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Just like I said I can't get this movie out of my head.
First off I really enjoy this movie it's not bad at all. I love the way they use the location scenery to great effect. David Janssen was always a good actor and all the other actors do a good job. Of note Barbara Rush and Geoffrey Lewis do a really good job with there characters.
Why I like it so much ....(pondering).... It works, the story is simple it does not get overly complicated there is a nice touch of mystery and you do not find out who the werewolf is until the last 30 minutes of the movie. The only one problem is the makeup of the werewolf is not on the great side but I am pretty forgiving in that because I got into the movie. I love the way they actually took the time to work in some actual werewolf lore that makes it believable. I have to say I got my money's worth out of this movie because I have watched it 3 times since I bought it in the past six months. If you enjoy werewolf movies I recommend this movie to anyone.
David Janssen and Barbara Rush lead a cast of characters as a southern
Louisiana town is suddenly struck by a series of lycanthropic murders.
With no rhyme or reason behind the killing, and with a raving old
bed-ridden cajun seeming to be the only person who fully understands
what's going on, Janssen, the town's sheriff, seems to have his work
cut out for him.
Aided by an old friend with old money (Rush), and a posse of would-be wolf hunters, Janssen does not seem to know where to turn. But soon enough, he no longer needs to navigate at all - as the problem comes to him.
Though the plot is not terribly original, the setting and characters certainly are. Also, Moon of the wolf is particularly well acted for its genre and better directed and filmed than most of its competitors. Dan Petrie certainly has made his share of good TV movies, and this, despite its pedigree, is no exception
Set in and near the bayou community of Marsh Island, Louisiana, "Moon of the
Wolf" starts with the body of a young woman named Ellie being discovered by
two locals. Though it appears she was mauled to death by wild dogs, the
medical examiner (Beradino) soon determines that she was murdered. The
sheriff (Janssen) is faced with the unfortunate task of determining which of
his longtime friends or associates in this small, close-knit community are
responsible for the brutal killing. His investigation soon leads him into
some of the town's little known secrets.
"Moon of the Wolf" is a well shot, well acted film that seems to have been made on location in an actual swamp or wetlands. The storyline is logical and well-presented and an effort was made to employ real-life lycanthropy folklore (the loup-garou of France) rather than some contrived Hollywood creation. The makeup effects for the werewolf are not particularly high tech, but this should not be expected for a made-for-television film of this period. Viewers should expect more mystery than action, but there is a fair amount of suspense.
This film, for me, earns high marks. Fans of similar made-for-television films of the early to mid-1970s will not be disappointed. It rivals some of the best Dan Curtis productions in many ways yet is not as over-the-top as some of Curtis' material is. This is a must-see for die-hard fans of werewolf films.
I just watched this movie again to see what I could remember from about 25 years ago. I remember seeing this when it first hit TV and I enjoyed it then and I enjoyed it all over again. Being from the South I didn't find it too slow, nor a weak story. However, I must admit that I like David Jansen who plays Sheriff Aaron Whitaker and Barbara Rush was always one of my favorite actresses. Ms Rush plays the high society lady that has been off to New York and has just returned to Marsh Island. Her brother Bradford Dillman plays Andrew Rodanthe, one of the remaining members of the towns oldest family. Other folks that you will remember if you are over 40 or so are Geoffrey Lewis, Royal Dano, and John Davis Chandler. All in all a decent werewolf movie for it's time. For me it was a very pleasant break from all the teenage slasher movies that have become all the rage. If you want a break from all the blood and gore and want to see a movie that you can watch with your children, but still want a little horror, then this is it. Very little blood, no nudity, and little if any language, so it is very tame by todays standards.
The setup never fails ... a murder in a small town leaves the local
sheriff stumped, and he travels around investigating and finding
several suspects among the townsfolk. The sheriff is your typical
kind-hearted, beer-swilling Louisianan kind of guy, and the list of
suspects includes the murdered girls brother (the angry redneck), the
town's doctor (the local professional with a dark secret), a Mr Rodance
(the wealthy, mysterious businessman who owns half the town) and his
sister (the slightly unhinged female lead who becomes the Sheriff's
Yeah, it's all fairly standard, but it's also quite entertaining in a formulaic kind of way. For at least the first half of this film, there's really nothing to suggest that a werewolf is responsible (unless you're familiar with werewolf folklore and know what 'loup garou' means). This is in fact a typical small-town crime melodrama, one of many which were made for TV in the seventies, and it's shot and played out in exactly the same style as these movies. But it just so happens to have a werewolf in it.
It's an interesting idea, and executed reasonably well. The quality of acting and so forth is pretty much what you'd expect from a TV movie -- competent enough, but nothing special. It's also a fairly short movie, as at 75 minutes it's not even feature length. This is to the film's credit, and it certainly managed to keep me engaged for that length of time, which is more than I can say for many of the similarly low-budget werewolf movies I've seen. The story unfolds at a good pace, and leads to a suitably thrilling (but not too over-the-top) climax. It's all decent enough, not great, but it doesn't try to be.
All in all, this is your average werewolf B-movie which I'd recommend to werewolf enthusiasts if you happen to get a chance to see it. Hell, there are worse ways to spend an hour and fifteen minutes.
This made for TV movie, starring the late David Janssen and Barbara
Rush is not bad. This movie was made in the early 1970's when the TV
Movie of the Week was all the rage. Although this movie isn't as good
as some of the other horror movies that were made for TV (such as Bad
Ronald, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and When Michael Calls,) it is
interesting enough to hold the viewer's interest.
David Janssen was a good actor, and he's equally good here. My only complaint about this movie is that it drags in some spots. The werewolf make-up is ludicrous, but hey, what can you expect from an early 1970's t.v. movie? This movie reminded me a lot of The Night Stalker, starring the late, great Darren McGavin. If you are a fan of the Night Stalker, or Made for T.V. movies then you should enjoy this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The first half of the movie has a compelling set up that will remind
you of "In The Heat of The Night", a film made five years earlier. The
story diverges pretty rapidly though in the second half, preceded by an
ominous breathing pattern that heralds the first hint of the title
character. By that time, you should have had enough hints to figure out
who the "loup-garou" was, though for the life of me, I could have sworn
old Hugh was talking about a 'lucaruk'. No matter, when Louise Rodanthe
(Barbara Rush) reaches for her brother's scholarly text on lycanthropy,
you know it's only a matter of time before Andrew (Bradford Dillman)
reveals his hairy side.
The story makes use of some tried and true werewolf lore, like death by burning and silver bullets, and throws in some new ones like sulfur induced seizures. I particularly enjoyed the reference to Black Water Fever as an offshoot of malaria to describe Andrew's medical problem. However I don't recall Lon Chaney ever being this strong; those iron jail cell doors were ripped right out of their brick wall moorings with no effort at all.
If there were to be a remake of this made for TV flick, I would suggest they tone down the werewolf wardrobe a bit. The pressed slacks and fitted shirt were suitable attire for the daytime Andrew, but didn't really go with his after hour activities. Ditto for the well groomed facial hair and manicured nails. But then again, this was a refined Southern werewolf, so maybe it makes sense.
"Moon of the Wolf" has some well known folks doing a pretty good job in their respective roles. David Janssen is suitably methodical in his investigation as Sheriff Aaron Whittaker, and unwilling to rush to judgment. Fine character performances are turned in by Geoffrey Lewis and Royal Dano, who look as comfortable in their bayou locale as in any of the Westerns they appeared in. With a stronger second half, the film might have achieved a more memorable name recognition than it has today.
"Moon of the Wolf" is a good example of a an early 70's made for TV horror film. This werewolf saga succeeds admirably due to the efforts of the cast, some good location shooting and a better than average screenplay (for TV at least). Actors like David Jansenn,Bradford Dillman and Barbara Rush do their professional best to put this story of lycanthropy in the south across and it manages to be both interesting and somewhat exciting despite some cheesy make up effects. It is a good way to pass an hour or so, and for my money is just as captivating as the kind of PG-13 horror fare that is ground out today to entice teenagers to go out to the multiplex.
I knew she was pregnant - I was third in my class. Yeah right.
Other than the over-the-top doctor this was really not a bad little mystery flick. Kind of a "in the heat of the night" meets X-files. Quickie case synopsis - local girl gets mauled by something, Louisiana sheriff takes the case, all the prime suspects get "pardoned" in the same night - then you have to start listening to the crazy old man and burn some home remedies on your porch step.
I really got into the movie until the very end - where as usual the producer says "OK, bring in the monster, we got to wrap this thing up" and plot convenience theater really takes over. If they would have spent as much time and development on the ending as they did the first 2/3 of the movie - this could be a real hidden treasure. As it is, it won't disappoint those looking for a TV quality sci-fi mystery.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ah, the simple days before audiences demanded over-the-top, computerized effects and buckets of blood spewing from every corner of the screen... When a man in polyester slacks and a furry face was enough to send people grasping their throw pillows on a Tuesday night in front of the TV set. Janssen plays a laid-back, rather-beleagered sheriff in a small Louisiana town who finds himself investigating the mauled body of a young lady. His investigation includes contact with local yokel Dano, anguished brother of the victim Lewis, testy physician Beradino and town royalty Dillman and his sister Rush, who live in the biggest house on the biggest piece of land. As bits of evidence begin to surface, it becomes clear that no ordinary man could have committed the crime, nor could any known animal have done it. While sifting through the clues and fending off various outraged local citizens, Janssen finds time to flirt with Rush, his secret high school crush, who is back in town after several years in the big city. Soon, another victim is claimed and eventually Rush discovers that she may be next on the menu, so Janssen must try to protect her (a task he performs with a notable lack of effectiveness!) For a low-budget TV-movie, this has a nice amount of atmosphere (thanks to location filming) and sports a cast of familiar faces who generally do a fine job. Janssen is his normal weary, but amenable, self, attempting to make sense out of a confusing situation. Rush is attractive and dewy, floating around with a basket of flower cuttings, yet adding shades of dimension to her character. Dillman gets to act in some of the more embarrassing sequences of the film, but brings his customary commitment to the role. Beradino comes off as a stocky block of aged wood and looks tired. His subplot is a tad unbelievable. Lewis, always a quirky and unusual presence, is quite effective. It's a short, tight mystery with a reasonably hair-raising finale and is the type of film that seems lost forever amidst today's fare. A similar television film, but with a different type of denouement is "Scream of the Wolf" with Peter Graves and Clint Walker.
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