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TBT Movie Review: The Howling

This week’s post was inspired by two things.

First, I recently read a fantastic book, “The Mongrels” by Stephen Graham Jones, that put werewolves in my head. And second, I read there is a remake of “The Howling” in the works, so I decided to take a look back at my all-time favorite werewolf movie.

The early ‘80s had two fantastic werewolf movies, “The Howling” and “An American Werewolf in London.” Both are excellent, but I always preferred “The Howling.” It was dirtier and grittier. It almost seemed more real than “An American Werewolf in London.”

The movie, directed by Joe Dante, stars Dee Wallace as reporter Karen White. She is being stalked by a serial killer Eddie Quist. She goes to meet Quist at a porn shop, where he forces her to watch a violent sex movie.

As she turns around to look at him, what she sees terrifies her. Quist is shot and killed (or is he? It's a horror movie, so what do you think?) by cops and Karen is left with amnesia.

Karen and her husband are sent to a remote retreat by her psychiatrist. There, they encounter several very odd folks. Very odd. One tries to seduce her husband and the strange behavior leads Karen to reach out to friends to try to figure out the secret of the retreat.

The secret, spoiler alert, is werewolves. There are werewolves at the retreat, Karen, and she has to desperately fight them off or die.

There are some pretty excellent deaths in “The Howling,” and the transformation of Eddie into a werewolf is amazing for a 1981 film. Rob Bottin, who did the makeup effects, killed it. Click here to watch the transformation.

The movie is solid until the very end and spawned several inferior sequels (Part 2 isn’t bad, but when the franchise moved on to Australia, it got a little ( a lot) bad. But the original is fantastic. If you haven’t seen “The Howling,” watch it this weekend. It’s available on Amazon and Shudder for streaming and there’s a link for the DVD below.

The Howling

Director Joe Dante 1981 1 hour 31 minutes Click here to buy

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