The Howling (1980) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
these popular 1980's genre movies have held up beautifully over time. This
one has not.
Here are some of the problems:
Several reviewers online commented that they expected the film to be funny, but felt instead that it maintains a dark mood throughout. Yes, it does seem that way now but, take it from me, it was considered a social satire when it film first came out, and many people found it very humorous. Here's what the legendary Pauline Kael wrote in her contemporary review:
Whatever cultural perspective impelled her (and me) to see it that way in 1980 is long forgotten. Without the humor it once seemed to have, and with special effects and costumes which once seemed spectacular but now seem primitive, the Howling simply looks to us today like just another cheesy werewolf movie with a few slick plusses.
I still enjoy the clever running gag of wolf-themed references. One character is reading Allan Ginsberg's "Howl", another is watching a cartoon on TV, and it's "The Big Bad Wolf". There is a scene from the Lon Cheney Jr. wolfman film with Maria Ouspenskaya uttering her famous words "even a man who is pure of heart ....." . Several characters are named after the directors of werewolf movies. The wolf references weren't really funny, however, just kind of agreeably campy, just the director saying "you know this isn't serious, right?"
I remember liking this movie 20 years ago, but today ... eh ... not so much. It hasn't changed, so I guess I have, or society has, or movies have, or all of the above.
comments in yellow:
A newswoman, Dee Wallace,
is bitten while investigating a serial killer, but has amnesia. On the
advice of her doctor, she travels to a special therapeutic colony with
her husband (real life husband Christopher Stone). The colony is
actually a werewolf coven run by a self-help shrink who is himself a
werewolf. Two of her coworkers become suspicious and investigate.
Meanwhile her husband is seduced and converted to werewolf status by
Elisabeth Brooks. On the off chance you haven't seen this, I will leave
the plot there.
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