This is continuing on from my previous post on werewolves and Christianity.
I guess with Halloween coming on, I’ve been slipping into that appetite for horror I get once a year. It’s pretty hard to ignore when one of your neighbors decorates their apartment in lime-green cobwebs with a Zombie Crossing sign outside. Once it got dark outside, inside you could see they had plastic skulls hanging from their ceiling fan, spinning round and round and looking frankly hilarious.
Everywhere you go, there’s spooky scarecrows and witches and ghosts and pumpkins and decorative gourds. The colors alone make my heart go pit-a-pat.
I read so many wolf books growing up, I guess werewolves are just my favorite monster.
That and any woman who has experienced PMS knows what it’s like to change into a monster once a month.
Maybe that’s why I don’t do vampires–I can’t figure out how to identify with them. Parasites just don’t strike me as adorable, I’m afraid.
My mom had this old, old book about the animal kingdom, and when I was feeling daring, I’d get it off the shelf and see how far I could get. It started with the small stuff–paramecium and amoebas and such. Then it worked up to worms and parasites. Earthworms I can handle, but not the tapeworms. All detailed with nice closeups.
Eventually I’d be so grossed out, I’d slam the book shut and shove it back on the shelf.
Vampires, to me, are about as attractive of those closeups of tapeworms.
I know there’s books out there that have vampires wrestling with the dual nature–their thirst for blood and their attempt to remain human. But that doesn’t excite me like seeing the werewolf do the same thing. The vampire succumbs to appetite, while the werewolf succumbs to insanity.
To me, slipping over that edge and losing your humanity–and your mind–is the truly frightening thing.
George McDonald played with wicked people evolving backward into beasts. At its root, that’s the werewolf myth. And who hasn’t seen evil, debased people who were far below any self-respecting member of the animal kingdom?
That’s why I think it’s a shame that Christians don’t write books dealing with monsters more often. I want to read a book about a classic werewolf like a Christian Lupin (from Harry Potter)–who struggles with his faith and his monthly craving for raw meat. Who is desperately seeking redemption, even though it might mean his death (you can’t kill Hyde without also killing Jekyll).
That’s one reason I just loved Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather books. His lycanthropes are the truly frightening ones, and when one of the heroes gets turned into one, it makes it all the more sad and terrifying.
I want to see someone tackle hard questions like, when a person loses their memory and their personality changes, are they still saved? How much of the evil coming through is their fallen nature, and how much is the true darkness of their soul?
Where does a Christian take that? Is God’s grace and mercy still bigger than the demented werewolf?