A werewolf is also known as a lycanthrope from the Greek Lycon for wolf and anthropos for man. A werewolf is considered to be a person who is capable of transforming to a wolf temporarily, at will or has been transformed to a wolf due to some indeliberate act like scratching by a vampire, a wolf or due to someone’s curse. The fictional character has appeared in the Greek and Roman mythology, as in the works of Greek Poet Publics Ovid, commonly known as Ovid and renowned for his work, Metamorphoses. His stories mention the wolfmen roaming in the Arcadia forests. In one story Lycaon served human flesh to Zeus to ascertain if Zeus was real God and for this crime, he was transformed into a werewolf as a punishment.
1. The Werewolf
The Werewolf was a silent film and is considered the first film belonging to the werewolf movies genre. Based on Henry Beaugrand’s story, The Werewolves, it was scripted by Ruth Ann Baldwin. The film was directed by Henry MacRae and produced by Bison Film Company. It was released on December 13, 1913 by Universal Studios and it is believed that all the prints of this movie were destroyed in a fire in 1924. As such it is now considered as a lost film. Its film stars included Clarence Burton, William Clifford, Phyllis Gordon, Lule Warrenton, Marie Walcamp and Sherman Bainbridge. The story revolves around a woman named Kee-On-Ee, belonging to the American tribe, Navajo. Assuming that her husband had abandoned her, Kee-On-Ee became a witch and taught witchcraft to her daughter, Watuma, who became a werewolf to avenge the invading white settlers. One hundred years after her death, she came to life again in the form of a werewolf and started killing again.
2. Werewolf of London
Werewolf of London was the first mainstream Hollywood werewolf film. It was written by Robert Harris, directed by Stuart Walker and produced by Stanley Bergerman. This horror film was released on May 13, 1935 and was distributed by Universal Pictures. The story is about a botanist Wilfred Glendon, who was in search of a flowering mariphasa plant in Tibet. During his search, he was bitten by a wolf. On return, a colleague botanist, told him that he had met Glendon in Tibet and that he was susceptible to becoming a werewolf, having been bitten by it and that the flower of that plant was an antidote. Glendon became a werewolf, killed people and was finally killed by his uncle.
3. The Wolf Man
The Wolf Man was written by Curt Siodmak and directed as well as produced by George Waggner. Lon Chaney, Jr. played the wolf man The film was released on December 12, 1941 and distributed by Universal Pictures. The story is about Larry Talbot, who became a werewolf and killed many villagers. The werewolf was killed by his father, and by the time the police arrived on the site, the wolf had transformed into the human form of his son.
4. I Was a Teenage Werewolf
Written and produced by Herman Cohen, I Was a Teenage Werewolf is a horror film. It was directed by Gene fowler, distributed by American International Pictures and released on July 19, 1957. Michael Landon played a troubled teenager while Whit Bissell was the other main adult character. The story is about Tony Rivers, who used to get upset very quickly and reacted violently. At a Halloween party, he attacked a friend from behind. A friend named Frank was killed by someone and Pepi, a tribesman from Carpathian Mountains, where the werewolf was a well-known reality, identified the scratches on the body of the victim as those of werewolf. Tony killed Brandon, a Wagner who photographed his transformation to werewolf. Tony was shot dead, and on dying transformed to the human form.
5. Werewolves on Wheels
Werewolves on Wheels is a horror film, and its story was co-written by Michael Levesque and David M. Kaufman. The film was directed by Michel Levesque, produced by Paul Lewis and was distributed by Dark Sky Films. It was released in U.S. on November 19, 1971. The story is about some bikers who came across a satanic cult in possession of a church. Due to their curse, the biker leader’s girlfriend became a werewolf and infected her boyfriend. One biker is killed afterwards, during each night stay. Finally the bikers see both of them transforming into werewolves.
6. The Curse of the Werewolf
Based on Guy Endore’s novel The Werewolf of Paris and directed by Terence Fisher, The Curse of the Werewolf is a 1961 British film. It was produced by Michael Carreras, and distributed by Universal International Pictures. It was released in U.K on May 1, 1961 and in U.S. on June 7, 1961. Oliver Reed played the leading role of werewolf. The film was set in 18th century Spain where cruel marques jailed a beggar for some of his comments. The beggar lived for 15 years and died after committing adultery with the jailer’s daughter, who later on gave birth to a son, Leon. The boy on maturity turned a werewolf and was ultimately shot dead by his guardian with a silver bullet.
7. The Werewolf of Woodstock
The Werewolf of Woodstock was directed by John Mofitti and produced by Dick Clark’s production company. The story revolves around a farmer who hated hippies and rock music. In an effort to establish themselves, a newly formed hippie band performed at Woodstock, where great artists had performed. The farmer became a werewolf, killed a dog, a policeman and a family doctor. He abducted a girl from the band and imprisoned her in an abandoned building. No one knew the killer, until his wife saw the farmer transform into a werewolf before her. The sheriff shot him dead with a silver bullet.
Based on Whitley Strieber’s novel The Wolfen, the film Wolfen was directed by Michael Wadleigh and produced by Rupert Hitzig. Albert Finney played the main role in the film. It was distributed by Warner Bros. and released in the U.S. on July 24, 1981. Following the high-profile murders of a tycoon, Christopher Van der Veer, his wife and a bodyguard in Battery Park, Dewy Wilson is assigned to find the murderer. Non-human hairs at several sites were identified by a zoologist to belong to an unknown species of wolves. Native Indians told the detective that the murderer was most probably Wolfen, the spirit of wolf, that might be God and had matchless powers. In the end, the Wolfen is blown up in a vehicle after it attacked its occupants.
9. Full Moon High
Full Moon High was a werewolf genre film, written and directed by Larry Cohen. Its stars included, Adam Arkin, Roz Kelly and Ed McMahon. It was released in the U.S. on October 9, 1981. The movie was filmed at different locations including John Burroughs Senior High School in the city of Burbank, California and Lyndhurst, New Jersey in Bergen County Park. The university football team of the year was also featured in the film. The story was about a teenager who, during a pleasure trip with his father, was bitten by a werewolf. To revert, he entered in a high school and made comic follies, in his efforts to guard his secret from his girlfriend.
10. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Based on J.K. Rowling’s novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third of the Harry Potter film series. Film starring included Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. The film was distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and released in the U.K. on May 31, 2004 and in the U.S. on June 4, 2004. It is about Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts when he was informed of the escape of a prisoner, Sirius Black, who was trying to kill him. Potter was taught by Professor Remus John, who was a werewolf since his early childhood. The professor resigned after his secret of being a werewolf was publicly revealed by Severus Snape.
The concept of werewolf originated in Switzerland in the 15th century and spread throughout Europe in the 16th century. It reached to climax in the 17th century and declined in the 18th century. The 1589 case of Peter Stump, had been recorded on a 16-page pamphlet recovered in 1920. A copy of this pamphlet is preserved in the British Museum. It is one of the most brutal trials in the recorded history. Stump was convicted of Werewolfery and was pulled apart alive on stake very cruelly. To add to the torture, his daughter was also pulled on stake with him. The werewolf phenomenon persisted longest in Bavaria and Austria.