Severely traumatized by a near-fatal encounter with a serial killer, TV newscaster Karen White (Dee Wallace) takes time off at a secluded retreat called the Colony. But when, after nights of being tormented by bestial, bloodcurdling cries, Karen ventures into the woods seeking answers, she makes a terrifying discovery. Now she must fight not only for her life but for her soul!
Shout Factory's Blu-ray/DVD presentation of The Howling
is a fan-pleasing combination of original supplemental features produced exclusively for the two-disc set and extras ported over from previous DVD releases. The new material includes a commentary track with author Gary Brandner, who penned the 1977 novel on which the film is based, and Blu-ray producer Michael Felsher. Since the picture bears little resemblance to Brandner's source material, the track focuses largely on Brandner's prolific career as a horror novelist, with only occasional discussion of Joe Dante's movie. There are also recently recorded interviews with executive producer Steven Lane, editor Mark Goldblatt, and screenwriter Terrence Winkless, whose script was later reworked by John Sayles. All three are informative, with Goldblatt offering the most interesting anecdotes on his work with both Dante and Roger Corman, as well as his appreciation of the horror genre. The last new extra is a breezy tour of the film's locations in Hollywood and Mendocino, California, with Horror Hound
magazine's Sean Clark, who provides some amusing production stories for each stop. The rest of the supplemental material is culled from the MGM Special Edition DVD from 2003 and New Line's Laserdisc version from 1995. The latter provides a commentary track with Dante and actors Dee Wallace, her late husband Christopher Stone, and longtime collaborator Robert Picardo, who offer warm and frequently funny recollections about their famous costars and the film's breakneck production schedule, as well as a collection of deleted scenes with optional commentary by Dante and a seven-minute blooper reel. Content from the MGM disc includes the excellent making-of documentary Unleashing the Beast--The Making of The Howling
, which includes input from Sayles and producer Mike Finnell. The red-band theatrical trailer and a gallery of promotional and production stills round out the disc content, while the reversible cover gives purchasers the option of viewing the original poster or eye-popping new artwork. --Paul Gaita