Hard to imagine that in a couple of weeks time it will be 40 years since Eugene Cernan became the last human to walk on the Moon. Considering the earliest memory I have of television is pressing myself against the fuzzy black and white screen as a toddler watching the first man to step on the Moon, it is almost [apart from technologies developed for/from the project – Teflon/dehydrated food/etc ] as if the Space Race never happened. Indeed there are probably those that still believe that all the moon landings were merely an expensive hoax; with elaborate stories about movie sets and faked photographs [or conversely that there is a thriving invisible to us/dark side of the moon community – think the recent movie Iron Sky].
Of the most enduring myths concerning the Moon must be that it is linked to madness and that Werewolves come out with a full moon. The folklore story of the werewolf perhaps dates as far back as the ancient Greeks and still exists worldwide today. It supposes that a cursed human shape-shifts into a wolf at the dawning of a full moon.
I have been interested in Horror stories since a young teen, when I used to sneak downstairs late on a Friday night to watch the old Universal 1930’s and 40’s movies on BBC2. I must admit though that compared to the other classic ‘monsters’, Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy, I always felt rather short changed by the werewolf. Lon Chaney, Jr was a decent actor and the transformation scene acceptable given leeway for the SFX of the time, but the fluffy teddy bear outcome always left me rather disappointed.
It wasn’t until An American Werewolf in London and The Howling that I feel the big studios got it right. Though of course the best werewolf movie is the one that is most often overlooked or forgotten as being about lycanthropes, the sophisticated The Company of Wolves based on Angela Carter’s short story collection The Bloody Chamber.
As we all know, Little Red Riding Hood wasn’t as innocent as most now believe. Enjoy the penultimate Full Moon of the year today.