List-O-rama: My 5 Favorite Werewolf films

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Movies based upon the shape-shifting, village terrorizing beasts are far and few between. Although most of them are pretty terrible, once in a blue moon (pun fully intended) you get one that is a real howl (that is TWO puns in one sentence, for those keeping score).

My 5 Favorite Werewolf Films

1)  An American Werewolf in London (Dir. John Landis, 1981) This dark comedy/horror is the top dog of all werewolf films. Two American students are hitching through Northern England, and are mauled by an unknown beast. One man is killed, while the other survives. He wakes up in a London hospital to realize that he is no longer the man he was before the attack. David Naughton and Griffin Dunne are stellar as the college friends who end up in the wrong part of the Yorkshire moors. American Werewolf has three things I admire in a film; dark comedy, disturbing imagery, and savage violence.

2)  Ginger Snaps (Dir. by John Fawcett, 2000) Outcast sisters, obsessed with the idea of death, try to navigate their teenage years. Things get even more complicated when one of them bitten by a werewolf. As Ginger, who is bitten, becomes more of a danger, sister Brigitte must find a cure before it is too late. The performances by Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle are real and convincing. The story is surprisingly original and darkly twisted. Also, Ginger Snaps is a Canadian production, and me being a proud Canadian makes me like it even more.

3)  Dog Soldiers (Dir. by Neil Marshall 2002) A company of British soldiers are sent on a weekend training mission in conjunction with a Special Forces unit in the Scottish wilderness. As it turns out, this will be anything but a routine military exercise. The soldiers discover the remains of the Special Forces team, and realize they are being hunted by something that is not human. They hole up in a farmhouse and try to keep the beasts at bay until the sun comes up. This is a gritty, violent film with some good twists, and lovely special effects that kept me interested from the start. The portrayal of the British soldiers is very believable. A very original movie directed by the great Neil Marshall (Descent, Doomsday).

4)  The Wolf Man (Dir. by George Waggner, 1941) Along side Dracula and Frankenstein, The Wolf Man is a cornerstone in the Universal Monsters franchise back in the golden era of cinema. This true classic is the Story of Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), who returns home to Wales upon the death of his brother. During a visit to a gypsy camp, Lawrence saves his friend Jenny from a wolf attack, but is bitten during the struggle. Talbot is now cursed, and transforms into a werewolf during each full moon. Lon Chaney Jr. is amazing as the man burdened with the fact that he is no longer human. This was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and continues to inspire me to this day. The Wolf Man runs really short at seventy minutes, but that does not take away from it’s legacy.

5)  WolfCop (Dir. by Lowell Dean, 2014)  Another gem of a Canadian film, everything about WolfCop is ridiculous. If you are a small town police deputy with a pretty severe drinking problem and really nothing to look forward to, what do you do to turn things around? Correct, you become a werewolf. Lou Garou is no ordinary werewolf. He is a Wolf cop with a strong sense of the law and a lust for the ladies. This movie had me once the scene came on where WolfCop makes love to a lucky gal while the song “Moonlight Desires” by Canadian legend Gowan plays in the background. He also rips a dude’s face of during one scene. Pretty impressive, very ridiculous.

T.

 

31 Days of Halloween Day 28 – An American Werewolf In London

31 Days of Halloween – Day 28

An American Werewolf in London (directed by John Landis, 1981) Every time I watch An American Werewolf in London, I enjoy, and appreciate it, more and more. As far as horror goes, it is top notch. Amazing special effects (courtesy of legendary make-up artist Rick Baker), truly bizarre dream sequences, and a strong story are all present, but what really makes this film for me is the dark comedy. This should come at no surprise as John Landis (Animal House, Blues Brothers) wrote and directed the movie. Landis has a great knack for making audiences laugh. American Werewolf is a fine blend of terror and laughter. Two American college students are traveling through the Scottish countryside. During a brief stop at The Slaughtered Lamb for a pint, they are warned by the locals to “stick to the road and stay off the moors”. After ignoring the advice, they are attacked by a savage animal that leaves one traveler dead, and the other wounded. David, the survivor, wakes up in the hospital. He begins having terrifying dreams, and eventually is visited by his friend Jack’s corpse. Jack explains to David that he was attacked by a werewolf, and because he survived, David would become one as well during the next full moon. Is David losing his mind, or is this a true warning that he is now a man-wolf? As the moon turns, David, and most of London discover that the warning was valid. The beast runs wild in the city, resulting in some violent attacks, as well as some humorous situations. A scene in which a naked David wakes up in the city zoo is worth the watch, as is the first transformation scene. Rick Baker and his team did a masterful job. The effects were much better in American Werewolf than movies of the same time. David Naughton is great as the cheeky traveler David, and Jenny Agutter is charming and lovely as his love interest nurse Alex. The character who steals the show is Jack. Played by Griffin Dunne, Jack is David’s dead best friend who returns from beyond the grave to warn, and subsequently annoy, David. The scenes and dialogue between the two is genuine and funny. An American Werewolf in London is much more than a typical horror movie, but as far as films about shape-shifters are concerned, it may be the best all-around presentation of the genre. This classic should slide nicely into your Halloween line-up. And oh yeah, beware the moon.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)
  • Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Day 20 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Day 21 – The Cabin In The Woods
  • Day 22 – A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
  • Day 23 – The Exorcist III
  • Day 24 – The Evil Dead (1981)
  • Day 25 – The Blair Witch Project
  • Day 26 – The Shining
  • Day 27 – Trick r Treat
  • Day 28 – An American Werewolf in London

T.