Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Transformative experiences

Every once in a while, my wife engages in a well-thought conversation with me about horror. I prize her insights for many reasons but particularly because she is not tainted by fandom. Sure, she often points out plot holes and things that just don't make sense. She's usually right, no matter how much I want to disagree.

A few days ago we were talking about werewolves and we touched on the notion that we always see the big first transformation into the beast. There are classics, An American Werewolf in Paris being the top of the heap despite being as old as I am. What we rarely, if ever, see is the change back into a more human form.

"The change back is always a cut away," Savannah said. And she's right. So often, we see the beast terrorizing victims and in its final scenes, being shot (with silver bullets) and a cut to the distraught love interest or the shocked law enforcement officer who put the monster down. The edits then cut back to the now human again werewolf, breathing his (yes, it's usually a guy) last breaths, naked and bleeding out.

There is, however, one great example of a wolf turning back into human form that we get to see. It's not a traditional werewolf, but rather a new vampire experimenting with wolfish transformation but being dispatched by righteous justice. Some of you knew where we were going from the beginning.

This classic scene from 1985's original Fright Night features the wolf "Evil" Ed getting staked by Peter Vincent and horrendously reverting to his human form. We see the torment Ed suffers through as his body twists and compresses from a hairy, vicious wolf to a snarling, dying teenager. It's brutal and amazing--no CGI here, folks.

Are there other worthy examples? What are your favorite transformation scenes?

Later, Savannah and I discussed scenes of people waking up during autopsies. Isn't she the best?

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