Film Review: The Howling (1981)

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Dee Wallace (E.T., The Frighteners) plays a big city TV reporter who escapes to the countryside after a traumatic experience.  Unfortunately, the hills are alive with werewolves!  The Howling is a well-made horror flick from director Joe Dante (Gremlins, Matinee), who likes to mix genuine scares with tongue-in-cheek humor.

The werewolf effects, created primarily by Rob Bottin (Legend, The Thing), are among the best put to celluloid.  The wolves themselves are gigantic, large-eared monsters that manage not to look like men in fur suits.  The transformation sequence doesn’t match what Rick Baker achieved in An American Werewolf in London, though.

The movie is probably most remembered for its surprise ending, when Dee Wallace returns to the air waves to, um, report on her experience… yeah, that’s all that happens. (See the movie.)  The ecclectic supporting cast includes horror mainstay John Carradine, Slim Pickens, and Joe Dante regulars Dick Miller, Kevin McCarthy, and the supremely underrated Robert Picardo.

Rating: 3.5/5 ★★★½☆ 

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About Scott_S

Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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