Shadow of the Hawk (1976)

shadow of the hawk poster 1976 movie
3.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 4/10

Creepy witch woman


Movie Info

Movie Name: Shadow of the Hawk

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Genre(s): Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s): July 14, 1976

MPAA Rating: PG

shadow of the hawk native american spirit

Can’t a creepy spirit take a swim in a pool and drown a guy without it becoming a “big deal”?

Mike (Jan-Michael Vincent) is a successful business man in the city, but when his grandfather Old Man Hawk (Chief Dan George) shows up and tells his grandson that he is needed by his tribe, Mike finds himself journeying back to his people.  With Maureen (Marilyn Hassett) coming along with him, Mike quickly discovers the visions that he’s been having of an evil spirit might actually be reality and that the danger that his grandfather warned about could be real…the evil is getting closer and the battle has just begun!

Directed by George McCowan, Shadow of the Hawk is a supernatural horror movie.  The movie was released to mostly negative reviews.

I hadn’t heard of Shadow of the Hawk and went into it blind.  I thought it was going to be a man-vs-nature movie (it was paired with Nightwing), and then I thought it was going to largely be a supernatural movie…unfortunately, it was neither.

shadow of the hawk jan michael vincent chief dan george

Grandpa…I’m giving up my city ways and putting on a sweater!!!

Shadow of the Hawk is largely a bore.  It starts out with potential and a creepy ghostly Native American spirit attacking Jan-Michael Vincent in the pool, but then becomes Jan-Michael Vincent, Marilyn Hassett, and Chief Dan George driving around in a truck and getting run off the road multiple times.  There is a spiritual battle that occurs but none of it ends up being very scary or having much effect on the story.  You simply want it to end.

The cast is more talented than the script.  Jan-Michael Vincent is pretty young in it but is much more interesting than his character who is suddenly willing to give up his world to be a medicine man.  Marilyn Hassett just “tags along” for a six-hundred mile spur of the moment road trip for little reason (and of course becomes romantically involved with Vincent).  Chief Dan George is always fun, but he’s also been in better movies.

shadow of the hawk fight

Hey, grandpa. Remember when that guy dressed up like an eagle came out and challenged me to a fight? Good times!

The movie’s visuals vary from interesting to poorly done.  There are some really eerie scenes involving the spirit creature essentially peeking from around various objects, but there are generally not that many scares or frights…and with such a great landscape as the Pacific Northwest, it feels like it isn’t really used.  There is an especially egregious battle with a bear that switches between a stuntman posing as Jan-Michael Vincent wrestling a real bear and Jan-Michael Vincent facing off against a man in a bear suit…it is pretty terrible for a big screen picture.

Shadow of the Hawk is a movie you can skip.  I love this period of movies and the PG rating can sometimes be a fake-out since PG had a lot more spread at the time (aka things like Jaws or the Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake).  This movie is lacking the scares after the opening scene and feels like a lot of lost potential…the hawk doesn’t cast a very long shadow at all.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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