"This is a murder mystery in which you are the detective ... but instead of 'who is the murderer?', the question is 'who is the werewolf?' ..."
And so we have an eccentric millionaire who gathers together a group of six people, including his wife, in his mansion and states that one of them is a werewolf. How does he know this? Well, we don't question such things. There is a newly-reunited couple, an ex-United Nations delegate, an eccentric biologist, and an expert on werewolf folklore. Over a period of three terrifying nights, he narrows down the list of suspects to discover who the beast is ...
The movie opens with Calvin Lockhart running through his estate, being pursued by commandos and monitored by the new high-tech security system which he is testing. That opening sequence goes on and on, and there are many such tedious 'chase' scenes in the movie which make it something of a chore to watch. Ultimately it took me three attempts to finally get through this whole movie, and that's never a good sign. It's a shame, because there are some really great scenes as well ... the climax inparticular is suitably thrilling. We have pretty much an all-star cast in this movie, so if you're a fan of Peter Cushing, Sir Michael Gambon (currently playing Dumbledore), Charles Gray or 'blaxploitation' actors Calvin Lockhart and Marlene Clark, then you'll probbaly want to see this. Thanks to this casting, the acting is slightly above average for a B-movie, but nothing spectacular. It almost fits into the blaxploitation category itself, thanks to the jazzy, funky soundtrack and the alternative marketing title "Black Werewolf".
As for the 'guess the werewolf' element, as far as I can tell you can only narrow it down to three characters before the 'werewolf break' comes along, and then it's just a case of guessing between them. I guessed wrongly (although the character I chose would have made for a better ending), but as I suspected, the werewolf break was something that was added later by the producers and it wasn't the director's idea. The film wasn't made with this in mind, so it's actually impossible to guess for sure who the werewolf is. In fact, Paul Annett hated the idea of the 'werewolf break'.
Overall this is a fairly entertaining werewolf B-movie, and werewolf enthusiasts will probably enjoy it, but it could have been better.
The movie had an interesting premise but it sort of peters out at the end. One thing I didn't care for was the film's alternate title because it ruined the movie for it. I did enjoy the acting but the werewolf "effects" are the doggie's dinner.
As you'd expect, one of the main elements in this werewolf mystery is silver -- who has touched it and who hasn't. I mean, you can't set it in a luxurious mansion filled with silver cutlery and not throw that in, can you? However, as it turns out, in order for silver to be effective wolfsbane pores have to present in the air. The rest of it simply relies on where different characters are at different times ... and yes, there's a lot of guessing involved. My advice would be to just forget about that element and enjoy the movie for what it was intended to be -- not what the studio marketed it as.
Rather than going down the usual route of having a hairy fellow running around, here they've used an actual wolf which makes it harder to guess the identity of our werewolf. Well, actually they used a big, black dog who isn't very threatening (see bottom photo). He is adorable though, isn't he? The final transformation scene in which the identity of the beast is revealed to us is done with a simple crossfade.