Enduring Appeal of the Wolfman

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 11th, 2010

The Enduring Appeal of the Wolfman

Guest Blog by by MaryAnn Johanson

The legend of the werewolf has enduring appeal, as demonstrated by yet another new Hollywood flick, The Wolfman, in which Benicio Del Toro takes over the lead in a remake of the 1941 classic that starred Lon Chaney Jr.

Discover the roots of the myth in The Book of Werewolves, the 1865 classic by Sabine Baring-Gould, available in both hardcover and paperback editions — complete with the original illustrations — as part of Cosimo’

s series Loren Coleman Presents, featuring new introductions by the famous crytozoologist.

This first serious academic study of the shape-shifters of mythological lore “is the most frequently cited early study of lycanthropy and is regarded by most scholars as the foundation work in the field,” says Coleman. “The Book of Werewolves was so visionary that it foresaw that future discussions within werewolf studies would necessarily travel down many side paths. Indeed, midway through The Book of Werewolves, Baring-Gould treks into the shadowy world of crimes vaguely connected to werewolves, including serial murders, grave desecration, and cannibalism.”

The Del Toro Wolfman features a monster hunter who is none other than Frederick Abberline, a fictionalized version of the real-life Scotland Yard investigator who hunted down Jack the Ripper.

Cosimo books are available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

10 Responses to “Enduring Appeal of the Wolfman”

  1. mfs responds:

    I’ve always had a long time fascination with lycans as a kid and the original “The Wolfman” movie was one of the first I watched at a local matinee. I even had the the Aurora Plastics Model which is hard to find these days. As I grew older the movies got better and scarier,i.e “The Howling”, “American Werewolf In London” and “Dog Soldiers” just to name a few. My favorite costume for Halloween has always been a werewolf. I’ve read some good books especially Linda Godfreys “The Beast of Bray Road” and “Searching For the American Werewolf.” So for me the fascination for this legendary creature has never abated. This remake of the classic looks to be good.

  2. jayman responds:

    Abberline may have hunted Jack the Ripper, but he didn’t hunt him down. The Ripper was never apprehended, and speculation about his identity continues to this day.

  3. cryptidsrus responds:

    The Del Toro WOLFMAN supposedly sat on the shelf for two years. Usually (not always) that is a bad sign indicating the quality of the movie. Not trying to be negative. I will go see it and it should probably rock. And yes, werewolves have eternal appeal. 🙂

  4. Jason P. responds:

    cryptidsrus, that’s not quite accurate. The movie was originally scheduled to come out in November, 2008. Universal did some reshoots for it, tweaked some special effects, and went through some editorial and musical changes along the way. Those are what caused the release delays. It wasn’t fully finished until just a couple of months ago.

    (I won’t speak to the quality of the movie itself–I’ll leave that up to viewers. Just wanted to clarify the ‘sitting on the shelf’ notion.)

  5. coelacanth1938 responds:

    Anybody here know why they’re releasing this movie on Valentine’s Day weekend? 😉

  6. Unknown Primate responds:

    “The Wolf Man” is my overall favorite of the old Universal Studios monster movies. Growing up as a “monster kid” and loving monsters is what made me gravitate towards cryptozoology in the first place!

  7. mystery_man responds:

    coelacanth1938- Why wouldn’t they release it then? Full moons, moody atmosphere, shapeshifting bloodthirsty monsters, what could be more romantic than that? 🙂

  8. coelacanth1938 responds:

    It’s the Lupercalia.

  9. billgreen2010 responds:

    here my new review i just finished watching the new wolfman at my local theatre its was AWESOME WONDERFUL suspenceful it definetly stood up the orginal wolfman if not awesomer to it. i give this new wolfman movie A+++++++ the stars in the movie were wonderful storyline wonderful. im definetly looking forward the new wolfman movie comeing out dvd or blu ray in couple months 🙂

  10. jerrywayne responds:

    I saw the new Wolfman film over the weekend.

    The original The Wolfman with Lon Chaney Jr. was a favorite monster film of mine as a kid growing up in the 1950s (a perennial late night TV staple). The new film retains the originals’ character names of John and Larry Talbot (still father and son), as well as the character of the old gypsy fortune teller Maleeva. Otherwise, this film is set in a different era and has a different storyline.

    Similar to the original, the atmosphere is well set and maintains a foreboding mood. Del Toro is low keyed as Larry, tormented but less demonstrative so as was the overtly sympathetic Chaney performance.

    As befitting contemporary expectations, the new Wolfman is occasionally very gory. Its fright factor is in the currency of the times as well, resorting to sudden loud noises and quick, graphic violence.

    The creature itself is a bit disappointing to me.

    Since the original The Howling and An American Werewolf in London, the werewolf is portrayed in most movies as more wolf like, with wolf snout and long ears, bipedal or on all fours, and hence different from old B-movie, more human-like representations. In this new film, the werewolf is similar to the original The Wolfman, with a tad I Was a Teenage Werewolf thrown in. (I prefer Chaney’s creature to del Toro’s. Curiously, it seems more real).

    Interestingly, the new movie has in its storyline events and images (the wolf head cane, for instance) that reminded me of both the original film and the even earlier The Werewolf of London. And unless I imagined it, the Danny Elfman music composition has the faintest recall of the first Wolfman’s score.

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