Lenora’s Top 10 Werewolf Movies

So I’ve officially been terrible at letting my new job keep me away from writing, but here we are in February ready for a new list! I hope you enjoy it!

While a good deal of people seem seduced by the idea of the vampire, I’ve always been more of a werewolf girl myself. Something about the idea of wild power always appealed to me more. Not to mention there is something inherently empowering to me as a woman about ferocious power coming on a monthly cycle! Unfortunately it seems like vampires dominate the film industry these days. But fear not! I’ve put together a list of my top ten favorite werewolf films for my fellow lycanthropy lovers. I hope y’all enjoy it!

  1. Late Phases

As a disabled person, I have a particular fondness for horror movies with disabled protagonists. Late Phases follows main character Ambrose, a blind Vietnam War vet with a seeing eye dog, as he moves into a retirement community, much to his chagrin. After the police brush off his new neighbor’s brutal murder as an animal attack, Ambrose decides he must take matters into his own hands. As he mounts his defense and begins investigating the locals, the werewolf begins to become more desperate for survival.

While not a critical or commercial success, I really appreciate Late Phases for being a solidly entertaining werewolf film, with a really great main character. It has great violence, a comedic streak, and depth to the major father/son relationship of the film. Definitely a popcorn movie, and not one for a person looking for a whole lot of psychological aspects.

 

  1. Cursed

 

A lot of people hate Cursed. A lot of people have good reason to hate Cursed. The Weinstein produced film was a critical flop that replaced an R-rating for a PG-13 one, and practical effects werewolves for CGI ones. That said, that Wes Craven magic acted by fantastic players like Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, and Michael Rosenbaum still has a place in my heart for what it is.

Siblings Ellie and Jimmy Myers’ lives change for the worse after a car crash and animal attack leave them feeling very strange indeed. Jimmy begins having the physical strength to stand up to bullies. Ellie finds herself attracted to the scent of blood on her friend. As people around them begin dying, they find themselves desperately searching for a way to end the curse that’s starting to take whole of them.

Wholly corny and campy, Cursed could have been a much better movie than it was. That said, I still genuinely like Cursed for exactly what it is. Well, I’ll still never forgive the studio for the CGI werewolves though. I don’t think anyone will.

 

  1. Bloodmoon (A.K.A. Wolf Girl)

 

Bloodmoon is a Canadian Romanian horror film follows the story of Tara, a teenager with a condition wherein hair covers her body giving her a werewolf like appearance. Desperate to leave the freak show she works at for a normal life, Tara begins taking a radically experimental depilatory treatment given to her secretly by her friend. The treatment works! But as her animal like appearance begins to fall away, her animal instincts begin to grow stronger and hungrier.

A nontraditional werewolf tale, Bloodmoon is surrealistic and delightfully unique in a lot of ways. Taking clear influences from Carrie, Ginger Snaps, and Tod Browning’s Freaks, the film forges a distinct path for itself that strays away from a more traditional werewolf film. With star studded guest appearances from Tim Curry and Grace Jones, Bloodmoon is definitely worth a watch if you can get your hands on it!

 

  1. Wolfen

 

Taking a cue from Italian giallo, Wolfen is a horror crime drama starring several well known names such as Albert Finney and Edward James Olmos.

A former NYPD captain and a criminal profiler are called in to investigate after a mogul and his wife are brutally murdered in Battery Park. Initially wanting to rule it a terrorist attack, the captain pushes beyond the preconceptions of the department to investigate the murders for what they are. The case grows more confusing when it’s discovered that the hairs found on the increasing numbers of victims belong to an undiscovered genus of wolf.

Despite delving into poorly fictionalized Native American legend, Wolfen is an intriguing movie with a solid ending that doesn’t cheapen things by trying to be happy an easily tied up. Ebert called the film and “uncommonly intelligent” example of the genre, and while there are certain aspects of the film I would change, Wolfen is still a great film that’s worth a watch.

 

  1. Wer

 

Starring AJ Cook from Criminal Minds, Wer is an American horror film following a defense attorney who finds out her client is actually a werewolf. Played in faux documentary style, Wer takes the werewolf genre and turns it on its side, demanding that the viewer acknowledges that werewolves are not in control of their actions and can’t legally be held accountable for their actions. The transformation sequence is also uniquely subtle, going for smaller changes rather than the dramatic skin ripping that has become du jour in many werewolf films.

While it drags in some spots due to the law procedural elements of the film, Wer is thoughtful and distinct, bringing lots of philosophical questions to the werewolf genre, while still keeping the violence and horror coming.

From here on out, the listings might be a little controversial! It was very difficult for me to rank all of the following films as anything but number 1!

 

  1. The Howling

 

Based on the novel by the same name, The Howling follows a tv journalist sent to a mountain resort to recover from an incident with a serial killer she was reporting on. Unbeknownst to her and her husband, all of the residents of the mysterious Colony are werewolves, and when the full moon hits, it becomes yet another fight for her life against the oncoming pack of lycanthropes. Not only that, she also discovers the serial killer stalking her has secrets of his own!

One of the more well known entries on this list, The Howling puts a more humorous and sexual twist on the serious novel it was based on. It also used state of the art practical effects that truly made the film stand out to great effect! Overall, the Howling is a classic for a reason, and it’s definitely a horror movie every fan of horror should take a gander at.

 

  1. Ginger Snaps

 

Following the more feminine interpretation of the werewolf myth as a metaphor for menstruation, Ginger Snaps tells the story of two death obsessed teenage outcasts who must deal with the deadly fallout of one of them being bitten by a werewolf. With her sister Ginger going out of her mind, Brigitte will go to any lengths to cure her sister of her curse.

Many of you have likely seen this film, so I won’t go into more detail. This movie is absolutely one of my favorite horror movies of all time. It weaves such an interesting look at female empowerment and debasement. It venerates the feminine as powerful, but also tears it down as deadly. I have a lot of complex feelings about this film, and I will likely go into them in a full review later on if anyone is interested.

 

  1. Dog Soldiers

 

More straightforward action than horror at times, Dog Soldiers is a gritty, high impact werewolf film. A group of special forces soldiers is dropped into the Scottish Highlands to find out what could have possibly killed the previous unit stationed there. After finding a mysterious zoologist stationed in the woods, they soon discover that their attackers are a deadly pack of werewolves. Straining against their own disbelief, their hunting mission soon becomes a fight for survival as they try to outlast their attackers until dawn. But as they begin getting picked off, things become even more confusing.

Dog Soldiers is one of the most solid traditional werewolf horror movies of the last couple of decades. It’s action packed, filled with mystery, and the special effects are A plus. It also has a strong cast lead by Event Horizon’s Sean Pertwee, Grey’s Anatomy’s Kevin McKidd, and Game of Throne’s alum Liam Cunningham. An utterly fantastic series of performances in a solidly put together movie make this one of my top choices for werewolf movies.

 

  1. The Wolfman

 

Does this film even need description? The ultimate classic Universal film tells the story of Larry Talbot’s return to his home in Wales to reconcile with his estranged father following Larry’s brother’s death. After developing affection for a local girl, he goes for a walk in the woods where he rescues her friend from a rabid animal attack. He is then warned by a local Romani woman that he now possesses the curse of the beast. Fighting against it with all his might, Larry is horrified as he begins to succumb to the awful curse.

Starring the preeminent Lon Chaney, Jr. and Claude Rains as Larry and John Talbot, The Wolfman is a classic not merely for its age but for the passion put into its performances. The special effects for the time period are magnificent, and the setwork is truly impeccable. No horror fan should go without seeing the Universal classic.

 

  1. An American Werewolf in London

 

Surprising no one, the ultimate werewolf film on this list is and always will be John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London. When a pair of American tourists face horrors out of the English moors, the surviving man begins going through a series of horrific changes.

This film needs little description, yet it is one of the greatest movies of the horror genre. With a combination of excellent suspense, mystery, and graphic body horror, An American Werewolf set the tone of the genre while consistently staying at the pinnacle of it. The special effects in this movie cannot go without mention. Even in–no, especially today in the era of CGI, the practical effects of An American Werewolf hold up in terrifying quality.

 

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Top 13 Italian Giallo Horror Movies

(Apologies for any misspellings. I am currently wearing a immobilizer splint on my right middle finger, due to an injury.)

Startlingly bright blues; unnerving and sickly yellows; and above all else, lots and lots of brilliantly spattered crimson, overwhelming the viewer’s entire field of vision.

Suffice to say, I’m a huge fan of Italian horror. Specifically, Italian giallo, a specific type of horror cinema that incorporates mystery, thriller, and crime drama tropes, as well as (usually) a rich color palette. The names comes from the cheap horror thriller novels at the time, often known for their bright yellow (giallo in Italian) covers.

Even for those films on this list that do not fall into giallo, there is something irrevocably Italian about them. The dramatic costuming and setwork, the swelling music, and the general air of mystery combined with eroticism that is ever-present.

So without further ado, here are my top 13 Italian horror movies.

(Note: a lot of these movies are by Dario Argento and Mario Bava. That’s because I am totally biased, and I love them. Just so you know.)

Continue reading “Top 13 Italian Giallo Horror Movies”

Top 15 Feminist Horror Films

You’ve seen the formula. A beautiful co-ed, partially undressed lets down her guard only to be brutally murdered. An innocent young girl walks through the woods, secretly pursued by a monster or a monstrous man. A dark femme fatale uses her wiles to manipulate men but is either killed or redeemed by the power of a man. And there’s always a man in the cast. In fact, the cast is most likely all men, with the exception of the one pure virginal character who must be protected by them.

But what about horror that flips the formula? Horror where the women are the one’s in power, the one’s fighting off evil or embracing it to great power? Or at least just horror movies dealing with the complexities of feminine life?

These thirteen movies do just that, to one degree or another. They are fantastic movies that ditch the tired tropes of female weakness and go full bore into empowerment!

 

Note: There are two popular films notably absent from this list. The first is Alien, because I view it more as a sci-fi film. That is very well debateable, and it’s totally cool if you see otherwise. I also didn’t include The Babadook. It’s extremely popular and very well made, but I did not enjoy that movie at all for reasons I will likely go into on its own post.

Continue reading “Top 15 Feminist Horror Films”

Top 13 French Horror Films

 

While my favorite genre of Euro-horror will always be Italian giallo, I have an intense soft spot for all stripes of French horror. French horror has everything: ghost stories, murder mysteries, and an intensity that has earned new French horror cinema the term French Extremism. I love it so much, I couldn’t limit myself to just ten movies!

This list is all about my favorites of French horror cinema. From the classics to the brand new, this list covers what I believe to be the best–or at least most entertaining–films of French horror.

Continue reading “Top 13 French Horror Films”

Top 10 Spanish Language Horror Movies

Ok, so I’m the worst. I said back in October that I would get back to writing on this blog, and then I abandoned it again! It’s almost as if something traumatic happened in early November that’s taken awhile for me to get passed. To be fair, the drag of grad school also got to me, and I let it consume my life and my writing.

However, during that time, I got the chance to watch a lot of horror movies! So I’m BACK! For real this time, and hopefully with at least a small dash of vengeance.

Now, let’s get into today’s topic: Spanish language horror films. So often, they fall behind the wayside of “foreign” horror in favor of classics like Japanese and Italian or strong new presences from France and Korea. But Spanish speaking nations have put out some fantastic horror films over the decades, and it would be a shame for them to go unmentioned!

So without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite Spanish language horror films. As always, choices are subjective and trigger warnings with be included in the descriptions. If I miss something, please let me know, and let me know your favorites in the comments!

Continue reading “Top 10 Spanish Language Horror Movies”

They’re heeeeeere

I actually mean I’m back. But that doesn’t scan as well here as a horror movie quote. And since I’m going to see Poltergeist at Full Moon Cineplex this Friday, I figured I’d call back to one of my favorite horror movies!

I’ve had a lot going on in the past few years, and this blog went by the wayside. It wasn’t my intention. It also wasn’t my intention for this blog to ever become a personal blog. However, since coming back, I think it’s going to become a mix of the personal and the media critique/review I was doing before. Despite my funny (or my attempting to be funny) reviews, I was going through a very rough place at that time and now….I’m still going through a rough place. But now I’m more aware of that, and more willing to confront that. I also feel I’ve grown a lot and am able to analyze media a lot better than I was able to before!

So hopefully in the next few days I’m gonna try to review a couple horror movies, and also maybe a personal post or two.

Lenora’s Top Twenty Villainous Women of Horror

JettaKD’s Top Twenty Villainous Women of Horror

I literally could not narrow my choices down to ten, and even then I had to make some sacrifices and hard decisions. I eventually narrowed the list down to twenty.

NOTE: This is important: I did not include villainous children on this list. Hence the lack of characters like Samara/Sadako, Regan Macneil, and others. There WILL be a villainous kids list, including both genders of kids on it. Also, eliminated non-human villains. That’ll be another list as well.

NOTE the second: I know some of these are technically “thriller” movies but I think they are worth putting on this list.

This article contains spoliers.

Now onto the evil ladies

20. Ginger Fitzgerald – Ginger Snaps
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The werewolf sub-genre is one of the most male dominated sub-genres of all horror films, to be honest, but by far one of the best werewolf films of all is Ginger Snaps. The villain of this film is Ginger Fitzgerald, a teenage girl bitten by a werewolf, and thus setting off one of the most awkward female puberty metaphors of all time. Idk, I never mutilated a guidance counselor while going through puberty, but I suppose everyone’s experience is different.

Despite being used as a pretty sexist metaphor, Ginger is an awesome villain who holds her own until the very end of the film.

19. Baby Firefly – Devil’s Rejects
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Despite being basically eye-candy in the first film, Vera-Ellen Wilson, better known as Baby Firefly, comes into her full and evil glory by the time Devil’s Rejects rolls around. At age seven, she stabbed a classmate with a homemade knife, and it went downhill ever since. While she’s usually used as bait for unwary people that her male family members wish to kill, she does some pretty terrible things in her own right. The face mask scene comes to mind…

18. Dararai – Body #19
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I eliminated a lot of vengeful ghosts on this list, but I couldn’t here. No ghost, not even many other terrifying ghosts of Asian horror, is this evil. Dararai sets up elaborate plots for her victims to die in: death by barbed wire, for example. Even while alive, she was a particularly evil professor, once forcing a girl under hypnosis to be triggered by horrifying memories of abuse and wet herself in fear in front of all her classmates. While the movie is a bit drawn out in places, Dararai and her evil hauntings make it worth it.

17. Nancy Downs – The Craft
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Nancy at first seems to fit the “troubled teen with a heart of gold” stereotype, until it becomes apparent that hr new friend Sarah is a more powerful witch than her. Driven by jealousy, Nancy turns their other friends against Sarah. She kills her Mom’s boyfriend, disguises herself as Sarah and sleeps with Sarah’s guy, and taunts Sarah about her attempts at suicide. She is the epitome of the evil high school goth girl.

16. Brenda – Urban Legend
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Okay so these movies are more nineties-tastic than a Fresh Prince marathon and they generally suck. But Brenda after the final reveal is pretty damn terrifying. The lengths she goes to get her revenge just show how truly unhinged she has come. Also, I am a bit swayed by her awesome hair.

15. Tooth Fairy – Darkness Falls
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I cannot hate this movie. I know so many people hate this movie, but I just can’t, despite it’s cheese factor. The Tooth Fairy, the ghost of a woman burned at the stake after being accused of witchcraft, is a genuinely scary villain. Plus the concept of mixing a ghost story with a child’s story like the Tooth Fairy, not to mention the lifelong damage she causes kids who don’t die after seeing her, is honestly scary.

14. Christabella – Silent Hill
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Even if I were including children on this list, Alessa is not nearly as evil imo than cult leader Christabella. She is the catalyst behind Alessa becoming evil, she is the reason why Silent Hill exists. Most of all, she was perfectly willing to trick a woman and take her child and burn the child alive while the mother was just one room over. And even after all that happened, she thought she was perfectly justified. Fanatics make the most terrifying villains.

13. Mrs. Carmody – The Mist
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Speaking of terrifying fanatics, I present Mrs. Carmody from Stephen King’s The Mist. My fiance probably said it best when he said, “Mrs. Carmody is real. That’s why she’s so scary. Cause we all know that somewhere out there, she exists. And that there’s more than one of her.” Piece of advice kids, if you get caught in an apocalyptic scenario don’t trust the soccer mom telling you how this is God’s retribution. Especially if she starts talking about human sacrifices.

12. Amanda Young – Saw series
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After freeing herself from one of serial killer Jigsaw’s traps, Amanda goes insane and becomes his accomplice. She kidnaps most of his victims, and goes beyond even his purposes by designing her own traps that are completely inescapable. Some of her scenes were so violent that they had to be cut from the film and only released as deleted scenes. When even Jigsaw finds your moral questionable, you have crossed the moral event horizon.

11. Kayako Saeki – The Grudge
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Kayako would be a lot less terrifying as a ghost if she were you’re run of the mill vengeful ghost. But no. Because instead of just wanting revenge on those who wronged her, Kayeko wants revenge on everyone to set foot in her house. She’s kind of extreme that way, so much so that she comes back for two sequels.

And now we hit the top ten!

10. Marya Zaleska – Dracula’s Daughter
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A highly underrated film from the Universal Studios monster collection is Dracula’s Daughter. Marya starts out sympathetically, only wanting to become human and distance herself from her father’s legacy. But when her plans fail and the man she loves spurns her, she embraces her heritage and becomes evil. She steals away the object of her love’s affections, but is eventually defeated by the hero. This movie was also featured as part of the documentary “The Celluloid Closet”, as there were so many hints about Marya actually being a lesbian that the male love interest seemed pathetically tacked on.

9. Peyton Flanders – The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
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After her husband is arrested for sexually assaulting his patients and she loses her baby and ability to have children, Peyton goes on a quest for revenge. She becomes the nanny to the patient that first reported her husband’s crimes and slowly tries to turn the children against her and replace herself into the other woman’s life. After almost completely ruining her employer’s life, she is discovered and decides to murder her. The lengths Peyton goes to get revenge are chilling.

8. Julia Cotton – Hellraiser
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Everyone remembers the Cenobites, but for most of the first movie and a good part of the second, Julia and her shoulder pads are formidable villains. In order to restore her dead lover (her husband’s brother), she lures unsuspecting men back to the house and lets him steal their body parts for his own use. Eventually, she let’s him use her own husband for such ends. She tries to kill her step-daughter and seems perfectly willing to let Frank assault his own niece. In the second film, she seems even worse, pretty much trying to kill everyone in sight before being dragged back to hell.

7. Hedy Carlson – Single White Female
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Hedy at first seems like the perfect friend. She helps Allie deal with her break-up, she’s fascinated with everything Allie does, always compliments her clothes and looks…. And then Hedy tries to steal Allie’s life. She dyes her hair the same color, brings home a dog so that they’ll have that to tie them together, and dresses exactly like her. After Allie’s neighbor tries to warn her, Hedy kills him, and then seduces Allie’s boyfriend under the guise of being Allie and kills him when he realizes his mistake. She is taken out eventually, but her time on screen is so freaky, she’s even got lines in rap songs written about her.

6. Pamela Voorhees – Friday the 13th
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The ultimate monster momma, Pam Voorhees is generally forgotten in favor of her more movied son. But without her, the long Jason franchise never would have taken off and the tradition of killing sexed-up teens and young adults would have floundered.

5. Alex Forrest– Fatal Attraction
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Another vengeful lady, who famously coined the term “bunny boiler” after her psychotic revenge on her ex-lover led her to kill his young daughter’s pet in a pot of stew. She launched a thousand less successful thrillers and horror films, and none will ever compare to Alex from Fatal Attraction.

4. Marie – Haute Tension
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Marie at first seems like a magnificent heroine, but as the plot commences, we discover that not only has she lost her mind and that her experiences are complete delusions, but that she is responsible for the murders that took place. As she realizes this, she gives in to it and begins chasing the object of her affections with a chainsaw, almost killing her. She is eventually locked away in an asylum, but she proves in the final scene that given the chance, she’d do it all over again.

3. Asami Yamazaki – Audition
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Under the guise of a retired ballerina, Asami auditions for the “part” of a new wife to the film’s protagonist, in a fake film designed to jump start the widower’s love life. She waits a solid four days by the phone for his call, and when it rings, we discover Asami’s terrifying secret: the bag in her flat holds a body. She seems to have the widower under her spell, until she discovers a photo of his dead wife and proceeds to drug and kidnap him out of jealousy for a dead woman. She proceeds to torture him—in such a gruesome fashion that many initial audience members left the theater—until his son comes to his rescue.

2. Annie Wilkes – Misery
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The third Stephen King character on the list, no discussion of female horror villains is complete without adding Annie Wilkes. The obsessed fan became an icon of horror, and performed one of the most memorable acts of violence in film. Seemingly sweet and demure, but totally psychotic, Annie is one of film’s best villains and one of Kathy Bates’ best roles.

1. La Femme – Inside
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An unnamed woman begins stalking the house of a nine months pregnant widow. She relentlessly kills everyone who tries to help the poor mother: the cops, family friends, even the woman’s mother who comes to visit her. What does she want? To cut the unborn baby out of the young mother’s womb and take it for her own. And she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. La Femme is one of the most ruthlessly cruel, dangerously psychotic, and legitimately scary villains in film. And seriously if that face isn’t a “don’t smoke psa” I don’t know what is, cause seriously *nightmares forever*.