What Movie Wednesday" feature is that I never quite know what to expect from the movies chosen to be a part of it. "Moon of the Wolf" is no exception...
Marsh Island has fallen victim to a brutal killing. While the residents prepare to hunt down the wild dogs they think killed a young women, evidence discovered by the local Sheriff lead him to believe that it was a man that commited the horrible crime. Soon, he and an old crush will discover that the killer is much more than an animal... or a man...
The 1970's was an era when made for TV movies became the rage. "Moon of the Wolf"- which is actually based on a novel by Leslie H. Whitten), is one such movie- and has all the limitations of them as well.
The premise and story isn't the most original, and could be seen as rather simplistic- but when you think about it, most made for TV movies fit that description. It had to be hard to script it so that you could include commercial breaks. Besides, screenplays tend to lack the depth and complexity of the original novels to begin with, I've found. I would be interested in finding the book to read and compare them.
The characters, while not necessarily great, are still watchable. I enjoyed Sheriff Aaron Whitaker and his interactions with the other characters. He had a subtle, caustic wit about him that I liked. Louise Rodanthe- the Sheriff's old crush, wasn't a bad character either, and went well with the Sheriff's. I had some problem with the character of Andrew Rodanthe, who was Louise's brother. For a character that winds up playing a vital part in the story, he wasn't very well developed... and I could see the role he would play as soon as I saw him. This kinda made me apathetic towards him in the end. The other characters were interesting as well, and I found myself wanting to know more about a couple of them- which is a good thing.
The acting, while entertaining, was typical of the 1970's, and doesn't really stand the test of time. The only actors that really stood out for me were Geoffry Lewis as Lawrence- the dead girl's brother, and Paul R. DeVille as Lawrence's father, Hugh. The two of them were great. I'd seen Lewis in several other TV movies, and always enjoyed his performances. His eyes are always just so much a part of his characters, it's amazing. In this movie, he gives a great example of "crazy eyes" that I enjoyed. DeVille was just fantastic as the bed-ridden father muttering French phrases and ranting as he stared off into nothing.
Other than the final scene, there isn't much blood shown- which is to be expected, given the nature of television censorship back in the 1970's. I was also a little disappointed in the make-up for the werewolf. For me, it was too much of a throwback to the wolfman make-up made famous by the Universial Studios movie, "The Wolfman." It needed to look a bit more wolfish and mangy. I was turned off by how neat and tidy the werewolf's hair was... and how nice his clothes continued to look. It was more laughable than scary to me.
I've seen some really good made for TV movies over the years, but I'm going to have to say that "Moon of the Wolf" isn't one of the better ones. Having said that, I might be convinced to watch it as part of a werewolf marathon... but not likely. I'm going to place this movie in "The Ugly".
I want to thank everyone that participated in my "What Movie Wednesday" feature. I'll be doing it again April 11th.
Big thank you to the following people who voted for "Moon of the Wolf":