A list of Edgar Wright's favorite 1000 Movies per his list on Mubi on July 27th, 2016.
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.
"You can't tame what's meant to be wild, doc, it just ain't natural."
1981 saw the release of two of my favorite werewolf films, while I may enjoy An American Werewolf in London more, it's honestly only slightly better than The Howling. The colony nestled away in the pacific northwest promised the only thing I could ever ask for, MORE werewolves! While the transformation scenes may have been a little too bubbly for some (and they don't quite compare to the masterclass transformation by Rick Baker), the scenes were quite enjoyable with a really great end result--werewolves that walk upright and have really cute bunny ears, I'm easy to please!
Joe Dante regulars are accounted for with: Dick Miller as…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The Howling is one of my most-beloved films. The werewolf transitions are a little static and the New Age Back-To-Your-Inner-Beast stuff doesn't really work in the context of the film, but what does work is golden: Dee Wallace's intrepid traumatized reporter, Belinda Balaski's TV Producer Terry Fisher, equally as intrepid but with my favorite style of maybe anyone in 1981 in the movies. Her business suit at the start of the film is what I would wear every day if I had an office to go to and I could pull it off. Dick Miller may not be convincing as an occult book store owner as he is in it for the cash which honestly makes no sense, but is…
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…
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…
This movie took its sweet time to get where it was going with no great reason to, but when it got there it was definitely worth it. Also lots of transformation scenes done well which I appreciate!
Again, Joe Dante doing his own editing makes for a superior experience. His editing is flashy, tight, and demands a bit more of the audience than other horror films. Many scenes deny a mastershot to the audience, forcing them to labour more than usual. The opening credits are astounding! So is the whole opening sequence, for that matter. Feels like Dante doing his best DePalma impression. I feel like this movie will get better on a rewatch as the jokes and clever asides will announce themselves more, open themselves up. I laughed out loud at the "Wolf" brand can of beans in the cabin.
The howling is old but is so badly shot it would have seemed like a cheap 60's TV show when it was new. Watching it 35 years later with so much good quality about its hard to understand how I watched beyond the first 20 minutes. Once the werewolf action got going it was actually quite funny, although the acting, the music score and the general direction of the story were sadly lacking.
The movie in the middle of this creature feature sandwich is basically garbage but The Howling begins with such an artfully creepy sequence and ends with such poignancy that it's hard to dismiss it on the merits of its terrible plot alone. Besides, those werewolf transformations were so good!
Considering I watched this at least a few times as a kid, I was surprised by how adult it really is. It's not as good as I remember but also better with my adult eyes. I used to hold this up higher that American Werewolf in London but I must say it is at most second now.
Joe Dante's quirky direction is terrific. He fills the screen full of genre in-jokes and references, adding an extra layer for fans of werewolf movies to enjoy. The script comes from John Sayles and is witty and exciting with a little bit of everything thrown in. Humour, horror, mystery, sex, romance, action -- I'm not saying the film knocks it out of the park on every front, but at least it's in there swinging. Makeup effects artist Rob Bottin outdid himself on this one. The special effects are excellent. The transformation effects in movies like this and An American Werewolf in London have yet to be surpassed, despite all the CGI crap we get today.
In addition to Wallace, Stone,…
The plot of this film is pretty simple, but the transformations are everything people say they are. And there is a nice, subtle humor throughout. Fun creature feature, albeit not a scary one.
Even in 1981 The Howling must have felt dated, especially when compared to its same-year rival, An American Werewolf in London. I just can't think of any other 80s American horror film that seems so much like a 70s movie, except perhaps Friday the 13th, but that was actually shot in 1979. It's a strange thing to complain about given how very many 1970s US movies I love, and I'm not entirely sure it is a complaint. But perhaps The Howling features too many of 70s cinema's worst traits - a tendency to take itself overly seriously, storytelling that's unhurried to the point of rambling, and a worrying obsession with rape - and not enough of its best.
Finally after 20+ years of wanting to see this I finally made the effort!
I'm glad I did. While still not upto Rick Baker's previous efforts in American Werewolf this was a big improvement on The Beast Within transformation wise and film too tbh.
As I'm probably one of the only horror fans on here that hadn't seen it I'll give a brief synopsis.
The rather attractive Dee Wallace plays a news reporter who gets attacked by a serial killer after a botched up plan to catch him.
She goes to stay in a countryside retreat with her husband to recuperate and it turns out there are werewolves there. Cue killings and transformations.
Not my favourite Joe Dante effort, but enjoyable nevertheless.
Silver bullets my ass.
Feels like 70s Doctor Who -- started blooming as the lens retracted, lights turned up so high you see through but not beyond them, the media and these falsely broadcasted versions of reality are the safety nets required to let us stand outside of dangers that live somewhere in the backalleys and the roads in foreign countries that you can't quite work out how to navigate. This film is hilarious. Sanctity is overrated.
Edgar Wright's 1000 Favorite Movies via MUBI.