So we return to the age-old question of vampires and werewolves. I’ve previously opined on the question of which one would win in a fight against the other (for those who don’t know, I went with the werewolf… barring certain conditions). Now, I want to look at the question from a human perspective: which one is scarier? One on one, a human is dead either way—or perhaps even cursed from the conflict—but which gives the human being more cause for alarm?
A superficial treatment that examines the creatures in their traditional forms will probably conclude that the werewolf is scarier. The traditional vampire looks basically human; perhaps, he is a little pale, and his teeth are a little overly large, but he can walk among us without provoking a hue and cry or any other extraordinary response. The werewolf, however, in her true form is a terrible beast to behold: claws, fangs, fur, and fury. It is a snarling beast without control or conscience. As such, it will engender the most profound terror in its victims before it kills.
But… does the story end there? Is the mundane appearance of the vampire actually a disadvantage here? The key point with the vampire is that he is a thinking foe. The werewolf, in her true form, is just a savage creature that will rip you to pieces—true this will be terrifying to experience, but only for a moment. The vampire can plot against you; he can seduce you; he can wrap you in the threads of his machinations, like a spider ensnares a fly—slowly, with the horror mounting moment to moment, until you realize there is no escape, and you have lost your humanity and your soul to a creature whose bite will sentence you to hell.
The vampire also has the option of being as scary as the werewolf, or, at least, close to it. The traditional vampire can take the form of a wolf if he wants (which is not necessarily as intimidating as a walking wolf-man, but it can be a bit unnerving nonetheless). He can take the form of mist, so when you are snooping around in the mist-shrouded halls of his castle, you will have every reason to be alarmed. Although there are more ways to kill a vampire than there are a werewolf, the vampire has more abilities. As stated above he can assume the form of wolf or mist (and bat), but he can also mesmerize his human victims and control the weather. True, he has more weaknesses than a werewolf, but those just serve to make him more intriguing.
A vampire has more mobility, as well. The original vampire myths allowed them to move about during the day. Regardless, a vampire is a vampire every day of its existence; a werewolf is only a werewolf on the night of a full moon.
So, if you are looking for cheap terror, then a werewolf is more frightening. But if you are looking for a deep, more profound horror that takes you in its fist and crushes the life from you, ever so slowly—the vampire is the way to go.