Adult werewolves howl at ‘Teen Wolf’

June 25, 2014
Benjamin Percy, novelist and lycanthropy sufferer. Benjamin Percy, novelist and lycanthropy sufferer.

Uruguay soccer player Luis Suarez is clearly excited about the start of the fourth season of MTV’s “Teen Wolf.” But how are “adult wolf” novelists howling at the show?

Benjamin Percy, author of “Red Moon,” has just returned home from Alaska, where he was “hooking halibut and punching grizzlies.”

He claims he doesn’t watch “Teen Wolf” regularly because “MTV brings out the fist-shaking old man in me,” but he finds the show “smarter and darker and funnier” than he expected — “a close cousin to ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.'”

He even defends the underwear-model cast. “They’re pretty, sure,” he says, “but there’s plenty of nastiness in the show to offset the long eyelashes and pouty lips and waxed chests. People are torn in half, burned alive, tortured. It’s a far scarier and brainier universe than Meyer’s ‘Twilight.'”

(Courtesy of Grand Central) (Courtesy of Grand Central)

And it’s not just tooth and claw. He sees something elemental and profound in the werewolf story. “We all have something wild chained up inside us,” he says. “Now and then — due to rage or jealously or exhaustion, too much to drink, drugs — we spring claws. Become pure id. It’s not aspirational (like vampires, who get to slink around sexily and suck necks and live forever). It’s a curse.”

For some, though, our fascination with werewolves is a blessing. Percy is currently working with Oscar-winner Akiva Goldsman on a pilot of “Red Moon” for FOX TV. “Paws crossed,” he says.

Meanwhile, the British writer Glen Duncan, who completed his werewolf trilogy in February, says I’m barking up the wrong tree: “Teen Wolf” hasn’t come to England yet.

(Courtesy of Knopf) (Courtesy of Knopf)

And in any case, after writing “The Last Werewolf,” “Talulla Rising” and “By Blood We Live,” that itch has been scratched. “I’m done with the beasts for the time being,” Duncan says. “But I might consider revisiting them somewhere down the line. I love the idea of doing ‘The Chronicles of Jacob Marlowe,’ covering the 200 years before we get to meet him in ‘The Last Werewolf.’ I’m picturing tea with R.L. Stevenson and a foursome with the Bronte sisters.”

Yikes.

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.
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Emily Yahr · June 25, 2014