We’ve reached the witching hour but avoid the plethora of modern day zombie creations and try my favourite werewolf movie of all time. While ‘Wolfman’ and ‘An American Werewolf in London’ are always worth a view the best is simply entitled ‘Wolf’. Jack Nicholson is Will Randall, a middle-aged editor in chief of a New York publishing house who is bitten by a wolf on the way home from work. The very next day he loses his job when unscrupulous tycoon Raymond Alden takes over the business. Stewart Swinton is Will’s protégé but he’s a slimy character who wormed his way in with Alden to become the new editor in chief. Will’s senses start to become more acute and suspecting his wife of having an affair follows her scent to Swinton’s apartment where he bites the interloper.
Will befriends Alden’s daughter Laura who has a cottage on her father’s estate. There his wolf-like tendencies become stronger and during the night he hunts and kills a deer, but has no recollection of the event when he awakes in the morning. His next escapade finds him at the city zoo but security guards challenge him so he legs it literally by leaps and bounds, breaking the pole vault record without the use of a pole. Later in the park some unfortunate muggers accost him only to be chewed up.
Back at the office Will discovers he can work at super speed and without the need of his spectacles plus he can also hear a pin drop a hundred yards away. Feeling twenty years younger and full of energy, Will looks to set up his own publishing house taking sympathetic authors with him. He uses this to secure a new contract with Alden that reinstates him with more power and money. He has the pleasure of informing Swinton in the gents of his new status and promptly fires him. Just to rub it in, Will urinates on the younger man’s shoes demonstrating a remarkable flow that anyone my age would be truly envious of. When washing his hands Will finds two human fingers in his pocket and realises he must have gone out the previous night and attacked someone, although he had no memory of what happened.
That evening, believing himself a public danger, Will handcuffs himself to a radiator in his hotel room. When Laura arrives for dinner she convinces him that he’s not a wolf. We are then shown the customary clothes on the floor scene to avoid showing a graphic sex scene. He does go out while she’s sleeping but we don’t see what he gets up to, other than howling at the moon. The next morning detectives arrive to inform him that his wife had her throat ripped out. Vouching for him Laura drives to her cottage and locks Will in the barn. Hearing that the blood sample taken from his wife’s body is canine Laura believes Will is guilty and heads off to see the detectives.
At the police station Laura finds Swinton there ready to finger Will for the crime. When Swinton snorts her all over in some kind of mating ritual Laura realises that Will is innocent and leaves while the real villain is being interviewed. After arranging to leave the country with Will, she heads back to the cottage but Swinton is not far behind. He murders Laura’s guards before attacking her. Will comes to her rescue and the two wolves fight to the death. When Will turns his back thinking he’s won, Swinton picks up the garden shears and leaps ten feet in the air, blades pointed at Will’s back in a scene that is impossible to forget. Before he can make the fatal blow however Laura empties her gun into his torso.
Not wishing to stay and explain who did what to whom, Will now looking more like a wolf bounds off into the woods to complete his metamorphosis. While dealing with the police Laura exhibits signs that she too is becoming a wolf. Laura knows it won’t be long before she is able to join her mate in the woods. A happy ending then for the werewolves.