HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Avengers: Endgame
Vanishing Act
Critters Attack!
Prison on Fire
Dragged Across Concrete
Do the Right Thing
Hellboy
Pond Life
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The
Third Wife, The
Shazam!
Follow Me
Leto
Fugitive Girls
Missing Link
Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The
Pet Sematary
Oh... Rosalinda!!
Dumbo
Kaleidoscope
Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang, The
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Klute
Meow
Killer Crocodile
Nutcracker Prince, The
Secret World of Og, The
Benjamin
Fifth Cord, The
Man Could Get Killed, A
Cyborg 009: Kaiju War
Heavy Trip
Nightmare Weekend
Blue Ice
Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, The
Incident, The
Hell's Angels
Heaven and Earth
Flatliners
   
 
Newest Articles
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
   
 
  Wolfen The Wolves Are RunningBuy this film here.
Year: 1981
Director: Michael Wadleigh
Stars: Albert Finney, Diane Venora, Edward James Olmos, Gregory Hines, Tom Noonan, Dick O'Neill, Dehl Berti, Peter Michael Goetz, Sam Gray, Ralph Bell, Max M. Brown, Anne Marie Pohtamo, Sarah Felder, Reginald VelJohnson, James Tolkan, John McCurry, Tom Waits
Genre: Horror
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In New York City, the slums are being cleared away to make room for some expensive housing developments, and one of the main players behind this operation is Christopher van der Veer, a very rich and influential man who tonight is taking a chauffeur-driven scout around the area, with his wife in the back seat alongside him. When they reach a park, they all get out, including the couple's dog, and take a playful look around, with van der Veer creeping around jokily - that is until they become aware they are being stalked by someone, or something. Suddenly the unseen assailants strike and tear the three of them to shreds... but what has done this?

In 1981, the two duelling werewolf movies of any importance to the general public were An American Werewolf in London and The Howling, you could prefer one or the other yet the debate about the best effects-packed lycanthropy flick pretty much began and ended with those. To some extent it still does, but there were other genre movies on that subject, and Wolfen was the other one from that year which should have been a contender, but never quite made the grade, partly thanks to behind the scenes turmoil yet perhaps because when you got down to it, this wasn't really a werewolf yarn at all. Certainly the menace here was a strain of intelligent wolves, but they never turned into humans at any point.

This started life as a pulpy horror novel from debuting author Whitley Streiber, a real pageturner but not one which revealed the reason the film version went off on the tangents it did. Streiber's bold claims about getting abducted by aliens tended to overshadow his fiction, especially when he posited he was drawn to horror and science fiction by the influence of those space visitors, but once upon a time he wasn't infamous for his anal probe and was a bright star in the horror paperback's heyday of the late nineteen-seventies and early eighties, so The Wolfen was an obvious choice for big screen adaptation, losing the definite article in the process. However, it was not long before the stormclouds of a troubled production gathered.

The director was Michael Wadleigh, whose best known film, and indeed only other film, was the classic music documentary Woodstock from about ten years before Wolfen, so there were influences of his hippy leanings throughout the movie which had not been in the novel. For example, now the plot had a real preoccupation with the plight of the American Indian, and a fair bit of it was caught up with the leading character, a detective played by Albert Finney, trying to work out if New York's population of Indians were actually shapeshifting their way into taking revenge on the settlers hundreds of years after their first arrival. Finney's Dewey Wilson, one of a clutch of roles he took after nearly five years away from cinema at the start of the eighties, did have other characters to team up with including a memorably wacky Gregory Hines and a very naked Edward James Olmos, but got a little lost in the narrative's issue-making.

Basically Wilson was present to be scared by the Wolfen, yet ultimately prove futile in waking up the rest of humanity to the dangers of clever wolves, while just about everyone around him was bumped off in spectacularly violent ways - say this for the movie, no matter how much it had to be re-edited and whatnot, the effects were among the best of the era. Placing it very much in that period was a credit in the opening titles for a Steadicam operator, and they undoubtedly had their money's worth out of him as not ten minutes went by but we were getting a roving point of view shot from one of the beasts, treated with a solarisation technique to look otherworldly. Indeed, the cinematography was excellent throughout, with Wadleigh taking full advantage of the widescreen compositions, which was all very well but remained creaking under the weight of the director's right-on messages. Plenty found much to resist about Wolfen at the time, not least the studio, but over the years its idiosyncrasies have brought it a well-deserved interest. Music by James Horner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1239 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Michael Wadleigh  (1939 - )

American cinematographer who worked on Martin Scorsese's first film and Jim McBride's groundbreaking David Holzman's Diary. He later directed the Oscar-winning documentary Woodstock, but it was over ten years before his next film, the flop werewolf drama Wolfen. He has since dropped out of the film business.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: