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The Howling [DVD]
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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).
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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!Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
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?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have to be honest upfront: This is my second favourite werewolf movie, just notched under the excellent 'An American Werewolf in London' - although I must admit this loose... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Matty
Back in the 1980s I replaced most of my collection of 8mm movies with VHS and I have been going through a same process of upgrading to DVD for the last few years. Read morePublished 4 months ago by BlackBrigand
This is a werwolf classic released in 1982. And I''ll tell you: it resonably stands the test of time.
Gore is not the main poin here. Read more
Didn't realize this was a locked region item so can't play the Blu Ray disc. Very disappointingPublished 11 months ago by Mark Kilmurry
Great scary original werewolf film, add it to your collection, good price and good condition.Published 13 months ago by Paul Dwyer