Scream of the Wolf

Film review by Thomas M. Sipos




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Scream of the Wolf (1974, TVM, dir: Dan Curtis; script: Richard Matheson; cast: Peter Graves, Clint Walker, Philip Carey, Jo Ann Pflug)





The 1970s was a Golden Age of TV horror, most of it broadcast on ABC.

Scream of the Wolf does have some good lineage. Written & directed by Dan Curtis. Music by Robert Corbert. Both men were creative forces behind Dark Shadows and The Night Stalker. For that matter, Scream of the Wolf also features Jo Ann Pflug, the female lead in The Night Strangler.

But Scream of the Wolf is not one of the better 1970s TV horror films. It's not even supernatural horror. I won't spoil the ending, but there's nothing supernatural in this "werewolf" film. It turns out to be a suspense film.

Of course, many supernatural horror fans also enjoy suspense films with non-supernatural "monsters" (e.g., Psycho). But Scream of the Wolf is not a great suspense film. It's okay, but very low budget. Not too surprising or original. And not very interesting.

And this DVD leaves much to be desired. It looks struck from an old 16mm film print, the kind distributed to TV stations. Scratch marks show up throughout the film. There are even grease pencil marks!

What are those? Editors would often write on film strips with grease pencils. Notations, such as where to trim, or fix a broken or torn film. They wrote with grease pencils, because the grease could easily be erased afterwards.

However, this DVD's Scream of the Wolf transfer still has those grease pencil marks, which flash by on occasion, along with the scratches. This is not a clean, digitally remastered print.

I've seen this film selling on Amazon -- this very same DVD -- for over $70. Please! Save your money. It's worth a few bucks if you're a hardcore horror/suspense film fan. Or a completist for any of the principal creative people involved. But this is not a seminal work in horror film history. It's hardly the best of the genre, or even of the genre's period. Buy it for a few bucks, otherwise wait a decent price.


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