The Howling, 1981
dir. Joe Dante
I got this film from Edgar Wright’s 1000 favourite films list, which is full of amazing stuff, and I’m really happy I did because this is excellent! Kind of schlock-ish, but still great.
The plot itself is fairly simple, and the whole telecasting stuff reminded me a lot of Dawn of the Dead, while the townspeople going mental reminded me of another film I saw this week: Dead and Buried; it also reminded me of The Fog. But I suppose these were common in films at the time because, well, telecasting is an easy way to get exposition out and flesh out your main mythology, while evil townsfolk are always terrifying (even in Hot Fuzz those old folks are a bit spooky.)
But what really takes the prize in this film is the make up and visual effects. Some fantastic work done in the werewolf transformations, really seamless and detailed practical effects — a wonder to watch! I think when it comes to transformations like these, it’s so much more powerful to have practical effects, real make up, and all that, rather than CG, because it looks far more realistic and it’s a lot more brutal. Like An American Werewolf in London, which I believe came out the same year as The Howling, and is also an amazing film.
Definitely deserves a place in a body horror marathon, alongside From Beyond and The Beast Within.