Air Date: Jan. 16, 1974 (ABC Movie of the Week)
Production Companies: Metromedia Productions
Running Time: 74 min.
Available on: YouTube
Written by: Richard Matheson
From the story The Hunter by David Case
Directed by: Dan Curtis
Cast: Peter Graves, Clint Walker, Jo Ann Pflug, Philip Carey, Don Megowan
Scream of the Wolf (1974) is a beloved TV movie directed by Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows); however, probably due to the dark print I watched on YouTube, it was just OK for me. It’s apparently available on any number of public domain DVDs, but nothing about that news tells me it would look any better or I would like it any better. Then again, I may have just missed the boat entirely because I didn’t pick up any of the homosexual subtext two books tell me is there.
In both my regular resource for this series, Television Fright Films of the 1970s by David Deal and The Television Horrors of Dan Curtis by Jeff Thompson, the authors make a point of discussing the relationship between author/former hunter John Wetherby (Peter Graves) and his old friend, Byron Douglas (Clint Walker.) They originally met in a bar, arm-wrestled, and had many an adventure hunting.
Now, though, Douglas resents the fact that Wetherby has gone his own way and throughout most of the movie is cruel and manipulating toward him. This seems to begin about the time Wetherby starts seeing Sandy Miller (Jo Ann Pflug) in what appears to be a sexless affair. He resents her and she believes he’s a threat, perhaps even responsible for the grisly murders that have been happening in Malibu.
All clues point to Douglas being a werewolf, primarily the footprints that change from four-legged to two-legged, then disappear entirely. Indeed, his attitude that all of this is really good for humanity because only when people are frightened do they truly live, points to Douglas being involved. For me, it’s too obvious. He must be a red herring. If not, writer Richard Matheson must be making an uncharacteristic misstep in his teleplay.
Of course, I’m not going to reveal what’s really happening. Let’s just say there are some twists and turns and that it’s not an entirely satisfying set of them for me. In several ways, this is an atypical movie for Curtis. He directed Scream of the Wolf, but did not produce it. Regular composer Bob Cobert wrote the music, but it’s peppier than usual. It’s got all the required atmosphere, all the necessary dark shadows, if you will, but just seems a little off kilter.
Visit the TV Terror Guide: 70's TV Movies playlist at ClassicHorrors.Club TV on YouTube to watch Scream of the Wolf as well as all the great movies from this series...