The 70-year-old cinematic werewolf returns

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The Independent Culture

Vampires have enjoyed a big comeback at the box office lately with the Twilight Saga films, but now the perennial werewolf returns this weekend with Benicio del Toro in the title role of The Wolfman. It is a remake of the 1941 classic, The Wolf Man, starring Lon Chaney Jr., which has inspired a dozen versions. A new DVD release, The Wolf Man: Special Edition, from the Universal Legacy Series, celebrates the werewolf myth.

Just in time for this weekend's reboot, the two-disc "digibook" features the original film, newlyrestored, plus bonus documentaries. The collection includes Monster by Moonlight, a retrospective of subsequent werewolf films, hosted by John Landis who directed An American Werewolf in London and Michael Jackson's "Thriller," and Universal Horror, narrated by director Kenneth Branagh. The disc set sells for the recommended retail price of $26.98.

The set also shows the trailers of The Wolf Man, Werewolf of London (1935), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1942), and She-Wolf of London (1943), though a
2004 edition from the Legacy series included the entire films.

Following the basic story of a man with an inner torment, who transforms into a howling, hairy and violent lupine creature at the onset of a full moon, the Los Angeles Times presents a visual historical review of films about the beast:,0,2599859.photogallery

Here are select highlights:

 - Werewolf of London (1935)
A rare Tibetan flower is the only thing to keep Dr. Glendon from turning into a werewolf.

- The Wolf Man (1941)
Lon Chaney Jr. visits his ancestral homeland in Great Britain when he is attacked by a werewolf (played by Bela Lugosi) who passes a curse on to him.

- I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)
Michael Landon ( Little House on the Prairie) experiences odd nocturnal urges and new hair on his body induced by a hypnotherapist regressing him into a primitive state.

- An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Part of the 1980s werewolf craze and a cult favorite, American tourists are attacked by a werewolf that locals claim don't exist.

- Teen Wolf (1985) and Teen Wolf Too (1987)
Starring Michael J. Fox as a misfit who has a werewolf genetic condition. Then
Jason Bateman struggles with adolescence until wolfdom changes everything.

- Wolf (1994)
After Jack Nicholson suffers a wolf bite he gains the confidence to take on James Spader.

- An American Werewolf in Paris (1997)
The sequel-cum-remake of the London version with Julie Delpy about werewolves who develop a serum that allows them to transform.

- Underworld (2003)
Michael Sheen as Lucian descended from a race of mutated Lycans in this three-parter.

- The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
Taylor Lautner plays an American Indian werewolf who befriends Kristen Stewart's Bella Swan character.

The Wolfman 2010: