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Thursday July 18th 2024

Wolfen | 1981

Wolfen filming location: Federal Hall, Wall Street, Lower Manhattan
Wolfen filming location: the climactic bloodshed: Federal Hall, Wall Street, Lower Manhattan

Stylish and bloody eco-horror, from the director of Woodstock, has strangely-accented cop Dewey Wilson (Albert Finney) investigating a race of superwolves, descended from Native American hunters, who live by scavenging on the Big Apple’s down-and-outs – and others.

The Van de Veers and their chauffeur get chomped at Battery Park, on Manhattan’s southern tip. Their glitzy apartment is in the Chase Manhattan Bank Building, 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, in Lower Manhattan. The strange black and white sculpture outside is Jean Dubuffet’s A Group of Four Trees.

Wilson lives in a surprisingly elegant mansion block on Staten Island, from where he flies in by helicopter to investigate the deaths, while the wolfen themselves inhabit the blighted urban wastes of the South Bronx.

After a scare in the South Bronx, Wilson and Rebecca Neff (Diane Venora) head for Chumley’s, a former speakeasy (you need to look for it – there’s still no sign), 86 Bedford Street, between Grove and Barrow Streets in Greenwich Village. Once a blacksmith shop, it was converted into a clandestine drinking house in 1922 by the socialist activist Leland Stanford Chumley.

Since its speakeasy days it’s been a favourite hangout for writers, poets, playwrights and journalists, particularly members of the Beat Generation in the Fifties. Chumley’s, seen also in Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown, closed down for quite a while but is now open for business again.

Wolf-loving Dr Ferguson (Tom Noonan) works out of Central Park Zoo, in Central Park, on Fifth Avenue at East 64th Street.

After a queasy climb up the huge suspension wires, Wilson questions Eddie Holt (Edward James Olmos) in a dizzying scene atop the arch of the Manhattan Bridge high above the East River.

The climactic bloody wolf attack, with the Police Chief’s head gaily bouncing off the car, is staged in front of the grandiose Parthenon-style Federal Hall, 26 Wall Street at Nassau Street, which you may remember as the spot where Whoopi Goldberg hands over the money to “a bunch o’ nuns” at the end of Ghost. It’s also, fittingly, the spot where Jordan Belfort (Leonardo Di Caprio) arrives in Manhattan in The Wolf Of Wall Street.