As I got older, I started to understand more and more why I felt for Larry Talbot. He didn't ask for his curse, and he was constantly doing the best that he could to survive it and protect those around him/those he loved. The way he walked was indeed thorny, and I think on some level, I resonated with that as a kid.
These days, I still think there's a "cool" factor when it comes to werewolves. But the Wolf Man . . . Lon Chaney, Jr., made that role his own, and perhaps channeled more of his own personality and struggles into the character than Lugosi did into Dracula or Karloff did into the Monster. Lon's demons took their toll on him over the years, and there's an eerie prescience to his performance as a man who can't control the monster within himself.
You can see this in all the Universal films in which the Wolf Man appears, but The Wolf Man (dir. George Waggner) is the most poignant for me. It's in this film we see Lon-as-Larry before the lycanthropy. The film gives us a contrast between the human and the werewolf, a before and after view of a character that would take us through five films.
And I love every one of them.