The Folks at Red Wolf Inn (1972)

“Welcome to Red Wolf Inn, Regina. Guess what we’re having for dinner?” Also known as Terror House, The Folks at Red Wolf Inn, which was directed by Bud Townsend, plays more like a black comedy than a horror flick. The first time I ever heard of this fun little low-budget film was when I read a positive review of it in Danny Peary’s essential Guide for the Film Fanatic (1986) and I wasn’t disappointed! College student “Regina McKee” (Linda Gillen) receives a mysterious letter in the mail announcing that she has won a vacation getaway to remote Red Wolf Inn. Upon arrival, she sits down to a dinner of delicious “mystery meat” with creepy innkeepers “Henry and Evelyn Smith” (Arthur Space and Mary Jackson), as well as their totally insane grandson “Baby John” (John Neilson) and fellow guests “Pamela” (Janet Wood) and “Edwina” (Margaret Avery). Before you know it, guests start disappearing one by one as the feasts at the inn become more and more lavish. You can probably imagine where all this is headed, but it’s a fun ride nonetheless! One of the most bizarre scenes is when Baby John reels in a small shark, bashes it against a rock repeatedly while screaming “Shark!” multiple times and then turns to Regina and confesses “I think I love you.” Great stuff! Prepare to be a little grossed out during this offbeat film, which contained just enough dark humor and suspenseful scenes to keep me reasonably entertained during its 90-minute running time. Avery later received an Oscar nomination for “Best Supporting Actress” for her portrayal of “Shug Avery” in The Color Purple (1985).

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