Welcome back to THE HORROR JAR, the column that looks at horror movie lists. Up today, werewolf movies that did not star Lon Chaney Jr.
Yup, Lon Chaney Jr. kinda cornered the classic werewolf movie market with his iconic portrayal of Lawrence Talbot/the Wolf Man in five classic Universal monster movies, including THE WOLF MAN (1941), the film most fans and critics consider to be the best werewolf movie ever made. But there have been lots of other werewolf movies over the years, some good, some bad. The following list is not exhaustive in that it does not include every werewolf movie ever made, as there are some I’m just not going to mention (sorry TWILIGHT fans).
That being said, it’s still a rather sizable list. Without further hesitation, here they are, werewolf movies without Lon Chaney Jr.:
WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1936) – Werewolf/Dr. Glendon – Henry Hull; Dr. Yogami-Warner Oland – Universal’s first werewolf picture, made before Chaney’s THE WOLF MAN, features two werewolves, the main character Dr. Glendon played by Henry Hull, and Dr. Yogami, played by Warner Oland. Inferior to THE WOLF MAN in every way, especially in the make-up department.
THE UNDYING MONSTER (1942)- Werewolf-??? – Actually, I know who the werewolf is, but this one’s a mystery, and the detective on the case is trying to figure out the werewolf’s identity, so, no spoilers here! Very atmospheric thriller, hindered by underwhelming werewolf scenes.
SHE-WOLF OF LONDON (1946) – Werewolf/Phyllis Allenby -June Lockhart – Long before she played Maureen Robinson on the original LOST IN SPACE TV series (1965-68), June Lockhart played the lead in this werewolf thriller by Universal. Okay movie has one major problem: no werewolf scenes. So, don’t sit down to watch this one because you want to know what a she-wolf looks like. The film doesn’t show you.
THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE (1943) – Werewolf/Andreas Obry- Matt Willis – The main reason to see this one is Bela Lugosi’ performance as vampire Armand Tesla. But there’s also a werewolf here, marking the first time a vampire and a werewolf appeared in a movie together.
THE WEREWOLF (1956) – Werewolf- Steven Ritch – this effective horror movie from the 1950s features a strong script and riveting performances in this tale of a werewolf terrorizing a small town. Steven Ritch plays a sympathetic werewolf, the first time in a movie that the werewolf was created by scientific means. No full moon or silver bullets here. The make-up by Clay Campbell is the same Campbell used in THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE, and it’s more effective here.
I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF (1957) – Werewolf/Tony Rivers – Michael Landon. Another werewolf created by a mad scientist, but the gimmick here is the werewolf is a teenager. Michael Landon steals the show as hot head teen turned werewolf Tony Rivers. Fantastic make-up, and some truly chilling scenes. This is one of the better werewolf movies. And for LOST IN SPACE fans: while June Lockhart played the lead in SHE-WOLF OF LONDON, here Guy Williams, who played her husband John Robinson on LOST IN SPACE, plays a police officer.
THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (1961) – Werewolf/Leon – Oliver Reed – Hammer Films’ only werewolf movie, widely considered to be one of the best. Excellent make-up by Roy Ashton and memorable performance by Oliver Reed.
WEREWOLF IN A GIRL’S DORMITORY (1961)- Werewolf – ??? – Italian werewolf movie, another whodunit. Shh! No spoilers.
MOON OF THE WOLF (1972) – Werewolf/Andrew Rodnathe- Bradford Dillman – Made-for-TV horror movie from the early 1970s. David Janssen plays a sheriff, and Bradford Dillman the werewolf.
THE BOY WHO CRIED WEREWOLF (1973) – Werewolf- Paul Baxley. A boy spends this movie trying to convince everyone that his father, attacked by a werewolf, is now a werewolf himself.
THE BEAST MUST DIE (1974)- Werewolf- ??? – Amicus Studios only werewolf movie, another whodunit. Peter Cushing has a supporting role in this very 70s horror movie.
LEGEND OF THE WEREWOLF (1975) – Werewolf/Etoile – David Rintoul -Produced by Tyburn Films, a company that tried to become the next Hammer but failed, this OK werewolf film is worth watching for Peter Cushing’s scene-stealing performance as a medical examiner who finds himself tracking down the werewolf.
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981) – Werewolf/David Kessler – David Naughton – Probably the most famous and the best of post 1980 werewolf movies, featuring Academy Award winning special effects by Rick Baker. Creative and humorous screenplay by director John Landis.
THE HOWLING (1981)- Werewolf – various – 1981 was a fine year for werewolves, as it saw the release of this well-made werewolf movie and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON.
THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984) – Werewolf – various – artsy werewolf movie starring
SILVER BULLET (1985) -Werewolf/Reverend Lowe -Everett McGill -Stephen King wrote the screenplay, which he adapted from his novel. Not highly regarded, but I’ve always liked this movie. A lot.
TEEN WOLF (1985) -Werewolf/Scott Howard – Michael J. Fox – comedy with Michael J. Fox. Nuff said.
WOLF (1994) -Werewolf/Will Randall – Jack Nicholson – Never liked this one, even with Michelle Pfeiffer in the cast.
THE WOLFMAN (2010) – Werewolf/Lawrence Talbot – Benicio Del Toro – flawed Universal remake of Chaney’s THE WOLF MAN is still colorful and atmospheric, with Rick Baker again winning an Oscar for Best Make-Up.
So there you have it, a list of werewolf movies not starring Lon Chaney Jr. Just in case you’ve seen all the Lawrence Talbot werewolf films and are looking for something different. Of course, no one played a werewolf better than Lon Chaney Jr.
Thanks for joining me today, and I’ll hope you’ll join me again next time on another HORROR JAR.
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IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, movie review collection by Michael Arruda.
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