Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Werewolf Clichés

Since I am both an expert on the representation of werewolves in the media and also a kind, generous soul*, I have decided to compile a list of obligatory werewolf clichés in film, TV, and the odd book. They are ranked from 15 – 1, counting down in order of just how obligatory they are.

Here we go.

15) The werewolf will be introduced to the scene by being hit by a car.
Seen in – Cursed, Ginger Snaps

14) The lead character will suddenly start acting like a wolf without realising they are doing as such, by displaying enhanced senses or eating raw meat or too much food.
Seen in – Wolf, Cursed

13) There will be a sequence where the werewolf wakes up in their own bed to see a series of footprints leading from their window to their bed, which begin as werewolf pawprints, then gradually metamorphose to human.
Seen in – The Wolfman, Van Helsing

12) There will be a spooky fortune teller who reads the lead character's palm, gets really scared, refuses to say any more and flees the film. A crystal ball is optional.
Seen in - Cursed, The Wolfman

11) Somewhere in the story, there will be a huge aggressive jock/reclusive insane hermit who screams ‘I’M A BIG HONKING WEREWOLF’ so loudly everyone within the story will suspect them unconditionally and without hesitation. At the end of the film, the aggressive jock will be revealed to be putting on a front in order to conceal an effeminate gay lifestyle, and the insane hermit will be revealed to be a respectable, friendly member of society and may even save the day Boo Radley style.
Seen in – Cursed, Buffy, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp

10) The werewolf will be a stereotypical dork complete with the stereotype dorky glasses and clothes, who gets routinely bullied by the bigger kids at school, especially in gym class. Then, after being bitten by the werewolf, he will turn into a cool suave player with perfect vision who goes to aforementioned gym class and kick ass completely. He may also pull the bully’s girlfriend.
Seen in – Buffy, Cursed, Teen Wolf, Ginger Snaps

9) The dog will growl at the werewolf, and will be the only living thing to recognise the beast for what it is.
Seen in - Ginger Snaps, Cursed, Fullmoon

8) That dog will get eaten.
Seen in – Ginger Snaps

7) If the lead character is a female, the werewolf will turn out to be her love interest. Gasp!
Seen in – Cursed, Bitten, The Howling, The Beast, An American Werewolf in Paris

6) The lead character will wake up naked in a forest with no idea how they got there.
Seen in – Buffy, An American Werewolf in Paris

5) The words "Was that some sort of big dog?" or "What was that, some kind of mutated bear?!" will be uttered, even though the monster in question stands on it's hind legs and looks like a frickin' werewolf.
Seen in - Ginger Snaps, Buffy (“Those pesky wild dogs!”)

4) Sentences along the lines of “Don't you just love the moon? It really *looks deep into the camera* brings out the (hinthinthint anvil is being dropped oh god hint it's an anvil hinthinthinthint) beast in me." will be uttered by the werewolf. Extra points awarded for lines such as 'the animal within' being said in inane situations, too.
Seen in The Wolfman in London, The Wolfman

3) When the enemy werewolf turns, the protagonist will do nothing but stand quite motionless while gaping at the transformation wide eyed. They do this without fail, despite the fact that while the enemy is in mid-transformation he is vulnerable and immobile and that that would really be the best time to shoot him (Nathaniel), stab him (Sarah) or throw acid in his face (whats’erface from the Howling) or just plain runthecrapaway.
Seen in – Underworld, The Company of Wolves, The Howling, Van Helsing, Dog Soldiers

2) The second the protagonist suspects his true nature, they will consult the local library. They will then return with dozens of useful straightforward information books about werewolves, complete with illustrations, diagrams, cures, etc. Take it from this here werewolf obsessive, that does-not-happen. I can only name two published books that treat werewolves as a real possibility and they are both as likely to be found in a library as a chav.

And at number one -

1) Throughout the entire film we will see nothing but annoying tantalising half-second glimpses of the beast. Toothy-looking-shadow here, shifty pawprint there, lots of growling and roaring off camera, and probably a camera shot from the POV of the werewolf (Cheapest. Substitute. EVER). We will not see the werewolf fully until the last fifteen minutes upon which the beast will be revealed and the entire remaining budget blown in one eighth of a second.
Seen in – Underworld, Cursed, Wolfen, The Company of Wolves, Ginger Snaps, Ginger Snaps III, An American Werewolf in London, Skinwalkers, Dog Soldiers

I just realised that this would make an excellent drinking game. Get some friends, grab a werewolf film, settle down, and take a drink every time you see one of the above clichés.

I take absolutely no responsibility for liver failure and/or death.

Drink sensibly. Werewolves rock.

*I am very bored


Anonymous Lark said...

I love this list, I'm glad you where bored enough to post it :p

7:26 pm  
Anonymous Zlato said...

StumbledUpon your charming blog at the "Dueling Willy's" post, then stayed to rummage about further. Fun!

Sad about the general state of werewolf films ("Blood and Chocolate"). Not enough films of the caliber of "Dog Soldiers" or "An American Werewolf In Paris" lately.

7:27 pm  
Blogger The Raevyn said...

I concur. There hasn't been a good one for years. I watched Dog Soldiers again yesterday, and for some reason I'd forgotten about the scene where the wolf yoinks the shotgun from the soldier and opens fire with it. This scene alone puts above most other films, of any genre!

9:54 pm  
Blogger Little Goth Kitten said...

This is ace! I must keep it for future reference. (although I'm not quite sure why exactly I will need torefer to it...but I just will)

11:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would make an awesome drinking game. But not with neat spirits, never a good plan.

I do not promote or condone binge drinking. Especially after Friday night.

2:52 pm  
Blogger Nicole said...

Ah, Raevyn, how we love thee.

7:54 am  
Anonymous Walter Molko said...

Great list and helps with a werewolf novella I am writing. LOL.

Thanks a ton.

Way to go!

1:38 pm  
Blogger The Raevyn said...

You're writing a werewolf novella? Wicked, I'd love to read it, try to cram as many of these in as possible!

1:41 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

The movie The Boy Who Cried Werewolf hits upon pretty much every single one of these cliches! haha!
I love this, really great!

A couple more that could be added are:

A best friend with a deep interest in horror (My Moms a Werewolf, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf

Occurrences take place over Hallowe'en, so Werewolf is mistaken for Costume (Ginger Snaps, My Moms a Werewolf)

"Hair raising"
"Gotten into a hairy situation"
"Going threw some changes"

Amazing list! Ur #2 is my fav!! <3

3:58 am  
Anonymous Spamcat said...

Huh. Twilight didn't use any cliches?

That was unexpected.

3:46 pm  
Blogger The Raevyn said...

When I wrote this, Twilight hadn't been released yet.

7:41 pm  
Blogger Laney said...

You are wrong about Ginger Snaps. The sisters aren’t dorks they are misanthropic. They choose to stand out. Also 9 and 8 dont really apply to Ginger Snaps. Sure she ate Norman, but she also eats humans as well. And the first dog that growled and barked at Ginger was never killed or eaten.

2:38 am  

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