The clawing appeal of werewolves — there’s something about hairy

July 20, 2009 | 6:30 p.m.

Linton Weeks has an article over at NPR about the full-moon fever for werewolves these days. Here’s an excerpt of the lengthy piece that goes on to analyze the paw prints of this pop-culture stirring. (Note: We added the links…)

Lon_Chaney_Jr as Wolf Man

Seen The New York Times best-seller list lately? It’s awash with werecreatures — half-human, half-beast thingies. There are weretigers in Laurell K. Hamilton’s novel Skin Trade. And a werepanther in Charlaine Harris’s novel Dead and Gone.

Werethings are showing up everywhere. There’s [“The Wolf Man“] movie in the works starring Benicio Del Toro. And word of a remake of John Landis’ 1981 movie “An American Werewolf in London.” A new series on BBC America premiering in July features a weresomething-or-other.

Even the United States Senate is worrying about werecreatures. More on that in a sec. But first: Where in the world is this wereness weirdness coming from…?

Charlotte Otten, author of “A Lycanthropy Reader” and “The Literary Werewolf,” attributes the present pop-cult fascination with werethings to “our continuing interest in metamorphosis.”

A professor emerita at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., Otten says that some of the struggles in the history of metamorphosis can be traced to “uncertainty about the nature of a human being and his/her relationship to the animal kingdom.”

In werecreatures, she says, “ultimately, we find ambiguities and mysteries…”




Benecio Del Toro does his research for “The Wolf Man”

PHOTO GALLERY: Sexy beast! A history of werewolves in film

The buff Taylor Lautner gets wolfish for “New Moon”

VIDEO: The legacy of Lon Chaney Jr., looking back in horror

Beyond “The Wolf Man”: 13 other genre remakes underway  

SET VISIT: The fangs, fun and fur  of “True Blood,” season two

Photos: At top, Lon Chaney Jr. in  “The Wolf Man,” circa 1941. Credit: Los Angeles Times archives. Bottom, “The Wolf Man” in 2009. Credit: Universal Pictures

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