Blu-ray Review: Wolf Guy

Sonny Chiba is best known in America for his ’70s Streetfighter movies and Tarantino’s Kill Bill. But he made dozens of films in Japan over the decade and most of them weren’t officially released in America. Wolf Guy came out in 1975 and it’s easy to see why distributors weren’t biting to release it to the grindhouse circuit. Wolf Guy is amazingly bizarre and captivatingly confusing. The audience that enjoyed Sonny taking names and kicking asses wouldn’t quite be ready for a movie based on a manga comic book. Luckily today we can sit back in the family room and absorb the semi-hairy adventures in Wolf Guy.

Inugami (Sonny Chiba) is a reporter who works the strange underbelly of Tokyo. His hot new story is about watching a man getting clawed to death in the streets. While this is strange, it gets stranger because the clawing creature is invisible. The victim’s last words is that he was cursed by Miki. His uncovering ways gets him on a track of a singer that would go around to various mobster nightclubs. The chief mobster wanted her punished for a transgression and she got her revenge by summoning a psychic tiger to get her revenge. Making things odder is the background detail that Inugami is from a werewolf cult. He gets too close to his story and the mobsters want to tap into his werewolf blood. It’s that weird of a movie.

Wolf Guy: Enraged Lycanthrope is the full title and it really is a movie that just pushes the action genre. There’s quite a bit of action on the screen even though the tiger is invisible. The clawing effect holds up well after all these years. The victims looks like they’re being slashed by an invisible predator. While Sonny has some wolf-like hair, he never goes the full Lon Chaney Jr. But he’s rather animalistic on the screen. Wolf Guy‘s time has finally come to conquer America.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks great and let you marvel at the invisible tiger attacks. The audio is Japanese LPCM 1.0. There is no English dub, but there are English subtitles.

DVD with all features of the Blu-ray.

Theatrical trailer (2:55) brings out the weirdness.

Interview with actor Shinichi “Sonny” Chiba (14:31) covers his early days of making action films.

Interview with director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi (10:31) has him admit he didn’t know much about the Wolf Guy manga except it was popular.

Interview with producer Toru Yoshida (17:30) has a talk about how he had a nasty parting with the author of the manga.

Arrow Video presents Wolf Guy. Directed by: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi. Screenplay by: Fumio Kônami. Starring: Sonny Chiba, Rikiya Yasuoka. Running Time: 86 minutes. Rated: Unrated. Released: May 23, 2017.

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