62 Werewolf Movies of October, Part 1 of 2
Werewolves are my favorite supernatural creature, as those who know me should be aware by now. I’ve also see a lot of werewolf movies, some pretty good, most...not. But that doesn’t stop me from watching them, though I would avoid most of the bad ones if I’ve already seen them. Flickchart.com unfortunately doesn’t list every werewolf movie I’ve seen, I guess because some are so indie-deep they just don’t have a profile up yet, but I’ve got over a hundred werewolf movies logged in on the site so far. Sounds like a small amount until you actually start listing them. Werewolf movies aren’t anywhere as numerous as say, Vampire movies.
Every October, some online friends and I like to participate in a horror movie challenge. This challenge entails watching a minimum 31 horror movies in October, with a minimum of 16 being new-to-you. It’s more often than not became more of a pissing contest to cram as many movies as possible every month. This past October of 2020 saw two full moons, so I decided to make this October Challenge a little more special to me: I would watch two werewolf movies for every day of October. That’s 62 movies. I still padded out the rest of my downtime with other horror movies, but my goal was specifically set on 62 werewolf movies. I knew I’d get all the good ones in there, however as I started to chart my path, I knew I was going to get some duds in as well.
One parameter set was that because it is part of the October Challenge, they must be horror movies. Horror comedies and horror-lite is fine, but no straight comedies or anything like that, so movies like Teen Wolf and Full Moon High were off the menu. I also wasn't sure just how Stephen Sommer's Van Helsing counted for horror because it sure doesn't feel like one, so I left it off the menu as well, even though I do love its werewolf designs. Another parameter is that the werewolf in the movie didn’t need to be a main character, which helped with filling in some other slots for the 62. Monster ensembles were very welcome. Werewolf-adjacent movies were also welcome, though I didn’t include anything like Cat People because, while adjacent, the focus was still on “wolf”.
Also, though I watched The Wolf of Snow Hollow, I could not bare to put it on this list after watching it. Skip this paragraph if you don’t want spoilers.. For those that have seen it, why not this movie and yet I list She-Wolf Of London? Because that movie is about her believing she has become a werewolf, playing with the mental illness aspect of lycanthropy. The Wolf Of Snow Hollow does not. Maybe if they tacked on at the end a record of the guy they find has a mental history, Psycho style, sure, but they didn’t, so it’s just some random dude at the end with no explanation. If anyone's curious, I graded it in the C+ to B+ range.
How did the Double-Full Moon Werewolf-a-thon go? Let’s find out! I may not speak about most of these, as there were a lot and my memory could get fuzzy. This will be broken up into two blogs, and this is part 1!
Any movie with an “*” next to it, it denotes that its werewolf is in a support or small role. If I attache a year next to the title, that means that it's either one that's had remake, is a remake itself, or there are other movies with the same title. And here...we...go...
62. Dark Moon Rising (2015) Grade: F
This little sneaky bastard turned out to be a turd I somehow forgot I watched, until about the last third of the movie. It’s abysmally bad on all fronts, but what really put this over the top was the awful soundtrack, which consisted of music that sounded like Nickleback trying to do Emo.
61. Werewolf Island - Grade: F
A real budget may have helped get this to mediocre status, but it’s asinine plot that jumps around in different time periods (trust me, not as fun as it sounds), atrocious acting, and the cheapest special FX I’ve seen since Werewolves on Wheels (which I did not watch last month), threw this near the bottom of the barrel.
60. Dogman 2 - Grade: F
I didn’t see the first movie, and I don’t think it would’ve helped. There is a moment in the film where multiple werewolves are on screen and it appears like a couple of furries got lost going to a convention. Unintentionally hilarious, but still garbage.
59. Desert Wolf - Grade: D-
Featuring the worst special FX I’ve watched during my October Challenge (which actually put Werewolf Island’s to shame), and similar amatuer acting...but at least the plot seemed interesting. Might’ve been a decent short story on paper, but goes to show to pull off a werewolf movie, you really need more financial backing in your favor.
58. Iron Wolf - Grade: D-
Incredibly stupid. Had it taken place completely through Nazi era Germany, it may have been slightly more interesting, but alas, that era was only a tease in the beginning. Soon we got stuck with stupid characters attempting some urban exploration of an old Nazi building, where a werewolf still dwells. Okay, typing that out, it still sounds interesting, but the delivery is absolutely not.
57. Howing VII: New Moon rising - Grade: D-
Formerly my “worst movie ever.” Too much bland line-dancing, local TV network cinematography, awful puns for dialogue, a hilariously bad werewolf transformation into a puppet that reminds me of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Yet I’ve managed to watch this more than a few times now, usually when I’m doing a Howling marathon. I don’t know if I’m getting used to, or people out there are actually trying to make worse werewolf movies than this. It’s badness is legendary.
56. Werewolf Fever - Grade: D
Occasionally amusing throwback to diner culture with a werewolf roaming a burger diner’s parking lot, but doesn’t have the balls to go full Troma to make it more worthwhile. If you’re gonna try to be this silly, go all out.
55. Project: Metalbeast - Grade: D
Another dud that somehow I manage to revisit from time to time. I think I’ve suffered through it 3 times now. Vaguely interesting ideas, however goofy, but a cheap movie from the 90’s to the core. Could’ve easily been a made-for-SciFi channel movie long ago. Nothing remarkable except maybe Kane Hodder is in the wolf-suit.
54. Night Wolf - Grade: D
Not much I can recall about this one, except we’re dealing with completely hairless werewolves, and takes place in a big old house. Stop making werewolves as smooth as a baby seal!
53. Lycan - Grade: D
The lead is decent, and she pretty much carries this movie from being a complete turd basket. This is actually an accidental repeat viewing, but didn’t anger me like Dark Moon Rising did.
52. Bray Road Beast - Grade: D+
A mockumentary, for lack of a better term since it’s not funny, kinda like The Last Broadcast but not as good. Forgettable, but probably still better than The Beast Of Bray Road that came out a few years before.
51. Howling IV: The Original Nightmare - Grade: D+
The first ¾’s of this movie is a bit of a chore. Though more closely follows the original book, it’s awful dialogue and cheapness keeps this from ever reaching the heights of the original movie. Romy Windsor is charming though, even with terrible dialogue. However, the movie picks up with some inspired Steve Johnson FX work in the last quarter. Side note: Michael T. Weiss’s unenthusiastic acting is the best kind of unintentionally hilarious.
50. Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory - Grade: C-
Great title, but mostly forgettable cheapie. Glad I finally got around to seeing it, if just for getting the notch in my belt.
49. Sheep Skin - Grade: C-
This could’ve been a short film. Very padded out for the runtime, and doesn’t get to the point until the very end, where yeah, there’s a werewolf. It tries hard at making you question if there really is one, until it finally gets unleashed.
48. Uncaged (2016) - Grade: C-
Another that seemed decent on paper, but suffocated by an extremely low budget. The most memorable thing is the attempt to keep someone in a cage so they can change on camera. It’s a swell idea, especially with the ease of posting live videos, but a shame I haven’t seen it delivered better in a werewolf film yet.
47. Betsy - Grade: C-
While applaudable for having a female lead that isn’t a typical model-body type, it’s still a mostly forgettable attempt at a character piece sorta-going through the motions of becoming a werewolf, but of course with as little FX work as possible. Though, if you don’t have the budget to do werewolf FX proper, I guess it is a commendable choice to do as little as possible, so they don’t wind up looking terrible like Desert Wolf or Werewolf Island.
46. The Shattering - Grade: C-
There is a solid idea hidden in this mediocre werewolf movie, and that’s the idea that due to a werewolf’s regenerative capabilities, there is the temptation to get a sample of it, such as its saliva, to help fight diseases, such as cancer. Shame it’s wasted on a road-trip with a buncha idiot kids surrounded by hunters that don’t know what they’re doing.
45. The Howling III: The Marsupials - Grade: C-
Another movie with solid ideas but mediocre (at best) delivery, especially putting werewolves in position of being a sympathetic race that is being exterminated due to public fear. It’s also really silly, cheap, and the third act doesn’t really know what to do with itself so the movie just peters out. It is actually intentionally funny, though most of the jokes are groan-worthy. Ambitious, but only for hardcore Howling fans, really.
44. Cry of the Werewolf - Grade: C
Another mostly forgettable older werewolf picture that uses dogs as their werewolves. Not terrible, but you’re not missing anything either.
43. The Werewolf - Grade: C
Kind of interesting way of becoming a werewolf, from a Sci-Fi point of view, where a car crash survivor is injected with a serum that doesn't quite go as expected.
42. She-Wolf of London - Grade: C
This one is flimsy, but manages to stay on the list because our heroine does succumb to the delusions that she is a werewolf, so it does maintain the mental illness aspect of lycanthropy. Outside of the main character’s sympathetic nature, there isn’t much else to say about this one.
41. Werewolf of London - Grade: C
The earliest werewolf film that I’m aware of, and has classic moments, and the origin story on top of the mountain is interesting, but the rest is a bland wash. Characters aren’t interesting or engaging.
40. Dances With Werewolf - Grade: C
Shot like it was probably intended for Skin-a-max, but without the gobs of nudity, this was a pleasant surprise (given I'm used to new-to-me werewolf movies having such a low bar). It’s about an ancient werewolf that decides to set up a new home, recruiting new pack members at a strip club/bar, where of course they prey on gullible men. Cheapie, but not shabby.
39. Howling: Reborn - Grade: C +
It’s nice to see some effort into making full werewolf suits again, even though the bodies are still mostly hairless, except for the legs, which wind up looking like furry chaps. The plot is decent, with hints that the writer may have actually read Gary Brandner’s Howling III: echoes, with a parent alpha werewolf looking for their lost cub who isn’t aware they are a werewolf yet. Suffers from some obvious influence from the Twilight series, the weird digital color filter, and some bad attempts at red herrings. Lindsay Shaw is a dear though.
38. House of Dracula - Grade: C+
Universal was clearly running out of money and steam that they could dedicate to the ongoing tale of Lawrence Talbot’s curse, but at least he’s finally free!
37. Full Eclipse - Grade: C+
An elite squad similar to a SWAT team are actually werewolves. They are probably too efficient at their job. Mild shapeshifting occurs, and claws sprout like the claws from a familiar X-Man, but a decent watch.
36. Meridian - Grade: C+
A combination of the Beauty & the Beast story with werewolf myths. Charlie Spradling and Sherilyn Fenn keep things interesting, and the wolf-suit FX are pretty decent. Feels padded out a bit and I would've liked to have seen more of the curse fleshed out.
35. Howl - Grade: C+
An interesting flick about a stalled train that gets sacked by a pack of werewolves. Overstays its welcome for a bit too long given the content, no characters are particularly memorable, and I’m generally not a fan of fast-acting vampirism or lycanthropy.
34. Another WolfCop - Grade: C+
A sequel that understands that it itself is ridiculous and rolls with it. Doesn’t have the initial charm the first movie has, but amusing, cartoonishly violent (though could’ve been gorier), and a fun cameo by Gowan.
33. Werewolf: The Beast Among Us - Grade: C+
For a movie that seems to have put some effort into its sets designs and costume, and even more of an action-movie eye, they really dropped the ball figuring out who the main characters are. You don’t really know who’s story this is, and it doesn’t gell together well as an ensemble. Also features computer werewolf FX that stick out like a sore thumb against an otherwise good looking movie.
32. Skinwalkers - Grade: C+
A revisit I was pleasantly surprised by. Even though the digital FX and filters aged poorly (and they were poor at the time already), the story and characters aged pretty well. The Makeup FX under Stan Winston’s FX house were pretty decent too. In addition to the low budget, the PG13 rating holds it back from its full potential.
31. Ginger Snaps 2 - Grade: C+
Probably Emily Perkins best performance in the series, she’s great in this, but the setting seems wasted with a bunch of side characters you don’t care about and an unsatisfying ending. Could’ve had a higher bodycount given the amount of prey we see available. At least there’s more hair on the werewolf this time.
30. Howling V: The Rebirth - Grade: C+
Usually the most revered of the Howling sequels, and it’s definitely not bad, but unfortunately you see so little of the actual werewolf, it doesn’t make up for the amount of padding the many characters roam around the castle. Makes for good background filler during a Howling-thon, especially with the fun music stingers, but an argument could be made that it’s simply boring. To this day, I still can’t tell if Elizabeth She is just that bad of an actress...or she’s quite brilliant.
29. Hunter’s Moon - Grade: B-
Probably the best new-watch werewolf movie for me. I really liked how the plot played out with this, and whatever accent Thomas Jane is using, he’s clearly having fun and I like it. The werewolf suit is probably pretty good for a modern suit, but is often poorly lit so much it also reminds me more of a furry suit, just not to the extent of Dogman 2’s suit.
28. WolfCop - Grade: B-
This movie knows what it is, doesn’t care, and is highly entertaining for it. Though clearly low budget, the make up FX are pretty decent, and there is a memorable shape-shift scene that would probably make my top 10 ever. The biggest laugh: a sex scene parodying the cheesy sex scenes in skin-a-max movies, while our WolfCop is in his werewolf form, to Gowan’s “Moonlight Desires.”
27. Ginger Snaps Back - Grade: B-
I dig the setting and costumes of this one, which works as a loose retelling of the first film, done in colonial times. Though still never reaching the heights of the first film’s freshness, I like the wolf suits (again, more hair this time), many of the side characters, and still charmed by the sisterly bond of Bridget and Ginger.
26. Late Phases - Grade: B-
Another one of the better recent offerings, a story about a blind man moving into a senior living community only to find out there is a werewolf stalking in the area. Mostly good FX work and a decent cast. A tighter pace could've helped me like this more, but still one of the better ones out of the recent era.
That's it for today's post! I will be following up with what is essentially my top 25 werewolf films, so stay tuned!