23rd Apr2018

Interview: Bryn Hammond & Nick Stead talk ‘The Complete History of the Howling’

by Philip Rogers

The Howling series has continued to prove popular amongst the horror fans and has spawned seven sequels following the ground-breaking original in 1981. A new book written by Bryn Curt James Hammond, called The Complete History of the Howling, gives a detailed account regarding the making of all eight films, which includes; new interviews with surviving cast members, never before seen photos and a new unofficial story arc by Nick Stead (Hybrid). Released by Miami Fox Publishing, this is the definitive guide to the most popular werewolf franchise of all time.

I got an opportunity to talk with writer Bryn Curt James Hammond’s and Nick Stead to discuss how the idea for the book came about originally, the most memorable moments and their favourite sequel.


How did the idea for the book The Complete History of the Howling come about originally?

Bryn – The book came about in 2014, I loved The Howling IV (1988) movie and I Just thought there was a gap in the market. I staff member who used to work for me when he worked at Gorezone magazine, wrote a retrospective book The Return of the Living Dead. I new there was a gap in the market for the howling series and that is how it all came about.

You worked together with Nick, what was the process of you working together on the book?

Bryn – Nick loves werewolves and he is literally… well you say why you’re a werewolf fan.

Nick – This is a question I get asked the most because I have my werewolf series. I don’t know, I just love them. I have always had a love of things with big fangs and claws, the idea of being able to shapeshift into an animal really grabbed me as a kid and I have just been fascinated and never really grew out of it. I started writing back when I was fifteen on my own Hybrid book series and then it kind of came about through a mutual fan of ours who was like “You should work together on this Howling book” and that is how we started collaborating.

So, you bring the knowledge of werewolves…

Nick – My main contribution has been a story arc. I could create what I wanted to do with it as long as it was based on one of the Howling movies. The first one is my favourite because the werewolves are just awesome in that movie and I love it. The story arc is based on the first one a week after it ends. Without giving too much away I wanted to get a feel of the movie and as though it could be an extra scene at the end, but still make it my own piece. I just wanted to give the Howling horror fans something they would enjoy.

Bryn – So, you know where the first Howling finished off and Dee Wallace is shot, that is where the story picks up from. We are touring with the book from May 12th at HorrorCon and if the book does particularly well then, we are going to buy the lease of the Howling brand and then we are going to turn Nicks story into a reboot of the franchise. Obviously its all to do with if it does well and if people are genuinely interested. If there not, then financially it wouldn’t be a viable project.

There have been seven sequels in the franchise so far, what do you think makes the series so popular with the horror fans?

Bryn – Well everyone wants to see the werewolf transformations, however what makes the series so popular I do not know (laughs). We all know there are some really bad movies in that franchise. I was talking about it to one of the special effects guys the other day and he said the Howling series is probably one of the worst werewolf franchises ever created, however it still makes a lot of profit because people love to see a good howling movie, or bad howling movie!
So, what’s your favourite howling movie? We do not include the first one

For the sequels I actually like number three surprisingly enough, I know that’s not a very popular choice.

Bryn – Oh my god. You know that lead actress in Howling III (1987)? She moved from Australia to Los Angeles and basically the only job she’s ever asked about is the Howling, that’s a real good thing that she is asked about it. The only reason why she is hired to do anything is because she was in The Howling III, but she really wants to forget about it. My thought of this, if you are going to do something don’t forget about it. She has already admitted that was the only thing that made her famous and people still talk about it now. But she doesn’t want to talk about it obviously.

It is a shame when they can’t embrace it, because that is the film which made her famous in the first place.

Bryn – She doesn’t really realise how big Dame Edna Everage is. Dame Edna Everage is a household name in the UK and that’s the issue with her.

That brings me onto my next question. You have been in contact with a lot of people involved in the original films, obviously as you say some more keen to talk than others. What are the most memorable moments you had?

Bryn – There have been a few people who have asked for financial payments for the interview. One asked for nearly 45k! She’s a terrible actress. I have seen some of her films other than the Howling, she is bad in the Howling but even worse in some of the other films. One wanted two grams of coke for the interview! Its been quite memorable for what the requests were.

What was the most enjoyable moments researching the book?

Bryn – I’m not really researching the movies because the films are already available to watch. The most enjoyable thing about bringing it to the forefront, the fact I loved The Howling IV (1988). It was the first werewolf movie that I had ever watched, I enjoyed interviewing and speaking to people from the movie.

Having spoken to people from the films, has it changed your perspective of how you looked at the films?

Bryn – Yes, obviously with the coke addicts then yeah. I found a new appreciation, because I didn’t really understand what went into creating the special effects. Howling IV had a lot of people work on it with the puppeteers, people who controlled the computers to move the werewolves face. I found a new respect for the people. I must say, Nick Benson, he worked on Society (1989) and loads of bigger movies, he’s brilliant. He worked on loads of horror movies, The Blob (1988). I made a new friend out of him and we WhatsApp quite regularly now. There is a story which he tells in the book which is very amusing. Do you remember the scene with the melting man?

Howling IV that’s the one in the woods… yes.

Bryn – Half of it was filmed in South Africa and the other half was filmed in Los Angeles. If you go back and watch the movie, there is an arm which keeps banging on the water, or the slime whatever it is. Well that was Nick Benson’s arm. In the end he had to go A&E that evening because he had been banging his arm none stop over a long period of time lost circulation in his arm and he had to be rushed off to hospital. So, I have a new respect for these people.

Bill Forsche was the werewolf as well, he had to lie half ways in the werewolf suit and also on a dolly rig, so he was there with the fire. He did the werewolf special effects, we have some amazing pictures and he has been brilliant. We’ve had Steve Johnson involved in the book, he did the special effects for An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Howling II (1985) and he actually created Slimer from Ghostbusters when he was off his head. He’s a brilliant person, very creative and even worked on Night of the Demons (1988).

Looking on IMDB he has done a lot.

Bryn – He is a creative soul.

Did you get to speak to Dee Wallace?

Bryn – I did, she is a lovely person. We accommodated her because the other horror books which are similar to what we are putting out, we read what the criticisms were as such. I think it’s the Friday the 13th book which came out, there was a lot of negativity about not actually having full pages of cast interviews. So, based on the criticism Dee Wallace I think has four pages. Brilliant actress.

Nick – We will be guests with her at Sheffield Horror Con so I look forward to that.

Bryn – Are you aware that we are doing the horror cons?

I know you were doing the press release, where else will you be attending?

Bryn – We have signed an exclusive deal with the Horror Con, so we are doing signings right up until the on sale of the book which will be in November. But people can pre-buy the book if they come to the Horror Cons. That was the deal

Nick – So the first one we are doing is in Edinburgh which is the 12th May. London which is the last weekend of June first weekend of July. Then Liverpool end of September, Birmingham Halloween Special and then Bristol is November.

Bryn – We are working right up until November and then the book will go on sale which will be the likes of Waterstones, Blackwell’s, all the big stores.

Nick – That list I went through it will be at each of those events and we have exclusive prints which will be available.

Bryn – If people come to the Horror Con and purchase the book there are five stills which will be exclusive and no one else has got. They will be sold with each purchase of the book at the events. The images are not included in the book either. These are images which we have purchased, so they are not available online, so no one has seen these images, they are very exclusive. Anyone who buys the book from us when we do the signings will get five prints. For each Horror Con event there will be five different images. These have been supplied by a cinematographer of the movies.

Nick – So come and see us at the Horror Cons.

Bryn – The book covers the Howling movies, but it also covers the history of werewolves and the different type of werewolves there are. That’s Nicks forte, anything to do with the history of the werewolf.

Nick – Bryn knows all about the celebrities and stuff, where as I know all about werewolves.

Nick, I don’t think I asked you this, what is your favourite sequel in the series?

Bryn – Mine’s part four

Nick – Part four is cool because I like the connection with demons and Satan, because it was all witchcraft and the devil. It is a really modern idea about bites that turn you and a fall moon. Also, the second one has a lot of witchcraft in that which was quite cool. I am not really a fan of part three, so it has to be two or four.

Did you have any obstacles you had to face when trying to complete the book?

Bryn – The biggest obstacle is people not wanting to be involved, then people promising to do interviews and then saying they have not received the questions.

Do you have any other projects which you are working on?

Bryn – Nick’s got a witch project coming out in…

Nick – Hopefully it will be this year. I am taking a break from my Hybrid werewolf series to do something based on the Pendle witches. It all started with a short story competition and everybody loved it, so I decided to carry on with that to do something a bit different and take a break from werewolves. It will be out this year. I was hoping to have a draft by now, but things are taking over, so it has been held back a little bit.

Bryn – He is just in the process of signing a contract with Miami Fox Publishing and he’s replacing my book the A Case for Murder: Aaliyah Files which is due out in August. His book is going to replace that, so he is going to be doing the Waterstones tour.

Do you have anything else you are working on Bryn?

Bryn – As I said, once this book has proved profitable we are going to lease the rights to The Howling movie and then we are going to proceed with making a werewolf movie. I have spoken to Nick [Bedford] and Bill Forsche and asked for their involvement and both have agreed. I would like to do a werewolf movie that is worthy and no CGI. Nick Bedford doesn’t mind CGI as long as it’s for tidying it up. If you’ve got a wrinkle and you use Instagram and like to do a bit of a dusting to remove the wrinkle, that’s fine I agree with that, but not when its excessive.

What sort of involvement are you both looking to have in the film?

Bryn – I want to make sure if I lease the title I will have control of what I want on the screen, so I am your boss. I would like Nick’s creativity because he knows werewolves better than anyone I have ever known. He bores me half the time when he talks about it. If we are not talking about movies, we are talking about werewolves the entire time. He is the only person who is boring enough to get involved in the project.

Nick – I got really upset when I did a really detailed description of a werewolf transformation in my first book, I sat on google comparing human and animal skeletons then I watched a moment in The Howling and I was like oh my god that’s pretty much how I described it.

One last question. Both being writer what advice would you give to someone who wants to write, but they are not sure where to start?

Nick – Write because you like too, because it is definitely not a get rich quick scheme. Get into it as hobby and see if you have any local writing hobby groups. I am a member of Huddersfield Author’s Circle which is a group of local writers who meet. We do workshops and reading meetings, it’s good to get some feedback and generate some new ideas. I found that really helpful because you get unbiased opinions on your work. Get people to read your work and get feedback, because that’s what help you grow as a writer. You do need people who are not just going to say that’s fantastic, like friends and family might do because they don’t want to hurt your feelings, you need someone to give you honest opinions. Stick with it and be determined.

Bryn – I think, if you’ve got something that you want to put on paper just write it. Just write what you enjoy writing, whether its good or bad just write. There is a lot of issues now with mental health and writing is a real good form of relief. If you think it’s worth being published then submit it, you will probably get four or five knockbacks but keep trying. We are in the generation of self-publishing, so if the publishers don’t like it publish it yourself. But expect criticism because if it’s a pile of shit, even if you do think it’s great. You’ll get negativity on the internet and they are going to be brutal. Some people are not very nice about me, so the fact is you’ve just got to smile and say, “OK, well at least I am still talked about.”


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