The werewolf is the most under-appreciated and misused of all of the classic horror creatures. Sure, we get all kinds of movies with werewolves in them, but more often than not those films seem more concerned with mentioning werewolves and then showing some bizarre half-assed approximation of them. Like they’re checking off a box on a list.
Obviously one of the most recent and popular misuses of the werewolf would be in the Twilight films, but dissecting those is like taking candy from a baby and I don’t want to spend too much time on it. Suffice to say – they look more like foxes, transform in the daytime, communicate via telepathy and are generally pretty lame. They’re also prone to jorts, which makes them almost like Native American Incredible Hulks who turn into dogs instead of big green guys.
But it’s not up to some teen franchise to carry the torch of one of our best monsters. That falls under the stewardship of actual horror films. So why do most of them drop the ball so badly? Incompetence certainly plays into it and is probably the biggest factor, but there’s still a lot of people with actual talent out there missing the mark. Why?
One of my theories is that too many of these movies seem overly concerned with adding a unique spin or futzing with the rules. I’m not saying there’s not room for that – any genre should be open to reinterpretation. But there are so few great “classic” werewolf movies that maybe we should concentrate on getting a few more of them under our belts. I think that needs to happen before we can expect any spin or subversion of the genre to have any real impact, because right now we’re spinning and subverting something with such a decentralized compass that it just feels random. For example, if you’re going straight into your Nazi Demon Werewolf movie without even exploring some of the inherent possibilities the creature’s metaphor, you’re doing it wrong.
Let’s talk great werewolf movies. And why The Howling might not be one of them. Head inside for more. READ MORE