Archive for the Philisophical Discussions Category

MONSTROUS QUESTION: WHAT’S WRONG WITH WEREWOLVES? (ANSWER #4)

Posted in 2011, Michael Arruda Reviews, Monstrous Question, Philisophical Discussions, Werewolf Movies, Werewolves on April 29, 2011 by knifefighter

MONSTROUS QUESTION- WHAT’S WRONG WITH WEREWOLVES? – ANSWER # 4 – MICHAEL ARRUDA

(MONSROUS QUESTIONS provided by Michael Arruda)

What’s wrong with the werewolf as a movie monster?  Why hasn’t he ever been as popular as other monsters, such as vampires and zombies?

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FROM MICHAEL ARRUDA:

I wish there wasn’t anything wrong with the werewolf as a movie monster, because I’ve always found them to be the scariest of the classic monsters, scarier than Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, for instance.

So, what’s the problem?  Why aren’t werewolves the smashing success its monster cousins are?

I think there are multiple reasons here as to why werewolves aren’t as popular.  Let’s seek out these reasons by looking at what makes the other monsters popular.

Take vampires, for instance, probably the most popular movie monster in history.  They’re popular for many reasons, but the one I seem to hear the most, is that vampires— for whatever reason— are sexy.  They’re sexy because they’re sensual.  They attack by biting victims on the neck, and most of the time before the bite on the neck there’s some kissing involved, and since kissing is sensual, so are vampires.

Werewolves are not sensual.  They kill by tearing out the throats of their victims and ripping them apart.  Yep, I can see how that would be less appealing than making out with a handsome or voluptuous vampire.

Vampires in the movies also tend to be good looking.  Women loved Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee as Dracula, and today, as much as I hate to mention his name, girls do go ga-ga over Edward in the TWILIGHT movies.

Werewolves are not good looking.  They’re furry with very sharp teeth.  They’re frightening as hell to look at.

Movie vampires also tend to be evil.  For some reason, people love evil characters in the movies.  It’s why villains are so popular.  We don’t want “evil” for a neighbor, but we love him on the big screen.

Werewolves aren’t evil.  They’re just ferocious, like the vicious dog down the street that’s going to bite your ass off if he gets out of that fenced in yard.

Let’s move on to the Frankenstein Monster.  Usually, the Frankenstein Monster is sympathetic. You feel bad for him.  It’s not his fault he’s a monster. It’s Dr. Frankenstein’s fault for stitching his body together from other bodies and then giving him life.  As scary as the Monster is, we feel bad for him.

Werewolves are sympathetic too.  Who doesn’t feel bad for Larry Talbot?  So, mark this down as a plus for werewolves.

But the Frankenstein Monster is also unstoppable.  He can’t be killed, which certainly makes him incredibly scary.

Werewolves are not unstoppable.  You only have to shoot them with a silver bullet.

But what about zombies?  They’re not evil, nor sensuous, and they’re certainly not good-looking.  They’re also neither sympathetic nor unstoppable.  You only have to put a bullet in their heads, yet they’re much more popular than werewolves. Aah, but zombies attack in immense numbers.  They’re an infestation like roaches, and when they appear, it’s an epidemic as entire armies of zombies cover the countryside.

Werewolves don’t attack in immense numbers.  They’re usually just one or two per movie, not counting the shirtless buff boys from TWILIGHT.

So, what’s wrong with werewolves?

They don’t resonate with audiences because they’re not sensual, they’re not evil, they’re not unstoppable, and they’re not terrorizing the countryside in massive numbers.  Yes, they’re frightening, and they’re sympathetic, but sympathy isn’t always the best trait to have when you’re trying to be a successful movie monster.

If I had to choose a main reason why werewolves aren’t as popular, I’d have to say, it’s the “evil” factor.  Werewolves just aren’t that evil.  I think it’s time we had an evil movie werewolf.   I want to see a werewolf that everybody loves to hate, a real genuine evil bastard, a villain for the ages, the antithesis of likable Larry Talbot.  In short, the scariest creature you can imagine, and when he comes out at night, he’s going to do some awful things to people, things we’re not likely to forget.

Anyway, here’s hoping that there are plenty of werewolf movies in our future, and that the best are still ahead.

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MONSTROUS QUESTION: WHAT’S WRONG WITH WEREWOLVES? (ANSWER #3)

Posted in 2011, Colleen Wanglund Reviews, Monstrous Question, Philisophical Discussions, Werewolf Movies with tags , , , , on April 28, 2011 by knifefighter

MONSTROUS QUESTION: ANSWER #3 – COLLEEN WANGLUND

 (Monstrous Questions provided by Michael Arruda)

 

What’s wrong with the werewolf as a movie monster?  Why hasn’t he ever been as popular as other monsters, such as vampires and zombies?

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FROM COLLEEN WANGLUND:

I think overall the werewolf has done well as a movie monster.  I love the original THE WOLF MAN (1941) with Lon Chaney Jr., more for sentimental reasons than anything else—spending Saturday nights watching the Universal monster movies with my dad when I was a kid.  My first taste of werewolves.

And as far as I’m concerned no one has as yet matched the special effects magic of John Landis’s AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981).  I’m still amazed every time I see Jack appear with his throat ripped out and decaying more and more; and I have yet to see as beautiful and grotesque a transformation as David goes through without the use of CGI.  I can almost feel his pain.

Since 1913 there have been over 130 movies from varying countries either about werewolves or having a werewolf character, including the HARRY POTTER series with the character Lupin, THE HOWLING series, Stephen King’s SILVER BULLET (1985), WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935), and I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF (1957).  Of course there have been bad movies as well as good ones….it’s the same no matter the sub-genre.

One of the best and most imaginative werewolf movies in my opinion is THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984) directed by Neil Jordan which is a take on the original Grimm’s Brother’s tale with the underlying theme of sex and rape.  Another great werewolf movie is GINGER SNAPS (2000) about a girl who is attacked by a werewolf and begins the slow transformation into the beast.  While also having the underlying theme of sex and rape, GINGER SNAPS adds a twist as the antagonist is a female.  She is both victim and sexual aggressor.

On a side note I have always had the idea that Robert Louis Stevenson’s character Mr. Hyde was, in fact a werewolf or shape shifter.  I think it is more apparent in the book than in any of the movies, but for me it seems to work whether on a physical level or a psychological one.  It also plays well with the theme of rape and violence against women.

Anyway, I think the werewolf is alive and well and doing just fine in the movies.  I also think, when done properly there has been quite a bit of depth to the monster in many movies, whether it’s Hammer Studios or the HOMBRE LOBO series from Spain.

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MONSTROUS QUESTION: WHAT’S WRONG WITH WEREWOLVES? (ANSWER #2)

Posted in 2011, LL Soares Reviews, Monstrous Question, Philisophical Discussions, Werewolf Movies with tags , , , , , , on April 27, 2011 by knifefighter

MONSTROUS QUESTION – ANSWER # 2 – L.L. SOARES

(Monstrous Questions provided by Michael Arruda)

 

 

What’s wrong with the werewolf as a movie monster?  Why hasn’t he ever been as popular as other monsters, such as vampires and zombies?

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FROM L.L. SOARES:

I think werewolves have been a bit more popular than you give them credit for. As you said, in the 80s, there was AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, THE HOWLING (and its sequels), and stuff off the beaten track like WOLFEN (all three of those movies came out in 1981). So they have had times where they were pretty popular. Around that same time was the remake of CAT PEOPLE (1982) too, which isn’t a werewolf movie, but it had shape shifters of another, similar sort. The Stephen King adaptation, SILVER BULLET, also came out in the 80s (1985).

In the early 00s, we had another mini-wave set off by GINGER SNAPS in 2000, as well as a prequel (GINGER SNAPS: THE BEGINNING) and a sequel (GINGER SNAPS: UNLEASHED), both from 2004. The GINGER SNAPS movies centered on two sisters in high school, one of whom becomes a werewolf, and the first movie, especially, is very good. Of course, the horrible werewolf flick CURSED (by Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson), also came out this decade (in 2005), and might just be the worst werewolf movie ever made.

Werewolf movies do seem to come in bunches. But you’re right, that they’ve never rivaled the popularity of vampires or, more recently, zombies, which just seem to be everywhere. Personally, the werewolf concept always intrigued me as a writer, because it’s an exploration of the animals within us – our past selves before we became civilized, and the potential to revert back to that state at a moment’s notice – and I think that is just as relevant and powerful as our reactions to death and immortality. I always felt DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, another favorite creature of mine, explored similar territory.

Werewolves always have cycles where they become popular (like the cycles of the moon), but they just don’t have the kinds of rabid fans that vampires and zombies have. Vampires, especially, never seem to go out of style.

More recently, of course, there are the werewolves in the TWILIGHT movies, and they’re almost as popular as the vampires. Although, the way they’re portrayed  – as giant CGI wolves – is just lame.

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MONSTROUS QUESTION: WHAT’S WRONG WITH WEREWOLVES? (ANSWER # 1)

Posted in 2011, Monstrous Question, Nick Cato Reviews, Philisophical Discussions, Werewolf Movies, Werewolves with tags , , , , , on April 26, 2011 by knifefighter

MONSTROUS QUESTION: WHAT’S WRONG WITH WEREWOLVES? – ANSWER # 1 – NICK CATO

(Monstrous Question provided by Michael Arruda)

We’re going to get deep and philosophical on tonight’s MONSTROUS QUESTION.  Ready?

While watching the recent RED RIDING HOOD (2011), a movie about a werewolf, it got me to thinking:  why is it that werewolves just haven’t made it big in the movies?

Sure, we’ve had the classics like THE WOLF MAN (1941) starring Lon Chaney Jr., followed by Chaney’s numerous appearances as Larry Talbot aka the Wolf Man in the Universal sequels, but what else have we had?

Hammer Films made only one werewolf movie THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (1961). We saw AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and THE HOWLING series in the 1980s, and recently we had the well-received remake of THE WOLFMAN (2010), but compared to vampires, and now zombies, werewolves just haven’t taken off.  Why?

That’s tonight’s MONSTROUS QUESTION:  What’s wrong with the werewolf as a movie monster?  Why hasn’t he ever been as popular as other monsters, such as vampires and zombies?

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FROM NICK CATO:

 I think people identify more easily with vampires than with werewolves.  With vampires, who wouldn’t want the power to seduce your prey and have super-human strength?  And when the night’s over, you don’t have to worry about waking up naked in the middle of the woods with your clothes torn to shreds.  Vampires are also usually cool and in control, something werewolves are not.

And while I doubt anyone would want to be a zombie, zombies are a nightmarish version of what may be waiting beyond the grave, and despite the goofiness of most zombie films, the whole concept is terrifying (whether we want to admit it or not).  They are us in a new, permanent, decaying state.  Whereas vampires are the creatures horror fans fantasize about being, zombies are the things we fear becoming.  They’re the ultimately loved and ultimately feared creatures.

Werewolves are somewhere in the middle of this: while it’d be cool to be able to transform at will, traditional werewolves are at the mercy of a full moon (almost like being the employee of an annoying boss), and as mentioned, have very little control over their situation.   Perhaps werewolves have never received the love vamps and zombies have due to our own control issues.

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