The Howling Movie Review

The Howling

Imagine your worst fear a reality...
The Howling Picture
They don't approve


Dee Wallace Stone, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone

Belinda Balaski, Kevin McCarthy, John Carradine, Slim Pickens, Dee Wallace (II), Elisabeth Brooks, Robert Picardo, Margie Impert, Noble Willingham, James Murtaugh, Jim McKrell, Kenneth Tobey, Don McLeod, Steve Nevil, Herbie Braha, Joe Bratcher Update Cast

Early Appearances

See Robert Picardo before they were famous!


Look for Forrest J Ackerman, Roger Corman, John Sayles, Dick Miller making a cameo appearance!

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Dante, who graduated from Roger Corman's school of low-budget ingenuity, used Gary Brandner's novel, The Howling, as a foundation and made use of the Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager, as Eddie, creating what is still considered a genre milestone.

More Trivia from The Howling


The Howling, despite its low price tag, delivers far more than ten dollars worth of horror-flick.

Since this film came out in 1980, the year I was born, I never had the opportunity to watch it until probably 1988.

Even so, I do remember two things about the first time I watched it. The first is how scary I thought that one particular sentence in the description was: "Don't even try to run away, because by the time you hear "the howling"'s already too late!"

And the second... Wishing I hadn't decided to watch it at night!

But the description did what it was supposed to, it made you feel like a deer caught off guard by a predator and given the importance of hooking a potential buyer with the first sentence or two, it's a good thing they got it right.

The movie, for the most part, centers around Karen White, a newscaster who has a very close call with a killer in an 'adult' shop. (Sounds strange so far, huh?)

The traumatic experience leaves her frazzled, shaken and unable to pull herself together, she decides to go to "The Colony" to recover.

But what she does not know is that, rather that retreating to a safe place to rest, she is plunging right back into a far more dangerous situation.

Now, I must mention that there are attempts at humor in this film. Some are acceptable, some aren't that great, but you must understand that humor in horror is often a very necessary addition. It helps maintain a balance and provides relief so you can keep a more objective viewpoint about the film.

As you will see in the movie, there is a common thread between Karen's attacker and "The Colony", and some people theorize that the attacker is actually a designated person/wolf used to lure people to the colony, and that is why she escaped him. Personally I think that its possible and an interesting idea used by the author, but you judge for yourself.

At a big turning point in the movie, Karen hears strange noises in the surrounding forest and of course, tries to investigate...BIG mistake! This is what ultimately leads to the "heart" of the movie, but just in case you haven't seen it, I won't go into detail.

Well, that just about wraps up my "review", but just remember... Don't ever accept an invitation from strange people that live in a spooky forest to come and stay with them!

Author: Jeff KnoblochUpdate This Review


My overall judgement for this movie is that it is very good, definitely worth the 9-10 dollars for a copy. It gathers and constructs the elements of a horror film very well, and develops into a memorable, unique, and scary ending.

The special effects are superb for a movie made 22 years ago! Also, the performance by the fairly attractive soon-to-be "Mom in E.T." was very believable.

You have to remind yourself that it is not fair to judge a movie by current standards, you should attempt to compare it to other films of the same era and get an idea of how it stacks up to them.

For 1980, this films is fantastic. Definitely in the realm of must-see, but maybe not in the realm of must-own. However, it's good points outweigh it's bad, but the bad points are sometimes more noticeable in films that are 20 or so years old.

Good special effects, atmospheric title, eerie settings, and an interesting storyline.
Some fairly obvious weaknesses, for example the screams in the night sound like an audio "loop" and the makeup for certain werewolves makes them look silly/funny, NOT scary.

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The Movie Data

Key Crew

Director: Joe Dante
Writer: Gary Brandner, John Sayles, Terence H. Winkless
Producers: Daniel H. Blatt, Rob Bottin, Jack Conrad, Michael Finnell, Steven A. Lane
Locations Manager: Jack C. Smith

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Release Date: 10 Apr 1981
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: MGM
Production: AVCO Embassy Pictures, International Film Investors, Wescom Productions
Genre: Horror / Occult

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The Movie Trailer
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1980 MGM
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