It seems that teenaged girlhood and werewolf transformation would be an obvious metaphor that should have been trampled into banality by now. You have, of course, the irrationality and unpredictability of hormones, the physical evolution of the female form during puberty, and the onset of the menstrual cycle, which is both obviously bloody, classically tied to the full moon, and colloquially known as The Curse. One shouldn’t be hard pressed to find examples of teenaged girls exploring their (often unwilling) transformations into hairy beasts with notoriously lusty appetites. But despite this obvious symbolism, the texts and films that explore it are surprisingly few and far between.
Do you want stories that feature innocent virgin girls falling in love with dangerously mysterious werewolves? Loads of them. Raised by Wolves, Prince of Wolves, The Mystic Wolves, Deadly Pact, Highland Wolf Pact, Shift Happens, Born at Midnight, 13 to Life, The Crescent. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Do you want stories that play with Little Red Riding Hood imagery, often with Red cast in a predatory role? This is a fun sub-genre with with a number of notable examples — Reese Witherspoon’s underrated Freeway, or Ellen Page’s Hard Candy come to mind, and the author Tanith Lee revisits the fairy tale multiple times over the course of her career.
Adult women who happen to be werewolves? Not so many of them, but more titles here than that focus on the dreaded teenaged years. The Southern Vampire Mysteries features several female werewolves, as does the Anita Blake series. Kelley Armstrong’s Bitten and Stolen focus on Elena, a female werewolf who shows up repeatedly through the Women of the Otherworld series, and were adapted into a short-lived TV series for SyFy. Patricia Brigg’s character of Mercy Thompson is a were-coyote, lives with a werewolf pack that includes several female members, while Brigg’s Alpha and Omega books star Anna, an omega werewolf.
Teenaged boys who happen to be werewolves? Well, there’s the motherlode. It’s no great surprise that there’s a lot of interest in this trope for all the same reasons lycanthropy is a good metaphor for female puberty — unchecked hormones can make monsters of us all. It’s not even worth throwing out example titles, unless you happen to have missed the last decade and the explosion of the Twilight franchise.
So where the girls at?
You could start with Angela Carter’s collection The Bloody Chamber, a collection of her beautiful feminist fairy tale re-imaginings. She later adapted her own collection into the screenplay for Neil Jordan’s lush The Company of Wolves. The screenplay was later published as part of the collection, The Curious Room.
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause concerns itself with Vivian Gandillon, teenaged werewolf attempting to deal with her father’s death and her life in a new town, when she falls in love with a human boy and must learn to adapt her longings to her more fragile love interest.
The book was adapted into a 2007 film staring Agnes Bruckner, Hugh Dancy, and Olivier Martinez.
Sam Lee is a bassist, the songwriter for her all-girl rock band, and after an unfortunate run in in Central Park, a werewolf in Emily Pohl-Wear’s Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl.
Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar does a pretty good job of communicating the basic premise in the title.
Another criminally under-appreciated film gem is the horror anthology, Trick ‘r Treat. The punch of the film is the way the four main stories are interwoven over the course of the film, so I won’t spoil it here except to say that part of the movie ties in nicely with this post’s theme.
Weetzie Bat author Francesca Lia Block turned her attention to teenaged werewolves in The Frenzy, or rather, one specific teenage werewolf girl, Liv.
16-year old Claire’s birthday is spoiled, somewhat, by discovering that she’s a werewolf in Claire de Lune by Cristine Johnson. In a rare turn of events, she’s initiated into an all-female pack of werewolves — it’s pretty standard for the genre that “female werewolves” are a rare occurrence, because women’s uteruses or some other Angel in the Household crap, so its nice to see a couple of titles turn that trope around.
Maggie Stiefvater’s The Wolves of Mercy Falls series features plenty of werewolves, but the third book, Forever, is partially narrated from the viewpoint of Grace, a human girl who is now a wolf.
But no movie or book series has done the werewolf girl theme better than Ginger Snaps, which has given us three movies and a plenitude of gifs for our enjoyment. The first film introduces us to Brigitte and Ginger, sisters who share a fascination with death and a strong distaste for anyone outside their pack of two. After Ginger gets bit by a werewolf, Brigitte attempts to find a cure while Ginger becomes increasingly enamored with her new-found power.
Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed has an unfortunate subtitle but a great fairy tale vibe and a devastating resolution.The third film, Ginger Snaps Back, flashes back to 19th century Canada to explore the origins of the werewolf curse, which happens to concern a pair of sisters named Brigitte and Ginger.