WEREWOLVES: A FIELD GUIDE TO SHAPESHIFTERS, LYCANTHROPES, AND MAN-BEASTS (PAPERBACK)
by Bob Curran, Ian Daniels (Illustrator)
Published by New Page Books
Publication Date: 2009
Format: Black /White – 223 pages
Is it just me or does it seem like there has been a renewed interest in the way of the lycans this year.
Well if anyone is going to write about the werewolf lineage and mythology then Bob Curran is the man to do it. With previous editions based on vampires, zombies and the undead, Curran is the consummate horror fan who sets out to define the specifics of a genre characterization. We as viewers of the years full offering of all things wolf know most of the signs, symbols and expectations. We know the Werewolf appears on a full moon, is a usually a man who is transformed in appearance, strength and agility and we know that silver bullets are the primary weapon of choice. This years re-introducing the creature thru releases of American Werewolf, a new wolf man movie in progress and a few collection of tie-ins with other films….it’s safe to say, the wolf creature is here to stay.
“Werewolves” takes mostly a different approach than those books who tribute to Lon Chaney and the 20th century film creations. It actually pulls out, digs and collects the tie ins over historical data that connect man and wolf. Whether we are talking about the Egyptian dog headed Anubis or the way man has associated warriors and beast behavior closely to the wolf…… it’s all here. Historians will really appreciate the level of research Curran has composed to bring us not only the werewolves we know but the origins of the wolf beast the world over.
A dog headed race? As absurd as it seems, there appears to be much in the past documented and is discussed over these abstract humans. But what is the fascination with lycans and why has itt prevailed? Well as it’s explained in several chapters the classification of man gone wild and showing signs of the berserker stages has always been correlated with a wolf-like nature.
Early adopters would use the actual word as part of there name whether intended or given by those who knew them to signify strength and manlihood. Warriors might use wolf skins to give themselves a more menacing appearance while traditional folklore has all kinds of tales of wolf gods, transformations, shape changers and darkness associated with the supernatural angle of were wolves.
While the classifications we have come to know came much later it was most likely due to man’s obsession with the beasts that has carried forward into the modern cinema. Ireland, Japan, China and several other cultures have numerous tie-ins associating wolf relationships. Christianity and bible passages approach the werewolf as a element of Satan or witchcraft. Further digging finds mentions of cannibalism, eating of human flesh and so on. Then or course there is the all too well documented stories of the effect of a full moon which may have lead to the inferred bestial transformation.
It is common knowledge that with the arrival of a full moon, man was more prone to obscure behavior, violence and even lunacy. Perhaps if was fear as Curran mentioned that furthered the creation of folklore. Back in a time where those accused of witchcraft led to extermination its not unheard of for paranoia to let imagination create transformations and false tales to strike fear into the locals. The relationship of wolves who care for there young and protect there packs easily associates itself to human behavior.
It was even believed that wolves would take abandoned children and raise them as there own creating a hybrid behavior in the upbringing of those unfortunate to live the life of a wolf. When all is said and done this ultimately leads us to the modern cinema in which Curran has devoted a smaller chapter too. But it is evident that the book is not meant to be so much of a movie lovers reference. The true aim here is historical data connecting wolves, lycans and legends. Enough is presented to make a case for man’s fascination…however now instead of doing the research, Curran’s has created a great reference book to indulge into.
Bob Curran’s book Werewolves is well written, collective and provides hours of interesting reading. Horror fans who want to learn more about origins and surpass the movie connections will be right at home.
Check out other books by the author as well at: New Page Books
Available at www.newpagebooks.com