Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Werewolf Lament

Over the weekend I accidentally stumbled across a bargain. While shopping in Sainsbury's I managed to pick up the 2009 2-disc release of the 1981 horror classic An American Werewolf in London for only four of your earth pounds. Like the man who had fallen on to the railway lines I was chuffed to bits.

Now, when it comes to movies and literature I have two great passions: Sci-Fi and Horror. Certain aspects of the horror genre are thriving nicely at the moment; the slasher flick, zombies, George A. Romero remakes...but what of the humble vampire and werewolf? Vampires are, arguably, going through a bit of a rough patch what with Stephanie Meyer's fucking dreary teen-vamp angst-fest that's slowly rotting its way into both literature and TV/Film. It would appear that the world and his wife have jumped on a bandwagon that appears to be hurtling out of control, with writers such as P.C. Cast, Claudia Gray, Ellen Schreiber and Richelle Mead all vying for their piece of this lucrative market.

If it wasn't for such important genre writers such as Simon Clark, Charlie Huston, John Ajvide Lindgvist and Kim Newman blazing a, frankly, refreshing and vitally crucial rail, vampire fiction would be completely fucked for anyone above the age of 13 years old!

But what of the poor werewolf? It would appear that this particular creature of the night has been relegated to playing second fiddle to it's more 'teen-friendly' brethren, continually taking supporting roles in the novels of authors such as Sherrilyn Kenyon, Tim Waggoner, Kelley Armstrong and the aforementioned Ms Meyer.

And in the movies...not a sniff. Apart from the Universal remake of The Wolfman, which, and lets be honest here, looks absolutely awful. On the big screen too the werewolf has become the 'guest star'. The disappointing Underworld series, the awful Van Helsing, the cheap and nasty Twilight series...just background characters or the shady villains battling against the 'misunderstood' vampires.

Werewolves are scary. Vampires may be a lot more interesting, complex and multi-layered, but nothing chills the blood like the howl of a werewolf. Forget your lurching zombies, knife-wielding maniacs or little Japanese girls that climb out of your TV, there's nothing like the cracking-boned, stretching-limbed, hair-growing transformation of a man into some snarling, eight foot beast that will have you lying awake at night, peering from under the covers and listening to every creak and moan of floorboard out on the landing.

I bought An American Werewolf in London on DVD on Saturday and watched it that night. It's still brilliant. It's still chilling. It's still terrifying. And you know what...there wasn't an angsty, misunderstood, broody teenager in sight. Why aren't people still making werewolf films like this anymore? And just why are we putting up with this seemingly unstoppable landslide of teen-angst vampire rubbish?

1 comment:

  1. Have you seen all the werewolf literature that's about to hit the shelves? I've featured a few in my Horror literature round-up on my blog. Basically, werewolves are the next big thing. Some of the books, most notably Wolfsangel by M.D. Lachlan look really good.