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She-wolfA cultural history of female werewolves$
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Hannah Priest

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089343

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089343.001.0001

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The she-wolves of horror cinema

The she-wolves of horror cinema

(p.166) 10 The she-wolves of horror cinema

Peter Hutchings

Manchester University Press

There are a lot of werewolves in horror cinema but relatively few of them are female. Given the preponderance in literature and folklore, their relative rareness in horror films is surprising and merits some attention. This chapter will consider some of the key ‘she-wolves’ of horror cinema in order to establish not just what it is about the figure of the female werewolf that has rendered it such an awkward presence within horror but also how particular films have made provocative use of the awkwardness. The chapter also argues that forms of female shape-shifting occur elsewhere in horror cinema, most notably in a recent ‘survivalist’ cycle of films that feature women characters undergoing transformation into states of savagery. Cinematic female werewolves and other shape-shifters emerge from this as ambiguous or even contradictory figures, as objects to be feared and loathed and as compellingly vital subjects taking on repressive social norms.

Keywords:   Horror, Film, Survivalist cycle, Female, Werewolves

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