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LATE ACTOR BRADFORD DILLMAN HOWLS IN 'MOON OF THE WOLF'

Bradford Dillman armed though not yet dangerous YEAR: 1972
TV Movies of the Week were perfect, but far from overall perfection. One of the best examples of "pretty good fare" is MOON OF THE WOLF starring David Janseen from THE FUGITIVE series — then, throughout the 70's he was a reining king of the M.O.W. universe, and while this particular werewolf tale never broke any ground in the sub-genre, it's Gothic and semi-spooky just the same...

Bradford Dillman has always been a favorite. His based-on-real-life character from COMPULSION downright steals the show from heavyhitter Orson Welles and the more sympathetic of two killers based on Leopold and Loeb, Dean Stockwell, making Dillman's Artie Strauss the alpha male bully who takes charge. Soon enough that particular Richard Fleischer classic will be covered but for this tribute, MOON will do just fine...

RIP Bradford Dillman  Jan, 2018
There's a quote out there about how Bradford Dillman liked that his name sounded dignified and pretentious, which he obviously wasn't, having not missed the irony of his debonair moniker...

But we will say that it is a name that should have been more well-known...

The Wolf Itself
That wouldn't have occurred in result of this particular turn as a classy town's founder's son who, we learn far before the supposedly revealing climax...

That he is a werewolf, the werewolf that, from the very beginning, has been terrorizing a small French-American town where Janssen's the tried-and-true sheriff, courting Dillman's pretty sister played by Barbara Rush — alas, their soapy input takes too much of the screen time, leaving little for the buried lead... the one with fangs...

MoonWolfScore: ***1/2
Fangs and the face of a werewolf that you'd see in most of yesteryear's pop culture imagery until around the 1980's when the werewolf became more formidably animalistic than man. It was during the classic and classic-modern canon that an otherwise skinny looking fella could have only the face of a wolf with proper clothes intact (the Michael J. Fox 1980's cult comedy TEEN WOLF brought the look back as satirical homage). Not much of the story's left with that old school nightmarish presence, and the melodrama plays out like something televised as opposed being presented in any kind of fascinating, big budget or even independent theatrical platform...

Which does, in its own right, make MOON OF THE WOLF worth viewing as the performances are topnotch and natural (Geoffrey Lewis, Royal Dano also appear) and the story gives an audience just what the title implies — although "Loocaroo," a mispronounced and herein repeated French name for Werewolf, would have been far cooler — perhaps making it an instant cult fixture (by name only) instead of a forgotten little television monster movie within a sea of howling madman tales. Yet it's still nice to have the late Bradford Dillman's mark upon that legendary "curse."
Gives an idea of what the grain looks like even on the DVD
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