Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Who's the Best...Werewolf?

Karen: OK, you know the drill by now. Tell us about your favorite movie or TV werewolf, wolfman, lycanthrope
, or other bestial baddie!


Chuck Wells said...

Universal's iconic The Wolf Man is loads of fun and very well known (and beloved), but Oliver Reed was particularly ferocious in "The Curse of the Werewolf" and the latter film had some supremely sexy ladies in the form of Yvonne Romain & Catherine Feller; so I'm going with the late Mr. Reed as my favorite lycanthrope. Too damn bad that Hammer Studios didn't trot his hairy ass out for another offering.

david_b said...

Like the classic Universal movie, but will cast a vote for Michael Fox in 'Teen Wolf'..

A fun '80s twist.

Anonymous said...

I have to go with Oz (Seth Green) on Buffy...he was pretty cool.

Mike W.

Dougie said...

My Bronze Age pick is pretty obscure: The Werewolf Reunion from the 1977 BBC series, Supernatural.

This was a creepy anthology series where prospective members of a gentleman's club had to tell a spooky story to join.

Despite the Bronze Age Beeb's romance with the Gothic in the mid-to-late 70s, I don't think it was ever screened again.

Inkstained Wretch said...

The ones from the original Howling film spooked the hell out of me as a kid.

The scene where one says, "Let me give you a piece of my mind..." is ... disturbing, to say the least.

On the other hand, the lady werewolf in that one could have any man howling at the moon.

humanbelly said...

It's a little harder to make a "best" distinction with werewolves/wolfmen, because once the transformation happens, they kind of stop being a character at all anymore (unlike Dracula or Frankenstein's Monster), and are pretty much just a vicious, blood-thirsty animal-- and as often as not are completely a special effect, guy-in-a-costume, or mechanical device.

Something about young Creighton Chaney was very appealing, though. He was just such a huge, big lug who you really believed was out of his depth on several levels, that you completely bought into his hopeless desparation. An innate vulnerability that tended to not serve him very well in a lot of other Z-list horror films-- but that made him just perfect as Lenny in OF MICE AND MEN.

Beyond that-- maybe Anthony Hopkins, actually, as the aging patriarch Werewolf in the latest Joe Johnstone remake of The Wolfman a couple of years ago. It's one of the few times that I thought, yes, this creature clearly originated from that person-- the persona seemed to carry through. And then Seth Green-- I'll go along w/ Mike W.

The problem w/ werewolf films, of course, is that they all HAVE to be kind of the same, and there's never really a logical way for one character to thread along through a series of sequels (although I haven't seen all the Howling or Wolfen films. . . so I could be wrong). They're as much about my earlier-referenced stages of grief (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance) as anything. And the protagonist almost ALWAYS has to die. Maybe that's why I prefered WWBN, since Jack's still pluggin' along somewhere. . .


Fred W. Hill said...

To be honest, the only actors who played werewolves that I can name right off the top of my head are Lon Chaney, Jr. (as Creighton was billed, probably because the studio big shots figured using his famous father's name would pull in more moviegoers) and Michael Landon (and I'm not sure I've ever seen "I Was a Teen-Aged Werewolf"). I have seen a few other werewolf flicks, including the pre-Chaney Werewolf of London, the Howling, and An American Werewolf in London (which was lots of fun). Chaney did always seem soooo morose when he was in character as poor Larry Talbot. It's been ages since I last saw any of those Universal Wolfman films but I can still recall Larry lamenting his lycanthropic fate.

Karen said...

Is it possible to think of Larry Talbot without the word "poor" in front of his name? That guy really went through the ringer. "I just wanna die!" Man, Lon Chaney Jr. could really you feel sorry for him.

Edo Bosnar said...

Ever since I saw this post, I kept thinking about one of the worst, in the sense of least scary, werewolves: the one in "Silver Bullet." I remember when I first saw the movie in high school with a few friends, and the fact that we chuckled whenever the werewolf showed up, because he looked a bit like a big, irate teddy bear.

david_b said...

No love for Jack Nicholson in 1994's 'Wolf'....?

humanbelly said...

David_B, I've been racking my brains trying to recall anything specific about that film-! I remember his character was initially berated for being too "nice" and not having a killer instinct, etc-- which is a quality ol' Smilin' Jack is patently unable to convey on screen. I think he probably even sleeps w/ innate menace. I remember Michelle Pfeiffer was lovely, of course-- but not a lot of chemistry between the two. I remember a finger. And that's about it. NO IDEA what the werewolf itself looked like, nor how the film ended, which is very unusual for me. Did they end up going off to be werewolves together in the moon-set, as it were?


Dougie said...

Rostov, the Russian werewolf and swordsman from Grell's Warlord just makes it into the Bronze Age ( but only just.

Also, Demontur, the protagonist in the Kull story "Wolfshead". I'm just reading the Conan Newspaper Strips collection from Dark Horse and Roy Thomas retold "Wolfshead" there.

Anonymous said...

Dougie – you’re my hero. I’m so pleased you remember that series. I referenced it elsewhere. My favourites (i.e. the ones I can remember at all, so they clearly made an impression on my young mind), were the Night of the Marionettes, which basically told the story of where Mary Shelley got the idea for Frankenstein and Dorabella which was a super scary ‘in love with a vampire’ story. I’m afraid I don’t remember the werewolf one.

HB – Wolf should have been good and JN should have been superb as a werewolf, but it was really half-cooked and Mike Nichols was not the right director. It ends with a really lame fight in a barn, wires firmly in evidence, but the bit you would remember is (spoiler alert) the last frame where Michelle responds to the howling and you know she’s gone toothy too. That girl even looks stunning as a wolf. The ending was rubbish, and, in fact, that was the completely re-shot revised ending, so God knows what the first attempt was like.

Best wolves: I’m amazed, given that we did a whole thread on it, that no one has referenced American Werewolf in London, but hey ho.

Personal choice: as I said the other day, Dog Soldiers. Genuinely scared me. Good piece of plotting, character, mood, everything. Normally you have a bunch of hapless, C list sit-com teens out in the woods, but these guys were paratroopers and they were still in big trouble. “We are now up against live, hostile targets. So, if Little Red Riding Hood should show up with a bazooka and a bad attitude, I expect you to chin the bitch.”


Dougie said...

Richard,I remember -or at least have impressions- of those episodes of Supernatural too.

There used to be a clip of The Werewolf Reunion on Youtube. Ian Hendry looked to be rip-roaring drunk.

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