Fantasy Masterpieces #10, 1980 “A World He Never Made”

This issue is my first grab of this title, and I can’t wait to get my hands on more of them! When you see the wondrous world that ‘Big’ John Buscema creates just in the first couple of pages, you’ll be awestruck. He can really make you believe that you’ve exited your body, and entered another world. His uncanny ability to capture characters, especially when they’re in an emotional distress, coupled with his great use of anatomy, is what made him so very special.

In this story, the Surfer is trying to further understand the human race, and that’s something that has proved most difficult for him since his former master, Galactus, banished him to Earth. After witnessing a cop trying to help a suicide attempt on a bridge, the Surfer dresses up like Dick Tracy to “blend in’, and assess mankind down among the people! He hangs out in South America for a while, but realizes that a militaristic group has taken control of the area, and will kill anything they deem untrustworthy. In a subplot, out in space (but nearing Earth), the beloved of the Silver Surfer, the beautiful Shalla Bal, is a passenger aboard the ship of Yarro Gort, and he means to embarrass the Surfer, and take Shalla Bal for his own!

A good story with powerful art! Buscema was such a master at anatomy, and facial expressions specifically. He really knew how to get everything out of a character in pain, or that was suffering. The back-up story is one I own in a couple of different formats, but it’s still very cool. Jim  Starlin gives us “The Terrible Trial of Adam Warlock” (Strange Tales #180, 1975), and the whole cast is here for the ride! Pip the Troll, Gamora, and the Universal Church of Truth! Other creators include – Dan Adkins (inker – SS story), Sam Rosen (letters – SS story), Stan Lee (writer – SS story), Tom Orzechowski (letters – Warlock story), Alan Weiss (inker), Len Wein (editor), and Danny Fingeroth (reprint editor)!

 

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Marvel Two-in-One #48, 1978 “My Master, Machinesmith”

As promised, here is the second part of the Thing/Yancy Street Gang/Jack of Hearts story! At the end of the last issue, we saw the Thing get captured by the Machinesmith, and his robots. Now, Jack of Hearts enters the fray, and the plot thickens! Everything actually looks like it’s going to get better, as Ben Grimm escapes his bonds, and attempts to attack the Machinesmith. He gets mind-controlled though, and is then sent to kill Jack of Hearts! A great brawl between both heroes ensues, and then more craziness with the Yancy Street Gang, as well!

Another great one from Bill Mantlo, and pencils by Chic Stone (RIP),but sadly, Stone doesn’t ink his pencils again (as he did in the earlier issue), and no offense to Tex Blaisdell (RIP), but the artwork was definitely sub-par compared to last issues brilliance. Not that it’s bad, but it’s just not up to the level that Stone gave us before. The colorist is Mario Sen, letters by Elaine Heinl and Gaspar, edited by Roger Stern, and the cover once again, by Chic Stone! Enjoy!

 

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Marvel Two-in-One #47, 1978 “Happy Deathday, Mister Grimm”

As we all know, the Yancy Street Gang is usually the type to tease, heckle, and even try to injure their former friend, Ben Grimm. But in this issue, they actually lend a hand in helping the Thing defeat the menace of the Machinesmith! Well, the issue in question doesn’t actually hold good tidings by the end for Mr. Grimm, but I can tell you that there are gangsters, and a game played between the members of the FF, including Agatha Harkness, and Franklin Richards. Also, a special appearance by that loveable letter carrier, Willie Lumpkin!

With a great story by the incomparable Bill Mantlo, pencils and inks by Chic Stone (great inker, and incredibly underrated penciler- just look at this issue!), colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Diana Albers and Gaspar, and edited by Roger Stern! And let us not forget the awesome cover by Ron Wilson, Joe Sinnott, and Irv Watanabe! This is one of those kooky issues that really is a great read. You get a fantastic heart-warming scene in the beginning with the FF and Ben, then some solid action with the Yancy Street Gang and robots, which are operating under the influence of a quirky villain like the Machinesmith. It’s all just perfection. It’s a no-brainer to grab this issue! Enjoy (and since I’m a day late with this post, look for part 2 of this story, later today) !

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Cinema Sunday: Horror of Dracula (1958)

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Title: Horror of Dracula

Distributor: Hammer Studios/ Universal Pictures

Writer: Jimmy Sangster (Screenplay)

Director: Terence Fisher

Producer: Anthony Hinds

Starring: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling, Carol Marsh

Released: May 8th, 1958

MPAA: PG

It just occurred to me that this film wasn’t among the many Hammer films that I’ve reviewed. This cannot be so any longer, as I intend to showcase the first vampire film that Hammer Studios released, and the one that vaulted the career of Christopher Lee into orbit! Peter Cushing was already a commodity, and Michael Gough, Lee, and others had plenty of experience, but Cushing is the driving force behind the movie, make no mistake. Rather than me slobbering on forever about it, I’ll just get to the plot, which isn’t exactly like the Bram Stoker novel, due to legal issues with Universal and the estate of the Stoker family, but rest assured, it still is a classic!

The film opens with Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen), a young man who’s making his way through the Carpathian mountains, to reach a castle. Once there, his internal monologue tells us that he has a “job” to do, but what that is, we’re not sure. He sees food on the table, and decides to sit down and dine. After starting a fire, he begins to go through his personal items. He accidentally knocks over a plate, and as he’s picking it up, a beautiful woman (Valerie Gaunt) approaches. He introduces himself as the new librarian of the estate, but the woman only wishes to be rescued from being held a prisoner by the owner of the castle. Just then, the woman quickly races away, and Harker has a feeling there’s a good reason. He slowly turns around, and at the top of the staircase, is a dark figure, looking down ominously. The man quickly descends, and greets Harker, introducing himself, as Dracula (Christopher Lee).

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After they exchange pleasantries, Count Dracula shows Harker to his room. He informs him that he’ll be away until tomorrow evening, so he can make himself at home. Dracula then notices a picture on the desk, and asks who the woman is, and Harker tells him that it is his fiancé, Lucy Homewood. Harker then writes in his journal, that he has gained access to the house, and that he is ready to do what must be done, about Dracula. As Dracula leaves, Harker is startled by the fact that he locks him in his room for the night. Later though, he hears the lock get unlocked, and he investigates to see who it was that was responsible. He heads downstairs, and runs into the same woman who approached him before. She pleads with him to rescue her from Dracula, but she isn’t clear about why she needs rescuing in the first place. As she hugs on to Harker, she also moves closer to his neck. He fangs pop out, and she readies herself to feed on the unsuspecting man.

Just as she attempts to bite him, Harker feels it, and shrugs her off. In the next seconds, you hear a godawful hiss, and we see Count Dracula at the top of the stairs, blood dripping from his mouth, and looking insane. He pounces on the woman, and scares Harker. But Harker tries to stop him from manhandling the woman. Dracula chokes him nearly unconscious, then grabs the woman, picking her up like a child, and carries her off to some other place in the castle. Harker then passes out in the living room.

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The next morning, Harker awakens in his room, and is horrified to see that the woman actually broke through his skin, and bit him on the neck. He breaks down emotionally, and we see that he has some knowledge of this affliction. He writes again in his journal, and leaves a message for someone who he hopes will read this, and be able to help.

The next day, Harker embarks on a mission through the castle, to find the resting place of Dracula. He finds the woman, slumbering in a coffin. He wastes no time in driving a stake through her heart, but then notices the sun has gone down. As he looks towards the door, Dracula creeps in, and you know that Harker is no more.

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Soon after, a pub is the new scene, and we watch as a man, Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), enters and begins to ask questions about his friend who recently passed by, named Harker. The pub owner (George Woodbridge) acts as if he doesn’t know anything, but the waitress tells Van Helsing that she remembers him. The pub owner scolds her, and sends her into the kitchen. Van Helsing questions the pub owner some more, but he refuses to get involved. When the meal is ready, the waitress brings it out, and hands a journal to Van Helsing. It is the journal of Harker, and it details the happening at the castle. Apparently, both men are sort of vampire hunting team.

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Van Helsing goes to the castle, and searches for Harker (having not yet read the journal). He finds that Harker’s room has been ransacked, and that he seems to be missing. As he descends into the lower levels, Van Helsing finds Harker, dead in a coffin, with bite marks on his neck. He then reaches into his bag, and pulls out a stake and a hammer, then proceeds to do the deed. The next scene shows Van Helsing at the residence of the Homewood family. Van Helsing informs them that Jonathan is dead, and that he was cremated. Arthur Homewood (Michael Gough), is the brother of Lucy (Jonathan’s fiancé), and he is quite upset with Van Helsing, and his being very mysterious about Jonathan’s death.

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later that evening, Lucy is in bed, and she gets out, with a very creepy look on her face. She makes sure that her door is locked, then she unlocks the patio doors, that lead to her bedroom. She also removes her crucifix, and readies herself for a visitor. We then see that she has bite marks on her neck. Across town, Van Helsing is listening to a recording about ways of fighting these undead creatures, such as Dracula. The following morning, Lucy is very ill, and almost on the brink of death. Mina Homewood (Melissa Stribling) goes to see Van Helsing, and to ask for his help with Lucy. Van Helsing then examines Lucy, and sees the bite marks on her neck. He then instructs Mina to keep her doors and windows locked at night-time, and to keep garlic flowers in her room.

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After she does what Van Helsing instructs, night falls, and Lucy cries out to the maid to take away the flowers, and to open the windows. She does as Lucy asks, and the next morning, Lucy is dead. Van Helsing visits, and Arthur is very crass towards him. Van Helsing then tells him to read Jonathan’s journal, and then, he will understand. In the evening, a policeman visits and brings Tania (Lucy’s niece) back to the house. Tania claims to have been visited by Lucy. Arthur then goes to the crypt, and finds that Lucy is missing. He then witnesses Lucy, as she’s about to snack on Tania. He calls out to her, and she attempts to attack him, but Van Helsing is there as well, and brandishes a cross. He burns her forehead with it, and Lucy runs away screeching. Van Helsing and Arthur then go to the crypt, and pound a stake through Lucy’s heart, ending her nightmare, and releasing her soul.

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Dracula then focuses his attention on Mina, and it’s up to Van Helsing and Arthur to try to stop this evil entity!

OK, here are my thoughts:

If there’s anyone out there that hasn’t seen this film yet, get to it. Even if you aren’t the biggest horror movie fan or a fan of old movies, you need to see this one. This is the beginning of the Cushing-Lee horror combo, that Hammer Studios would use to build an empire. The acting is superb, as the two main characters, along with Michael Gough, put on performances that make this classic what it has been and always will be as a landmark in cinema. This film was made only one year after Hammer struck gold with Frankenstein, and the hits would keep coming for more than a decade.

Along with the great acting, the people behind the scenes were just as responsible for this gem. Starting with James Bernard, and his wonderful music score. You get some thunderous music, and other times a frightening interlude. He really nailed this one, and was simply perfect. The script by Jimmy Sangster was quite good considering he couldn’t use the story from the book or the screenplay from the Universal film either. Terence Fisher gives us his usual brilliance with direction, and the team of Hinds and Keys rounds out the production of the film. Everything from the costume designs, the sets, lighting, you name it, this film was top-notch. Hit up your local store or just get to Amazon and grab a copy, you wont be disappointed. I own a set a four Hammer Films that TCM put out a few years ago. It has this film, plus three other classics that you’ll love.

Super-Villain Team-Up #1, 1975 “Slayers from the Sea”

After just purchasing this book recently (Baltimore Comic Con 2014), I felt compelled to spotlight this great book! These types of books have always caught my eye, and will always get my money, as well. When you have great characters like Namor and Dr. Doom in a book, it’s difficult to not have a good story, or at least enough crazy action and declarative statements on every other panel! Let’s face it, Doom and Namor have enough hot air between the two of them to float a balloon across the planet. But, that’s why we love them, isn’t it?

As if dealing with Doom isn’t bad enough, Namor must contend with his perennial foes Attuma and Tiger Shark as well! There’s also a third person to contend with too, as Dr. Dorcas is in the mix…wow, what a name for a villain. The story is broken into two “chapters”, with a different set of artists on the second half, but you can’t go wrong with either team to be honest. Written by Tony Isabella, pencils (chapter one) by George Tuska & Bill Everett, inks by Fed Kida, colors by I. Vartanoff, and letters by I. Watanabe. The second chapter was penciled by George Evans, and inked by Frank Springer, and the rest of the same crew from the first chapter to round out the rest of the team! There are some fantastic splash pages in this book, so get ready to be aroused!

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Marvel Team-Up #93, 1980 “Rags to Riches”

You can try to contain him, but you cannot even hope to stop the Tatterdemalion! Sorry for giving away the villain…as if the cover already didn’t! There were many goofy or one-off villains from the Silver and Bronze Ages, but there’s no doubt that one of my favorites is this guy! Created by the artistic genius of Tom Sutton (RIP), and Gerry Conway, this quirky character didn’t make many appearances, but when he did, it was hilarious! You cannot help but laugh, when a character’s profile page has statements like this in it…”He is an expert tap dancer, and a highly proficient bottle-cap collector” or my favorite…”He wears a long scarf, which is tipped with lead weights, as a weapon” or the coup de grâce…”Due to his lack of proper hygiene habits, the Tatterdemalion emits a harsh offensive odor at all times.” Folks, when you have abilities/powers like that, everyone fears you.

The story was written by Steven Grant, and although I don’t own many stories written by him, I do know that he’s a capable writer that also wrote some good Avengers stories back in the 1970’s/80’s. The pencils are by the exceptional Tom Sutton and the late, great Carmine Infantino, and I love Sutton’s pencils on Dr. Strange from the Bronze Age, as well as his inks on many other books. Speaking of inks, the incomparable Jim Mooney (RIP), inked this issue, and you get the consistency he always brought to the game! Colors by Ben Sean, letters by Rick Parker, and edited by Denny O’Neil! The awesome cover is by Don Perlin and Al Milgrom! Spider-Man, Werewolf by Night, “Cat’s Jazz Club”, and the Tatterdemalion…what else could be asked for in a comic book?

 

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Cinema Sunday: Snowbeast (1977)

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Title: Snowbeast

Distributor: NBC (National Broadcasting Company)

Writer: Joseph Stefano

Director: Herb Wallerstein

Producer: Wilfrid Lloyd Baumes

Starring: Bo Svenson, Clint Walker, Yvette Mimieux, Robert Logan, Sylvia Sidney

Released: April 28th, 1977

MPAA: PG

 

Continuing my look at “made for TV” movies, this week brings something from the realm of Bigfoot or the Yeti, in Snowbeast! This movie is one that usually flies under the radar for most people, but definitely give it a chance! You get the ultimate male himself, Clint Walker, a couple of gorgeous women, and of course, a bloodthirsty beast! Some of the “special effects” are quite laughable, but a decent story is there along with good location shots. OK, let’s get down to business!

 

The film begins with two women skiing through the snow in a remote area. As they stop for a quick break, one of them is leery that something “funny” is going down (I guess women’s intuition or ESP?). As they keep going, something sinister is watching from the tree-line. They spot some huge tracks in the snow, but the one girl isn’t impressed. A loud growl comes from the nearby trees, and an unseen beast jumps on one of the girls, while the other one barely escapes with her life.

 

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The scene switches to a local ski lodge, and its owner, Mrs. Carrie Rill (Sylvia Sidney), is announcing the events that are going to take place over the next few days, during their annual winter carnival. The crowd is pumped up, and cheer her on, then the “snow queen” (from last years event?) shows up, and steals her thunder. just at that moment, one of the lodge’s ski patrol men comes in and tells the owners grandson, Tony Rill (Robert Logan – image below), that something happened out  on the slopes. The two men then go to see the girl who escaped from the beast, and talk to her about what happened. She tells them her story, but they don’t believe her initially. The girl remarks that she’s going to call the girls parents, but Tony tells her not to worry, that he’ll find the girl. He and the others search, and Tony eventually finds her jacket, torn to pieces. He then hears a shriek from the woods, and gets terrified.

 

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Back at the lodge, Olympic skiing champion, Gar Seberg (Bo Svenson), arrives and gives out a few autographs. He and his wife, Ellen (Yvette Mimieux), make their way into the lodge, and then meet up with Tony. He’s glad to see his old friend, and old girlfriend. One of the patrol guys asks to head out and search for the missing girl, but Tony tells him to forget about it. He goes out anyway, but runs into trouble. As he’s skiing along, he hits a rough spot, and takes a dive. He slips over an embankment, but manages to reach the top. As he does, a giant hairy arm reaches out for him, and we can only guess what happens next. The creature then decides to watch some people at a nearby cabin. A boy and his father make a grisly discovery in their outbuilding though, as they see a gruesome scene of the missing girl’s body torn to shreds.

 

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The police are called in, and Sheriff Paraday (Clint Walker), is stunned at the ferocity of this crime. Back at the lodge, Tony decides to tell Gar about the missing girl, and the Yeti theory. He’s less than optimistic, but does listen to him. The two talk, and Tony tells Gar about the torn jacket he found along with the blood, and he begins to convince him. One of the sheriff’s deputy’s comes to the lodge and tells the owner that they want to see Tony out at the scene of the crime right away. Ellen happens to be skiing in that area, and sees the commotion. She also sees footprints of the beast, and being a reporter, is intrigued. The sheriff notices her going through a hollow, and wonders who it is and what she’s doing near this area.

Later, Tony and Gar are on snowmobiles trying to get to the farm where the body was found. Ellen is getting close to something, and keeps pushing forward. Tony and Gar then meet up with the sheriff, and ask to see the girl to identify her by seeing her face. The sheriff informs them that she has no face. He questions Tony about it, and the two are at odds over how to handle the situation. Tony wants to find the beast, but also to keep it quiet so the lodge doesn’t get any bad press. Out on the slopes, Ellen is still hot on the trail of the beast, but then she hears the beast shrieking nearby in the forest.

 

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Back in town (and later in the evening), we see most of the skiers in a gymnasium, getting ready for more events. The pageant is underway, but outside, skulking around, is the creature. As the crowd grows in size, the festivities are at an all-time high, the creature smashes through a window, and everybody panics. A woman pulls in with her car, and the beast attacks her, killing her savagely. The queen rushes out to the car but sees her mother dead, and has a breakdown. The sheriff and his posse don’t know how to explain this, and Mrs. Rill tells Gar to find Tony and tell him he was right. Gar goes to his cabin, and is feeling guilty about not having been on the slopes since his Olympic days. He then sets out to hit the slopes and conquer his fears, and find Ellen, who has gone missing. He finds the farm where the first body was discovered, and inside is Ellen, who got lost, and was bedding down for the night.

 

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The next morning, Gar and Ellen wake up, but before they can leave, the beast attacks the barn! it busts up the doors and grabs at them through the windows, but they evade it for a while. Just as it seems like the beast might get them, it runs off. It heard the snowmobiles coming, and it’s the sheriff, one deputy, and Tony, who are out looking for Gar, Ellen, and the beast. The sheriff sees the beast run into the woods, and pursues it, but Tony helps his friends. They head back to the lodge, and Gar volunteers to help the sheriff and Tony hunt it down. Just as they’re about to leave, a deputy comes in, and tells everybody that the sheriff shot the beast. As everyone goes outside to look, they see a dead Grizzly Bear, lying on a cart. Gar and Tony give the Sheriff the evil eye, because they know that it wasn’t a bear. The three men, plus Ellen, then decide to go up into the mountains, track the beast and kill it!

 

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I’ll stop here because anything else would be going to far! I will not be held responsible for spoiling this classic!

 

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OK, here are my thoughts:

Alright, this movie is total cheese and totally 1970’s! Of course this is why I like the film, but even any horror fan will get a kick out of this flick! Clint Walker is great at being the “tough guy” sheriff, and Robert Logan does a solid job as the part owner/ conflicted ex-lover (of Ellen). Speaking of Ellen, Yvette Mimieux is average at being the damsel in distress, but really doesn’t offer much more than that. Her attempts at being the ex-lover of one man, but the husband of his friend, is kind of weak, and quite frankly, she seems a little promiscuous in the early scenes (being married to Gar but almost willing to  sleep with Tony).

The real stars of the movie is the Yeti, and the locations. You don’t get to see the Yeti in full view until the end scene (kind of), and that’s a good thing, because your imagination can probably think of something more terrifying. The locations were fantastic though, and really added a lot to the film. They also used a fade out technique (for the commercials) that was cool. Right when the scene was going to end, or basically, the Yeti was about to  kill someone, the screen would slowly fade out with a red hue to it, and then freeze.

Listen, I’m pretty sure this one is public domain, so give it a shot. You won’t be spending any money, but you’ll never get back this 85 minutes either. So, look at it this way. Would you rather be cooking, cleaning, or working? Probably not, so hit up the link below, and watch away on some rainy Saturday!

 

Click here for the full movie!

 

 

 

 

 

Marvel Tales #101, 1978 “The Mark of the Man-Wolf”

I wanted to get back to some classics from the Marvel titles Marvel Two-In-One and Marvel Team-Up, but I couldn’t stop looking at this issue of Marvel Tales. Early issues of Spidey are at a premium, so this reprint title is still pretty affordable, so grab them while you can! As I write this, I’m preparing for my trip to the Baltimore Comic Con this weekend (September 5-7). The list of creators is staggering, and I don’t know how I’ll be able to get to see all of them on Saturday. But, while there, I’m definitely going to search out more of those two other Marvel titles I mentioned, but also more issues of Marvel Tales!

Just look at the fine work by Gil Kane, John Romita Sr., Tony Mortellaro, and company! Great story by Gerry Conway as usual, too. The relationship and wild interaction between Spidey and Jameson is always funny, but throw in the Man-Wolf, and things crazy! Enjoy!

 

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Marvel Two-In-One #29, 1977 “Two Against Hydra”

I thought it was time I went back to one of my favorite titles with Marvel Two-In-One! This book was so much fun, and even if you aren’t the worlds biggest fan of the Thing, you can still really enjoy this book. Take this issue for example; you get to see Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, battle right alongside the Thing, as they try to take down Hydra! You get some action, plus some tender moments between Alicia Masters and Ben Grimm, that are absolutely incredible.

The story is by ‘Marvelous’ Marv Wolfman, the pencils by the criminally underrated Ron Wilson, inks by Sam Grainger, letters by John Costanza, and a fantastic cover by Rich Buckler and Frank Giacoia! Just take a look at that awesome splash page of Ben and Alicia in front of Big Ben! Enjoy!

 

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Cinema Sunday: Scream of the Wolf (1974)

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Title: Scream of the Wolf

Distributor: ABC Television

Writer: Richard Matheson

Director: Dan Curtis

Producers: Charles Fries & Robert Singer

Starring: Peter Graves, Clint Walker, Jo Ann Pflug, Philip Carey

Released: Jan. 1964

MPAA: PG

 

Sticking with the werewolf theme from last week, I thought I’d spotlight this little made for T.V. movie from 1974. Like most television movies, it doesn’t have the big budget that the Hollywood flicks do, but they do sometimes have a charm to them that those other movies don’t. It also helps when you get names like Matheson, and Curtis to be involved with the project.

Two of the actors in this film a good draw for that era as well (Graves & Walker), so that helped bring people in too, and they delivered solid performances. Alright, now let’s get to this ABC television classic from 1974!

 

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The film begins with headlights coming down a foggy road. The car starts to sputter, and the driver realizes that the car is out of gas. He decides to walk to a nearby house, but is startled by something moving in the brush. He sees something that terrifies him, and we hear the growling of a beast. The man runs back to his car, barely making it ahead of the beast. The beast begins to smash his windshield, windows, and tear through his convertible top.

As the credits roll, we see a massive search going on by the police near the scene of the murder. Sheriff Bell (Philip Carey – image below), is on the scene, talking to his men about any clues they may have found. He’s shocked by the remains of the victim, and at the shape the car is in as well. The sheriff then proceeds to the home of a local writer, John Wetherby (Peter Graves – image above), to ask for his help. You see, Wetherby was an avid hunter, and has a good knowledge about animals. The two men then check out the tracks that the animal left at the scene. Wetherby tells the sheriff that the attack sounds like something a leopard would do, but the tracks resemble that of a wolf of considerable size.

 

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The following day, Wetherby is heading over to a local store in his awesome Corvette, to visit Sandy Miller (Jo Ann Pflug), his girlfriend. After he convinces her to go out Friday night, the scene does an about-face, and we see another weary traveler heading down a dark road late at night. This guy is just walking though, and when he hears something stirring nearby, he investigates. He only lives about thirty seconds more to regret that stupidity. Again, the police arrive, and can’t figure out what would’ve done this. Wetherby is also there, and remarks that the man’s whole face is missing! He also follows the tracks of the beast, and sees that after it ran for a time on four legs, then changed to walking like a bipedal animal.

The sheriff drops off Wetherby at his home, and then Wetherby heads over to his buddy’s house. A local big game hunter named Byron Douglas (Clint Walker – image below), is his friend, and the two have been on hunting trips together. Wetherby practically begs Byron to help, but he tells him that he’s too busy. Wetherby is stunned that his old friend wont help, and the scene ends. Later that day, when the darkness falls, a couple are making out in a trailer, when they hear a noise. As they investigate, they are shocked when the beast bursts through the glass door, and devours both of them!

 

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Meanwhile, Wetherby and Sandy are having dinner at a local restaurant, and discussing the murders. Byron walks in, and stops over at their table for a quick hello. He asks Wetherby if the creature has killed again, and Wetherby tells him he was right, that it has killed more people (the couple in the trailer). Byron remarks that the creature is fascinating, and Sandy gets angry (the two are at opposite ends of this conversation). Byron smirks, then asks Wetherby if he’s heard the rumor around  town that people think it’s a werewolf. Wetherby laughs and Byron tells him not to scoff at the notion. He then recounts a time the two were on a hunting trip in Canada, and hunting an enormous wolf. How the Native Americans living in that area told them it wasn’t just any wolf, but a trapper that had been turned into a wolf.

Suddenly, a local man approaches Byron, and asks him what kind of pleasure he gets from killing innocent animals. Byron tells him he can’t explain it. He then stands up and approaches the man, getting right in his face. He tells him he can’t tell him, but he can show him. The dude looks like he’s ready to crap in his shorts, but then Wetherby intervenes and breaks up the confrontation. On the way home, Wetherby tells Sandy that on that very hunting trip that Byron talked about, they were hunting it from the trees, but they couldn’t take it down. So Byron got down on the ground and took it on hand to hand with a hunting knife. He was bitten very badly by the wolf, and almost didn’t survive.

 

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After Wetherby drops Sandy off at her house, he heads home for the night. Sand y showers then gets ready for bed, but hears some noises outside her window. She then heads into the kitchen for some coffee, but sees something skulking in the shadows. She rushes into the other room and calls Wetherby. She tells him that someone is creeping around her house. She begs him to come over, and he tells her he’s on his way. Something then breaks into her home and she screams. She then runs into her bedroom, and locks the door. A beast of some kind begins to break the door down, but then the police arrive, and scare it off. Wetherby arrives minutes later, and tells Sandy she’ll be staying at his house for a while. The sheriff and Wetherby look around the house and see that whatever it was made Swiss cheese out of her door. They investigate outside and the tracks lead to the water, and a dead-end.

Wetherby goes out that next night, with a rifle in hand, to try to hunt the beast. He doesn’t make it very far though, when he’s surprised by the sheriff. The sheriff put a curfew on, and tells Wetherby that he must abide by it as well. The next day Sandy admits to calling the sheriff and ratting out Wetherby out of fear. Sandy then tells Wetherby that she thinks it’s Byron behind the killings. Wetherby dismisses her, and then the sheriff interrupts them. The sheriff then convinces Wetherby to go out to Byron’s house for a visit later on. They do, and Byron still refuses to help. He also puts himself under suspicion with the sheriff. As the sheriff storms out, Byron warns Wetherby about going out after this creature. He tells him that…”the prey will always do the unexpected.”

 

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That night, the sheriff is watching Byron’s house. His deputy shows up to relieve him, and sees some movement near the house. As he moves in to see what it was, he heads into the basement. The corridors are dimly lit, and his flashlight can barely pierce the darkness. Without warning, something snarls at him, and charges. He gets off two shots, but is overtaken by the beast. Out in the woods, Wetherby is also hunting the creature, and hears a wolf howl. He then listens closely and can hear footsteps nearby. As he investigates, he finds the deputy in his car, sliced to ribbons.

The next day, the sheriff and local government officials hold a press conference and try to calm the public down. It backfires though, and then they are told the national Guard is being brought in to stop the killings. One of the reporters exclaims that people think it’s a werewolf, and the crowd erupts. Outside, Byron is waiting to talk to Wetherby about the killings. He tells him that the sheriff had questioned him all morning. Byron leaves, and Wetherby goes to his house immediately. Wetherby demands that Byron help him, but again he refuses. Byron then tells Wetherby that he’ll help, but only if Wetherby can hold his own in an arm wrestling contest for one minute. The two engage in the contest, but Byron easily defeats him. He tells Wetherby to forget about the animal, that it would kill him.

 

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Later, Byron shows up, and tells Wetherby that he’s changed his mind about helping. Sandy is creeped out by Byron, and thinks it’s a trap. Once they arrive Byron asks Wetherby about the possibility of it being a werewolf. Wetherby still won’t believe it’s a werewolf, and the two are about to separate, when Byron tells him again that “a hunter isn’t sure of anything, except that the prey will do the unexpected.” Minutes into the excursion, a shot is fired off, and Wetherby hears Byron struggling with some animal. By the time he finds the location, he sees blood covering the jacket of Byron, lying face down. He then hears a wolf howl in the distance.

 

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That’s where I’ll stop, because the last ten minutes are all spoilers and would ruin the ending. Just keep in mind that things are not always what they seem!

 

OK, here are my thoughts:

Alright, first off all, don’t miss out on this one due to it being a TV movie. It has a good production value to it, and also has some solid performances from Graves and Walker. Nothing Oscar worthy, but solid performances nonetheless. Walker is actually pretty creepy in this film, and sets a very ominous tone for the film. Graves plays a writer, and seems to be a little uncomfortable with the role. He never really talks about it or even is seen writing. Only chasing after Jo Ann Pflug, talking with the cops, and also arm wrestling Walker. The scenes where he’s acting like a hunter though, are quite good. Speaking of Jo Ann Pflug, she does a good job of being the “damsel in distress”, but doesn’t offer much else.

The sets were good, but not great. Specifically, the outdoor shots were the good part, but the interiors left something to be desired. The “villain” is a bit disappointing, kind of in the same vein of my thoughts on another “wolf”, in The Beast Must Die. OK, I know so far my thoughts sound pretty grim, but trust me, for a TV movie this one has a good story, two good lead role players, and a good ending. I also love the sound track as well. I’m a sucker for 1970’s music, and that’s a fact! I’m pretty sure that this flick is public domain, so I’ll post the link and you can give it a watch!

Check out the movie here!

 

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