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The Howling [DVD]

4.3 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Patrick MacNee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone, Dee Wallace Stone, Belinda Balaski
  • Directors: Joe Dante
  • Producers: Michael Finell, Jack Conrad
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Momentum
  • DVD Release Date: 18 Oct. 2004
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AZVEZ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,999 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

A female TV reporter (Dee Wallace) goes to an out-of-town retreat in order to recover from a traumatic encounter with a serial killer. Unfortunately, her attempt to get some rest and relaxation is ruined by the fact that her fellow inmates are all werewolves. Joe Dante's horror-spoof brilliantly combines chills and laughs with amazing special effects and movie-buff references. Watch out for cameo appearances from B-movie maestro Roger Corman and director John Sayles (who co-scripted the film).

From Amazon.co.uk

An instant werewolf classic, The Howling was directed by Joe Dante, a graduate of Roger Corman's school of low-budget ingenuity who had gained enough momentum with 1978's Piranha to rise to this bigger challenge. He brought along Piranha screenwriter John Sayles, too, and recruited makeup wizard Rob Bottin to create what was then the wildest on-screen transformation ever seen. With Gary Brandner's novel The Howling as a starting point, Sayles and Dante conceived a werewolf colony on the California coast, posing as a self-help haven led by a seemingly benevolent doctor (Patrick Macnee), and populated by a variety of "patients", from sexy, leather-clad sirens (Elisabeth Brooks) to an old coot (John Carradine) who's quite literally long in the tooth. When a TV reporter (Dee Wallace) arrives at the colony to recover from a recent trauma, the resident lycanthropes prepare for a howlin' good time.

Dante handles it all with equal measures of humour, sex, gore, and horror, pulling out all the stops when the ravenous Eddie (Dante favourite Robert Picardo, later known as The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager) transforms into a towering , bloodthirsty werewolf. (Bottin's mentor Rick Baker would soon raise the make-up ante with An American Werewolf in London.) As usual in Dante's movies (qv. Gremlins), in-jokes abound, from characters named after werewolf movie directors, amusing cameos (Corman, Sayles, Forrest J Ackerman), and hammy inserts of wolfish cartoons and Allen Ginsberg's "Howl". It's best appreciated now as a quintessential example of early-80s horror, with low-budget limitations evident throughout, but The Howling remains a giddy genre milestone. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Feb. 2011
Format: DVD
The Howling is a werewolf film that is a little different to your average horror -- which is probably why it has endured so long. Karen White (Dee Wallace -- who every bloke went bananas over, in the day, though I thought Belinda Balaski (who plays her friend Terri) was far more "appealing" in this respect!) is a TV reporter who (whilst going undercover to try and expose a serial killer who is stalking her) survives a werewolf encounter. Because of the shock, she is invited (by her therapist -- a Christopher-Lee-like Patrick Macnnee) to recuperate at "the colony" (a spooky, woodland reserve by the seaside) where -- as you might guess -- when the moon comes out, all is not as it seems.

The acting (as was the case for the subsequent year's big werewolf film, An American Werewolf in London) is much better than you would expect in a "creature feature" and the main characters are all convincing. The atmosphere of the colony is great -- think misty trees, wood cabins and sixties (Lost-style) university buildings. Of course, any werewolf film also lives or dies on the beast itself and in this respect, The Howling is a somewhat mixed bag. It seems that the budget was saved for the later stages of the film, as before then (due to some truly awful -- at one point animated! -- effects) I was thinking this was a 2 or at most a 3 star film (nothing more than a well acted B movie, with men in hairy suits; I was wondering how I could have remembered this so fondly!). Throughout, though, there is an razor-sharp tension, that builds and builds and then suddenly erupts into the horror you were expecting from a film of this standing. When the beast emerges fully, you are left suitably terrified to realise what the fuss was all about! (Far more so than with any modern CGI Werewolf!
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Format: Blu-ray
I find it odd that Amazon.co.uk feel able to offer UK customers the Region A-locked US version of Joe Dante's classic werewolf movie on import but don't have enough joined-up thinking to direct potential customers to import from their own French site where it's easily available for EUR14.99 plus shipping under its French title HURLEMENTS. It's still in English and Region B, though. Check out http://www.amazon.fr/Hurlements-Blu-ray-Dee-Wallace-Stone/dp/B0038N8TCW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370195715&sr=8-1&keywords=howling

That said, am I the only one who's p**sed at UK distribs who feel that Brit consumers aren't good enough to want BDs of classic genre movies? Grrr....

A quick look through Amazon.fr shows me WESTWORLD, FLESH AND BLOOD and BLOW OUT (only previously available as a Criterion Region A premium disc). Worth checking out. Come on Amazon UK - offer us these titles too without the pain of importation.
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Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Its amazing the things you notice many years later, that you didn't notice the first time you saw a movie like this. What am I referring to? the scene where Karen throws acid at Eddie as he transforms for instance, I mean seriously? why would a doctor have an open beaker of acid in his office? I realise its for plot convenience, but would it not have made more sense to have a coffee machine instead?

And then there is the climax, where the sole remaining male protagonist herds the werewolves into the barn at gunpoint, before using the gun to lock the door by sliding it through the handles. He and Karen then set the barn on fire before running to a car to get away, and lo and behold, he still has his gun!!! I know I'm nit-picking, but they obviously didn't care about attention to detail back in 1981.

Don't get me wrong, these are not complaints, just rather amusing observations, and I did enjoy the movie, even now after all these years, and surprisingly, it has aged very well. Admittedly it does take a while to get going, but the werewolf transformations are well done, and suitably creepy too. Who would have thought that a werewolf movie from 1981, could still scare in this day and age?
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