It’s tough to make werewolves look good on screen. It’s hard to find two movies who take the same approach, and their appearance can range from cute & cuddly to mean & scary. Personally, I much prefer the make-up effects over CGI, especially when the latter makes them look like cartoons or teddy bears.
There’s a tangible quality to the makeup effects that CGI just can’t capture. It’s not always done well (I think the Underworld werewolves always look a bit ugly, almost unfinished), but even then they come across as scarier. Especially when they include blood effects, which always seems to be lacking in the CGI versions.
I poked around on YouTube a bit this evening, and I found this compilation video that has several examples:
I recognize most of them, but there are several unaccounted for.
I’m also a fan of the slower transformation scenes versus the instant wolf-out we see in movies like Van Helsing. The transformation scenes are a big part of the genre, and there’s just something visceral about them compared to the changes occurring in the blink of an eye. Sure, a werewolf can’t exactly break off from a fight to get his wolf on, and on the other side of the coin we get artificial suspense when there’s another character standing there and screaming in disbelief as they watch a werewolf slowly change shape, but it comes with the territory.
I’m not all that excited about the next Twilight flick, but I’m glad to see the werewolves are making the commercials (even if they are CGI). The new The Wolfman trailer, on the other hand, looks fantastic. Between the two, we get both styles of transformation (instant and progressive), and we get two styles of werewolf (straight wolf and what appears to be an upgrade to the hairy guy with teeth). I hope both of the movies do well, because I dig werewolves and I’d like to see them become the next big thing, trumping vampires and zombies as the monster of the moment.
Sure, I’m pimping a werewolf series, but at the same time, I think werewolves are due. There’s plenty of room for all the werewolves out there.
Now that I’m in the mood, I think I’m going to go crack open the new John Farris book, High Bloods. The simple cover design caught my eye on Borders, and it’s been a long time since I’ve read a werewolf book. I just wish he didn’t call them Lycans…