The werewolf is a fascinating creature in human literature. It is the imaginative link between the raw, natural, animal world, and the modern civilized human. The werewolf is a sort of symbolic representation of the primal being that still exists, to some extent, in all of us. However in this case that inner nature gets out, and the person takes on the form of their hidden primal self.
The nature of the werewolf's transformation is one which is defined by the type of creature they are. There are many different stories and myths pertaining to the werewolf. Ancient claims have them as humans possessed by demons, or animal spirits. In more modern tales they are also the result of genetic manipulation, disease, or chemical induction.
The change itself is an issue that has been difficult for writers, and especially for makers of movies. There is no real way to show a person completely changing into something else without it looking like a fake. Just morphing looks cartoonish, and having the person simply grow tufts of hair is usually inadequate for the effect.
Some modern stories tell of a person growing into the werewolf form. This can be through muscles suddenly bulging, hair popping out, teeth growing, and the like. In general this is the easiest and most believable way to demonstrate the change.
Another method has the person becoming transfigured in a relatively gruesome way. In this method the body grows out of itself, but it is much more dramatic and violent, and makes for a better horror story.
The werewolf is a powerful symbol of the primal instinct that is within us all. By seeking to understand its nature in literature and movies, we can better come to understand our own nature, and the soul of human beings.
© Jim Slate
Source: Jim Slate
Published: July 14, 2009