The expectations start pretty low for most TV movies, but for lovers of camp and cult, they can be extremely entertaining. Moon of the Wolf, however, is just barely worth watching. An adaptation from a novel with the same name, this film follows Sheriff Aaron Whitaker as he investigates the murder of the beautiful, young Ellie who is found mauled and murdered in Louisiana.
Initially, it is believed that Ellie was killed by wild dogs because of the bite marks on her corpse, but her brother, Lawrence, believes that her perpetrator was her secret lover. Upon examination of her body by the swarthy Dr. Druten, he concludes that no dog could have killed her, due to a human-induced impact on her skull, but no secret-lover could have killed her either, because he was her secret lover.
This movie follows a whodunit style, as Whitaker moves through the cast of strange and suspicious characters who live in the town, such as the wealthy Andrew and Louise Rodanthe, the latter of which Sheriff Whitaker had a crush on in high school and commences a flirtation with through the film. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Ellie was not murdered by a man, but a beast, because of a dodgy introduction of an old sick man who has the ability to know when a werewolf is going to attack. This pretty intergral knowledge is ignored for most of the film because he inconveniently is one of the only French speaking people in the area, until Louise Rodanthe discloses that she can speak French.
By this point in the film, the werewolf has murdered several people, and it becomes a hunt to kill the monster terrorizing the town. Unfortunately, the werewolf was the most entertaining part of this film, and he’s only really on screen after an hour of set up, in this hour-and-fifteen-minute long movie.
This movie is so unenjoyable that I have taken the liberty of formatting a drinking game for the readers; because that’s the only way I could see having a good time watching Moon of the Wolf.
Drink every time Barbara Rush (Louise Rodanthe) overacts: I’ll give you a clue; it’s basically every time she’s on screen. Her character is a spoiled, wealthy rich woman from New York, who has moved to Louisiana to live with her brother, Andrew. Much of the time she is on screen, she is screaming, crying, or over-selling the socialite image by talking a lot about how great it is to live in New York.
Drink every time Lawrence runs and it looks ridiculous: Zachary Quinto once mused on how in the most recent Star Trek film, he had to be trained on how to run properly to have it look good. Initially he thought, I can run, I run all of the time, but after seeing himself untrained on film, he immediately jumped at the offer of training. It is in my opinion that the actor playing Lawrence should maybe have practiced running in front of some mirrors, because his limbs flail so much that I thought it was a joke at first.
Drink every time Dr. Druten acts like a soap opera character: Gotcha again, because it’s also every time he’s on screen. Druten oozes seventies-era masculinity, and is also one of the worst offenders of overacting in this film. There is a magnificently cheesy part in the movie where he gets punched in the face and then wipes the blood from his mouth with a sneer, to which I reacted appropriately by laughing out loud.
Drink every time professionals display terrible ability at professional conduct: There’s so much doctor-patient boundary crossing and confidentiality-breaking in this movie it’s astounding. But I guess it was the seventies.
Finish your drink when the werewolf is on screen: Fortunately for you, even though I’m sure you’ll be black out drunk by this point; the werewolf is not on screen for a very long time. Most of his character is through first person perspective, to keep the mystery a secret (until the end) on who the werewolf is, but it is my sneaking suspicion that it had more to do with budgetary restrictions.
Although B-films, low budgets and weak scripts can sometimes make for some of the most entertaining and loveable movies in film, Moon of the Wolf is generally a forgetable movie in TV history. I did really enjoy when the werewolf was finally introduced, but I just wish that it had happened like forty minutes sooner.
Moon of the Wolf (TV Movie, 1972) is available on DVD (Region 2) from Amazon.co.uk; and if you decide to make a purchase after following this link you will have supported Attack From Planet B, so thank you!