Monday, 1 September 2014

Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King Review

In the small American town of Tarker's Mills, a series of grisly murders has people talking. Not just about the way they are killed - brutally mauled to death as if by an animal - but also because of the pawprints found near the bodies and the howling heard in the nights. And the way that the killings only take place every full moon. Could it be... a werewolf?

It’d be funny if it wasn’t, right? Stephen King calling this Cycle of the Werewolf and have the creature be Frankenstein’s Monster taking the piss? 

Cycle of the Werewolf is presented in 12 chapters, each almost like short stories, one for every month of the year, and in each we are introduced to one of the townspeople. Their lives are briefly described and then the werewolf shows up and kills them. It gets kind of old after half a dozen chapters. Then one night in July a disabled boy in a wheelchair encounters the werewolf and survives by throwing fireworks into its face and blowing out one of its eyes.

The story gets interesting once the boy sees a man in town walking about with an eyepatch and the game is afoot. Even so, King, for all his talent, fails to wring any real horror out of the situation or create any great characters, something he usually manages to do with his work. 

Swamp Thing co-creator Berni Wrightson's artwork is creepy and cool and definitely helps the story along. His panoramic black and white double page spreads of the country landscape helped create a mood that King failed to produce here. 

Cycle of the Werewolf reads almost like an old comic book in the way that there were blocks of text combined with wordless illustrations. But ultimately it’s a bit too brief and underwritten to be called a King classic. For truly terrifying King, check out The Shining or It.

Cycle of the Werewolf

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