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Old August 16 2008, 10:31 PM   #163
Spaceman Spiff
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Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

You know I'll get that.

Return of the Wolf Man is pretty good and interesting so far. It's pretty obvious that the author knows his stuff where Talbot is concerned, because he ties in little moments to all of the films in which he appeared, and best of all, gets the "sound" of him right. You can very easily imagine Lon Chaney, Jr. delivering the dialogue.

Hopefully, this next bit isn't too spoilery for you, but since it deals with part of the premise of the book--even the title, really--I'm assuming you won't mind too much.

The author brings the Wolf Man to the present (well, 1998, anyway). The interesting thing is, he does it within the trappings of the story. Shortly after the events of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, Larry convinces the Joan Raymond character to help him die by getting him in the heart with a shard of mirror with a silver backing. He makes her promise to hide his body somewhere and make sure the shard never comes out, lest he be restored to life.

Raymond ends up sealing his body up in the basement of the castle, where Dracula had tried to swap out the Frankenstein Monster's brain, etc. She then buys the castle and lives to a ripe old age, all the while keeping her promise to Larry. In the meantime, she's made her fortune writing horror stories about werewolves and the like.

She dies in 1998, and her great-niece ends up inheriting the castle. She intends to respect her great-aunt's wishes and keep the basement sealed up, but forces beyond her control end up finding Talbot's body and removing the shard.

This all happens on the night of the full moon (naturally!), so the Wolf Man is reborn. He attacks the pair of individuals responsible for resurrecting him, but the niece manages to get away. The next day, she finds Talbot, who explains his story, and the girl decides there must be some way to help him. Then we find out the Frankenstein Monster was sealed down there, too. That's where I am now.

I wasn't sure if I'd like the move to the present, but in a pleasantly creative decision, the author doesn't just fast-forward to 1998, he plants it in a 1998 of the Universal, er, Universe. So there are no "Wait, Dracula's real?!" moments or anything corny like that. When Talbot tells her of how Henry Frankenstein built a monster out of dead bodies, she's never heard of Frankenstein or his Monster. So there aren't any goofy metafictional moments, like we've sort of come to expect. I braced myself for a sentence like, "That must be the source for Mary Shelley's novel!" but it never came.

In that sense, it accomplishes bringing the novel to modern times, while still making it feel like a genuine continuation. And in perfect Talbot manner, when he's told the year, he says, "Then there really is no end to this horror. The curse is forever." That's our guy.
"Love means never having to say you're ugly."
- Dr. Phibes

Last edited by Spaceman Spiff; August 17 2008 at 11:27 AM.
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