Werewolf Movies to See Before You Die
One of the most iconic monsters in film history is, the werewolf. Tales of people who could transform into wolf-like creatures have circulated the world over for centuries, but victims of lycanthropy have found new popularity thanks to the art of cinema. Beginning with the classic Universal Monsters franchise and continuing to the present day, werewolves have continued to stalk in the moonlight of our nightmares. Now let us get some silver bullets for protection and look at the Werewolf Movies to See Before You Die.
The Wolf Man: This was not the first werewolf movie from the famous Universal Monsters franchise, that honor goes to Werewolf of London, but it is the easily the definitive one. Lon Chaney Jr. follows in his father’s footsteps and becomes a horror icon, all while leading an all-star cast which included luminaries like; Bela Lugosi, Claude Raines, and Maria Ouspenskaya. The picture is guided by the brilliant screenplay from genre legend Curt Siodmak, which introduces many elements to the werewolf lore which persist to this day, including; silver bullets, pentagrams, and wolfbane. A perfect example of the moody gothic style which persisted throughout the Universal horror films, with style and scares aplenty. The Wolf Man was created by make-up legend Jack Pierce, and while not overtly wolf-like, the creature is truly terrifying and has become one of the most iconic monsters in film history.
Curse of the Werewolf: After Universal had their go at the classic gothic monsters, a new studio in Britain took up their mantle and became the great horror producer for the new generation, Hammer Studios. Much like The Wolf-Man, this picture plays heavily into the father/son dynamic with the protagonist. A young man who was conceived under the worst conditions possible finds himself adopted by wealth but the wolf inside of him will not let him lead a peaceful life. Naturally the filmmakers utilize the bright garish colors which have become a hallmark of the Hammer Horror flicks to great effect. With an incredible design for the werewolf and a barn burning climax in the bell tower of a church, Curse of the Werewolf is nothing short of a horror classic.
Dog Soldiers: Acclaimed filmmaker, Neil Marshall gives us his take on the werewolf film set in the isolation of the Scottish highlands. On what was supposed to be a routine training mission, a group of soldiers fight themselves drawn into combat with a group of werewolves. Marshall is relentless with the film, and constantly keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
The Howling: According to Hollywood-lore, legendary director Joe Dante, did not believe a werewolf movie could be sold to the hip and smart audiences of the 1980’s so the promotional material for this now classic horror film kept the werewolf elements purposely vague. This served as an advantage to the picture as it kept audiences in the dark as to what was going on in The Colony, giving an uneasy feeling to those who watch it. Dante successfully brought the werewolf mythology to a modern setting, with an incredible plot, beautiful make-up effects, and a stellar cast led by Dee Wallace as a tenacious reporter caught up in something much more sinister.
An American Werewolf in London: Another classic of the horror genre which gave a modern twist of the classic werewolf mythology, thanks to the great John Landis. An American hitchhiker in the United Kingdom, finds himself cursed with lycanthropy, but one of the brilliant elements of this flick is that the victims of his monstrous side continue to haunt him. Of course the thing from this movie which transformed the horror genre forever is the make-up from Rick Baker, who has been called by many, the true star of the film. With the centerpiece being arguably the best transformation scene in any werewolf movie ever, it is a classic of the horror genre.
Underwold: A movie about sleek fashion obsessed vampires and werewolves battling it out with high-tech weaponry, what’s not to love? Spawning a franchise which continues to this day, the focus of the picture is on the vampires, but the Lycans are more than a match for the blood sucking creatures of the night. No doubt, Underworld is much more keen to provide cool visuals than telling an engrossing story, but it never fails to entertain.
Moon of the Wolf: An often overlooked made for TV movie featuring television icon, David Janssen. The film plays out as an intriguing murder mystery set in the humid and sparsely populated area of rural Louisiana. A brilliant example of Gothic horror with heavy influences from the American South, the picture has gained a cult following in recent years which continues to grow.
Ginger Snaps: Werwolf movies are often used as coming of age stories and few have done it better than the cult classic, Ginger Snaps. Two close sisters begin to drift apart when one of them is bitten by a werewolf and in a sense begins to “outgrow” the other. With the perfect balance of humor and horror as well as perfect performances from Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle, the film has become a favorite among werewolf fans.
Silver Bullet: Based on a tale from horror master, Stephen King, this is another sadly underrated entry in horror filmdom. As per the hallmark of King this movie focuses heavily on the family issues of the characters, causing the audience to care about them more than they would the usual horror movie protagonist. The filmmakers give a great amount of suspense to the picture by revealing the identity of the werewolf to the brother and sister who lead the cast of characters. Despite being a violent werewolf flick there is an undeniable warmth and charm to this film which seperates it from many others in the field.