Moon of the Wolf (TV Movie 1972) Poster

(1972 TV Movie)

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5/10
Well acted and well filmed lycanthropic TV movie
mstomaso21 May 2006
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
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6/10
"How come I'm not getting' any more answers out of the back of your head than I was out of the front?"
classicsoncall12 April 2006
Warning: 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.
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I can't get this movie out of my head...
shanakin7 April 2005
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.
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7/10
Good made for TV horror
JackMay2328 December 2007
"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.
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6/10
Bad Moon on the rise...
babeth_jr1 May 2006
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.
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6/10
Entertaining
Teknofobe701 May 2005
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 love interest).

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.
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8/10
A worthwhile film
JHC310 February 2000
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.
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Decent little mystery film involving lycanthropy
Poseidon-319 July 2006
Warning: 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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6/10
Once were wolves
Chase_Witherspoon8 January 2010
Creepy little tele-movie concerning a highborn Louisiana family with a dark secret. After a local girl is found mutilated in a nearby bayou, local sheriff (Janssen) must use all his detective skills to solve the crime. His investigation leads him to an old flame (Rush) and her aristocratic brother (Dillman) who are both keen for the culprit to be caught, but for different reasons. Everyone's a suspect including the local medical examiner (Beradino), who can't seem to determine the cause of death, while the paranormal activity leads to more mysterious victims. Tense, with a sometimes unsettling mood, the southern tones and textures make this an offbeat little suspender that belies its meagre TV budget.

The leading trio succeed with their characterisations and experienced feature director Petrie constructs an intelligent plot woven with effective twists and surprises. Appropriately, the romantic undertones between Janssen and Rush fail to flourish, and so the core narrative never loses momentum. Able support from Lewis, Dano and Chandler in particular, as the oafish yokels, suspects and victims, add capable depth to the cast & characters. Decent cinematography, apt dialogue and some effective chills ensure the end product is beyond the typical mid week tele-movie experience, and although the make-up effects are 'limited', this doesn't undermine the picture.

Lycanthropy devotee or not, the occult themes shouldn't deter you from investing 74 minutes in this modest mystery, entertaining despite its small screen threshold.
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7/10
interesting case of 24 hour malaria
manicgecko6 April 2006
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.
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8/10
About as good as B movies get!
leczorn19 February 2006
Having been only nine years old when David Janssen died on February 13, 1980, I had never heard of him until discovering him last year when I bought a DVD of "The Swiss Conspiracy." I had never even heard of "The Fugitive!" David plays the main character in "The Swiss Conspiracy," which is my favorite obscure movie of all time. So I was very happy when I saw a DVD containing two of David's other movies - "Moon of the Wolf" and "Prisoner in the Middle" - at Dollar Tree! Of course, I bought it! And the bin there also included a DVD that contains "Moon of the Wolf" and "The Swiss Conspiracy!" "Moon of the Wolf" is a B movie but it's about as good as B movies get! It's fun and fast paced horror mystery that makes the most of its 75 minutes.

The movie, set in the small Bayou town of Marsh Island, Louisiana, opens with a young woman named Ellie Burrifors being found dead. It initially appears that she has been killed by wild dogs. But the doctor who performs the autopsy, Dr. Duten (played by John Beradino), informs Sheriff Aaron Whitaker (Janssen) that Ellie was first knocked unconscious by someone who was probably left handed. So Whitaker begins investigating Ellie's death as a murder.

The first suspect becomes Ellie's brother Lawrence (Geoffrey Lewis). Even though he appears to be distraught about his sister's death, he acknowledges to Whitaker that he once hit her. Whitaker asks Lawrence to demonstrate how he hit her and when Lawrence does, Whitaker notices it was a left handed punch.

But shortly afterward, Whitaker learns that Ellie, at the time of her death, was pregnant by the almost 50-year old Dr. Duten - who did not mention the pregnancy in his autopsy report. He acknowledges that she wanted to marry him and keep her baby but that he wanted her to have an abortion. He becomes another suspect.

The elderly Tom Gurmandy Sr. (Roayl Dano), whose son was one of those who discovered Ellie's dead body, continually blames the death on the Lukaru (I'm just guessing at the spelling) and no one knows what he's talking about. He speaks only French and always seems to be senile, weak and hysterical - which means, of course, that he turns out to be right on target! During the course of the investigation, Whitaker encounters the woman who becomes the closest thing he has to a love interest in the movie - his former classmate Louise Rodanthe (Barbara Rush). She has just re-located back to Louisiana after leaving New York under cloudy circumstances. She now resides with her brother, tycoon Andrew Rodanthe (Bradford Dillman).

Whitaker and Louise acknowledge having had crushes on each other when they were classmates. They go to a restaurant together and seem interested in each other. No full fledged romance between the two develops but a movie like this doesn't need a love story.

When Lawrence learns of his sister's pregnancy, he believed that Dr. Duten killed her. Lawrence assaults Dr. Duten and ends up in jail for it. But while there, he and a police officer are killed by a creature who is apparently immune to bullets and is powerful enough to knock down the bars of a jail cell.

This leads to the realization by Whitaker and the other Marsh Island residents that the killer is a werewolf. A town wide effort to identity and kill the werewolf quickly ensues.

While the werewolf concept is certainly corny, the movie is executed way too well to be dismissed as junk. Janssen is excellent as Whitaker, a character similar substance but much different in style than his character in "The Swiss Conspiracy," David Christopher.

Both characters are somewhat mild mannered but tough, largely emotionless and have dry, sarcastic senses of humor. But Christopher is a polished, suave former U.S. Department of Justice official while Whitaker is a typical small town sheriff, a hick who isn't well educated. Nailing both roles is a great achievement. Janssen is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors and I'm very much looking forward to seeing much more from him, starting with the aforementioned "Prisoner in the Middle." The rest of the cast in "Moon of the Wolf" is excellent as well. And the movie, which contains little blood or graphic violence, is a very welcome reminder of the era in which horror movies created suspense and intrigue mainly through clever writing rather than mega-gore.

Some other reviews of this movie have criticized the technically quality of some of its DVDs. But the copy I have is very good. Not pristine, but about as good as could be expected for a 1972 made for TV movie.

In conclusion, I recommend "Moon of the Wolf" to all Janssen fans and anyone else who enjoys the guilty pleasures of a good B movie! 8/10.
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7/10
Pretty Good Werewolf Movie
vtcavuoto11 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Moon of the Wolf" was an ABC movie of the week that came out a year after "The Night Stalker". This is a movie that has great acting in it but not a lot of thrills or special effects. The werewolf make-up isn't that convincing either-the werewolf looks more like a rapid poodle! However,David Jansen, Barbara Rush and Bradford Dillman do a wonderful job with their roles. The plot is original but the pace slows down in some spots. Most of the action takes place during the last 10 minutes of the film. I purchased this for $1.00 thinking it would be an OK movie but it was much better than I expected. This is a movie that may grow on you.
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6/10
Pretty Good
FilmFatale23 September 2008
I was pretty surprised by this backwoods bayou shocker. Murders start occurring in a little Louisiana town, and the sheriff's investigation points to signs of a werewolf on the loose. If you can suspend the fact that it's pretty obvious who the wolf is, this is a fun mystery. And in addition to the werewolf plot, we've got ideas of class-consciousness, romance, unwanted pregnancies, and small-town sleaze to ponder. The performances were decent and it moves along quickly. Werewolf completists, fans of David Jansen or Bradford Dillman (he was in EVERYTHING in the 70s), and Cajun-Gothic fans can all find something here. Although I can't believe NOBODY in a bayou town knew the world loup-garou, there are worse ways to spend an afternoon than watching "Moon of the Wolf."
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5/10
Fans of 70s nostalgia, take note
GroovyDoom5 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The difficulty of actually making an effective werewolf film was never more apparent than in 1970s made-for-television items. The familiar trappings of the genre were camp by nature, and would elicit more laughs than chills in anybody except the most impressionable youngsters. Despite that, there were a few examples of TV wolfmen. "Scream of the Wolf" comes to mind, although that film completely avoided any images of any furry-faced men. The brilliant TV series "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" featured a werewolf episode that was easily one of the least of the series.

"Moon of the Wolf" could be one of the best of the TV werewolf genre, although technically that's not saying much. The direction is typically flat, with what seems like a lot of wasted opportunities for utilizing the unique Lousiana locations. The film suffers from poor home video representation, relegated to discount labels that present the film with muted audio and video transfers.

The positive thing is, despite all of this, there's a great deal of 70s atmosphere. The rural locations are often spooky, with some ramshackle bayou shacks that look like no place you'd want to be stranded with a werewolf running around. There's also a stately home that manages to be pretty creepy, too.

The plot is standard TV drama, with the death-by-mangling of a local causing the sheriff to start a low-key investigation. As he finds out more and more about the girl's death, he suspects a human element to the incident, and pretty soon it's a murder investigation. Of course we know by default that she was killed by a werewolf, and a second attack leaves no doubt about it, with a set of steel bars ripped out of a brick wall with sheer supernatural strength. We also have a pretty strong suspicion about who the werewolf is, and the movie does nothing to throw us off the trail or prove us wrong, although the mystery element of the script was halfhearted to begin with.

Something must be said for the great genre cast, too. You'll recognize familiar B-movie personality David Jannsen, although he didn't appear in many horror films during his career. Bradford Dillman is also on hand ("Piranha", "Chosen Survivors", "Demon, Demon", "The Swarm"). Barbara Rush ("It Came From Outer Space", "Death Car on the Freeway") and Royal Dano ("Dead People aka Messiah of Evil", "Killer Klowns from Outer Space") also make appearances.

"Moon of the Wolf" is interesting viewing for fans of 70s horror who've seen it all. It's fairly easy to come by on home video, thanks to all the bargain DVD sets that are in circulation featuring it. Worth a viewing.
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6/10
a reasonable mystery/thriller with a fantasy conclusion
KDWms7 April 2003
Here come some more positive remarks about Moon of the Wolf. Remember, it was made - for television - in 1972. That, in my opinion, allows for the very chintzy make-up, and, hence, limited screen time for the werewolf. Professional acting. And it's not a knock when I say that the plot is simple: Who (or what) got this small, Louisiana town all worked up after the body of a young female resident is discovered? That's sheriff Janssen's mission. We are introduced to a few suspects along the way; plus, a rekindled romance. In fact, most of this movie is just an earthly mystery/thriller; turning fantasy only toward the end. It's certainly worth one's time - even a reasonable amount of money to rent or to buy.
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4/10
Are you left-handed?
bensonmum227 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
  • Younger people may find it hard to believe, but there was a time when horror fans actually looked forward to movies like Moon of the Wolf. Before cable/satellite television and home video libraries, fans were at the mercy of the three major networks to satisfy some of their craving for horror movies. The networks would occasionally oblige the horror fan with made-for-television movies. When one of these movies appeared in the TV lineup, I couldn't wait. Titles like Satan's School for Girls, The Night Stalker, Death at Love House, and Bad Ronald have become fond childhood memories. I somehow missed Moon of the Wolf when it was originally aired, but I didn't miss much.


  • The story begins with the discovery of a woman's body in a swamp. Because of the way her body was ravaged, the townsfolk immediately put the blame for her death on "wild dogs". But the local doctor doesn't see it that way. He notes a human element present in the woman's death. As the sheriff begins his investigation, more people die brutal deaths. An old man in the swamp insists that the deaths are caused by a "loup-garou". But that seems like nonsense to the sheriff. Surely there's not a werewolf loose in the swamp.


  • As far as 70s made-for-television horror goes, Moon of the Wolf is far from the best. Too much of the movie plays like a soap opera. You've got: the dead girl's mysterious pregnancy, the rich man in town who treats it and the people who live there like his personal fiefdom, the budding romance between the sheriff and the rich man's sister who has returned to town under a cloud of uncertainty, and the drugs the dead girl was stealing from the hospital. It's all too corny and does nothing to help the horror aspects of the film. By the time the werewolf shows up (the final 10 minutes), it's too late.


  • The movie attempts to make a big mystery out of who the werewolf is. The sheriff quickly comes up with three possible suspects, but as a fan of horror, if you can't spot the real killer, you need to have your horror card taken from you. The answer to the mystery literally beats you over the head. The sheriff also has a very unique way of trying to uncover the truth. Instead of long, drawn-out interrogations, the sheriff's entire investigation consists of asking almost everybody in town, "Are you left-handed?" because the doctor has told him that the killer may (or may not) be left-handed. What amazing police work! I'm surprised CSI hasn't' picked-up on this method of crime solving.


  • You may be asking yourself if the movie is as bad and silly as I've described, why haven't I rated it any lower? Well, I can't help myself. It's a nostalgia thing with me. I grew up with these movies and still enjoy them no matter how bad they are. I'm a sucker for this stuff.
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8/10
Moon of The Wolf Review
onebadbear29 November 2005
Having seen this movie ages ago when I was in my teens I remembered it and for the longest time could not find a copy of it anywhere. Finally found it on 2 DVD set named Beasts of Legend or some such name. Anyway bought it primarily just for this particular title and as a previous reviewer mentioned......yes the picture quality and sound do leave quite a bit to be desired however the plot was handled very well, especially emphasizing the detective who-done-it type of approach used by the sheriff. I always liked David Jansen as an actor and even though this movie was by far his best I still enjoyed the over all premise and the scenery which was very well done. All in all a nice little film to add to any werewolf lovers collection.
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5/10
The Night Howler.
mark.waltz12 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
You can't expect feature film quality from the TV movies of the 1970's. The equivalent of B movies from the golden age of Hollywood, the movies of the week were "stay at home" family nights where 75 minutes of feature gave enough entertainment to entice the family to anticipate these low budget films. Often, the subjects were horror related, and this is a modern day retread of what Universal had done with "The Wolf Man" in the 1940's as well as dozens of other similar themes made on a dime.

This TV movie, set in the Louisiana bayou, surrounds the sudden discovery of a possible werewolf, responsible for the death of a young girl. Sheriff David Jansen is at his wit's end trying to discover what is really going on, but the pressures on him are incredible. Town boss Bradford Dillman and his sophisticated sister Barbara Rush are involved. As well as medical examiner John Beradino who happened to have impregnated the young victim. Beradino, the star of TV soap "General Hospital", is far from noble and a few years older than his supposed 50 years.

There's also Geoffrey Lewis as a Bayou local, his hospitalized father Royal Dano (basically just mumbling sounds while attempting to make accusations) and their housekeeper, the lovable Claudia McNeil. It's Jansen's tongue in cheek performance as the cynical sheriff that stands out, similar in its weariness to Darren McGavin in "The Night Stalker". The identity of the culprit comes as no surprise, but it's fast moving, often funny and occasionally chilling.
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7/10
wolf bayou
Cristi_Ciopron4 February 2015
Warning: 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.
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6/10
Enjoyable made-for-TV werewolf flick
Red-Barracuda16 March 2014
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.
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6/10
More Mystery than Horror
TheExpatriate7005 July 2011
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.
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4/10
Tame, silly fun. Suitable for children.
capkronos3 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Marsh Island, a small Louisiana bayou town, is plagued by mysterious mutilation murders committed whenever there's a full moon. They're blamed on rabid dogs, but local good ole boy Sheriff Aaron Whitaker (David Janssen) thinks otherwise. He investigates the crimes, while getting romantically involved with a wealthy chatterbox named Louise (Barbara Rush), who is from "The First Family of Louisiana" and has just moved back into the family mansion with her overly-protective brother Andrew (Bradford Dillman). Hmmm. As the bodies start to pile up and it is determined that whoever is committing the crimes is strong enough to tear iron bars out of cement to murder someone else in a jail cell, the authorities are lead to believe that the culprit is not entirely human. Couldn't be a werewolf, could it? The backwoods country folk include Tom (Royal Dano), a senile old coot who rants about the dreaded "lugaloo" and Lawrence (Geoffrey Lewis), the grumpy chief murder suspect whose brother was one of the victims.

Super-tame made-for-TV effort; so tame that it takes an entire hour until we get our first on-screen murder scene… which the camera cuts away from at the last minute. Even more elusive than the blood-n-gore is the monster, who is not seen until the very end. When it finally does show up, you see why it took so long; the minimal make-up (designed by Tom and William Tuttle) is pretty awful. Thankfully, Janssen makes an engaging lead and makes it bearable. Based on the novel by Leslie H. Whitton.

Goodtimes and WorldVision both released it to video in the 1980s. It slipped into obscurity for a little while, but became a fixture on those cheap 20 horror DVD packs and is now very easy to find.
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4/10
Barking at the hillbilly Moon...
Coventry8 July 2006
Who or what could possibly dispose of such inhuman strength that it can horribly slaughter a poor defenseless girl with simply one powerful strike of the left arm? That's a stupidly obvious question, of course, since the film's title and DVD-cover promptly indicate us that this is a WEREWOLF movie we're watching here! And yet it takes the Southern Louisiana sheriff Aaron Whitaker three quarters of the playtime to discover that the murdered town girl Ellie was torn to pieces by a sacrilegious & hairy monster underneath a full moon! Before he finds out about this, the sheriff personally has to ask every single inhabitant of the town whether or not they're left-handed and – as some sort of entirely irrelevant sub plot – get reunited with the girl who he had a crush on in high school more than 40 years ago! Oh well, maybe I'm being too harsh for this charming, made-for-TV 70's horror movie after all. "Moon of the Wolf" may be cheap & forgettable, it's nevertheless an entertaining and well-intended film with quite a lot of good elements as well! The last fifteen minutes, for example, contain quite a lot of suspense & action the werewolf make-up effects are adorably cheesy! What I liked most about this movie was the setting! Horror movies set in the South (especially those of the 70's) always feature that typical hillbilly-atmosphere and simply every supportive character is an uncanny and dangerous looking redneck. Younger horror buff won't find this very interesting, but "Moon of the Wolf" is definitely worth a look in case you miss TV-nostalgia of the early 70's.
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7/10
Good writing & acting, suspense/mystery
saintgod-736-40637619 February 2020
I have this in a sci-fi collection for some reason and opens like a horror movie, but it's neither really. Pleasantly surprised to see it's more of a thriller mystery than anything else. As the sheriff does some detective work, the story begins to unfold to answer the "who done it?" question. The monster make-up is quite terrible, like a parent working on a kid's halloween costume, there's not a lot of wolf, but is intriguing enough mentally to watch until conclusion.
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5/10
Tame but reasonably enjoyable TV movie
Stevieboy66616 August 2019
A sheriff investigates the brutal killing of a young woman in the swamp lands of Louisiana, initially thought of as an attack by wild dogs. But in fact it turns out to be that of a werewolf. Despite its relatively short running time I found Moon of the Wolf to be pretty slow: the bulk of the movie follows the sheriff in his investigation, it is very heavy on dialogue and it is not until the second half that the horror aspect (i.e. the werewolf) kicks in. Sadly there is no mystery as to whom the werewolf is. However there are some nice POV shots, it is well acted, has some nice locations and the film does build to an acceptably decent ending, with a few moments of suspense. Not at all bad for an early 1970's TV horror movie, I'd certainly give it another viewing.
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