I love giving people free rein to cover what they want. Melissa over at Melissa’s Imaginarium didn’t just cover one horror film – she took it upon herself to focus on two short reviews! The Howling and The Wolfman (the remake, not the original) are two very different films; here, she delves into both side by side.
The Howling (1981)
Directed by Joe Dante and based on the novel by Gary Brandner, The Howling tells the story of reporter Karen White, who is stalked by serial killer Eddie Quist. When she attempts to lure him into a trap, Eddie is shot by police and Karen is subsequently traumatized. As part of her recovery, Karen’s therapist sends her to The Colony, a remote resort where he sends his more troubling patients to recover. She soon discovers that the residents are in fact a pack of werewolves, of which Eddie had been a member.
Full of bizarre characters, insider werewolf jokes and really cool transformation fx, this is a movie that remains my favorite werewolf movie of them all. Robert Picardo delivers a menacing performance as Eddie Quist while Dee Wallace shines as the tragic Karen. I adored the supporting cast which includes several staple monster movie character actors like Patrick Macnee, Slim Pickens, John Carradine and Christopher Stone as well as Dante muse, Belinda Balaski. Thirty years on and it is still quite entertaining.
The Wolfman (2010)
Actor Lawrence Talbot returns to his family estate to solve the disappearance of his brother and discovers a terrifying beast is killing the locals, When he is attacked and nearly killed, he finds that he has become the monster.
I get a lot of grief for this one and I don’t care. This is bar none, one of the best werewolf movies I’ve seen. Being a huge fan of Curt Siodmak’s original 1944 script, I feel this film is the perfect creepy, brooding successor to that film, going places where they could not back then. Benecio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving are outstanding. Art Malik is of particular note, though, as Sir John’s manservant, who is caught up in the horror, trying desperately to keep the evil at bay, all the while knowing it is slipping its leash. The cinematography is wonderfully stylish and menacing, with lots of excellent shadow and darkness scenes. The fx, while a bit off in places, are cool. I especially love the transformation in the mental hospital.
The unrated version of this film is the best way to see it. it includes many scenes that were cut from the film, like a hellish scene in Hyde Park where the werewolf attacks at a conservatory.