American Pop Classics Part 1: MOON OF THE WOLF, 1972

American Pop Classics has been around since 2005, specializing in putting public domain movies on DVD. I learned of them recently, while browsing Screen Archives Entertainment, an online used music and film store. They had just added over a hundred American Pop Classics releases to their website, and several caught my eye. After acquiring and viewing a few titles from the company, I present you with a three part review of American Pop Classics, starting with Moon of the Wolf. Look for the reviews of the two other films in the upcoming part 2 and 3 of this series.

I hadn’t heard of this little gem until it showed up in a public access horror show called, Penny Dreadful’s Shilling Shockers, around 2008; probably because I was only three years old when it was released, and I don’t recall ever seeing it aired again later in life. Based on the title alone, I couldn’t wait to see what Moon of the Wolf had in store for me.

The film opens with the death of a woman. The local sheriff, played by David Janssen and a bunch of southern yokels find her body completely torn to shreds, or as torn to shreds as 1972 TV would allow.

The majority of the film from here is about the sheriff trying to figure out who killed her. His theory at first is that someone clocked her real good upside the head and then dragged her out to the woods to let the wild dogs finish her off.

Chief suspects are the local doctor, played by John Beradino, and an ex-boyfriend (or is he just a friend?), played by Geoffrey Lewis (SALEM’S LOT 1979 mini-series). Bradford Dillman (’78 PIRAHNHA) and Barbara Rush make an appearance as brother and sister of a Louisiana old money family. Notable character actor Royal Dano (HOUSE II: THE SECOND STORY, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE) even makes an appearance as one of the locals.

Moon of the Wolf is a surprisingly entertaining made-for-TV movie. It oozes period 70s Southern Gothic, which was one of the major reasons I liked it. The werewolf angle is treated as if it is a disease that Dillman has to keep at bay with medication, and when he does eventually wolf-out the make-up is petty much standard ’72 TV FX, which didn’t bother me in the least.

Moon of the Wolf is based on a novel by Leslie H. Whitten, which is still available for purchase.

The cover art is just fine, and I found the DVD transfer to be very watchable. Moon of the Wolf is full frame, due to the fact that it is simply a 1972 TV movie. It, too, could use some remastering, but this print is fine in my opinion for what it is.


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