Made for television movies, specifically those of the horror genre are usually a mixed bag. It is hard to show everything you want to show when trying to adhere to broadcast standards and because of that, you have to rely upon other things to get that message across. Moon of the Wolf is a good example of that, a film that is obviously about a werewolf but one that has to bring that across without too much blood or gore or what have you. Surprisingly it is able to do so without too much trouble, instead focusing upon the rising tension in the community where the story takes place and the eclectic cast of characters that are introduced.
The story begins with a murder, one that cannot be explained properly as everyone and their cat has a theory. As such the local sheriff played by David Janssen, begins an investigation though he really had no real leads except thinking that it might be someone close to her. When further murders take place that theory goes out the window, especially as a man is killed in jail with the door having been torn off the cell. The sheriff finds a wee bit of romance with a woman named Louise and soon enough, tragedy strikes and all is revealed.
Janssen of course was most famous for his role as Richard Kimble in The Fugitive and while that show had been put to rest a number of years previous to this film, he was still a fine actor despite the sub-par fare that this movie seemed to be at first glance. Also starring was Barbara Rush as the love interest as well as the damsel in distress and she played off Janssen quite well, making for a couple of very compelling performances. Another notable, character actor Geoffrey Lewis would also appear in the film – as kooky and crazy as many of his roles portrayed him to be and his presence definitely made the picture much better because of it.
Being a werewolf movie and one made for television to boot, you would not think to see the creature and yet, the makers of this film managed to bring it to life without looking too ridiculous. More than anything, the creature’s look took its cues from the Lon Chaney version of The Wolf Man, though not quite as hairy and its face looking somewhat cheap upon close-up. The film worked the werewolf angle quite well until its eventual appearance and it would have continued to work if they had not zoomed in upon its face. Aside from that, this werewolf actually looked better than many of its counterparts as seen in various films on the big screen over the years.
Moon of the Wolf turned out to be quite the decent movie. It managed to be fairly dramatic, featured a good script and was able to hold your attention easy enough thanks to the strong performances from the cast. You might think this werewolf film has nothing new to offer being a television affair and it is true, there was nothing really unique about it, but it was interesting and suspenseful and is worth the time if you get a chance to watch it.
3 out of 5