”Van Helsing”’s Wolf Man: how cool is he?
CLASSIC WOLF Lon Chaney Jr., ”The Wolf Man” (1941)
When the full moon rises, this unlucky guy sprouts lots of black hair (above left), but unlike, say Robin Williams, he also has claws, sharp teeth, brute strength, and an uncontrollable urge to kill. His chief weakness is a silver bullet — and we don’t mean a Coors Light.
”VAN HELSING” WOLF Will Kemp
A painful-looking morph of sloughing skin and bulging bones transforms the Gypsy monster fighter Velkan into an agile and swift wolf/man combo who can scale walls with the greatest of ease (above right). According to the movie, a silver bullet will still do him in — but it’s never used.
SCARIER Chaney Jr.
BONE UP Chaney’s original ”Wolf Man” was the best. He played a werewolf many more times in a series of sequels that were mostly dog tired, save for 1948’s lively ”Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein,” believe it or not. Other worthy wolves include Oliver Reed as a feral wolf-by-birth in Hammer’s ”Curse of the Werewolf” (1961), and hapless David Naughton in ”An American Werewolf in London” (1981), featuring the most vivid and gruesome transformation scene of pre-”Van Helsing” werewolf movies.