Archive for Werewolves

Werewolves are underappreciated

Posted in movies, Stuff I think is cool with tags on February 19, 2009 by bradellison

In literature the vampire is all over the place from Le Fanu and Polidori on down to the supernaturally-themed smutty paperbacks that now require their own section in the bookstore and the supernaturally-themed less-smutty romances that now require their own section in the YA section of the bookstore.  Yet where are the werewolf novels?  Against a raft of vampire classics, the noble lycanthrope can muster only The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde which doesn’t even technically have a werewolf in it, and The Werewolf of Paris, which, be honest now, you probably haven’t even heard of.

In cinema, he fares better, but not that much better.  The Wolf Man is an undisputed classic.  Curse of the Werewolf is one of the more unjustly overlooked Hammer also-rans.  You’ve got The Howling, which is awesome, but you’ve also got all the sequels, which are not.  Then there’s the American Werewolf movies, and Cursed, which were kind of okay.  And I guess Skinwalkers was okay in a b-movie drive-in double-feature kind of way.

That’s, like, half a dozen decent werewolf movies.  I personally own more than half a dozen awesome vampire movies, and my collection still has some crucial gaps in it.  I mean, I don’t even have Near Dark yet.

The awesome werewolf movies are out there, but not in great numbers.  The only ones I can think of: Dog Soldiers and the Ginger Snaps series.

Dog Soldiers: somebody at some point said “why don’t we make Aliens, but with British special forces guys instead of Colonial Marines, a Scottish farmhouse instead of an abandoned installation, and werewolves instead of aliens?”

So they did.  And it was awesome.  Smart, tough, competent soldiers are the protagonists, so we’re spared the customary parade of idiocies that usually give movie monsters their edge (“Okay, let’s split up!”), and they’re aware of just how much trouble they’re in (well, almost), and so we skip the oblivious victims stage that gives movie monsters their other edge (“hey, wanna go out to the pier and smoke some pot while having premarital sex?  It’s perfectly safe!”).  It’s not enough, of course.  Werewolves are smart, tough, and vicious.  Still, this time they’re hunting guys capable of lasting more than a minute in a bare-knuckle brawl with a werewolf.

The Ginger Snaps movies are, in many ways, diametrically opposite to Dog Soldiers.  Instead of using the werewolf as an external threat, Ginger Snaps embraces the internal element.  The monster within.  It’s also about the suburbs, high school outsiders, sisterhood, and lycanthropy as a metaphor for puberty.  And it’s about growing up, in a way completely unrelated to puberty.

The sequel’s about addiction, and insanity, and a few other things.

There need to be more werewolf pictures like these.