"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 75
Have I ever mentioned how much I love the werewolf? Not lately, I'm sure, so it may be a bit of a surprise to anyone who started reading this blog after 2010. But it remains my favourite monster--which, as Bob has recently reminded me, means warning, from the Latin "monstrare."
The warning in the movie Bad Moon (See my Thirteen Things!) was easy enough to figure out. What about the warning in this meeting's scheduled radio play?
Was anyone else surprised when the story ended? Not because of the expected twist, but because there seemed to be no twist at all? Or rather, no ending? I actually checked alternative uploads, just in case there had been some mistake, but the play really does stop where it stops. =S
It's awkward because of the expectations that the beginning sets up for us. Hermann is so convinced that the curse will keep following him that he convinces us of it, too. So it seems to fall to the kind couple who have taken him in to persuade him (and us) that he can finally be at peace . . . or at least it would if they had had a chance to do it. His terrified father, though dead by the time the whole story is told, gets to have the last word--and given how well his first plan to run away went for his family, we are naturally skeptical that the same strategy will work a second time.
After listening to this, I became curious about the source material and went looking for it. And as I suspected, The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains by Frederick Marryat does offer more closure in its ending. It also shows just how far people are willing to run from their pasts: by the time Hungarian-born Hermann tells the story, he is in Malaysia and headed for India. (Of course, all this begs the question of whether running in space is an effective way of escaping something in time.)
Another difference between Marryat's story and this Weird Circle version is the father's treatment of Hermann's little sister Marcella. In the original, he makes her the target of all residual anger toward her unfaithful mother. And he's generally more hardhearted than he is portrayed in the play--a match, not a foil, to the "wicked stepmother" he brings into his home. The Monster Land blog has an interesting analysis of Christine/Christina in the post Female Sexuality and the Werewolf in "The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains"--but Monster Scholar doesn't touch on the character of Marcella. Perhaps we can extrapolate and say that inasmuch as little girls will grow into their sexuality, they are potential monsters.
Now, I never would have done an interpretation like this on my own, but I seem to be in the minority. For even The Weird Circle addresses this element, if only to neutralise it, in what happens to be my favourite line from the script: "You are kind and good . . . and yet you are a woman!" ROFLMAO!
What are your thoughts on The Werewolf?
1) Do you believe that the sins of the parents fall on the heads of the children? If so, what can be done to break the chain?
2) What would you say the white wolf warns us against?
Our next play will be "Three Skeleton Key" from Escape. There are several versions, but the one everyone seems to remember is the second that stars Horror heavyweight Vincent Price. (Yes, "that" and not "which": for Mr. Price apparently reprised the role more than once!) As much as I'd love to be contrarian and suggest that we listen to another actor, I admit that it will be easier on everyone to go with the popular pick. Download the 17 March 1950 broadcast from the Escape and Suspense! blog or the Internet Archive, or listen to it on Podbay, Relic Radio or YouTube.
And have a blessed All Souls' Day while you're at it! =)