zaterdag 8 oktober 2011

The Howling (1981)

I'm a werewolf rookie. There, I said it. In fact: I have never seen a true werewolf film before, unless you count that mixed bag of shit they call Van Helsing. Oh well, there's a time and a place for everything, and now, 30 years after the release of this cult's finally time to face the beast.

It's the sort of film that can really lose it's power over the years. It might take itself to serious or the effects aren't as convincing as they once were. Thank god all of those worries can be brushed aside. It's a nicely paced flick by Joe Dante during the decade when he still knew what the F*** he was doing. Much like Tobe Hooper he has lost his grip on the genre, but what they did back in the seventies and eighties still remains at the top.

The build up is nicely done. The first part feels very surreal while the mid part almost feels like a trip to the island in 'The Wicker Man'. The strange aura surrounding the group in the private institution makes it feel much more like a 'cult' than anything else. Amongst this group it's Dee Wallace who stars as Karen White, a TV-journalist who ends up close to where the shit hits the fan.

 And when the werewolf shit hits the fan, it hits it good. After a bit of a slow mid-part you'll find yourself grasping for breath when they all show their inner beasts. What they accomplished with the main transformation (Eddie Quist) is remarkable. It literally blew me away.

Still up to this day it remains a tasty piece of gory art. Even though it's not a splatter fest, it feels as if the entire last 1/2 hour is full of guts.

The succes continues with the actual ending. It's not thát surprising but it gets the job done. It does leave some room for sequels and what not, which might not always be a good thing. Eventhough, the second part does have Christopher Lee... Anyhow, The Howling knows how to end with a bang, too bad it had my mind wandering off more than once before the big bang.

It's a great way for me to start with the 80's werewolf flicks. The Howling, for me, was a succes due to the fact that the fun is still a working factor after all these years. It might not feel as threatening as it did back in the days but it still has a lot of aspects working in favor of the actual 'horror'.

Score: 80/100


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