Moon of the Wolf
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2012)|
|Moon of the Wolf|
A video cover "Moon of the Wolf."
|Directed by||Daniel Petrie|
|Produced by||Everett Chambers
Edward S. Feldman
Richard M. Rosenbloom
|Written by||Leslie H. Whitten
John Davis Chandler
|Music by||Bernardo Segall|
|Cinematography||Richard C. Glouner|
|Editing by||Richard Halsey|
|Distributed by||American Broadcasting Company|
|Release dates||26 September 1972|
|Running time||75 min|
Moon of the Wolf is an American made-for-television Gothic horror film first broadcast on September 26, 1972, on ABC Movie of the Week. It starred David Janssen, Barbara Rush, Geoffrey Lewis and Bradford Dillman, with a script by Alvin Sapinsley (based on Leslie H. Whitten's novel of the same name). The film was directed by Daniel Petrie and filmed on location in Burnside, Louisiana. All of the downtown footage was from Clinton, Louisiana.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (October 2012)|
In the Louisiana Bayou town of Marsh Island, two farmers discover the mauled, dead body of a local resident, an attractive young girl. Sheriff Aaron Whitaker (David Janssen) is called in. 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 very name her brother does not know. The town's Dr. Drutan (John Beradino) examines the body and pronounces the girl died of a severe blow to the head caused by a human hand.
The sheriff continues to investigate the crime and interviews people who knew the victim. Local residents have a variety of theories, including the belief she was killed by wild dogs. A posse soon forms to track down the wild dogs with little success. 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 "Loug Garog". The sheriff does not understand the French term and local Cajun residents are unable to interpret it.
The sheriff's investigation soon takes him to the plantation home of the wealthy Andrew Rodanthe (Bradford Dillman) and his sister Louise (Barbara Rush). They are the last of a local family dynasty with a history stretching back over a century. Andrew, who the sheriff suspects had an affair with the victim, claims to have been suffering an attack of malaria the night the girl was killed.
The sheriff, suspicious of the temperamental brother Lawrence after he assaults the town doctor (who turns out to be the mysterious lover), soon arrests him and puts him in jail. While there, the full moon rises again and Lawrence and the sheriff's deputy are killed in a vicious attack as the steel bars of the cell are torn from the wall.
With the town's terrified residents turning into an angry mob and the sheriff now without assistance, Andrew Rodanthe volunteers to become deputy. Andrew and the sheriff return to Hugh Burrifor's house and discover the old man has created a voodoo potion that gives off a vapor meant to repel the "Loug Garog". Rodanthe inhales the potion and goes into what appears to be an epileptic seizure. He is taken to the hospital.
While there, Andrew's sister Louise tells the sheriff she can speak French fluently and would like to talk to Hugh Burrifor about the unexplainable term "Loug Garog". While speaking with the old man, Louise solves the puzzle. "Loug Garog" is a mispronunciation of "Loup-Garou". Translated into English the term means "werewolf". The next scene shows Andrew turning into a werewolf, revealing him to be the elusive killer.
Transformed into a werewolf, Andrew violently escapes the hospital and becomes the subject of a man-hunt. Louise talks to Sheriff Whitaker about werewolf folklore. She reveals a family secret that her grandfather used to suffer from unusual spells of sickness, implying he was also a werewolf and Andrew's curse was inherited.
Louise returns to her plantation home and is alone when Andrew, still in his werewolf form, quietly enters the house. A frightened Louise attempts to corner the werewolf in a burning barn and eventually shoots the creature with what she assumes are blessed bullets. The sheriff arrives on the scene in time to see Andrew return to his human form before dying.
Gothic horror conventions
The term "Gothic horror" implies horror from a dark imagined past. There is always a feeling of something unnatural that has a history reaching far back into the past. That is where the hints about Louise and Andrew's grandfather comes in. Another convention in use in Moon of the Wolf is the dark and mysterious plantation home with its long history, serving the same function as a castle in other stories of the genre. It is the historic center of royalty that has seen more fruitful days. In addition to this mood piece, there are elements of the supernatural such as the victim's father's paranormal powers of perception and his voodoo potions. This is before the werewolf appears on camera. The film is also set up as a traditional mystery.
An occult detective does everything that Sheriff Whitaker does, including hunting for clues, interviewing suspects, making deductions and chasing villains. The difference is the villains are supernatural creatures. The detective confronts the creatures in the fashion of a crime drama. Sheriff Whitaker is one of a long line of similar detectives popular during this era. Other examples include The Norliss Tapes (1973) with Roy Thinnes as a reporter investigating the supernatural; Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970), starring Louis Jourdan as psychologist David Sorrell; The World of Darkness (1977) and its sequel, The World Beyond (1978), starring Granville Van Dusen as a man who battles the supernatural following his own near death experience; and a British production, Baffled! (1973) starring Leonard Nimoy and Susan Hampshire as a pair of ghost hunters. One of the most enduring characters from this period was Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin), the hero of the short-lived television series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. The series was created after the popular success of the original film The Night Stalker (1972) and its sequel The Night Strangler (1973), both of which were originally premiered on ABC Movie of the Week. More recently, The X-Files has continued similar themes.
The film currently holds a 17% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Moon of the Wolf at the Internet Movie Database
- Moon of the Wolf is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- Moon of the Wolf at allmovie