"Scream of the Wolf" begins with a man suffering an automobile breakdown in the dead of night. This being in the age before mobile phones, there's nothing to it but to venture out into the darkness and look for help. He hasn't got far from his car, however, before he is set upon by some kind of ferocious, growling beast - which rips both man and car to shreds.
The police investigate the incident, treating it as a murder. Having found strange animal tracks, they call in a local author and hunter named John Weatherby who identifies them as belonging to a very large wolf-like animal. As more killings begin to take place, the word "werewolf" is whispered among the locals. The chief suspect is John's reclusive old hunting partner Byron, who seems to think that these killings and the threat of imminent death are actually a good thing for the town ...
On the good side, the central themes of hunter and hunted, predator and prey, the thrill of the hunt and the joy of the kill, are all too often neglected in werewolf movies - but they are certainly at the forefront throughout "Scream of the Wolf." On the bad side, we get to see very little of the wolf (though arguably this is better than showing plenty of a BAD wolf ...) and most of the acting is slightly half-assed. This movie is also very seventies. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on whether this period holds any nostalgia value for you.
It was directed by Dan Curtis, who created the supernatural soap opera "Dark Shadows" in the sixties (also featuring werewolves in many episodes), and written by Richard Matheson. The two of them teamed up on several horror projects. It stars Peter Graves, famous for the original "Mission: Impossible" TV series and also for the "Airplane!" movies. It's certainly a very strong and experienced team when it comes to creating pure entertainment.
All in all "Scream of the Wolf" is a very enjoyable horror movie, in a somewhat low budget nuts-and-bolts kind of way. I'd recommend it, especially if you tend to enjoy this era of television and movies.
(WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW!)
There are a number of things which confuse the police when it comes to the animal attacks. From the tracks, it appears that the animal starts on all fours and then begins to walk up-right. The blood-hounds are also unable to track the beast, which seems to be able to change its scent.
All the signs point to werewolf, of course, but that is not the direction which this movie chooses to go in. As it turns out, the whole thing is a big scam perpetrated by the Byron character, who has gone slightly insane in his lust for the kill. He has trained a wolf to kill for him, and also used the claws and footpads from his many trophies to make the killings look like werewolf attacks.
At this point I was enjoying the movie so much that the lack of a werewolf didn't really bother me. I think the movie deserves to stay here on the basis of its central themes and its lycanthropic elements.