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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Scream of the Wolf (1974)

My made for television movie marathon keeps on truckin’. See what I did there? You know since most of these are from the ‘70s. This time around I checked out Scream of the Wolf that was an ABC movie of the week. It stars Peter Graves and Clint Walker of Killdozer infamy! And it was directed by the great Dan Curtis from a script written by Richard Matheson. Looks like it is a werewolf movie. I’m thinking this is going to be fun.

The fun starts with a man running out of gas or maybe having car trouble at night in the middle of nowhere. He starts walking for help but is soon running for his life from something that chases him down and tears him apart. The next morning we are introduced to Peter Graves character, Wetherby, an expert hunter who is brought in by the sheriff to take a look. It seems that whatever is responsible is an animal, but there are things that don’t make sense. Like the tracks changing from four legs to two and then disappearing altogether. Wetherby tries to enlist the help of his friend Byron, but he refuses. In fact, Byron seems pleased that there is a killer on the loose. He thinks a bit of fear makes everyone more alive. He comes across as a very creepy guy. What is killing people? Does Wetherby stop it? Does Byron ever help? I’m not telling!

This has all the hallmarks of a Dan Curtis production. You have an excellent cast, here Peter Graves and Clint Walker, who are taking the material seriously and creating characters that get the audience’s attention. Especially Walker who makes Byron both fascinating and frightening. He has some strange ideas about what makes life worth living and isn’t afraid to share them. There are also a few scenes where the character is creepy as hell. The one in particular that comes to mind is an encounter between Byron and a hippy animal lover when the latter challenges Byron in a local bar about hunting. This might be the best thing that I’ve ever seen Walker do and he was in a lot of great movies.

Every movie needs some arm wrasslin'
The plot has a big twist that I didn’t see coming. It is hard for me to describe it without spoilers. The best I can do is say that I thought I knew what was going on and I was sort of right. But the movie had a few clever things up its sleeve that I never saw coming. This is superbly written and well thought out. Considering the legendary Richard Matheson is responsible for the script that shouldn’t be surprising. Between writer, cast, and director there is a lot of talent behind Scream of the Wolf.

I’m a huge Dan Curtis fan from Kolchak to the Norliss Tapes and everyone’s favorite Trilogy of Terror he never fails to give the audience something new and different to sink its teeth into. Pun intended here.  I’ve never seen Scream of the Wolf until this viewing. I knew it existed, but I never tracked down a copy. Next to Kolchak this might be my personal favorite from him. Really this ending is so interesting and unexpected. I highly recommend it. As with most of the other movies from this marathon the link above will take you to the YouTube link to watch it.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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