When we think of a genre of books or films that include a message about social and political issues we often think of science fiction. As well we should. Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek (and its progeny) is widely praised for this reason, but it is of course far from alone in this regard. Nevertheless, what many people frequently dismiss is that horror has not only offered a great way of exploring contemporary issues within our society; but continues to do so as well. This month I want to take a look at one such modern example provided from within the context of the werewolf.
It’s been nearly forty years since the publication of Whitley Strieber’s novel The Wolfen, and the subsequent theatrical adaptation that followed in 1981. Both remain great examples of using fictional horror as a medium for shining light on real social and political issues. Now astute readers will remember that well over one year ago I singled out The Wolfen as one of the all-time great werewolf books. And before my email blows up please note that I understand the creatures in the Wolfen are not actual werewolves. Nevertheless because of the manner in which they are presented as having near human intelligence I have chosen to rank them as werewolf equivalents. Continue reading