Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Wolfman (1979)



Notes: The E.O. Corporation, 102 min.
Colin Glasgow: Earl Owensby
Lynn Harris Randolph: Kristina Reynolds
Dr. George Tate: Sid Rancer
Reverend Leonard: Edward Grady
Luther: Victor Smith

Written: Worth Keeter
Directed: Worth Keeter

Summary: Uncle Edwin lies in his deathbed. Elizabeth and Clement attend him, and Reverend Leonard stabs him in the heart with a silver dagger. The old man’s son Colin Glasgow is told he died of heart failure, and that grandma is reclusive. At a satanic seance, the Reverend offers the evil world the offspring of Edwin, the oldest son, Colin. Inheritance, Colin discovers, requires he stay for several weeks. He visits a curio shoppe and renews acquaintance with an old girlfriend. Now divorced, she had been married. “I didn’t know ’bout dat,” burbles Colin the goober. They have a date at a pub where a Victrola is playing and root beer costs 5 cents. Where and when the hell are we? An altercation transpires. Driving home in the buggy with the fringe, Colin remarks that no one is out strolling. Lynn explains, half dismissively, that wolves are feared.

Colin dreams that he wanders to the graveyard at night. His father’s hand pops out of the earth and grabs his leg. The next day he recognizes that the will is a forgery. He visits Dr. Tate, pointlessly. He visits grandma in the attic who tells him his father was cursed and that he must run or inherit the curse of being a murderer, a lycanthrope. Just check: daddy’s index finger was longer than the others. Colin dreams that he’s tormented by laughter of the Joker from Batman. He gets up and goes to a shed for a shovel. The shed has electric lighting, but not the main house?

He digs up his father and sees the longer index finger. Then a wolf attacks him. He visits the doc again, again pointlessly, but sees a newspaper!!!!

It’s 1916, according to the paper. Colin tells Lynn he’s leaving; he can’t say why. As he’s packing, the full moon turns him into the werewolf, so he’s even hairier than usual. He attacks a gun-wielding farmer and his Little-House-bonnet-wearing wife. Colin awakens in his bed, bloodied. The doctor’s newspaper includes a lesser story about a bee attack on a church picnic. The plan is that Lynn and doc will witness his transformation while he’s chained. They go to an underground chamber while a posse hunts the culprit. As soon as the moon appears, he changes and breaks loose. He attacks Luther, then Elizabeth, then Clement, who puts up a fight but is impaled on a sword through a door. He attacks posse members, and there’s a fire, and people shoot guns. Some are “not so sure it’s a wolf” while we at home think, “Duh. It’s wearing pants.” Lynn and the doctor find the human version of Colin. “Find Linnard.” The posse takes him for questioning. The doctor and Lynn go to find Leonard, and the Reverend immediately kills the doctor. There’s another fire, and Lynn flees to the cemetery, but Leonard captures her and takes her to the Glasgow house. Colin has a fit and escapes his inquisitors. There are beatings and a transformation to wolfhood. The Reverend goes out the window, as does the werewolf. Colin transforms back; Lynn weeps.

Commentary: This one’s all about identity crisis, but the key people don’t, unfortunately, realize this. To wit: calling it The E.O. Corporation. Then, when and where are we? The late 1800s (as the women’s fashion would indicate)? 1916? Is there or is there not electricity? An English mansion? Boogerville? The credits reveal the booger-eating accents as attributable to a North Carolina base.

I’ve seen merciless reviews of this film, and my impulse is to counter these with some more positive commentary about the good intentions and some small successes. But what is there to point to? I guess I can say that, truly, watching this is better than mere filler. It seems inspired by Dark Shadows several years defunct by this point.

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