The first Asian werewolf movie ever made? Quite possibly. This little Hong Kong gem is in Cantonese, and as far as I know has never been released with English subtitles. But hey, I've never let that stop me before ...
Our story opens with a modern extended family living in Hong Kong (probably). One of the women is being seen by a doctor, while the rest are observing the proper religious rites. The doctor reveals that the woman is pregnant, and the rest if the family is overjoyed. Ah, but not all is well! It seems that one of the man present (not her husband) is the real father of the child. When the husband sees the two of them together and learns the truth, he first sets his dog on the other man and then tries to stab him to death. The man survives, but his face is covered with bloody wounds.
The rest of the film appears to take place years later. Cut to a shot of the moon, and a wolf howling. The townsfolk run around terrified, while mothers grab their children and take them inside. We are introduced to a diverse and interesting cast of characters who live in the town, including a detective and his family. His wife was a member of the family in the first scene, who witnessed those events as a young girl and now seems to be haunted by them. When a child's doll is smashed and broken on the floor, she has a flashback of the cheating man's bloodied face. As for that man himself, he is now a heavily-scarred paralytic, who communicates only by banging a piece of wood against the arm of his wheelchair.
Surprisingly, perhaps, they all still seem to be on good terms as the detective and his family come to visit the family home of Mr Scar-face, the very same house which the opening scene took place in. Almost right away, strange things start happening. The wife goes to the kitchen sink to wash her hands, and blood seems to come out of the taps. Eek! However, it seems she hallucinates the whole thing. The strange happenings don't end there and they soon have her thoroughly spooked, especially when her daughter goes missing ...
Even without understanding the language, this struck me as a decent low-budget horror movie with some great visuals. I would love to see a subtitled version at some point in the future, though I doubt it will ever happen ... this one will probably remain a pleasure reserved for the Chinese-speaking audience alone.
The werewolf is first revealed about half-way into the movie. The primary suspect is the fellow who was bitten by dogs in the first scene and ended up a paralytic in a wheelchair. Perhaps this is all just a cover to shield his lycanthropic activities? It is a fairly common horror movie trope, after all.
However, as it turns out this movie is more interesting than that. In a thrilling scene it is revealed that the werewolf is in fact someone else altogether, someone who seems to be fiercely protective of Mr Scar-Face. There is a final scene in which the identity of the werewolf is about to be revealed, and the villain is about to remove his mask - when the picture pauses and there is a countdown, giving an opportunity for the audience to guess who the killer is. This idea was used again in "The Beast Must Die" (1974) - and it's interesting to see the roots of that concept in such an obscure movie. I wonder if it was a coincidence of if the director had actually seen this one.
I think the werewolf in this movie is actually the child born of the adulterous affair at the beginning, but without understanding the dialogue I can't be sure. It would explain why the monster is so protective of Mr Scar-Face, and why it lives in the basement of the same house. It seems that he is constantly in lycanthropic form, and doesn't not transform - though the full moon is used as a motif all the same. He is finally destroyed, appropriately enough, through the use of fire.