Woodstock records a generation coming to terms with mass market promotion. It describes an ascent from small-scale acts to hot blues and psychedelic rock, culminating in the satori of Ravi Shankar. Everybody goes home wiser, if not sadder at all.
The best analysis is Life Stinks. Wadleigh’s film records visible tendencies in Seventies building and all but forecasts the terrible deconstruction and the “cocaine towers” of the Eighties and Nineties and beyond, the decline of architecture and eventually of the building trades.
Here is a very big and very beautiful New York City, and there is the South Bronx looking bombed-out and desolate. A classic science-fiction tale with an homage to William Castle in Wolfenvision, first shown as a POV from inside a ruined church looking up through the shattered roof at a passing helicopter, a famous shot from Mrs. Miniver.
There is early on an ambience of The Exorcist, giving way to a careful winnowing of the theme out of feints and red herrings (terrorists, subculturists, etc.), and Executive Surveillance Systems.
Finney and Hines arm themselves with rifles and nightscopes to seek out the wolfen among the ruins. Hines is perched in an upstairs window, he hears an explosion in his headphones and realizes he’s opened his can of beer directly in front of his sound-gathering antenna. After a moment he leans over and burps in it. This begins a remarkable scene as Finney reconnoiters the area precisely like an episode of Combat!.
In the end, after much play with horror movie style, the unstated sentiment might be Eliot’s “There I was told: we have too many churches / And too few flophouses.” The exact point of congruency with Jack Arnold is Black Eye. Picasso and Dubuffet make appearances, Joseph Stella is represented by his model.