“You can’t tame what’s meant to be wild, Doc. It just ain’t natural.” – John Carradine sets the cast straight with his witty and biting dialog provided by writer John Sayles for Joe Dante’s horror classic The Howling. Yes, the “other” werewolf film from 1981 – a bit unfair comparison, certainly, because this film truly stands on its own. Rob Bottin brings his own unique approach to the transformation scene rivaling all other wolf-man films. Let the fun begin! Thomas Mariani, Doc Rotten and Christopher G. Moore tackle another gruesome horror film from the 1980s.
Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 97 — The Howling (1981)
The Howling is the first to give us a memorable bipedal wolf-man that looks more wolf-like than human thanks to the talents of Rob Bottin and his team. While most films previously would go for the Larry Talbot variety and An American Werewolf In London would favor the beast on all fours approach, Eddie Quist and friends would stand tall over the less furry cast, with a mouth full of fangs, a body full of fur and ears a foot tall at least. The year 1981 is a monumental year for werewolf films, revolutionizing the sub-genre transforming it as extreme as the men would into wolf. Joe Dante brings his signature satiric look with the film, but, admittedly, not as much as some of his later films would do. The cast is phenomenal featuring Dee Wallace and Christopher Stone in the leading roles with Carradine joined by Dennis Dugan , Belinda Balaski , Patrick Macnee , Kevin McCarthy , Slim Pickens , Elisabeth Brooks, Robert Picardo in supporting roles. Honestly, if you desire werewolves in your werewolf film, look no further than The Howling.
Doc, Christopher and Thomas take a look into the cast and crew behind The Howling, sharing their first viewing of the film and their favorite & most memorable scenes. The dive into the career of Joe Dante and share love for the inevitable cameo from Dick Miller – perhaps this being one of his best. They share some interesting facts and tidbits about the making of the film such as Robert Picardo improvising the line “I want to give you a piece of my mind” before pulling out a bullet from his head. The appreciation of the film is strong but not without a few critical comments about the film. In the end, The Howling remains a remarkable film and accomplishment with its solid direction and terrific practical effects, holding up today just as well as it did when it premiered 35 years ago.
We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans: leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1980s podcast hosts at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We also want to be sure to thank Neon Devils for their killer track “Bone Chillin'” which we use for the intro and outro of this show.