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1981 Movie Reviews – Wolfen

by Sean P. Aune | July 24, 2021July 24, 2021 10:30 am EDT

Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1981 was an exciting year for films giving us a lot of films that would go on to be beloved favorites and cult classics. It was also the start to a major shift in cultural and societal norms, and some of those still reverberate to this day.


We’re going to pick and choose which movies we hit, but right now the list stands at nearly three dozen.

Yes, we’re insane, but 1981 was that great of a year for film.

The articles will come out – in most cases – on the same day the films hit theaters in 1981 so that it is their true 40th anniversary. All films are also watched again for the purposes of these reviews and are not being done from memory. In some cases, it truly will be the first time we’ve seen them.

This time around it’s July 24, 1981, and we’re off to see Wolfen!

Quick side note: Since we launched this series this year, we’ve discovered that Vintage Video Podcast is doing the exact same project with two differences: First, it’s audio (naturally), and second, they are doing every major film. We’ve listened to numerous episodes and it’s fun checking off their thoughts against my own. Check them out over at Vintage Video Podcast.

1981 Movie Project - Wolfen - 01


Wolfen desperately wants to tell you a story of Native Americans… I think. Or maybe it’s a story about wolves. Wait, I know, it’s about the decimation of urban centers in the name of further development! But, you know, if I think about it, it may be about the Native Americans.

I had never seen Wolfen before, and I just always assumed it was a werewolf movie. It turns out it really isn’t. There is some insinuation that Native Americans are putting their souls into wolves, but that isn’t entirely clear either. There are wolves of some type killing people involved in redeveloping certain pieces of land, but then they just turn to killing other people for the fun of it at times.

The film seems to be a tale about the evils of gentrification, the plight of Native Americans in urban centers, the state of wolves in the U.S., and a police procedural all rolled into one. And what you walk away with is the cinematic equivalent of slop. It is a muddled mess from top to bottom with only perhaps the first five minutes of the film being entertaining. From there on you just keep hoping for it to end.

The 1981 movie reviews will return on July 31 with Escape to Victory and Under the Rainbow!

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Sean P. Aune

Sean Aune has been a pop culture aficionado since before there was even a term for pop culture. From the time his father brought home Amazing