It’s a beautiful sunny Spring day outside so naturaly my thoughts are turning to something dark. As a sometimes horror writer I was thinking about what scares me and why. Other than some of the more obvious – death, heights and running out of toilet paper (don’t ask) the one thing guaranteed to scare me is werewolves. I suppose it’s a little odd because I have a werewolf in one of my stories and I do love werewolf movies. It doesn’t change the fact that they can and do still scare me something rotten.
The genesis of this comes in two parts; one from my early childhood and one from my teen years. Turn back the clock to the 1970’s and in the UK there was an early evening news show called Nationwide. One night they were doing a piece on the Hexham Heads – purportedly haunted artifacts that could summon up the spectral image of a wolflike man. They did a lovely recreation of a young kid around my age going home, opening the door and being confronte dby the werewolf on the staircase.
It scared the living daylights out of me! Nightmares ensued and unfortunately for a kid with an overactive imagination I could dream up some delightfully scary stuff about werewolves.
The second element of this particular trauma turned up some years later in the form of An American Werewolf in London. I absolutely adore Landis’ movie – it’s darkly funny, Rick Bakers effects are incredible, Jenny Agutter is stunning and even today it stands up well. It’s one of my favourite films of all time, but it also has one of the scariest scenes in a film ever – the one set in the underground with the lone businessman. I touched on this in Last Train Home – how unnerving it can be to be alone on a train platform at night.
The scene (and the film) filmly set in stone how scary werewolves are for me – The Howling didn’t help matters either! I’ve written about werewolves, I’ve painted and drawn them; but they still scare me on some deeply primal level. Don’t get me wrong; I love werewolf movies – The classic The Wolfman is briliant and there are so many others over the years. I enjoy watching them knowing that I’m going to get a genuine scare and some potentially unsettling dreams that night.
I do try not to watch werewolf movies late at night, alone with the lights out though!