Dirty, Wild Beasts! Representations of the Homeless as Werewolves in Horror Films from Werewolf of London (1935) to Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)
This study will look at the ways in which the homeless in America have been correlated with the figure of the werewolf in horror films since the 1940s. Coming out of the Great Depression of the 1930s and the increasing migration of people from small towns into the cities after WWII, the homeless signified both a return to the past and an uncontrolled and controllable element of the population. Films such as Werewolf of London (Walker: 1935) and The Wolf Man (Waggener: 1941) will be examined to demonstrate how the werewolf is constructed to represent poverty and homelessness and the contagious nature of both. The present study will further show, in light of films like the Underworld (2003-present) series, that these signifiers remain part of contemporary configurations of lycanthropy, particularly since the global economic crisis of 2008.