“Even a man who is pure in heart, And says his prayers by night – May become a wolf when the wolfs bane blooms, And the autumn moon is bright” – The Wolfman (1941)
Keep your blankets pulled tight and your silver bullets close by as we look at one of the greatest monsters to grace the silver screen. Here is our top 10 werewolf movies of all time.
A more moderate take on the werewolf story is elevated by phenomenal casting. Wolf is a horror movie for people who don’t like horror movies. There are very few actual werewolf scenes in this supernatural dramady. However, it is worth it just to watch Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and James Spader in these roles.
9. Teen Wolf
Not a scare in sight in this movie, but it’s hard not to love it nonetheless. This 80’s classic is just too fun not to mention. A great movie for a family fright fest on Halloween night.
8. Ginger Snaps
A critical and indie darling when it first appeared, Ginger Snaps has become less revered in recent years but still respected. This Canadian horror story by John Fawcett and Karen Walton uses the werewolf as an analogy for coming of age. 16 year old Ginger gets bitten by a werewolf on the same night she gets her first period. Her and her sister Bridgette race against the clock to find a cure as next full moon gets closer. Ginger Snaps is effective and a nice change of pace from the typical werewolf fare.
7. The Wolfman
Unlike Dracula, The Wolfman has not aged as well. My favorite of the universal monsters growing up, The Wolfman tends to embody the worst aspects of our society – privilege, racism, sexism, toxic masculinity, are all on full display. Obviously it’s a movie of its time and I don’t fault the movie for it. But it’s a bit cringe-inducing to watch now. Still, it’s a classic that has a lot of great stuff to offer.
6. Bad Moon
Clocking in at only 79 minutes and only about 7 characters, Bad Moon is a lean and focused werewolf movie. In a last ditch effort to find his humanity and stop his transformation Ted visits his sister and her son. But can they help him from himself? The special effects are cheesy but the story is great and the acting is surprisingly good.
5. Silver Bullet
A decent adaptation of Stephen King’s novella Cycle Of The Werewolf. When the residents of quaint Tasker’s Mill start dying in record number, the town begins to fear they have a killer on the loose. But wheelchair bound Marty and his sister Jane know the truth, but can they get anyone to listen? A bit cheesy here and there, Silver Bullet still manages to eke out some genuinely creepy moments.
4. Late Phases
Nothing endears me more to a horror movie than an idea that sounds stupid on paper but is utterly brilliant to watch. Late Phases is such a movie. It’s about an blind old man who must defend his home from werewolves. Yeah, you read that right….blind man fighting werewolves. But the script, and more importantly the performance by Nick Damici, makes it seem believable in context. The acting is solid, the werewolf designs are great, and the movie is both tense and entertaining. Do not skip this on the silliness of the premise. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
3. Dog Soldiers
Despite the questionable title, Dog Soldiers is a must watch for horror fans. Writer and Director Neil Marshall’s tale of a British Special Ops unit doing training in the Scottish Highlands is fantastic. A brilliant cast, an unique story, and solid pacing makes this gem a classic in the werewolf genre.
2. The Howling
Easily one of the greatest werewolf movies ever. Despite being made in the 70’s this movie still holds up well in terms of pacing, acting, even special effects to a degree. Starting with a brilliantly tense opening the Howling ends with a bang- literally. The movie is a success from start to finish. It was toss up for the number one spot between this and the next entry.
Being that the werewolf is one of the most iconic creatures in all of horror, making a list of 10 means that some great films unnecessarily got the shaft. Here are a few that could have easily been on our list as well…
Monster Squad – Shane Black’s love letter to the Universal Monsters is a bit rough around the edges but a quite a bit of fun. Plus….wolfman’s got nards!
The Company of Wolves – A strange little movie and an interesting take on Little Red Riding Hood. Atmospheric and doesn’t skimp on the gore.
Werewolf of London – This 1930’s classic is a fun but often forgotten traditional werewolf story.
1. American Werewolf in London
Humor, horror, and the greatest werewolf transformation scene ever. You simply cannot go wrong with this movie. While the emphasis is less on horror and more on comedy and the human drama, the movie is so well crafted it doesn’t matter. Not only one of the best werewolf movies ever, simply one of the greatest horror movies ever.