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THE FOLKS AT RED WOLF INN

Here’s one you may have to dig to find. THE FOLKS AT RED WOLF INN is a cannibal-themed comedy-horror movie originally released in 1972, predating similar films such as MOTEL HELL and PARENTS. It’s funny, scary, stylish as hell and often quite gruesome. It’s also nearly forgotten, which is a shame since THE FOLKS AT RED WOLF INN is one film horror fans should not pass up.

The Package
     This modestly-budgeted effort redefines the word tasteless. It was also one of the first films of its type. Let’s not forget, THE FOLKS AT RED WOLF INN (released on video under the titles TERROR AT RED WOLF INN and TERROR ON THE MENU) appeared nearly ten years before 1981’s well-received MOTEL HELL, which is suspiciously similar in many respects--I really hate to accuse anyone of plagiarism, but…
     Two other examples of “cannibal comedy” include CONSUMING PASSIONS (1987) and PARENTS (1989). THE FOLKS AT RED WOLF INN surpasses them all (well, maybe not Bob Balaban’s wonderful and disturbing PARENTS, but it certainly comes close). Unfortunately, the other movies seem to have received all the press while this one has become obscure. Too bad, because it has far more to offer; it's the only film I know that lists the end credits in the form of a menu (p
ay particular attention to the cast of characters grouped under the subtitles “Hors’ Doeuevres,” “Main Course” and “Side Dishes”).

The Story
     Regina (Linda Gillin), a young college student, is sent to the titular residence, a secluded beach spot, after ostensibly winning a mail order contest.  There she meets Henry (Arthur Space) and Evelyn (Mary Jackson), the elderly couple who run the place, as well as their schizophrenic son Baby John (John Nielson).  It’s not long before guests begin to disappear and Regina becomes suspicious about the strange cuts of meat she’s fed night after night.  Yes, you probably have a pretty good idea where the story is heading.  However, the direction is something else entirely…

The Direction
    
Bud Townsend has style to burn, overcoming the film’s obvious low budget and somehow rendering the over-familiar proceedings bizarre, compelling, and even surprising.  Best of all are the brief, well-placed bits of gore.  Although infrequent (the film was rated PG) the gross bits carry quite a jolt, leaving more than enough to the imagination. (CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST this is not.)  Also excellent is Townsend’s work with actors, all of whom come off quite nicely despite stale dialogue and often underwritten characters.  Good stuff all around--and not just for cannibals, either!


Vital Statistics

THE FOLKS AT RED WOLF INN  (a.k.a. TERROR AT RED WOLF INN; TERROR ON THE MENU)
Manson International Pictures

Director: Bud Townsend
Producer: Michael Macready
Screenplay: Allen J. Actor
Cinematographer: John McNichol
Editor: Al Maguire
Cast: Linda Gillin, Arthur Space, John Nelson, Mary Jackson, Janet Wood, Margaret Avery, Michael Macready, Earl Parker


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