Larry Talbot, the most tragic of the movie star monsters of black and white film, the wolf man, entered my peripheral vision while co-hosting a radio show. I didn’t – at first – recognize the figure on the dust jacket …a figure which looked vaguely familiar, as did his name. To my surprise and delight, this was a totally different take on one of the “big four” of the Universal Pictures “Famous Monsters of Filmland,” so to speak – Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and a tortured lycanthropic soul we all know and love.
Larry Talbot, the eternal victim of circumstance who was cursed by transformation when the moon is full, returns in a unique and most inviting way. What we have here is the presumed found diary of Larry Talbot which recounts his various screen appearances in the Universal monster movies. This book purports to a “found document”, created as a combination of diary excerpts with research reference material by the author to explain the gaps between the events of each movie appearance and histories of the various associated characters that also appear in all of the movies.
A Werewolf Remembers is well illustrated with photos and drawing depicting the Talbot ancestors and relations. Those with knowledge of classic films may recognize the many roles that Lon Chaney Jr. played in his many movies outside of the werewolf continuum. Other classic actors are also depicted for those who have a sharp eye and memory. The book forms a bit of a trivia games for recognition of old Hollywood films, which is a bit of a treat for me.
This work by four-time author Frank Dello Stritto functions on a number of levels: a biography history of the werewolf, the faux diary of the man, a historical research paper and a story that is told from a number of different viewpoints. In addition, it delves deep into the horror genre of classic films that scared me as a child.
In summary, this is a well thought out story that masquerades as a history. Not an alternative history fiction that seems to be cropping up more and more, but a history of a fictional character that adds to the canon of the traditional monsters. Or is Larry Talbot fictional?
So A Werewolf Remembers is a good wheeze and enjoyable read – Author: Frank J. Dello Stritto.
Thanks to special contributor Mike Feeney for this review.