Early in The Last Stand,
the small-town sheriff played by Arnold Schwarzenegger says, "It's my
day off. Should be a quiet weekend." That's the new way of saying, "I've
got one week to retirement," because it signals — with flashing neon
and everything — that life is going to royally upend those plans.
One of the most inconsistent franchises in movie history is the one beget by Tobe Hooper's 1974 classic, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. How does one follow all those less-than-beloved sequels? Lionsgate's latest in the series — the seventh — has a solution: Ignore 'em.
Not long after Batman changed Hollywood in the summer of 1989,
every studio wanted to have the next comics-based blockbuster. I
remember visiting Penn Square Mall’s multiplex (as I did often back
then) and seeing a poster for Captain America. The one-sheet was comprised of little more than a close-up of Cap’s iconic shield and a promise to arrive next summer.
With the Broken Lizard comedy troupe becoming increasingly broken, member Paul Soter has branched off to write and direct something about as far away as one can get from the likes of Super Troopers and Beerfest: a horror film. Now that I've seen it, I'm thinking maybe he should stay on his own.
Who’s Joe Nimziki, you ask? He’s just made his directorial debut with “The Howling: Reborn,” now on Blu-ray and DVD just in time for Halloween viewing. It’s not required that you read our review of the franchise’s eighth chapter before the breezy convo below, but it sure won’t hurt, either.
R&R: How did you get involved with the film? Were you approached to do it by the rights holders or was it the other way around?
Nimziki: I was approached by (producer and rights holder) Joel Kastelberg. He wanted to make a film called "The Howling," but I was free to create whatever story I desired.
R&R: Were there any other wildly different concepts considered before this one was chosen?
Nimziki: I always consider many options before settling on one. I did know that I wanted the werewolves to be in the present-day city, though, instead of in the woods or some past or future time, because I felt like I hadn't really seen that before. But I considered many story incarnations including older and younger leads before settling on teens. It just seemed like such a natural pairing to me: coming of age, lust, hormones, trying to stay in control and werewolves.
R&R: Did the success of “Twilight” figure in the decision to make it youth-centric?
Nimziki: I actually wrote and registered the script before there ever was a "Twilight” movie or book. The irony is, at the time, it made studios nervous to have a teen love story at the center of the movie. They wanted more of a “visceral creature killing off victims one by one in the woods” type of thing ... but we weren't interested in that. I do think once “Twilight” came out and did well, it helped people realize more of what we were going for and that there was an audience for it, and got the project off the ground.
R&R: Where do you think this one fits in the entire “Howling” franchise?
Nimziki: Hard to say, since I've only seen — and am a fan of — the original. But I will say this is an original story with a few nods to the first “Howling,” and I think it leads to an even better story next time around. I thought it had some interesting commentary on the human condition, and the werewolves were groundbreaking at the time.
R&R: Although the original “Howling” was a hit, it doesn't enjoy the same staying power today as, say, “An American Werewolf in London.” Do you think the name brand still means anything to today's audiences?
Nimziki: “An American Werewolf In London” was honestly my favorite all-time werewolf movie. I loved how they combined humor and scares and characters you were vested in, and I think that's why it has aged so well.
But I think “The Howling” as an entity is just as well-known. The poster for the original is so iconic, and the logo and art is probably the most imitated in key-art history. So even though I know much of our audience has never seen a “Howling” movie or is consciously aware of the title, unconsciously it's made an impression. And from the research screening and early reaction, they seem to really enjoy the film which, in the end, is the important thing.
R&R: The end credits seem like an obvious setup for a kick-ass sequel. Are their plans to do one, and would it go the route as implied?
Nimziki: Yeah, I would like the next chapter to go that route. Funny enough, the next story is one I considered telling in this movie, but it would have been a little too ambitious for the limited dollars and shoot days we had, so I wrote what I considered a prequel. But hopefully, we'll get a chance to tell that story next time. —Rod Lott