Werewolf movies are an absolute staple within the horror genre. For many viewers, there’s nothing scarier than a hulking hairy creature out for blood. For others, they can’t think of anything more absurd than a campy cryptid stomping around the forest, who’s probably just an actor in a fur suit. Whatever your attitude is towards werewolf films, there’s no shaking their influence on the genre and appearances in many beloved films. An article from CNET put it best: “Werewolves are some of the most visually striking supernatural creatures in the lexicon…You’ve got the recipe for a great story: curses, magic, monsters and misunderstood creatures. What’s not to love? “
While a handful of films centering around werewolves have achieved cult classic status – like Ginger Snaps – others are more so the unsung heroes of the subgenre. Bringing underappreciated movies into the light allows them to be adored by all kinds of viewers, and exposes them to different types of audiences. Whether you’re typically a fan of creature features or not, werewolf films have a way of unleashing the unexpected in more ways than one. Let’s take a look at the most underrated werewolf movies, ranked.
6 Werewolf of London (1935)
before An American Werewolf in London took the horror world by storm, Universal Pictures’ Werewolf of London introduced audiences to what goes bump in the night. This 1935 classic is regarded as the first werewolf film to hit theaters from Hollywood, even before the more well-known The Wolf Man came out in 1941. In Werewolf of London, Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull) is a botanist researching a strange plant when he is bitten by a fearsome animal. Discovering that the flower holds the cure to lycanthropy, the stars seem to align as his body begins to change when the moon grows full.
Project Metalbeast is an extreme interpretation of the werewolf subgenre. After injecting himself with werewolf blood collected on a mission, an exasperated military member quickly turns into a monster. Following a spree of violence, he is cryogenically frozen for 20 years and brought back into consciousness to undergo government testing. Fusing together existing skin with metal under the name of scientific advancement, the project is a painful nightmare, bringing the werewolf roaring to life again. This movie is an excellent example of why some ambitious experiments should be canceled before they begin.
4 Bad Moon (1996)
true to its title, Bad Moon captures the cyclical desperation that comes along with being a werewolf. Ted (Michael Paré) and his girlfriend Marjorie are cornered by a giant wolf-like creature while on a remote photojournalism assignment. Marjorie loses her life, but Ted escapes scathed, moving closer to family as he heals. Together, they all eventually begin to understand that Ted was bitten by none other than a werewolf. His loved ones watch in horror as he begins to transform and turn on them, dredging up the implications of his past.
3 Howl (2015)
howl is one of the more recent works of werewolf cinema. Released in 2015, this film creates a feeling of terror within a confined atmosphere. An overnight train leaving London is suddenly stopped after hitting a deer, allowing ample time for our favorite fang-toothed creature to make its move. After the wolf kills the driver, the remaining passengers find themselves up against a hairy threat. A review from Bloody Disgusting reads, “The creatures are only a part of the whole look of the film. The dingy, claustrophobic and often dark interiors of the train are absolutely perfect for generating tension and scares.”
2 The Company of Wolves (1984)
This period piece paints werewolves in a new light, positioning them within the pages of a familiar storybook. The Company of Wolves is a gothic and visually stunning re-imagining of the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale and Angela Carter’s inspired short story. In her nightmarish dreams, Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson) throws her grandmother’s (Angela Lansbury) caution to the wind when she meets a mysterious hunter who turns out to be – you guessed it – a werewolf. As a result of her curiosity, Rosaleen eventually begins to transform too, resulting in a deliciously dark film that puts a terrifying spin on a beloved premise.
1 The Beast Must Die (1974)
Last but not least, The Beast Must Die is an unsung example of the world of werewolf movies. Tom Newcliffe (Calvin Lockhart), a rich and famous hunter, invites a group of guests to his sprawling home with the promise of a weekend to unwind. But their vacation time is cut short when he announces his plan to uncover the werewolf he believes to be among them. He reveals a plethora of different trials to discover the beast, including the introduction of wolfsbane, silver items, and of course, the power of the full moon. This film adds a whodunit, murder-mystery feel to a classic creature premise, which results in a story that is sorely underappreciated.