October is the month for thrills and chills and with the misty mornings, cooler days and chilly evenings, come the tales of spooks, specters, witches, vampires and werewolves.
As time marched on and literature evolved our outlook on vampires seems to have changed. In old literature they were thirsty, mysterious, sexual creatures who were older than dirt and had the power to transfix, hypnotize and drain their victims of all their blood. Today’s vampires are trendy, hot, young, sexy and apparently great in the sack. The spook factor has altered and all but disappeared.
Thankfully, for a serious scare, we can still count on the hulking, powerful man-wolf creature that exudes a menacing evil and would tear the limbs from your body if they caught your scent. The werewolf has always been my bugaboo. They were one thing that scared me even in the daylight and made my skin crawly in the night. I still have the most monstrously frightening dreams and thought it might be therapeutic to write about them, perhaps in the hope of exorcising this personal demon. Or at the very least get a wicked thrill out of it.
Werewolves or shape-shifters are mentioned throughout history in nearly every culture. That being the case, it has been easily assumed throughout time there was basis and fact in these tales. What historians and science have found, is that the actual base element for these stories is humanity and the evil that lurks inside of our own species. Today we have psychotherapists and criminal psychologists that explain the behavior of serial killers, however in the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, the explanation of course could only be demonic and a pact with the devil. It was unthinkable that a human being could possibly make a conscious and willing decision to stalk, kill, dismember and possibly eat a fellow human. As it turns out the monsters people barricaded their doors against at night, were not demonic foes at all, but at times, their very own neighbors.
Does that take the thrill out of the scare? No, and that is the best part about Halloween and this month. As darkness descends for the cold winter months it is easy to see why ancient cultures held belief in spirits, vampires and werewolves. Homes dimly lit by hearth fires and the occasional candle, were cold and dark and beasts such as wolves roamed at night killing livestock right outside those drafty walls. Travelling in the night was dangerous and long stretches of dark road held unseen mysteries that drove the human mind to imagine all sorts of nefarious creatures stalking the darkness to claim their soul.
That being said, my next few days are going to be spent doing something very productive. I am going to pull out all of my werewolf movies and give them a watch. Turn off the lights, turn up the volume and make sure I have a blanket large enough to pull all the way up over my head, because it doesn’t matter how many times I have viewed these movies, they still scare the bejeesus out of me. My top picks for this week are as follows;
- The entire Underworld series Yes, it is filled with very sexy vampires, but I won’t let that distract me. I like the werewolves in this series, they are huge, menacing, powerful beasts and have evolved over time so that they are not senseless killing machines, but now killing machines with a plan.
- Ginger Snaps I had found this one quite by accident while channel surfing one afternoon and found the winter and the extreme isolation of the fort to be the perfect setting for a movie filled with fear.
- Silver Bullet A favorite of mine, one because it is Stephen King and two because it’s Stephen King.
- An American Werewolf in London I honestly don’t have an explanation for my love of this one.
- Wolf Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer. Enough said.
- Wolfman 2010 with Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. This movie is one of my favorites as it seems to revisit the old Hollywood style monster movie. It’s gorgeously done and the acting is superb. However, if you are looking for more of a fright fest and gore in your flicks…this one will not hold your attention.
- But this one will, The Howling This is probably one of the first werewolf movies I had seen and it still gives me more of a scare than all the above titles combined.
If you have any to add to my list, please comment below!!