Werewolf, wolf man, lycanthrope. It’s one of the all-time most popular monsters of horror and legend. With folklore that stretches back hundreds of years, the figure of the werewolf has found its way into every form of entertainment media.
Here we take a look at the Top 10 Werewolf Movies, to enjoy on a moonlit night.
10) The Wolf Man (1941)
One of the earliest werewolf movies and a true icon of the genre. Universal Studio’s classic monster movies, defined the imagine of our most famous monsters. Dracula, Frankenstein, and of course, the wolf man.
Starring Lon Chaney Jr. in the lead role, this classic stands the test of time. Some of the script and performance may seem slightly cheesy by modern standards and it certainly reflects the time at which it was made, but that’s not a bad thing. If anything, with the old sets, it really adds to the feel of the film. But most importantly, The Wolf Man is 80 years old, yet the story is still solid.
As an old movie, the length is just over an hour, so watching it doesn’t require a huge time investment. So, it is well worth sitting down to enjoy this horror milestone.
9) Wer (2013)
Talan seems to be a gentle giant, but he has been accused of a heinous, grizzly crime. Attorney, Katherine Moore, is determined to make sure that Talan gets fair legal representation and she quickly comes to believe that her client is innocent. But is he innocent or is he a killer? Or is he something far worse?
Wer is set in France, though the majority of the film is English language. The special effects are very understated, compared to other werewolf movies, and yet they still deliver some radical moments, that can take you by surprise.
This film takes a slightly more scientific angle on the werewolf myth, while at the same time making us feel that some things might just be beyond our understanding.
8) Howl (2015)
Packed with lots of action and horror, Howl has to make our list of Top 10 Werewolf Movies.
Like a fair few werewolf movies, this movie is set against the backdrop of the British countryside. The forest is dark, foggy, and watched over by the full moon. A commuter train is cutting its way through this ominous countryside, when it suddenly comes to a grinding halt. The passengers are stuck on the train, in the middle of nowhere, and something in the darkness, outside, something is trying to kill them.
The train element makes gives this movie something different to other werewolf films, even if it isn’t overall that original. After all, it’s the basic formula of people stuck alone, locked in, while a monster tries to get in. But it’s a formula that works.
Add to that, the characters in the film are all well developed and well acted, making this an enjoyable monster flick.
7) Late Phases (2014)
Also released as Night Of The Wolf, this movie slipped under the radar, for a lot of people. If you’re one of those people, then it’s worth circling round to check it out. Late Phases is absolutely bonkers, as a premise. A retired, blind, Vietnam war veteran, investigates a series of deaths at his retirement community, which brings him up against a werewolf.
Blind veteran versus werewolf? Sounds crazy, but it’s not a comedy and it is very entertaining.
6) Wolf (1994)
This is a different kind of werewolf movie, as it is more about the changes in personality that take place in the main character, as he goes through the long process of becoming the wolf. Going from a mild-mannered publisher, to maximum Jack Nicholson. Nicholson is great, as usual, and plays alongside an equally great Michelle Pfeiffer.
Nicholson and Pfeiffer are the central characters, whose romance is effected by his growing lycanthropy. Their relationship becomes a risky flirtation, that plays with the idea of a man being more attractive, if he’s also confident and somehow dangerous. As these qualities grow, he assumes a demeanour of dominance in his life, taking control where he previous could not. But the curse of the werewolf may have also turned him into a killer.
5) Teen Wolf (1985)
It’s Michael J. Fox, as a werewolf, playing basketball and getting up to hijinks. What’s not to love?
Needless to say, this is not a horror movie. But it is an 80’s classic, in its own right, as well as a damn fun werewolf romp. Hollywood went through a period of teen-monster movies, with all sorts of teen vampires, werewolves, and Frankensteins, but Teen Wolf is definitely the best of the bunch.
The recent Teen Wolf TV series is loosely based on this original movie, but fans of that show shouldn’t go into this movie expecting it to be anything like the series. They’re worlds apart. This movie is all about light-hearted fun, feel-good moments, and comedy that’s fit for family consumption.
Michael J. Fox’s werewolf make-up is funky and kind of stylish, but the real treat is seeing James Hampton (who play’s Fox’s father) done up as a werewolf.
Should I watch the sequel?
That’s right, they made a sequel, titled Teen Wolf Too. As is so often the case, it’s not as good as the first one, but if you’re coming in fresh, enjoyed the original, and want more of the same, then sure, give it a whirl. I suppose it might be worth it, just to see a young Jason Bateman as the lead role teenage werewolf.
4) The Howling (1981)
The Howling is both a classic werewolf movie and one of the classic horror movies of the 80’s.
As was typical for horror movies of the time, all the special effect are practical, meaning that they are both great, but also a bit dated.
The story is solid and was really the first werewolf movie to move away from the idea of the werewolf as a solitary predator, preying on innocent victims, and instead deal with werewolves as a pack, existing secretly, out of sight from the human masses. But, of course, still just as deadly.
But with The Howling, it’s all about the movie’s climax. The finale of the movie is what really makes it stand out.
Should I Watch The Sequel?
There are a lot of sequels to The Howling and they run the gamut from the serious to the campy. As one might expect, they can be very hit and miss. But in their own ways, each of them is still worth a watch, if you have a spare 90 minutes. Don’t expect greatness, but there is entertainment to be had.
3) Dog Soldiers (2002)
Exploding onto the horror scene in 2002, Dog Soldiers is an action horror movie that loving raises two middle fingers to the werewolf genre.
The story centres on a group of British soldiers, on a training exercise in the remote backwoods of the Scottish Highlands. After finding the savaged remains of their training opponents, they realise that they are being hunted by unknown assailants, who turn out to be deadly, supernatural monsters.
The werewolves in Dog Soldiers look great. They’re massive and the way that they tower over the humans, helps to drum home just why these beasts are so dangerous and scary.
One of the best elements of this movie, comes from the one-liners by the main characters, which helps the audience to warm to them. Their gritty, yet roguish natures, really makes you cheer for them and all the bad-assery that they bring.
2) Ginger Snaps (2000)
Ginger Snaps is the Carrie of werewolf movies. All at once a story about two sisters challenged by a terrible horror, as well as a well-crafted allegory for young girls coming of age.
Released in 2000, Ginger Snaps injected new life into the werewolf genre, with a very character- driven story, rather than the hunter and prey terror-driven stories of so many werewolf movies that preceded it.
The story is about two young sisters, Ginger and Brigitte, whose hobby of staging photographs of their own deaths, marks them as suburban outcasts. But an encounter with a werewolf, causes a change in Ginger, that brings out a wild side, easily explained away by her new-found adolescence and raging teenage hormones. The two sisters then stand on different sides of the divide between childhood and adulthood. So, their fight against the curse of the werewolf, also doubles with the sisters battle to maintain their relationship.
Should I watch the sequel?
There are two sequels to Ginger Snaps and while they’re not quite as good as the first movie, they are still good, in their own ways. The first sequel seeks to continue the story from where the first movie left off. The third movie, however, drops away from the first two films and offers a kind of retelling, set in the early 1800’s as a prequel.
1) An American Werewolf In London (1981)
Undeniably, the greatest of all werewolf movies remains John Landis’ An American Werewolf In London. Made in 1981, this masterpiece is forty years old, yet it still completely holds up against modern horror movies. Using practical effects, the werewolf transformation sequence is amazing and truly iconic. The effects are so well done, that they look just as good today, as they did when it was first released. But the strength of the movie doesn’t rest on its fantastic special effects. Rather, it has a great story that, although distinctly in the horror genre, builds to a climax that works so well thanks to the emotional journey of the characters.
An American Werewolf In London also creates its own lore around the creature of the werewolf, that forever connects the werewolf to the many victims that they kill. It’s incredibly effective and allows for a number of black comedy moments, whose levity contrasts the horror, making it all the more dreadful.
When discussing An American Werewolf In London, a moment also has to be given to mention the soundtrack. The music in the film is great and surprisingly effective in adding to the atmosphere of the movie, from the smooth use of Blue Moon by Bobby Vinton, in the opening scene, right through to the rock & roll version by The Marcels, for the end credits.
An American Werewolf In London tells the story of American backpackers, David and Jack. While trekking across the English countryside, the pair run afoul of a beast, that the locals refuse to talk about. Before long, the horror is taken to the city of London.
There was no way that the top spot could go to any other movie, for our list of the Top 10 Werewolf Movies.
Should I watch the Sequel?
The sequel, An American Werewolf In Paris, is pretty much trash, when compared to the original. It takes so much of what’s good about the first movie and runs it through the mangle of everything that was bad in 90’s horror.
Anna’s father keeps her locked away, supposedly to protect her from the monster in the woods.
Silver Bullet (1985)
An adaptation of Stephen King’s book of the same name.
The Company of Wolves (1984)
An artistic retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, with werewolves.
What are your favorite werewolf movies? Do think that there are any others that deserve to be placed in the top 10? Let us know in the comments!
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