THE HOWLING (REVIEW)
Dir. Joe Dante
Reviewer. Dan Cook
Despite being a part of the 1981 werewolf trilogy which also includes John Landis’ genre defining classic AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and Michael Wadleigh’s cult favourite WOLFEN, Joe Dante’s THE HOWLING still stands on its own hairy hinds legs as a great monster movie which has just as many laughs as it has full-blooded scares. Starring Dee Wallace (who with this and CUJO has the worst luck with cinematic canines) as well as her real-life spouse Christopher Stone, Patrick Macnee, future Adam Sandler collaborator Dennis Dugan and even horror legend John Carradine.
THE HOWLING tells the story of a traumatised news anchor who is sent with her husband to relax at a country resort only for it to turn out to be the lycanthrope capital of the USA.
The performances from the sizeable cast are pretty good, particularly that from scream Queen Wallace who really manages to get her teeth into some harrowing action scenes while Dante’s direction bears all of the same wit and affection for the genre which would later make GREMLINS a dark festive favourite.
However, as is usually the case with werewolf movies, it is the astonishing prosthetics effects by makeup maestro Rob Bottin which really steal the show, mutating and transforming characters into drooling, snarling abominations before our very eyes like the most twisted of magic tricks - with one particularly incredible sequence involving a severed hand proving to be one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen in a horror film.
A terrifically entertaining and surprisingly gruesome slice of 80’s carnivorous carnage.