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Let’s Talk Horror Movies Part 3: Werewolves

Werewolves freak me out

Right, I am stating this right off the starting blocks, werewolves are the main creature that gives me the proper spookies, a combination of the elongated limbs and the skulking around just gets me right in the spooky bone. So this is not a fun category for me.

Werewolves, like Vampires, have been around for a millennia. Their origins are largely unknown. Some scholars believe the werewolf made its debut in The Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest known Western prose, when Gilgamesh jilted a potential lover because she had turned her previous mate into a wolf.  No matter where you turn throughout myth/ folklore history you are likely to stumble across some mention of these creatures.

There is often debate around what constitutes a WEREwolf vs a WOLFman, but that is a topic for another day!

Werewolf movies to watch upon a full moon

 

The Wolf Man– 1941 George Waggner– The OG Werewolf

The Wolf Man is apart of the Universal Monster series alongside such other classics like Frankenstein and The Mummy, the BFI has a great article on this series you can check out here.

Upon the death of his brother, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) travels from America back to his family home in Wales, whilst there he has an unfortunate run-in at a Gypsy camp with a girl who has been transformed into a werewolf! Larry may manage to fend off this creature he does not kill it and come away unscathed., Larry has been bitten and he is destined to transform into the beast every full moon! 

 

I was a Teenage Werewolf- 1957 Gene Fowler Jr- Rock’n’roll Werewolves 

I was a Teenage Werewolf was a pretty big hit with the 50s youth, it even features an early rock’n’roll number!

Tony (Michael London) is a moody, explosive high schooler who after getting into fight after fight is referred to a hypnotherapist. However, Dr Brandon (Whit Bissell), who is currently researching predatory and vicious side of human nature, sees an opportunity in Tony. Instead of helping him in any way he hypnotizes him and forces him to regress into a monster!

 

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Hound of the Baskervilles- 1959 Terance Fisher – Werewolves Ft Sherlock Holmes! 

Okay so this may not TECHNICALLY be a Werewolf tale but it is about a supernatural hound lurking about! 

Returning to his family’s manor house on the moors after his father dies under mysterious circumstances, Sir Henry Baskerville (Christopher Lee) is confronted with the mystery of the supernatural hound that supposedly takes revenge upon the Baskerville family. The famous detective Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) and his assistant Dr. Watson (Andre Morell) are brought in to investigate.

American Werewolf in London1981 Jon Landis- You’re heard of these Werewolves

You mention Werewolf films to anyone and they will inevitably bring up American Werewolf in London, it is a stone cold classic for a reason.

Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists. Things go from bad to worse for David (David Naughton) who is mauled by the beast and finds himself turning into something pretty spooky when the full moon hits! 

The Howling– 1981 Joe Dante

In a red light district, newswoman Karen White (Dee Wallce) is bugged by the police, investigating serial killer Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo), who has been harassing her through phone calls. After police officers find them in a peep-show cabin and shoot Eddie, Karen becomes emotionally disturbed and loses her memory. Hoping to conquer her inner demons, she heads for the Colony, a secluded retreat where the creepy residents are rather too eager to make her feel at home. There also seems to be a bizarre connection between Eddie Quist and this supposedly safe haven. And when, after nights of being tormented by unearthly cries, Karen ventures into the forest and makes a terrifying discovery

 

Ginger Snaps– 2000 John Fawcett- Cult status Werewolves

This is a total right of passage movie and has risen to cult status since its release. 

Our main focus is Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) she is 16, edgy, tough, and, with her younger sister, into staging and photographing scenes of death. They’ve made a pact about dying together. In early October, on the night she has her first period, which is also the night of a full moon, a werewolf bites Ginger. Within a few days, some serious changes happen to her body and her temperament. Her sister Brigitte (Emily Perkins), 15, tries to find a cure with the help of Sam (Kris Lemche), a local doper. As Brigitte races against the clock, Halloween and another full moon approach, Ginger gets scarier, and it isn’t just local dogs that begin to die.

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Yes that is wee little Margot from Hannibal

Dog Soldiers–  2002 Neil Marshall- Scottish Werewolves 

Fun fact about Dog Soldiers, I saw this film at age 12/13 and it scared the absolute living bejezzus out of me! I didn’t even watch it all, just caught a glimpse of a transformation scene and a bit where the werewolf is creeping around and that was enough. Swiftly I had to switch over to Legally Blonde so I could get some sleep!! It was not until the age of 26 that I actually watched the whole thing.  

A British Squad is sent on a training mission in the Highlands of Scotland against Special Operations squad. Ignoring the childish “campfire” stories heard about the area, they continue with their mission and come across the bloody remains of the Special Ops Squad. A fierce howling is piercing the night sky… What began as what they thought was a training mission turns into a battle for their lives against the most unlikely enemies – werewolves.

Van Helsing- 2004  Stephen Sommers- Werewolves Vs Dracula

Say what you want about Van Helsing I utterly adore this film. I know it is not technically a horror film, but it is pretty steeped in gothic horror and full of horror elements so tough its being included. It has for me, one of the best transformation scenes out there. It’s so primal and visceral, it’s gross and amazing. Also, you can’t dispute that fight with Dracula isn’t boss.  Van Helsing  as a character who is normally involved more with our buddy Count Dracula, who you might remember from last week’s edition of Let’s Talk Movies: Horror Part 2: The Vampire,  he got mentioned, a lot.

In this rendition, Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is a famed monster hunted working for the Vatican, I know seems weird. He is tasked with going to take down Dracula, only he doesn’t just find that old bat, he finds a big fluffy new pal to tango with as well.

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Cursed– 2005 Wes Craven- werewolves on the loose

I actually went to the cinema to watch Cursed when it first came out and it is a total riot. It’s not to be taken seriously, the film doesn’t really take itself that seriously, but it is a great teen werewolf movie. 

Ellie (Christina Ricci)  has been taking care of her younger brother Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg before the bald Lex Luthor incident yowwza)  since their parent’s death. One night after picking him up from a party the pair are involved in a car accident on whilst trying to rescue a woman from the other car a creature attacks and kills her, also injuring both Ellie and Jimmy. After some research Jimmy realizes the creature could only have been a werewolf.

 

Blood and Chocolate– 2007 Katja Von Garnier Romeo and Juliet but werewolves 

Blood and Chocolate is loosely based on the 1997 novel of the same title by Anette Curtis Klause. However, critics have noted that very little beyond the initial premise and characters remains faithful to the original prose. One thing this film does have going for it is Hugh Dancy being ridiculously doe-eyed. 

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If only Hannibal could see him now, yaknowwhatahmean

In Bucharest, Romania, the orphan Vivian (Agnes Bruckner)  was raised by her aunt after losing her parents ten years ago in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado. Her family belongs to a bloodline of werewolves and Vivian is promised to the leader of the pack, Gabriel (Olivier Martinez). When the American cartoonist Aiden (Hugh Dancy), who is researching werewolves for his publisher for the next edition of his magazine, meets Vivian, they immediately fall in love for each other. However, the evil son of Gabriel and Vivian’s cousin Rafe (Bryan Dick), poisons Gabriel about the love of Vivian, forcing her to choose between her bounds with her family and her passion for Aiden.

 

The Wolfman– 2010 Joe Johnston- One of the OG werewolves reimagined

This plot is going to sound eerily familiar, have you been paying attention? Of course, you have! You’re right this is the reimagining of the original The Wolf Man with a few twists and turns thrown into the mix!

Lawrence Talbot’s (Benicio Del Toro’s) childhood ended the night his mother died. His father sent him from the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor to an insane asylum, then he goes to America. Lawrence returns to his father’s estate many years later to learn that his brother’ has been brutally murdered. Lawrence sets out to find his brother’s killer, and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself. Someone or something has been killing the villagers, and a suspicious Scotland Yard Inspector named Aberline (Hugo Weaving) comes to investigate.

 

 

Howl– 2015 Paul Hyett

I only watched this film recently, currently on Amazon Prime (as of 9th June 2019), and it’s worth a watch. Should you find yourself with nothing better to do one night, check it out! 

We are on the last train from London when things start really going downhill. The passengers on the train must put aside their differences to band together against this incredibly dangerous threat. One by one they are picked off until finally, dawn approaches, will they be safe after that? (probably not no) 

 

               

Whether you fancy a fluffy wolfman or a proper muzzley limb-stretching, flesh ripping werewolf, these films will scratch THAT ITCH. You’re welcome.

 

If you want to pick up any of the films we’ve talked about in this series, you can find them all in our Amazon store! 

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4 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Horror Movies Part 3: Werewolves

  1. I love Cursed (because I also love Christina Ricci and that’s just how it goes), also Ginger Snaps is great but I can’t remember if any of the sequels were worth watching?

    I saw Dog Soldiers at the cinema, I remember enjoying it but the only bit that sticks out in my mind is the amusing “there is no spoon” reference. I’ll join you in shamelessly liking Van Helsing too.

    Loving this series of articles!

    1. Hey Kay, thanks for the comment.
      I think Ginger Snaps back would be a fun watch if there is nothing else on!
      Van Helsing is criminally underrated!!

  2. Van Helsing is superb. I keep trying to convince my Greatest Showman obsessed wife and daughter to watch it but no luck so far. Say what you like about Stephen Sommers’ take on the Universal monsters, he did a better job than most latter-day reboots.

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