Are fictional werewolves as seen in modern retelling of fairy tales and classic horror literature considered to be part of the same group as the undead, i.e. vampires, ghouls, zombies and liches?

  • Classic werewolves have been affected by the cycle of the moon, becoming fully monstrous and uncontrolled during those three days of the full moon.

  • Werewolves can only be harmed by silver weapons (including silver bullets). Does this lead us to consider them magical creatures or undead creatures?

  • 5
    in which modern retellings? In Buffy they're magical undead creatures but not related to vampires. In Underworld they're directly related to vampires by genetics. In "Being Human" they're infected with a virus, etc etc
    – Valorum
    Jun 6, 2016 at 18:53
  • Note that this question was closed, yet there is no clear consensus as to whether closing it is appropriate. Please see this meta discussion. Voting to reopen, as closing it was premature without an appropriate meta consensus.
    – Beofett
    Jun 8, 2016 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


If you ignore the rare ancient myth or two, there are two main kinds of werewolf:

Werewolves are occult in origin from the medieval years onward to the 19th century where the Werewolf is a beast of supernatural origin having either been a person who sold their soul or had a magic spell or curse cast on them. Not undead, but occult and definitely bestial and hungry. Like undead, silver will be needed to kill these kinds of werewolf and that may be the cause of confusion in anyone who links undead with werewolves.

In the 20th century the theme of infection is added. You were bitten by one and now you're screwed. Decidedly not undead.

Practical immunity to standard weapons and a special sensitivity to Silver only showed up in the 20th century and I think that the Silver thing is only related to the undead in that silver purifies Evil, and werewolves are occult.

tl;dr version: werewolves may require special weapons to kill (silver) but they are not undead, just hard to kill before they die of old age.

  • Thank you. The bit about infection is what makes it all confusing. Nowadays, zombies have also been reduced to an infection as well as vampires. Whether they are still in the undead category or not is a point ignored. But classically, both were people who had to die in order to become that kind of monster. Werewolves have never been to clear on this point.
    – user11308
    Nov 15, 2015 at 10:18
  • 1
    You forgot to mention version 3: Werewolf as a specie, separate from humans, but being able to mate and produce offspring with them (i believe that the RPG "Werewolf the Apocalypse" was originally behind that idea and it produced a few books).
    – Yasskier
    Nov 15, 2015 at 19:59
  • Actually, there is kind No4, that the OP was maybe interested: in some European countries werewolves were supposed to be souls of sinners - source
    – Yasskier
    Nov 15, 2015 at 20:09

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