The Howling title

Tag Line : Imagine your worst fear a reality.

The HowlingNews reporter Karen White (Dee Wallace) is helping the police apprehend a vicious serial killer, known only as Eddie, after he contacts her and says he wants to arrange a meeting. However, the police sting very nearly goes wrong and Karen is only saved from near death by two passing police officers.

Badly traumatised by these events her doctor, George Wagner (played by Patrick MacNee), recommends she spend some time at a special woodland retreat he's founded known as "The Colony", to help her recover from the ordeal.

At first she and her husband think the small community to be the idyllic resort, unfortunately though "the Colony" has a very dark secret. Strange howling noises can be heard in the night, bodies of mutilated cattle are found in the fields, and everybody acts like they're hiding something. Her husband is the first one to discover the truth after he is bitten by a wolf like creature one night, and then begins a hideous transformation.

Yes it turns out that most of the people at the colony are indeed werewolves, and Dr Wagner founded this small community to try and integrate them with society to preserve their species. Meanwhile, Karen's friend Chris (Dennis Duggan) has discovered that Eddie's body has disappeared from the morgue, and convinced that there is indeed more to Dr Wagner's colony than meets the eye, arms himself with silver bullets and goes to get Karen back.

Arguably director Joe Dante's finest work, "The Howling" has got to be THE most popular werewolf film of all time, featuring some great special effects (well they were for their time anyway), dark humour and more special guest appearances than you can shake a stick at (and it was kind of amusing seeing Slim Pickens type cast as the Sheriff). Werewolf fans will not be disappointed.

Overall Marks : 6/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Several characters were named after classic werewolf movie directors. George Waggner, Roy William Neill, Terence Fisher, Freddie Francis, Erle C. Kenton, Sam Newfield (I), Charles Barton (I), Jerry Warren, Lew Landers, and Jacinto Molina.

  • The films budget was $1million

  • Robert Picado, who played the killer Eddie, went onto appear in what is undoubtedly his best known role as the holographic doctor in Star Trek : Voyager.

  • The Morgue attendant was played by the scriptwriter John Sayles.

  • The guy waiting by the telephone booth near the beginning of the film when Karen (Dee Wallace) is making a call was played by fellow director/producer Roger Corman.

  • The porno film that Karen is forced to watch when she confronts 'Eddie' was actually filmed in Joe Dante's garage.

  • Karen's husband Bill was played by Dee Wallace's real life husband Christopher Stone.

  • Director Joe Dante also directed the killer fish film "Piranha", and the dark horror comedy "Gremlins". He trained as a director under Roger Corman, but after this feature was regularly hired by Steven Spielberg to direct his films.

  • The person in the bookshop who the owner tells to"Buy it, or put it back down" was played by noted sci-fi writer Forest J Ackerman.

  • The bookstore owner was played by horror/sci-fi B-movie veteran Dick Miller, who went onto play the role of Mr Futterman in "Gremlins", which was also directed by Joe Dante.

  • The UK special edition DVD is uncut, however the BBFC did trim a section of the behind the scenes documentary, showing the uncut raw footage of the staged "rape scene" they shot for the scene in the porno theatre. They said the scene was fine in the context of the film, but the footage, as shown on its own, contravened their classification guidelines on sexual violence. The documentary is uncut on the US release.

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