31 October 2014

Wolfen (1981)
115 min.
Directed by Michael Wadleigh.
With Albert Finney, Diane Venora, Gregory Hines, Edward James Olmos, Tom Noonan, Dick O'Neill.
Intelligent & provocative horror about a pack of supernatural wolves protecting their territory in a dilapidated section of New York's South Bronx.

When the lupine fiends viciously kill a real estate developer and his wife, detective Dewey Wilson (Finney) and reporter Rebecca Neff (Venora) team up to uncover the truth about the murders.

No matter how weird it might be.

Director Wadleigh (the classic 1970 concert film Woodstock) set out to make a thinking man's horror film...and he succeeds.

Maximizing the harshness of the urban ghetto that serves as its backdrop - and dotting it with creatures who only attack because they're protecting their turf - Wolfen forgoes a dramatic 'transformation scene' in favor of a well-handled socio-political message.

And it's never boring. Certainly, it has a different feel from the two other wolf films released within the same year - The Howling and An American Werewolf in London.

But gorehounds, don't be disheartened: there's plenty of red stuff afoot here, including an awesome hand-lopping and head decapitation twofer.

Best scene: the climax at the New York Stock Exchange.

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