Chewbacca's evil twin.
"Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night,
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms,
and the autumn moon is bright."
Subtrope of Our Werewolves Are Different
, dealing with a Beast Man
that has wolf features, but retaining human proportions. Together
with Count Dracula
, the Mummy
, and Frankenstein's Monster
, this is generally considered to complete the set of "classic" horror monsters
. Unlike the other three, however, there is no single specific source of popular werewolf lore. The closest claim to one would be Lon Chaney Jr.'s character (Lawrence Talbot
) from the 1941 film The Wolf Man
, one of the Universal
monster films that codified the "classic" set.
However, far and away the most popular conceit is that a werewolf is a human who has somehow (especially against his will
) become able to temporarily transform (usually unwillingly
) into a wolf. Usual methods include a Viral Transformation
spread by being bitten, but a lot of depictions show lycanthropy as solely hereditary. Other popular causes include curses
and typical Mad Scientist
experiments. Some lycanthrope characters use the Wolf Man as a Partial Transformation
In older horror films (Universal
era up into The Seventies
), the transformation usually took the form of getting hair and fangs but otherwise remaining almost entirely human. (The "classic" Wolf Man appearance is not entirely dissimilar to the symptoms of a rare genetic disorder, hypertrichosis.) With the advent of more sophisticated make-up and visual effects, techniques have been developed that allowed more wolflike features on humanoids, such as giving a character a wolf's muzzle and ears. Phlegmings
are popular for modern versions.
Depending on the adaptation, he may or may not have nards
. Also generally equipped with fearsome claws, despite real wolves having blunt toenails instead. Usually switches between running on two legs and Running on All Fours
Subtrope of Monstrous Humanoid
This trope provides examples of:
- Anti-Hero: Most adaptations depict the Wolf Man as a bloodthirsty creature with genuine animal instincts and reasoning.
- Clothing Damage: Depending on the form, is prone to lose most of the clothes on his back.
- Growing Muscles Sequence: Commonplace on some monster flicks, such as the Underworld franchise.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: Mostly justified with the full moon influences.
- Little Bit Beastly: Depending on the story, some wolfish attributes might become evident during the Wolf Man's human state.
- Monster Modesty: It's common for most wolf men to still have what's left of their trousers after they change.
- Shapeshifting: The general aspect of changing from a man to a wolf, depending on methods.
- Transformation Sequence: You can expect at least 2 or 3 of these during any given film with werewolves.
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- A 2011 theatrical AT&T commercial features various characters including a wolf man that get transported into various universes.
- A business woman changes in search of hunger in a 1988 Hershey's Bar None commercial.
- In a teaser for the Bloody Roar 2 video game, a man wolfs out as part of a scare tactics demonstration.
- A man becomes a werewolf from stressing over the frustration of his credit card bill in a Capital One commercial.
- A teenage werewolf scarfs down a can of Chef Boyardee beef ravioli and changes back to human.
- A 2009 Mighty Taco ad features a werewolf running from the fuzz with two bags of food in his paw.
- In a classic New York Telephone Dial-a-Joke spot, a transformed wolf man reverts to his human state while listening to a funny joke over the phone.
- A Sonic Burger commercial features a bashful werewolf enjoying a Blazin' BBQ Loader Burger, which sears most of the fur off of his face and body.
- In a Victoria's Secret commercial, a woman clad in silver lingerie tames a wolf man in the forest.
- A well-dressed job applicant turns into a werewolf as part of his interview for security guard in a local Westaff spot from 2012.
Anime and Manga
- Liru from Magical Pokaan turns into a cute little puppy with anything round, strangely enough, except for the full moon.
- Wolf familiars Arf and Zafira of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, who are shown as capable of shifting from giant wolves, to this, to full human (i.e., no wolf ears or tails), to Fun Size versions of the first two forms. And just to punctuate the Wolf Man image, Arf's first on-screen transformation into a wolf was accompanied with a full moon in the background.
- Kotaro Inugami of Mahou Sensei Negima! is technically a dog boy, but he associates himself with wolves. He's also proven capable of turning into a really Big, Badass Wolf at full power.
- Holo from Spice and Wolf is a cute female version.
- Wolf Children Ame And Yuki is about an Interspecies Romance between Hana and an unnamed Wolf Man, whose death leaves her to struggle with raising their children (who, as the title indicates, have inherited their father's Wolf Man traits).
- The Marvel character Werewolf by Night, real name Jack Russell. While the way his werewolf form has been portrayed over the years has varied, he has always looked more or less like a Wolf Man.
- Mikola Rostov from The Warlord was a Russian fencing instructor cursed to become a werewolf every full moon. He tried to escape his curse by moving to world of perpetual sunlight. This was not as successful as he might have hoped.
- Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair) of the New Mutants (X-Men, X-Force, Excalibur, X-Factor...) has an interim form of a bipedal wolfgirl/woman (often wearing a leather jacket and some form of trousers). This has become the default 'combat form' for her recent outings. Her fully-wolf 'sensitive senses' form is almost never seen these days.
- John Jameson, son of Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson, has served as a member of Spider-Man's rogues gallery as Man-Wolf after being exposed to a moonstone that mutated him into a werewolf.
- In Grendel, Argent is a permanent, non-shifting, Wolf Man.
- The Wolf Man (1941) as stated above is one of the main Trope Makers, though perhaps it is more the Trope Codifier and the slightly earlier Werewolf of London (1935 - not to be confused with the much later An American Werewolf in London) was the Trope Maker. Also the 2010 remake starring Benicio Del Toro as Lawrence Talbot.
- The now-lost 1913 Thanhouser film, The Werewolf, was perhaps the Ur Example, although the few—and admittedly vague—descriptions suggest they used a dog or wolf/dog mix for the werewolf rather than making up a human.
- The movie Teen Wolf and the Animated Adaptation, Teen Wolf: The Animated Series, featured a light comedy version of this.
- Jack Nicholson in Wolf.
- In the film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Lupin's transformation has him with human-like proportions, bald, and extremely underfed.
- The 1961 Hammer Horror The Curse of the Werewolf starred Oliver Reed as the werewolf, humanoid in shape but with a more wolfish and frightening appearance than in the Lon Chaney Jr. film.
- Michael Landon in the 1957 film I Was a Teenage Werewolf, who turns into a wolfman through hypnotherapy.
- The Werewolf (1956) has Duncan Marsh, the first on-screen character to turn into a wolfman through scientific means rather than supernatural causes.
- Dean Stockwell in the 1973 film The Werewolf of Washington.
- The Werewolf of Woodstock (1975) starred Tige Andrews as Bernie, a werewolf who got his lycanthropy through an electrical power surge.
- Ron Chaney (son of Lon Chaney jr.) in House Of The Wolf Man (2009) plays one like his father, but bit more bestial.
- Subverted with the Wookiees of the Star Wars universe, which, while not humans who transform, rather closely resemble a Wolf Man due to being upright, humanoid dog-like creatures.
- The "Wolf and Raven" stories, which are part of Shadowrun's Expanded Universe, feature a man who is possessed by Wolf, one of the many animal totems of the world, which grants him powers and mannerisms similar to the classic Wolf Man (as well as a Split Personality, of sorts). This is very different from the game's usual take on werewolves.
- The Canim of Codex Alera are a whole species of wolfmen - specifically, nine-foot tall wolfmen with enormous physical power and durability and who can live for hundreds and hundreds of years. And they are extremely competent warriors and fighters, who control a much larger continent with a much more expansive civilization than the Alerans. The only reason Alera remained unconquered by the Canim was because they generally didn't care about Alera, beyond the nation of Narash, which would occasionally launch raids at Alera.
- The Bordertown series has Wolfboy, a human who was targeted by an offended elf, and found himself permanently transformed into this. (She was actually meaning to transform him into a dog, but magic doesn't work so well in Bordertown.)
- The Belgariad has Poledra, who turns out to be a natural wolf able to shapeshift into a human, a trick she learns from patiently watching sorcerors. Belgarath meets her after he tries his hand at shapeshifting (in the early days of magic, when the sorcerors had to find out everything by themselves), and after they eventually marry, Belgarath spends a lot of his time in wolf form and starts to consider it as natural as his human form. Belgarion, the series' main character, has the time of his life when he gets invited by Poledra to try it too.
- Werewolves in Discworld vary enormously in their powers and appearance. The best example of this trope is probably Ludmilla Cake, who is a perfectly presentable young lady for three weeks out of the month, and a perfectly well-behaved Wolf Woman for the remaining week.
- The Erasers from the Maximum Ride series.
- The Dresden Files has four different kinds.
- Lycanthropes have the genetic disorder that causes continuous hair growth on their bodies and their change is mostly mental, they tap into a primal rage and strength. They are most connected with this trope.
- Werewolves are people who have mastered one particular spell that allows them to turn into a wolf. The Were-form is often bigger than a normal wolf because they are using their image of a wolf as opposed to an natural wolf.
- Hexenwolves make a Deal with the Devil to get an Amplifier Artifact that turns them into a beast that is larger and more powerful than a Were-form, but it is addictive.
- Loup-Garu are people who were cursed. They and their descendants will transform into a huge Anthropomorphic Wolf on the full moon. They have a weakness to Inherited Silver as it has an element of sacrifice to it.
- Bob has stated that the Viral Transformation is something that is something that Hollywood took from Vampires.
- Ulf Turesson differs from most wolfmen in that he is about ten - but then, he appears in a Swedish children's novel called Jag är en varulvsunge - "I am a werewolf cub". (Also, his condition is probably just a child-friendly version of a psychosis, not a true metamorphosis.)
- Luke, Maia and her pack in The Mortal Instruments.
- The way werewolves in Buffy the Vampire Slayer are shown varies over the seasons. They started out as a feral-looking wolfmen, walking on two legs but with a wolf-like head. Later they are portrayed as quadruped and without a muzzle. The season 8 comics show them as a hybrid of the two, able to walk on two legs but running on four.
- Angel has a 'special' kind of werewolf that differs the Buffy ones. They walk on two legs, have powerful jaws but lack the thick coat of fur.
- And, sometimes wind up on someone's buffet table.
- All of the werewolves in Teen Wolf. Beta wolves are the best example of this, being humanoid with wolf-like features. Alphas are more like the classic werewolf. And there's also a type that can go fully into wolf form, too.
- Wolf from The 10th Kingdom.
- The main character from the aptly-named Big Wolf on Campus.
- Eddie Munster from The Munsters was the werewolf child of a Frankenstein's Monster and Countess Dracula. You really have to question the genetics of that.
: If your mother was a vampire and your father was a Frankenstein, how come you are a werewolf?
Huh, I never thought of that. Doesn't make sense, does it? But what does make sense is putting your children in the hands of Mr. Kidkill
- Eddie Munster from Mockingbird Lane turns into a bona-fide werewolf in the pilot's teaser, prompting the family's move to Mockingbird Heights.
- George from Being Human turns into a sort of wolf-man creature during his "time of the month".
- Jiro/Garulu of Kamen Rider Kiva can transform from human to wolfman at will.
- Gou from Juken Sentai Gekiranger had this issue when he first appeared.
- Parodied: Werewolf bar mitzvah/Spooky, scary/Boys becoming men/Men becoming wolves...
- In Cirque du Soleil's Widget Series Solstrom, the gentle horror pastiche "Howling Wind" has a dreary hotel turned into a Gothic Hell Hotel. The puzzled, elderly owner decides he will just conduct business as usual, but as the episode progresses, it becomes clear that his hair permanently frizzing out when the transformation occurred was just the first stage of his slowly turning into this. The Stinger reveals his final, classic Hollywood wolfman form. At least he's a Reluctant Monster — as he's preoccupied with being a good host, he never loses his pleasant-at-heart nature.
- Doctor Who, "Tooth and Claw": The Doctor and Rose encounter a boy who transforms into a humanoid-looking werewolf (of alien origin, naturally).
- Aaaa-ooooooooooo! "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon.
- "The Animal" by Disturbed celebrates this trope on all its lupine glory.
- "Howl" by Florence + the Machine, a verse of which is paraphrased from the page quote.
- One appears on the playfield of Tales from the Crypt, and is featured in the "Werewolf Countdown" mode.
- Dungeons & Dragons. Werewolves, wolfweres (wolves that could take human shape) and greater wolfweres could half-change, thus gaining a hybrid mostly human body.
- Not surprisingly, the game Werewolf: The Apocalypse was all about these, as is its successor, Werewolf: The Forsaken. Werewolves in both have a hybrid form (Crinos in Apocalypse, Gauru in Forsaken) and the wide range of other werecreatures in both old and new Worlds of Darkness have such forms as well.
- Shadowrun has a virus which turns people into mindless Neanderthal types which get stronger and vicious during the full moon. However, they don't gain animal traits, beyond the extra hair. What Shadowrun does have are Shapeshifters, as in normal animals of all varieties spontaneously giving birth to magically active stock able to take on human form. Plus all the dragons who've learned the ability...
- The "Loup Garou" critter is a human infected with a virus that increases hair growth and recedes his gums, making his teeth look like fangs. His murderous activities aren't linked to the full moon, but follows an even 28-days-cycle.
- Warhammer 40,000 brings us the Wulfen, werewolves IN SPACE!. With guns.
- Werewolves can take this form in the Rolemaster campaign setting Shadow World.
- GURPS 3E sourcebook Bestiary Second Edition. Were-Creatures (such as werewolves) could have a "Beast-Man" form, an anthropomorphic blend of human and animal.
- Michael Stackpole's Shadowrun Wolf and Raven short story "If as Beast You Don't Succeed" in Ka•Ge magazine Volume 1 Issue 12. Wolfgang Kies can turn into a half-man half-wolf form.
- Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within.
- Averted: Von Zell, Von Glower, and Gabriel all turn into full-fledged wolves, albeit obviously computer rendered ones. However, the in-game opera "Der Fluch Des Engelhart" plays this trope straight with the actors donning wolf masks.
- One level of Osu! Tatake! Ouendan 2 has the group cheering on a werewolf as he struggles to keep from transforming in front of his girlfriend. Made more difficult for him because he transforms just by seeing things that are round, including balls, ice cream, and bald heads. If the player fails the song, the poor lug gets carted off to the pound. The actual ending of the stage has him finally transform in front of his astonished girlfriend (set off by her eyes), who turns out to be happy because she loves dogs.
- Poor kid's name is even Goro Okami, with the kanji for "Wolf Boy" on his shirt.
- Werewolves are a common enemy in the PC game Nocturne, appearing in all but one chapter, and they can be killed with any weapons; it's just that silver bullets kill them a lot faster.
- Saberwulf of Killer Instinct
- J. Talbain of Darkstalkers.
- Tinek/T'Nique/whatever from Star Ocean. Despite the series borrowing heavily from Star Trek he's the only thing that comes close to being a shapeshifter in any of the games.
- Kevin from Seiken Densetsu 3 is a beastman that turns into a full wolfman at night. This effectively gives him two sets of moves to the other characters' one.
- Berserkers in Battle Realms can be given the Lycanthropy ability.
- World of Warcraft has the Worgen, a race of Wolfmen that infects others through biting. Though most Worgen are feral, the Kingdom of Gilneas manages to create a "cure" that, while not removing the curse, allows the Worgen to retain their human minds while in Worgen form. The Gilnean Worgen were added to The Alliance as a playable race in the third expansion, Cataclysm.
- Yugo Ogami of the aforementioned Bloody Roar series.
- In Altered Beast, the first (and also the last) beast the player can turn into is a Werewolf - preceded by a◊ Transformation Sequence - which is a muscular and furry man with a wolf head.
- Gerhalt from Shining Force II becomes this upon promotion. It is unknown whether or not he has the ability to return to his human form.
- Kagerou Imaizumi from Touhou 14 is a Wolf-Woman, despite her masculine name. And despite having very prominent wolf nature, she's actually a calm person— she wears a long gown!
- Girl Genius has the fanged, green, and hairy Jagermonsters. They mix elements of the Wolf Man, Jekyll & Hyde, and Super Soldier. On top of that, they're just plain goofy. Unt don' anybody forgetink ze silly German akzent! Und die hatszen.
- One of the supporting characters in No Room for Magic is Roy, whose dad turned him into a werewolf so that he could survive gym class. It's made him less shy, but he feels compelled to sniff strangers' butts.
- In The Specialists, what happened to one man they tried to make an ubermensch of.
- While Jade's God Tier form in Homestuck starts out as simply Little Bit Beastly with a few behaviors resembling those of a domestic dog, she's still mostly human... until the Condesce takes control and turns her Grim bark. While not changing in outward appearance except for [[spoiler: the darkness of her skin and the stylistic effect of turning her irises into the Green Sun, her primal, canine rage has been brought out enough that there is a lycanthropic character to her transformation.
- Tower of God - There exists a species of wolf men in the Tower. We get to see one. He gets hit severely in the schnauze.
- Averted in this Cracked article, when the campers are attacked by what is obviously Bigfoot Man.
- Freakazoid!! did a parody of the original The Wolf Man with an obvious Lon Chaney Jr. parody coming to Dexter for help with his werewolf problem. Freakazoid, after forcing him to suffer numerous indignities, ultimately cured him by dumping him into the internet and back out again. This same episode even parodied the frame-by-frame transformations of the original Wolfman, for both the Lon Chaney Jr. Expy and Freakazoid himself. It was the best Crowning Moment of Funny in a series full of them.
- The Simpsons did it during a Treehouse of Horror episode where Ned Flanders becomes a werewolf.
- Mary Shelley's Frankenhole has one that's similar to Lawrence Talbot but a lot whinier and mopier. He's often used to transform a visiting character into a werewolf.
- In the Halloween episode of The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius where Jimmy makes a machine that accidentally turns Sheen into a werewolf, Jimmy ask to Goddard info about them but Ms. Fowl comes out of nowhere saying the page quote and explaining about them. She justify her knowledge about werewolves saying she married one before.
- "Dan Vs. the Wolfman".
- The Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi segment "Were-Kaz" has Kaz drink hair growth formula and become a wolf-like beast, complete with a Shout Out to the frame-by-frame transformation scene from 1941 film.
- Referenced in an episode of My Gym Partners A Monkey, when Jake asks Adam what's the difference between a werewolf and a wolfman.