It turns out Ozzy Osbourne isn’t the only rocker who likes to bark at the moon.
This is the time of year horror movies are all over TV and streaming services and one that’s a “must-see” if you come across it is the most recent in “The Wolfman” franchise. The original 1941 starring Lon Chaney Jr. is an obvious classic but the 2010 reboot starring Benicio del Toro is, I think, an excellent tribute to this iconic movie monster.
If you do choose this version I recommend you not only keep a close eye on the beautifully shot gothic scenes but to also keep your ears tuned into what you’ll hear, especially if you are a fan of KISS and Van Halen. It turns out the director of the 2010 “Wolfman” John Johnston utilized the voices of Gene Simmons and David Lee Roth to come up with the distinctive wolf howls heard in the film. That’s right, Gene Simmons and David Lee Roth. Here is a quote from Johnston an interview done by the now defunct boxoffice.com where the director comments on his use of Simmons’ and Roth’s howls.
“We tried a lot of things to see what would work and be interesting. We listened to every wolf howl ever done on every film. We listened to all of them. And you’d be surprised how unconvincing most of them are….We didn’t get a lot from our research in what’s been done before. We were looking for this great pure tone—we knew we were going to process it and overlay elements to it, but we wanted that great foundation. We tried Gene Simmons and one of Gene Simmons’ howls is in the movie. I don’t think Gene Simmons would recognize it, but it’s in there. We had David Lee Roth come in and do a few howls……That was a blast. We had opera singers come in and howl, we had animal impersonators. Gene Simmons and David Lee Roth were pretty near the end of the process. By then we knew what we were looking for, we were homing in on it. And their stuff became the most useful stuff that we did. Like I said, I don’t think they would recognize it after what we’ve done to it because we’ve digitally processed it and added cool overtones and all that stuff. We were basically just looking for a wolf howl you’d never heard before.”
Around the time of the movie release Johnston also spoke with Mark Salisbury, a blogger from Britain, and offered up some more on the subject. This comes from the Hero Complex website:
MS: Is it true that KISS singer Gene Simmons is the voice of the Wolfman?
JJ: It’s partly true. Gene Simmons came in and did some howls for us that were amazing. He has this amazing voice and range and sustainability. He did these howls that went on and on and on, and we kept thinking he’s got to run out of breath any second, but he’s got this amazing lung capacity. He did some howls for us.
They are then electronically enhanced and the sound people are working with them now. I’m not sure how much of the stuff that Gene Simmons did is still in the movie or will be in the movie, because you add things and change stuff — it’s a process of evolution. So it is true in the sense that he did some Wolfman howls for us.
MS: Who else did you get in?
JJ: We did David Lee Roth and another couple whose names I don’t remember. We also did an opera singer. We did a woman who was a singer. We did some babies.
I did a search on YouTube to see if anyone could find the specific howls done by Simmons and/or Roth and did come up with one video. This was posted by YouTube user VladimirTheFirst who alleges that this howl comes from The Demon Gene Simmons. Unfortunately he doesn’t include any information to confirm that it is, in fact, Gene so who knows? Give it a listen and see if you can hear a little of Gene’s howling:
So now you’ve been informed and warned. The next time there’s a full moon it’s not just the Wolfman’s howl you’re hearing, it’s probably another “killer” high note coming from a couple of legendary rockers.