The 13 Best Werewolf Movies of All Time – Scary Lycanthrope Films
The Howling (1981)
The Howling series lives and dies by it’s ludicrous plots, silly dialogue and cheap effects. However, it’s Joe Dante’s first take on the book series, an epic tale of a secluded therapy resort run by werewolves, that is the darkest affair with plenty of thrills. It’s by far the most chilling of the series, with some truly terrifying transformations and a story that will chew you up and spit you out. The films biggest highlight is Robert Picardo as the wretched serial killer Eddie Quist, who steals the show whenever he creepily appears on screen. The Howling is a chilling and uniquely satisfying horror.
Directed by Neil Marshall, Dog Soldiers is a 2002 Werewolf film set in Scottish Highlands. During a routine night-time training mission, a small squad of British soldiers expected to rendezvous with a special ops unit instead find a bloody massacre and a group of vicious bloodthirsty werewolves.
Dog Soldiers is a cleverly crafter horror that blends light comedy and horror into a twisted nightmare of fur and fangs. The film boasts impressive practical effects, which brings the terrifying Lycanthropes to life, and also features a fair amount of guts, gore and guns. It’s tough, shocking and filled with memorable moments that you’ll be quoting for weeks after.
Curse of the Werewolf (1961)
Based on by Guy Endore’s novel The Werewolf of Paris, the 1961 Hammer Horror Curse of the Werewolf takes the Werewolf myth down a darker path. Starring Oliver Reed as Werewolf Leon Corledo. The young mans “curse” is congenital, with the films explanation simply being that he is born on Christmas Day and that his conception was “evil”. Like many Hammer films, it’s steeped in dark gothic imagery and it’s story is a chilling look at the duality of man. Whilst many might baulk at the 60’s wolf effects and low budget feel, this is a chilling film with a very serious story which never falters into the ludicrous, like other werewolf films tend to do.
Late Phases (2014)
Late Phase is a quirky film about a secluded retirement community is plagued by mysterious and deadly attacks. The film centres on Ambrose McKinley (Nick Damici), a blind Vietnam War veteran who is attacked by a werewolf. The elderly vet takes it upon himself to track down the Lycanthrope and protect his town. It’s a great twist on the whodunnit plotline and it’s slowly building dread adds a palatable atmosphere. However, the films subplot of rejuvenation is surely the films real story here, as McKinley finds a new purpose in life against a truly horrifying werewolf that should shock you to the core.
Howl is a Werewolf movie with real bite that revolves around a group of characters who are attacked by a werewolf when their train breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Despite the films limit setting, director Paul Hyett pulls of an impressive feat with a convincing cast that holds the film together. There’s plenty of gore, with a creepy atmosphere, but it still manages to be fun film with lots of charm.
The werewolf here is probably not the most convincing, but when you have a character driven narrative, splattered with guts and gore, you’ll not really care to much about the aesthetics. It has enough inspiration and individuality to make it a horrifically unique movie.
The Company of Wolves (1984)
The Company of Wolves is a 1984 British gothic fantasy horror film by director Neil Jordan. Loosely based on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, the film follows young Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson), whose dreams take her to dark places were wolves roam the woods and men with joined eyebrows prowl the darkness.
The lupine-centric film is much like an anthology film, with stories within a dream within a story. But what really makes this film stand out is it’s amazing production design and music, which create a mesmerizing, if not unsettling, atmosphere. Amongst the films fables and plot, you’ll find a healthy helping of horror and gore that is just as shocking as any outright horror film.
The Howling V: The Rebirth (1989)
Many of the Howling films feel very disconnected to the original film, but The Howling V: The Rebirth manages to feel much more like a close cousin, than a distant aunt. In The Howling V, an eclectic group of travellers, attending the opening of a long-sealed European castle, find themselves stalked by a werewolf.
Even though the Werewolf itself is rarely seen, the films deep atmosphere, building dread and whodunnit story manage to create a compelling and terrifying film that never pulls any punches. With its glorious location, creepy score and thick suspense, Rebirth is a must watch Werewolf horror.
Wolfen is a 1981 A crime-thriller-style film, directed by Michael Wadleigh, and based on Whitley Strieber’s novel of the same name. Wolfen never really got the love it deserved having being overshadowed by American werewolf in London which came out the same year. However, Wolfen is just as deserving of accolade thanks to it’s lovingly crafted screen adaption. It is stylish, intelligent and deeply enveloped in dark atmosphere that never lifts.
The surreal drama follows New York City police investigator Dewey Wilson (Albert Finney) who discovers a pack of mysterious werewolves who feed on the dredges of humanity. It’s an extraordinarily scary look at gentrification and the dark history of American culture. The films use of stunning sets and evocative Steadicam POV shots make Wolfen a technically superb horror.
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Ginger Snaps is the teen angst movie that helped to redefine the Werewolf subgenre. The film stars Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle as two outcast sisters facing the terrifying first steps into womanhood. The girls lives are forever changed when Ginger Fitzgerald (Isabelle) is attacked by a werewolf and starts the slow and disturbing change into a Lycanthrope.
Whilst many films take a very “matter of fact” approach to the genre, director John Fawcett uses potent metaphor to present Lycanthropy as a simile for pubescent angst. More importantly, Fawcett lets the story progress without whipping the carpet out from below your feet, with a terrible happy ending. This is a dark, sombre, and deeply disturbing look at the destructive nature of change.
The Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988)
The Howling IV: The Original Nightmare is a loose adaptation of Gary Brandner’s first ‘The Howling’ novel. Despite deviating from the novel to some degree, it is actually much closer to the source than Joe Dante’s 1981 movie. The film follows best-selling author, Marie Adams (Romy Windsor), who starts to suffer from hallucinations. On the instructions of her therapist, she travels with her husband, to an isolated town. But, the idyllic settings is soon disrupted by mysterious disappearance and a terrible howling that sings loudly at night.
The film might be slow at times, but it’s quieter moments are countered by the films dark atmosphere and slow building dread. As with many of the Howling films, it’s transformation sequences are deliciously graphic highlights that always entertain.
Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)
It might have been easy for Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed to simply rehash the story of the first film, instead the film takes a very different turn delivery a much darker narrative. The film follows Emily Perkins as Brigitte Fitzgerald, the sister to Ginger, who has no become a Werewolf and is hiding out in a rehab clinic as another Werewolf stalks her.
Gone is the tongue-in cheek humour and the creeping dread of the first film, instead Unleashed delivers an intense and dramatic story which pushes characters above all else. It’s more confined, more extreme and defiantly improves upon the first film in every possible way. If Ginger Snaps was a “teen horror”, then Unleashed is full bodied horror you deserve.
Bad Moon (1996)
Bad Moon is possibly one of the most overlooked Werewolf films of our time. The film follows photo-journalist Ted Harrison (Michael Paré) as he comes to terms with his girlfriend’s death at the hands of a Werewolf. Returning home, he starts to realise that he has become infected.
Whilst the story is a little simple, it’s an ambitious horror that implements superb makeup effects, animatronics and gore. The films highlight is a German Sheperd called Thor, who steals the show at every turn. Bad Moon is dark, twisted and thoroughly entertaining.
An American Werewolf in London (1918)
An American Werewolf in London is a horror black comedy film written and directed by John Landis. The film follows David Kessler (David Naughton), who survives a vicious attack by a mysterious creature in the Yorkshire Moors. David heals in the hospital, he’s plagued by violent nightmares of his mutilated friend, who warns David that he is becoming a werewolf.
American werewolf is a snappy , well-paced, well edited film that manages to never be to perverse, despite many of the films odder moments. It’s well humoured film that is never to far from amazing dialogue, quirky characters or a gory werewolf attack. All in all American Werewolf is an engrossing, well-performed horror that has one of the best man-to-wolf transformation sequences ever to grace the big screen. Not only is American Werewolf one of the best Werewolf films ever made, it’s also one of the best horrors too.
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“Hello Horror Fans – Well there certainly is a great selection of horrors for you to WOLF down. I hope that maybe you’ll TRANSFROM your opinion of some of these lesser loved films. Did we miss something? Why not HIT us up on the comments below…