Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 7th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1975
Alternate Title: Urufu gai: Moero ôkami-otoko
Approximate running time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen
Director: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Writer: Fumio Kônami
Adapted From: manga series Urufu gai written by Kazumasa Hirai
Cinematographer: Yoshio Nakajima
Cast: Sonny Chiba, Kôji Fujiyama, Haruki Jo, Kenji Kawai, Hiroshi Kondô, Teruo Shimizu, Saburo Date
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?
Wolfguy: 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 Wolfguy: 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 Wolfguy: Enraged Lycanthrope was adapted from Kazumasa Hirai’s manga series “Urufu gai”. Also Wolfguy: 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. Wolfguy: Enraged Lycanthrope is an oddity even for Sonny Chiba who has 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.
Though there are things that can be improved with this film. The end result is still a highly entertaining film that embodies the essence of 1970’s Japanese exploitation cinema.
Availability: To date this film has yet to receive an official home video releases and the only version I known of was tapped from a television broadcast.
Note: The screenshots in this review are for presentation purposes only. This film’s intended aspect ratio is a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.