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Friday, February 23, 2018

Moon of the Wolf (1972)





Time for some David Jansen in the Made for T.V. marathon. In addition to being in the iconic series the Fugitive Jansen also starred in a few great movies of the week, with Moon of the Wolf being one of them. No need to waste any more time let’s get to the Loup Garou!

Here Jansen plays a sheriff on a small island in Louisiana who has to deal with the death of a young woman. She appears to have been killed by some wild dogs, but the local doctor discovers that she was hit in the head. Of course, that means a man must have killed or incapacitated her and left her in the field to be finished off by the dogs… Or of course there could be a werewolf running around. Yeah, it’s a werewolf or Loup Garou as the elderly father of the victim keeps saying. There is also a subplot about Jansen’s sheriff flirting with the beautiful daughter of the Rodanthe family. They are about as close as one would get to local nobility here in the states. Their family has a lot of money and influence on the small island community. Her older brother Andrew does his best to discourage this as you get the distinct feel he isn’t comfortable dealing with the “common” folk.

So, who gets hairy at the full moon and is running around killing folks (there are more victims later on)? Is it the doctor that fathered the dead girl’s baby? Is it her crazy brother who has a terrible temper? Or is it Andrew the “lord of the manner”. Nah couldn’t be him. When has a nobleman ever been the Wolfman… I mean a werewolf in these movies?

Okay so maybe that was a bit of a spoiler. Though it shouldn’t be because the movie all but hits you over the head as to who the killer is pretty early on. The plot is supposed to give hints but again it is obvious if you have ever watched a horror flick. I also thought that the middle of the movie gets bogged down a bit with the romance between the sheriff and the sister. It feels more like padding than it does an important part of the story, which here is the werewolf running around killing folks. That said when we finally get back to some creature mayhem things get fun again. The end of the movie has a lot of stalking and creeping around an old dark house and barn. And you get the typical “creature is dead but not really” ending that is cheesy but enjoyable.

Okay I'll admit it looks goofy!
Speaking of cheesy I know that the makeup effects work is going to bug a lot of people. This is one of those guy in a mask werewolves that isn’t as popular as it used to be. This movie clearly took inspiration from the Universal flicks for the creature design. Though admittedly here it doesn’t look as good as Pierce’s classic work. Still they do a decent job keeping it in the shadows and off the screen for as long as possible. That I give them credit for. I also am willing to cut them some slack considering how quickly these movies were shot. The fact that it looks at all decent is a bonus.

I like this movie but don’t love it. It has some flaws but still has that goofy vibe that I’m looking for sometimes. I’ve seen this one many times and have always come away with a satisfied feeling of time well spent. 

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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