Moon of the Wolf

September 5, 2011 at 4:09 am (8 Heads, Moon of the Wolf) (, , , )

Moon of the Wolf – 1972 – United States

Moon of the Wolf is a TV movie rediscovered after appearing in practically every budget DVD compilation. It’s even in Mill Creek’s Sci-Fi Classics 50 movie pack and it’s not even science fiction. Moon of the Wolf combines Louisiana ambiance with gothic trappings to immersive results. Sadly, none of the hardworking cast are genuine Cajuns.

After a girl is found torn apart in a bayou, a serious and intelligent sheriff delves into the history of a Louisiana town. As the plot progresses, the townies’ sordid backstories are unraveled. Classism, pregnancy, and clandestine affairs convolute the red herring filled plot. Moon of the Wolf has interesting whodunit elements, but the traditional werewolf mythology feels familiar. However, instead of being boring, the legends add weight and sincerity in a subtle way.

Multi-faceted characters are the strength of Moon of the Wolf. Avoiding hero/villain clichés, they are believable and layered. For instance, the lycanthrope is equal parts martyr and sociopath. The dialogue is compelling and the competent cast delivers it well, adding pathos to the plot’s numerous conflicts.

Just as important is Moon of the Wolf’s setting. The small town surrounded by swampland seeps atmosphere and defines the attitudes of the characters. Living in isolation makes some townies close-minded, some superstitious, and others independent. Witnessing how these personalities deal with suspicion and fear adds depth to the flick.

Like most TV movies, Moon of the Wolf is talky, with little action and few special effects. The werewolf doesn’t show until the end, and even then hides his face. Considering the movie’s simplistic makeup effects, I’m not complaining. Growling, slobbering werewolves are tiresome anyway.

Moon of the Wolf is based on a novel of the same name, which explains the careful plotting and dimensional characters. If you own any dubiously generic DVD boxed sets, you probably have more than one copy of this flick. It’s pretty good, so check it out.

Rating: 8/10 Shrunken Heads. This rating is notable because I hate werewolves.

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