Drive-In Dust Offs: Wolfen (1981)

1981 was the Year of the Werewolf in horror; An American Werewolf in London and The Howling were easily the leaders of this particular pack, with Larry Cohen’s comedy Full Moon High offering up another unique monster spin. There was one other film that put its own twist on lycanthropy, and that’s Michael Wadleigh’s Wolfen, laden with social commentary writ large in place of silver bullets and gypsy fortune tellers. And it’s all the better for it.

Released Stateside in July by Orion Pictures, Wolfen (based on the novel by Whitley Strieber) only returned $10 million on its $17 million budget; critics however were very kind, unlike audiences who probably were expecting more traditional tropes for a trip to the movies. This is not that film; a measured pace and a heightened sense of intent set it apart from the others. (Plus the antagonists are shape shifting wolves, but
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