THE HOWLING (1981)
The Howling is a true horror classic and ranks among one of the best werewolf movies ever made. Joe Dante, fresh off of Roger Corman’s Piranha, re-teams with writer John Sayles for a fun and spooky tale of lycanthrope loose in the California hills that was based on a book by Gary Brandner.
After a traumatic close call with a strangely animalistic serial killer named Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo), a young newswoman, Karen (Dee Wallace) is sent to a holistic retreat by her therapist, Dr. Waggner (Patrick Macnee) for treatment. But unknown to Karen and her husband, Bill (Christopher Stone), The Colony is actually a haven for werewolves that the therapist is trying to civilize…and that a certain, Eddie Quist was one of his ‘patients’. Some of the pack have other ideas and are looking at Karen as their next meal.
Dante brings a very Roger Corman feel to the proceedings and gives the legendary producer a cameo as well. The film has some fun moments, but also some legitimate scares, too and Dante mixes fear and fun very well with one never overshadowing the other. Makeup FX master Rob Bottin provides the creature and gore FX and beat American Werewolf In London by a few months with the first on-camera werewolf transformation and it still impresses after all these years and got him the job on John Carpenter’s The Thing.
A great cast, including legends Slim Pickens, John Carradine and Dick Miller, that knows when to play it straight and when to camp it up, adds to the mix and makes this a very entertaining Halloween treat and a bonfire horror classic. Countless sequels followed that all sucked, but this one still holds up and is one of my personal viewing choices for the Halloween season. Also stars the smoking hot Elizabeth Brooks as sexy nymphomaniac werewolf, Marsha. The Howling was just re-released on a gorgeously remastered and extra filled blu-ray from Scream Factory that gives the flick new bite!
The Howling bites off a classic 3 and 1/2 menaced reporters!
Monster Zero NJ Trivia: Also a poet and singer, Elizabeth Brooks became a cult figure after the film, but her movie career never really took off despite the attention the sexy role got her. Single mom Brooks kept busy as a producer and acting coach, but sadly passed away in 1997 after a battle with brain cancer. Genre fans though, will always remember her fondly for her sizzling performance as one of the sexiest werewolves of all time and she is immortalized as Marsha in this classic horror!