The Howling - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Howling Reviews

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March 4, 2016
One of the few, best werewolf movies ever made
February 11, 2016
best werewolf more ever
½ February 3, 2016
Silly, funny and frightening '80s horror picture.
December 13, 2015
Joe Dante at his height!
½ November 23, 2015
Never been one of my favorite werewolf movies, but it's a good one. A lot of it probably is thanks to Joe Dante. The twist end has always been great though.
½ November 1, 2015
If I have to watch a werewolf film done right, I'll take The Howling. With the right mix of comedy, creepiness, and paranoia, this film hits the right marks. Although the special effects have become slightly outdated, this film still holds up better than most werewolf films in recent years.
October 25, 2015
This isn't a bad film if you're into werewolf movies, but overall it is overhyped.

It was still enjoyable, but it isn't highly recommend just on a general horror list
½ October 14, 2015
Werewolf cult really!?!
½ August 24, 2015
Nice burger at the end.
June 28, 2015
One of my favorite werewolf movies..2nd all time !
½ June 8, 2015
Surprisingly slow paced film with some good special effects.
May 25, 2015
One of the good werewolf movies with some really great special-effects.
½ April 10, 2015
Nice creepy feel to this movie.....a little too Hollywood but still a good monster story.
November 14, 2014
Being a well-received horror film by Joe Dante, The Howling sounded like a good old fashioned 80's horror piece.

It is clear that The Howling is done on a very low budget. Although it is a Werewolf-themed horror movie, it keeps the horror limited mostly to the implications until about halfway through the movie where is picks up a visual flare and progresses from there. In this manner it is familiar to Joe Dante's previous film, Piranha. The difference however is that Piranha was more about exploitation and how many deaths it could achieve while The Howling is a bit more creative in terms of story, characters and its general horror themes.
There Werewolf themes are implied for most of the film and the characters don't actually transform into them until about 47 minutes into the movie which constitutes more than half of the film. Up until then there is not that much horror, just some kind of surreal drama. After that, the atmosphere remains constant. The great thing about The Howling is that it benefits from having Joe Dante as director. As Joe Dante proved on Piranha, he knows how to keep atmosphere in a horror film effective. It's done by maintaining the atmosphere consistently once it begins and never letting it drop, and that is exactly what he does to the film. When the werewolves come into The Howling, they are there to stay and so is the tense mood and creepy thrills of the film. The second half of the film really makes The Howling a good film and renders it memorable viewing. The rest of the film is just a bit of waiting around, but the second half of The Howling truly maintains what is required to make a good horror film.
With low-budget 1980's horror films, there are three key components which define whether the film is successful or not: a tense atmosphere, good death scenes and plenty of nudity. Elisabeth Brooks supplies the nudity with a memorable sex scene in the film where the participant begin to transition into Werewolves, so The Howling has enough nudity in one brief scene. When it comes to the quantity of kills, there could possibly have been more and a little more blood and gore as well, but the ones that are present in the film are executed extremely well. The kills stand up fairly well on both sides in the film with plenty of Werewolves dying and humans being victimized in intense scenes of slaughter. There could have been a touch more blood and gore in the film, but as a whole The Howling succeeds in the three most central areas. It does so strictly during the second half of the film, but it is all done so consistently well for the latter half of the feature that it is able to transcend the first half of the film. The Howling really ends up being predicated all on how well the second half of the feature turns out because the starting 47 minutes is nothing but pointless plotting and shallow attempts at character building. The fact is that The Howling is not a film with complex plotting or character development, it is simply a low budget horror film and nothing more. It benefits seriously well from having Joe Dante as the director because his ability to exercise strong visuals gives the film a strong second act. It is just a matter of sitting through the first to reach the second. Yet unlike countless other films where one half is poor and another half is strong, the other half in The Howling is so strong that it gives a good name to the entire film. It may not be the smartest exercise in Werewolf mythology, but after a slow start it certainly becomes an entertaining one.
I didn't really find as much of the dark comedy in the film as others seemed to have been able to. There were mild deadpan comedy moments in the film, but they were too little to initiate much laughter. What is more important is the horror atmosphere, and it works because The Howling is able to spark up some thrills. It mainly does that through its visual elements.
The makeup effects for the film are very good. The costumes and prosthetics used to create the Werewolves look really creepy in a manner which is eerie and frightening in a legitimate manner, and despite its low budget there is nothing stopping The Howling from maintaining state-of-the-art effects. The designs of the makeup in The Howling is brilliant because it evokes a truly great appearance for its mythological creatures who all have strong movements and thoroughly creepy appearances. They pose a genuine threat to the characters in the film which makes the horror themes of the film effective on several different levels. All these elements play out against the backdrop of scenery and production design which really evokes a feeling of isolation and distance from civilization. Plus, the musical score is a certain kind of hauntingly intense which reinforces the horror mood and the eerie nature of the feature as well as bringing a strong sense of dramatization to the atmosphere. The Howling is surprisingly effective in its atmosphere, and it ends up reminiscent of the first Evil Dead movie without as much comedy, consistency or general overall qualities. The visual grace of The Howling is excellent because it has a sense of exploitation to it without hitting viewers over the head with that notion, and it ends up being a story that can genuinely be taken seriously due to the story not going ridiculously over the top in any way.

So The Howling has a generic and dull first half which is built on characterizing a generic and familiar plot as well as thin characters. Once it gets passed that, the full extent of Joe Dante's directorial work is felt which fills the film with visual magnificence, a tense atmosphere and a genuine sense of horror.
October 30, 2014
It feels like this movie was directed by the makeup artist. There are many scenes that are unnecessarily long and focus on special effects, which at times are awful even for the time. The movie starts off very confusing and all over the place with a news reporter meeting a murderer in a porn theater and suffering from amnesia of the incident. Next thing you know her psychiatrist tells her to go to a retreat where all of the people attending are having a bon fire and getting drunk. The music in this movie is also very weird and feels like it was taken from a 1940's monster movie. An example of this is a scene where a someone comes to a frightening revelation about artwork found at the killers house and organ music starts playing... very loudly might I add. This movie deserves a much lower rating than most people give it.
½ October 24, 2014
An enjoyable werewolf flick with fun special effects and some scary moments. The ending is a little less frustrating than I remembered.
October 23, 2014
Favorite werewolf movie thumbs up.
October 15, 2014
Not a bad Werewolf movie, it got its moments and I really enjoyed the ending. I didn't realize they would be more than one werewolf so that was a surprise. The special effects was really great. I'd prefer An American Werewolf in London over this, but it's still pretty good.
½ October 10, 2014
Werewolf movies must be really difficult to write as there seem to be fewer made than vampire or slasher or even traditional giant monster.This one has an interesting take and the patented Dante sensory overload that keeps it chugging to a fun, if predictable, climax.
Super Reviewer
October 2, 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.
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