EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|THE HOWLING (director/writer: Joe Dante; screenwriters: from the novel by Gary Brandner/John Sayles/Terence H Winkless; cinematographer: John Hora; editors: Joe Dante/Mark Goldblatt; music: Pino Donaggio; cast: Dee Wallace (Karen White), Patrick Macnee (Dr George Waggner), Slim Pickens (Sam Newfield), Dennis Dugan (Chris), John Carradine (Erle Kenton), Christopher Stone (R William "Bill" Neill), Robert Picardo (Eddie Quist), Belinda Balaski (Terry), Dick Miller (Walter Paisley), Kevin McCarthy (Fred Francis), Elisabeth Brooks (Marsha), Noble Willingham (Charles Barton), Jim Mckrell (Lew Landers), John Sayles (Mortuary Attendant); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Jack Conrad/ Michael Finnell; Avco Embassy; 1981)|
of the rare good werewolf films."
by Dennis Schwartz
the rare good werewolf films is directed Joe Dante
("Gremlins"/"Piranha"/"Matinee") and co-written by
him and John Sayles, as adapted from the novel by Gary
Brandner. It's filled with a plethora of funny
in-jokes (many of the characters are named after
werewolf film directors such as George Waggner, Bill
Neill, Fred Francis, Charles Barton and Lew Landers),
the make-up for the werewolves was imaginatively
created by the 21-year-old Rob Bottin in a
groundbreaking fashion, there are plenty of thrills
and it offers a winsome blend of suspense and comedy.
Brave LA TV anchorwoman Karen White (Dee
Wallace) acts as
bait to nab a dangerous psycho sex maniac serial
killer, Eddie Quist (Robert
Picardo), in an adult book store and becomes
traumatized when the police seemingly kill him with
rifle shots after he confronts her. Suffering from
selective amnesia, recurring nightmares and other
problems because of the incident, Karen is encouraged
by the eccentric TV talk show New
Age therapist, Dr. George
Waggner (Patrick Macnee), to join his experimental
encounter group, the Colony, and receive therapy with
other participants trying to raise-consciousness.
Karen goes there with her jock husband Bill Neill (Christopher
Stone), and the
bizarre place turns out to be a secret society of
werewolves that places the couple in grave danger.
Meanwhile Karen's TV
producers Chris (Dennis Dugan) and
Terry (Belinda Balaski) have been investigating
Eddie's background after learning that his body has
disappeared from the morgue. It leads to their
research on werewolves, as they go to an occult
bookshop run by Walter
Paisley (Dick Miller), who tells them only silver
bullets can kill a werewolf. Karen's co-workers then become her only
chance of being rescued.
John Carradine and Slim Pickens do justice to their roles as werewolves, even if both only have small parts. Kevin McCarthy is amusing as the empty suit TV boss. But the pic's major fault is that there's not much of an emotional connect the viewer can make with the characters, not even with the heroine anchorwoman.
REVIEWED ON 7/5/2013 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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