Saving Werewolves from Cinematic Incompetence

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Werewolves are difficult monsters. Or they must be, given the number of films and television shows that turn them into rampaging ape-dogs or anorexic bears. What’s the deal? Not even vampires have been as widely wronged as my very favorite monster. Werewolves on film are either relegated to the background of a larger, more important vampire story [see: TWILIGHT, UNDERWORLD] or the subject of a very low-budget “we know this is no good but we’re making it anyway” schlock-fest [see: BAD MOON, NEVER CRY WEREWOLF, etc]. Even worse, they never look right. They show up as four-legged hairy beasts, men with too much facial hair, or bodybuilding giants who manage to retain a six-pack despite transforming into something with skinny little arms.

Why do filmmakers have such a hard time with werewolves? They’re rather elementary, really. Even just sticking to the etymological definition, “werewolf” is made up of wer, meaning man, and wolf, meaning—well—wolf. How hard can it be? Werewolves should be terrifying! In fact, when I was a kid, I had a unique way of falling asleep. I didn’t count sheep, or make up songs in my head, or anything quite so benign. I used to play dead. I would practice holding my breath for as long as possible so that I might appear to be a corpse. This was for the express purpose of fooling a werewolf which, upon climbing through my window, would see my dead body and move on, because—I was convinced—werewolves like to kill their own food and eat it alive.

Of course, if I were to attempt a comic about the werewolves in my head, it would look something like this:

hollyswerewolf

There’s a reason I only work with words, people.

Luckily, those willing to plunge into comics and illustrated fiction have many fantastic reprentations of wolves, both anthropomorphic and beastly, to look forward to.

Here There Be Monsters Press (www.lookingland.com) have provided a downright fascinating tale about historical werewolves entitled RESURRECTIONIST (not to be confused with the recent E.B. Hudspeth book of the same name). In this illustrated tale provided by Elena (words) and Jaime (pictures) Carrillo, werewolves were once part of a worldwide holy society—sort of like a Knights Templar with teeth—that has crumbled in the modern age. Our main character, Teodors, has even gone so far as to get married and settle down with children before his immortal past comes back to haunt him.

resurrectionist

In addition to being an illustrated novel, which is something the world absolutely needs more of, RESURRECTIONIST is a bloody good time that is not only full of great werewolf art, but genuinely thrilling, and penned in descriptive language that does justice to the story’s grimy alleys, morgues, and cemeteries. Nothing is done to make the book palatable for a wide audience—it’s violent, name-heavy, and full of religious references. This is dark stuff, people. Dark, and extremely good.

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