Over the years, the use of practical effects has greatly diminished with the invention of CGI. With this tool being placed in our hands, we can put anything we imagine on screen, but it doesn't always have the same impact as practical effects. Movies and shows like Twilight and True Blood have demolished our way of seeing a werewolf's transformation by telling us that they can transform whenever they feel like it. Is that right? Classic films such as An American Werewolf in London and The Wolf Man have each amazingly captured the practicality and vision of what a werewolf looks like in transformation. In honor of those films, just like they do at any type of award show, here's a list of who, in my opinion, did the best transformations in werewolf horror films.
5. "My My, What Big Eyes You Have" (Trick 'R Treat)
Arguably one of the best Halloween anthology films, Trick 'R Treat has one of the best werewolf transformation scenes I've witnessed. Although this scene may be a bit hokey and cheesy, the 99% practical effects and attractive women brought it all together for me. How can you say no to Anna Paquin?
4. "You're So Cool, Brewster" (Fright Night 1980)
It may not necessarily be a werewolf transformation, but it most definitely deserves to be placed on this list. Although this movie may lean more toward the vampiric on the spectrum, you can't easily forget the death of Charlie Brewster's close friend Evil Ed. It's definitely one of the more riveting and unfortunate death scenes in a horror movie due to fan favoritism, but the scene does amazing things with these practical effects.
3. "You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild, Doc. It Just Ain't Natural" (The Howling)
The Howling is definitely on the list as one of the best werewolf transformations in a film. Again, the practical effects truly shine and Dee Wallace's acting helps bring out the tension and fear in this clip.
2. "Whoever Is Bitten by a Werewolf and Lives Becomes a Werewolf Himself" (The Wolf Man 1941)
I couldn't resist putting this on the list, mostly because it's a classic werewolf transformation. The effects on these two specific transformations must have taken many hours to achieve due to there being no CGI during that time period, and that makes the scenes even more fascinating.
1. "I Will Not Be Threatened by a Walking Meatloaf" (An American Werewolf in London)
For me, this werewolf transformation easily takes the first place award. I had not seen this movie until a few days ago with my dad. I must say that I was fairly impressed and really enjoyed it. This scene particularly amazed me with the amount of practical effects and the way in which the arms, legs and face transformed. I find it rare that you get to see, as a viewer, the entire transformation process of a werewolf unless the movie is employing the use of CGI. Looking back on werewolf flicks from the '40s, '60s, '80s, etc., it's easy to tell that it required much more work, ultimately giving the audience a powerful and frightening experience.
There you have it, everyone!