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Lair of the Beasts: The Werewolf Book
An A to Z of Fangs, Fur and a Full Moon
By Nick Redfern
August 20, 2011
A Werewolf, A to Z
If werewolves, hairy shape-shifting monsters, and silver-bullets are your thing, then you’re in for a big, big treat! The good folk at Visible Ink Press have just published an excellent, fully updated, and massively expanded, edition of Brad Steiger’s near-legendary title, The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings. Originally published in 1999, this is a book that, beyond any shadow of doubt whatsoever, is undeniably essential reading for devotees of all-things beastly, vicious, and full-moon-based.
Running at nearly 400-pages, The Werewolf Book is a seriously in-depth, rollercoaster ride into the world of the flesh-eating killing machine best known as the lycanthrope, the werewolf, or the wolf-man – in on-screen entertainment, history, mythology, folklore, and even history and reality. That’s right: if you’re on the look-out for the ultimate werewolf guide, then look no further. You have just found it!
Presented in easy-to-read A to Z style, The Werewolf Book reveals just about all you’ll ever need to know about moon-based man-beasts. And, the good thing is that you can dip into its pages wherever, and whenever, you like.
Looking to learn what Brad – our fearless, armed-to-the-teeth, werewolf hunter, himself - thinks of the 2010 version of The Wolf Man starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony “Hannibal the Cannibal” Hopkins? Does he think it’s better or worse than the 1941 original starring Lon Cheney Jr., Claude Rains and Maria Ouspenskaya? Check out pages 331-334 for the answers.
Wondering what Brad might have to say about The Howling, the Underworld franchise, the teen-themed, sugar-coated Twilight saga, or the special-effects on An American Werewolf in London? Well, that’s all here, too!. As are countless other entries on a wide and varied werewolf movies – some well-known and others downright obscure and long-forgotten – until now, of course!
Hollywood movies aside, however, The Werewolf Book focuses a great deal of its attention on the beast of the night in definitive reality, too. Yep, like it or like it not: those beasts of the darkness really are out there. You read it right; they’re not just the stuff of fiction. Indeed, one day, they may prove to be your absolute worst nightmares come to life.
And, for me at least, this is where Brad’s mighty tome really scores points big-time. He reveals centuries-old cases of shape-shifting, of moonlit savagery, and of wild man-monsters striking cold, unrelenting fear into the very heart of centuries-old European hamlets, latter-day American towns, and even ancient Egypt. And Brad, detailing some of the strangest and most savage cases of real-life lycanthropy on-record, successfully demonstrates that Tinsel-Town has nothing on the real world!
But, that’s not all.
An A to Z-type book may quickly, and tediously, become very sterile, dull and downright boring. After all, look at your average encyclopedia: it might very well be informative, but it can prove to be as dull as three-day-old dishwater too! Fortunately, there’s none of that here – at all. Rather, The Werewolf Book is written with imagination, suspense, excitement, clarity, intrigue and nightmarish, gothic horror – in equal malevolent, but always-entertaining, measures.
The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings is, then, most definitely a title to sink your teeth into! But, if you’re going to do so, I most strongly urge you to wait until (to very slightly paraphrase the mighty Ramones’ 1989 anthem Pet Sematary) the moon is full, the air is still, and all of a sudden, you feel a chill…
Nick Redfern is the author of many books, the latest of which is The Real Men in Black.