I missed a day—damn it—and it was all because of my day job seemed to be feeling neglected yesterday and demanded to be the center of attention. Well I figured what the hell and doubled up today, so my Halloween countdown has twice the fun today—the subject vampires and werewolves.
Now some of you might ask why that combination. There are volumes of lore to be found on both sides enough that numerous books have been written on the subject. My reasoning is that vampires and werewolves have much more in common besides their fangs *laughs* both subjects are what I refer to as the hidden monsters. These monsters are by far scarier than the ones that openly display who and what they are, they walk among us, and until they show us their true faces, we never know what beasts with which we keep company.
The origins of both vampires and werewolves are far more primitive and bloody than what people are exposed to modern cinema and literature. Centuries ago, the vampire was little more than a reanimated corpse that clawed itself from the grave, roaming the night wrapped in a shroud, and seeking out the one thing it no longer possessed—life. Werewolves were men who dealt with the devil, sometimes possessing the attributes of an actual wolf upon their transformation, but more often than not were nothing more than wild men, filthy, and insane who attacked human children or livestock for sustenance. Either way they instilled a fear in the people who lived in the distant villages of the European countryside without the benefit of modern technology such as electricity and running water. What both these creatures have become are symbols of modern man’s own fear of themselves and the people around them.
Vampires have evolved from these rotting revenants to a slick, devil may care creature that walks among and preys upon society. Nothing he does, gives his true nature away, unless you look a little too close. Then you may notice his oddly pale skin or the slight protrusion and/or sharpness of his canines (eyeteeth). There may even be a hint of something in his gaze or his voice that mesmerizes you, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. The vampire is charming, sexy, and titillating, he is the epitome of the perfect lover who can at a moment’s notice turn on you and drain you dry whether it be your bank account or your blood. In the real world, vampires could be compared to grifters, those who live off others by manipulating them usually for money. Of course, the currency of the vampire is blood.
Werewolves though are a slightly different story. These are every day Joes who find themselves suddenly unable to control their baser instincts, consumed by a rage that burns so bright that they cannot be held responsible for what they do. These creatures feed from humans just as vampires, but the modern werewolf is innocent, often unknowingly killing others due to a curse placed upon them, an ancestor, or they had the unfortunate happenstance of doing one of any numerous things that will turn you into a werewolf.
So we have two monsters very human in their physical nature, who both feed from humanity, one from the blood, and the other from the flesh. These creatures have taken on aspects of the very things we often fear in ourselves—sexuality and temperament. As the old saying goes, ‘There is a thin line between love and hate’. The vampire has become a physical representation of our need to be desired and to be taken in every way by something far larger than life. He is the wickedness in our soul, the naughty streak that we’ve been told is unacceptable by society, and he is beyond the reach of human law for he is immortal. The werewolf is the animal inside us, the depth of anger that we fear to show to the world. We thrill in his desire for the flesh in a raw, overpowering way, much as we love the vampire for his seductive, romantic wiles. They are both outsiders and what man, woman, or child hasn’t experienced being an outsider at some point in our lives.
Our fascination grows and changes with each passing year, but as a species will always wonder what hides in the shadows. We’ll always be drawn to the darkness even though we fear it for it is the ultimate rush.
Two more days and we might just find that rush…