Time Magazine's Lev Grossman wrote an interesting blog post about zombies climbing the monster social ladder. But while I can never say enough nice things about zombie Nazis, the real underground monster sensation is werewolves.
I don't disagree with Grossman that zombies are about to get their big shambling moment in the sun. I especially agree that zombie popularity is a good thing, because in the monster world, the undead aren't the most fashionable or favored of the nasties.
But while you're all waiting around in your sexy zombie heels, using your umbrella corp skin cream, and boning up on jargony talk for the next Diablo Cody zombie flick, I'll be over here... with the cool kids. Smoking cigarettes, wearing tiny leather jackets, playing basketball and turning into werewolves.
I won't worry when the streets are filled with screaming teens, each wanting a zombie of their own, because I'll be waxing on lycanthrope at a run down cafe, talking about full moons. Zombies are a fad; werewolves are the real deal. You want to score some monster cred? Then bone up on lycanthrope-related pop culture.
The wolfman name-checking has started up on the tube, and once you start looking for it, you won't be able to stop. There's the undeniably genius werewolf bar-mitzvah from Tracy Morgan on 30 Rock - and just last week How I Met Your Mother did a whole Teen Wolf homage:
I like to believe that 30 Rock is usually pretty spot on with what's relevant after all they did catch on to the cupcake to doughnut trend trend of '08.
And there are a few new werewolf shows on the horizon. Perhaps you've heard of Bitches? This Sex In The City with Werewolves where the ladies are werewolves will most likely be the fall out or the crest of the oncoming werewolf popularity (when it gets too mainstream). But on the other hand, if written correctly it could be funny, or make us all want to take silver bullets, it's debatable.
Also it's no coincidence that in the BBC's Being Human, a show about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost living together, the werewolf is the only one you don't want to kill.
Werewolf film culture is coming at you from all angles, both highbrow and lowbrow. But the big stand out for werewolves will be Benicio Del Toro's The Wolf Man. It's not going to be as brutal as World War Z, or have the rabid crazy fans of Twilight, but BDT is usually right on the money, and we've been waiting so long for this picture.
The up and coming Welcome to Hoxford feature from Ben "30 Days of Night" Templesmith promises to be a blood-thirsty good time, if they give it a good big screen adaptation. Hoxford takes place in a asylum run by werewolves who pick off the inmates as they choose, but not without a fight.
Pop Culture Wolves On The Rise:
In the next big Twilight movie New Moon, Edward leaves Bella (hooray) and throughout the novel she comes to rely heavily on Jacob, the werewolf. The werewolves in the book play a much larger role than the vampires, who have all moved out of town to protect Bella and Edward from one another. So the film is light on vamps, heavy on wolves - but the tweens will probably still fixate on the vampire characters.
A new character that we might get to meet in the new Harry Potter And the Half Blood Prince movie is Fenrir Greyback, a werewolf and member of the death eaters. So that would be two very cool things that he's a part of, making him especially awesome, even for a Potter character.
Let's put it to music, I came up with an analogy involving music - and I might have been a little drunk at the time, so if it doesn't work, I apologize.
Vampires are like Journey or Britney Spears. They are timeless, and a little bit embarrassing. But when that track hits late at night, you can hardly stop yourself from getting swept up in a group singalong. Same goes for Twilight - I may hate it, but if a new deleted scene gets leaked, I'm the first sap to download the clip.
Zombies, on the other hand, are the Lady Ga Ga of right now. They're popular enough that you can't leave your house without hearing something new from either of them - they're inescapable. Fresh as they may seem, you'll be sick of them come next summer.
But werewolves are the new frontier of indie monsterhood. They are the 3OH!3's hit "Don't Trust Me," which is certain to be the summer anthem, or the Harlem Shakes, a band on the rise but getting small amounts of critical praise.