A century of cinema fangs

Feminism apart, Wilderness is not exactly exploring uncharted territory, Ivan Waterman writes. Werewolf films date back to 1913, when the Canadian director Henry McRae hired Watuma, a Navajo, to become a wolf for his silent adventure.

The werewolf myth has fascinated cinema audiences throughout the 20th century.

The movies have almost all featured a star victim who, once bitten, is transformed by the sight of the moon into a hairy beast with a fearsome set of teeth. He kills at random and a silver bullet was prescribed as the best means of disposing of the half-human monster.

Hollywood stars, from Lon Chaney Jr to Jack Nicholson, have wreaked havoc under a full moon. Closer to home, Michael Gambon and the late Harry H Corbett have followed in their pawsteps

Alan Frank, a leading writer on horror films, said of Wilderness: "This sounds like a load of baloney. I don't believe in feminist werewolves ... not unless they are burning their fur.

"We have had all kinds of 'definitive' films recently, from Ann Rice's Interview With the Vampire to Kenneth Branagh's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but they don't do that well. People want to have a giggle and be entertained.

"As for a girl being raped or bitten ... we had that over 30 years ago in The Curse of the Werewolf with the result that a servant girl gave birth to Oliver Reed. They don't get much better than that, do they? The metamorphosis thing is no big deal. Wanda Ventham turned into a giant death's head moth in The Blood Beast Terror. We've had women turning into serpents, zombies and gorgons. So what? No. This is just another cheap wolf dressed up in librarian's clothing," he added. "Feminists are likely to be upset by being portrayed as people who need to be locked up in basements because they are in need of a good lunch.

"Allegorical? PMT? Sorry. This is about as likely as Cyril Smith running a marathon."

Wolfography

The Werewolf, 1913.

Werewolf of London, Henry Hull, 1935.

The Wolf Man, Lon Chaney Jr, 1940.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, Lon Chaney, 1943.

Cry of the Werewolf, Nina Foch, Bela Lugosi, 1944.

The Werewolf, Steven Ritch, 1956.

I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Michael Landon, 1957.

I Married a Werewolf, 1961, (German).

The Curse of the Werewolf, Oliver Reed. 1960.

Dr Terror's House of Horrors, Ursula Howells, 1965.

Carry On Screaming, Harry H Corbett, 1966.

The Beast Must Die, Michael Gambon, 1974.

The Legend of the Werewolf, David Rintoul, 1975.

An American Werewolf in London, David Naughton, 1981.

The Howling, Patrick MacNee, 1980.

Wolfen, Albert Finney, 1981.

Teen Wolf, Michael J Fox, 1985.

Wolf, Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, 1994.

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