Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day XXXI - Werewolf

Light of the full moon,
Furry metamorphosis,
Lycanthrope rampage.

With its claws covering a whole variety of disparate cultural traditions the world over, the werewolf is the überpopular shapeshifter that powers its way to the top of the supernatural beastie pile, ravaging the rest with its sharp teeth and superhuman strength. All over assorted artforms and popular culture (my own personal favourite werewolf flick probably being Universal's classic The Wolf Man) the lycanthrope myth alters according to time period, place and tradition but is always about the transformation from human to furry, primal, bloodthirsty wolf. With the Greek myth of Lycaon (cruel king serves Zeus a slaughtered child for dinner and gets turned into a wolf as punishment) and the prevalence of werewolves across the continent's communities, the creature of the popular imagination is pretty much European. Regardless of how someone comes to be a werewolf (getting scratched, Satanic ritual, sleeping under a full moon or wearing a wolfskin), whether the metamorphosis is voluntary or what the cure is (wolfsbane, silver bullets or holy water) werewolves are awesome and function as fantastic empathetic figures that embody all the pain of male adolescence and the primal urge to, you know, be bloody savage. Howl at the Moon!