Werewolves in the Movies
The following are some pretty good movies featuring the beloved werewolf. Not included are movies which are just plain bad. Please let us know if something is missing or you have a comment!
The Wolf Man (1941)
"Even a man who is pure in heart, and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms. And the autumn moon is bright."
If you haven't heard this piece of horror-movie doggerel before, you'll never forget it after seeing The Wolf Man for two reasons: it's a spooky piece of rhyme and nearly everybody in the picture recites it at one time or another. Set in a fog-bound studio-built Wales, The Wolf Man tells the doom-laden tale of Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), who returns to the estate of his wealthy father (Claude Rains). Bitten by a werewolf, Talbot suffers the classic fate of the victims of lycanthropy: at the full moon, he turns into a werewolf.
The Wolf Man was a smash hit, giving Universal Pictures a new monster for their already crowded stable, and Chaney found himself following in the footsteps (or paw prints) of his father, who had essayed a monster or two in the silent era. This is a classy horror outing, with strong atmosphere and a thoughtful script by Curt Siodmak - well, except for the stiff romantic bits between Chaney and Evelyn Ankers. It's also got Bela Lugosi (briefly) and Maria Ouspenskaya, the prunelike Russian actress who foretells doom like nobody's business. - Robert Horton Amazon.com
The Howling (1981)
A graduate of Roger Corman's school of low-budget ingenuity, Joe Dante gained enough momentum with 1978's Piranha to rise to the challenge of The Howling, and he brought along Piranha screenwriter John Sayles to cowrite this instant werewolf classic. Makeup wizard Rob Bottin was recruited to create what was then the wildest onscreen transformation ever seen. With Gary Brandner's novel The Howling as a starting point, Sayles and Dante conceived a werewolf colony on the California coast, posing as a self-help haven led by a seemingly benevolent doctor (Patrick Macnee), and populated by a variety of "patients," from sexy, leather-clad sirens (among them Elisabeth Brooks) to an old coot (John Carradine) who's quite literally long in the tooth. When a TV reporter (Dee Wallace) arrives at the colony to recover from a recent trauma, the resident lycanthropes prepare for a howlin' good time. Amazon.com
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Two American students are on a walking tour of England and are attacked by a Werewolf. One is killed, the other is mauled. The Werewolf is killed, but reverts to it's human form, and the townspeople are able to deny it's existence. The surviving student begins to have nightmares of hunting on 4 feet at first, but then finds that his friend and other recent victims appear to him, demanding that he find a way to die to release them from their curse, being trapped between worlds because of their unnatural death. Amazon.com
Wolfen is definitely the oddest and most socially conscious of the three big werewolf movies released in 1981 (the others were The Howling and An American Werewolf in London). Rumpled detective Albert Finney is investigating some brutal NYC murders, which leads him to discover that the collapsing buildings of the South Bronx are home to a pack of very vindictive wolf-like creatures. American Indian mythology and environmental issues are more to the point here than silver-bullet lycanthropy. As a police procedural, the movie's a bust, its rhythms wrong and Finney's tortured Brooklyn accent unconvincing. But as a horror-mood piece, it can get under your skin. - Robert Horton Amazon.com
Silver Bullet (1985)
Silver Bullet is an adaptation of Stephen King's short story. The small town of Tarker's Mill was a place that was very peaceful, where nothing ever happened. Until one night, murders begin. The town people believe its some maniac killer on the loose and intend to hunt the man down. Marty, a young handicapped boy, believes that the killer is no man at all, but a werewolf. After a run in with the werewolf Marty and his sister, Jane hunt all over town for the man who is the werewolf. Amazon.com
Worn down and out of luck, aging publisher Will Randall (Jack Nicholson) is at the end of his rope when a younger co-worker snatches both his job and wife out from under his nose. But after being bit by a wolf, Will suddenly finds himself energized, more competitive than ever, and possessed with amazingly heightened senses. Meanwhile, the beautiful daughter (Michelle Pfeiffer) of his shrewd boss begins to fall for him - without realizing that the man she's begun to love is gradually turning into the creature by which he was bit. Amazon.com
Werewolf Shadow (1972)
Elvira is travelling through the French countryside with her friend Genevieve, searching for the lost tomb of a medieval murderess and possible vampire, Countess Wandessa. They find a likely site in the castle of Waldemar Daninsky, who invites the women to stay as long as they like. As Waldemar shows Elvira the tomb that supposedly houses the countess, she accidentally causes the vampire to come back to life, hungrier than ever. Daninsky has a hidden secret of his own (a werewolf!), but will it be enough to save the two girls from becoming Wandessa's next victims? Amazon.com
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
Grave robbers open the grave of the Wolfman and awake him. He doesn't like the idea of being immortal and killing people when the moon is full, so he tries to find Dr. Frankenstein, in the hopes that the Dr. can cure him, but Frankenstein is dead and only his Monster is alive and this one wants to live, not to die like the Wolfman. Campy fun! Amazon.com
Curse of Werewolf (1961) - VHS
Young orphan Leon, the progeny of a mad, animalistic prisoner and a ravaged young peasant, is plagued with nightmares while village sheep are slaughtered, but it isn't until he grows into the stocky young Oliver Reed that his curse takes its terrifying toll. Reed cuts an intense figure as the brooding, serious young man and makes a marvelous werewolf, moving with a boxer's grace under feral makeup that looks as much ape as canine. Curse of the Werewolf has all the cleavage and blood you'd expect from a Hammer film, but it's Fisher's eerie touches that make the film so gripping: a dog's howl anticipates the crying of the newborn Leon, holy water ripples as if coming to a boil before his christening, and the wild-eyed, fanged boy struggles against the bars in his room consumed in a canine bloodlust. - Sean Axmaker Amazon.com
Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf (1988)
Scooby scholars of the old-school set will find much in the Reluctant Werewolf to give them pause. For one thing, Scrappy and Googy, Shaggy's girlfriend, are subbed for missing members of the Mystery Machine gang, and for another, instead of making like bananas and splitting from the monster at the center of a mystery, this crew slides, peel-style, into a strange circus of benign spooks, no meddling involved. The reluctant werewolf is Shaggy; he's forced to finish first in a monster road race if he wants to rid himself of his fangs and facial fur (a dirty trick played on him by Dracula). A truckload of shenanigans, mostly screwball car tricks, ensue. Wacky wordplay works up a handful of howls here, but not enough to make this full-length feature worth tuning into twice or, ultimately, rescuing from the Scooby-Don't pile. - Tammy La Gorce Amazon.com
Have to give it to Scooby-Doo here....good werewolf fun.