Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Revisiting The Howling

This post is for The Monster Squad-A-Thon going on at DVD Panache.

I have seen The Monster Squad but for the life of me cannot remember a single bit of it so I was relieved to hear that Adam opened up this blog-a-thon to any monster movie. And when I think of good, fun monster movies, I think of The Howling. Joe Dante is great admirer of the older monster movies as revealed in his film Matinee and there is no better homage to this than The Howling. Not so terrifying as fun and amazing. This was the first werewolf movie where man turned to wolf before our eyes without a series of dissolves. I can remember as a child, sneaking away from trimming the Christmas tree so that I could watch cheeks bubble and chests expand. An American Werewolf in London received all the acclaim, but The Howling beat it to the punch being released just four months earlier in April of 1981, as opposed to August of the same year.

Upon watching it again, I was surprised to find it a bit silly. While I always felt this was not a traditional horror movie, I was a disappointed to find upon revisit that it followed all the 80's horror cliches a bit too well. This is no more evident than in the scene where Karen (Dee Wallace) encounters Eddie (Robert Picardo) in the doctor's office. In 2007, the awe of the special effects is gone and what is left is the skepticism of a 36 year old man. In this scene, there's about a three and a half minute window for Karen to get the hell out of dodge, yet she stays and watches. It's obvious that she must stay and watch because we as viewers are witnessing the horror through her eyes. But, come on.

Look, Eddie is pulling a bullet from his brain.

Um, Karen. You might want to leave.

Oh, and look. Eddie's cheeks are bubbling up and his eyes have rolled back in his head.

Wow, I know this is some pretty strange shit you're seeing but you should probably leave
now Karen.

Hey everybody, Eddie's fingernails are jutting out of his hand.

Um, Karen? Hate to be a buzz kill, but unless you're getting your serious kink on, now would be a good time to leave.

And now Eddie's chest is violently protruding from his shirt.

Karen? You there?

Yep, and now his ears are getting pointy and are coming out of the top of his head. That's not where ears come from. They come from the sides of the head. The sides.

Look you twisted bitch. You better get the hell out of there.

And here comes the stretching snout.

Oh, acid. You threw acid on him. Nice move Karen. But did you have to wait until the transformation? Why not throw it, say... three minutes ago.


Anonymous said...

LOL I liked this one, Piper!

Yeah, I think "The Howling" and "American Werewolf In London" received so much acclaim simply for using effects never before seen onscreen to depict werewolves. I never found either movie that interesting, actually. They remind me more of an eighties version of the "Scream" franchise, and that ain't a good thing.

On a related note, can movies about vampires and werewolves still frighten audiences?? I am starting to think that real life nightmares like genocidal warfare and 9/11 have jaded people to the point that only torture porn can make them feel any dread anymore.

And that's the scariest thing of all.


PIPER said...

Ray, I still like The Howling as a movie, just have a different perspective. You make an excellent point about monster movies still being able to scare us in these times. I don't know that I have an answer.

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Sheamus the... said...

oddly enough this is sitting on my player right now waiting for me to watch for the first time.

PIPER said...


You should check it out. It's fun and is a good werewolf movie.

Damian Arlyn said...

Brilliant, Piper. Absolutely brilliant. :)

Anonymous said...

i reviewed this movie on my mexican dvd blog...it was quite good.

PIPER said...


Thanks for the props.

Sir Jorge,

Yep. It's a good fun monster movie.