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Moon of the Wolf, 1972From the DVD case: After several locals are viciously murdered, a Louisiana sheriff begins to suspect that he may be dealing with a werewolf. (1972, color)

Mark says: The first thing that grabbed my attention regarding this movie, is that it stars one of my favorite scream queens from the 1950s, Barbara Rush (It Came From Outer Space, When Worlds Collide). She’s a bit older in this film, and dressed in a ridiculous 70s wardrobe, but she still maintains her scream queen charm.

This made-for-tv movie features some recognizable character actors as well: David Janssen is Sheriff Aaron Whitaker; John Beradino is Dr. Druten, and Geoffrey Lewis plays local hillbilly and werewolf victim, Lawrence Burrifors.

Because Moon of the Wolf was made for television, I’m giving it more slack than I would give a theater release. The acting is solid and the plot line is not too ridiculous, though it does have some soap opera elements.

Moon of the Wolf fails as a mystery, because it is quite obvious early on which character is the werewolf. We are given three suspects to ponder, but any novice tv detective could solve this case blindfolded. The main clue is that the killer is left-handed, and Sheriff Whitaker wastes no time in asking each suspect if he is a southpaw.

The werewolf does not actually show himself until nearly the end of the story. There’s no transformation scene, and when we finally do get a good look at the critter, we are apt to laugh. The poor beast looks like someone rubbed black shoe polish on his nose.

Still, this is a fun movie, and worth a view especially if you are a fan of werewolf flicks. I picked up this DVD gem, brand new, for only $2.50 at a local video store. I would say the entertainment value was certainly worth the price of admission.

Directed by Daniel Petrie.

Scene to watch for: Dr. Druten and Sheriff Whitaker don’t seem to have any qualms about drinking hard liquor on the job.

Line to listen for: “Well, we’re lucky you ain’t got a pocketful of dimes, aren’t we?”

Mark’s rating: ! ! ½ out of 5.

IMDB Link

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5 Comments

  1. Mark: I seem to remember this advertised as an ABC Movie of the Week. Most were very cheaply made, for obvious reasons. Despite this fact many were entertaining, like ”Trapped” featuring James Brolin as a man locked in a department store trying to avoid several vicious Doberman guard dogs, and a few, like “The Night Stalker,” rose above their meager budgets and became classics. Oddly, I don’t remember anything about this movie except for the title. I’m sure that I would have tried to watch it, simply because of the werewolf subject matter. Who knows, if I’m as lucky as you, I might run across it for $2.50 somewhere. Maybe once I start watching it, some of the scenes will spark my memory.

  2. Paul: I wouldn’t doubt it was an ABC movie of the week. I don’t recall seeing it as a kid, though its subject matter would have been right up my alley. I watched it again about a week ago. It does have some nice moments, and I’m still a sucker for Barbara Rush.

  3. David Janssen is always great!

  4. I don’t recall if it was ABC or not, but it was definitely a movie-of-the-week type thing. Interestingly enough, in the novel the movie’s based on, it wasn’t a “real” werewolf; the culprit had some (I assume heretofore unknown…) form of epilepsy or something like that.

  5. Actually, back in the 70’s there were quite a few truly memorable made-for-tv movies. A few that come to mind:

    Trilogy of Terror (with Karen Black and the Zuni fetish doll!)
    Sibyl (two-parter, with Sally Field)
    The Legend of Lizzie Borden (Elizabeth Montgomery)
    The Girl Most Likely to… (Stockard Channing)
    The Deadliest Season (Michael Moriarty and Meryl Streep; great film about pro hockey, though it’s not a genre film like the others)
    and on and on…

    At what point was it decided that tv movies have to be limited to some social problem-of-the-week pablum?

    By the way, I can’t leave without putting in a word for my favorite under-appreciated (and very little-known) tv movie, “Isn’t It Shocking?”, with Edmund O’Brien as a serial killer of lonely old ladies and Alan Alda as the small-town sheriff bewildered by it all, along with Louise Lasser, Ruth Gordon and others. If anyone out there gets the chance, be sure to check it out!


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