We need more werewolf movies in cinema.
Perhaps it's safe to say that vampires are well and truly out of fashion now. Most of us can't even think about 'Twilight' without cringing. And yet, their furry counter-parts - the humble werewolves - are still being shunned in favour of ghosts, poltergeists and zombies. What is this fascination with the undead?
Besides the classic horrors of early cinema (namely 'The Wolf Man'), there have been very few decent notable werewolf flicks - and by that we mean films that don't also feature vampires. 'Underworld' and 'Van Helsing', for example, don't count.
The 80s did the werewolf sub-genre total justice with the cult hits 'Teen Wolf' starring Michael J. Fox, 'An American Werewolf in London' and 'The Howling', but then the 90s ruined the winning streak with 'Bad Moon' just two years after the release of the not quite so bad 'Wolf' starring Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer.
When the 21st century came around it seemed we were on to a winner with 'Ginger Snaps'. Quite remarkably, 2004's 'Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed' was also critically acclaimed, though as it was not a commercial success, 'Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning' didn't get a theatrical run. Then 'Cursed' was released the following year and everyone was rightfully put off again.
An American Werewolf in London
Fast-forward to this decade and things have just gone from bad to worse. 2010's 'The Wolfman' remake didn't live up to expectations and 2011's 'Red Riding Hood' was definitely one of Amanda Seyfried's worst ventures.
There are reasons why it's difficult to make a werewolf horror movie appealing to the masses. It's difficult to give them sex appeal like vampires because bestiality is frowned upon, and if you do a werewolf transformation on a low budget then you're in danger of creating a comedy character rather than a terrifying creature of the night.
It was portrayed well in 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban', and the transformation in season one of 'Hemlock Grove' was one of the most brutal we'd ever seen. Series like 'Being Human' and 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' had great storylines for werewolves; combining all those elements is a recipe for a stellar werewolf thriller.
Perhaps the reason why werewolf movies aren't popular is because there isn't usually a good versus evil dynamic. Time and time again, werewolves are portrayed as human beings afflicted with a disease that turns them into unwitting predators once a month. Like ordinary wolves, they cannot control their instincts.
Thus, having them face off against 'good' humans armed with silver bullets feels somewhat inhumane and wrong to most people. That's why the werewolf versus vampire dynamic is so popular. They are both outcasts in a world run by mortal humans, and their motivations are often very complex and make for interesting storylines. Plus, there's usually a bad guy. And people always want someone to hate.
Unfortunately, in these circumstances, vampires almost always overshadow the werewolves. There's a brevity, a mortality and lack of identity to werewolf culture, but a permanence and an individuality to vampires. But that doesn't mean that werewolves don't deserve their time in the spotlight.
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