Road to Halloween: Top 5 Movie Werewolves

Written by Jesse Gelinas October 14, 2012

A pack of werewolves under moonlight

“Lycanthropes… that’s werewolves to you and me.”

We continue our journey toward Halloween with a look at one of the more primitive entries in our Movie Monster repertoire. These animals prowl under the full moon, hunt the innocent, dodge silver bullets, and according to every piece of fiction published/produced in the last decade, apparently fighting vampires. Anyway, let’s take a look at some of man’s other, less friendly best friends- werewolves.

5. Wolfman (Jon Gries, “The Monster Squad”)

The Wolfman from "The Monster Squad", #5 on the top werewolves list

“You’ve gotta lock me up! You’ve gotta put me in a cage!”

While Lon Chaney has a special place in our hearts, the Wolfman character has evolved over the years. The werewolf in “The Monster Squad” is an unwilling participant in Dracula’s dastardly plan to rule the world (when he’s a man). Once the sun goes down the poor soul, desperate for salvation (actually credited as The Desperate Man) has a change of heart and runs with the pack. This wolf is strong, vicious and friggin’ scary to look at. He also happens to be one of only two werewolves on this list that actually adhere to a strict no-silver policy. He is also the only one confirmed to have nards.

4. Will Randall (Jack Nicholson, “Wolf”)

Will Randall from "Wolf", #4 on the Top Werewolves list

“I’m just marking my territory, and you got in the way.”

I love this character. I love this movie. Nicholson was born to play an aging werewolf. A man on his way down, Will Randall finds himself bitten by a wolf on the road, and slowly begins to change into the beast. Throughout the film we see his abilities develop, from enhanced hearing and smell, youthful vigor, even new hair! But as he loses control of his nightly activities, we’re reminded that the spirit of the wolf is a powerful force, running free and killing at will. Though the hero of the story, Will’s werewolf would certainly be a scary encounter in Central Park past midnight… even if he wasn’t a werewolf actually.

3. Ginger (Katharine Isabelle, “Ginger Snaps”)

Ginger from "Ginger Snaps", #3 on the Top Werewolves list

“I’m a goddamn force of nature.”

Ginger Snaps is great Canadian cinema, but on top of that it’s one of the great werewolf flicks. Ginger is your average outcast teen; she’s spiteful, angry, artsy, and lonely. Fortunately, she and her sister have each other. Once Ginger gets bit by ‘the Beast of Bailey Downs’ chaos ensues. It’s actually hilarious watching the sisters scramble to try and halt the transformation, but once Ginger accepts her fate, it’s terrifying to see how quickly your average girl can become a sadistic killing machine. The wolf here is arrogant, lustful, and full of rage, but she still loves her sister. It’s touching really, right through to the final bloody climax.

2. David Kessler (David Naughton, “An American Werewolf in London”)

David Kessler from "An American Werewolf in London", #2 on the Top Werewolves list

“Be rational, sure. I’m a fucking werewolf, for Christ’s sake!”

We can’t talk werewolves and forget David, the unfortunate tourist who ended up marked by the beast. Unlike his friend Jack, who goes all ghoulified, David survives his wolf encounter and begins to change. In probably the most intense and impressively visualized transformation scene in film history, we see just how painful the transition is, and David wastes no time causing panic on the streets of London. His wolf is more of a straight up animal- four legs, seemingly mindless, but deadly and terrifying.

1. The Uath family (“Dog Soldiers”)

The Uaths from "Dog Soldiers", #1 on the Top Werewolves list

“It’s that time of the month.”

In the Scottish Highlands dwell the Uaths, a family that has lived in the area for centuries, and we can see why. No cities, no police, just miles of wilderness, occupied by various tasty campers and hikers… and a crack team of British Army soldiers on a war games exercise. The werewolves here are the most dangerous kind. They’re smart, powerful, sadistic, and they hunt in packs. Their high intelligence is contrasted by the fact that we never see their human form (but we’re assured they’re fine people), which makes them all the more frightening; they’re just pure monsters. These animals give the soldier boys a run for their money, and blow all their houses down. This is what werewolves are supposed to be!

One of the Uath werewolves attacking Sergeant Wells in "Dog Soldiers"

“Don’t… stare… back.”


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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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