Horror is typically a genre I tread lightly around, at least when it comes to books, and I inevitably think of slasher films when I hear the words “horror movie.” I’ve seen an embarrassingly low number of slasher films; to say nothing of actually liking them. Freddy has never been invited to my sleepovers, I don’t know much about Jason except that he has mommy issues, and as far as I’m concerned Jigsaw is just another world for puzzle. But ask me about monster movies and I perk right up, especially if said monsters are werewolves.
I’m a crazy snob when it comes werewolf effects. I seriously considered abandoning the TV show Buffy when Oz underwent his werewolf makeover, going as he did from a decently scary werewolf in one episode to a furry wookie-like dog in the next. Good werewolf effects, on the other hand, can make me overlook the shortcomings in an otherwise average movie/TV show.
Which got me thinking about some of the best and worst looking werewolves. I’m excluding the giant wolves variety (sorry Twilight fans) and sticking with the scary, snarling, true monster variety. With that in mind, here’s my countdown of the top ten best werewolves in movies and TV (aka Rick Baker is awesome). This list is based on werewolf effects, not necessarily the overall quality of the film/show, otherwise we’d be talking about Silver Bullet.
I’ll be following up this post with a list of the worst werewolves, so I guess I’ll be talking about Silver Bullet after all. Thanks to everyone from the Tor.com Urban Fantasy Facebook and Twitter accounts for all the suggestions. Keep them coming!
Actor Seth Green played the teenage Oz on the show. At only 5"4, originally, Seth’s werewolf form was played by a much taller actor, resulting in this hulking monster.
Actor Russell Tovey is the werewolf George in this U.K. hit that was recently brought to the U.S. in the SyFy show of the same name. The premise may be the same in both shows, but the U.K. version trounces the U.S. in the werewolf department.
7.) The Wolfman (2010)
Actor Benicio Del Toro stepped into the role of Lawrence Talbot, made famous by Lon Chaney Jr. in the 1941 classic, for this remake. Rick Baker created a look that was faithful to the original iconic design, yet scary enough in way demanded by modern audiences.
Scott Speedman’s half vampire half lycan form may have been unimpressive, but the costumes for the full werewolves were anything but.
Starring Zach Galligan (Gremlins) as a teen who, along with his friends, becomes a victim in waxwork museum displays. Dog ears aside, this werewolf still gives me nightmares. As does the sequel, but for different reasons.
4.) Bad Moon
2.) The Howling
Based on the novel by Gary Brandner and directed by Joe Dante. Rob Bottin created the werewolf effects, stepping in when original effects artist Rick Baker decided to leave to work on An American Werewolf in London.
1.) Dog Soldiers
Writer/director Neil Marshall’s British werewolves were created without any CGI effects, instead relying on animatronics (designed by Richard Darwin), costumes, and makeup effects to produce eight feet tall monsters with jaws big enough to bite a man in half and legs that hinge backwards.
There you have it. My picks for the ten best werewolves. Which are your favorite? I’m still putting together the list of worst werewolves, so let me hear your picks in the comments.
Abigail Johnson manages the Tor.com Urban Fantasy Facebook and Twitter accounts and spends way too much time thinking about vampires, werewolves, zombies and all things paranormal in books, movies, TV and video games.