The Best Werewolf Movies of All Time!

Best werewolf movies arrow in the head

While the werewolf is one of the coolest creatures ever imagined, there seems to be a belief that there hasn’t been many good werewolf movies. So we here at Arrow in the Head decided to take a look back at the films that have been made over the decades and compile a list of the Best Werewolf Movies. Check out our picks below, and leave a comment letting us know what your favorite werewolf movies are!

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WOLF (1994)

Wolf is generally not a highly regarded movie, which is kind of shocking when you take into account that it was directed by Mike Nichols, started off as an idea from Legends of the Fall writer Jim Harrison (his script was rewritten – and neutered, he felt – by Wesley Strick), and has a cast packed with Oscar winners and nominees. Well, it is rather dull for large stretches of its overly long 125 minute running time and there’s way too much about the lead character’s job at a publishing house, but still, it is a movie about Jack Nicholson turning into a werewolf and having a climactic brawl with another wolfman played by James Spader. You can’t completely disregard a film that has elements as awesome as that.

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SILVER BULLET (1985)

Based on a Stephen King novella that featured Bernie Wrightson artwork (a collaboration that was originally intended to be a calendar), director Dan Attias’s Silver Bullet is about a werewolf terrorizing the town of Tarker’s Mills, Maine throughout most of 1976 – a set-up that allows for some very cool attack scenes. Corey Haim and Megan Follows star as the young siblings who are determined to figure out who this werewolf is, and Gary Busey co-stars as their alcoholic uncle. While the novella was called Cycle of the Werewolf, the film is called Silver Bullet not only because that’s what’s required to kill the werewolf that’s making a mess of people, it’s also the name of the souped-up motorized wheelchair Haim’s character gets around in.

The Monster Squad

THE MONSTER SQUAD (1987)

The Wolfman is just one of several monsters in The Monster Squad, a Universal Monsters tribute (not released by Universal) about a group of young horror fans who realize their town is being invaded by classic creatures. He shares the screen with Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mummy, and the Gillman, and writer/director Fred Dekker and co-writer Shane Black gave us great versions of each one of them. The Wolfman’s face is a bit goofy looking, but he’s involved in some awesome scenes, like the one where he gets blown up with dynamite and then his body reforms, because the only way to stop him is with a silver bullet. He’s also the subject of one of the great laugh lines in horror comedy history, “Wolfman’s got nards!”

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WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935)

Director Stuart Walker’s Werewolf of London is the film that gave the world the modern concept of the werewolf. The ideas that a person becomes a werewolf after being bitten by one and turns into a werewolf under a full moon, they come from Werewolf of London. The film stars Henry Hull as a man who is bitten by a werewolf during a trip to Tibet, then starts turning into a werewolf himself after he returns home to London. The wolfman makeup was created by Jack Pierce, whose first design for the creature was rejected because it covered up Hull’s features too much. He would put that rejected design on Lon Chaney Jr. in The Wolf Man six years later.

The Wolf Man Lon Chaney Jr. George Waggner Evelyn Ankers

THE WOLF MAN (1941)

Speaking of The Wolf Man, that George Waggner-directed film not only features the better Jack Pierce werewolf design, it also takes the ideas introduced in Werewolf of London and uses them as the foundation for an even better, more effective movie. Lon Chaney Jr. stars as Larry Talbot, who is bitten by a wolf during a trip home to Wales after spending a couple decades in America. Soon he’s turning into the title character and terrorizing his neighbors. He appears to be put out of his misery in the end, but Chaney would be back as Larry Talbot for four more films, where he would meet the likes of Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, and Abbott and Costello. He did a fantastic job in the role every time.

The Mark of the Wolfman Enrique Lopez Eguiluz Paul Naschy

THE MARK OF THE WOLFMAN (1968)

Aside from Lon Chaney Jr., the actor best known for playing a wolfman multiple times is Spanish actor Paul Naschy, who kicked off his own wolfman franchise with The Mark of the Wolfman in 1968. Directed by Enrique Lopez Eguiluz, the film stars Naschy as Count Waldemar Daninsky, who becomes a werewolf after being bitten by one and seeks help from a doctor who turns out to be a Satan-worshipping vampire. In the end, our hero has to fight the werewolf that bit him, the doctor, and the doctor’s vampire bride. With a plot like that, it’s no wonder The Mark of the Wolfman proved to be so popular that Naschy was able to make eleven more Waldemar Daninsky movies (although one of them was never completed because the director died during production).

An American Werewolf in London

AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981)

Writer/director John Landis’s An American Werewolf in London is one of the most popular horror films of the 1980s due to its strong sense of humor and the mind-blowing special effects provided by Rick Baker, including the greatest on-screen werewolf transformation of all time. The title really tells the story: an American backpacker (David Naughton) is attacked by a werewolf while in London, becomes a werewolf himself, and terrorizes London. The execution of that simple story, which involves crazy dream sequences, some terrific and frequently amusing dialogue, and the werewolf being haunted by the rotting corpses of its victims, makes An American Werewolf in London a delight. Rick Baker won the first of his seven (so far) Oscars for his work on this film.

Bad Moon

BAD MOON (1996)

Eric Red’s Bad Moon (watch or own it here) still shines bright to this day as one as the most underrated cinematic tale of lethal lycanthropy out there. At 80 minutes, the flick flies by and remains genuinely terrifying throughout due to its excellent FX work, impressive animatronics (both by genius Steve Johnson), and disturbingly gruesome makeup shown during each brutal on-screen vitiation. The terror is ameliorated by the pure pathos elicited by Michael Pare and the trio of German Shepherds who played the ONE hero dog, all of which is bundled tightly and terrifically by Eric Red’s terse direction.

The Howling

THE HOWLING (1981)

The Howling is technically based on a novel by Gary Brandner, but director Joe Dante and screenwriter John Sayles were not faithful to the source material when crafting the adaptation – and in the process, they made a movie that’s better than the book. Dee Wallace stars as news anchor Karen White, who goes to an “experimental living community” for some therapeutic relaxation after a traumatic encounter with a serial killer. She soon discovers that the community is made up of werewolves. The serial killer was one of them, and her husband (Christopher Stone) is becoming one of them as well. This is a clever film, boasts a great cast, and thanks to effects artist Rob Bottin it features some of the best werewolves ever put on screen.

Dog Soldiers

DOG SOLDIERS (2002)

When it comes to delivering lycanthrope action, writer/director Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers may be the most crowd-pleasing werewolf movie ever made. The set-up is basically a blend of Predator and Night of the Living Dead, as the film follows a group of British soldiers (including Kevin McKidd, Liam Cunningham, and Sean Pertwee) on a training exercise in the Scottish wilderness, which they’ll come to find out is infested with werewolves. Seeking shelter in an isolated country home, the soldiers spend a night fighting for their lives against the werewolves that want to bust into the place and devour them. Packed with bloody action, cool werewolves, and characters that are easy to root for, Dog Soldiers is a total blast.

Ginger Snaps

GINGER SNAPS (2000)

Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle deliver amazing performances as the lead characters in director John Fawcett’s Ginger Snaps, playing teenage sisters Brigitte and Ginger. The girls are outsiders in their dreary suburban hometown and extremely dependent on each other. The genius screenplay by Karen Walton has Ginger getting bitten by a werewolf at almost the exact same moment she gets her period for the first time, so she’s becoming a werewolf and a woman simultaneously – and leaving her slightly younger sister behind in the process. Appalled to see Ginger gleefully turning into a monster, Brigitte tries to find a cure for lycanthropy before it’s too late. Ginger Snaps is a truly brilliant movie with a wonderful tone, expertly balancing amusing moments, effective emotional scenes, and intense bursts of horror.

Did we miss any werewolf movies you think should have made on the list? Should The Company of Wolves (1984) have made the cut? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of JoBlo.com, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.