My wife Isis and I were watching television one evening when a commercial advertising the movie The Wolfman came on. It was moody, and action-packed, and had a dude who turned into a werewolf.
“I’d like to rent that when it comes out on DVD,” I said casually. I must emphasize the coolness with which I said this, because I was not hungering for The Wolfman. I was not, in any way, lusting after the delicious, tender celluloid on which The Wolfman had been filmed. I was merely, in my calm way, mentioning in passing that I’d someday be interested in viewing the movie that appeared so gracefully before us.
Isis’ reaction could not have been more surprising.
“WE ARE NOT GOING TO SEE THAT MOVIE,” she screamed. “I’m tired of wasting my life watching terrible movies! No more! I’ve got better things to do than waste precious hours sitting in front of dreck like that!”
Stunned, I turned to look her directly. Her face had transformed into something hideous. Filled with rage, my wife had changed before my eyes. I quickly checked the sky: nope, it was not a full moon. What in that minute-long ad had turned my easygoing life partner into a vengeful monster?
I made the mistake of asking her that question.
“I’m just sick of wasting my life!” she said. And that, it seems, was that. I dropped the subject as other, less awful things were advertised.
I have not seen The Wolfman to this day. I kind of wish I could. What about that particular movie inspired such a violent reaction in Isis? Was it the subject matter? A man turns into a werewolf and terrorizes the locals. She likes the Warren Zevon song Werewolves of London. She likes dogs and real-life wolves. I don’t think she has any problem with the actors in The Wolfman, and I know for a fact she likes scary movies.
Maybe the latter is the clue. Isis likes scary movies, and we’ve seen a lot of them. But we’ve made missteps. Some of those movies have been bad. Boring, or poorly edited, or uninspired, or all of the above. Maybe Isis sat through her personal limit of bad movies, and if she sees one more, she will turn into a zombie. We all have our limits. I can’t eat tuna fish anymore, and I used to eat tuna sandwiches all the time. Isis is afraid that The Wolfman will be her breaking point.
I’m content to let the issue slide, mostly because The Wolfman wasn’t a huge hit and wasn’t reviewed very well. I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on a cultural touchstone.