The Howling (Special Edition)
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From the director of Gremlins and Piranha comes the ultimate masterpiece of primal terror. Filled with edge-of-your-seat suspense, "genuine thrills [and] amazing special effects" (Us), this riveting werewolf tale sinks its teeth into your deepest fears and never lets go! 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!
- "Unleashing the Beast": all-new documentary
- "Making a Monster Movie: Inside The Howling" featurette
- Deleted scenes
- Outtakes and more
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However, the main subtext of the movie revolves around the theme of a psychiatrist who, himself being infected with lycantrophia, encourages others infected with the disease to suppress their hunger for human flesh and blend in with the community for the sake of their survival while encouraging them not to suppress what he considers to be natural human sexual desires which he believes constitutes a normal part of the libido, until the heroine, played by Dee Wallace Stone (the lead character who plays the part of mom in Steven Spielberg's classic E.T.), is infected with the disease and attempts to demonstrate to the rest of the world that the unrestrained indulgence of sexual cravings subtly deprives decent human beings of a well principled life based of morals by transforming into a werewolf before a live television newscast.
While some of the extra content included on Scream Factory's new release can be found elsewhere, the company has yet again gone above and beyond the call of duty in presenting us fans with some really nice extra content. Chief amongst these new offerings is an exemplary interview with effects creator David W. Allen (I want one of those werewolf figurines!) in which he explains why his work for Dante was not used in the movie (with the exception of about two seconds worth of footage that comes near the end) and how he went about designing his own werewolf creatures under contract for the picture (best of all is the cut footage in which we get a glimpse of Allen's unused work). But the extra that caused me to spring for this new release was the audio commentary with author Gary Brandner, moderated by DVD producer and filmmaker Michael Felscher. While the old 2-disc DVD set put out under the MGM banner had some strong extra materials, it did not include any information about the source novel (other than the producers saying that they had decided to throw the back out and start over with a fresh script!) and this was a dramatic oversight in my opinion. While it is true that books belong to a completely different world than that of the movies, the story's source is important for understanding where the initial ideas themselves hail from. And the commentary track on this Blu-Ray is a whopper of an item if you ask me. The only thing that could have improved it would have been a video interview with Brandner, but the audio itself is great--probably even people who may not care about the writing of books (or movies) will find it an enjoyable listen. Brander is fairly open when talking to Felscher (he claims that he was on a "skyrocket to mediocrity" after the original Holwing novel was published, hilarious) and he offers some insights about what it is like to work for the "Hollywood people" and to have his novels translated onto film. He also mentions that his novel "had a better story" than the Landis-concocted mesh that was used as the basis for AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, and I agree with him on this point. Brandner's source material does in fact make the picture a bit stronger than it would have been without a more solid story to build its script upon. Brandner's own opinion about director Joe Dante is not so flattering, but he does say that the man made a good movie and it did undoubtedly put Brandner on the map (so to speak) as well. I have not read the original Brandner novel yet, but it is clear from the get-go that Dante's movie is less an adaptation than a completely original take on the werewolf mythos. This extra is, in my opinion, a collector's item. I also have to mention that the making-of documentary material here is equally great, explaining the complete making of the original picture and even covering (briefly) the making of the many sequels that are still going on to this very day. I also would be remiss if I do not offer my opinion that Dee Wallace Stone was magnificent in this movie, paving the way for herself as a future scream queen in horror cinema (following up this performance with another strong turn in Lewis Teague's CUJO). But overall I also have to say that the entire cast seemed to be having a good time with this movie, and viewers in turn will also have a good time watching them.
Scream Factory's presentation of THE HOWLING on Blu-Ray should become a standard-setter for future releases. The original artwork and the newly commissioned artwork included in this package is fantastic, and the wealth of extras doesn't hurt either. The TLC given to the picture and sound transfer is also quite nice. If you want to know why a lot of us love the work that Scream Factory is doing, simply pick up a copy of this release. It pretty much speaks for itself. A+ (for the whole package)
The one thing I found baffling and gross about this movie was when Liz Brooks is in the cafe and the waiter asks her how does she want her hamburger and Liz Brooks says "Rare".
This horror flick also takes me all the way back to memory lane to when we had all those budget cuts going on during the recession we had going on back in 1981-1982 when Ronald Regan was president since I was 9 years old in the 3rd grade at Rockwood Elementry School in Calexico, CA and living in my hometown(El Centro, CA)at the time THE HOWLING was released in all the movie theatres, which was during my childhood days of living in the Imperial Valley.
Overall, I would have to say that this was the best Howling of them all, since I didn't care for all the other Howling sequels.