10/2/15 – OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE RECOMMENDATION #2 – The Howling (1981).

Howling

It’s funny. For many of these horror movies I saw a long time ago, there are certain things about them you forget, and certain things you really remember. I hadn’t watched The Howling in a very long time, and then recently revisited it. Man, what I forgot was how unique, bizarre, and fun this movie truly is. What I remember, vividly stuck in my head for some reason, was how much skin bubbling there is in this flick. Almost every single transformation scene has an insane amount of bubbling skin, and as a kid, that was cemented in my brain because I thought it was the single coolest thing ever. Okay, minor things like skin bubbling aside; The Howling is an amazing film. This came out during a glut of werewolf movies in the same year or two – An American Werewolf in London and Wolfen were just two of the other standouts. Because of this, every werewolf movie had to set itself apart. This was done by the creature design itself (and of course the transformation scenes.) But it was also done by the unique environment and bizarre tone. The Howling, while maybe not quite as humorous as An American Werewolf in London, definitely has a bizarre sensibility to it, and that’s its strongest point. Directed by Joe Dante, the same genius who brought you Gremlins and The Burbs, you can see his unique and offbeat humor laced throughout. The basic premise is that a female news anchor is attacked by a serial killer and survives, but has amnesia and can’t deal with any memories of it. Her psychologist invites her to “The Colony”, which is a strange, new-age, self help camp set near the ocean. Here, she tries to deal with what happened, but soon finds herself in a much larger mystery. Like many of these slow burn 80’s flicks, you aren’t even bombarded with any real werewolf situations until at least halfway through, and that’s part of the fun. The whole movie plays out like a weird mysterious question mark. You find your self saying, “I don’t really know what I’m watching, but I kind of dig it.” Anyway, just watch it. It’s about werewolves. There’s weird werewolf sex. There’s a lot of skin bubbling (the effects were done by Rob Bottin, who also did the makeup for The Thing, and it shows.) Plus, it’s got Slim Pickins in it. What more do you need?

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