Chronscast Season 1 Episode 3 - An American Werewolf In London with Richard Sheppard

Dan Jones

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For this episode we're joined by Richard Sheppard, host of The Constant Reader Podcast, which takes a deep dive into all things Stephen King, from his numerous novels to the equally numerous movie and TV adaptations of his work.

Richard talks with us about John Landis's seminal 1981 film An American Werewolf in London, a horror comedy that is funny and scary in equal measure, and remains the high watermark for werewolf movies everywhere, and especially so for a curious period in the early 1980s when werewolf fever seems to have had America in its lycanthropic claw. We talk werewolves in general, taking in themes of duality, Jewishness, sexuality, the Beauty and the Beast myth, and of course, the literally transformative advances made in movie make-up and special effects technology in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

We also take the time to talk about The Constant Reader Podcast, about podcasting more generally, and the possibilities of making your voice heard using non-conventional means.

Elsewhere, @The Judge delivers her verdict on defamation, we'll hear Third Player, @Phyrebrat's winning entry from the January 300-word challenge, and A Better Yesterday, @reiver33's winning entry from the February 75-word challenge, and an evening at Connolly's Bar takes a turn for the worse when a full Moon appears from behind the clouds...

Further Reading and Links

The Constant Reader Podcast

Index

[00:00] Richard Sheppard Interview Part 1

[47:20] Voicemail 1

[48:23] The Judge's Corner

[1:02:24] Voicemail 2

[1:03:08] Writing Challenge Winners

[1:06:18] Voicemail 3

[1:07:08] Richard Sheppard Interview Part 2

Join us next month when we talk to author Stephen Cox about swords and sorcery in Fritz Leiber's genre classic Swords And Deviltry, featuring two of fantasy's greatest heroes, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, and Stephen's latest novel Our Child Of Two Worlds.

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The Judge

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I don't read horror, have never seen a horror film, and I don't listen to podcasts (present company excepted), so imagine my surprise when I found myself engrossed by this episode dealing with all three things -- I was particularly interested in the discussion about the relevance of Jewishness and the Beauty and the Beast myth to AAWIL.

Richard Sheppard was both engaging and informative and he gets the Judge's Golden Star Award for being so complimentary about my first talk. I'm not quite sure who then uttered the word "scary" about me, but it's gratifying to know my reputation is being burnished on the airwaves.
 

Dan Jones

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It's encouraging to know that we're even starting to convince our own hosts that we've got a good thing going here!

We knew Richard would be a great guest, his Stephen King podcast is excellent and required listening for any King readers.
 

nixie

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I'm finding myself looking forward to these each month. Long time since I watched American Werewolf in London, I may have to watch it again.

Have to say the country bumpkins are doing a magnificent job and TJ adds a touch of class.

I'm curious, do you know how many are listening and do you think it has drawn people to join?
 

Dan Jones

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I'm curious, do you know how many are listening and do you think it has drawn people to join?

Currently getting around 100 - 125 people listening per episode, which is not bad for starting out, but I'm hoping people will spread the word and tell friends etc to try and increase numbers. I think once we have a few non-Chrons guests on the show we may start to increase those figures as they post it onto their socials and feeds etc.

As for how many people are being driven here by the podcast, I'd guess those numbers are low at present, but we might be able to run some numbers in the future if we use a specific link that can be tracked. For now we're just focusing on making decent episodes.
 

Phyrebrat

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Have to say the country bumpkins are doing a magnificent job and TJ adds a touch of class.
Not to be a love-a-me-do, but this really has bolstered me. Thanks Nixie. I do stress about these episodes and luckily Dan is so meticulous with planning and pragmatic, that he’s certainly the spine of the podcast.

Of course it was Dan who called @The Judge scary. I’d never. Not even think it.

So far the podcast site has been inundated with complaints about dan clicking his pen top. Luckily the slurps of our various liquor can’t be heard on air. (Also I have a new game where I read the challenge entries in one of ‘my’ voices to warm up my vocal cords. Reading Reiver’s in the style of Carry On Up the Chrons was a joy. I read the 300 in the style of Palpatine. Dan refused to use them).

I’m planning on doing the next one in the voice of a lapwing. That’s basically 75 instances of ‘pew-wit’
 

Dave

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I thought that was an excellent in-depth treatment of AAWIL. I'm glad that you will be covering films as well as books.

There were several elements in the film that I had never considered, such as the 'lambs to the slaughter' on the flatbed truck at the start. I'd already appreciated the Jewish aspect, but not how it is a theme running through all John Landis films. In this very old thread on the film ( An American Werewolf in London (1981) ) I was flummoxed by the response that "the film was just a general love story". The member isn't around anymore to reply but my response then was that "The Fly" has a similar theme. I see now that I was missing the whole "Beauty and the Beast"/"Hunchback of Notre Dame"/"Phantom of the Opera" aspect to most horror films, and the point made about the original Lon Chaney "Wolfman" film being very similar, with a very similar ending is a much more compelling argument.
 

Parson

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I also enjoyed the podcast. Which surprised me because like @The Judge, I don't do horror. I listen to a lot of podcasts and in a lot of ways this was your best one. Only toward the end with the discussion about podcasts did I find my attention wandering a bit. Her Honor is finding her feet nicely in this medium. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
 
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Cat's Cradle

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A very enjoyable show, well done all! Dan and Chris, you seem more comfortable with every episode, and TJ, always wonderful to hear your segments... really beneficial for writers, I'd imagine.

I echo Dave's appreciation of the thoroughness of the AAWIL discussion. Really interesting stuff. Richard Sheppard seems like a very nice man, and his depth of knowledge on the topics he discussed was impressive. And I thought your questions for Richard, Chris and Dan, were really good ones. There was a nice flow to the AAWIL segment.
Chronscast is my first podcast, and as I truly cherish S. King's writing, I will be heading over to Mr. Sheppard's podcast to have a listen - so there's my second. There must be an inventory of old shows, I'd hope?

I really enjoyed the end segment with the discussion of podcasts. I really hadn't known much about them, and I found the discussion illuminating, and intriguing. Well done, there, too. And you all mentioned so many interesting-sounding podcasts!
Great show, and looking forward to April's episode, CC
 

Phyrebrat

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@Cat's Cradle - these are my favourite podcasts.

Industry-standard Stephen King podcast with hi profile guests. https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-kingcast/id1512844649

Very entertaining HP Lovecraft and weird fiction podcast; very funny at times, too. ‎The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast on Apple Podcasts

The fantastic Richard Sheppard podcast on Stephen King (our guest for episode 3)

The unchallenged winner of any podcast ever…. This is an academic feminist podcast on horror. It’s outstanding. ‎Faculty of Horror on Apple Podcasts

Podcast for M R James (very English) ‎A Podcast to the Curious - The M.R. James Podcast on Apple Podcasts
 

The Judge

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I'll be doing a proper post about defamation after my final talk, but meanwhile if anyone is interested in knowing a little more about the cases I referred to in this month's waffle, here are some links:

Berkoff -v- Burchill and Times Newspapers -- this is a bit technical as to legal issues for the layperson, but interesting for the dissenting judgement Berkoff v Burchill & Anor [1996] EWCA Civ 564 (31st July, 1996)

Irving -v- Penguin Books and Lipstadt -- this is the judgement of Mr Justice Gray which branded Irving as an anti-semite and racist; very long, but a masterclass of clarity of thought, expression and judgement** Irving v. Penguin Books Limited, Deborah E. Lipstat [2000] EWHC QB 115 (11th April, 2000)

Vardy -v- Rooney -- a judgement on an interim application, to determine the meaning of the words complained of, not the final hearing, which has yet to take place Vardy v Rooney [2020] EWHC 3156 (QB) (20 November 2020)

Gaprindashvili -v- Netflix -- another judgement on an interim application, as Netflix tried to get the case quickly dismissed; again very technical as to legal issues, but it highlights that it's much more difficult in the US for a person to bring a defamation action because of all the legal hoops that must be gone through DocumentCloud

Lady Colin Campbell -v- Lily Safra -- a little light relief, perhaps Campbell v Safra [2006] EWHC 819 (QB) (12 April 2006)

Smith et al -v- Stewart -- this is an appeal court decision against a trial judge's refusal to give summary judgement against Ms Stewart, not the actual trial itself before a jury which took place subsequently, but it gives some detail as to the number of similar facts between Ms Stewart and the character in the novel FindLaw's Court of Appeals of Georgia case and opinions.



** as an aside, the obituary of Sir Charles Gray, who died last week, mentioned something I'd not come across before. At one point during the trial Irving got rather flustered and inadvertently addressed him as "Mein Fuhrer"
 

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