Saturday, June 19, 2010

"It isn't a wolf... it's a werewolf!"'ve been a little obsessed with George Waggner's 1941 film The Wolf Man recently since studying Greek, Shakespearean and contemporary tragedies. Until recently, I never knew that the film is actually written in the form of a Greek tragedy.

Lon Cheney, Jr. plays Larry Talbot who is struggling to survive after being cursed, thus turning him into a werewolf. You know the although there may be key elements of the horror genre in Waggner’s The Wolf Man such as his ability to tap into the human psyche, obscuring violent scenes behind the luminous trees and giving only brief glimpses of the frightful werewolf until the very end, in actuality the Universal classic is a tragedy inducing both fear and pity into the audience. What makes this film memorable is that the Wolf Man is, indeed, human.

Good literature, film, etc. make a connection with the audience; even the most obscure can be relatable. In most societies, men are perceived as fearless rogues, so to see a shattered male so vulnerable and scared is refreshing to an audience, reassuring that humans are emotional beings: we starve, we love, we hate, we fear, we pity and we struggle to survive. To see this happening to another being makes it more real and leaves the audience wanting to change their life’s course. And although The Wolf Man may not strive to teach an obvious moral lesson of trusting fellow man, it does tell a great story.

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