Whilst werewolves have been the subjects of films at least as early as 1913's The Werewolf, werewolf movies has always played second fiddle to vampire movies. Heck, maybe even third fiddle, with zombies probably having overtaken them. Werewolf films are therefore like the Dr. Pepper to Zombies' Pepsi and Vampires' Coke. The Rodney Dangerfield of monsters. And yet werewolves' history, both in cinema and reality, is indelibly intertwined with other, more popular monsters. Historically, werewolves were even viewed as likely candidates for vampirism after death. And in films they have a long history of grudge matches with their undead enemies. In the past, it was usually Dracula himself vs. The Wolf Man in a series of B-movies. Now, vampires and werewolves are often depicted as members of different races of beings with ancient hatreds that play out less in the horror genre than the fantasy.
Why don't werewolves get more love? Where did it all go wrong? Maybe it's just because, for the most part, great werewolf films are few and far between -- most of the early ones, which may be the genre's Vampyr or Nosferatu, are lost. Maybe it's because werewolf films are always introducing more and more mythology to the canon, shaping and shifting our perceptions of werewolves as cunning and secretive in the silent era, to rampaging maniacs in the '40s, to Vampire hating proles in modern, dark fantasy. Beyond film, vampires have captured the black hearts of the dispossessed and pasty goth subculture in a way werewolves never have. I mean, Peter Murphy didn't sing, "Lon Chaney Jr.'s Dead." I, for one, have always identified with werewolves more than any other monster. I'm not sure why, but I think there's more to it than them being the underdogs... or wolves as it were. Plus, once (after going to bed in upstairs), I awoke in the early morning on the ground outdoors... unclothed... with bloody bits of skin under my nails and no memory of how I got there.
Two hundred years ago today, the greatest of early American writers was born in Boston, Massachusetts: Edgar Allan Poe. The master of the macabre, horror and one of the earliest practitioners of the short story is also considered by many to be the originator of the detective/crime fiction genre. In celebration I originally thought I’d blather on as if possessed by some dark unfathomable tide, revel in the sound that takes the form of a demon. But I convinced myself that I shall not seek to convince. Am I here to exorcise my own demons beyond some memory of my past bliss; deceits, they lie in the anguish of today. Would such blather hasten some clever paranormal patter? Alas, for you Poe, I recollect one vanquished thought, “Man is an animal that diddles, and there is no animal that diddles but man.” I won’t diddle. No one needs to read my diddle. Instead here are some of Edgar Allan Poe's greatest quotes:
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