Follow TV Tropes


Our Werewolves Are Different

Go To

It's a full moon tonight
I'm gonna get a bite
I can't wait till I start transforming
Calibretto, "Misanthropy and the Full Moon"

A Sub-Trope of Our Werebeasts Are Different, dealing with variations of lycanthropy (i.e. werewolves). As with vampires, the exact parameters of lycanthropy vary, but to meet the definition, a werewolf must be a person who takes the form of a wolf under certain conditions (the exact details do vary — see the Werewolf Analysis Page for a listing of common characteristics and customization options). Far and away the most popular concept is that a werewolf is a human who has somehow become able to temporarily transform (usually unwillingly) into a wolf that goes on to run wild (rarely remembering their romp). 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. Like most werewolves, the classic wolf-man only transforms on the full moon, or, failing that, at night, though none of this is a given in modern works.

Although stories describing werewolves and similar beings go back to antiquity, medieval werewolf legends do not closely resemble the modern concept of the werewolf very much at all, and tended to fall into three categories: monstrous man-eating wolves that did not transform and had never been human, people permanently cursed into the shapes of wolves, and witches who gave themselves illusory wolf-like shapes and went out to murder people without any mental change. The Werewolf Of Paris is usually named as the werewolf counterpart to Dracula, but cinema seems to have been more definitive in terms of shaping the monster's modern form. Lawrence Talbot, as played by Lon Chaney Jr., from the 1941 film The Wolf Man is regarded as providing the template that others have followed and originated many of the modern werewolf tropes, similarly to how The Golem of Prague codified modern golems or Dracula did so for vampires. In 1981, with dramatic improvements in visual effects and makeup now available, The Howling established the modern image of a werewolf as a far more lupine humanoid being.

Werewolves did not receive the same revisionist treatment as vampires did during the '90s, partly due to the high probability of Special Effect Failure in visual media, but also because the concept is much more difficult to rehabilitate. While having your neck bitten by beautiful people is erotic, being torn into bloody chunks and eaten is not. And in most common depictions, werewolves aren't themselves in wolf form. Hence, they're often relegated to supporting roles in Fur Against Fang storylines and Fantasy Kitchen Sink settings. Surprisingly, such an earlier revisionist treatment happened in medieval times for fictitious werewolves; in the Chivalric Romance, a werewolf could be a perfectly gentle and noble beast. Then again, with the growing knowledge that North American wolves have been seriously misunderstood and are not that aggressive to humans while being devoted parents thanks to classic works like Never Cry Wolf, that lends itself to a serious image makeover as potentially heroic monsters. In fact, one can take it further considering with the proper circumstances and disposition with the being in sufficiently rational control, werewolves can be sexy or even cuddly.

As such, the werewolf's cachet has been rising. Recent works of note include the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Raised by Wolves trilogy, and the Mercy Thompson and Kitty Norville books. 2010 also saw a highly-publicized remake of The Wolfman, although this depiction is much more traditional than the above. And they are very popular within the Furry Fandom, usually of the more-in-control-while-transformed variety, and their depictions therein can range from the innocent to outright Yiff.

The word "werewolf" is a compound with the archaic English word wer. Etymologically, "man" was once genderless, and wer referred to a male adult; compare this to the Latin vir, where we get the words "virile" and "virtue". Hence, the not-uncommon female lycanthrope should more strictly be a "wifwolf" (or "woman-wolf"), a term that has not seen much actual use. Generally, werewolves are Older Than Feudalism, going back to the European Middle Ages and to the Ancient Greek myth of a king cursed by Zeus to become one. Werewolves are very popular because of qualities of opposing forces of man versus animal nature.

A common mistake is to use the word lycanthropy to describe any case of a being able to shift between human and animal forms, as the root word "lyc" specifically means "wolf" (the proper term for other animal types is therianthropy—or, if you like, "werebeast").note 

Super-Trope to Werewolves Are Dogs for one way that werewolves can behave. See also Werebeast Tropes and Wolf Tropes for related tropes; Shapeshifting for other tropes related to changing form; Youkai for Japanese supernatural creatures that are sometimes depicted as having features similar to werebeasts; and sister trope Wolf Man, on sci-fi/fantasy characters that bear resemblance to wolves.

See Werewolf Works for an index of works that prominently feature werewolves.


    open/close all folders 

  • Fruit Brute, a semi-reoccurring member of the Monster Cereals, is a werewolf that appears to be a permanent one, with no human form ever seen for him.
  • A wolfman-like creature appears in a commercial for Chef Boyardee, but it doesn't stay a werewolf until daylight. In fact, it turns back into a human after eating a can of Chef Boyardee.
  • A man becomes a werewolf from stressing over the frustration of his credit card bill in a Capital One commercial.
  • A business woman changes in search of hunger in a 1988 Hershey's Bar None commercial.
  • A 2009 Mighty Taco ad features a werewolf running from the fuzz with two bags of food in his paw.
  • 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 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 well-dressed job applicant turns into a werewolf as part of his interview for security guard in a local Westaff spot from 2012.

    Audio Plays 
  • Doctor Who - The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure: In The Red House, the Wolverines are a race of wolf-like humanoids who transform into hulking, hairless proto-humans when exposed to sunlight. Most of the race abhor their animalistic alter-egos and avoid sunlight at all costs, but a small band of rebels feel they should embrace their human side and hold secret transformation parties.
    • The Moons of Vulpana explores the homeworld of the alien werewolf companion Mags and its history — pureblooded and fully lycanthropic Vulpanans are the ruling class, those not lycanthropic are peasants, and each of the pureblood Four Houses turns at a respective one of the four moons. A bite cannot turn another into a werewolf, and they also find the term "werewolf" highly offensive. Disrupting the moons' orbital paths, such as creating an artificial fifth moon as the "omega" pureblood Jax does, inhibits pureblood transformation and induces severe bloodlust. Well, more than usual.

    Comic Strips 
  • Conchy includes a tribesman who turns himself into a werewolf by power of suggestion, another who becomes a wolf under the light of the noon sun, and a clam infected with lycanthropy. Rule of Funny definitely applies.

    Fan Works 
  • Absit Omen explores the social ramifications of lycanthropy in Harry Potter, including direwolves: werewolves engineered by a dark wizard that are more dangerous than the canonical versions, being transformed for the entirety of the full moon cycle.
  • A Hedgehog Of Many Colors: Werewolves have three forms compared to two for other kinds of WereMobians: a daytime form, the standard Were form (their nighttime form), and the Rage Form, only awakened once angered to a certain extent. Being part Werewolf, Tomoya the Volt has this capability, but since she is only half True Were, she lacks the standard Were form. Well, she was supposed to, if not for Dark Gaia...
  • The Calvinverse:
    • Subverted in Attack of the Teacher Creature — the werewolf is really just a wax sculpture.
    • Actual werewolves show up in The Luna Syndicate, which are pretty much bipedal wolves with no indication of transformation. There's also the fact they're from a parallel dimension along with other monsters such as vampires and zombies, all of which whose presences are influenced by a red star.
  • Child of the Storm has the four types of werewolf that appear in The Dresden Files: true werewolves are magical shapeshifters who choose to turn into wolves; hexenwolves willingly turn into giant wolves via an enchanted belt that keeps them human, but tends to get them Drunk on the Dark Side; lycanthropes are people who stay physically human but are essentially The Berserker and naturally channel a spirit of rage that makes them stronger and gives them a Healing Factor under the full moon; and loup-garou are under a hereditary curse that causes them to transform into nigh-indestructible savage monsters each full moon (it's also the only type vulnerable to silver — inherited silver, specifically). Additionally, there are Harry Potter-style werewolves, which are, like canon, infectious, and akin to lesser versions of the loup-garou. Further, in Asgard, there are the Wolf-People, who willingly shapeshift between human, wolf, and something in between.
  • Dangerverse: Lycanthropy is very thoroughly elaborated on, and given that Remus Lupin is one of the main characters, virtually all the details are plot-relevant at some point or other.
    • Lycanthropy was created when Rhea Silvia, the she-wolf who nursed Romulus and Remus, pronounced a curse on the former for killing the later. The curse is in four parts: 1) That the victim shall transform into the likeness of a wolf at every full moon. 2) That when so transformed they shall have the mind of a rabid beast as well as the body of one, attacking every human they find. 3) That as a consequence of 1&2, the victim shall be forever outcast and friendless. 4) That as Rhea's sole mercy, those so cursed shall be rendered sterile, that they might never know Rhea's pain.
    • Lycanthropy is caused by a combination of a virus (which induces the physical changes) and a curse (which influences the mind). If the curse is transferred, the disease can be cured, but the reverse is not true.
    • Fluid exchange or blood adoption can infect humans with a dormant version of the werewolf virus. This does not cause any of the usual effects, instead manifesting as the disease lupus. However, a wizard infected with this dormant form of the virus can give others lycanthropy when in an Animagus form.
    • The strength of the werewolf curse can be affected by how its victims are treated immediately after the bite. If they are treated badly, then the curse is strengthened, but if they are shown love and friendship, it is weakened. After a short time, the curse "sets" and its strength then shall be its strength thereafter.
    • Any weapon can harm werewolves, but silver is especially lethal. Even a scratch from a silver blade will cause a werewolf to die almost instantly (and very painfully), and just touching silver will burn werewolves even in their human form.
  • Empath: The Luckiest Smurf: Crazy Smurf of The Smurfs film series turns into a were-Smurf at every full moon.
  • A Fistful of Dragonite: Aisha of the C'tarl Tribe proudly (and loudly) proclaims tjat she is a mystical skinchanger, a rare breed of native capable of changing her shape into a voracious, ferocious beast. Whether or not this is true is... subjective.
  • Fur And Photography: Lycanthropy is contagious through bites like in the legends, but they are sentient even when they change. They are able to change whenever they want, but the full moon compels them to change anyway. They operate with their own customs and instincts they call "the Beast", this compelling them to hunt, fuck and seek companionship with other werewolves in the form of packs. There are such things as alpha-breeds that lead these packs.
  • Hilda and the howling woods: Werewolves are thought of as violent savages, but before long most of the cast realizes that they thought the same thing about Trolls, forcing them to challenge conventional wisdom and figure out the nuances of lycanthropy in the setting.
    • They can tap into some of their abilities, like super senses or Super-Strength, in human form, but this is not recommended due to risk of sensory overload and headaches or injuring themselves due to their bones not being strong enough to support their strength.
    • They have unusual hair colors even in human form.
    • They're very, very good at jumping.
    • Silver does not physically harm them. Wearing silver charms instead suppresses involuntary transformations to help them live normal lives.
  • My Little Mages: The Nightmare's Return: The Diamond Dogs are reimagined as werewolves, which in this setting are wolves who learned magic and took on human form.
  • Ocumwhowurst: Someone created werewolves by messing around with mixing wolf DNA with other beings. A serum was created, and although someone guarded it after it was discovered, a couple humans still got hold of some and became werewolves. One of them bites Luke, who then has to try and find a cure.
  • In misakiyu's illustrations of SlifofinaDragon's Sengoku Basara fanfics, Katakura Kojuro is given the ability to shapeshift into a wolf that's four times bigger than the average wolf thanks to Kyogoku Maria's potioneering.
  • The Sweetie Chronicles: Fragments: Werewolves are wolves which turn into bigger wolves during the full moon.
  • Sweet's Clothing: Werewolves are the main focus, primarily with the idea that Kevin is one. Originally meant as the finality of the build-up in the first story The Night Off, the curse is explored more in the later stories.
    • The full moon transformations and Alternate Identity Amnesia are true, but the ideas of the curse being The Virus and the Silver Bullet weakness are inventions of myth and cinema. This is discussed by both Kevin and Streber and Streber and Radford during Love Bites and On The Loose, respectively.
    • The transformed state of a werewolf has a mentality more in-line of an actual wolf, being still dangerous if not approached properly but otherwise just an animal. The shift between the human mind and wolf mind is described as the human "going to sleep" while the wolf "wakes up".
    • The First Change reveals that the abilities don't manifest until puberty, Kevin's first transformation in particular coinciding with his first period.
    • It Runs in the Family. Kevin is a werewolf because his late mother was one.
    • Kevin's werewolf form is similar to the man-wolf, but with a touch more Body Horror: he's covered head to toe in fur, and his limbs are long and gangly with sharp claws that burst out of his fingers. Unique to this series' interpretation of them is rather than a wolf face, Kevin's face resembles that of a lizard, being completely hairless with multi-rimmed eyes, and lines of skin connecting his jaw together. In addition, there are spikes coming out of his back.
  • Taaroko's Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Acknowledged explicitly when Oz and Nina Ash meet for the first time; although the two have no problem with each other as people, they instinctively react violently to the other the moment they make contact when shaking hands, Willow speculating that Oz and Nina's different breeds of werewolf are natural enemies even if the two each want to be friendly to each other in their human identities.
  • There Was Once an Avenger From Krypton: According to Doctor Strange, werewolves are a diverse classification, coming in many different types of similar creatures.
  • Weres Harry?: Two different (but related) kinds of werewolf show up.
    • Skin-Changers can shift between forms at any time, with full control in both shapes. They are also noted to look bulkier and more bestial when transformed (If a regular werewolf looks something like a human with claws and a wolf's head, a Skin-Changer looks more like a wolf's head on a gorilla's body, again with claws). The bite is not infectious, with the gift instead being a hereditary talent. Harry is the only one currently known to exist.
    • The werewolves were created when a ritual designed to cut off the Skin-Changers from their alternate forms went badly awry. Werewolves can change only under the full moon, have infectious bites, and go berserk when transformed. "Born" werewolves (werewolves born to other werewolves) retain greater control through the change, to the point where a third-or-fourth generation "born" wolf retains his or her full human mind without the need for Wolfsbane.
  • You Call That a Costume?: Rainbow Dash, dressed as a werewolf for Halloween, becomes a huge wolf when one of Twilight's spells goes wrong.

    Films — Animated 
  • The movie 100% Wolf is about a clan of werewolves that perform rescue operations throughout their town while transformed at night. They transform under a direct beam of moonlight and revert back in the sun. They can't be understood by normal humans when transformed but they can speak to dogs in both forms, which they ironically have a mutual animosity with, being wrongfully perceived by them as dog-eating monsters and thus mistreated at any opportunity. The conflict of the movie is the teenage protagonist undergoing his first transformation and becoming a small poodle instead of a large wolf. They're also vulnerable to silver, and can be locked into their transformed state indefinitely by slapping a band of it on them.
  • Not only is there a Lawrence Talbot in Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman but Theodore is turned into a weremunk by Talbot himself, starting off as a "puppy" but becoming a full-fledged werewolf on the night of the full moon. In the end, Theodore bites Talbot back, which reverses the effects and cures them both of their lycanthropy.
  • America: The Motion Picture: The main villain of the movie is a traitorous werewolf version of Benedict Arnold, who can turn into a man-wolf at will and enjoys hunting with sadistic pleasure.
  • In Big Top Scooby-Doo!, the Monster of the Week is a werewolf which is terrorizing a circus and stealing jewelry. In Scooby-Doo tradition, however, the monster is actually a person in a suit.
  • The animated horror movie The Haunted World of El Superbeasto features werewolf Nazis.
  • The movie Hotel Transylvania features Wayne and Wanda, a married werewolf couple with a titanic family of werewolf pups, and Wanda is pregnant forever with more and more. Also, and even odder, all appear to have no human form.
  • Open Season: The fourth direct-to-video follow-up Scared Silly features a werewolf named Wailing Wampus Werewolf, a forest legend of sorts that only seems to be a werewolf in the sense that it's a perpetual wolf/human hybrid, though a subplot has Mr. Weenie fear turning into one after Elliot briefly makes a false conclusion.
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Goblin King: Shaggy and Scooby encounter a bouncer, who is a werewolf and Velma also turns into one. The difference about these two is that the bouncer has bluish white fur without a tail, turns under the full moon, and retains his sapience, while Velma has brown fur and a tail, turns under a spell, and is in a feral state.
  • In Wolf Children, the main character's lover is a shapeshifter who is descended from the extinct Japanese Honshu wolf and their two children end up being wolf-human hybrids. The ideas of turning only under a full moon and attacking innocent people are explicitly stated to be inventions of Hollywood, they turn at will and retain their sapience. There are three forms a wolf person may take; a full human form, a wolf form, and a half-wolf form, though it takes time and maturity for them to control their transformations. They also still have wolf instincts no matter what form they are in. If a wolf child decides that they want to live as a wolf instead of a human, then their wolf body and mind will mature accordingly, as shown by Ame becoming an adult wolf despite being only ten years old in human years.
  • The titular Wolfwalkers are an Irish folkloric take on werewolves, inspired by legends of the Werewolves of Ossory. Rather than transforming, their souls leave their bodies and physically manifest as wolves whenever they fall asleep. While this lets them freely run around as wolves with their human minds intact, their unconscious human bodies are still vulnerable and any wounds they receive as wolves will be reflected on their human bodies. They can turn others into Wolfwalkers by biting them and they also have Healing Hands, can communicate with regular wolves, and control plants.

  • "Werewolf, Baby!" by Rob Zombie.
  • The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion song "She Said" involves a man getting lycanthropy by cheating on his girlfriend (that's a new one), and the transformation is triggered by the blooming of wolfsbane. The song ends with him being killed with a silver bullet.
  • "Werewolves Of London" by Warren Zevon. Some versions mentioned Lon Chaney Jr while some other ones mention Jack Nicholson.
  • Feroz by Playa Limbo.
  • Frank Hayes's "Silver Bullet Blues".
  • Of Wolf And Man by Metallica.
  • Full Moon Madness, Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade) and Lickanthrope, by Portuguese Metal band Moonspell. In fact, the name is a reference to werewolves.
  • Zomby Woof by Frank Zappa.
  • Bark at the Moon by Ozzy Osbourne.
  • She Wolf/Loba by Shakira.
  • Go watch Du riechst so gut one of the band's classics is about a Victorian-era Masquerade ball with the different band members impersonating a werewolf.
  • The subject of "Wolf Like Me" by TV on the Radio and its music video. The latter depicts the werewolves as classically having human and wolf forms and changing between them under a full moon.
  • Full Moon by Sonata Arctica.
  • The album Nattens Madrigal - Aate hymne til ulven i manden by Ulver. The title translates to The Madrigal of Night - Eight Hymns To The Wolf In Man, and it does not disappoint.
  • "There's a Lycanthrope On the Bus" and "Werewolfe" by Scary Bitches.
  • Pentagram, "Sign of the Wolf".
  • Horror Of Our Love by Ludo. Also contains Vampires and Ghosts.
  • "Midnight Hunger" by Thornwill.
  • Wolf by EXO. In the Drama version of the music videos for both Wolf and Growl, we can see that being a werewolf in EXO entails having an exotic white hair colour, a cool tattoo on your arm, glowing red eyes at certain times, and no transformation (although the usual werewolf aspects of super-strength are still there).
  • The Animal by Disturbed, which seems to jump between loss of control and enjoying the transformation (or possibly enjoying the loss of control). The narrator does at one point warn the victims to run.
  • The music video for "Heads Will Roll" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs features a wolfman dancer who eventually loses control and massacres his audience.
  • "Howl" by Florence + the Machine uses this trope as a metaphor for obsessive love: her lover is the moon that makes a beast out of her, she hunts for him and wants to taste his beating heart.
  • Lobo Hombre en Paris by La Union is about a wolf that was bitten by a wizard, and turns into a man that takes the name Denis and installs himself in a poor place. The music video does not show the monster, but rather a group of detectives looking for a crime scene where, implicitly unable to control his instincts, Denis killed a woman that is referred in the lyrics.
  • Curse of the Werewolf and Return of the Werewolf by Timeless Miracle.
  • Wolf by Iced Earth
  • She-Wolf by Megadeth
  • No Spill Blood by Oingo Boingo
  • Powerwolf presents themselves as a group of Heavy Metal Werewolves, and as such, they have many songs such as Night of the Werewolves and Son of A Wolf.
  • Werewolf by the Five Man Electrical Band.
  • Alive (Nightmare) by Kid Cudi
  • The themes for Killer Instinct's werewolf, Sabrewulf, with the original Tooth and Claw theme and the 2013 theme
  • The music video for The Griswold's "Beware The Dog" involves a werewolf and a Red Riding Hood-type going around killing people. The werewolf is revealed to actually be another girl, possibly her girlfriend.
  • Schandmaul has two examples of this. Wolfsmensch is somewhere between Werwolf and Raised by Wolves, while Zweite Seele could also be interpreted as some other kind of Enemy Within
  • AS Ps Lykanthropie (Es tobt ein Krieg in mir) is written from the view of a werewolf who denies that he has been transformed into a wolf.
  • Paul and Storm's "Cruel, Cruel Moon" is a jaunty, upbeat song about a guy whose wife/girlfriend has become a werewolf. The chorus is a plea to the moon not to come out tonight, because "when you shine, that baby of mine will" ... followed by a description of what she's going to do, which gets longer and more gory with each repetition of the chorus.
  • Primitive State by Creature Feature.
  • The protagonist of Bear Ghost's 12 Years Howled is a werewolf that transforms during a school dance and murders everyone there, including their date. They're unable to realize how exactly the massacre happened until they find themself turning again during the funeral.
  • Calibretto's Misanthropy and the Full Moon is sung from the perspective of a werewolf who's willing to hunt people (or at least their kids) as a means to retaliate against humanity's hypocrisies.
  • Calibretto's successor band Harley Poe has That Time of the Month, about a man coping with the fact that his wife is a werewolf. As the title suggests, it is rife with period jokes.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: A number of werewolf stories are present in Greek and Roman myths and legends, and tend to focus on a theme of humans being transformed into wolves as a form of divine punishment. These transformations are typically permanent or indeterminate — in most regards, they're a form of Forced Transformation more so than what "werewolf" is taken to mean in the modern day — but in several versions of these myths the people so transformed have the option to — again permanently — turn back into humans after a nine-year period. One of the older stories describes how a king named Lycaon tried to serve the flesh of his own son Nyctimus as a meal for Zeus. Instead, Zeus punished Lycaon by changing him into a wolf. "Lycaon", fittingly, was derived from lúkos, the ancient Greek word for "wolf", which is also the linguistic origin for "lycanthropy", the condition of being a werewolf — the original term, lukánthrōpos, literally meant "wolf-man". Ancient writers, however, used "lycanthrope" specifically to refer to people suffering from delusional beliefs that they were wolves, as the concept of a human-wolf shapeshifter did not exist at the time.
  • The werewolf of Western medieval tradition tended to fall in the Devil's deal categorynote , with the bargainer typically gaining the ability to become a wolf through the use of a magic wolf pelt or wolfskin belt. According to the church of the time, the Devil would not actually be powerful enough to change the physical forms of anyone—that level of control over the fabric of reality was reserved for God. Satanist werewolves thus weren't actually shapeshifters, just illusionists who liked to terrify their victims before slaughtering them. When they killed people with their bare hands and ate the corpses, they were fully human and fully aware of what they were doing. Benighted (Bareback to all you British readers) discusses the mythology in some detail in an appendix.

    Outside the official Church line, magic was considered real and powerful (at least enough to grant powers like shapeshifting), but the legal treatment was purely based on the effects; supposedly killing a person or animal by magic was considered essentially the same as poisoning, for example (and considering that "witch" and "poisoner" were often the same word in many languages, including Latin, this made a certain amount of sense). In any case, many sociopathic serial killers of the era were considered, and possibly considered themselves to be, werewolves. Also, the crime of bestiality was often associated to werewolfism, as well. Accusations of being a werewolf were generally a subset of accusations of witchcraft, with the same deadly punishment.

    * The other common variety is an ordinary man, sometimes even a man of faith, cursed to be a wolf for a certain amount of time, usually nine or ten years. In this case they have all their normal intelligence and personality, but are trapped in the wolf's body. Notably, the cursed variety is normally described to be completely harmless, even less dangerous than ordinary wolves. Often they are described as such lousy hunters that it makes you wonder how they survived their cursed period at all.
  • A much rarer variation of these myths describes some werewolves as deriving their powers from God, although they otherwise function in the same manner as the more common Satanic werewolves.
    • The benandanti ("good walkers" in Italian), from the Friuli region of northern Italy, were one of the more widespread versions of these myths. According to this legend, these are heroic people born with their powers, who leave their bodies every night to walk the earth in the form of wolves, wield iron bars and journey into the underworld to battle witches and demons and preserve the fertility of the local farmland. Curiously, only men are said to become animal-like when they leave their bodies; women ride on animals instead.
    • In Swedish Livonia, a man by the name of Thiess claimed that werewolves were given their powers not by the Devil, but by God to battle the forces of the Devil, and that he himself was a Godly werewolf of this sort.
  • Rougarou from Louisiana folklore are humans who turn into people with wolf heads every night. Because of this, they are very lethargic when in human form. They are also said to enjoy eating Catholics who break Lent. A rougarou can pass the curse on to someone else from the 41st day onward, no sooner. They are vulnerable to decapitation and Kill It with Fire.
  • In Slavic folklore, the process of "turning into a wolf" is sometimes interpreted very literally: one must turn around, or somersault, and land in a new shape. While holding onto a magic blade, stuck into a magic tree. If the blade is then removed by someone, the poor sorcerer-gymnast remains in the animal form. This would be the cursed variety — cursed by their own curiosity and lack of foresight. Evil sorcerers, on the other hand, usually keep track of the knife.
  • Herodotus mentions a Barbarian Tribe he calls "Neuroi", who might or might not have been ancestors of the Slavs. He records that they were said to all turn into wolves for a couple of days a year. This is generally interpreted as a reflection of shamanic practices and/or belief in werewolves.
  • The Castilian "Lobo Hechizado" (lit. "Cursed Wolf"): a man cursed to transform into a wolf in certain nights, where it is dangerous to people, but he can tell when he is going to transform beforehand and is gentle enough to alert his neighbors so they can hide in their houses and be safe when it happens. The identity of the wolfman is known by everyone in town, making it the Ur-Example of a Friendly Neighborhood Werewolf.
  • Celtic Mythology has the Faoladh, another benevolent version of the werewolf. Supposedly they protected children and wounded men. Despite that, they still liked to abscond with livestock when they couldnote .
  • In Norse Mythology, berserkers were warriors devoted to Odin that served as the right hand men of local lords and kings. The usually accepted etymology for the word is ber-serkr, which meant "bear shirt"note . Berserkers who wore wolf pelts were called "úlfhéðnar" (wolf coats). Despite their reputation in modern fiction, they actually didn't go berserk in battle, but were often the best trained and capable fighting warriors a lord might have; frequently asked to fight on their behalf in organized duels. The position was often translated as "Champion" in English for this reason, selected for their power and skill and distinguished by the afformentioned pelt; which was thought to give them the killing instinct of a wolf or bear.
  • Werewolves are also listed as a side effect of one obscure Scandinavian folk-magic spell. If a woman stretches the afterbirth of a horse (the membrane the foal was in before coming out of the mare) between two sticks, then crawls through the opening without tearing it, it is said she shall never experience pain in childbirth — at the expense of all her boy children being born werewolves, and all of her girl children being born maras (dream witches).
  • In Basque folklore, the wolfman (Gizotso) is the literal hybrid offspring of a human and a wolf, and as a result it suffers no transformation. Fridge Horror sets in when you take into account that it also wears broken chains, as if it has just escaped someone's basement...
  • A very peculiar version of the werewolf is the Galician-Portuguese lobisome(m). Despite its name literally meaning "wolf-man", the lobisomem actually turns into a black pig-dog hybrid thing. Attention is drawn to its large ears falling over its eyes. It eats garbage way more than it kills and eats animals or people. In fact, a lobisomem in human form is easily identified because it has a sickly appearance and acute digestive problems derived from this. Because of colonization, this characteristics also appear in the Americas, such as in Brazilian Folklore. Some lobisomem traits:
  • Because of emigration, the Lobisomem myth became particularly rooted in the La Plata basin in South America, to the point that its belief has been related with the persecution of the local maned wolf who is inoffensive and almost vegetarian. Argentina even passed a law in 1907 that declared every 7th son to be the godson of the President, in an attempt to decrease the abandonment of these children by superstitious couples. Possibly because of Guarani influence, in Brazil and Paraguay the lobisomem evolved into a furry monkey-bat thing that sucks human blood, and when on all fours it closely resembles the modern Chupacabra.
    • Speaking of Guaraní mythology, they have stories about a being known as Luisón, who was the seventh son of Tau and Kerana and was the most accursed of them all. He was usually described as an extremely ugly, vaguely humanoid-looking monstrous canine with a rather fetid smell and was often associated with death, to the point he served a similar role as The Grim Reaper in some tales. He was said to dwell in cemeteries, burial grounds and his only source of food was the rotting flesh of corpses. In some versions, Luisón only appears on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night, and it was said that if Luisón passes through a person's legs, said person will transform into a Luisón themselves. With the arrival of European settlers, many legends began to mix with those of the foreigners and changed, and Luisón's myth merged so much with other stories of werewolves that he eventually ended up regarded as being another generic werebeast.
  • Vampires were originally very similar to (or basically were) werewolves. In some historical lore, vampires would turn into wolves rather than bats. The connection is made even further with beliefs that if one fails to properly dispose of a werewolf's corpse, it will rise up as a vampire.
  • Pennsylvania is absolutely crawling with legends of werewolves. Dozens of stories from Western Pennsylvania (no such stories seem to exist east of the Susquehanna or south of the Poconos, so Philly is relatively "safe" if you believe these stories) show what many people have described as werewolves, from different witnesses, multiple times.
  • There's the Beast of Bray Road, sighted near Elkhorn, Wisconsin. While reports vary, some of the descriptions closely resemble a Wolf Man.
  • In the oldest versions of the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf was actually referred to as a werewolf rather than being a wolf with sentience and speaking ability. Thus the original versions of the tale averted the Fridge Logic of someone actually mistaking an animal dressed in a nightgown as being their grandmother, in contrast with the later versions that made the heroine a girl who lacks commonsense.
  • Fortean Times reported on a fourteenth-century rabbinical rationale regarding the question of werewolves, a popular belief among European Gentiles, in Jewish belief. The issue was not if werewolves existed — it was taken as a given that they did. Therefore G-d must have created them, or tolerated their creation by Satan. The theological argument was that G-d's cursing of the serpent by removing its limbs introduced the ability to shapeshift among such beings. This included the fallen angels who bred with humans to create the Nephilim, and thus introduced the shapeshifting trait among a certain portion of mankind, which neatly explains all werecreatures.
  • Romania has the Pricolici. It is said that the most despicable, evil and violent people become Pricolici after death, so that they may continue to hurt others. Their bodies are twisted into the form of massive wolves, with shorter front legs and longer back legs, living among wolf-packs. But despite their bestial appearance they maintain every bit of their intelligence and malice.

  • In Monster Bash, the Wolf Man transforms whenever there is a full moon and is susceptible to silver bullets. He serves as the drummer of the band and becomes a Jive Turkey after his transformation.

  • In The Adventure Zone: Dust, werewolves are born, not turned. They also have an allergic reaction to silver, which ranges from being a minor skin irritant to being deadly if come into contact. Fascinatingly, this doesn't seem to stop the Mathises, a family of werewolves, from owning and operating a silver mine.
  • The Magnus Archives has a quasi-werewolf make an appearance in "First Hunt." A devotee of The Hunt, it doesn't make the full lupine transition; rather, the person who survived a confrontation with it says everything about the man appeared "sharper," comparing it to an account of lycanthropy from The Duchess of Malfi.

    Pro Wrestling 

  • Parodied in The Stan Freberg Show sketch "Gray Flannel Hatful of Teenage Werewolves", in which an ordinary, respectable, well-adjusted werewolf, due to a curse, turns into an advertising man "when the sun is full."
    "I felt as though a strange transfiguration taking place. My fangs became short and blunt. My head became crew-cut. The hair on my body slowly turned to gray flannel. My head filled with senseless metaphors."


  • Monster High's werewolves such as Clawdeen and her brother Clawd's transformations are triggered by moonlight or a spotlight. Even then, their physical changes are minimal - weres in the MH universe have not been shown to have a fully human or fully lupine form. In Clawdeen's diary, their younger sister Howleen is mentioned as having been sprayed by a skunk, whether this indicates she was hunting, or simply in the wrong place at the wrong time is not mentioned. The later generation of the toy line changes this by showing Clawdeen shifting into a fully lupine form for the second generation and a full human form in the third.
  • Resurrection of Monstress features Howling Wolfinica, a punk-rockette werewolf hunter who transforms on the crescent moon.

    Web Animation 
  • Don't Walk Home Alone After Dark: The werewolf in "I Think My Step-Dad's A Werewolf" is depicted with a humanoid body and wolf-like head, with a large mane, broader upper-body and glowing yellow eyes; it walks on all fours, though its hunched stance and hand-like front paws suggests it's a facultative biped (capable of walking on two legs).

    Web Original 
  • Limyaael is more concerned with werewolves drowning in the Wangst than in playing with myths.
  • What do you get if you mix this trope with a choose-your-own-adventure story written by random people on the Internet? You get the werewolves at Choose Your Own Change! Warning: May not be sfw since it is a fetish station (registration required).
  • Happy Sun Daycare: Werewolves in this universe behave more like real wolves as opposed to the always violent and malicious creatures in most depictions. They also don't need a full moon to transform, instead passing out at random moments in a case similar to narcolepsy and transforming while doing so, which can even happen during the daytime. A special tea can be made to prevent the transformation.
  • In October 2004, writer Ritch Duncan created a Blogspot account under the pseudonym Kirk Thompson, where he blogged about "his life" as a werewolf in New York City, in real time. Taking inspiration from the American Werewolf movies, his lupine form was a classic quadrupedal, full-moon type, which got along with cats and couldn't resist marking it's territory all over his Manhattan studio.
  • 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.
  • petow: Apparently they can be detected with genetic testing, and is passed down family lines. Werewolves are the most common, and are said to be more aggressive.
  • T.O.T.: Maximus Slade is a strange case, as his appearance describes him as being a scruffy, bipedal black wolf, and he has the ability to speak clear English (albeit in a gruff voice). Maximus also never shifts into a human, and reveals that after turning into a werewolf, he stayed in his lycan form for so long that it became permanent. He never ages and also has Regenerating Health, and can live through getting a shotgun blast to the face. The only quality he shares with most werewolves in fiction is that he's vulnerable to silver.
  • Whateley Universe: Transmissible via bites, and can be affected by a certain substance, like how catnip affects cats. They also get the Most Common Super Power or Bigger Is Better in Bed, if female, or male, respectively.
  • How to Hero features a colony of werewolves that live on one of Jupiter's moons.
  • The Federal Vampire & Zombie Agency: Werewolvism is also caused by a virus that turns a person into an anthropoid wolf, but the transformation is irreversible and they never turn back to human.

    Web Videos 
  • Given its canine features, it's quite possible The Rake of creepypasta lore (as well as Everyman HYBRID) is a really creepy, hairless wolfman. Its features are mostly human, with just enough canine there to be disturbing.
  • Played for Laughs in episode 9 of Hellsing Ultimate Abridged: being a parody of the original series, most of the same features of The Captain still apply here (multiple forms, Healing Factor, being able to turn into mist and being a Nazi). Only in this, Seras gets to point out the utter absurdity of it all, her reaction to him being a werewolf being "He's a NAZI-FUCKING-WEREWOLF?!".
    Seras: (after seeing The Captain turning into mist to escape) So he's also a ghost? What the fuck?!
  • The Shovelwarewolf stars a scientist who, thanks to a Freak Lab Accident, transforms into a werewolf whenever he's exposed to lousy video games for too long. He keeps his intelligence and ability to speak, but he's much more aggressive in this form. Fortunately, he only takes it out on the games he's forced to play.
  • In Wayward Guide for the Untrained Eye, the werewolves of Connor Creek, known for its silver mines, are actually dependent on the trace amounts of silver from the mines that leak into the reservoir, as it allows them to transform at will and live alongside humans instead of being beholden to the moon. Too little silver, and they will lose control. Too much, they get burned or die. They can transform into either half-wolf forms or full, bipedal wolf forms, both of which allow for speech. These transformations manifest with a glowing aura, which differs in color depending on clan. Werewolves are either be born or made (via bite or scratch) and they can only be killed by silver bullets or the claw of another werewolf.
  • Werewolf conventions are downplayed in Wolfgang, as the main characters are just otherwise normal people who have to lock themselves up periodically to avoid harming those around them. They transform three nights out of every month, during which they have no control over their actions. They retain injuries gained while transformed, and their bites transfer the condition to others, even in human form.

    Real Life 
  • Some Real Life explanations for lycanthrope "observations":
    • Potions (made by "witches") with extreme hallucinogenic properties that made men believe they were wolves.
    • Another term associated with the berserkers in the Old Norse sagas is Úlfhéðnar (literally "a warrior clothed in wolfskin"). These ancient Germanic and Norse warriors were reported to having wore wolf pelts in battle and fought with unprecedented and animalistic ferocity, giving off the impression that these warriors were shape-shifters that became the animals whose skins they wore.
    • It is also thought that the rabies virus may be to blame. Descriptions of people who were bitten by "mad dogs" describe them as gradually taking on the characteristics of the attacking animals in a manner paralleling werewolves. Many urban legends surrounding rabies victims even describe them mauling people in the vein of the animals that bit them.
    • There may also be a connection to leprosy; in some medieval legends, werewolves in their human forms had no noses.
    • Clinical lycanthropy is a rare disorder where sufferers think they have transformed into an animal. It affects the parts of the brain that manage a person's body image, so they actually experience shifting shape into something that isn't human, and interpret it as turning into an animal.
    • There is also a genetic disease called hypertrichosis, that consists of people having hair practically in all of their skin. It is nicknamed "the werewolf syndrome".
    • Porphyria, due to the fact that nails and teeth redden and people affected also have photophobia, which means they can only be out at night.
    • And possibly (naturally impossible to confirm) early serial killers. The most well-known werewolf of this type would be Peter Stumppnote .
  • Unternehmen Werwolf (literally, "Operation Werewolf") was a plan by Those Wacky Nazis to create a guerilla force to operate inside Allied-held areas of Germany; according to popular legend, Werwolf cells may have even been intended to keep fighting as The Remnant after Germany's surrender. As we can see simply by cracking open a history book, it never amounted to much, and ended up being more useful as a propaganda tool for the SS (and a source of paranoia for the post-war Allied occupying forces) than as an actual combat unit.


Video Example(s):


Marie LaTour

After having gone over Vampires and Voodooism, the tour guide at the LaTour Museum brings the audience to Marie LaTour's private drawing room and explains the story of how she murdered her husband for discovering she was a Werewolf. Werewolf lore is also introduced, showing Werewolves as voluntary shapeshifters who kill for pleasure... or to protect their privacy.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / OurWerewolvesAreDifferent

Media sources: