Film Reviews, News & Competitions


The Howling

Film Information

Plot: News anchor Karen White is left traumatised after an intense confrontation with a serial killer. She takes refuge within ‘The Colony’, a country retreat were she soon discovers that things aren’t at all what they seem.
Release Date: 9th October.
Format: DVD, Blu Ray, Digital Download.
Director(s): Joe Dante.
Cast: Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Robert Picardo, Dennis Dugan.
BBFC Certificate: 18.
Running Time: 87 mins.
Country Of Origin: USA.
Language: English.
Review By: Paula Hammond.
Film Rating
5/ 5


Bottom Line

Dante knows how to keep his audience off kilter and over three decades after its original release, The Howling remains a wonderfully unsettling, skin-prickling viewing experience.

Posted September 28, 2017 by

Film Review

Released just four months before John Landis’ bigger budget An American Werewolf In London, The Howling was an indie success story that spawned seven follow-up films and three novels.

That success undoubtedly owed much to Rob Bottin’s extraordinary transformation scenes and pioneering use of make-up and prosthetics.

The Howling was Bottin’s first solo project. He would later go on to work on on The Fog, The Thing, RoboCop, and Total Recall, while his mentor, Rick Baker, actually provided the effects for American Werewolf.

Impressive as the effects are, though, the enduring appeal of The Howling lies in its storytelling. Director Joe Dante, of Gremlins fame, is a master at combining horror with sly laughs and The Howling manages to be both dark and darkly humorous. There are no real surprises plot-wise: what pulls the viewer in is how the story’s told.

Star Trek’s Robert Picardo is especially effective as the unhinged serial killer. Dee Wallace, as the traumatised Karen, is pitch perfect. While The Avenger’s Patrick Macnee plays suave with menace so well that we’re left wishing he’d done more horror.

The Howling is gory. There are some genuine shocks. And yes, there’s the requisite steamy sex scene – although it’s a lot more beastial than usual. However, like all the best horrors what really makes The Howling a five star film is that it’s so unsettling. Dante knows how to keep his audience off kilter and, over three decades after its original release, The Howling remains a wonderfully unnerving, skin-prickling viewing experience.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:


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