Karen White is a TV reporter who offers herself as bait to
catch a gristly serial killer. The perpetrator is shot by
police inside a sex shop film booth (where she has been lured),
but afterward Karen suffers nightmares about her ordeal. She
glimpsed something inside the booth, but her mind refuses
to allow her to remember. Dr George Wagner, a renowned psychiatrist
recommends that she and her husband Bill go and stay at a
little coastal colony where he has a place. However, the sleepy
colony holds a terrifying secret of all things "Grrr!"...
While Karen jumps at every sound, Bill has a night time liaison
with Marsha, the local sultry nymphomaniac, and becomes a
werewolf himself after being bitten. Meanwhile, two of Karen's
colleagues follow-up the story of Eddie the serial killer
and discover he was from the same colony. Although shot dead
by police, his body has gone missing from the morgue. And
it seems that not even Dr Wagner is exactly what he appears
The Howling made quite a name for itself when it materialised
in the 1980s; it was more through the effects than the story,
I fear, but I was interested to know what impression this
might have on me roughly 20 years on from when I first saw
it. It does come across as being quite dated.
it with the classic An American Werewolf In London
directed by John Landis, Joe Dante's The Howling falls
short every step of the way. It's by no means derisory fair,
just quite ordinary and simply not scary. With a cast incorporating
Slim Pickens, Patrick MacNee, Dee Wallace and John Carradine
I think I can be forgiven for expecting so much more. This
film relies heavily on the werewolf make-up and prosthetics
which, although undoubtedly very professional, should not
be the be-all and end-all of the project. In fact, the transformation
effects are showcased in the scene when Eddie undergoes his
change so slowly that Karen could have comfortably nipped
off to put the kettle on and still made it back in time to
look mildly perturbed.
so often before, I found myself enjoying the 50-minute documentary
much more than the feature itself. It's enlightening to get
the inside story from the actors (Dee Wallace couldn't get
out of 'frightened victim' mode), and to hear from the crew
just what was required to get this film off the ground. It
made me to a certain extent re-evaluate my opinion of the
main feature. The impressive photo gallery clearly proves
the full werewolf image could have come across on film much
better than it did, and I can only put it down to the lighting
(or lack thereof). It's a real shame. Other extras include
deleted scenes, outtakes and a theatrical trailer.
If you have a thing for lycanthropes then this movie may well
get you your fix, but if you crave a strong story and a good
balance between humour and horror in the mix, do your best
to get yourself a copy of its rival, the special edition DVD
of An American Werewolf In London - to see how it really
should be done (even Joe Dante makes a few 'sour-grapes' comments
about Landis' film).
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