A Playground for Authors Jason White and Michael Schutz-Ryan

Top 5: Werewolf Movies

In honor of the September UK release date for Werewolf Rising (which has an awesome freaking cover, by the way), I thought it would be fun to create a top 5 list of the best werewolf films to date.

One thing that’s confusing about the werewolf horror sub-genre is that it’s always mentioned when people talk about how tired they are of all the typical horror tropes, such as vampires and zombies. Werewolves never get the spotlight, if you think about it. It is my opinion that werewolf stories, especially good ones, are rarely done in both the movie and literary worlds.

I think it’s time for this to change. Werewolves need their time in the spotlight.

Now, before we begin, I’m sure to catch some flack for not having any of the old black and white classics in here, such as The Wolfman. Those movies are indeed classics, and some of them, such as the one I just mentioned, as great lines in them. But they just don’t stick out for me. I love old B&W movies, but I was never a fan of the werewolf back in those days.

Top 5 werewolf movies.

 

5. Silver Bullet (1985)

Picture of werewolf from Silver Bullet

Stephen King’s Silver Bullet will forever be etched into my brain as a heck of a fun ride. A big reason I love movies from the 1980s is because that’s when I first really noticed horror movies, and the memories of this opinionated blogger’s first viewing of this film are still fresh. I was thirteen years old or so and my step-father came home with a VHS rental (remember those?) of Silver Bullet. We popped it in. I didn’t know what it was, but the very first scene with the camera on the full moon was a big hint.

“Is this a werewolf movie?” I asked. The words Silver Bullet hit the screen and I knew. What followed is Stephen King’s werewolf story, adapted from his novella Cycle of the Werewolf. The movie does not hold up so well today, but it’s still better than a lot of other werewolf movies out there. What might have made this movie better was if the actual creature effects were better. Unfortunately, they are simply terrible.

But let’s not think of that. Let’s instead focus on the fact that the movie has Gary Busey playing a role he always does well portraying: the insane drunk uncle who is wise in all things involving firecrackers and wisdom.

4.Ginger Snaps (2002)

Picture of Ginger after a bad night

 A tale of two sisters. Something is loose within their town, killing pet dogs. When one of the sisters is bitten by this something, everything within these two characters (played brilliantly by Katherine Isabelle and Emily Perkins) begins to change. Literally. What strikes me about this movie is its timeless quality to the themes. Of course, the story itself is somewhat dated (its two protagonists are teenage girls, how can it not be dated?) but the issues they experience are what’s timeless.

It’s a coming of age story involving two misfit girls who are closer than Siamese twins. When one starts becoming an adult (so to speak), leaving the other behind her tail (pun intended), jealousy, rage, and war result.

If you haven’t watched Ginger Snaps, then you’re in for a treat. Watch the trilogy as they are all great films.

 

3. Dog Soldiers (2002)

A werewolf from Dog Soldiers

Dog Soldiers is a cross between a kick ass action adventure and a horror movie. There’s lots of guns and the firing of those guns. There’s also a lot of werewolves. These werewolves kick ass just as much, if not better, than all the soldiers and guns do. The werewolf effects are simply incredible. They stand on two feet, have pointy ears, and are somewhere between seven and eight feet tall. They are fearsome looking beasts. If you ran across one, you’d know that the rest of your life was just reduced to seconds and that, perhaps even sooner than that, your organs will be tossed about and your intestines hung along tree branches like Christmas garland no matter how many guns you’ve got.

Freaky thought.

2. The Howling (1981)

Werewolf from The Howling

The Howling has perhaps one of the longest transformation scenes ever! The fact that the woman who witnesses this transformation doesn’t take that five minutes to run for her life is simply fascinating. Yeah, a dude’s changing into a werewolf right before your eyes. It seems that he can’t move while doing so. Maybe … I dunno, just suggestion here… but maybe it’s time to, you know, book it! Get out of Dodge. Be like a tree and leave.

These werewolves also stand on two feet and have pointy ears. For some reason, this type of werewolf gets the hair on my neck to stand on end. They just look so bad-ass!

1. An American Werewolf in London

A werewolf attack

Another movie of nostalgia. The first scene with the two backpackers who stop at The Slaughtered Lamb to avoid a storm is a memory in and of itself. They’re quickly chased out by the locals who want nothing to do with them. They’re warned, however, to stay on the road. This, of course, does not stick in these two young adventurers minds, for as it begins to rain, they veer off the road and head into a field without even knowing it.

That’s when they hear the howl.

That scene, along with the famous werewolf transformation scene and some of the werewolf attacks within London, are brilliant. The character development of David Nessler, played by David Naughton, is also a fun journey. I really enjoy the dreams this guy has as the wolf slowly begins to take hold of him. There’s just something about alien or demonic-like Nazi creatures with semiautomatic machine guns shooting down a family in their living room, as displayed in one dream, that makes one sigh with dark delight.

So long as nothing like that really happens. Cause that would just be terrible. Really really terrible.

Before I sign off, here’s a picture of that UK DVD cover for Werewolf Rising. I wish our continent would produce covers as slick as these.

Werewolf Rising poster art

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