The Howling (1981)
What’s It About: Local newswoman runs afoul of local werewolves and their wolfery.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- Did Dee Wallace marry Christopher Stone from this movie and become Dee Wallace Stone? I feel like I need to know this but I don’t know why. Actually, I refuse to look it up, and I refuse to listen to anybody who would want to tell me.
- It seems like an ’80s Joe Dante werewolf movie should be amazing, but I hear this isn’t that great.
- “There’s a lot of flotsam and jetsam out here tonight” the cop says. I think he means black people. What an asshole.
- It’s the guy who always plays a news guy!
- I don’t think this phone booth idea is going to work. I mean it’s 2017, who the hell uses a phone booth anymore?
- I like that the jizz booth at the porn shop says “Satisfaction Guaranteed.” I typically can’t get no satisfaction at the jizz booth. Which reminds me, R.I.P. Powers “Jizz” Boothe.
- Karen White must be Karen Black’s arch-nemesis.
- So Karen gets accosted by a werewolf in a jizz booth. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Fortunately a cop shoots the werewolf through the door, although I lost the thread about how the cops knew, and how they knew they wouldn’t hit Karen with their jizz bullets. Poor werewolf never got to see how the porno ends. Neither did poor Karen! I guess she’ll have to come again.
- Why would a werewolf have a bunch of drawings of werewolves in his apartment? That would be like if I had a bunch of drawings of myself nude in my house. Which I do.
- Dee Wallace sees porn everywhere. In a camera lens. In the clouds. In a dog’s smile. Everywhere.
- Karen and her husband Bill go to the country so she’ll maybe stop seeing porno everywhere. Didn’t work for me—in fact, quite the opposite.
- All these yokels are in awe of Karen because she’s on the local news. Who gives a shit? If I saw Sade Baderinwa at Wegman’s I wouldn’t care.
- They’re still in California and fairly close to LA, right? Why do the yokels seem like they’re straight out of the anus of Oklahoma?
- JOHN CARRADINE??! Yes! I’d recognize those gnarled tube worm fingers anywhere.
- Is this fucking flick going to be about werewolves at some point?
- “Moo!” “Got cows around here?” No that was a fucking giraffe, you moron.
- More like The Boreling.
- DICK MOTHERDICKING MILLER!!!!!
- A werewolf!!! Slow down, guys, we’re only 42 minutes into a 90-minute movie.
- This couple is sharing a twin bed. I did that with my now-wife in college and we barely made it through that harrowing time.
- Boobs and bush! And by the looks of which, this chick has to be a werewolf…
- Oh wow, a werewolf sex scene, then a transformation via a 9-year-old mentally abused child’s heavy metal vest drawing. I guess their budget came down to either a crate of rotten coconuts for lunch or a werewolf transformation scene.
- Why is there organ music playing? There is literally nothing gothic about this.
- After being firmly established as the lead character in the first act, Dee Wallace Stone is almost completely absent in the second act.
- A werewolf’s arm just got cut off and in its death throes the fingers curled up exactly like John Carradine’s. A little wink to the audience there.
- I find the lack of gore disturbing.
- Dee Wallace Stone finds her friend dead and reacts like I do when my wife uses frozen shrimp in a meal. Like, not great, but I’ll deal with it.
- This transformation scene is nice for 1981 but doesn’t hold a candle to An American Werewolf in London. Mostly because it goes on way too long. Like this movie.
- I love Joe Dante, but this movie should have been made like a gritty Texas Chainsaw Massacre style. If only Tobe Hooper directed it! Actually, visually this and The Funhouse are fairly similar. And neither work.
- Eddie looks a lot like Brundlefly here.
- I’m waiting for the plot to kick into gear… Oh, there’s 12 minutes left.
- This werewolf movie is having zero effect on my dog. I don’t take that as a pawsitive sign.
- These werewolves are weaker than a Shitzu runt.
- So Karen turns into a werewolf and she’s completely adorable, as a dog who looks like Dee Wallace Stone would be. Then she’s shot and killed, as a dog who looks like Dee Wallace Stone would be.
- As a final shitty coda the main lady werewolf survives and orders a rare burger and we linger on the burger on the grill through the credits and the chef cooks the living wolfshit out of it. So not only is it a dumb background for the credits he also totally fucks up her order.
Scare Level: A couple werewolf jump scares, unsettling transformations, creepy yokels, John Carradine’s fingers.
Gore Level: Not a lot of gore but some excellent werewolf work by Rob Bottin, although not nearly the level of his next picture and absolute masterwork, The Thing.
Nudity Level: Man-wolf glutes, she-wolf fur.
Best Line: Dick Miller: “The Manson family used to hang around and shoplift. Bunch of deadbeats!”
Best Scene: The jizz booth scene, although that should have been the climax.
Worst Scene: The cartoon werewolf sex scene that Ralph Bakshi would have been completely ashamed of.
Overall: Another Tobe Hooper triumph! Oh, this is Joe Dante. It’s no Innerspace I’ll tell you that. For the most part it’s boring and doesn’t really go anywhere and is only tentpoled by the makeup. Why are good werewolf movies so hard to do? Dee Wallace Stone was so affected by this picture she would only work with dogs from then on, like Cujo and E.T. the Extreme Terrier. And of course, John Carradine would henceforth devote his life to the blood cult of Lord Caninus.
Score: 4.5 Private Gentleman’s Movie Closets (out of 10)