Most people know that I love slasher flicks, but at the same time I am equally into werewolves. I’ve always thought that werewolves were the coolest horror-related monsters out there, but for some reason they just never really got the love that they deserved. There are a ton of awesome werewolf movies out there if you know where to look for them, and I think that most of them hit the scene in the last 40 years or so. While classic werewolf movies like the original The Wolfman, Werewolf of London, The Werewolf and countless other older films are great and a load of fun I thought I’d focus on some more modern flicks from 1980 to 2020 to take a look at for this list.
Without further ado I give you my list of the Top Ten Werewolf movies between 1980 to 2020
*****Please be aware there may be spoilers from this point on*******
10. Project: Metalbeast (1995)
Starting things off is a somewhat obscure little werewolf movie from 1995 starring the likes of Barry Bostwick, Kim Delaney, and genre legend Kane Hodder (who plays the werewolf, no less). What’s cooler and more dangerous than a werewolf? How about a werewolf with metal skin that makes it pretty much indestructible for the most part? I caught this movie on VHS the day it came out and thought that it was a lot of fun. It revolves around a scientific experiment conducted on a werewolf to create a superweapon and before you know it (surprise!) things go horribly wrong and the metal-skinned werewolf is running around slaughtering anyone and everyone he comes across. While it may not be the greatest werewolf movie of all time, I always dug it and thought it was just all around awesome for several reasons. If you haven’t seen it (or even heard of it) track down a copy and give it a shot. I think you just may be pleasantly surprised.
9. Howl (2015)
Coming to us from England, Howl is the most recent movie on the list and has an awesome premise. We have a train full of a group of very different people that breaks down in the middle of nowhere in the very place where some horrible things took place many years earlier. It isn’t long before the passengers are attacked by a group of werewolves in the area (who were responsible for the terrifying things that took place there in the past) and none of them may make it through the night. I saw this movie a few years back and thought that it pretty much ruled. I dug the characters, thought the premise was interesting, and actually enjoyed the look of the werewolves themselves. It’s a nice and bloody movie as the werewolves don’t mess around when it comes to tearing their victims to shreds, and I honestly thought the bit with the old lady transforming into a werewolf at one point was actually legit creepy in it’s own way. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews for Howl but I for one thought that it was great, so if you are into werewolves this film is a must-see.
8. Lone Wolf (1988)
Another obscure one that most people haven’t seen but it’s worth checking out if you can find it. I’ll admit that the acting isn’t the best in the world and most of the actors in it are way too old to be cast as high school students (especially the male lead), but I’ve loved this movie ever since I caught it on cable late one night back in the early 90s. What makes it great is that it is almost like a weird live-action Scooby-Doo episode in a way as we have a group of “high schoolers” trying to figure out who is behind a string of brutal murders that are taking place in their town, only to discover that the responsible party is actually a werewolf. I had a blast trying to figure out the werewolf’s identity, and while it isn’t extremely hard to figure out who the culprit is it’s still a lot of fun regardless. I think that the scene that takes place toward the end toward the Halloween costume contest is nothing short of genius (and hilarious) and the final scene is awesome (and it actually creeped me out just a tad when I first saw it). I know some people that don’t care for this movie and have argued that it is cheesy, and while I’ll admit that it is more than a little corny at times I think that is part of what makes it so good (plus the werewolf isn’t bad looking considering the film is quite low budget and the people behind it most likely didn’t have a whole lot of money to spend on werewolf effects). Give it a shot when you can, you may just end up digging it as much as I do.
7. Howling V: The Rebirth (1989)
Let’s face it, other than the first movie (which we’ll get to later) almost all The Howling movies suck. I think that Howling V: The Rebirth is the definite exception though. It takes place at an old castle in the middle of Europe where a group of people have been called together for reasons none of them are quite sure of. It turns out that one of them happens to be a werewolf and it isn’t long before it is knocking the other guests off one-by-one. I think that the setting is cool as hell and I love the fact we have to figure out who the werewolf is, and the werewolf looks pretty damn impressive (I just wish we got to see a little more of it). The identity of the werewolf is a nice touch that I didn’t see coming and I just think that this movie has a lot going for it in several ways. Without a doubt it is the best of any of The Howling sequels and is just a lot of fun in general.
Another fine werewolf movie from England, this one centers around a group of soldiers holed up in a house in the wilderness of Scotland who are terrorized by a group of werewolves. It got a lot of attention when it was released and I think that it lives up to its hype as it is an awesome movie with some great characters, fun gore, and some sweet-looking werewolves. Directed by Neil Marshall (who was also behind the beloved horror film The Descent), Dog Soldiers as an action-packed horror gem that is sure to satisfy. There has been talks of a sequel for years, but it has never happened and sadly somehow, I doubt that it ever will. Here’s hoping that it does happen eventually though because if its as great as the original film it will no doubt rule.
Adapted from Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf, I always thought that Silver Bullet was always overlooked and totally underrated. Yeah, the werewolf could have looked better (it looks more like a bear than anything) but I’ve seen a lot worse. Gary Busey is actually really likable in it (this was before he was totally batshit crazy) and I thought Corey Haim was decent as well. The movie creeped me out when I first saw it when I was a kid and I think it still holds up nicely all these years later (though I have no idea what is going on with the cornball narration at the very end). The werewolf was supposed to talk originally (and apparently did in the original script) and I’m not so sure how well that would have worked so I am glad that the people behind it changed their minds and didn’t have him speaking as that would have been a little weird. Like other werewolf flicks we get to play “who’s the werewolf” and I like the idea that after we find out who it is there is no explanation as to how the person came to become a werewolf. If you’re a fan of King’s book the film is based on you will dig the movie as well (even though they did change quite a bit).
Another highly underrated werewolf movie in my opinion. I think it has one of the toughest-looking werewolves in it ever and it has an interesting premise. Based on the novel Thor by Wayne Smith (which is told from the family dog’s point of view), Bad Moon is a fun movie that is sure to satisfy anyone who is fascinated by werewolves. Michael Pare is fantastic in it as the poor guy that gets bitten by a werewolf and is cursed to become one himself, and Mason Gamble (from the 90’s Dennis the Menace movie) does a great job as well (as does the dog who is determined to protect his family from the werewolf). I have always been a huge fan of this movie and never got why it didn’t get more love than it did (the scene where the werewolf is in Gamble’s bedroom toward the end and we get several clear shots of it is reason enough to see it). Give it a try if you haven’t seen it, you won’t be let down (though the scene where animal control takes Thor away is heartbreaking don’t worry, it has a happy ending).
Back in 2001 I was obsessed with this movie when I first saw it and there for a while, I would watch it at least once a week. I love the characters, think the werewolf is cute (in its own way), and think that the ending is incredibly depressing (I get misty every single time I watch it). It spawned a sequel (which is just so-so) and for some unknown reason a prequel (that is quite bad) but neither of them come close to being as good as the original movie. For what it’s worth I’ve always argued that Ginger Snaps was the best werewolf movie of the 2000s and the best werewolf flick in general since The Howling (which we’ll be hearing about in a bit). I think that this movie is near perfect in a lot of ways and I really hope that no one ever tries to remake it (though sadly someone will eventually try) because it is just one of those films that doesn’t need to ever be remade for any reason.
1981 was a huge year for werewolf movies and horror films in general as there were so many great horror films that were released that year. I have always loved this movie and think that it has some of the best special effects ever (which is no surprise considering they were done by Rick Baker). Not only is it a great horror film but it also has some awesome dark comedic elements in it as well that make it even better. It has a great cast, some fun gory death scenes, and the werewolf looks amazing. To this day the bit where we see the werewolf approaching the man in the subway before he kills him (we can see him at the bottom of the screen as he approaches) still freaks me out and is one of the most underrated and creepy scenes in all of cinema. This film is a true masterpiece and I hate that it is being remade as I am sure that it isn’t going to be anywhere near as great as the original.
1. The Howling (1981)
The other big werewolf film of 1981 and without a doubt the greatest werewolf movie ever in my humble opinion. It scared the hell out of me when I was a kid but at the same time, I was obsessed with it and would watch it repeatedly. If you ask me, the scene where Eddie slowly turns into a werewolf in front of Dee Wallace’s character is the greatest werewolf transformation scene of all time, even surpassing the one in An American Werewolf in London. It has an awesome cast, some nice dark humor, and is sprinkled with subtle references to werewolves throughout the movie which I always thought was cool. The werewolves look pretty damn sweet and are terrifying and bizarrely cute at the same time (at least to me, anyway). This movie is in my personal top ten favorite movies of all time and no matter how many times I watch it I never get tired of it.
When Animals Dream (Obviously influenced by Ginger Snaps in a lot of ways)
Trick r’ Treat (2007)-While only one segment involves werewolves it is quite awesome.
The Howling: Reborn (Yeah, I know, I expected to hate it too but thought it was quite decent. Loved the cast and dug the final scene)
Thriller (I know it is a music video and it is more a werecat than a werewolf, but it honestly scared the shit out of me when I first saw it as a kid)
The Company of Wolves (hated it when I saw it when I was a kid because I didn’t really get it but watched it years later and thought it was haunting and beautiful in its own way)
There you have it folks, my list of the Top Ten Werewolf Movies from 1980 to 2020. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments below.