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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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In an attempt to get back into the Halloween spirit, I decided to watch "one of the best werewolf movies ever made" according to the Los Angeles. The Howling is a classic 80s horror film that took werewolf action to a new level. The modern era might look down on this movie due to its out-dated special effects. However, there is a great time to be had with The Howling.
Karen White, a TV newscaster, is on the edge of catching a serial killer named Eddie. She is told to meet Eddie at a local adult shop. She arrives at the shop and enters a theater booth. In the booth, she is assaulted by Eddie. Karen narrowly escapes due to the police arriving just in time. Eddie is shot and assumed dead. Karen is traumatized by the event and has breakdowns just thinking of what happened in the booth. Her doctor suggests taking time off at a secluded retreat known as "The Colony." "The Colony" is not what it appears to be though. Many hairy secrets are hidden underneath the anomalous characters living in "The Colony."
I doubt I am going to spoil the story for anyone when I say that Werewolves are the huge secret. Karen Shaub, a fellow reviewer, asked me not to use the word cheesy in my reviews anymore, so I will try to use other words to describe these furry beasts. The Werewolves epitomize the archetypal 80s style monster. Clearly, you cannot expect Underworld type visuals from this 80s classic. The Werewolves are frequently men in imaginative Werewolf costumes. The transformations, while detailed, lasted far too long and came off as ridiculous. The Werewolves might have been good for their time, but are nothing compared to some of today's CG marvels.
The acting in this movie is decent. Sometimes you will deal with overacting or under acting. At one point, Karen's best friend is killed. Karen sits in sorrow for less than a second and continues what she is doing. Music works to perfection. Suspense is created with the sound track. Even those who are not usually afraid of 80s horror will find themselves jumping every now and then.
This DVD is a dual-sided disk packed with extras. On the side with the film, you can listen to a commentary track with the director and others. The other side of the disk is jam packed with good extras. There are many making of features. There are also deleted scenes and outtakes. There are trailers and a photo gallery. This pulls The Howling up to a four-star rating. Pick this one up to satisfy you 80s horror craving.
The answer is simple: Self-awareness. The old stereotype of the werewolf as a lonely creature holding a cursed soul but a good heart, desperatly escaping is own terrible fate and evading the deadly moonlights, is gone. In this movie, werewolves are presented for the first time as an organized clan of self-aware vicious and evil creatures, hidding behind their HUMAN day forms, and not the other way around. See? That is a big achievement in horror morphing-creature films, and a big "breakthrough" vision for the new 80's more extreme and bloody industry.
On the other half, the "wolf man" seems light-years away from this groundbreaking Epic in terms of creature evolution and special effects design: Say goodbye to the classic human disguised in make-up, with hair, nose and teet, and say hello to the new giant mutant wolves walking in two legs, and the consequent animatronic and visionary special effects features. The gruesome design of humanoid wolves instead of hairy humans was the major contribution of this film for the horror aesthetics industry till today. Check the first creepy "realistic" transformation ever filmed. Yes sir!
On top of that, put some nudity and some adult situations and you get the new standard for raw and gory horror films for the newborn decade of the 80's. I guess Joe Dante never imagined that back in 1981, he designed and invented the new werewolf culture for times to come.
Of course i won't talk about the creepy, atmospheric, twist-and-turn and incredibly tense story. I can't tell you that but this i can tell you: This is history in horror filmaking, the bible in werewolf films. Of course there's my beloved "American werewolf in london", a classic "cursed soul" type but incredibly funny, with the zombie-friend and victims haunting the poor guy, the incredible "hound out of hell" monster, the painfully detailed transformation, and the touching love story. This is completely different in every aspect, but somehow people tent to compare them, big mistake.
Enjoy this wonderful DVD edition with the remastered full-lenght theatrical version, with great sound and picture, full-packed with extras and all the information available, including interviews, trailers and documentaries. The most important of course, the special effects and creature design feature. A real piece of work.
Don't you ever miss this movie, "Dog Soldier" fan. This is a part of your culture.
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