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The Howling (1981) - Joe Dante

werewolf - American cinema - 1981 films - horror film - Joe Dante - John Sayles

The Howling (1981) - Joe Dante [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
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The Howling is a 1981 horror film directed by Joe Dante. Based on the novel by Gary Braunder, the film is written by John Sayles and Terence H. Winkless. The original music score is composed by Pino Donaggio

Tagline: Imagine your worst fear a reality.

Plot summary
Television reporter/anchor Karen White is taking part in a dangerous police operation intended to trap psychopath Eddie Quist. When confronted by Eddie face-to-face, she witnesses something horrifying enough to trigger selective amnesia.

Plagued by a series of violent nightmates, Karen decides to admit herself to a posh recovery resort known as "the Colony", run by her eccentric New Age therapist Dr. George Waggner, and bring along her husband Bill Neill for support. The night after they arrive, Karen and Bill are unnerved by eerie howling in the woods. Back in Los Angeles, Chris Dugan and Terry Fisher have been investigating Eddie's background after discovering that his body has disappeared from the morgue. Sifting through Eddie's possesions, they find a strange collection of artwork depicting wolf-like creatures, and decides to consult with Walter Paisley, the owner of an occult bookshop, on werewolf lore. Though he claims not to believe in the stuff he's selling, Paisley nevertheless convinces Chris to purchase a handful of silver bullets...just in case.

Back at the Colony, Dr. Waggner has organized a hunting party after hearing Karen's account of the nocturnal howling, but the men find nothing but a rabbit, which Bill is told to bring to the cabin of the sultry Marsha Quist to prepare for dinner. After resisting Marsha's less-than-subtle sexual overtures, Bill is attacked by a wolf while returning to his cabin. The following moonlit night, the sleepless Bill wanders finds Marsha waiting and the two make love by the campfire, their bodies undergoing a frightening transformation. Just as Karen is beginning to suspect that her husband is hiding a secret far more threatening than marital infidelity, Chris and Terry have come to realize;too late in Terry's case;that Eddie Quist is not only still alive, but not quite human...and he knows he's being followed. Chris arrives at the Colony too late to save Terry, but manages to find Karen just as the Colony's residents; all of whom are werewolves including Dr. Waggner; are assembling to decide her fate. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Howling [Sept 2005]

Amazon review:
A graduate of Roger Corman's school of low-budget ingenuity, Joe Dante gained enough momentum with 1978's Piranha to rise to the challenge of The Howling, and he brought along Piranha screenwriter John Sayles to cowrite this instant werewolf classic. Makeup wizard Rob Bottin was recruited to create what was then the wildest onscreen transformation ever seen. With Gary Brandner's novel The Howling as a starting point, Sayles and Dante conceived a werewolf colony on the California coast, posing as a self-help haven led by a seemingly benevolent doctor (Patrick Macnee), and populated by a variety of "patients," from sexy, leather-clad sirens (among them Elisabeth Brooks) to an old coot (John Carradine) who's quite literally long in the tooth. When a TV reporter (Dee Wallace) arrives at the colony to recover from a recent trauma, the resident lycanthropes prepare for a howlin' good time.
Dante handles it all with equal measures of humor, sex, gore, and horror, pulling out all the stops when the ravenous Eddie (Dante favorite Robert Picardo, later known as the Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager) transforms into a towering, bloodthirsty werewolf. (Bottin's mentor Rick Baker would soon raise the makeup ante with An American Werewolf in London.) As usual, in-jokes abound, from characters named after werewolf-movie directors, amusing cameos (Corman, Sayles, Forrest J. Ackerman), and hammy inserts of wolfish cartoons and Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." It's best appreciated now as a quintessential example of early-'80s horror, with low-budget limitations evident throughout, but The Howling remains a giddy genre milestone. --Jeff Shannon for amazon.com

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