Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 23rd, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1975
Director: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Writer: Fumio Kônami
Adapted From: manga series Urufu gai written by Kazumasa Hirai
Cast: Sonny Chiba, Kôji Fujiyama, Haruki Jo, Kenji Kawai, Hiroshi Kondô, Teruo Shimizu, Saburo Date
BluRay released: May 22nd, 2017 (UK), May 23rd, 2017 (USA)
Approximate running time: 86 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono Japanese
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A,B / Region 1,2 NTSC
Retail Price: $39.95 (USA) / £17.99 (UK)
Synopsis: A reporter’s only clue to a man who was cut to death by an invisible entity is the man’s dying words about a curse. From there the reporter discovers that this man and three only men (two of which are also now dead) where involved in the raping of young woman. Now determined more than ever to solve this case the reporter then track down the young woman who was raped and discovers that she has syphilis. She also reveals that she was targeted because by a very powerful public figure who blames her for giving his son syphilis. Now with this new information at in hand will the reporter be able to expose who have done this young woman wrong or will his a secret from his past come back to haunt him?
Wolf Guy: Enraged Lycanthrope was directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi whose other notable films include, the first three Sister Street Fighter films, Delinquent Girl Boss: Blossoming Night Dreams, Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confession, Wandering Ginza Butterfly, Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler, Karate Bullerfighter, Karate Bearfighter and Karate for Life.
Key Collaborators on Wolf Guy: Enraged Lycanthrope include screenwriter Fumio Kônami (Female Convict Scorpion Jailhouse 41, Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs) and cinematographer Yoshio Nakajima (Bodyguard Kiba, The Killing Machine). The screenplay for Wolf Guy: Enraged Lycanthrope was adapted from Kazumasa Hirai’s manga series Urufu gai. Also Wolf Guy: Enraged Lycanthrope was Toei’s second adaption of Kazumasa Hirai’s manga series Urufu gai. With their first adaption being Horror of the Werewolf.
Known primarily for portraying bad asses who break bones and sometimes maim or dismember their foes. Wolf Guy: Enraged Lycanthrope is an oddity even for Sonny Chiba, who had just come off the success of what is widely regarded his signature character and series, the Street Fighter films.
Fortunately for Chiba fans this is not your run of the mill werewolf movie and without giving too much away, it is not until the film’s last half that Chiba’s character being a werewolf is even acknowledge. With that being said, this allows Chiba for the first half of the film to do what he does best, kick a lot of ass and ask for names later. Of course when it comes to the ladies Chiba once again plays a character that women can’t get enough of.
As mentioned before the first half of the film plays out like a detective story, while the second half takes on a supernatural vibe. Also when it comes to the characters they are all well-defined end their motivations are always clear? In other words there are no characters that occupy the middle ground. With everyone either falling into the good guy category or the bad guy category. And though the werewolf angle is what is going to drive most viewers to this film. Unfortunately this plot device is woefully underused and more attention being given to the more exploitative elements of this film’s plot.
From a performance standpoint Sonny Chiba once again delivers in the role of the reporter. His performance contains the ferocity and brutality that is on par with the Takuma ‘Terry’ Tsurugi that he portrayed in the Street Fighter films. Compared to Chiba the rest of the cast are just mere obstacles that just get in his way.
Chiba’s main nemesis is a secret government organization who discover that he is a werewolf. They capture him and try to use of him to make others into werewolves. Of course these are the same individuals that injected the syphilis into the other character. Needless to say those in charge of these experiments are cut from the same loin as so many other diabolical masterminds who always end up being their own worst enemy.
Wolf Guy comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This HD transfer used for this release were created from original preservations elements that were supplied by Toei. There are no issues with compression, colors look accurate, black levels fare well and details look crisp throughout.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. There are no issues with background noise or distortion and dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Range wise the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented and when it comes to film’s score its sounds appropriately robust.
Extras for this release, include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 55 seconds, in Japanese with English subtitles), three interviews – the first interview is with director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi (10 minutes 31 seconds, in Japanese with English), the second interview is with producer Toru Yoshida (17 minutes 30 seconds, in Japanese with English) and the third interview is with actor Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba (14 minutes 31 seconds, in Japanese with English).
Topics discussed in the interview with Kazuhiko Yamaguchi include, the Abashiri Prison films, the Delinquent Girl Boss films, Toei and how he started out as an assistant director, Sister Street Fighter, Kazumasa Hirai’s manga which Wolf Guy was adapted from, his thoughts about werewolf films, production related topics about Wolf Guy, actors Sonny Chiba and Harumi Sone, actress Yayoi Watanabe and his thoughts about Wolf Guy.
Topics discussed in the interview with Toru Yoshida include, his origins as a producer, Toei, the Female Prisoner films, the Abashiri Prison films, Kazumasa Hirai’s manga which Wolf Guy was adapted from, Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, author Kazumasa Hirai’s reaction to the film, screenwriter Fumio Kônami, his prolific schedule as a producer throughout the 1970’s, Sonny Chiba, background information about other films he worked on and his thoughts about Wolf Guy.
Topics discussed in the interview with Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba include, Toei / Kinji Fukasaku / his origins as an actor, action cinema, action choreography, his philosophy about acting and shooting martial arts sequences.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a thirty-six-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Full Moon Chiba: The Resurrection of Wolf Guy written by Patrick Macias, an essay titled Monster Mashups, Japanese Style written by Jasper Sharp and information about the transfer.
Also, included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo. Overall Wolf Guy gets a definitive release from Arrow Video, highly recommended.