, 1981 was a great year, though I don’t really remember it, because I was only 6. 

1.  Dog Soldiers   Bring on the English for the win. 

Dog Soldiers is the story of a group of British soldiers on a training exercise deep in a Scottish forest.  In reality, they’re bait.  An SAS group is trying to capture a werewolf.  However there is actually a family of werewolves, and the SAS gets eaten instead.  Then it just gets better from there.

It is non-stop carnage and chaos.  And these aren’t the effeminate Hugh Grant English.  These are the squaddies and soccer hooligans.  The main character went on to play Lucius Vorenus in Rome, (which is probably one of the best TV shows ever made, I AM A SON OF HADES!).  In most movies, people scream, and run, and get eaten.  In Dog Soldiers, it is on like Donkey Kong.  They may run, but it is while leap-frogging from cover to cover, laying down a constant stream of fire. 

Even at the very end, they go hands on in one of the most entertaining action sequences I’ve ever seen in a monster movie, bar none.  Everything is a weapon.  If you don’t have a door, make your own, and when all else fails, punch them in the face.

The werewolves are some of my favorites.  They’re tall, skinny, and creepy, and when you see one, there will usually be impossible amounts of blood and guts strewn around in a matter of seconds. 

Honorable mention:  For a well-rounded monster movie education, you also need to watch Silver Bullet (even though you know how most Stephen King movies turn out), Bad Moon (Lassie vs. the Werewolf!), and all of the Paul Naschy super-campy Spanish werewolf movies.  I’m not usually a big fan of movies with actual budgets, but Underworld had some cool werewolves, and they’re probably the least offensive CGI werewolves I’ve seen.

 Bad Werewolf movies:  First and foremost, Wes Craven’s Cursed.  For a year leading up to that movie, I was eagerly awaiting what was possibly going to be an actual big budget, really cool, werewolf movie.  NAY!  It wasn’t meant to be.  Cursed sucked.  I could make a joke about how the things that were cursed were the script, but that would be too easy.  Twenty plus years after American Werewolf and advances in fx technology, an actual budget, and I’ve seen better transformation scenes in videogames.    

Does it make you a bad person to actually root for all of the main characters in a movie to die, so that it could just end?   He tried to make a hairier version of Scream, and it just failed miserably.

And this one is probably going to earn me some hate mail, but Company of Wolves sucks.  Yes, I know it has a huge internet following, but why?  It is this disjointed, pieced together, little stories, staring (I kid you not) Angela Lansbury, that is some sort of metaphor for adolescent sexuality.  And I know you’ve never really thought of the lady from Murder She Wrote and sexuality in the same sentence before.  That’s okay, you still probably shouldn’t.

Company of Wolves is painfully boring.  The fans of this movie talk about how it is “like a dream come to life”.  Yeah, that’s the feeling I get if I take too much Sudafed.  I totally understand.

Weekend at the gun show

So another gun show weekend draws to an end…

Honestly, I love working the gun shows.  I’m a people person.  I like to meet people, talk about guns, and sell guns.  Compared to a lot of other dealers, we actually have a pretty good time at the shows, and manage to sell quite a bit of stuff.  But FBMG does it a little bit different than most dealers.

A standard gun show set up does it like this.  The dealer sits (literally) on one side of the table, bonus points if he is old, surly, and generally bitter.  The table is kind of like the blasted terrain between the razor wire of a Great War battlefield, a kind of no-man’s land populated with old hunting rifles and badly sporterized mil-surps.  The shoppers are on the other side of the table.  They get to guess if they are allowed to actually touch the guns, and if they choose wrong, the surly dealer gets to snap at them.  If the dealer is really motivated, he may occasionally get out of his chair, and if the planets are aligned correctly, he may actually answer a question.

Between the tables of the Surly Old Guys, are a bunch of tables featuring beanie babies, Klingon daggers, and black velvet paintings of Indian wolf princesses.  (And on that note, how come everybody’s spirit animal is always a wolf or a bear?  You never see any manatee princesses).  I won’t make fun of the beef jerky tables, because beef jerky is what makes America great. 

Then there are the good dealer’s tables.  These are usually local stores, and they tend to at least be professional, with a decent selection.  I won’t bag on them, because I’ve got way too many friends that work at those tables, and though I’m a big dude, if enough of them dog pile me at the next show at one time, I’m pretty sure they could take me out back and beat me like a rented mule. 

Now when FBMG started having a presence at the Salt Lake show, we decided we wanted to do it different.  We set our tables up more like a trade show booth.  Rather than the no-man’s land in the middle, we open ours up.  Customers get to walk inside.  We put grid wall up along the wall and hang guns off it, just like the display wall in a store.  We encourage people to touch our stuff.   It’s a gun, not a friggin’ Faberge Egg.

We decided that we wanted to put the show back in gun show, so we brought in our Prism laser simulator.  Most of the space we rent is used up by a large tent.  Inside, the tent is dark enough that we can use a projector to light up a wall, and then we let people play on the simulator all day long, for free.  Which is cool, because the closest people usually come to something like the Prism is the Discovery Channel.  They’re armed with a real gun, but with a laser diode blocking the barrel.  One of my people will run the machine, and jump around between various games, plate racks, IPSC style stages, and even cowboy quick draw.  Every so often, the operator will crank it over to the serious end of things, and let people run through the actual training scenarios, just like they’re in a CCW class, or a student at the police academy.  This is always a huge draw. 

I always overstaff my booth.  FBMG doesn’t have employees.  We have Minions. (Yes, I know, I may be taking this evil overlord thing a touch too far sometimes)  Everybody that helps out at my booth is a gun fanatic, and is an expert at something.  If I don’t know the answer to a question, I’ve probably got somebody that does.  And if we don’t know the answer, we won’t make up something in order to just sell you what is in stock.

See, I don’t go to the show to make a bunch of money. (won’t lie though, it is really nice when we do)  I would rather treat somebody nice, even if that means they buy something from another vendor that day, and have them become a long term customer.  For us, the gun show is really about meeting people, and letting them know that we exist.

Gun shows are interesting places, a vast cross section of humanity, with the neatest people you’ll ever meet, and also the weirdest.  On one hand, you can spend thirty minutes helping out some nice young couple pick out their very first home defense gun, and next you’re talking to a really twitchy guy who starts telling you about how he was in MACV-SOG, where he learned you could make an AK full-auto with a match stick, before he was recruited by the “company” to serve as a mercenary in Rhodesia, where he taught the Mujahideen to shoot down Hinds with stinger missiles.  Usually that guy doesn’t stick around long once he learns that most of the guys that work here are former or current military, and they use posers as piñatas. 

The down side of setting up an epic, trade-show style booth, is that it means a LOT of work to take it down and get it back to the store, that, combined with two straight days of standing on concrete really takes it out of you.  My business partner had no voice after 20 hours of running people through the simulator.  Shows are fun, but they are work. 

The running joke is that I shouldn’t be allowed to take down the booth.  I’ve got a bit of a reputation as a clutz, and it is tradition that I injure myself somehow.  Today I smashed my hand carrying out gridwall.  (or as Nightcrawler renamed it today, Deth-Wall).  Time before last, I tripped and fell, which wouldn’t be a big deal, unless you happen to be carrying a DhSK.  (which for those of you who don’t know, is a REALLY BIG machine gun).  Don’t worry though, I managed to protect the DhSK from any harm by shielding it from the ground with my internal organs.

Thanks to the Minions.  Guys, if you’re reading this, (if the boss asks if you read his blog, just humor him, and say yes, because it is good for his self-esteem) thanks, we couldn’t do it without you.  You rock. 


Diary of a Gear Whore

The following journal entries have been fictionalized to protect the stupid.

 Monday:  Today I got into a big fight on the internet with some know it alls.  It was a forum about shotguns.  I told them how a pistol grip shotgun, the kind with no shoulder stock, is the most awesomest thing ever in the world, and how I’m totally a badass with one, because they’re more maneuverable, and faster and you don’t need to aim a shotgun anyway.  Some guy named Correia was a big bully and hurt my feelings.  He asked if I’ve ever shot one.  Snort.  Whatever… 

Tuesday:  Hooray.  I got a package from Elite Ninja Force Tactical with the stuff for my badazzz tactical shotgun.  It had my new seven point tac sling, laser sight, holographic sight, dual side saddle, top saddle, forward grip, bayonet, wind sock, and compass, and it only cost me $19.99!   

Wednesday:  Argued with some more foolz on the internet.  Some know it all tried to tell me that the Deagle isn’t the best handgun ever for CQB.  Like how would he know, he just got back from Iraq, they don’t even have good internet service over there, so there’s no way he could be playing much Counterstrike with all that lag!  Everybody knows the Deagle rocks, and I’ll so get one as soon as I get me more money.   

 Thursday:  Got promoted to head fry cook!  I so ROCK!  Now I can get my .50 Deagle and I’ll carry it in one of those awesome nylon holsters that can be worn in like ten different positions.  Those are the best for CCW.    

Friday:  GOT MY DEAGLE!  The guys at the gun store were so jealous, that they like totally had to bite their tongues.   I put it next to my shotgun with all the stuff on it, and took a bunch of pictures to post online.  You can find the post on the general discussion forum of THR.  It is called, Look How Friggin AWESOME I Am.  Then I put up some pictures where I posed all tough with my guns and wearing that wicked cool tac vest I bought from Mega Super for $15.00   My thread was all about how with this gear, I’m like the ultimate warrior.  Some old guy asked if I had actually shot any of these guns yet, so I called him a fag. 

Saturday:  Those bastard mods banned me on THR.  Jerks.  They disrespected my 1st amendment rights to call old guys fags.  They weren’t very cool anyway.  Bunch of sissies, talking about law and shit, everybody knows just to blast the fool on your porch and drag him into the living room.  Oh, and Mom got mad because I used her nice comforter as the background for my pictures.  She doesn’t understand me…  I’m going to go listen to some Emo. 

Sunday:  Went shooting.  I fired three shots through my tactical shotgun.  All of the stuff from Elite Ninja Force Tactical broke.  And I think I broke my wrist.  It’s like really swollen, and I’m having a hard time typing.   Jimbo saw me crying and totally made fun of me. Jerk.   I didn’t hit anything either, but you can’t miss inside your house, so it don’t matter. My vest split four seams and all the Dragonbreath rounds fell out.  I’ll have mom sew it.   The Deagle totally ruled.  I didn’t shoot it because the ammo was too expensive, but with the gold plating, it was like totally the most awesome gun at the range.    

On Gear Whores, if you’re going to buy stuff, please go shoot it.  If you buy stuff that you don’t know how to use, it makes Baby John Moses Browning cry.  If you haven’t actually used something, please don’t tell the rest of us that have used it, how awesome it is, because that makes us want to beat you up and take your lunch money.  (this applies especially to everybody on the internet that keeps telling me how great certain obscure guns are, because only seven people in America have actually shot one, and if you ain’t one of them, shut the hell up.)

On the opposite side of the coin, for some of you traditionalists, don’t sneer at somebody because they have a bunch of gear.  Good gear, in the hands of somebody that knows how to use it, is a great tool.  And if that guy with all the cool toys can outshoot you, then you can’t talk smack.  

Now I’m probably not going to post for a couple days.  It is Gun Show weekend, and I get to go listen to a couple hundred people tell me how the HK416 is the best gun ever because they saw it on Future Weapons. 

Carbine vs. Shotgun vs. Pistol for home defense

This post is in response to a request from pax of www,  She is an excellent firearms instructor out of Washington state.  She knew that I was a big proponent of shoulder fired long guns, either carbines or shotguns for home defense, whereas she primarily favors the pistol.  She asked me to write up a little bit about my opinions for her.  So here goes.

All three types of weapon have their pros and cons. 

Now when I teach CCW (actually it is a CFP, Concealed Firearms Permit, in Utah) when I get to the portion of the class about wound ballistics I always tell the class that I’m about to tell them a profound truth, and the sooner they realize it, the better off they’re going to be.  Then I write the following:


General nervous laughter from the class…

Now let me explain.  I love handguns.  I teach people to shoot handguns.  I carry a handgun on my person constantly.  I just spent a fat chunk of money on a fancy new STI 9mm so I could have a better hoser gun for 3gun.   Even with that information, every time I say handguns suck, it manages to offend the heck out of somebody on the internet, because the internet exists primarily to let random strangers get offended.  So let me rephrase, handguns suck relative to long guns.

Let me break it down for you.  There is only one reason we use handguns, and that is because they are convenient.  They’re small, light, and you can conceal them on a person.  I would look a little goofy with an AK47 under my shirt. 

But in comparison to a long gun, they lack power, and they are much more difficult to learn to shoot well.  Anything you can mount on your shoulder is going to be a far easier platform to get fast, accurate hits with. 

To put this in perspective, when you shoot somebody in self defense, the goal isn’t necessarily to kill them, it is to stop them.  You want the bad guy to stop doing whatever it is they are doing that caused you go pull a gun in the first place.  Live or die is really irrelevant.  You want them to leave you alone.  Sadly, the best way to make somebody leave you alone is to shoot them in their vital organs, and that often results in the bad guy’s death.  But that’s his problem, not yours.

So to stop somebody, there are two main ways to do it, psychologically or physiologically.  Now when I say psychologically, that means the bad guy quits because he decides to, as in “OH CRAP!  He’s got a gun!  Run!”  Or if you shoot them with a non-fatal wound, and they say “Damn, that hurt.  I’m done.” 

But you don’t control the brain waves of the critter attacking you.  You might get lucky and get a bad guy that will just quit, the kind of guy that if he wanted to work hard for a living, would get a job.  Victim with gun = work.  On the other hand, you might get some really crazy, evil, whackadoo, who ain’t gonna stop, no matter what.  And that guy, you’re going to have to shoot.  A lot. 

So that brings us to the physical stoppage of another person.  Now when you are legally justified in shooting somebody, it is normally in a situation where you want them to stop RIGHT NOW.  So you want to hit them with something that will do as much damage to them as possible.  If the guy bleeds to death in 30 minutes, that doesn’t do you much good, because in that time he killed you and raped your family to death.  You want to inflict enough trauma on their body that they have no choice but to quit immediately. 

The problem with this is that most of America’s knowledge about guns comes from watching movies.  Where if I shoot somebody with a .45, they fly backwards out the window, do a flip, roll fifty feet, and burst into flames.  Now as much as I like Bruce Willis in Last Man Standing, that doesn’t actually happen in real life. 

So what do bullets do to you?  Now Internet Wound Ballisticians, whether you’re a morgue monster or a jello junkie, don’t jump my case.  I’m no scientist.  I’m a guy that has to take a very complex topic and break it down into a manner that a person whose entire firearms experience is based on shooting a .22 at scout camp once, can understand in about a 15 minute block of instruction in a 5 hour CFP class.

Handguns poke a hole in you.  That is basically what they do.  If you’re using good hollow point ammo, the bullet may expand, and you will make a bigger hole.  That hole is going to go through stuff that pumps blood.  The bigger and deeper hole you make, through the more important stuff, the more blood is going to go outside, and not to its destination, which tends to be very bad for the guy getting shot.

The body is an amazing creation.  Your body will automatically adjust for trauma as much as possible.  The more holes you put, the more trauma you inflict, the more the body has to adjust for, the greater the chance that the body is going to say “Screw this.  I’m done.” And shut down.

Now you can shoot somebody once with a feeble handgun round, and instantly incapacitate them.  Great.  You won.  But on the same token, we’ve got people that have been shot a dozen times with duty ammo who walk under their own power into the ambulance.   Humans are amazing.

So if people can be so amazing, and I want to stop them right now, then I want to maximize the amount of trauma I inflict on them.  This is where rifle caliber carbines and shotguns rule. 

Not only can I hit the guy more accurately and faster, I can do a lot more trauma.  Plus we’re talking about home defense in this post, not carrying in public, so I’m not worried about concealment. 

On shotguns, if poking one hole is good, poking a dozen at one time, is a whole lot better.  And at the range that shotguns are used defensively, there really isn’t that much spread.  At across room distance, your pattern is usually about the size of a soft ball, and if you’ve got a big house, a basketball.  So you still have to aim.  (Man, I hate that myth that shotguns throw this boulder of death that can’t miss, usually perpetuated by some dude on the internet that doesn’t ever actually shoot anything).  You can still miss, but man when you hit, it does make a mess on the carpet.

Rifle bullets are going a whole lot faster and do a lot more damage than a pistol, (and keep in mind I’m keeping this simple, and not going into ten pages of argument about AP and SS109 and other esoteric information that will make a newbie’s head explode).  When you shoot something with most rifles, you aren’t just poking a hole, but you are actually causing trauma in the tissue surrounding the hole, and most defensive bullets are designed to fragment or tumble and make even bigger, nastier holes in people.   

Here in Utah, where a very large portion of our population has been deer hunting, everybody is at least familiar with the following kind of story.  Most of my students have either shot a deer, or know somebody who has shot a deer. 

So you shoot a deer with a 30-06 (or some other decently powerful rifle bullet).  The wound is fatal, damaging the heart or lungs, and the 150-200 pound deer still manages to take off in a full sprint for 100 meters before it falls over dead.  Pretty common right?  Sometimes the shot isn’t as perfect, and the deer will make it even further.

So why then do I expect to take a human that is bigger than that deer, and possibly high on goofballs and horse tranquilizer, and shoot them with a handgun that has a fraction of the power of that deer rifle, and expect them to stop immediately?

Ahh… The light bulb clicks on.

So if you’re going to get into a gunfight, bring a rifle.  Heck, bring friends with rifles. 

Now another concern that always pops up is over penetration.  People are worried that the more powerful guns are going to poke through more walls of their house, and potentially endanger their neighborhoods. 

Here’s the thing.  Remember good old Safety Rule #4.  Be aware of your target and its environment?  It still applies.  You are responsible for where your bullets go, even in a gunfight. 

And since you’re trying to stop somebody, any round powerful enough to poke a deep enough hole to reliably damage a person, is powerful enough to penetrate a bunch of building materials.  TANSTAAFL.  There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

But this is one benefit of using a rifle for home defense.  Loaded with PROPER ammunition, the more powerful rifle bullet will often penetrate less than a pistol bullet.  A proper defensive rifle bullet is going really fast, and is designed to fragment, which causes more damage to people, but also tends to cause the bullet to break in drywall and 2x4s faster than a slow moving, solidly-constructed pistol bullet.  Either one will still penetrate, but with the correct ammo, the rifle bullet can give you the best of both worlds.

The other concern about long guns usually some how deals with maneuverability, and how if they have to clear their house, the long gun will be awkward. 

First off, clearing your house by yourself is usually a bad idea.  Don’t do it unless you have to.  To illustrate, play this game with your kids or your spouse.  Have them be the bad guy somewhere in your house.  Now, you go find them.  Who sees who first?  Right, usually they see you coming. 

So if possible, take up a defensive position that covers the entrance to your room and your kid’s rooms and call 911.  In this scenario long gun totally wins. 

But if you have to move through your house (kids on a different floor, something of that nature) you can still move with the more effective weapon, it just takes practice and training.  And if you don’t have the patience to get effective moving with a long gun, I doubt you’ve got the patience to become an effective pistol shot under stress. 

As for maneuverability, look at somebody pointing a carbine or an 18” barreled home defense shotgun, side by side with somebody pointing a pistol in a Weaver or Isosceles shooting stance.  Interestingly enough, the long guns don’t poke out that much further in real life.   

So my personal opinion?  Rule number one of a gunfight is to have a gun.  A .25 Lorcin beats a pointy stick.  If your personal situation only allows you to have a handgun at home, great.  Learn to use it.  Learn its limitations (in the case of the Lorcin, that is when it inevitably breaks into three pieces when you look at it funny), and go practice under stress.

If possible, get yourself a long gun.

Now on shotgun vs. carbine, that is all personal preference.  Which one do you shoot better? 

If you’ve got a billion rounds through a 30” 870 Wingmaster dusting clays and are a veritable pheasant holocaust, then if you want to keep an 18” barreled shotgun stoked with buckshot next to the bed, I’m not going to fault you one bit, and I’m not going to try to invade your home at 3:00 in the morning either. 

If you shoot your AK or AR better, do a little reading about what ammo is available, pick a good load, and you’re good to go.

If you are new to both types, the carbine is a little bit easier to learn to shoot and has less recoil.  Plus when the zombies come, (oh mark my words, it is just a matter of time)  it does have more ammunition capacity, and far greater effective range. 

Really, they’ve all got their pros and cons.  I don’t care what you learn to use, just learn to use something, and then go practice.  A lot.