This groundbreaking, darkly comic horror film from director Joe Dante changed the look and feel of werewolf movies in ways light-years distant from Universal's horror classic The Wolf Man. The story begins with television reporter/anchor Karen White (Dee Wallace) taking part in a dangerous police operation intended to trap psychopath Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo). When confronted by Eddie face to face, she witnesses something horrifying enough to trigger selective amnesia. Plagued by a series of violent nightmares, Karen decides to admit herself to a posh recovery resort known only as "The Colony," run by her eccentric New Age therapist, Dr. Waggner (Patrick MacNee), and brings along her husband, Bill (Christopher Stone), for support. The night after they arrive, Karen and Bill are unnerved by eerie howling in the woods.Back in the city, Karen's co-workers Chris (Dennis Dugan) and Terry (Belinda Balaski) have been investigating Eddie's background after discovering that his body has disappeared from the morgue. Sifting through Eddie's possessions, they find a strange collection of artwork depicting wolf-like creatures, and decide to consult with Walter Paisley (Dick Miller, of course), 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 (Elisabeth Brooks) 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 outside to find 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.Dante fills his film with heartfelt homages to The Wolf Man and other classic horror movies, as well as a few clever visual puns and in-jokes from his tenure with Roger Corman, but never strays from the path to genuine horror, particularly when Rob Bottin's chilling monsters are onscreen.~Cavett Binion
Audio commentary with director Joe Dante and actors Dee Wallace, Christopher Stone and Robert Picardo
Unleashing the beast: the making of The Howling Multi-part documentary
Deleted scenes and outtakes
making of a monster: inside The Howling documentary
Horror's hallowed grounds - a look at the film's locations
Terence H. Winkless
Dee WallaceKaren White
Patrick MacneeDr. George Waggner
Christopher StoneR. William "Bill" Neill
Belinda BalaskiTerry Fisher
Kevin McCarthyFred Francis
John CarradineErle Kenton
Slim PickensSam Newfield
Noble WillinghamCharlie Barton
James MurtaughJerry Warren
Jim McKrellLew Landers
Kenneth TobeyOlder Cop
Steve NevilYoung Cop
Joe BratcherRadio Man
Dick MillerWalter Paisley
Chico MartinezMan on Street
Wendell WrightMan at Bar
Bruce BarbourStunt Player
Marneen FieldsStunt Player
John MoioStunt Player
Forrest J. AckermanBookstore Customer (Uncredited)
As I stated in an earlier review, the 80s featured a glut of vampire and werewolf films. While most simply attempted to cash in on the popularity, that decade didn't produce just several great films in each sub-genre, they brought us two of each (okay, a third in vampire sub-genre if you include the overhyped, already within weeks of feeling dated Lost Boys,) that can arguably be considered among the very best of all-time within their categories.
While Fright Night and Near Dark take the two spots on the vampire side, American Werewolf in London and this, The Howling, take top spots on the werewolf side. There's an amazing similarity between this pair of twos in how they're presented. One of each (Fright Night, American Werewolf,) opting to add generous doses of humor, while Near Dark and The Howling play straight to the hardcore horror crowd.
Boy, does The Howling get it right. Not only does it offer up one of, if not THE best lycanthrope tales on film, it gives us a great trauma survivor story, as well. If you're here for the werewolves, you're in for a real treat. Here we are, almost a full 40 years later, and the upright, eight-foot tall, perfect hybrids have yet to be topped. Amazing that they haven't just stood the test of time, but have proven to be out of reach for four decades from FX people of both the practical and CGI sides. (There is one, and only one instance in The Howling where the FX drops off the shelf, becoming almost a parody of itself, probably due to a budget/ time constraint issue where, in its climax, in silhouette against a moon, a full body werewolf rears back and howls. Inexplicably, this scene was done as an animation, and stands in stark contrast to the rest of the film, and with it being a quick shot, easily could have been edited out altogether rather than remain so laughably bad.
It's worth mentioning that this is the excellent Scream Factory release, packed to the gills with extras after a superb remaster.
Two audio commentaries, two featurettes, 4 interviews, deleted scenes (with or without commentary,) outtakes, still, trailers, and an episode of "Horror's Hallowed Grounds," where the host revisits many of the shooting locations of the film today.
As a bonus, watch for Star Trek: Voyager's straight-laced Holo-doctor, Robert Picardo (also on one of the commentary tracks,) as DECIDEDLY different (and with long locks!) Character, Eddie Quist here.
I'll begin with the following:
I'm biased. The Howling is my favorite werewolf film of all-time. Sure, American Werewolf in London is right alongside it, but I prefer my Wolves to be more "human-wolf" on two legs than "large wolf" plodding around on all fours.
The Howling set the standard for my preference of 'Wolf, and outside of Neil Marshall's Dog Soldiers, no other film has come close in the 35 years since. (And if you say Underworld's Rogaine-needing CGI 'Wolves are anywhere near this, you should actually order The Howling now and watch the movie, because it's the only assumption that can be made).
Despite one horrendous choice in attempting to pass off animation (not claymation, actual animation,) as the film, (the quality was bad then, and one has to wonder why they didn't edit it out or film it differently. It's a simple 2 second shot, and over the past 35 years, it's become charming, in a way, I suppose,) The Howling set a standard for 'Wolf effects that are amazing; hardly surprising as Rob Bottin, who provided the stunning practical effects of The Thing, holds down the same position here.
And, also unsurprisingly, Scream Factory provides a visually beautiful blu ray quality image. Contrast is nearly perfect here, and that's important in this film.
As expected, the 'Wolves come out at night, and with the numerous practical effects shots used, ensuring the proper lighting throughout is achieved is important. While the practical effects are better than even those of today, they are still 35 years old, and making sure things that need to stay in the shadows remain there while giving us clear views and appreciation of the beautiful beasts is achieved masterfully.
Now, with all that said, I have my first issue EVER with a Scream Factory release.
Every Collector's Edition I've gotten from them, (quite a few,) has always brought SEVERAL new extras to the table outside of a better image. Not so with The Howling, which is just a "port" of the extras from the MGM Collector's Edition on DVD from years ago, along with one new item: "Horror's Hallowed Grounds," in which a host who believes he's more amusing than he actually is, revisits famous locations used in The Howling.
No question that this extra is very cool, but the host is rather grating when he tries to be funny. Thankfully, he doesn't overdo it, and seeing Eddie's cabin, still standing, still recognizable, (along with many other stops along the way,) FAR outweighs any annoyances with attempted humor. (Honestly, now knowing where it is, that it's accessible to the public, if you know where to look, has made me want to visit it!)
The Howling is one of my favorites; I had zero issue double-dipping for this one. If you own the MGM DVD Collector's Edition, it may not be worth it for others, even with the better quality picture and one extra.
If you don't own The Howling or have a bare bones copy, Scream Factory has issued the best looking version thus far.
This review is from The Howling [Collector's Edition] [Blu-ray] 
I would recommend this to a friend
Rating 5 out of 5 stars with 1 review
Owned for 3 months when reviewed.
Great movie and excellent Blu-ray release with loads of bonus content. Highly recommended purchase for all. 5 stars!
This is a very satisfying release of a Joe Dante werewolf classic! The archival documentary covers so much, but the additional NEW material enriches the development and production of this horror film so much! The transfer is really nice showing off the vibrant use of color while maintaining the mood and atmosphere that Dante intended. I can't recommend the film or this Blu-Ray Collector's Edition enough!
The Best werewolf film of the modern area is DOG SOLDIERS.
That being said this film is almost very good. It came out with An American Werewolf in London. That film gets more respect, but I like this more. I do. Werewolf films are a hard sell. Everything depends on the transformation; the effects, etc etc. That is why Dog Soldiers wins. No CGI.
I know. I am reviewing THE HOWLING. This is 7.5/10. It is a great Blu-ray Steelbook at a fab price. I recommend it. Avoid Sequels.
One of the best werewolf movies ever made. Anybody who enjoys 70's horror will enjoy this movie. It stars Dee Wallace, one of the original scream queens. The transfer is also very good. Picture quality is a big step up from DVD or VHS.
This isn't a great movie, but for its time it had amazing special effects!!! The werewolf transformation scenes weren't spliced at all. You witness the entire transformation (as opposed to seeing scene after scene of different stages of one transformation) from human to werewolf in only a few camera shots/angles as opposed to 10 (exaggerating a bit) shots/angles/cut aways like in previous werewolf movies. It's a classic, and it was groundbreaking.