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"The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

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"The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

Old 09-27-14, 04:32 PM
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"The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8





The Howling (1981)



Selected by ororama



IMDB ENTRY

ALYXSTARR LINK

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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags are unnecessary in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.
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2014 DISCUSSION THREAD | 2014 LIST THREAD


Last edited by Chad; 10-05-14 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 10-08-14, 10:56 AM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

The Howling is a great movie. I love it's conspiracy subplot and the psychological bend of the uncertain heroine. The retreat setting is supremely atmospheric and the murder mystery subplot really draws together the film without resorting to cheap thrills with actual werewolves largely absent until the 50 minute mark so the beasts are menacing when they do show up. The special effects are top notch. It's a fraud that the franchise seems to dwindle to nothing from such a great start, The Howling is a personal favorite.
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Old 10-08-14, 12:34 PM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
The Howling is a great movie. I love it's conspiracy subplot and the psychological bend of the uncertain heroine. The retreat setting is supremely atmospheric and the murder mystery subplot really draws together the film without resorting to cheap thrills with actual werewolves largely absent until the 50 minute mark so the beasts are menacing when they do show up. The special effects are top notch. It's a fraud that the franchise seems to dwindle to nothing from such a great start, The Howling is a personal favorite.
I'll agree with all of this.

I thought about watching all of the sequels today in order, but then remembered how sucky they are and how little time there is in the month.
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Old 10-08-14, 04:31 PM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

AHHH, that hamburger pan in made me so hungry!

FYI This movie is based on a book.

Last edited by SterlingBen; 10-08-14 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 10-08-14, 08:33 PM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

Originally Posted by SterlingBen View Post
FYI This movie is based on a book.
Extra check on the checklist!
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Old 10-08-14, 10:58 PM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

I don't remember if I first saw this on its initial run, on VHS, or in a revival theater double bill, but I thought it was one of the great werewolf movies.

Thinking about it since it was chosen and after watching it last night (another obligation tonight), I think it is the great werewolf movie. My only problem with it originally was the final werewolf transformation, and thinking about it about a week ago, I decided that was probably the right choice.

After last night's viewing, I found the sexual subtext confused, but I think that was probably intentional, that the implication in the early part of the movie that the killings were related to a modern licentiousness was possibly something carried over from the novel that Joe Dante and the writers may not have been comfortable with. Initially, there seems to be a connection between pornography, and perhaps sexual freedom, and the killings, but ultimately the killings prove to be the work of a werewolf faction that rejects their leader's efforts to harmonize their practices with the modern world, so that they can blend in, in favor of continuing their practice of killing as they feel like it. They reject the rules, not based on societal change, but because this is their traditional way.

Dante always respects the genres that he works in, and this is probably one of the best examples of this quality. The supporting roles given to B movie greats Kevin McCarthy (the TV station head), John Carradine (the older werewolf), Kenneth Tobey (the older cop) and Slim Pickens (the sheriff) were wonderful, as were the funny bits by Roger Corman regular Dick Miller (the bookstore owner) and screenwriter John Sayles (the morgue worker) and Corman's cameo as the man waiting to use the telephone.

I love The Wolfman and Werewolf of London but find them a bit too tame, and I think The Company of Wolves is the other greatest werewolf movie, but in an intellectual way, rather than in a B movie way. I still have quite a few werewolf movies to watch (The Brotherhood of the Wolf, The Curse of the Werewolf and Wolf, among others), but if you asked me to choose one to sum up the genre, I'd pick The Howling or The Company of Wolves, depending on my mood, and I don't think that you would go wrong with either.

Last edited by ororama; 10-08-14 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 10-09-14, 01:19 AM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

Watched this for the first time in it's entirety since about...Oh, the very first horror challenge! It still remains fun & engaging as ever---But it's still a little disorientating to me that the heroic badass in this (Dennis Dugan) has gone on to direct multiple Adam Sandler movies.
And while a bit of the transformation sequences are a little dated (Mostly when a puppet's involved) I still have no complaints whatsoever concerning the makeup. "Acid Eddie" just might be my most favorite makeup job of all time.

Speaking of favorites, this disc contains an excellent retrospective doc and one of the funniest blooper reels I've ever come across.
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Old 10-09-14, 08:01 AM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

Hadn't seen this in awhile and it still holds up pretty well though it does seem to drag just a little despite its scant 90 minute runtime. The effects are great (except for that awful animated drawing at the campfire...what the hell?) and the fact that the final werewolf looks more like a cross between a cute little doggie and a wookie. What sucks is that comes right after one of the most terrifying and chilling screams in movie history.

This is a good werewolf movie but not a great one. The best are still, in my opinion of course, An American Werewolf In London, followed by Dog Soldiers and Ginger Snaps.

I still enjoy this one and it has one of the best movie titles ever. It is a shame that said title has been marred by so many horrendous sequels.

My rating: ***1/2 out of *****
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Old 10-09-14, 09:36 AM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

Originally Posted by ororama View Post
...I found the sexual subtext confused, but I think that was probably intentional, that the implication in the early part of the movie that the killings were related to a modern licentiousness was possibly something carried over from the novel that Joe Dante and the writers may not have been comfortable with. Initially, there seems to be a connection between pornography, and perhaps sexual freedom, and the killings, but ultimately the killings prove to be the work of a werewolf faction that rejects their leader's efforts to harmonize their practices with the modern world, so that they can blend in, in favor of continuing their practice of killing as they feel like it. They reject the rules, not based on societal change, but because this is their traditional way...
This is an interesting comment. I agree there's an unclear sexual subtext. Starting in a secreted porn shop ally where the female "scares" away the men in there shame and secrecy (you cannot see Eddie - the werewolf manifestation of sexuality). The ending of a nation wide televised reveal of werewolf form is a striking contrast to the start publicized and in homes everywhere, a contrast I think is intentional. The heroine is warning the world about werewolves (or whatever they represent). If werewolves represent sexuality maybe The Colony stands for primal unbridled sexual instinct versus "society" with it's secret porn shops where sexuality needs to be brought into the homes but is dangerous.

Apparently the book's author famously dismissed the movie and has a commentary track on the Scream Factory blu-ray, that might be interesting but not sure how revealing.
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Old 10-11-14, 01:53 AM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

Originally Posted by Spiderbite View Post
This is a good werewolf movie but not a great one. The best are still, in my opinion of course, An American Werewolf In London, followed by Dog Soldiers and Ginger Snaps.
Funny, but your four best are also my four best...although I would put them in this order:

1. The Howling
2. Dog Soldiers
3. An American Werewolf in London
4. Ginger Snaps

The reason that I put Dog Soldiers second is because the werewolves in it are quite similar to the werewolves in The Howling. I like my werewolves sinewy and bipedal. I also like 1941's The Wolf Man, and it would definitely be fifth on my list.
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Old 10-11-14, 05:50 AM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

Those five might be my top five as well, although I'm sure other werewolves films are slipping my mind right now. Pretty sure I'd have to put AWiL first.
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Old 10-11-14, 01:16 PM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

While this was an older movie, I think the special effects are better than some of the ones seen today. A really enjoyable film, but as others have mentioned, some of the sexual subtexts were kind of hard to follow. Otherwise a really fun movie.
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Old 10-13-14, 03:32 PM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

This was a bit slower than I thought it would be. I was surprised to find out this came out as the same year as An American Werewolf in London, for some reason I always thought the Howling was a knock-off, but apparently not, I also didn't know this was based on a book. I liked the TV production element of this and the strange hippy werewolf commune. The werewolf effects were solid, aside from a couple of shots where we're looking at puppets. Overall, I liked it, but perhaps not as much as I wanted to, but I absolutely loved the final shot of the chef cooking a burger while the credits rolled. It made me want to watch the entire movie again. I blind bought the Scream Factory BD and I am looking forward to revisit it, I think I'll enjoy it much more a second time when my expectations are more in check.

Of course the vegan character is shoving his veganism in everybody's face, then when he gets bitten(comes to his senses) he's chowing down on some fried chicken.

Last edited by DaveyJoe; 10-13-14 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 05-05-15, 06:16 PM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

I don't know how I missed out on this film all these years. For some reason I got it confused with Wolfen. I was reading about this film at a website and then decided to view the trailer. It looks really, really good. For some reason I think the werewolf in modern society theme contrasts much better than vampires in modern society.
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Old 05-06-15, 12:32 PM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

The Howling. one of my fav's of all time... I bought it on VHS and then in DVD years later...
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Old 05-07-15, 01:30 AM
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Re: "The Howling" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 8

I hear it is almost as good as Spaceship Terror
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