Scream of the Wolf is yet another made-for-television movie about a werewolf featuring Peter Graves in the lead. He plays a writer who is asked to help out with the investigation into a number of murders in which there are no real suspects and no real leads. It is actually one of the better T.V. movies made about not just a werewolf, but in the horror genre altogether. It is highly suspenseful at times and features a couple of stellar performances both from Graves and from Clint Walker, a man better known for his western output over the years and for starring in Killdozer! released the very same year.
Walker plays a hunter, a man who is also called upon with Graves to check into the deaths taking place and the man is quite intense whenever he is onscreen. Most of the atmosphere that is generated in the film actually comes from Walker, for it always seems like the man has something to hide and it does not help that he talks in riddles or vagaries. He lets John, the character played by Graves, know that it is either a pretty big wolf or a man who is quite monstrous in his actions and yet even when he says this, you cannot help but think that he has something to do with everything that is going on. There are a few scenes that are actually fairly moody and you find yourself a little surprised because of it, knowing that this is a television movie and not something you are watching on the big screen. All of this is done with a purpose though, as it relies on mood and mystery to tell the story, unable to focus upon special effects, blood or gore or anything of that sort. Television films have to be not only careful of what they show, but smart and if you cannot tell your story one way, then you have to do it in another. So it is that there is no werewolf actually shown onscreen and there are essentially no special effects.
Directed by Dan Curtis and adapted by Richard Matheson from a story by David Case, Matheson and Curtis do a fine job of it, though not every actor in this movie was able to deliver the material as strongly as Graves and Walker did. For the most part, they had to carry the film as Jo Ann Pflug who played Sandy and Philip Carey who was the poor Sheriff were not on the same level though they were not actually terrible either. While many would expect to see a werewolf as the title essentially screams that, they might be disappointed as it was only alluded to. Such as it was, it never hampered the film in any way and still managed to be a little frightening at times. As far as werewolf movies go, Scream of the Wolf might not be the best you will ever see, but it is a worthy addition to the canon.
3.5 out of 5