So it’s Halloween and you and your flatmates sit down to enjoy a couple of scary movies. But Which do you choose? Well definitely not Land of the Dead with its dull plotline and zombies that appear to have escaped from the local care home; nor Blade with its ridiculous action sequences, and lack of style no matter how hard it tries. The movies you pick aren’t any of these; they’re more than likely something like Underworld, An American Werewolf in London or Dog Soldiers. Three well-made movies that combine action with horror, in a way that most of the mass produced horror flicks fail to do. But what makes these movies so good?
It’s that howling mass of hairy, blood-thirsty muscle that we call the werewolf. From the tall, aggressive beasts of Underworld, with their savage teeth and a preference for fresh meat over Pedigree chum (no matter how moist the chunks are); to the harrowing eyes and lanky frame of the surprisingly chilling Professor Lupin (Harry Potter), werewolves have been haunting us in the cinema for decades. We’ve seen many incarnations of the classic mythological beast, and with every film there comes the absolutely unique transformation scene. Werewolves instil us with a deep primal fear, born from a natural terror of the pack animal, and in movies this lasts right from the very first howl to the last silver bullet. Lycanthropes are the perfect metaphor for human weakness; a lack of self-control over our basic animal instincts and our ability to inflict this upon others. The perfect movie monster is the one within us all. And I think you’ll agree that there is no better cliché in the horror movie industry than a pitch black sky, a full moon and an eerie howl echoing from afar.
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