Monday, April 11, 2016

American Werewolf in London

I just watched American Werewolf in London and wasn't too impressed. The movie reminded me of an ancient story in these parts. I've heard different variations and thus different attributions: some to settlers, others to the Natives. Appropriation aside, I'll try to present the story as neutrally as I can:

Once upon a time there was a village in some valley of darkness, beset on all sides by evil beasts. A man in the village is suddenly possessed by demons. He turns into a monster. The villagers decide to use him to kill all the beasts that have been sowing terror everywhere.

They summon the monster from within the man by making him angry. And yet the man hates this mutation of his. And when he's a human he begs them to let him be. But they still do it and release him into the forests to hunt down the beasts. Thing is, sometimes he hunts some of the villagers, but this doesn't compare to the death and destruction that happened before, when the beasts could run amok. 

And that's the end of the story. The village once on the verge of extinction is now doing well and burning the forest where they can. The man is kept in chains and is released when needed, though that's not very often. 

I'm told that this story is either a derivative or original of the werewolf legend. I'm not sure why I didn't like the movie more. American Werewolf in London has enough introspection, theories on death and self-sacrifice and our baser instincts to at least say something about the human condition, and the story I just wrote down doesn't seem to say much at all. 

And despite all that, I like it more. This could say something about me, about how I like the known unknowns in a story over the tried and true known knowns. I'm still an ape, I suppose, but still trying to differentiate myself? I hope not.

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