For the past several hundreds of years, werewolves were always known as vicious killers. In the middle ages, the beliefs and legends of werewolves was widespread and mostly from Scandinavia, France, Germany and Greece. The werewolf idea probably has its origins from the prehistoric hunters who used to wrap themselves in hides, made by the skin of a wolf and would believe that they would possess the same supernatural powers as the wild beast. Also, their transformation from man to werewolf descended from prehistoric history. From These One: The Monster’s Body Is A Cultural Body, “The monster’s body quite literally incorporates fear, desire, anxiety, and fantasy, giving them life and an uncanny independence.” Vicious eyes and teeth, hairy bodies, long claws, loud howls and wolf like bodies catch the eye. Throughout the whole social development of humans, the moon and wolves were much more connected and expressed through film and literature. In the book Werewolves by Nigel Suckling, common causes in becoming a werewolf is inheriting the condition from a parent, magic potions, drinking water from a wolf’s footprint, eating the flesh (particularly the heart) of a wolf, being cursed by a sorcerer and in Scandinavia culture, being cursed by a troll. These days, it’s mostly common to hear you get bit or scratched to become one. It’s expressed through pop culture icon as they are in many TV shows, books and movies.
The start of its pop culture and worldwide recognition began when Universal Studios released the movie The Wolf Man in 1941. Overall, the movie has good reviews and high ratings at 4.5 out of five stars. It’s said to be a favorite Hollywood classic. According to critic IGN, The Wolf Man is a classic piece of cinema and it has inspired many directors and of course it doesn’t fit modern standards but this movie is a revelation. A Hollywood reporter mentioned the beliefs haven’t changed much. People still subscribe to the theory that if you’re bitten by a werewolf, you turn into one and that the mineral that can kill a werewolf is silver, as they were both portrayed in the movie. In the movie, the main character Larry Talbot returned to Wales to reconcile with his father because his brother died. While he’s there, he visits an antique shop and in hopes of impressing the shopkeeper Gwen. He buys a silver walking cane which later on that night, he kills a wolf with it. As it turns out, that wolf was a werewolf and bite Larry on the chest. Larry had killed a werewolf who was the son of a gypsy. Later in the movie he explains to his father the truth about how he became a werewolf but his father thinks he’s delusional.
In reality, people who claim to be werewolves have lycanthropy. Lycanthropy is a form of madness involving the delusion of being an animal, usually a wolf with correspondingly altered behavior. Its origin dates back to the first werewolf Lycaon. From the Seven Theses of Monster Culture, Thesis V: The Monster Polices the Border of the Possible explains how he became transformed into a monstrous semblance for trying to kill the ruler of the gods as he slept and for serving him pieces of a servant’s body as a meal. “The king himself flies in terror and, gaining the fields, howls aloud, attempting in vain to speak. His mouth of itself gathers foam, and with his accustomed agreed for blood he turns against the sheep, delighting still in slaughter. His garments change to shaggy hair, his arms to legs. He turns into a wolf, and yet retains some traces of his former shape.” (Cohen 30). In the first theory of the Monster Culture, it explains how a monster is born only at metamorphic crossroads, as a cultural moment because of a time, place or feeling. The werewolf was created in the moment he was punished. Nature duals in a helpless mult of assertion because Lycaon was both man and a wild creature. Lycaon, the first werewolf of Western literature, is a great example of a double narrative because there’s a story on how he became the monster and what cultural purpose he serves. People believed that a person who transformed into a wolf could again be changed into a man completely if he did not eat any human meat during the span of ten years. If he ate human meat, they would stay in the form of a wolf for the rest of their days.
Today, the pop culture of werewolves is more normalized because of all the screen time they have and because of Halloween costumes. The show Teen Wolf which was premiered on June 5th, 2011 is a modern representation of werewolves. The main actor Scott becomes a werewolf and on the other hand, some of his friends have supernatural powers. They’re all trying to get through high school with obstacles being thrown at them and since they’re new to the supernatural powers, they learn a lot about each other. There are a lot of the main werewolf theories in the show and they also include the biological roles based on a hierarchical system being alpha, beta and omega. According to Rotten Tomatoes, Teen Wolf got an average audience score of 84% for six seasons. There were many reviews explaining how the werewolf culture is very interesting and it’s what keeps the show going.
However, in reality, werewolves can symbolize a part of our society without the wolf like body and howling when a full moon is out. The beasts walk among us but better known as serial killers. Werewolves being the vicious killers they are, serial killers are the same. Werewolves and a good amount of serial killers go on rages finding their next victim. For example, Ted Bundy transformers from a nice, helpless looking man into a beast who kills. In the book Werewolves and Other Shapeshifters in Popular Culture: A Thematic Analysis, by Kimberley McMahon-Coleman and Roslyn Weaver they mention “Werewolves and other shapeshifters are therefore also equally a subject for academe, and certainly their potential to represent particular issues in society has been highlighted by other critics.” Shapeshifters have always been with us , from earliest to postmodern times. They move from one world to another so there’s many ways they’re interpreted and expressed. From Biblical tales, The Frog Prince, Beauty and the Beast, Indigenous creation stories, Star Trek and so on, shapeshifters know no bounds. Not only are shapeshifters nonfictional, but real as well. Serial killers can live in the normal world and then as soon as you turn your back, they’re in their vicious, heartless, and brutal world.
Cohen, Jeffery J. “Monster Culture: Seven Theses. Excerpt from Monster Theory” Reading Culture. Univ of Minnesota Press, 1996, http://www.englishwithtuttle.com/uploads/3/0/2/6/30266519/cohen_monster_culture__seven_theses__3-20.pdf
Going over each of the monster theories was interesting to learn about because it went in depth about monsters and connected it to real life. This source determines what makes a monster and how they’re created. I trust this source because it was discussed by Professor Ramos and he is a credible person.
McMahon-Coleman, Kimberley, and Roslyn Weaver. Werewolves and Other Shapeshifters in Popular Culture: A Thematic Analysis of Recent Depictions. McFarland, 2012.
This scholarly source had a lot of good information on werewolves and it connected to other shape-shifters pretty well. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for information on these creatures. This book on transformations changes the way we look at many received ideas. I trust this source because it’s written by three authors who most likely communicated on what fits best in the book.
Shaffer, R.L. “The Wolf Man Special Edition DVD Review.” IGN, IGN, 9 May 2012, www.ign.com/articles/2010/02/05/the-wolf-man-special-edition-dvd-review.
Providing opinions and feedback from other people gave me different perspectives and helped judge the movie. Taking in different thoughts help expand your mind and keeps you open minded on why certain things were produced and designed the way they were. I trust this source because there were a lot of different opinions written by real people who have seen the movie.
Suckling, Nigel. Werewolves. Facts, Figures & Fun, 2006.
This book introduced me to the most common causes of how people become werewolves. It mentioned interesting causes that are common in different countries. This source helped me organize the causes and was credible because it was a scholarly source.