We're about half way through the Underrated Series and have finally reached one of the big genres. I'm expecting lots…
Imagine your worst fear a reality
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.
Joe Dante's "The Howling" has a lot of good things going for it. Rob Bottin's werewolf designs are gruesome and monstrous, the story is compelling, and horror movie inside jokes abound. At the same time, the film plays like a showcase for half-effective makeup effects, the plot lacks urgency, and its characters are bereft of logic. It is a definite mixed bag, but it is a watchable and partially effect experience.
Focusing on a TV reporter who recently investigated a serial killer, the film revolves around her subsequent time-off at a resort/commune on the California coast. Of course, the commune is not what it seems, its residents consisting mostly of werewolves. The story itself is layered and interesting, but it…
If 1981 werewolf movies (this and American Werewolf in London) taught us anything its that practical effects and makeup beat CGI hands down.
We should never try to deny the beast - the animal within us.
-Dr. George Waggner
Werewolves turn to new age psychology for help as Joe Dante and Dee Wallace were just starting out their legendary genre careers. Classic horror plotting with Dante's unique humor in full force with the help of his Piranha screenwriter John Sayles with nods to numerous horror films, werewolves and just wolves in general.
Some tributes are obvious like having characters watch The Wolf Man on television while others are very subtle as having numerous characters use the last names of directors who had made werewolf films. The best however has to be some props from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre finding their way into Walter…
If you ever wanted an insight into how lazy TV schedulers could be sometimes, you only have to look to the way the Howling series has been treated on terrestrial TV over the years.
The Howling really didn't get all that many TV showings over the years. It made the odd appearance, but nothing more than that. Yet do you know which of the series got showingsall the time? Howling VI: The Freaks. The amount of times it popped up in the TV schedule late night on BBC1 or BBC2 was remarkable. It's like the BBC got hold of it one year, showed it, and just chucked it on when they…
A proper werewolf film at a time when practical effects were still king, The Howling throws in old school lycanthrope mythology with a more knowing, contemporary spin. A perfect partner to Landis' An American Werewolf In London, Joe Dante takes a far less comedic route, opting for a more threateningly violent and unsettling Horror.
Dee Wallace leads a strong genre ensemble with the likes of Patrick Macnee, Kevin McCarthy and Dick Miller adding gravitas to proceedings. Pino Donaggio's syrupy thick, nightmarish string score ramps up the tension, the sleeze and claustrophobia while also harkening back to the Universal Horrors of old.
An absolute classic Werewolf movie, no doubt about it.
As much as I love An American Werewolf in London, I think that The Howling is the greatest werewolf movie ever. Plus the Scream Factory release of the blu ray makes it even better!
"crazy fuck" and "oh boy" as recited by Dick Miller, or as Gene Shalit might say: "I'm lycan it!"
October is Rick Baker month... Entry #2
This movie takes a little while to get going but once it does, I think it's actually a lot of fun... I know, I know... the werewolf transformation scenes by Rick Baker don't really compare to AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF transformation scenes by Rick Baker.... I just really love Joe Dante's sensibilities in general... He always seems to make his films with the perfect amount of seriousness... His attitude is not flippant... but at the same time, he definitely wants the audience to have fun with his films..
Dee Wallace is lovely as usual... I would say the same thing about her performance that I said about Dante's direction...
If you haven't yet seen it, take a look.. Don't expect something as genius as the aforementioned AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF, but it has grown on me over the years...
Joe Dante and John Sayles made a hell of a damn team for awhile didn't they.
Slow hour long burn but once it kicks off it's fun werewolf action
Rick Baker made the right choice.
satire can be fun, but i heartily disagree with The Dissolve's recent assessment. "self-improvement retreats and exploitative network news programs" might be the intended targets, but there's a broader, ubiquitous blame-game with gender dynamics. this movie begins with snuff porn and an attempted rape-murder, so it's only fitting that Dee Wallace should pay the ultimate price for her admission.
save for the "grabbier" wolves and that file room, Dante is limp, ugly, and choppy in the worst way. even the exceptional effects are pimped out to a self-serving role. Bottin's work is great, but the centrepiece transformation is nothing more than a showcase, an "Exhibit A" to which Gen-Xers can point and reference the questionable superiority of 1980s genre fare. they don't make 'em like they used to?
Funnier than Anchorman, way better than Network.
The Howling has all the hallmarks of a Joe Dante film. It's overstuffed with ideas, its jokes are corny (hilariously so), Dick Miller steals a scene, it's a movie movie through and through. But unlike his best work, for much of the running time the disparate elements fail to cohere. Each thread has its merits but it doesn't inform the whole. That is until the final reel when Dante sticks the landing and redeems the lot of it.
Dude reading Thomas Wolfe before having crazy outdoor monster sex is pretty awesome too.
Joe Dante gets off to a solid start with The Howling, a somewhat atypical movie from Dante that prefers genuine horror to comedy, even though it possesses the director's satiric edge.
Hoop-Tober: Day 28
I like Joe Dante and I don't think he's had the success he deserves. However, this earlier work doesn't live up to some of his later films.
There's only really one problem: Not nearly enough werewolf action. In fact, the werewolf element only seems to come in to play at all in the third act. And everything before that isn't very interesting, which is disappointing coming from a writer as good as John Sayles.
I enjoy werewolves far more than vampires, but this colony of werewolves present all the characteristics of cinematic vampires. I appreciate that werewolves were used, but it does make me wonder why vampires weren't just used instead. It surely would have been much…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
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