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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Moon of the Wolf' is actually a cool, sulfurous, sharp _teleplay,
marshes, bayou, malaria, TV done as B cinema, a genuine discovery, and
it has the atmosphere of its plot, and not a generic Louisiana
atmosphere. Peasants and gentry, Dixie feudalism, the sheriff
impersonates Widmark nicely, he's a temperate loner. Dillman is mostly
looking desolate. Someone wrote that there were quite a few of similar
TV movies intent to look like 'Kolchak'.
It's not scary, but suspenseful, intriguing; it gives the feel that the events are eerie, but entirely real, and this thanks to the many good things in this _teleplay, an intrinsically likable movie, what an awesome, unassuming chiller, far-reaching TV. There are tropes, but they are appealingly used. The cast of the _teleplay is extraordinarily enjoyable, including 'Andrew', the werewolf.
This is actually a pretty good old made for TV film. It's not all that
bad at all... the horror in it is more in the way of the thrills and
mystery instead of the werewolf itself. It is interesting - quite a
captivating story especially for a movie that was made for television
in the 1970's.
It's not a blood and guts film so if that is what you want then you might want to look for another werewolf flick instead of this one. If you like mystery-thrillers and werewolves with a story that is somewhat captivating then you might like this one.
If you like this TV movie then you might like "A Howling in the Woods", "Trilogy of Terror" or even the awesome vampire film "Salem's Lot".
I would rate Moon of the Werewolf a 6 but because it is set in Louisiana I will have to give the film an extra point.
I have a bit of affection for American made of TV movies of the 70's.
There is something a little cosy and dependable about them. Moon of the
Wolf is no different in this regard. And while, like many TV films, it
is restricted content-wise in what it can show, it has pretty decent
actors at its disposal and is well written. In other words, what it
lacks in excess, it makes up with solid professional values. It's a
werewolf film but it unusually takes the form of a detective story. A
sheriff investigates a series of murders that are occurring in the
Louisiana swamplands. In due course he unearths several unsavoury
secrets of the townsfolk.
The story introduces us to several characters and allows for some plot melodramatics. This all adds to the whodunit aspect quite nicely. It does help that the acting is of a good standard, with such dependable character actors such as Geoffrey Lewis on hand. While the bayou setting adds a further bit of nice production value and ensures that the story is more distinct. As a horror film, it's perhaps unsurprising that it has to pull its punches a little due to its TV movie origins. But, for me, this was not much of a problem and is offset by the several other good things it has got going for it. For fans of werewolf movies I think this is a good effort, well worth checking out. Equally, fans of 70's TV movies should also get a bit of enjoyment out of this one. Overall, a pretty good little movie.
While it may not be remembered as a particularly great film, "Moon of
the Wolf" is not a bad way to spend some quality time with your
television or computer. Starring the late, great David Janssen and
equally talented Barbara Bush, the film opens with the discovery of a
horribly mutilated girl in the lonely Louisiana bayou. As you can
probably guess from the title, she wasn't killed by any ordinary
murderer and after a few more brutal killings, it's up to Sheriff Aaron
(Jansen) and his former high school crush Louise (Rush) to figure out
who the beast is before it kills again. Despite it being a made for TV
movie of the week, the film holds up rather well, especially when
compared to some of the few other werewolf films of that time. The
story is well written and for much of the time feels more like a small
town mystery than it does a horror picture. In fact, as some other
people have pointed out, if you went into this movie without knowing
the title, you might think just that. The setting of the Louisana bayou
somehow helps set up a mysterious tone for the film, perhaps because
swamps are a bit creepy. Whatever the reason, it definitely adds to the
film. The director of the film should earn some praise for use of some
pretty good camera angles of the beasts point of view.
But the strongest strength of the film is probably the actors. David Janssen throws everything he has into the role of Sheriff Aaron as he did in every movie, be it "The Fugitive" or a low budget job like this one and it makes the movie better because of it (such a shame that he died so relatively young at the age of forty-eight in 1980). Barbara Rush looks radiant here and has the talent to back up her looks in the role of Louise, a member of the town's wealthiest family and a woman who has charm but is no diva in distress either (particularly at the end). Bradford Dillman also puts in a good performance as Louise's somewhat mysterious brother Andrew. As for the werewolf itself, the effects are not terrible but they're certainly not the greatest either, with the beast having the same Lon Chaney wolfman look that was used from the 40's to the 70's (it would not be until 1981's "The Howling" when makeup effects would advance to the point where werewolves actually looked like the creatures from legend). Never the less, the film never loses steam and it all leads up to a very well done finale. I wish I could say that TV still produced such little charmers like this, but the age of the movie of the week and the grand mini-series is all but over now. But don't let that stop you from seeing this sleeper on you tube and while you're at it, remember to keep the wolves at bay.
After several locals are viciously murdered, a Louisiana sheriff (David
Janssen) starts to suspect he may be dealing with a werewolf.
Films like this one (as well as "Dark Night of the Scarecrow") prove that once upon a time, movies on television could actually be good. Today, that may be true, but in my opinion far less often. (The SyFy channel single-handedly lowers the bar on made-for-TV movies.)
This film introduced me to the term "loup-garou", a type of werewolf that is common in the culture of the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius. I do love how a plot point is that the townspeople do not know the term or even how to say it, with "loukarook" and other variations being used.
This also taught me about the fictional "Seibert's syndrome", an offshoot of blackwater fever. That fever releases hemoglobin directly into the blood vessels and into the urine, frequently leading to kidney failure. Pretty sure that the guy allegedly suffering from it in this movie does not know what he is talking about.
Sure, the werewolf (when we finally get a good glimpse) is a bit cheesy. But that is fine by me. Give me a well-crafted 1970s film over today's version of werewolves any day of the week. I would rather see a guy with a decent five o'clock shadow running amok than Taylor Lautner and his washboard abs sulking.
So it's a made for TV movie. That means it doesn't have all the splashy
and dazzling effects you'd see in a big budget Hollywood production,
and while it has some well known stars (most notably David Janssen) it
doesn't have any really big names attached to it. It also features a
truly abysmal makeup job on the werewolf, when it finally appears near
the end of the movie. The makeup is truly some of the most laughable
werewolf makeup I've ever seen (and - given the weakness of the makeup,
thank goodness they didn't treat us to a transformation scene!) And
yet, for all that, there's something about this that works reasonably
In many ways, and for most of the runtime, this is really more of a murder mystery than a horror movie. It opens with the body of a young woman being discovered, and although details aren't really shown or even described, it's clear that her death was a gruesome one. Janssen plays the local sheriff of the small Louisiana bayou town where this occurred who suddenly finds himself looking for a killer. There's a range of suspects, and there's nothing in particular that points to a werewolf - except for the title of the movie, of course - and the old man who keeps crying out in French "Loup Garou" (French for werewolf.) Unfortunately no one can understand what the old man is saying. The movie starts to take on more of a horror element when the camera acts as the eyes of the as yet unseen creature as it scouts the local jail, and then breaks in and kills a locked up prisoner. Once iron bars are pulled out of the wall, it's clear that this isn't your average everyday killer, but the werewolf himself isn't really clearly seen until the last scenes of the movie, where he stalks his final victim. Those last 15 minutes or so are pretty suspenseful.
This is not a great movie. Not by any stretch of the imagination - and yet, it's kind of fun to watch, and somehow the horrible makeup actually adds to its sort of quirky watchability. It pales in comparison to big budget Hollywood werewolf movies, but if you keep in mind the context in which it was made, you have to admit that it wasn't a bad job. (7/10)
Moon of the Wolf is a decent made for TV horror movie that succeeds
largely on the basis of guessing the identity of the werewolf. As such,
it is more of a mystery than a horror movie.
A Louisiana town suddenly finds itself plagued with a series of gruesome murders, investigated by David Janssen as your typical redneck sheriff. Is the raving old man right to conclude that it's a werewolf?
The film's strength lies in its ability to create red herrings that keep the viewer guessing who the killer is. In this respect, it resembles the made for TV whodunits that were popular during this time period. Among the suspects are the first victim's secret lover, the hot headed brother, and the town rednecks.
That said, it is decidedly weak from the horror standpoint. As a TV movie, it cannot show any gore, and all the attack scenes are cut aways. The film is best appreciated as a work of mystery / suspense rather than horror.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Fast moving TV movie about werewolf like killings in Louisiana David
Jansen is the sheriff looking into the killings and the rest of the
cast is filled out with B movie and TV regulars.
A speedy 75 minutes thanks to being made when TV movies often ran 90 minutes the film doesn't feel bloated and moves along at a nice clip. This is one of the few TV movies from the early 1970's that have appeared on bargain video that actually is worth taking a look at. Is it the greatest thing since sliced bread, no but it is an okay time killer that plays well as a regular movie and not just as a TV one.
6 out of 10
Small town Louisiana sheriff (David Janssen) investigates a murder that may have been committed by a werewolf. I love '70s TV movies. They just seem to have been of a higher quality than the made-for-TV stuff these days. This is a nice little murder mystery that takes its time building up to introducing the werewolf element. The only way I can see you being disappointed with this one is if you come into it expecting it to be a werewolf movie from start to finish. I suggest keeping your expectations reasonable and enjoy it for what it is, not hate it for what it isn't. It has nice atmosphere, locations, and a distinct '70s style. The werewolf's identity isn't much of a mystery but the atmosphere and the great cast make up for it. Loved seeing '50s sci-fi star Barbara Rush. She was in her forties here but lovely as ever. It's a very enjoyable TV movie that should appeal to a variety of people.
Moon Of The Wolf is a film about some really horrific killings in the
Louisiana bayou country. Sheriff David Janssen has his hands full with
three different killings, first a woman who looks like some wild animal
gnawed at her for food. But the second two have the whole town scared.
Janssen arrests Geoffrey Lewis for the first killing and someone ripped
the iron bars off the cell door to get at him and killed a deputy
sheriff guarding Lewis in the meantime.
Nice atmosphere of the bayou country is achieved in this made for television film. Unfortunately the suspense is let out halfway through the film as we're given everything but an eyewitness testimony as to who the killer is. It's just that Janssen doesn't want to even conceive of the idea, much less the existence of a werewolf.
Some of the rest of the cast includes Claudia McNeil who knows some home remedies to keep the wolf away, Barbara Rush and Bradford Dillman as a pair of rich descendants of the town's founding father and John Berardino as the town doctor. Fans of any and all of the players above will like Moon Of The Wolf.
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