So after kicking things off here in The Horror Corner with my top 10 Zombie movies, heres my next offering, Werewolf Movies.
Based on the Stephen King novella Cycle of the Werewolf, it was directed by Daniel Attias who was better known at the time for lensing the hit US TV show Miami Vice. Cycle focused on the relationship between siblings Marty and Jane rather than the struggle of duality that plagues the films sole werewolf protagonist Reverend Lowe. With a standout performance by Gary Busey as Uncle Red this is a werewolf flick that should be high on your list of guilty pleasures.
9.The Company of Wolves
This 1984 gothic-horror film was directed by Academy Award winner Neil Jordan and was only his second feature. The story concerns Rosaleen and the stories that her Nan (Angela Lansbury) recites to her.
The film switches to and fro between Rosaleen's dreams and her ‘real’ world never staying in one place long enough for you to be able to fully decide which her actual reality is. With its roots firmly in the realm of the fairy tale this is a worthy if not remarkable entry into werewolf movie history.
This Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer starrer played on the hairy shape-shifter as a metaphor for men and their mid-life crisis. It's probably one of the most overlooked of werewolf movies, which is a shame as the main character of Will Randall goes from meek pushover to virile no-nonsense assertive man about town with every cut. Granted the actual FX are up to much but then watching Jack literally chew his way through every scene is worth the watch alone.
7.The Curse of the Werewolf
Well good old British productions house Hammer Horror surely had to feature and surprisingly this is their only foray into the world of the wolf man and it’s a cracker.
Starring the ubiquitous Oliver Reed in his first lead role and Directed by genre stalwart Terence Fisher (The Curse of Frankenstein, The Mummy (1959)) this tale adds an interesting twist in that the birth of an unwanted child on Christmas Day causes the rug rat to turn into a werewolf and can only be cured by love!.
The bell tower finale is truly gripping and Reed really injects pain into the part and shows just why he wasted that immense talent by croaking on us far too early.
Released at the height of the werewolf revival in 1981, Wolfen concerned a Detective (Albert Finney) trying to solve a series of murders where the victims appeared to have been killed by animals.
Most notable for its POV perspective through the eyes of the werewolf (a technique used to good effect in Predator) the film is a little disjointed but does use the Native American legend about wolf spirits to good effect.
This was an inspired and smart take on the werewolf film as, unusually, it had two girls in the lead role and used teen angst and puberty behind the Lycanthrope metaphor.
Directed by John Fawcett, the story focused on two sisters who had a deep routed fascination with the macabre. With its clever use of sibling rivalry and unquestionable love, Ginger Snaps
deserves a place in any collection not just horror.
Neil Marshalls feature directorial debut was just what the genre needed. A team of six British soldiers on a routine training exercise discover the remains of a Special Forces squad in the Scottish Highlands and are forced to retreat to a secluded house where they are laid siege by a pack of werewolves.
The quality of the cast, the sharp and accurate army slang humour in the dialogue with the quick paced directing style of Marshall led to a werewolf tale that kept its tongue firmly in its cheek but also delivered enough scares and gore to satisfy the most hardened of horror fans.
Another 1981 release, The Howling
took the pack of wolves approach as opposed to the popular singular lycanthrope protagonist by having the lead Karen White (Dee Wallace-Stone) relocate to The Colony for some group therapy.
The make-up effects were done by Rob Bottin who at the time was the protégé of one Rick Baker. Director Joe Dante’s film centred on the theme of trust in those close to you and those who by job definition you should be able to trust, in this case the Doctor George Waggner (Patrick Macnee).
2.The Wolf Man (1941)
Whilst not the first of Universals werewolf flicks, that honour goes to the disappointing Werewolf of London (1935), The Wolf Man is remembered by many because of its depiction of the inner struggle of the main character against his new flesh eating desires perfectly exposed by Lon Chaney Jr.
With a cast complimented by genre favourites including Claude Raines (The Invisible Man) and Bela Lugosi (Dracula), it was the first lycanthrope film to introduce the concept of forced changing under a full moon, vulnerability to silver and being marked with a pentagram.
And the absolute 100% werewolf satisfaction guaranteed best Lycan flick of all time...
1.An American Werewolf in London
This is the ultimate Werewolf movie it’s also the ultimate fish-out-of-water movie and the ultimate special practical effects movie.
It’s genuinely scary, you feel for the characters, especially Jack Goodman who’s in a permanent state of limbo until someone kills his best friend, the very man who killed him. To this day the transformation scene by FX genius Rick Baker has never been bettered; you actually feel the pain that Kessler is going through as his skin stretches and his jaw cracks.
The triple bluff dream sequence stills gets me as does the ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ and that rampage through a packed central London is incredible in the way it shifts your emotions until the final inevitable conclusion.
So there you go, they're my all-time top 10, agree, disagree, think i'm a loser?