Feb 20, 2010

Wolfman's Got Nards!

Yesterday I discussed the influence that the Church had on the origins of eating fish on Fridays during Lent. Being the history buff that I am, I thought it would be an appropriate time to discuss the historical implications that the Church had on another issue that we deal with on daily basis: Werewolves.

Back in the 15th century, a church in France was struggling with poor economic conditions and a decline in membership. In order to get more people to join the church, and subsequently give money to the church, they decided to play scare tactics with everyone living in the area. They did this by instilling the fear that there was a werewolf lurking about in the woods that would kill all of the women and children that it could sink it's teeth into. The church used some well-written Bible propaganda to back up the terror. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Leviticus 26:22 - I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number.

Deuteronomy 32 - I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them.

Matthew 7:15 - Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Matthew 10:16 - Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore as wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

If one wanted to avoid certain death-by-werewolf, they could become a member of the church, throw them some scratch, and live to see another day. Of course, we all know that there wasn't really a werewolf running around in the woods, but there was a creature out there, and it was killing people.

Some French dude went to Africa one time and brought back a pet hyena with him when he returned. Believe it or not, you can actually teach hyena's a few tricks. Well this guy taught the hyena to attack both women and little children. And if you ever watch Animal Planet, then you know that these beasts are pretty nasty. They are scavengers, and when they kill something, they eat it all...bones, hair, fat, gristle, and all. So basically, this guy, backed by the church, released his hyena into the public and killed a few people. This induced panic, and people flocked to the church faster than a bag of Cheetos disappears at a Weight-Watchers convention. I watched a documentary on this, so if you're asking yourself if I am full of shit, the answer is nay. The actual hyena that was used in the "werewolf" killings is actually stuffed and preserved in the archives underneath the Louvre in Paris. I've been there. It's a pretty cool place.

In case you're interested, these actions inspired a few stories you may have heard before, such as stay out of the forest or the wolf will kill you via "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Hansel and Gretel." It also lead to the persecution of about 30,000 gypsies (the church wanted to get rid of them) and contributed to the witch myth that would later bring about the Salem Witch Trials. Well! I'll be damned. Ya learn something knew every day.

If you're bored this weekend and feel like watching a werewolf movie, here are some recommendations.

If you like Jack Nicolson and Michelle Pfeiffer, this one is for you. Fun Jack Nicolson Fact of the Day: When Jack was born, his dad took off. He grew up with his mom and several sisters. After high school, he left NJ and went out to Hollywood with his older sister to pursue acting. After a few years there, his sister passed away. Once he had about 15 or so films under his belt, his mother passed away. Then he found out that his sister was actually his mother, and his mother and other sisters were his grandmother/aunts. Talk about a complete mind-fuck. If I found out news like that, I would probably look like this too:

An American Werewolf in London
This classic has one of the best, if not the best werewolf transformation scenes and was ranked #42 in Bravo's "100 Scariest Movie Moments of All Time." Here's a sneak peak if you're interested.

The Wolfman
This movie is out in theaters right now. I haven't seen it yet, but the trailers look badass. It has Benicio Del Toro (who looks like a werewolf normally) and Sir Anthony Hopkins (...nice to see you again).

The Monster Squad
The Monster Squad is a comedy/horror depicting the ultimate battle of Good vs Evil. As most of you know, when Dracula comes to town, he means business. This time around he brought a couple of his buddies along, including Wolfman, The Mummy, Frankenstein, and Gillman (Creature from the Black Lagoon). A classic line from the original movie trailer asks,

“You know who to call when you have ghosts. But who do you call when you have monsters?”

Enter The Monster Squad. The leader of a group of kids up to the challenge, Sean, says it best,

“There’s something out there…and its killing people. And if its monsters, nobody is gonna do a thing about it but us.”

Still not convinced? Here are some reasons to watch this movie:

  • It was made in the 80’s
  • Dracula, Wolfman, Mummy, Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, all in one film
  • Cutting-edge special effects coupled with Academy Award quality acting
  • “Kick him in the nards!” “Wolfman doesn't have nards!” *kick* “Wolfman has nards!”

  • The kid from Peewee’s Big Adventure, The Wonder Years, and Back to the Future is in it
  • The incredible “We’re about to fight a bunch of monsters and need to be prepared to take ‘em out” montage
  • If The Monster Squad had an older brother, his name would be The Goonies