Crash Analysis: THE HOWLING (1981)

Over-rated and Far too Silly

Werewolves need rehab too.                  

For some reason, this flick has a multitude of devotees – and that’s perfectly fine. If you love horror and werewolves, definitely check it out.

Unfortunately, there was far too much tongue-in-cheekiness for me – and absolutely no scares. More important, I was disappointed that renowned writer/ director John Sayles’ story wasn’t executed better on-screen. The concept was wonderful, but it fell flat due to overly long scenes in some cases and outrageously short ones at other times. Worst still, I hate lengthy werewolf transformations while a frightened character stands by to watch the entire (ho-hum) process before they become dinner. Ludicrous. I’d be running for the nearest set of silver cutlery.

Rob Bottin’s special effects were fantastic, however, though some of the “bubbling” was over-the-top. Luckily, he completely nailed all that down when he helped deliver the far more darker – and utterly brilliant – THE THING a year later for John Carpenter.

Other recommendations: The best two lycanthropic experiences are GINGER SNAPS (2000 Canada) and DOG SOLDIERS (2002 UK/Luxembourg/UK), followed by AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981 UK/USA) and BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF (2001 France).

1.5 out of 5 stars

2 Replies to “Crash Analysis: THE HOWLING (1981)”

  1. Good review. For me, werewolves (outside of the original “Wolf Man” and the “Ginger Snaps” trilogy) have always been a tough sell. There is just something about them that leaves me disinterested. “The Howling” is another movie I haven’t seen in years, but remember being terribly disappointed by – I found it lacking in both horror and humor.

    1. Thank you. I completely understand about lycanthropic features. I was never a werewolf fan. Vampires also seemed to be cooler because they retained the essence of their former selves. A werewolf transformation never did much for me, except with AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. But definitely check out DOG SOLDIERS. It’s an excellent tale with great characters and dialogue.

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