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The Howling Blu-ray review

The classic horror movie is released on Blu-ray in the UK for the first time.

The Howling
Credit: Studiocanal

The Howling

Credit: Studiocanal

Television news anchor Karen White (Dee Wallace) agrees to co-operate with the police to capture serial killer Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo), who is stalking her. Karen puts her life in danger to meet Eddie in an adult movie theatre and is left with amnesia after being traumatised by the incident. On the advice of her therapist Dr. George Waggner (Patrick Macnee), Karen agrees to have treatment at a secluded resort known as The Colony. Arriving with her husband Bill (Christopher Stone), Karen is unnerved by the strange characters she meets and calls her friend Terri (Belinda Balaski) to help her find out what’s really going on.

The Howling is a classic horror movie that was originally released in 1981. It has been released on Blu-ray in the UK for the first time to coincide with Halloween and it’s quite the treat. Looking absolutely stunning, the new restoration brings the film to life with a wonderful picture transfer that utilises the high definition Blu-ray format. The colours are bright and the sound is crystal clear, making it an impressive addition to any horror fan’s library.

In terms of the film, The Howling is the definition of a guilty pleasure. It’s not high art but it isn’t trying to be. With a solid leading lady in the form of Dee Wallace, The Howling is a genuinely unnerving film that catches you off guard from the thrilling opening sequence. If you put logic to one side, which you must with the majority of horror films, then there’s very little to complain about.

The storyline is genuinely engaging as Karen and Bill settle in to their time at The Colony meeting colourful characters such as the overtly sexual Marsha (Elisabeth Brooks), who wastes no time trying to get Bill into bed. Things ramp up once Terri arrives to aid Karen and her investigation leads her to suspect that The Colony may actually be a front for a group of werewolves.

At the time it was released The Howling’s special effects were ground breaking and they hold up really well today. Sure there are some moments that look a bit naff now but some of the practical effects are incredible. There are scenes where you can see characters transforming into werewolves and the effects are very, very impressive. Sometimes Blu-ray can make a film look cheaper but it hasn’t done that to The Howling.

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The release is packed with special features including a conversation with producer Steven A. Lane titled Howlings Eternal, an interview with co-writer Terence Winkless and a look at the film’s locations. There’s also a fantastic feature with stop-motion animator David Allen, discussing the special effects the film used.

The Howling is an absolute hoot and this Blu-ray edition is the definitive version of the film. When thinking of the classic horror movies, The Howling often doesn’t get the credit it deserves. If you like your horror films a little silly with plenty of genuine scares and strong performances, then you really should get yourself a copy of The Howling. It does something interesting and different than other werewolf movies and it really has stood the test of time.


Cast: Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone, Belinda Balaski, Elisabeth Brooks, Robert Picardo Director: Joe Dante Writer: Gary Brandner (novel) John Sayles & Terence H. Winkless (screenplay) Certificate: 18 Duration: 91 mins Released by: Studiocanal Release date: 9th October 2017

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