Saturday, October 30, 2021

PBS Storied's Monstrum on werewolves through the centuries for Halloween

For today's treat, I'm continuing my tradition for the past two years of blogging about monsters on Candy Corn Day. This year, Dr. Emily Zarka of PBS Digital's Storied explored the history of werewolves for Halloween, just as she exhumed the history of zombies last year. At least her werewolf history spanned only two episodes in contrast to three for zombies. Watch The Killer Origins of the Werewolf to see the first part.

Long before a full moon could transform a human into a beast, the werewolf was present across the literature, lore, and mythologies of ancient Europe. Whether a punishment for the wicked, a cure for the unlucky, or a blessing for the strong, the human to wolf shapeshifter is almost always violent. Real wolves posed a real threat to humans and their livestock, but how did these predators come to be associated with cannibalism, sorcery, and mental illness? The first in a two-part series, featuring werewolf expert and Gothic scholar Dr. Kaja Franck, this episode tackles the rise of the werewolf in its myriad of forms, looking at what happened when Christianity interceded and turned the werewolf into the embodiment of evil—a change that reached its devastating climax with the persecution and execution of accused werewolves.
While I appreciated both the history and the science used to explain it, I agree with Dr. Zarka's final question, "but why?" For the answer, watch part two, The Werewolf’s Modern Metamorphosis.

Modern interpretations of werewolves include grotesque transformations, bloodied muzzles, and loyal packs. Many of these tropes first appeared on film but how did the modern world integrate older fears of lupine shapeshifters into haunting depictions of modern anxieties? The second installment in Monstrum’s werewolf series looks at the evolution of the werewolf through Gothic fantasy, horror films, literature, and video games, exploring the monster’s evolution into one of popular culture’s most malleable metaphors. With insights from werewolf expert Dr. Kaja Franck, horror critic Meagan Navarro, and werewolf graphic novelist Olivia Stephens, this episode will help you understand why the popularity of the werewolf only continues to grow.
If Dr. Z and her guests are right, then werewolves could be the answer to after zombies and vampires, what's next? Time will tell.

Since Dr. Z and her guests mentioned "Werewolf of London," I'm sharing A Werewolf of London cocktail that has nothing to do with the film | Warren Zevon Piña Colada as today's drink.

Werewolf of London is a classic horror film. This cocktail has nothing to do with that film, and draws flimsy inspiration from Warren Zevon's 1977 novelty song. This episode, we're bringing you a Piña Colada twist on the Trader Vic's classic that'll have you howling for another round!

1 oz Pusser's British Navy Rum
1 oz J. Wray Overproof Rum
3 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cream of Coconut
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Haha! I enjoyed this video enough that I left the following comment: "Your channel needs more subscribers, so I subscribed, and this video needs more viewers, so I'm embedding it on my blog for an entry about werewolves. Happy Halloween!" I hope my actions encourage the creators to make more videos. Since Spirits of Horror is a Canadian channel, it also has a recipe for "Ginger Snaps." I'll save that for a future post about lycanthropes, just in case Dr. Zarka and her guests are right about the rising popularity of werewolves in literature and media. After all, I'm an environmentalist; I conserve my resources in addition to recycling my comments.

Stay tuned for one final Halloween post for this year. Trick or treat!

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