As a kid, I was given many cheap Wal-Mart editions of the writings of children's author Thornton Burgess, including The Adventures of Old Man Coyote, which contained a back cover blurb that was given a header simply saying "The Howling".
I bring this up because the movie referenced not very appropriately by that children's novel back cover is, on one hand, overshadowed by a similar werewolf movie that came out the exact same year, but has still managed to find itself embedded into pop culture deep enough that it gets its own call outs. I'll be covering that more popular werewolf movie eventually, but of the two werewolf movies of 1981 (three if you count the sorta-werewolf movie Wolfen), The Howling is my favorite.
Of all the werewolf movies I plan on covering, it has the most obvious flaws. It, more than any other, is going to take a very forgiving attitude to dated special effects. At least The Wolf Man has its iconic status going for it. The Howling also features one really cheap jump scare early on, but, to be fair, it makes up for this with one of the most earned jump scares in horror movie history later on. And finally, one of the main reasons I really love it so much is also something people can find annoying.
It's a postmodern werewolf movie. The rules of the werewolf movie have been codified. Now it's time to start playing with them.
"I guess I just sort of ... grew up."
— Ask Jappleack
It's been seven years to the day since My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was first aired, and the geek world changed that day.
So let's talk about the 2017 movie. As far as the story goes, it's pretty bog-standard at this point for MLP:FiM. Bad guy appears (the Storm King, voiced by Liev Schreiber), three of the four magical alicorn princesses prove themselves worthless by getting instantly captured, so it's up to the fourth princess and series protagonist, Twilight Sparkle (voiced by Tara Strong), with her six friends - Applejack (voiced by Ashleigh Ball), Fluttershy (voiced by Andrea Libman), Pinkie Pie (also voiced by Libman), Rainbow Dash (also voiced by Ball), Rarity (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain) and Spike (voiced by Cathy Weseluck) - to save the land of Equestria with the magic of friendship. Which they used to be able to straight-up shoot people with, but they lost that ability back in season four.
Night in the Woods (trailer) is an adventure game by Infinite Fall, a joint venture between game designer Alec Holowka and animator Scott Benson. Kickstarted in October 2013 in the hopes of getting $50,000 USD, it not only reached its goal within 26 hours, it raised over $200,000 within a month!
This was probably helped by Howolka's credibility from making Aquaria in 2007 with Derek Yu. Although Night in the Woods (NITW for short) took longer to develop than initially expected, it was released in February 2017 to very positive reviews.
I liked this game a lot, and the tricky part with this review is that the less you know about the story, the better. It takes place in Possum Springs, a mid-sized (possibly Rust Belt) town with a struggling economy. You play a 20-year-old cat named Mae who's dropped out of college and returned home, trying to deal with (or avoid) some personal issues. Then a couple of… worrying things start to happen.
It's October, and that means Halloween.
To celebrate that fact, I'd like to offer a series of reviews on various werewolf movies.
Werewolves are the closest the worlds of furry and horror brush the closest to each other, though they may have more in common than they seem.
Both furry and horror deal with things of dual natures. Furry explores the line between what we mean when we say "human", and what we mean when we say "animal". The werewolf movie, more than any other sub-type of horror movie (or horror story), explores this same trope, and not just the difference between "wolf" and "man".
I kept plugging it quietly in the background all throughout 2015 and early 2016 (and you guys thought I only covered Zootopia that year). I mean, what if 2016 had been a year where we had six wide release, fully anthropomorphic world movies ranging in genre from buddy cop, to martial arts, to backstage musical, to crime caper, to space opera, and also Rock Dog?
As it ended up, we got, by my count, one great movie, one good movie, one movie that was kind of meh, one movie that turned out to not exist, one terrible movie and also Rock Dog.
As my first story here, I'd like to kick things off with a bang by posting about my personal favorite pieces of conservative animated fare. Fitting seeing as political messages are more popular in children's movies now than ever.
5.) The Angry Birds Movie
Directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly
Theatrical Release Date - May 11, 2016
The most relevant on the list, this film has the gall to take on a subject that's been of great concern in Western Europe for quite some time now: the migrant crisis. Showcasing both the inherent dangers of unfiltered "tolerance" and anti-nationalist sentiment, Angry Birds is a great watch for anyone who wants not only a fun and witty animated feature but a great social statement that's sure to start a conversation.
4.) My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Created by Lauren Faust and Bonnie Zacherle
First Air Date - October 10, 2010
Because I had a hard time finding a lot of content for this list that I could truly say was conservative, it's nice to have a long-winded television series for a change. Now in it's fourth incarnation and running on seven seasons, the show continues to build and explore the world of Equestria. Mainly through the point of view of six girls, one of whom is an apprentice of it's ruler, Princess Celestia.
DISCLAIMER: I have a story in here. Way deep down in the sloth section.
This a collection of dark and often adult tales (or tails, if you pre-fur) that explore the Seven Deadly Sins of Christian fame: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. Trouble makers all, to be sure. It's a rich field of study has reveled countless bumper crops of stories (true and fictional) and offers a handy umbrella to pull together the best of the worst of us storytellers.
Even Dr. Who has a Seven Deadly Sins themed anthology out there.
Still, for all the familiar ground these most famous of sins represent, this was an ambitious collection.
Overall, the anthology itself felt a little rushed. Not the stories themselves, mind you. I don't think there were any clunkers here. There were a few stories, however, that left me wondering what they were saying about their selected sin. Each story feels like it got the right amount of editorial attention.
My quibble is of a Macro sort. Seven Deadly Sins: Furry Confessions called for a sharper editorial eye then I think it got. Too often, very similar themes and acts follow too closely in one story to the next. That's bound to happen in the close quarters of the pages between a book cover.
And, I have to admit, part of my kvetch, might be my fault. I read all the interludes first. They knocked my socks off and I skipped every story to get to the mystery tormenting our hosts. As a result, I'm complaining about the holes in a magic show when I went out of my way to see how the tricks were set up before watching the magicians perform.
So, take my quibble with a few grams of a salt lick. THP is a new publisher and they've made quite a commitment to themed anthologies. I feel they are going to get better with each one. I know I'm looking forward to being there to watch them grow.
Presenting my story thoughts in the order that they appeared, with the interludes excluded and withheld to the end.
On September 4, Fur Affinity released an update to their code of conduct indicating that works or items that promote hate groups will no longer be tolerated on furry's most popular art site. The new rule in the code of conduct (2.7) states:
Do not identify with or promote hate groups and their ideologies
A hate group is one that advocates and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of a designated sector of society (e.g. Nazism, KKK, ISIS). Symbols specifically associated with these groups will not be permitted in user avatars, non-fictional content, or content intended solely to disrupt the community.
Users who identify with or promote hate groups and their ideologies may be permanently banned from Fur Affinity without warning.
The update has already created a stir in furry fandom. Many were pleased with the decision and felt it was a step in the right direction. However individuals within alt-furry used it to launch a particularly harsh attack on Dragoneer with a sock-puppet account named after his recently-deceased cat.
What is free speech?
Of the many rights which are available to us, none is as important as free speech. However, a combination of factors including the high-profile activities of the alt-right in the US, resurgence of right-wing parties across Europe, emergence of various special interest and rights groups and the ease and speed at which news, ideas and, especially, outrage can spread over the internet have led some to question its necessity.
The most concerning statements that I've seen in the furry fandom have been those saying that certain people should not be allowed to speak and should be banned from websites and conventions for holding their views and the idea that it is okay to assault people who hold certain views. In the light of this, I feel it is necessary to explain what free speech is and isn't, why it is important and try to highlight some of the ways in which it directly impacts the furry fandom.
I will start with the Wikipedia article on free speech which describes it thus:
Freedom of speech is the right to articulate one's opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship, or societal sanction.
Further down in the article it breaks freedom of speech into three discrete aspects.
1. the right to seek information and ideas;
2. the right to receive information and ideas;
3. the right to impart information and ideas
In some cases these will be limited due to laws regarding privacy or similar rules but such cases will not be considered here as those limitations generally do not affect free speech in the way that it applies to the furry fandom vis-à-vis the expression of alt-right ideas.
You might think, on first glance, that you might not enjoy this 1987 book due to its similarity to Richard Adam's 1972 classic, Watership Down. That's why it sat on my shelf for almost a decade collecting dust, until recently when I felt the need to dip into some more children's literature.
The barebones plot has a group of small, harmless animals, displaced from their homes by man. A group of survivors venture out into the unknown (and very British) countryside with a Moses-like leader. There are trials and tribulations, including a conflict with their own kind, and eventually they find the promised land where they can live in peace... at least for a few generations.
There's a common line of recent social failure states in furry fandom, and in fandom in general. Not having a conduct policy, having a poorly-phrased or contradictory conduct policy, having an unenforceable conduct policy, or failing to evenly or consistently enforce the policy.
Good, enforceable, clearly understandable, and well-published conduct and harassment policies should be everywhere in furry fandom. But what is the best practice that the furry fandom needs to adopt in the face of not only common every-day jerks, but organised groups such as the Furry Raiders and Alt-Furries?
"So much for peaceful protest."
- Surly, squirrel
Currently, this movie sits at a paltry 11% at Rotten Tomatoes, from 47 reviews (not a big number of reviews for a wide release movie). A grand total of five professional reviewers found enough decent in the movie to muster "fresh" ratings there. This 11% percent matches the original's score, though it had double the positive reviews with 10 of its 89 reviews finding something nice to say about it. So, obviously, not the most critically beloved movie franchise ever.
However, I didn't exactly follow the critics' consensus with the first movie, what with giving it a spot on my annual top ten list. Fred liked it too, in his review of the movie for Flayrah. And I won't be agreeing with the critics again for the sequel (you'll have to ask Fred if he's even seen this second one, though).
But, you know what, who cares? I mean, as I write this, the top story on Flayrah Lamar's article on the alt-right, while Equivamp's take is a little bit below it. Who cares if the cartoon squirrel movie is good or not; it's not like it has anything to say about the real world and the things that are happening in it right now.
In recent years SPR MUCK, a long standing furry fandom MUCK with an international user-base, has quickly seen it's membership decline. In my opinion, this has been caused by a small group of highly vocal users. These users would consistently quote from the playbook of the alt-right, attempt to suppress any discussion of topics such as 'Black Lives Matter' with accusations of being anti-police, and go so far as staging a take over of a location on the MUCK that explicitly allowed political discussion in order to then change the rules and shut political discussion down under claims that it 'only causes drama'. I was very surprised to discover one of these users had been made staff on the MUCK, and wanted to know how this could have happened.
To answer this question, I'd like to present to you an on-the-record conversation I had this weekend with "Snout", the head of policy. This conversation has been edited for terseness. It may serve as an important indicator of the risks of insular fandom attitudes and the peril of existing within a local bubble.
Philly Metro's "Inside Philly's first furries convention" offers a compelling summary of our fandom's latest (and quite successful) convention. But its title betrays a lack of research. While Drayne and his team are to be congratulated for bringing a new furry convention to the City of Brotherly Love, it is by no means the first… nor even the largest furry con held there.
The first honour belongs to Furtasticon, chaired in November 1994 by Trish Ny – which was also furry fandom's second convention, spun up in the space of a few months, allegedly after perceived
In the days before mobile phones and the Internet, people would have to have conversations with their pets to keep themselves from going insane. That's how it is with the Monroes, a nuclear family with two young children, two careers, and two pets: a cat (Chester) and a dog (Harold).
And every day, when the family members head out of the house, they leave their pets unsupervised to indulge in their vices. Chester reads horror stories; Harold daydreams about food. Life is perfect.
Until the day the Monroes go to a Dracula film, and come home with a little fluffy bundle of a rabbit in a shoebox full of dirt.