Werewolves in films

As I watch the 1974 The Beast Must Die on an icy February morning, I find myself pondering about how often werewolves have been the subject of films.  Zombies are very de rigeur right now, but werewolves seem to be the poor relation.  I have found a number of websites that are devoted entirely to the topic of werewolves in film.  A useful site organizes film by decade, which is my preferred approach.  To my delight, the first appearance of werewolves in film is a Canadian silent film made in 1913 titled, perhaps obviously, The Werewolf.  This film is apparently lost, much to my dismay. Lycanthropy has been a very popular and long-standing theme in film, manifesting itself even in modern films, such as the Harry Potter series.

Here are my favourite werewolf films, in order:

This 1981 film is often considered to be the best in this genre (I agree).  The transformation from man to werewolf still packs a punch.  Wonderfully acted and written.






Lon Chaney’s 1941 film is one of the most famous in this genre. Chaney made a series of other werewolf films, but this one is certainly his best.






This 2001 French film is atmospheric and more than a little disturbing.  I think this is the first time I encountered the wonderful Vincent Cassel, who is incomparably menacing.






Albert Finney elevates this 1981 film from an occasionally mundane plot.







This 2002 film is a good combination of action, suspense, and horror. Violent of course, even for a werewolf film, but entertaining.

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