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My Top Three Werewolf Alternatives to The Wolfman

February 17, 2010

Will Dudding
My Top Three Werewolf Alternatives to The Wolfman

By now, you’ve probably heard how terrible The Wolfman is. Bad plot, bad directing, too many computer generated graphics, the whole nine-yards. For me, this is especially disappointing because  I had such high expectations. I wanted Benicio del Toro and director Joe Johnston (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, October Sky) to prove to the modern moviegoer that the much maligned werewolf is more than a nasally-voiced, hairless 17-year old who takes off his shirt and turns into a puppy dog. But alas, no.  Luckily, I am here to take up where Hollywood has once again failed us and embark on a journey back in lycanthropic time. We are going to a place where face make-up made of yak hair caused screams and being a werewolf meant more than protecting the depressing emo girl who just can’t find it in her heart to love you over the vampire who seems to have drained anything interesting from her personality. I know, girls; it’s hard. Now, let go.

Wolf (1994)

I think an important element to any good monster flick is the actor or actress playing the monster, and I honestly can’t think of anybody I would rather see turn into a werewolf (or even a mermaid, for that matter) than Jack Nicholson. James Spader co-stars in one of his better roles pre-Boston Legal, as a wimpy, nerdy foil to Nicholson’s, well, Nicholson-esque werewolf protagonist. The movie does have its fair share of ridiculousness, such as the opening scene, where Nicholson’s character, Will the magazine editor, pokes a wolf with a stick until it bites him. That being said, the film provides some good suspense, the effects are solid, unexpected people die, and like I said before, Jack Nicholson is a werewolf. If nothing else, watch it for scenes like the clip below, where Nicholson realizes he has “heightened senses” (sounds like another good movie in itself).

The Wolf Man (1941)

After seeing the original, it’s easy to understand why Hollywood would want make a remake. The Wolf Man really was a gem of the Golden Age with groundbreaking make-up, impeccable acting, and an ending that knocks the socks off viewers still today. The actors in the remake, by the way, creepily emulate the originals in a non-acting, natural sense. Benicio del Toro could be Lon Cheney Jr’s. son, and the original actor Claude Raines looks like a munchkin doing an Anthony Hopkins impression. The entire movie can be found online, but the clips are long and I don’t want to spoil anything for you. Just try to ignore the fact that everyone in Wales besides the father has an American accent.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

This is the undisputed greatest werewolf movie of all time. It has the comedy, the horror, the teen slasher elements, and the abrupt, awesome finale that has yet to be surpassed these 29 years. Boy gets bitten. Boy meets girl. Boy turns into wolf. That old story. The make-up is some of the best in the history of Hollywood, and every scene holds up when compared to the best a computer could create today. It’s probably better.  Also, the soundtrack is awesome. Every song has something to do with a moon.  I will leave you all with one of the greatest transformation scenes in movie history, to the pleasant sound of Blue Moon in the background. Be sure to take note of Mickey Mouse. I'm still trying to figure out that shot, but I like it.

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