A question about werewolves

I watched an awful movie this weekend, The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman, and it featured a wolfman style werewolf. Most of the werewolf movies I saw as a kid featured wolfmen, too. This has changed, though.

What’s the earliest instance of a werewolf movie/book/tv show featuring a werewolf that turns into a big wolf instead of a furry biped?

The first I ever saw was Wolf Lake (2001), and it confused me at first because I wasn’t sure if they were supposed to be werewolves or just shape shifters. And since then there’s been:
The Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong (also 2001)
True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse (first appearance of werewolves, 2002)
Twilight (2005)
The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs (2006)
Need/Captive by Carrie Jones (2008, 2010)
The Gates (2010)
…and probably more I’ve forgotten or haven’t heard of

But what came before then? Surely there are werewolves that transform into actual wolves that predate 2001.

An American Werewolf in London from 1981 had a quadrupedal werewolf I believe. That’s about 20 years earlier than those other movies.

It’s my understanding that mythological werewolves were actually wolf shaped.

From wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werewolf

The Howling , also 1981, had wolfie-werewolves as well (if I recall correctly).

Wolf-man werewolves were developed for the screen because of limitations in special effects, and the ideas of make-up artists.

I wouldn’t call it terribly wolf-like, but it certainly wasn’t the standard wolf-man mold, and was quadrupedal.

I thought they were still bipedal in The Howling. However they were certainly more wolf-like than a hairy Lon Cheney Jr.

You are probably right. I drank a lot during the early '80s.

The Wolfman (1941) with Lon Chaney. Bela Lugosi played the werewolf that bit Lon and he was a full-on wolf.

The werewolf in “Bisclavret” (12th century) turns into a wolf shape, indistinguishable in appearance from any other wolf.

If it helps, werewolves and similar creatures in both Dungeons and Dragons and World of Darkness have human forms, animal forms and intermediate forms - one for D&D, 3 for WoD.

I always thought the sort of half man half wolf was scarier than just turning into a wolf. Sure, the idea of turning into an animal is scary, but it’s not THAT scary. Wolves are pretty badass. And wolves can be dangerous but the idea of seeing an attacking wolf in a movie doesn’t chill me. But something that’s not quite wolf, not quite human…maybe it’s more uncanny valley for me? Watching the change scene in American Werewolf as a little kid really skeeved me. And the werewolf in Ginger Snaps really creeped me out. Turning into a wolf would be kind of neat–turning into a weird wolf creature…blech. Genuinely frightening for me.

Beat me to it, doggone it.

It’s worth mentioning that the “stunt wolves” they used in The Wolf Man weren’t very convincing in their scenes with Chaney and his doubles, so they used the security man’s German shepherd. IIRC, Chaney liked the dog so much that he ended up adopting him.

I always thought he looked more like a giant pekingese.

From the late-night horror movies of my youth, I remember a film that would’ve been made in the late '60s or early '70’s, perhaps British, that was set like country-house murder mystery… except that the murderer was a werewolf. As I remember it, the killer when exposed turned into a wolf rather than a half-wolf-humanoid. I’ll check IMDB and see if I can i.d. this film.
ETA: This looks like it:

The Beast Must Die (1974)

I thought that werewolves in mythology were wolves. The “wolf-man” was a cinema convention because full-on wolf suits or wolf puppets looked stupid, and real wolves didn’t perform so well.

Wasn’t Wolfen (1981) a werewolf movie?

No, they were evil, hyper-intelligent wolves.

It was advances in makeup and special effects that allowed the wolves in werewolf movies to look like wolves. They did use wolves or dogs for some scenes, but the difficulty of making a human look like a wolf meant that they just added the hair and had the actor walk upright. I remember a lot of comments at the time about the effects on An American Werewolf in Paris because the man was growing a snout.

Evil? I don’t think so. They hunted humans, but they are not the only animals to do so. I certainly wouldn’t call a human hunter evil for killing and eating a species different from their own.

I believe Wolf with Jack Nicholson counts. He is never shown as a full-on wolf, because he’s slowly changing throughout the movie. But the werewolf that bit him was a full wolf. So eventually that’s what he, and later Michelle Pfeiffer’s character, will become.

Oops, misread the question, please disregard.

In folklore, yes. However, several men in medieval/early modern Europe (Jean Grenier, Peter Stubbe, Giles Garnier, et. al.) dressed up as wolves and ran around killing people, ostensibly because they were given magical powers to transform into wolves. I’d wager they looked more like Lon Chaney, Jr. than White Fang.

You forgot the all-important word allegedly in that description.

Those were essentially holdovers from the witchcraft trials, so any claims need to be examined critically. They admitted all sorts of stuff, and then later writers tried to make it sound logical and not have them actually change shape, but they didn’t really think to examine the claims more skeptically and see how much of the rest of it was true either.

There were serial killers about that the populace really only understood in relation to earlier werewolf stories. There were also innocent victims of hysteria who got blamed for all sorts of insane things. And of course there were cases somewhere between those two extremes.