Saturday, October 19, 2013

31 Werewolves | Ladyhawke

I don't usually think of Ladyhawke as a werewolf movie, but it totally is, even if it deviates from the standard legends and tropes in significant ways. Set in medieval times, it's about a knight (Rutger Hauer) who's been cursed by an evil bishop (John Wood) so that he becomes a wolf every night. The reason for the curse is that the bishop was once spurned by a woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) because she was in love with the knight. She's cursed as well and becomes a hawk every day, so that the two lovers can only ever see each other's human forms for a heartbreaking moment at dawn and dusk when they're both in mid-transformation. Matthew Broderick is also in the movie as a young thief who befriends the doomed couple, and Alfred Molina plays a wolf-trapper.

It's an interesting take on the werewolf theme. There's a bit of the traditional metaphor for unrestrained passion going on and the knight accidentally wounds the thief while in wolf form. And as often happens in werewolf fiction, neither the knight nor the lady remember anything that happened while in their animal forms. That's especially significant for this tale, because it's a deliberate part of the curse that even though they can travel together, they can't enjoy the experience. If lycanthropy is a metaphor for indulging passions, I like the suggestion that we can't even enjoy them properly when we're in the midst of being consumed by them.
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