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Historical Background: The Real Mad Monarch of Mongolia

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2012 at 6:08 am

The action in Baron Blackwolf: Dogs of God takes place from 1914 to 1920. The sweep of the story carries us from the Baltic sea coast castle of the von Schwartzwolfs, to the decadent salons of St. Petersburg in the last days of the Russian Empire, through the chaos of Revolution, and on to Siberia and Mongolia during the Russian Civil War — a conflict fought mostly along the Trans-Siberian railroad and dominated by fantastic armored trains; battleships on rails.

Two historical themes are united in this story:

The savage exploits of a modern Vlad the Impaler (Dracula), the “Mad Baron” Roman von Ungern Sternberg, and the historically documented werewolf tradition of the 17th century “Dogs of God” in the Mad Baron’s own Baltic homeland. The two themes fit together so well that it not surprising that Baron Sternberg, who slept with his man-eating dogs, was rumored to be a werewolf. His atrocities and tortures were legendary. His mad vision was apocalyptic. If his evil had not been eclipsed by Hitler and Stalin, he would have been infamous as the most depraved warlord of the 20th century

The Mad Baron

Roman von Ungern Sternberg came from a German-Russian family descended from the Teutonic Knights of old Livonia. The German Knights had sojourned in Hungary after the Crusades, and thus Sternberg could claim descent from Attila the Hun. His family were all robber-barons, pirates and mercenaries. He was a trouble maker as a boy and a brawler in the Russian army. Before World War One he was sent to Mongolia because he was too hot-headed for garrison duty in Siberia. While there he learned the tactics of Mongolian terrorism from the “Two-Gun Lama” Jansang Khan.

But the outbreak of war with Germany called him to the European front where his reckless bravery won him the coveted Cross of St. George and a series of promotions. When the 1917 Revolution broke out Sternberg, an ardent monarchist, sided with the White Russian forces against the Bolsheviks. It is possible that he was allied with the mysterious Buddhist lama spy-master Agvan Dorjieff in a plot to carve out a huge Mongol empire in Central Asia. (One of Dorjieff’s disciples was Sternberg’s supply officer.) Once in Siberia General von Sternberg invaded Mongolia with a rag-tag regiment of Cossacks, Russian Mongols, and assorted soldiers of fortune. They defeated a Chinese warlord’s army in a spectacular battle for the city of Urga and proceeded to set a new standard for rape and pillage.

Sternberg had received a serious head wound and was disfigured by an angry scar. Perhaps this was what drove him insane, but whatever the cause of his madness, the results were horrific. He fed his enemies, and even his own men, to his vicious dogs. He froze men to death and baked them in ovens. He believed he was the reincarnation of Genghis Khan. He created his own religion that was a mixture of the Biblical Revelation and Buddhist Shambhala. The blind High Lama Bogdo-gegen declared him “The Warlord of Mongolia.”

By this time he was completely mad and wore an array of Buddhist and shamanic fetishes. He was so feared that no one dared to look into his ferocious eyes, and no one dared to disobey his orders. His mad dream was to raise a Mongol horde and attack the Red Army in Siberia, driving them back to Moscow while hanging a Bolshevik every 100 meters along the way (shades of Vlad the Impaler!). His first battle with the Reds was a victory, but the second was a disaster. In the aftermath his own men turned against and he was captured.

One story has it that he chewed up and swallowed this Cross of St. George before he was executed, the second version is that the Bolshevik firing squad used it as an aiming point. In our version of the legend Gunter von Schwartzwolf becomes “The Mad Baron.”

The Mongolian and Livonian Werewolves

The werewolves in Baron Blackwolf are not unfortunate victims of moon-madness who undergo involuntary physical transformations into beasts. They are members of a very ancient clan of shamanic hunter-warriors who have the wolf as their totem animal, and their spirit double.

Although we can surmise that the cult originated with feral wolf children in the Altai Mountains of what is now Mongolia, the earliest mention of these werewolves comes from the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. He connects them with the Central Asian Scythians and places them in the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe. Successive migrations of peoples from the same Mongolian point of origin into Eastern Europe continued the werewolf tradition: following the Scythians, came the Turks who believed they descended from a man mating with a she-wolf, then came the Huns, and the Magyars, all with wolf legends, and finally the Mongols themselves who believed they sprang from the mating of the gray wolf Borte Chiona, and the red deer, Quaal Maral.

The tradition spread into Northern Europe and spawned German warrior cults who called themselves “Wolf-Coats,” wearing wolf-skins and wielding iron claws. The medieval Teutonic Knights of who fought the Pagan witches and warlocks in the Baltic wilderness where our von Schwartzwolf castle was located had sojourned in Hungary after returning from the Crusades, and had brought the Hungarian “Taltos” shape-shifting shamanic lore with them.

Finally the “Dogs of God” were exposed in the famous werewolf trial of Thiess in late 17th century Livonia. The old werewolf admitted that he and his companions made yearly journeys down to hell on Christmas Eve to scourge the witches and bring back the seeds they had stolen so that the peasants could have a good harvest. The “Dogs” may have been werewolves, but they were good Christians and their trip to hell was certainly a shamanic spirit voyage worthy of Castaneda’s Don Juan.

Copyright 2012 by Old Iron Box Productions.

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The Secret of The Old Iron Box

In Uncategorized on October 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm

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Baron Theodore von Schwartzwolf holds the key to the old iron box. In the year 1900 Eric and Gunter von Schwartzwolf are little boys growing up in their family’s half-ruined castle on the Baltic coast of Livonia. In the old cemetery behind the castle they discover an underground vault and a secret cave that contains a mysterious relic: The Old Iron Box. Their Mongolian nursemaid tells them that “There is nothing down there but old bones.”

On the next full moon the boys watch while The Old Iron Box is carted away by equally mysterious Orientals, but their father, Baron Theodore von Schwartzwolf tells them: “I have The Book and I have The Key…And when you are full-grown, one of you shall have them both,” Their mother watches from the castle window. She knows which of her sons was born with the Mark of the Beast and she prays for his soul.

In 1904 the Russo-Japanese War calls Colonel Theodore von Schwartzwolf and his family back to Siberia where he commands a Mongol Cossack regiment. The boys grow into teenagers as Mongols, under the tutelage of Lama Chono Dorje who is an elder in the ancient Wolf Cult. While they are stationed in Siberia the boys befriend Elena Igorovna, the teenage daughter of Grand Duke Igor Romanov, their father’s commanding general.

Germany declares war on Russia in 1914. Gunter, with his father’s influence, has obtained an officer’s commission in the Tsar’s cavalry, while the more scholarly Eric is off to the university at St. Petersburg. On their last night in the castle old Baron Theodore interrupts a fight between the two brothers over the old book the Canii Deus which Eric is trying to translate from Latin to Russian. The Baron has decided to give The Book and The Key to Gunter even though his is not convinced that Gunter has “The Legacy” in his blood. When Gunter asks “Where do I find “The Old Iron Box?” Baron Theodore replies: “Distinguish yourself in battle and perhaps it will find you.”

Gunter von Schwartzwolf goes off to war while his brother Eric falls in love with the now grown-up and beautiful Grand Duchess Elena Romanov. Gunter returns and seduces Elena, but a horrifying black wolf nearly kills them both. Eric is disillusioned and bitter. He joins the Bolsheviks. Elena, as a lady in waiting upon the Empress, is entrusted to conceal the most valuable of the Russian Crown Jewels, the Polar Star Ruby. In the chaos of the Revolution she and her family are separated. Gunter quickly becomes a leader in the White Russian resistance movement. Elena’s father Duke Igor gives him command of a Siberian Cossack division to invade Mongolia, where he hopes to find The Old Iron Box — then he will raise a Mongol horde to re-conquer Russia. But before Gunter can launch his invasion he is wounded and disfigured.

Meanwhile Eric becomes a commissar aboard a monstrous armored “Death Train” sent out to loot the Russian churches and recapture the lost Romanov gold. The atrocities the Death Train’s shock troops are inflicting on the defenseless priests and nuns disturbs Eric. A black wolf takes revenge on the Cheka troops. — and then Elena Romanov reappears as a helpless refugee whom he now protects.

With eyes glowing feral yellow Eric destroys the Death Train and escapes with Elena into the wilderness of Siberia. They winter in the cabin of Ivan the cannibal while Eric bonds with the wolves and forges his wolf-claws. In the spring they journey to Mongolia where Gunter has become a feared and hated mystic warlord known as “The Mad Baron.” Here the two brothers will confront each other in a climactic duel to decide which one will inherit the family’s dark legacy, and uncover the final secret of The Old Iron Box.

Kevin Connor, the Director

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm

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One of Hollywood’s most respected and productive directors with an impressive track record of hit films and t.v. movies. Kevin directed the classic Edgar Rice Burroughs adventure films THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT and THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT which have just been re-released as a double feature DVD. He also directed the popular MOTEL HELL, and the critically acclaimed mini-series FRANKENSTEIN for Hallmark.

Ed Asner as The Baron

In Uncategorized on October 15, 2012 at 6:23 pm

One of America’s finest, best known and most respected character actors. Ed has now made his Broadway debut in the hit play GRACE at the Court Theater in New York on October 4th, 2012 to rave reviews. He had the starring “voice” role in the Disney-Pixar smash hit UP, and has recently appeared twice on HAWAII 5-0.

Alex Feldman as Gunter

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm

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Ukrainian born actor most recently seen in THE CHERNOBYL DIARIES, Alex has an impressive filmography along with producing and directing credits. He gives us a frightening glimpse of “The Mad Baron” he will become.

Morgan McClellan as Eric

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm

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Up-coming young actor with just the right mix of strength and sensitivity to portray the complex character of Eric, the gentle scholar with a dark secret.