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THE WEREWOLF BOOK: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SHAPE-SHIFTING BEINGS
Jeffrey Dahmer was a werewolf--at least, author claims many killers are closer to Lawrence Talbot than Hannibal Lecter.
By Dan Cziraky
March 22, 2000
Following on the heels of THE VAMPIRE BOOK: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE UNDEAD comes Brad Steiger's THE WEREWOLF BOOK: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SHAPE-SHIFTING BEINGS. There hasn't really been a decent book on werewolves in a long time, and Steiger massive tome is impressive in its depth of coverage. Unfortunately, this is another example of a Visible Ink Press reference book filled with errors. Most of them are minor points: Steiger has Lon Chaney buying the silver wolf's head walking stick for his father, when it was actually for himself (he later gives it to Claude Rains as protection from his hirsute alter-ego); he proclaims that Fox only aired the two-hour pilot for the series WEREWOLF, when they did, in fact, air one season of the series.
More conspicuous are mistakes in the photo captions for the color section: a photo of Belinda Balaski in THE HOWLING is identified as being Susan Strasberg in THE MANITOU; a picture of Sharon Baird in the title role of RATBOY is claimed to be co-star Robert Townsend; a photo of Dirk Benedict viewing a snakeman in SSSSSSS has Benedict as the one in reptilian make-up; and, a second photo of Balaski with her throat torn out indicates she's been decapitated.
There are some conspicuous absences from Steiger's list of fictional werewolves. Sure, there are entries for Lawrence Talbot, THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON, CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, and other classics, but nothing on SHE-WOLF OF LONDON (except a brief synopsis of the 1946 film) and LOVE AND CURSES, and only the barest mention of Daniel 'Oz' Osbourne from TV's BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. The folklore, legends, and real-life lycanthropes (such as Dahmer, Francis Leroy -- The Werewolf of Dordogne, Henry Lee Lucas, Harry Gordon -- The Werewolf of San Francisco, etc.) all get decent coverage, but the fictional were-creatures receive spotty treatment, with the greatest concentration of mistakes and misinformation.
While not as error-laden as Visible Ink's THE VAMPIRE BOOK and THE VAMPIRE GALLERY: A WHO'S WHO OF THE UNDEAD, THE WEREWOLF BOOK still has a way to go as the definitive source book on our favorite 'luna'-tics.THE WEREWOLF BOOK: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SHAPE-SHIFTING BEINGS, by Brad Steiger. Foreward by Dr. Franklin Ruehl. Visible Ink Press, Detroit, August 1999, 397 pp., $19.95.