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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…
I misremembered this film. I thought it was a lot more humourous and pretty plotless. So glad I was wrong on both counts. I thought it was just great how if somebody flicked over the TV and watched the first 10 mins or so they'd be thinking it was something entirely different than what it was. As always I was super excited when Dick popped up! My fave character actor. And I was really rooting for Dee Wallace's character. I loved how she waited through what seemed like an eternally long transformation before attacking haha. I was also beyond happy that I had forgotten the ending as it was magnificent!
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!
It's interesting to contrast Dante and Landis's approaches to horror comedy. In An American Werewolf in London, the jokes mostly come straight from the characters as a defense mechanism against terror or disbelief, with only occasional winking bits of meta humor. Here, the balance is tipped the other way, and though the movie is maybe not quite scary as a result, the way the movie references and wolf puns rub up against the movie's straight horror moments and frank sexuality is effectively jarring, and the biggest scares rely on a strong sense of comic timing. It's easy to imagine, watching The Howling, an alternate universe where Joe Dante's career was more like Wes Craven's, but since we have a Wes Craven in this timeline, I'm glad we got the Joe Dante who would make Gremlins 2.
Second act felt dragged out and a little spotty, but the payoff is WELL worth the wait. The prosthetic effects are everything you'd expect in a Dante film and more. Wish the script dabbled more into Eddie's interior dialogue and plotting but, eh.
A very intriguing film! With special effects done by the maestro that created the effects for The Thing!!
You kill somethin' you don't eat, now that's a sin.
This movie is so fucking cool, even though creature effects were great, some were hilarious to watch. Love the music and the cool transitions. Having the credits play over the rare burger order is a nice finishing touch.
This film was up and down for me. The practical special effects are still fantastic, the other effects not so much. The film is enjoyable but the story just seems off to me. I'm not sure what it is but it just didn't engage me. The tongue and cheek humor and cameos are fun. So overall a mixed bag for me that gets 3/5 stars.
Summer of the Beast film #45:
Starts off really interesting, slams on the brakes, later picks up the interesting storyline and then almost immediately completely forgets about it, then there's werewolfs. The ending scene is also really good.
One of the better werewolf films out there, this boasts an interesting story and some pretty cool effects, which have dated, but still hold up for the time they were made.
One of my favorite werewolf movies. Joe Dante does a masterful job of mixing horror, drama and humor to make this a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Tons of cameos and nods to famous horror movies. Throw in Rob Bottin's amazing practical effects, and it becomes a classic. Bonus points for setting "The Colony" in the redwoods near Mendocino.