#60: The Werewolf of Paris

To werewolves what Dracula was for vampires… but not as good

june gloom
3 min readDec 27, 2022


This review was originally posted on Twitter on March 2, 2019

Initial release: 1933
Author: Guy Endore

Look, I’m unrepentant furry trash with a thing for transformation and I still think werewolves are kinda wack. There’s so much room to ruminate on man versus beast, what’s really human nature, et cetera, et cetera, but all we typically get is sadomasochism and lycantropic sex.

Which is why I must announce with some surprise that Guy Endore’s 1933 period piece, while mostly a lurid shocker, at least attempts to tie in its werewolf nonsense with a commentary on the Franco-Prussian war, the Paris Commune, and the depravity and brutality that occurred. Don’t get me wrong: there’s still sadomasochism and lycantropic sex. Plus clergy sexual abuse, incest, et cetera, et cetera. But the bulk of the second half of the book makes it clear that the real thing we need to ask ourselves is: aren’t we all werewolves?

The character of Bertrand, the titular werewolf of Paris, is a tragic one; it’s really not his fault that he’s a werewolf, and he certainly seems incapable of controlling his violent urges. His uncle, Aymar, seems to vacillate between condemning him and pitying him. To be fair, Bertrand’s crimes are many — everything from slicing up a prostitute, murdering his friend, eating farm animals, fucking his mom (!), digging up graves, etc. But he has only a hazy memory of any of it later, and wallows in shame. At the same time, Aymar, himself a veteran of the 1848 Revolutions, is absolutely shocked at the paroxysms of violence that signals the end of the Franco-Prussian war and the Paris commune, to the point where he’s forced to wonder about the nature of man’s inhumanity, and what the difference between Bertrand and everyone else really is.

I’m torn about this book. on the one hand, the first half of the book is the same kind of lurid gothic nonsense writers spent over a century curling out in the 19th century. And to be certain, this book is written in a gothic style, with a frame story and everything. The first chapter is the least necessary, some dumb bullshit about feuding families destroying themselves; the priest who assaults Bertrand’s mother in chapter two is descended from this family, and that’s somehow why Bertrand is a werewolf (also he was born on Christmas…okay?) On the other hand, ruminating on the 1848 revolutions and setting the bulk of the tale during the violence of 1870–71 is subtly brilliant. A lot of good horror is about man’s inhumanity to man, and the book smartly weaves a tale of the beast within to a tale of the beast without.

I can’t really recommend this book to anyone except the most dedicated fan of gothic horror; but at the same time, it’s noteworthy both for its relative literary value compared to others in its genre, as well as being the closest thing werewolves have to their very own Dracula.

While there’s been a few attempts at film adaptations, and Endore himself worked for universal studios, none of these have been truly faithful to the book in text or in spirit. The closest one is probably Hammer’s The Curse of the Werewolf, but… well, it’s Hammer, you get what you get. There’s also 1975’s Legend of the Werewolf, but like Curse, it strips out most of the political context.

At the end of the day, while werewolves are still the lamest of the Classic Monsters™, at least this book actually has one, unlike a certain bad movie released around 2001.




june gloom

Media critic, retired streamer, furry. I love you. [she/they]