‘From the light of the sun, to the darkness of your soul!’
Moon of the Wolf is a 1972 American made-for-television horror film directed by Daniel Petrie (A Howling in the Woods) from a screenplay by Alvin Sapinsley (The Hitchhiker TV series; Night Gallery), based on Leslie H. Whitten’s novel of the same name. It was produced by Everett Chambers and Peter Thomas.
The film was first broadcast on September 26, 1972, on ABC Movie of the Week. It is now considered to be in the public domain.
The movie stars David Janssen (Francis in the Haunted House; Cult of the Cobra), Barbara Rush (The Eyes of Charles Sand; Night Gallery), Geoffrey Lewis (The Devil’s Rejects; Night of the Comet; Human Experiments), Bradford Dillman (Piranha; Bug; Chosen Survivors), John Beradino, Royal Dano (Ghoulies II; Messiah of Evil; The Dark Half), John Davis Chandler.
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In the Louisiana Bayou town of Marsh Island, two farmers discover the mauled, dead body of a local young woman. Sheriff Aaron Whitaker (David Janssen) is called. The victim’s temperamental brother Lawrence Burrifors (Geoffrey Lewis) arrives at the crime scene and jumps to the conclusion that the girl’s lover committed the murder, a man whose name her brother does not know.
The town’s Doctor Drutan (John Beradino) examines the body and pronounces the girl died of a blow to the head. The sheriff investigates the crime and local residents have a variety of theories, including the belief she was killed by wild dogs. A posse is formed to track down the wild dogs with little success.
Lawrence Burrifors continues to insist the killer to be his sister’s mysterious lover while the sheriff, in turn, is suspicious of him. The girl’s sick and dying father Hugh Burrifors (Paul R. DeVille), interviewed by the sheriff, warns him of the “rougarou”. The sheriff does not understand the French term…
“A fascinating modern-day reworking of the werewolf myth which was filmed on location in primeval Louisiana swamps and is better written, better acted and more genuinely suspenseful than the rash of feature fright pieces which have long since replaced legitimate horror with grisly bloodletting.” The Hollywood Reporter
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“Most viewers going into the film will know that it’s about a werewolf, and that werewolves generally don’t have motives beyond animal instinct. This means that the characters carefully established as having potential motives for murder are easily-spotted red herrings. Meanwhile, anybody familiar with werewolf conventions (particularly the motif of cursed families) should have a pretty good guess of who the real culprit is.” Killer Horror Critic
“You’ve got your basic made for television werewolf movie from 1972 here. You know what that entails. It goes on a bit long with the talking, and the scares are strictly of the Night Gallery variety. That said, it’s an effective film with some creepy undertones. If the mood strikes you, it’s an entertaining little movie.” Roman’s Movie Reviews and Musings
“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.” JHC3
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