Saturday, August 24, 2013
I'M THE WEREWOLF OF LAVILLE, FIGARO!
"A year after the end of world war two," the tale begins, "the tiny hamlet of Laville, lying on the outskirts of inhabited Quebec, received two emigrants from Europe."
Karl and Emma Schneider are French-speaking Germans. The townsfolk treat them with a certain measure of contempt, for here are two from the bloodline of the race that invaded their home country and subjugated its citizens through brutality, torture and murder.
They were right. Karl is an ex-Nazi who still harbors a hatred for the untermenchen. Why it is that they chose to come to Canada is not quite clear . . . until later in the story. Karl goes out into the woods on longer and longer hunting trips, the always-barren Emma suddenly becomes pregnant, and the suspicions grow along with her.
Karl spends more and more time in the woods that remind him of his beloved Black Forest of home. He lets his hair and beard grow, then his nails. Finally, he brings a deer home that has obviously been brought down without the aid of a rifle. Then the howling in the middle of the night starts . . .
This fictional tale, told in the form of a real-life adventure, was typical of the mens' magazines that proliferated after the war. Many of them found ways to incorporate the hysteria and mistrust of Germans. The Werewolf of Laville is one example. The townsfolk have reason to be suspicious as Kurt is, indeed, an ex-Nazi -- ex-concentration camp guard in fact -- who would love nothing more than to wreck havoc again. His hatred metaphorically takes on bestial dimensions and it is only by the quick-thinking of his unwitting wife that he is stopped from a reign of werewolf terror!
The Werewolf of Laville, written by Lee Ellision, and appearing in the May 1953 issue of MR., was a typical men's magazine of the day, combining features, fiction, sports and humor, along with a dash of spice in the form of pin-up gals in various stages of undress. The inclusion of a full-page photo of Universal's The Wolf Man makes this even more worthy of Monsterologists.