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Film / Scream of the Wolf

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Scream of the Wolf is a 1974 Made-for-TV Movie directed by Dan Curtis and written by Richard Matheson, based off the short story "The Hunter" by David Case.

A series of brutal killings that appear to be committed by a wolf, and the police ask retired hunter and writer John Weatherby (Peter Graves) to kill the animal. However, the alleged wolf has left behind facts that don’t add up, the most glaring of which is that wolves don’t walk on two feet. Weatherby fervently denies that the killer could be a werewolf, but he does begin to suspect that his friend and fellow hunter Byron Douglas (Clint Walker) has had a hand in the killings...

List of tropes applying to the film:

  • Angry Guard Dog: The twist reveals that Byron killed his victims with a hunting dog he trained to kill humans.
  • Bittersweet Ending: John has stopped the killer, Byron, but to do so he killed his best friend and had to return to using violence.
  • Blood Knight: Byron really loves hunting.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Byron believes that the only time that someone is truly alive is when they’re killing someone or when they’re about to be killed, and he believes the killings are beneficial to the townsfolk due to the mass panic the killings have caused. John is the only person in the film not to suspect that he could be the killer.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Byron being the killer is no great shock, but him not being a werewolf is. As it turns out, Byron has been using pieces of his trophies, his hunting skills, and a hunting dog trained to maul humans to lure John back into hunting and force him into regaining his killer instinct.
  • Faking the Dead: Byron, with Grant’s corpse.
  • Genre Blind: John is literally the only person to never suspect that Byron is the killer, and that the culprit is a werewolf. The ending reveals he was aware Byron was the killer for a good portion of the film, and his actions at the end were him deliberately luring him out. Plus, he was right about the culprit not being a werewolf.
  • Great White Hunter: John was this, but he retired.
  • Impending Doom P.O.V.: The werewolf’s scenes are shot this way until the climax, to preserve the reveal that the werewolf is just a hunting dog trained to go after humans.
  • Mundanger: The killer isn’t a werewolf, just a very disturbed man and a vicious hunting dog.
  • Obviously Evil: Byron is so disturbed and creepy that it is blatantly obvious he’s the killer and a werewolf, to the point that literally everyone except John suspects him. The real twist of the film is that he isn’t a werewolf, having set up the entire thing to get John to go back to hunting.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Because they don’t exist.
  • Red Herring:
    • The film makes a halfhearted attempt to set up Byron’s equally creepy assistant Grant as the killer.
    • The entire setup of the killer being a werewolf is an elaborate setup, since the twist reveals it was all Byron’s fakery.
  • Savage Wolves: Some time before the events of the film, John and Byron had tracked down an unusually vicious and large wolf rumored to be a werewolf that bit Byron. As it turns out, the rumors were just that: rumors.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: There really is no werewolf. Byron had used his hunting skills and pieces of his trophies to fake the tracks and cover his scent, and had used a hunting dog to kill the victims as part of a plan to force John to regain his hunting instincts or die.
  • Sex Signals Death: The third victims are killed immediately after having sex.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Sandy, the townsfolk, and everyone aside from the police and John believe the killer is a werewolf. It turns out they were wrong; the killer was actually a perfectly mundane serial killer and an attack dog.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Byron says this about John while trying to escape. He’s wrong.