Friday, July 3, 2009
The Howling (1981, Joe Dante)
Well B Movie enthusiasts, now begins my Howling marathon. You asked for it and now you're gettin' it. Lets begin with the now classic first entry in The Howling series. I forget when I first heard about this film but I know I was a teenager. I'm not sure if I had heard much about it or just that it was one of the best werewolf films out there. I do remember really liking it and of course being blown away by the transformation scenes.
The Howling begins with Karen White (Dee Wallace), a news reporter who is being stalked by serial killer Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo). She agrees to meet with him at a porno theater, unbeknownst to him that she is wearing a police microphone. After losing communication with the police, Karen is forced to watch a film of a woman being raped before being attacked by Quist. At the nick of time, the cops bust in and kill him, though his body soon disappears from the morgue. Karen and her husband Bill (Christopher Stone) are sent out to a place called "the Colony" by her doctor, a resort meant to help his patients relax. While there, Karen starts hearing and seeing strange things and soon enough she realizes that the town she is in is filled with....well, you know.
The Howling is still one of the greatest werewolf movies ever made. Joe Dante really knows how to make an old-timey monster movie (as he did with Gremlins and Piranha), while still keeping it fresh and using modern themes and effects. The most astonishing thing about the film, as I stated before, is Rob Bottin's unbelievable werewolf transformations. Though not better than Rick Baker's transformation FX in American Werewolf in London (Bottin consulted Baker on the Howling's FX), they go on much longer. The storyline is fun and the actors chosen are all perfect. Dee Wallace and (future hubby) Christopher Stone are excellent as are the rest of the cast (including John Carradine, Patrick Macnee, newcomer Elisabeth Brooks and Dante regulars Dick Miller and Belinda Balaski). Overall, a terrific movie that you can watch over and over again (I've seen it at least five times).