The Howling 1981

The Howling

Critics Consensus

The Howling packs enough laughs into its lycanthropic carnage to distinguish it from other werewolf entries, with impressive visual effects adding some bite.

69%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 36

58%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 31,264

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Movie Info

In Los Angeles, television journalist Karen White (Dee Wallace) is traumatized in the course of aiding the police in their arrest of a serial murderer. Her doctor recommends that she attend an isolated psychiatric retreat led by Dr. George Waggner (Patrick Macnee). But while Karen is undergoing therapy, her colleague Chris (Dennis Dugan), investigates the bizarre circumstances surrounding her shock. When his work leads him to suspect the supernatural, he begins to fear for Karen's life.

Cast & Crew

Dee Wallace
Karen White
Patrick Macnee
Dr. George Waggner
Christopher Stone
R. William (Bill) Neill
Belinda Balaski
Terry Fisher
Kevin McCarthy
Fred Francis
Slim Pickens
Sam Newfield
Elizabeth Brooks
Marsha Quist
Joe Dante
Director
Gary Brandner
Writer
Terence H. Winkless
Writer
Chris Carney
Original Music
Pino Donaggio
Original Music
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News & Interviews for The Howling

Critic Reviews for The Howling

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (11)

Audience Reviews for The Howling

  • Apr 02, 2018
    The makeup and visual effects are awesome, especially in a major shape-shifting transformation scene close to the end, while the climax is effectively tense to make the film worth it, but even so the script is rather weak, uneven and can be quite silly and laughable sometimes.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 02, 2014
    In tandem with 'An American Werewolf in London', the transformation sequence in 'The Howling' is not quite as painstakingly excruciating and terrifying but it's within the proximity of impressive special effects from Rob Bottin. The chest inflates, the snout protrudes and the skin effervesces with hair. However, the end result is a shaggy muskrat that is more mangy and unkempt than goosebump-inducing. Such is the case for most of 'The Howling', a kitschy, obnoxiously winking B-picture that attempts to spoof self-help gurus but the satire is hokily ill-advised with this dross. A female werewolf in the newsroom squelches tensile-wire tension because the prosthetic is insufferably adorable and sublethal. Likewise the reaction shots from the viewing publics (a nuzzling couple, a Spanish cashier, etc.) are ridiculously tongue-in-cheek and plagiarized directly from a Zucker Bros. farce. Also I apologize for my lack of sophistication but I've never been an acolyte of Harryhausen stop-motion animation and a few frames of baying wolves is truly atrocious.
    Cory T Super Reviewer
  • Apr 30, 2013
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 22, 2011
    A faulty addition to the werewolf genre, despite its own unique storyline. The transformation scenes are top notch and add a sense of realism with the makeup. The plot twist is very predictable and much of the acting is below average, if not bad. There are few scenes that are legitimately scary, but they are a breath of fresh air due to the slow start. A poor film that had plenty of potential to be classic, but fails in so many ways.
    Suneel J Super Reviewer

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