The Howling

Imagine your worst fear a reality

91 min     6.5     1981     USA


After a bizarre and near fatal encounter with a serial killer, a newswoman is sent to a rehabilitation center whose inhabitants may not be what they seem.


John Chard wrote:
A secret society exists, and is living among all of us. They are neither people nor animals, but something in-between. In the name of good television, newswoman Karen White (Dee Wallace) forms a bond with serial killer Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo). But when the meeting of the two arrives, it nearly proves fatal and damages Karen psychologically. Her psychologist recommends that she spend some time with her husband out at a remote convalescence resort, but once there it appears all is not as it seems. A truly great Werewolf movie, one of the best in fact, The Howling - in some eyes - has lost some of its bite over the years due to countless sequels and imitators, but its importance never dims. It often gets forgotten that The Howling changed the werewolf DNA for the better, it invented its own hairy beast as it were, refusing to copy past treasures from the olde classic era. But director Joe Dante shows the utmost respect to those who had previously eaten at the Lycan table, naming many of the characters in his film after directors of Werewolf movies. Nice. Another thing forgotten, due in no part to the release of An American Werewolf in London later in the year, is that Dante's movie often has tongue in bloody cheek. It is happy to be a parody of the sub-genre of horror it loves, while some of the comedy visuals are deliciously and knowingly dry. But this is a horror film after all, and it so delivers in spades the frights and nervous tremors, even sexing things up as well. These Werewolves are completely bestial, and in human form enjoy having their secret other halves. This is just a colony at the moment but domination of all humans is most definitely appealing and on the agenda. Horror fans will sometimes stumble across a debate about effects wizards Rob Bottin and Rick Baker, who is best? It really doesn't matter, both are geniuses of their craft. Bottin is in the chair here, while Baker served as a consultant before doing his thing on An American Werewolf in London. The transformation sequences are superb and still hold up today as brilliant craft work, no CGI cheap tactics here. No sir. The Howling is scary, sexy and funny, and knowing Dante - maybe even political. A joyous Werewolf film whose impact on horror should always be respected. 9/10