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Where the werewolves are

  • Film

Time Out says

Long before Taylor Lautner shed his T-shirt, lycanthropes enjoyed a robust cinematic nightlife. Who knows if Benicio Del Toro and next week’s The Wolfman will restore the creatures to the top of the beast heap? Until then, here’s a roundup of our furry favorites, all on DVD.—Joshua Rothkopf

The Wolfman (1941)
The acting’s a little creaky and Lon Chaney Jr. doesn’t have half the presence of his legendary dad. But here’s where Hollywood’s infatuation with the werewolf begins (and where Del Toro’s film finds its source). Jack Pierce’s makeup effects, coupled with time-lapse photography, were landmark. A new two-disc edition, out this week, includes an affectionate documentary about the unheralded genius, also responsible for Frankenstein’s monster and The Mummy. (Universal, $26.98)

An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Makeup artist Rick Baker’s transformation of actor David Naughton still staggers. (Indeed, the whole Oscar category of Best Makeup was created just for this film.) A recent DVD has outtakes and a chat with Baker. (Universal, $19.98)

Teen Wolf (1985)
The New York Times called it aggressively boring, but that’s plain lunacy. The film is a weird cousin to The Breakfast Club, comically getting at the euphoria of newfound power. Of course, viewers remember another Michael J. Fox movie from 1985 much better. Own this one, along with the terrible sequel, for cheap. (MGM, $14.98)

Ginger Snaps (2000)
And here’s the flip side to Teen Wolf—a werewolf flick linked to the pubescent urges of teenage girls. Underseen at the time of release, the movie has earned a passionate fan base for its acuity. Try to find the Canadian collector’s edition; it’ll play fine here and the disc has tons more extras, plus a widescreen transfer. (Columbia, $9.95 Can.)

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