Why are Werewolves so Popular?


The fascination with werewolves, it seems to me, has overtaken that of vampires in modern popular culture. Werewolves are the new and exciting subject of sexual allure. (Or possibly the old and repeating one, but with a long enough reprieve behind it to push it out of living memory.) They’re the creatures of daydreams—an impressive promotion from nightmares, which I imagine would have been the more common mental habitat in generations previous.

I don’t understand the allure, personally. Maybe it’s because I have an aversion to dogs. But I find nothing attractive about a guy who can smell me from three blocks away.

I’m mindful that I’m not good at adhering to popular social fads, anyway. Like Star Wars, which was so named because ‘Sesame Street in Space’ violated copyright. I gave sincere attempts at trying to like it, with no success. The same goes for movies Toy Story (any of them) and Monsters Inc. Conversely, my favourite Pixar movie is one of Pixar’s bottom performers—Cars.

All that to say, my personal preferences for entertainment and intrigue is no reliable measure of objective merit.

But when I don’t understand something, I at least try to understand why and how other people do. I don’t expect I’ll ever be partial to werethings, but I was interested to hear the rationale of people on the other side.

Why are werewolves so popular, then? Especially in the context of sexual provocation, rather than a thrilling horror?

Learning this would take two approaches: reading/research, then individual case studies. That is, actually asking people.

Academic rationales I encountered—assertions couched in fancy words like psychology, neurology, and anthropology—were about the werewolf’s animalism allowing for a lack of inhibition.

In real life, a person wouldn’t actually kill the guy who left his shopping trolley sitting in a parking space (although they may visualise doing it, in cinematic quality and surround sound). However, they may accept the lazy lump getting his mortal comeuppance, vicariously, by a werewolf who simply lost control of his urges through no hairy fault of his own.

Trolley litterers will bring out the worst in anybody, to be fair.

The consensus was that the werewolf symbolises the dichotomy of man and beast within the self; representing the Hyde within us all.

Or some similar validation.

But what about outside of theory, dissertation, and contemplative beard-stroking? How would the ground-level layman explain being attracted to werewolves?

Not much differently, apparently. Although, less pretentiously.

The sexual component depends, I’m informed, on how a werewolf is presented. Older presentations have been a creature looking like neither man nor wolf—but just some excessively hairy hominid with large canines and abnormal skeletal structure in the face. Those, unanimously, aren’t sexy. Whereas modern presentations will likely be more familiar—the wolf form of the creature looks just like a normal wolf, though perhaps larger, and the human form looks just like a normal man.

Actually, no it doesn’t. The human form looks like the stereotypical fantasy of a man.

He’s dark, mysterious, with tension simmering in his eyes from the suppression of his canine nature during its off-hours, and he’s absurdly well-built owing to his adventurous spirit that flexes all over the mountains at night.

And there’s the allure.

Unfortunately, this six-packed fantasy can still smell you from three blocks away, and I find that somewhat of a deal breaker. And then there’s all the stretchy spit…

Such a body image of their human side contrasts with the typical facade of vampires, who will be pale, slight, and in the case of some very recent interpretations, sparkly. To werewolf fans, such a contrast reinforces the common sense of their partiality.

Some people note that there’s also a distinction in creepy-factor. Werewolves, while technically being supernatural, are regarded as having more of a relatable human element than more traditional monsters like vampires, zombies and mummies. The humanity of the werewolf gives it a primal element. More mystic than monstrous.

I’m still not sold on the fascination, but I can conceptually see the mind map of how to get there, even if I’m not inclined to follow it.

Maybe it’s my aversion to dogs that continues to put me off. Surely no werewolf could be imagined sexy when it rains. The overwhelming smell of Wet Dog would be horrific.


(2) Comments

  • Deborah Makarios
    25 Nov 2016

    “Surely no werewolf could be imagined sexy when it rains.” An insight I have never encountered before, but striking all the more forcibly for that.
    I don’t understand the present obsession with ‘sexy monsters’ either. Maybe it’s just our culture’s tendency to sexualize everything. I mean, Stoker’s Dracula had hairy palms, and who’s gonna find that sexy? Better change him into a moody teenager with a face like an explosion in a tinsel factory (although personally, I’m still not feeling it).

    • Eve
      25 Nov 2016

      “…an explosion in a tinsel factory…” I loved that! Hyperbole is my favourite thing.

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