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Scary List: Early Werewolf Movies

Before there were the explosive and spine-tingling computerized special effects of today’s scary films, early horror movies had to rely on makeup and camera tricks to pack audiences shriek. In this article, you will encounter a handful of werewolf movies that were made between 1935 and 1975.  

“The Werewolf of London” (1935)

Universal Studios has a reputation for producing scary movies with popular hits, such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy. However, the Werewolf of London was the first major production in Hollywood of a film centered on the creature. The film offers horror, drama and even a small amount of comedy. The plot centers on a British scientist (Dr. Wilfred Glendon) who has been bitten by a werewolf in Tibet while researching a plant that is believed to offer an antidote to lycanthropy , when people turn into werewolves. He is attacked by a strange animal while in the dark, which causes him to turn into a werewolf at night. Glendon brings terror to the city and his only hope lies with a rare Asian flower.

“Moon of the Wolf” (1972)

Not all werewolf movies make it to the silver screen. “Moon of the Wolf” was a made-for-TV movie that highlighted a killer werewolf that runs loose in a small town in Louisiana. There is mystery and murders (several locals are horrifically killed) accompanied by interesting characters and plot twists. After a while, the sheriff starts to suspect that a werewolf could be at the source of the issue. The final reveal comes in the last 10 minutes of the movie. The tagline of this movie was “Deadly secrets emerge from the shadows when the full moon rises!”

“The Curse of the Werewolf” (1961)

In many werewolf movies, the main character is usually afflicted with a curse that makes them turn into the dreaded beast. In “The Curse of the Werewolf”, this British production takes a different approach in telling the tale of the creature. Instead of being bitten, the werewolf (played by Oliver Reed) is born as one. Viewers see the werewolf as a child and learn about his upbringing. Strong characters create a drama-filled plot in a film with less action to offer. The young man turns into a werewolf when a full moon appears to wreak havoc on the town.

“The Wolf Man” (1941)

Many werewolf films focus on the concepts that are most associated with the creature of the full moon. For instance, silver is supposed to kill or make a werewolf weak , especially if it is marked with a pentagram. In “The Wolf Man,” you are introduced to an American named Larry Talbot who visits his ancestral home in Wales after the death of his brother. While he is there, he visits a gypsy camp with a village girl named Jenny Williams, who is attacked by a gypsy named Bela who has turned into a werewolf. Larry kills the werewolf, but in the process, he is bitten. Bela’s mother informs Larry that when a full moon is out, he too will transform into a werewolf. Larry tries to tell his father, but he does not believe him and actually joins the villagers in a hunt for the wolf. When the full moon arrives, Larry turns into the beast and makes his way to the forest where his father is. In the film, Claude Rains played Sir John Talbot and the infamous Bela Lugosi starred as a character named Bela.