Template:Infobox Film Moon of the Wolf is a Gothic horror film. It was first broadcast in 1972 on the ABC television network. The film was an ABC Movie of the Week. The film was made and broadcast in color. It was shown on a weeknight in late September of that year. The film was made for television with no prior appearances in the movie theaters. It starred David Janssen, Barbera Rush and Bradford Dillman. The script was written by Leslie H.Whitten and Alvin Sapinsley. Based on a novel by Leslie H. Whitten. The film was produced by Richard Rosebloom. The story took place in a Louisiana Bayou town.
In a moonlit Louisiana Bayou, a small town sheriff hunts a killer who can tear steel bars out of walls and prowls only in the light of the full moon.
The film begins on a moonlit night in the Bayou town called Marsh Island. The full moon is shining, clouds are moving across the sky, wild dogs are howling like wolves and two uneducated farmers have just found the mauled dead body of an attractive young girl. The girl's name was Ellie Burrifors.
Sheriff Aaron Whitaker(David Janssen) is called in. While he is looking over the body, the farmers jump to the conclusion that the girl was killed by wild dogs. The girl's temperamental brother Lawerence Burrifors(Geoffrey Lewis) comes racing out to the crime scene and jumps to the conclusion that it was the girl's lover. A man whose very name her brother does not know.
Dr. Drutan(John Beradino),the clearly very upset town coroner brings the body back to his office. After he gets through with his examination, Dr. Drutan pronounces that the girl, whose name was Ellie, died of a severe blow to the head struck by a very human left hand. Only a human being could have done that. He than tells Sheriff Whitaker "It looks like you have a murder on your hands, Sheriff." Whitaker replies "Just what I needed". The sheriff neither looks, nor sounds, at all pleased. He would be even less pleased if he knew that the killer would be back on the next full moon.
The next few scenes are standard police procedure with Sheriff Whitakar going over the crime scene to find clues. He interviews people who knew Ellie in order to learn background information about her and learn who had reason to do her harm.
The sheriff finds the locals very eager to cooperate and tell all that they know. Each of the locals that he talks to seems to have his or her own theories. One group believes the killer to be wild dogs. They soon began to organize a hunt. Both Lawrence Burrifors and the Burrifors' live-in nurse believes the killer to be Ellie's lover who caused her pregnancy. The Sheriff wonders if it could be the girl's brother who had an argument with her before she died. He also wonders if it might be the girl's rejected hick lover, Tom Gurmandy Jr. (John Davis Chandler). Gurmandy admits he had a thing for the girl but he never gave her a tumble. The girl's very sick and dying father Hugh Burrifors (Paul R.Devine) keeps screaming about something called the "loug garog." The sheriff does not know what to make of the words "loug garog." The older Burrifors was very sick even before his daughter's death. The old man speaks only French but seems to have some background with the Occult. Sheriff Whitaker asks the old man's son what is a "loug garog" and he is told that it is French but no French that Lawrence has ever heard. The sheriff dismisses the wild dogs theory, but that leaves him with three suspects: Ellie's mystery lover, who the sheriff soon learns is Dr Drutan; Lawrence, the girl's brother; and Tom Gurmandy Jr, her rejected lover. The sheriff has strong personal reasons for hoping all three will prove themselves innocent.
The sheriff's investigation soon takes him to the home of someone else that the girl knew. The town royalty, Andrew Rodanthe (Bradford Dillman) and his sister Louise Rodanthe (Barbara Rush).They are the last of a family dynasty that goes back over a century. A wealthy family that really founded the town in their great-grandfather's time. Their grandfather seems to have been a person of considerable repute. The family has lived for that century or more in the same plantation-style manor house. They have lived there even though, as Louise notes, it's impossible to heat in the winter and way too hot in the summer. She also thinks there maybe cracks in the roof.
The Rodanthe family history is repeatedly talked about during the film. References are repeatedly made to their grandfather and all his many hired help. The feeling is that there were a lot more people in the house in his day. Andrew Rodanthe however does try to keep up the family tradition of being royalty. He even had his sister brought home when she had an affair with an improper man. Andrew claims to have been suffering an attack of an incurable form of malaria, the night the girl was killed, a malaria Ellie regularly bought him pills for. Those pills were the only thing that controlled the illness. The night that Ellie died Andrew forgot to take them...
The scenes which come after Andrew Rodanthe's revelations about his "Malaria," are about whether or not the killer was the wild dogs or the Ellie's lover. A fight over that question gets Lawrence thrown in jail. When he is there, the full moon rises and the real killer attacks again. Lawrence and the sheriff's deputy are killed in the attack and the steel bars of the jail cell are torn off the wall.
This discredits the sheriff's suspects and leaves him without deputies. Andrew Rodanthe volunteers to become a deputy. Sheriff Whitaker leads them back to Hugh Burrifor's house. There the old man has had his nurse set up a Voodoo potion. The potion gives off vapor meant to repel what he calls the "loug garog." When Rodanthe inhales these vapors he than goes into what appears to be an epileptic fit. He has to be taken to the hospital.
While he is there, Louise hears Sheriff Whitaker tell about her about how those fumes were meant to keep away the "loug garog." He says that it is a French word no one understands. Louise says that she knows French and that she will talk to the old man. Whitaker takes her to the house and she listens to the old man. Louise figures out the truth. "Loug garog" is a mispronunciation of the term "Loup-Garou." Translated into English the term means Werewolf. The next scene shows that Andrew Rodanthe is the werewolf and has been the killer all along.
The next several scenes show the werewolf escaping from the hospital, Louise learning the truth and Andrew becoming the subject of a man-hunt. Louise talking to Sheriff Whitaker points out some werewolf folklore. The Sheriff replies "Louise, its 1972." Louise further points out that her Grandaddy use to suffer from what everyone in the house would refer to as his spells. These "spells" happened when Louise was a little girl. She decided later that he had been drinking. This is one of several hints the film provides that Andrew and Louise's granddady were both werewolves. That implies that being a werewolf is an inherited trait but stops well short of saying it. This is the only explanation that the audience is given for Andrew's werewolf state.
Louise bones up on her werewolf lore and is ultimately left alone in the house. It is than that the werewolf comes home. Louise first tries to catch him in a burning barn and when that does not work, she shoots him with blessed bullets. The werewolf is killed and the nightmare is over.
Gothic Horror ConventionsEdit
The term gothic horror implies horror from a dark imagined past. There is always a feeling of something unnatural that has a history going far back into the past. That is where the hints about Louise and Andrews grandfather comes in. Another convention in use in this film is the dark and mysterious Rodan manor house with its long history. It serves the same function as a castle does in certain other story. It is the old center of royalty that has clearly seen better days. In addition to the mood pieces, there are elements of the Supernatural such as Ellies fathers Magic (paranormal) powers of perception and his voodoo potions and with that added in we have something that we can only call a Gothic Horror story. This is before the Werewolf comes on appears on camera. The film is nonetheless set up as a Detective story.
An Occult detective does everything that Aaron Whitaker does, he hunts for clues, he interviews witnesses and suspects, he makes deductions and chases down villains. The only difference is that his villains are supernatural creatures. The detective handles said creatures as though this were a Crime drama.
Aaron Whitakar is one of a long line of such characters from the 1970's. Like Sheriff Whitakar the overwhelming majority would appear in one story, have one encounter with the supernatural and never be seen again. In several cases the end would leave the feeling that there would be more supernatural encounters but that we would never see them. Examples include Gene Roddenberry's Spectre (film) as well as Leonard Nimoy in Baffled!. The most successful of the group was Carl Kolchak the hero of Kolchak: The Night Stalker. This was the first of three such characters created by producer Dan Curtis. Moon of the Wolf was first broadcast less than a year after another ABC movie of the week, Curtis's original Night Stalker film.
1.Moon of the Wolf VHS copy
2.Moon of the Wolf IMB
3.The Encyclopedia of Monsters by Jeff Rovin: Facts on File, co 1989