I didn’t realize that I had developed a reputation.
In July, the Night Worms team asked me to write a blog post about werewolves. In August, my family gave me werewolf gloves, feet, and a mask for my birthday. Two weeks ago, while driving to Salem, my husband blasted a ten-minute track of nothing but werewolves howling. And just last week, my brother-in-law randomly texted me to ask why werewolves sometimes eat hearts.
Apparently, I have developed a furry, teeth-gnashing, guttural growling, howl-at-the-moon kind of reputation. And I have to say . . . I’m honored that others think of me when they think of werewolves! I suppose that’s because I have been both obsessed with and terrified of these anthropomorphic, bipedal beasts since childhood. (Lon Po Po, anyone? This story always left me with wide eyes when I was a kid.)
Horror friend and Night Worms reviewer @TeamRedmon recently wrote a truly stellar Creature Feature blog post about werewolf fiction. I plan to read many of the books that Matt recommended, starting with Hellhound by Lou Yardley. Since Matt already highlighted so much gnarly werewolf fiction in his blog post, I figured I would touch on a few pieces of lesser-known werewolf media that I love to howl about!
Most of my werewolf knowledge comes from movies. No matter how much I approve of Stephen Graham Jones’s Mongrels, Aunt Libby would not approve of my steady diet of werewolf flicks.
But I can’t help it; when bones crack and skin stretches and fur sprouts and mouths become muzzles, I simply cannot look away.
Given that knowledge, hopefully, this first werewolf rec won’t seem so strange.
For the Werewolf Movie Buff (So… Not Aunt Libby)
How do you achieve your goal for werewolf world domination? You start by watching every film featured in The Werewolf Filmography: 300+ Movies. I wanted this book for years—years—but, for some reason, couldn’t bring myself to buy it. Well, my sister came to the rescue and recently gave me this book as a birthday gift, and I’m so glad she did because I didn’t realize how much I needed it.
This hardcover book reads like a college textbook—one that you would have gladly purchased at the campus bookstore for $45.00. From Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman to WolfCop, this filmography highlights more than 300 werewolf movies in alphabetical order, and it includes images, facts, and commentary from the cast and crew. It even contains notes on the morphology of each werewolf. What does that mean? It means that you’ll know which movies feature bipedal and quadrupedal werewolves—something that matters greatly to me. (Now wish me luck as I attempt to watch each and every one of these movies.)
You probably also want to know about my favorite werewolf movie, right? I’ve had a lot of time to think about this.
It’s Dog Soldiers.
At least for now.
I should probably write an entire essay about my love for Dog Soldiers (2002), but for now, I’ll offer a few simple sentences. The story is tight, and the pacing is perfect. It’s scary when it’s supposed to be scary, and it’s funny when the tension reaches a peak. If werewolves were real, then this is how I imagine they would look, and the movie gets bonus points for exclusively using makeup and animatronics instead of CGI. (Shout out to The Werewolf Filmography for teaching me that fact!)
I also wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight if I didn’t mention that Wolf (1994), starring Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and James Spader, is a close runner-up for my favorite werewolf movie. It’s about werewolves and publishing—two of my very favorite things.
For the Werewolf Believer
This meme is floating around the Internet. Personally, I feel attacked by it, because it’s true! (It’s also my new favorite meme.)
I subsist on stories about witches, werewolves, and cryptids, specifically dogmen. What are dogmen? They are basically—allegedly—real-life werewolves, except that they were never human… unless you buy into the conspiracy theory that they’re genetically altered humans (or genetically altered wolves) created by the military.
I savored every morsel of Real Wolfmen: True Encounters in Modern America by Linda Godfrey. If you don’t know who Linda is, Google her. I can’t use this post to preach about what a gift she is to the cryptid community, but we have her to thank for publicizing one of the earliest accounts of a dogman sighting (The Beast of Bray Road). In Real Wolfmen, Linda compiles historical and eyewitness accounts of these real-life, honest-to-goodness werewolves.
I am the kind of reader who appreciates a good yarn. I am the kind of listener who leans a little too close to the campfire because I’m so absorbed in the scary story, no matter how outlandish or ridiculous it sounds. Of course, some of the accounts are far-fetched, but if you appreciate a creepy tall tail (come on, guys…I had to do it), then give Real Wolfmen a read. And look at that cover; it howls “READ ME!”
For the Reader Who Enjoys Monstrous Literary Figures
Have we talked about My Favorite Thing Is Monsters? We should! This coming-of-age werewolf tale will take you back to the nostalgia of childhood. I’m willing to bet that many of us often felt like outcasts because we preferred the company of monsters to humans, and Emil Ferris is here to tell you that you weren’t and aren’t alone.
Equal parts film noir and creature feature, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters takes readers back to 1960s Chicago, specifically to the world of ten-year-old Karen Reyes, who views herself and her life through a B-movie horror film lens. With its colorful illustrations sketched on lined notebook paper, you won’t be able to take your eyes away from Ferris’s frightening and tragic story about a little werewolf who wants to solve the murder of her neighbor.
If you like classic monsters, murder mysteries, and horror with a beating heart, check out this beast of a book. Seriously, it has 416 pages and weighs three pounds—it’s huge! Hopefully, we’ll get to read Volume Two soon.
For the Young Horror Hounds
Speaking of kids, I wouldn’t write a blog post about werewolves without including something for young horror hounds. If you’re not familiar with Monica Bleue: A Werewolf Story by Steve Niles, Damien Worm, and Janice Chiang, contact your nearest comic bookstore for curbside pickup!
I discovered the first issue of this comic back in February 2020, and I instantly fell in love with the simple storyline, which abides by the golden rule of storytelling: show, don’t tell. The illustrations use electric reds, eerie greens, and somber blues to convey mood and emotion. The colors almost pulse off the page, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was so swept up in the story that I gasped several times while reading the first issue.
If you’re looking for a classic and contemporary werewolf tale, look for Monica Bleue. You can snag the singles or spring for the beautiful, glossy graphic novel edition. Parents beware: This slightly gory werewolf tale is aimed at readers age 12 and up.
All right, that’s all for now, creeps. My husband bought me a werewolf cookie cutter for my birthday, so I’m off to bake little lycanthrope sugar cookies—because I have a reputation to maintain.
Ally has a ghastly passion for horror writing. She has created podcasts episodes and written content for the Horror Writers Association’s Young Adult & Middle-Grade blog, Scary Out There, and has written for Night Worms and reviewed horror films for Out of the Past and QuelleMovies.com. She also hosts the FlashFrights podcast, which can be found on Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud. Ally holds an MFA in writing for children from Simmons University. When her childhood dreams of becoming a full-time witch didn’t work out, she settled for a career in publishing. She lives in Boston but hails from Pittsburgh—ground zero for the zombie apocalypse. She can be found on Instagram at @OneDarkAlly.