Moonlight Madness: A list of some of the best werewolf films


There are many classic werewolf horror movies to have been released over the years, and today we’re looking at some of the very best ones of all. Hours of creature feature fun you can sink your teeth — and claws into.

Werewolves have been around since at least the 16th century; the lore having since been expanded upon time and time again. Lycanthropes are perhaps the most relatable monster, primarily for the striking similitude of their evolution to pubescence, and of course, a struggle to maintain composure when faced with circumstances seemingly out of our control. Madness takes on many forms and, in this case, shape shifts in these beastie bests.

On with the list!

1. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

The Chinese Zodiac for 1981 may have been a rooster, but it was undoubtedly the year of the werewolf. Along with John Landis’ incredible film, The Howling, Wolfen, and Return of the Wolfman also clawed their way to the silver screen. What makes An American Werewolf in London stand out from the rest of them, aside from a soundtrack in which every song featured the word “moon”, is Rick Baker’s impressive makeup and special effects.

He can be credited for having also given ideas to Rob Bottin, who took over effects work on The Howling once Rick received a call from Landis about American Werewolf‘s production being started. It’s a funny, well acted movie starring David Naughton, Griffin Dunne and Jenny Agutter.

2. Big Bad Wolf (2006)

This is a lesser known, straight-to-video title. It’s not particularly good and that’s why it’s great. This is certainly B-movie material, not totally unlike the now classic monster movies that seem corny and unrealistic in their delivery. For people who need a little gore, this offers a lot. Also, the werewolf talks in this film. It stars Kimberly J. Brown who you may remember from Halloweentown. Think of this as Hatchet meets A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, done with a werewolf.

3. I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)

A young Michael Landon stars as Tony Rivers, the titular teenage werewolf. It’s very dramatic and overacted, and even the trailer is laughable, but this is the kind of movie one could easily be entertained by. As far as I can tell, this movie has never had a proper DVD release. Not to fear, you can find it in full on and even on It’s definitely worth a watch in your moonlight movie marathon.

4. Bad Moon (1996)

It’s been 22 years since Bad Moon’s release, and although it under preformed at the box office, the natural course of time has added some appeal to it. The opening of the film is very reminiscent to a fan favorite scene from Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. It’s bloody, for any gore hounds out there. Scream Factory has released the film on its 20th anniversary, featuring an uncut version that may even further satisfy fans of monster movies with an edge.

5. The Wolf Man (1941)

Your moonlight madness monster marathon would certainly not be complete without the original The Wolf Man somewhere in it. Whether you’re into Twilight, Wolf Lake, Bitten, Ginger Snaps, Teen Wolf (or the television adaptation) or Wolf Cop, or Dark Moon Rising — it doesn’t matter; this is what those shows and movies tip their hats to. Universal Pictures is home to many memorial monsters, and Larry Talbot is one of the three main big bads alongside Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula.

The remake is just as dark and tragic; however there’s something special about the original. Lon Chaney Jr. has played the Wolf Man multiple times. Little known fact, The Wolf Man is actually not the first werewolf flick, but rather the second. It’s predecessor, also a Universal Picture, is titled Werewolf in London from 1935. There’s of course no sex, nudity or language and the only violence is implied, but what’s important is that it’s a wonderful story and it is told with exceptional pacing. The acting is pretty good and for the 1940s, the special makeup effects must’ve been pretty damn impressive.

Related Story. 8 werewolf transformations to make you howl. light

Werewolf movies have a fascinating history of hits and misses, much like anything else. Though far and few, there are still films and shows being released about wolf men and women. It’s an antagonist who has taken on many shapes and sizes, from all walks of life.

I’m personally of the belief that the last great werewolf film was 2010’s The Wolf Man remake, because it focused on horror and character development, opposed to the melodramatic, CGI-riddled mess we’ve been given, that relies heavily on color grading and model types for quixotic, telegenic sex appeal, masking some fairly middle-of-the-road performances.

I do wonder if we’ll ever truly get another terrific, monstrous werewolf flick that delivers on fright and fun. One that amps up the madness and goes back to 100% practical makeup effects. Isn’t that how you’d like your werewolves?