The Wolf (1983)

  • Year: 1983
  • Released: 11 Apr 1983
  • Country: Poland
  • Adwords: 1 nomination
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: Polish
  • MPA Rating: N/A
  • Genre: Drama, Horror
  • Runtime: 103 min
  • Writer: Jerzy Gieraltowski, Marek Piestrak
  • Director: Marek Piestrak
  • Cast: Krzysztof Jasinski, Iwona Bielska, Stanislaw Brejdygant
  • Keywords: adultery, werewolf, poland, vengeful spirit, folk horror,

The Wolf Storyline

Kacper, an ex-guerrilla soldier is chased by a female werewolf, realizes that he is possessed by the spirit of his deceased wife Maryna. He also recognizes the same werewolf symptoms in Julia, a predatory countess who has a relationship with an Austrian officer. A very rare and atmospheric gem from Poland.

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The Wolf Movie Reviews

Along with “Lokis” possibly the most famous Polish horror film.

“Wilczyca” by Marek Piestrak is arguably the most famous Polish horror film.Unfortunately this atmospheric flick is not well-known abroad.The action of “Wilczyca” takes place in Poland in the ninetieth century.Maryna dislikes his husband,a Polish patriot named Kacper.Before her death,she curses him.Her evil is transformed not only into a young countess Julia,but also into the wolf…”Wilczyca” is definitely a Polish horror classic that reminds me some Hammer productions.The film is loaded with traditional genre elements like tombs or silver bullets.The climax is surprisingly gory and the mood is quite sensual.Unfortunately its sequel “Powrot Wilczycy” from 1990,also directed by Piestrak,is nowhere nearly as good as the original.So if you ever get a chance to watch this film,don’t hesitate to do this.8 out of 10.

Polish Nationalism of the Late Soviet Era

While historical in the way many of the Hammer films of the late 60s, early 70s are, “Wilczca” departs from its English brethren in its not-so-subtle political concerns.

In “Wilczca”, the backdrop is the 19th century Polish nationalist battles against the Prussians. However, what is missing is the obvious “other’ monster of both the 19th century and the 1980s: Russia. Between 1800 and 1917, Poland was basically a territory divided between the competing ambitions of the Napoleonic wars, Prussia, Russia and the Hapsburg empire. Piestrak, obviously, could not be so obviously anti-Russian when making this film. So the Prussians will have to do.

Now, I mention this because it is helps to frame the ostensible central concern here: Infidelity and betrayal. Specifically, we are introduced in the opening to “Maryna,” the wife of “Kacper”, a man returning home from doing his part in the nationalist wars. Maryna lays dying as an unfaithful spouse: unfaithful to her returning husband, unfaithful to her religion and unfaithful to her country. Kacper calls her a bad name as she lays dying, and she promises to return as a she-wolf. Which she does. However, she also comes to possess the body of “Countess Julia,” who happens to be the spouse of the Count for whom Kasper works. We then spend a fair amount of time getting acquainted with Julia’s infidelities, her transformations and what must be done to stop them.

Several reviews mention the apparent misogyny and even anti-Semitism of the film. As to the latter claim, I will simply point out that Dr. Goldberg emerges as something of a hero in the film. As to the former claim, that one has more bite: The two women here (Maryna and Julia) function as allegorical figures with no real personality or character development. That said, the idea that war destroys the civil sphere dates back at least to the Greeks (see “Medea”), so I regard it as of a piece with the type of film that this is.

In the end, I found the applicable analogy less to the Hammer films than to some of Hertzog’s work from the same period. At any rate, this is a slow burn. But it actually does pick up its pace during the last 20 minutes, and the ending is pretty decent. For a no-budget film, the cinematography is fairly good and reflects the darkness, cold and snow that surround the primary events in the film.

In sum, if your baseline comparison is to the three 1981 biggies: “An American Werewolf” “Wolfen” and “The Howling,” this will disappoint. But if you like an overtly historical tale that takes its time to get to the dramatic scenes, this might work for you.

The best werewolf film I’ve ever seen

If you know Polish you must see the film. And you will understand that everything you’ve seen before on werewolves was kids’ stuff. In this film you have everything: love, hate, adultery, nice actors and most of all real horror. Your hair will stand on end. I guarantee. Have a nice fright!