“Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf, when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright” – Kurt Siodmak
Hollywood did for werewolves the same thing they did for vampires; made them famous, and brought them into the spotlight. What is interesting about werewolves is that as much as the movies with them (especially the original with Lon Chaney Jr) have become favorites, especially on Halloween, you don’t really see kids wanting to get dressed up as werewolves. I think that might be because if you take a closer look at them, they sort of remind one of large, slobbering dogs until, of course, they attack, then all hell breaks loose and you have to hope the werewolf won’t bite you.
It is interesting that they would like you to believe that at one time all werewolves were humans, but once cursed they would periodically change into huge, furry, nasty creatures by the light of the full moon. They are known as lycantropes and they became that way because they were bitten by a werewolf or had a curse put on them. Well the curse part I could accept, but where did that other werewolf stuff come from? It all had to start somewhere. These creatures have the power and speed of wolves, the intelligence of man, and with this combination, werewolves have become the most feared and also the most powerful monsters in the world.
Folklore tells us that one of the most common signs of a werewolf are seeing a human with their eyebrows joined together just above the nose. Werewolves have been mentioned in many European and African myths, and particularly roam in the huge forests of Russia.
The classic movie Wolfman with Lon Chaney Jr. in the title role in 1941 got people scared of werewolves and wary of roaming gypsies. I always thought it was clever that they filmed the movie with a lot of dark shadows, so that even as you watch, you jump as the werewolf appeared.
Hollywood did a good job on werewolves in the movie American Werewolf in London, which is a movie that is highly recommended for Halloween watching. The scenes where the unfortunate young man named Dave, portrayed by David Naughton, has become a werewolf are quite graphic and frightening. As he roams through London he gathers an angry following of victims who he has killed, but who appear to him and are angry with him for killing them.
Another successful werewolf movie was The Howling where you got plenty of scary action with serial killers, a resort known as The Colony where you can hope to get help for your psychological problems, but have to pray for your life with werewolves roaming about. It became quite a success and as with all such movies a whole series followed with The Howling: Reborn being the sixth and final movie.
Of course, Hollywood couldn’t leave well enough along with frightening hairy pawed werewolves but had to put in a comedy as well. Teen Wolf where a high school student Scott Howard, portrayed by Michael J, Fox, finds out that being a werewolf just naturally runs in his family. As with all fantasies, his basketball team makes him out to be a hero who can help them win games and his girlfriend, Pamela adores him just the same.
Always remember that if you happen to come up against a werewolf, most likely you’re done for, unless you have a gun loaded with a silver bullet. It appears that only silver can do damage to these creatures, and if not a silver bullet, then a sword with a silver blade. Remember not to venture out in the dark away from everyone on full moon nights, and keep your ears open for loud howling. The scariest part is that the Halloween full moon seems to bring out slobbering werewolves the most and they all do a lot of loud hoooowling.
"Bad Moon Rising" Creedence Clearwater Revival