You can't shake a stake without hitting a new vampire movie these days. Eclipse is on its way (whether we like it or not), the Fright Night remake has found its vampire next door and when it comes to the race for top movie monster, the bloodsuckers have taken the lead. But, like every trend, there is always a downturn, and once the vampire is back in the coffin, what movie monster will take it's place? I know what you're thinking: what about zombies? Well, maybe, but what about werewolves?
If you think back to the '80s, it seemed like the wolves were (pardon the pun) top dog. We had films like American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Silver Bullet, and even Teen Wolf bringing the loup-garou into the pop culture forefront. But things seemed to change in the '90s, and from then on it was all about the vampire. Whether that was down to our blood and sex connection in the age of AIDS, I couldn't say for sure, but once those fangy monsters took hold there wasn't much interest in our furry friends anymore.
But lately the wolves have been making some inroads back to the big (and small) screen -- albeit in a supporting role. In the 2000s there have been a few attempts to use vampires and werewolves as natural enemies (Underworld, The Twilight Saga , and even the new season of HBO's True Blood will feature some tense vamp/were relations). But when it comes to being the star of the show, the wolves just aren't selling like they used to, and even Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro couldn't get audiences interested in the tale of the terminally furry earlier this year. But whatever the reason, the wolves haven't been winning any popularity contests, and I have a few ideas as to why that is.
After the jump; three reasons why I think werewolves are a hard sell....
It's a Furry Boys Club
Everyone likes a little gender diversity in their movie monsters, and with very few exceptions, movie werewolves tend to be of the male persuasion. Some critics have even theorized that there is a practical reason for this; mainly, how do you handle the physical realities of a wolf-woman without making audiences uncomfortable -- or to put it bluntly: how do you stop audiences from being weirded out by a werewolf with boobs? But, I'm not sure that logic is sound, are you?
Transforming Isn't Much Fun
There might be some minor variances in the 'transformation' of a vamp from a seemingly normal (if overly pale) individual to a bloodthirsty fiend, but for the most part, what you see is what you are going to get. Which is unfortunately not the case with our lycanthropically-inclined friends; for the wolves, it's all about goo, pain, and hair sprouting in strange places (which is probably why it made such a great metaphor in Ginger Snaps).
A Curse vs. A Life Choice
I think sometimes we like to live vicariously through our movie monsters, and while most vampires are that way by choice, the traditional werewolf narrative has the condition thrust upon an unwilling victim. Being at the mercy of the moon messes with our fantasies of power, strength, and the general awesomeness that goes hand in hand with our monsters. So I guess a cursed existence might look pretty good to someone who likes to suffer, but for the rest of us, the life of a wolf-man seems like one big downer.
So what do you think, once our love affair with the vampires has ended, could werewolves make a big-screen comeback?