Analysing the Werewolf Culture, Past to Present

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By Nicholas Baker Unit 7: Time Machine CGGA Year 1

This assignment will analyze culturally the effect and change that the mythological beast the ‘lycanthrope’ (Wolf-man, Werewolf) has had to our culture through the ages from past to present. George Waggner’s ‘Wolf-Man’ (1941) will be the glue to hold this assignment together and will be used to define the build of how we have perceived through folklore, werewolves and how it has changed through history and the last few decades. Other sources used are Steven Schneider’s ‘The Representation of Monstrosity in Cinematic Horror’ (1999) which will help aid the change of werewolf’s through film and cinema, Robert Burns Neveldine’s ‘Bodies at Risk’ (1998) which will help evidence define romanticism with a theoretical approach to the disruptive effects of the human body, Pembry Joint’s ‘Evolution of the Movie Werewolves’ (2009) will examine how far werewolves have changed within our culture through popularity in movies and folklore and finally Barb Karg’s ‘The Girls Guide to Werewolves’ (2009) which will help explain the start of werewolves in Greek mythology to compare the history with contemporary and postmodern.

Key Ideas
• Psychoanalyse on the topic of Power
“We can ask the question why is it that love & knowledge refer to those powers that are expandable as opposed to fear or money. Which of course is a good question to ask? Well, in that sense it is only because in our minds love stands more of a chance of sustaining power than fear and money can ever bear.” (Cool, 2010).

The Idea of Romanticism on Myth’s
“Myths were given great prominence in the Romantic conception of art. In the Romantic view, symbols were the human aesthetic correlatives of nature's emblematic language. They were valued too because they could simultaneously suggest many things, and were thus thought superior to the one-to-one communications of allegory. Partly, it may have been the desire to express the "inexpressible"--the infinite--through the available resources of language that led to symbol at one level and myth (as symbolic narrative) at another.” (Melani, 2009).

The Postmodern Werewolf
“If the werewolf myth enjoyed something of a renaissance at the close of the nineteenth century in the pages of popular Gothic fiction, it came into its own in the next century in cinema. The modern world may no longer believe in werewolves, but these fabulous creatures continue to excite the human imagination, finding expression in popular culture through fantasy fiction, song and film. (Creed, 2005).

Cultures views on Werewolves films
“And both werewolves representation in Harry Potter and Twilight novels try to show different perspectives about the werewolves in different ways. JK Rowling try to describes or we can say showing another side of werewolves by representing them as a teacher and Stephanie Meyer shows us another perspective of werewolves condition by bringing the history of Native Indian as her werewolf representation. Both authors succeed to show different perspectives about the werewolves, and change the societies’ mind-set about werewolf. I think they succeed in different approaches to society depending on the cultural values which they were closed to.” (Fitri, 2011).

Cultural Context
• A Werewolf/Lycan is a mythological creature off a human shape shifting into the form of a wolf hybrid on the nights of a full moon. Folklore has passed down myths of men being bitten by werewolves and then the humans becoming werewolves on the next full moon, scars of the bite are left there to indicate the mark of the beast, this can help pick out the human/beast. The psychiatric term for a human believing that they are a Werewolf is called ‘Lycanthorpy’. King Lycaon, the first werewolf to known off in Greek myths. God Zeus came to earth in the form of a mortal, King Lycaon saw through is disguise and tried to feed Zeus human flesh, this trick did not fool Zeus, outraged he cast a spell on Lycaon turning him into a wolf. (Karg, 2009:8).

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Key Figures
Wilhelm Grimm (Left - 1786-1859) and Jacob Grimm (Right - 1785-1863) were famously known for collecting popular fairy tales which started up Folklore as there activities created an aspect of Romanticism myths.
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George Waggner (1894-1984) was a American film director, actor and producer. He is well known for directing the film ‘Wolf-Man’ but later went onto directing shows in the 60’s.
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J K Rowling (Left - Born: 1965) Most famous for writing the Harry Potter book series and assisting making the films. Stephanie Meyer (Right) – Born: 1973) Most famous for writing the Twilight book saga and assisting the making of the films.

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Historical Examples of Lycanthrope

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King Lycaon (Arcadia) - Known in myths as the first werewolf. Lycaon betrayed Zeus and punished him by turning him into a wolf. His name is also the meaning of wolfs as well ‘Lycans’

The Wolf Man – A film directed by George Waggner in 1941. A different form of werewolf, more man then beast. It is a film about a man returning to his homeland when he is attack by a creature of folklore and is now cursed.

The Big Bad Wolf (The Three Little Pigs) – A well known children's story passed on through the ages beginning around 18-19th century about a wolf that can speak and is trying to get the three little pigs by blowing there houses down one by one.

Contemporary Examples of Lycanthrope

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Van Helsing - A film directed by Stephen Sommers about a monster hunter who is sent on a quest into Transylvania to stop Count Dracula using Dr Frankenstein’s experiment and a werewolf for the purpose of his sinister plans.

Twilight: New Moon - Directed by Chris Weitz, and novel by Stephanie Meyer. New moon is a sequel to Twilight and is about a shy girl in a small town that falls in love with a Vampire and a Werewolf and a horrible conflict between the both begin.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans – A film directed by Patrick Tatopoulos is the third franchise in the Underworld saga. The plot here is the Lycans are being ruled by the Vampires and one stands up against the Vampires and soon a war begins between the two species.

• • King Lycaon was a myth that stuck through the ages and could have been the start of soon folklores. The werewolves between contemporary and historical have changed a lot through a couple of decades, visually that is within films. With CGI creating more sinister and fearful werewolves based more on beast like instincts. The Wolf Man worked well in that era, it doesn’t seem to have much a big effect now with CGI creating werewolves instead of men covered in fur. The idea of folklore about werewolves has not changed much as well. People think a man turning on a full moon or when bit by a werewolf is the definition of a werewolf. Folklore is still overpowering peoples perception of a basic werewolves/wolf man compared to other metamorphosis of werewolves like Twilight when they change when they want or if angered. Still under the category of Gothic fiction except Twilight. Both J K Rowling and Stephanie Meyer have impacted the world with small but effected changes to the way to perceive a werewolf in there stories.

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• Cool, B. (2010). ‘A -Psychoanalysis of human behavior & four different power structures’. (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Creed, B. (2005). ‘Phallic panic: film, horror and the primal uncanny’. Australia, Melbourne University Press Ltd. (Accessed on 19/03/2012) Fitri, K. (2011). ‘Comparison of JK Rowling's Harry Potter and Stephanie Meyer's Twilight; Multiculturalism and Werewolf Tradition’ ght_Multiculturalism_and_Werewolf_Tradition (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Karg, B. (2009). ‘The Girls Guide to Werewolves.’ U.S.A, Adams Media, a division of F+W Media Inc. (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Melina, L. (2009) ‘A Guide to the Study of Literature: A Companion Text for Core Studies 6, Landmarks of Literature, ©English Department, Brooklyn College. (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Neveldine, B, R. (1998) ‘Bodies at Risk: Unsafe Limits in Romanticism and Postmodernism.’ U.S.A, State University of New York Press, Albany (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Joint, P. (2009) ‘Evolution of the Movie Werewolves.’ (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Schneider, S. (1999) ‘The Representation of Monstrosity in Cinematic Horror.’ (Accessed on 19/03/2012). •

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List of Illustrations:
• Fig 1 – Kate. (2010) ‘Werewolf’ [photograph] In possession of:, (Accessed on 19/03/2012).
Fig 2 - Hader, E (2008) ‘Wilhelm Grim’ [photograph] In possession of: Ernest Hader, (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Fig 3 – Sam. (2007) ‘Jacob Grimm’ [photograph] In possession of:, (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Fig 4 – MC. (2000) ‘George Waggner’ On: (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Fig 5 – Angie. (2012) ‘Stephanie Meyer’ [photograph] In possession of:, (Accessed on 19/03/2012). •

Fig 6 – Stanford. (2011) ‘J K Rowling’ [photograph] In possession of:, (Accessed on 19/03/2012).

List of Illustrations:
• Fig 7 – Hendrik Goltzius. (c.1589). ‘Lycaon Changed into a Wolf’ [Plate 9 from the series of 52 plates illustrating Ovid’s Metamorphosis] 176 x 254 mm. At: Davison Art Center, Middleton, CT, U.S.A (Accessed on 19/03/2012).
Fig 8 – Lon Chaney Jr. (1941] From: ‘The Wolf Man’. On IMDb . (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Fig 9 – The Big Bad Wolf. (1904) ‘The Wolf in The Three Little Pigs’. [photograph] In possession of Leslie L Brooke, U.S.A (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Fig 10 – Wolfman. (2004) From: ‘Van Helsing’. On: simoncamilleri, (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Fig 11 – Jacob/Wolf. (2009) From: ‘Twilight: New Moon’. On: theunlockeddiary, (Accessed on 19/03/2012). Fig 12 – Lycans Fighting Back. (2009) From: ‘Underworld: Rise of the Lycans’. On IGN, (Accessed on 19/03/2012). •

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