Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Howling, The

There have been (so far) six movies in the The Howling sequence.

1. The Howling US movie (1980). Avco Embassy/ International Film Investors/Wescom. Pr Jack Conrad, Michael Finnell. Exec pr Daniel H Blatt, Steven A Lane. Dir Joe Dante. Spfx Roger George. Mufx Rick Baker, Rob Bottin. Screenplay John Sayles, Terence H Winkless. Based on The Howling (1977) by Gary Brandner (1933-2013). Starring Elisabeth Brooks (Marsha Quist), John Carradine (Erle Kenton), Dennis Dugan (Christopher), Margie Impert (Donna Jones), Patrick Macnee (Dr George Waggner), Robert Picardo (Eddie Quist), Christopher Stone (Bill Neill), Dee Wallace (Karen White). 91 mins. Colour.

LA tv presenter White, traumatized in the trapping and slaying of Serial Killer Eddie Quist, is sent (with husband Neill) by pop behaviourist Waggner to his health spa, The Colony. Soon Neill is seduced by Colony sexpot Marsha, both becoming wolves while fornicating. Back in LA, Quist vanishes from the morgue and White's colleagues Jones and Christopher investigate the Werewolf aspects of the Quist case. Jones visits the Colony, finds ample evidence Eddie came from here, but is killed by a wolf. White, now cognizant of Neill's adultery, attempts to leave but is captured: the other Colony members prove to be werewolves, including Waggner, who has been trying to "modernize" the lycanthrope way of life. Christopher saves White, destroying the wolves; but she is bitten at the last. Live on tv, as a dreadful warning to the world, she displays a Metamorphosis.

As one might expect from Dante, Sayles, Baker and Bottin, this is an entertaining yarn, with excellent spfx. But it lacks subtext: what eroticism it has is presented on the surface, and in human terms; the underlying eroticism one might associate with lycanthropy is absent. Roger Corman and Sayles play cameo roles; Erle Kenton (the character played by Carradine) shares names with the dir of various golden-age horror movies like House of Dracula (1945), in which Carradine played Dracula.

TH has given birth to (so far) five lesser sequels: Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985); Howling III Australian movie (1987); Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988); Howling V: The Rebirth (1989); Howling VI: The Freaks (1990). [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.