Super Mates 83: House of Franklin-Stein Part 2

The full moon shines on the House of Franklin-Stein! There’s a werewolf on the loose, and the only ones who can stop it are…Gary Busey and Cory Haim? Chris and Cindy discuss Stephen King’s Silver Bullet!

Also from the comic crypt… in war-torn Europe, Captain America meets a werewolf of a different stripe in “An Epic Battle” with art by Bruce Timm!

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Clip credits:

Stephen King’s Silver Bullet directed by Daniel Attias, music by Jay Chataway

Opening wedding march by Marc Shaiman from Addams Family Values

“Captain America” by Jimmy Buffett

“Captain America” theme by Jacques Urbont from The Marvel Super Heroes cartoon series, 1966

Captain America: The First Avenger opening theme by Alan Silvestri

Captain America TV Movie closing theme by Mike Post

“Wolfbane” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers

20 responses to “Super Mates 83: House of Franklin-Stein Part 2

  1. CYCLE OF THE WEREWOLF is a bizarre piece of literature that, like the mythical beast it portrays, went through a metamorphosis to become something unnatural, or at least unconventional. The project was originally solicited to be a calendar, yes, just a werewolf-themed twelve month calendar. Each month would feature a ghastly illustration by Bernie Wrightson, and a short write-up by Stephen King. The text pieces were only supposed to be 500 words or so, but King’s style of prose kept ballooning outward so that he was writing longer vignettes that could not be condensed for the calendar. The calendar concept was then scrapped in favor of an illustrated book of twelve short stories, each one centered around a werewolf in a different month. But it doesn’t really qualify as a novel because the narrative structure doesn’t work, and also there’s not really a protagonist. The guiding plot is the monthly carnage wreaked by this monster, but the young boy who is ostensibly the hero isn’t introduced until the month of July; that’s chapter 7 of 12, and then he disappears again until Halloween (chapter 10 of 12). But the book doesn’t qualify as a collection of short stories either, because half of them aren’t self-contained. So yeah, “novelette” is perhaps the best descriptor; it’s a weird beast.

    As for the film SILVER BULLET, like you two I saw the movie at a young age (although it probably would’ve been on cable in the early ’90s). It scared the heck out me, but the two moments I always remembered were the inventiveness of a vulnerable boy in a wheelchair using a firecracker to defend himself from the beast; and of course the dramatic reveal that the reverend has lost an eye! What a shocking twist to make the man of God, the town’s moral authority, be the killer in secret. Aside from those beats, though, there’s a lot in the movie that’s pretty rough and hasn’t aged well. Still, I have a soft spot for the story and movie because I’ve always loved werewolves.

    As always, another great episode, Chris and Cindy! Keep it up!

    1. Wow, thanks for the info Ryan! The calendar thing makes total sense. I think watching the movie first helped the novelette to have more structure and “feel” more like a novel because I could fill in the holes with the continuity of the movie somewhat. Had I read it cold first, I may have been wondering what I was reading.

      Again, thanks for turning me onto the novelette. I don’t think I knew about the Wrightson illustrations until you pointed it out to me when I first mentioned we were covering this.

      Chris

  2. Loved the episode! OF COURSE I did!

    –I remember seeing SILVER BULLET on cable and thinking it was pretty good. Your synopsis makes me want to see it again, and wonder why it isn’t mentioned more when 80s horror or werewolf movies are discussed. For pete’s sake, it’s got Stephen King and Bernie Wrightson involved, what more do you need?

    –I will say, what is up with that poster? Look at the woman’s face–she looks mildly interested that there’s a werewolf a few feet away. As a fellow artist, Chris, I know you can imagine how many revisions you or I would have had to do to get that right.

    –That Cap story is so much fun, as is most of that book. I wish DC, Marvel, etc would do more collections like that, getting unusual writers and artists to do short one-offs starring different iconic characters. Has Bruce Timm EVER done a bad art job?

    –You find the craziest needle drops. Man, that guy who could talk/sing like Karloff really made a career out of that niche skill, didn’t he?

    –I wish Cindy would drop the vendetta she has about DR PHIBES. The only black mark on an otherwise stellar show!

  3. Thanks Rob!

    – I think the werewolf makeup/suit really puts this movie on the back foot with a lot of folks. It’s a shame, really, because otherwise I think it’s one of the stronger werewolf films.

    – Believe it or not, that’s supposed to be Megan Follows on the poster. The artist aged her up into her early 20s and put her on Valium it would seem. I like the image overall, but he failed on that aspect. She has a great “scared out of her mind” face in the film.

    – Agreed on the collection like that! We should see more of that, and not even worry about what passes for continuity these days. And no, Bruce Timm never did a bad art job. It’s theoretically impossible. Well, unless you count some of those early MOTU mini-comics, where some seem a bit rushed. But hey, he was just starting out!

    – Yes, Bobby “Boris” Pickett rode his 15 minutes of fame out to the last second, and who can blame him? “Monster Mash” actually went to number 1 on the charts, and gets replayed every Halloween. Not a bad gig if you can get it!

    – Phibes is now officially a running gag on this show, and in our life. Despite our enduring love, there are a few unforgiveables we both pull out to torture the other with. This is one of them!

    Chris

  4. Loved this episode, as it’s one of the few in which I can ‘follow along’ completely, i.e., I’ve seen the movie, have the book (Cycle of the Werewolf) and I’ve read the featured comic book story.
    On the movie, since I’m a little older than you guys, I should note that I first saw it with a few buddies in the theater on Halloween back in 1985, when I was 17. We had a good time, but none of us thought the movie was particularly scary, and that comes down to something you touched on several times in the show: that werewolf costume. I remember afterward, as we were walking out of the theater, we were laughing about how he looked like a big, angry teddy bear. I also recall that none of us were too surprised that the reverend ended up being the werewolf – that whole dream sequence (which I agree was probably the creepiest and scariest scene in the movie) seemed to foreshadow it.
    Your audio clips reminded me, however, that Busey actually did a pretty good job in this movie.
    Also, you’re both right that no effort was made to make it seem like 1976 – as noted, I’m a bit older, turned 8 in the summer of 1976, so I remember really well the bicentennial craziness of the 4th that summer (and just the general bicentennial craziness of the entire year).

    On the book – which I found really cheap in a used bookstore because the copy had some water damage – all I have to say is that you should have included at least one of Wrightson’s black and white illustrations at the beginning of each chapter/month. I think they’re far better than the color plates.

    As for the comic, yes, it’s a really fun little story. That whole book, though, is really nice. It works as a great sampler for a whole bunch of different writers and artists; I definitely agree with Rob that there should be more books like that, i.e., a collection of short pieces featuring some iconic character done by different creative teams.
    And finally, as a fellow ethnic Croat, I have to correct your pronunciation of Macan (who I know, by the way): it’s like MOTTS-on (or MOTZ-on if that’s more clear).

  5. Edo, thanks so much for the insight into seeing this movie as a teen. When my friends and I rented the film on VHS, I believe were pretty dismissive of the movie by the end, due to the “bear suit”. And we were a bit younger than you were at the time you saw it, so we were probably a bit more forgiving, but still, it marred an otherwise good movie for us.

    Yeah, I probably should have scanned some of the black and white Wrightson plates as well, but I didn’t want to reproduce the whole book, for legal reasons.

    And boy, do I apologize for butchering Mr. Macan’s name. Wow, I’ve mispronounced a LOT of words in my five years of podcasting, but that wasn’t even in the same ballpark. Thanks for the correction, and for listening!

    Chris

  6. Hi Chris,

    I watched Dr. Phibes again yesterday and it was still awesome. :-)

    I enjoyed the show even though don’t like Silver Bullet. For some reason, I never cared for those E.T. inspired films where the kids were the protagonists. I think I’m the only kid who grew up in the 1980s that didn’t like The Goonies…no offense to your friend Richard Donner. I love the rest of his stuff. I really don’t even remember how I saw Silver Bullet. My college sweetheart , who is the only girl I’ve known in real life who was into horror movies, may have brought it for us to watch or I may have caught it on cable.

    I haven’t read the novella, either. I thought about picking it up for the Wrightson artwork, but my lack of enthusiasm for the movie always prevented me.

    I really didn’t think the priest out to be the werewolf was shocking, because it seems to me like if there is a priest, preacher, religious person in a movie, they always turn out to be the killer. I won’t name a particular Italian film where I guessed the priest was the killer in about 5 minutes, since that would be a spoiler, but it had a lot of kids in it, too, but the portrayal of the kids was very disturbing. The priest was killing kids in the movie. I didn’t like it even though I got to look at Barbara Bouchet for a lot of the film. If you can’t even enjoy Bouchet, you know that had to be a bad movie.

    I haven’t read the Captain America comic. I believe it came out while I was in college and had to stop collecting. I hadn’t heard about Timm drawing a Cap story, so this is something I’ll have to look up.

    1. I can see how the “kid hero” movies can be seen as cloying. I think they hit me at the right time where I had a group of friends who could project ourselves into films like the Goonies, Monster Squad, etc. Honestly, we had some pretty cool adventures. No pirates or undead creatures involved, but still pretty memorable stuff. So that opens me up to liking this strange sub-genre that sprung up in the 80s.

      As for preacher/priest as villain, I think it was more shocking to see back in the day. Of course, historically you have at the very least The Three Musketeers where the Cardinal is the main bad guy, so it’s nothing new, but maybe it’s easier to be shocked by such things when you’re younger, and you haven’t quite figured out yet that authority figures can be less than they seem.

      Thanks for listening!

      Chris

    1. I think Cindy saw more of Werewolf than I did. I remember thinking it was pretty cool, kind of a TV Hulk vibe with a Werewolf, and Chuck Connors (who I loved as The Rifleman) as a bad guy (and another werewolf!) with an eye patch.

      As for Company of Wolves, I don’t believe I ever watched it. I recall the VHS cassette box at our local rental store, and I always thought the guy with the wolf muzzle coming out of his mouth looked like Stephen Tyler.

      Chris

  7. I went into this one thinking that I had never seen Silver Bullet before, but, as I listened to your synopsis, I realized that might not be the case. The scene with the souped-up motorized wheelchair seemed particularly familiar to me. Now, I’m thinking that I might have seen this movie, or part of it, on TV at some point. Then again, I may just be highly susceptible to the power of suggestion.

    Given my Swiss cheese memory, I have no idea what my initial reaction to Silver Bullet might have been, but I did have a crush on Megan Follows back in the day. So her appearance in the film would have been a definite plus for me.

    1. Ah, another Megan Follows fan. There was a charming “girl next door” vibe about her. And since my Mom and sister insisted on taking the TV over to watch Anne of Green Gables, at least I had something to get interested in.

      And I’d bet money you did see at least part of Silver Bullet on TV. Not too many motorcycle/wheelchair combos in film history!

      Chris

  8. This film sounds really good fun, I’ve never heard of it, though I am aware of the King/Wrightson project. Those colour plates in the gallery disappointed me, though, they look too soft, somehow… and were you kidding about the Rev looking like Bill Murray? If I were Murray I’d be crying right now!

    I’m another Gothosmansion, I have no love for all those Goonies/Stand By Me/Monster Squad-type films. I remember them coming out but they all looked so intrinsically American, so darned cute, that I couldn’t be bothered. I tried watching Stranger Things but it reminded me so much of how the stuff I avoided looked that I couldn’t get into it.

    Please don’t hate me, I did like ET.

    I will seek out this film, I’m especially keen to see what’s so good about this Fellowes lady, I don’t know her at all!

    1. I thought the Reverend looked a little Murray-esque. Your mileage may vary.

      After watching that “Lonely Water” video you posted in the JLI comment section, I can TOTALLY understand why you aren’t predisposed to “kid heroes” movies!

      I like ET too! It melts even the hardest of hearts. My Mom heard it was a tear-jerker and brought a box of tissues when we saw it in the theater, first run. She handed one to a sobbing, burly trucker type next to us!

      Chris

      1. My other half, Steve, still won’t watch ET because even though he knows our little alien gets better, he doesn’t trust himself not to weep buckets and buckets when it dies.

        He had to stop Bridge to Terabithia for 20 minutes to pull himself together after something truly sad (no, not Zoe Deschanel’s singing). Love it!

        1. Hey, don’t give Steve too much grief. Either of those would cause anyone to tear up. I still get all verklept at Toy Story 3, even though I KNOW the toys don’t die in the incinerator!

          Chris

  9. Haven’t seen the movie. Haven’t read the comic. Loved the podcast so much it inspired me to write a song for you. (sent to supermates email.)

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