Revisiting werewolves

When I was a teenager, and then later in college, I had a huge thing for werewolves and vampires.

Unfortunately, two things happened.  The first was that Anne Rice came out with Interview With A Vampire and its sequels.  They were good books — especially, The Vampire Lestat — and for a while I was as excited about the vampire revival they spawned as anyone.  But practically overnight, the majority of vampires in literature and movies turned into Lestat and Luis clones, haunted and “sexy” and brooding and going on at tedious length about how their curse means they can never find happiness.  Ugh.

The second thing was that the gaming company, White Wolf, came out with both Vampire: the Masquerade and Werewolf: Apocalypse.  Again, though I enjoyed both games, the first compounded the tortured vampire fad and expanded upon the underground vampire clan idea that Anne Rice had used in her novels.  (I don’t know that she originated it, but I’m not sure who did.)

The latter game expanded on the idea of clans that White Wolf is so fond of and somewhere the idea of a war between vampires and werewolves was introduced — don’t ask me where.  Although Apocalypse never achieved the popularity that Masquerade did, it had an enormous impact on werewolf fiction, to the point where publishers started saying in their submission guidelines, “Please don’t write up your latest RPG adventure and submit it to us as a short story.”

Then the film series Underworld came out, spawning an intellectual property lawsuit by Whitewolf and even more stories of tormented vampires battling werewolf clans, and the inevitable Romeo and Juliet (or Romeo and Julio) takeoffs that came with these motifs.

I’m not saying that, in the hands of a good writer, these themes can’t be done in interesting ways and make for excellent reading, so if you’re writing stories along these lines, more power to you!  But I miss the days when vampires were truly undead monsters and werewolves were solitary.  I miss the days when these tales were frightening.  (Don’t even get me started about how Hollywood has turned horror films  into boring parodies of themselves).

Anyway, I’ve avoided vampires and werewolves in my stories for years, because of all this.  But recently I’ve decided to dig up a couple old short stories that never found publishers (not that I tried very hard) and a short screenplay that was never filmed.  I’m turning the screenplay into a short story, and since the other two short stories feature a common central character, I’m thinking of adding a third story to those and making a triptych.  I’m not sure what to do with the short story that will come out of the screenplay.  Its characters have nothing to do with the other two stories.  I could put them all together in a collection, of course, but I think I’d still need at least one more story.  If I had two stories about two characters, then a third with different characters, people would be baffled, wondering if it was going to tie in somehow.

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Filed under Occult/Paranormal, Romance, Victorian, Writing

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