Day 04 - Your favorite werewolf film –
(…sound of meat sizzling on a grill)
“How you want it, honey?” and Marsha Quist replies, “Rare”. Thus ends the best werewolf picture I have ever witnessed, Joe Dante’s The Howling. That quote is as good as it gets. It’s almost as great as the actual cooking of that hamburger is. The whole thing just makes me hungry, almost ravenous. No better way to get in the spirit of a werewolf picture than going out for a burger afterwards I suppose. Why is the Howling my favorite werewolf picture and not say, Silver Bullet or American Werewolf in London (because those were the two runners up)? Because it was born that way.
It’s classic enough that you know the story by now. Dee Wallace plays a reporter who has been stalked by Eddie Quist, a sexual predator/murderer who’s name is as creepy as his appearance is as creepy as his voice (perfect casting, bright boys). When a sting operation goes wrong and Eddie is shot by the police. Karen is prescribed some R&R at The Colony, a rural resort getaway. She and her husband arrive only to uncover a commune of werewolves living out of the spotlight and directly attached to Eddie Quist (who isn’t dead, mothafuckers).
It’s my favorite werewolf picture for a couple reasons, but I’d say to start we have Robert Picardo as the creepiest werewolf this side of the moon. He’s great actor that can send chills down your spine even before he shows us his true colors. The Transformation sequences are superb. The werewolves have longish hair and stand on their hind legs (so more man than a huge wolf in that regard). They have huge, elongated ears and snouts… long arms, long legs… like spider-wolves. Furthermore we actually get to see what happens when you hurt them. Chop off an arm and it pulses. Splatter them with acid and see them as both wolf and human in pain and totally messed up. Combine that with the best werewolf howl of any wolf picture (maybe American Werewolf in London comes close). The music feels like a remodeled version of that Twilight Zone/Kingdom of the Spiders classic score from classic Hollywood .
Dee Wallace plays a damn cute wolf. Some hate that. Some can’t stand that she looks like a puppy. I always get a little teary eyed when they shoot her (so did my dad). We know that Dee can handle E.T., but can she handle a silver bullet on national television? Sure can.
Joe Dante is responsible for this one which definitely doesn’t hurt. He’s horror royalty for certain with Twilight Zone: the Movie, Gremlins, The Burbs and Piranha under his belt. It’s a great movie and not just a great horror movie. You’ll never look at those damn yellow smiley faces the same way or the projection rooms in the rear of your local smut store either.
“We have to warn people, Chris. We have to make them believe.”… Catch this one if you haven’t. you will believe.
Side Note: Saw this one at the Exhumed Movie Marathon this past year in full blown 35mm and was seriously impressed by the reaction in the theatre. This one can truly stand the test of time. Another side note… this entry in the 30 Days of Horror Challenge brings the second appearance of Patrick McNee of all people. I never realize that two of my favorite movies were supported by Sir Patrick. I’ll have to keep my eye out for him in other features.