The Howling 4K 1981 big poster
The Howling 4K 1981

The Howling 4K 1981

USA     Movies / Horror 4K
Joe Dante
Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone, Belinda Balaski, Kevin McCarthy, John Carradine, Slim Pickens, Elisabeth Brooks, Robert Picardo, Margie Impert, Noble Willingham, James Murtaugh, James MacKrell, Kenneth Tobey, Don McLeod, Dick Miller, Steve Nevil.
IMDB 6.6
File Size: 56.67 GB
Film Description
There are numerous murders of women. The maniac is known - this is a certain Eddie, who asks the pretty journalist Karen White to meet him. They meet, but at the sight of the interlocutor suddenly transforming into a terrible monster, Karen is frightened and calls for help. Eddie is killed by the police. After a nervous breakdown, Karen agrees to undergo treatment at Dr. Waggner's clinic. But gradually the woman begins to notice that some strange things are happening around.

4k movies reviews
Somehow it so happened that two of the best films in the werewolf genre came out almost simultaneously. John Landis with his 'American Werewolf in London' - perhaps the main masterpiece of the genre, was only 7 months late, Joe Dante with 'Howl' got in advance earlier - at the end of January 1981, although Landis conceived his werewolf back in the 60s, and Dante I got into the project by accident, but became one of the most non-random people in the horror genre and, of course, a cult figure for all fans of werewolf films.

The first films about werewolves, such as The Werewolf and The Wolf Man, appeared in the 40s, they also laid the cornerstones of stereotypes about these dangerous creatures, but in the late 60s the genre fell into decay, as, indeed, did the genre of horror in general, films about werewolves and vampires ceased to be profitable, respectively, their quality quickly dropped and gradually they became the lot of the most low-standard studios and the most ordinary 'grade houses'. 'Howl' became the first sign of the genre's revival and a new grandiose outbreak in the popularity of werewolves, which has not faded away to this day.

So, it was 1981, and Joe Dante was already at the helm of a new project, which was based on the book by Gary Brandner. Young, not yet the most experienced, barely gaining some popularity after Piranhas, he did not expect that another low-budget horror movie would become his true triumph. Confident of failure, he reluctantly tackled the film thrown by Jack Conrad. But enthusiasm, love for cinema, reaching fanaticism, desire to prove himself in what he loved did their job - Dante enthusiastically gave himself up to work, despite the scanty fee and tiny budget. For AVCO, Joe was a godsend - the habit of working quickly and cheaply intersected with flexibility and great talent.

The biggest difficulty was the desire of the young master to amaze the viewer with special effects, and there was sorely lack of money for this. The artist Rick Baker, who was burning with the idea of ​​making werewolves, could not participate in the filming, because he had made a promise to Landis long before them, but he slipped his friend and student into Howl, so the makeup and effects in the two hits significantly overlap. Due to budgetary constraints, the film was shot in 2 stages - first, a crude version, in which werewolves almost did not appear, since there was only enough money to create an impressive werewolf head, then there was a test viewing, in which Dante complained about the lack of funds. They added a little money, but using animation on general plans, Dante and his make-up artists drew themselves on close-ups - the transformation of Picardo's hero into a werewolf was recognized as a revolution in make-up effects, and the appearance of werewolves became the most common in cinema. It is known that fantasies with little money have nowhere to roam, but some scenes of the film are made so impressive and exciting that it is still impossible to understand how this is done - without the usual computers and millions of investments ?!

The script was rewritten many times to follow the book more, until John Sales, screenwriter for Piranhas and Alligator, appeared and advised him to spit on the book and shoot as it seemed more spectacular and fun. Dante did just that, but spoiled his relationship with the writer, who was offended by the changed ending and satirical overtones, and was more happy to work on sequels, the exact film adaptation of the novel was 'Howl 4', therefore called 'The Initial Nightmare', a weak film with a couple of interesting scenes).

Inspired by the advice of Sales, Dante allowed a second, satirical bottom in the film, not typical of the genre in those years in general. Investigating the origins of werewolves, Dante traces the path of the fall of man - it is not for nothing that the film says so much about the differences between man and animal and about their borderline state. Werewolves are resting at a resort, where a more or less adequate psychotherapist tries to control them, some of them hate their animal nature, someone gladly frees their instincts and indulges her. Decisions are in the moral sphere. Frightening Eddie was a freak and a killer even before his transformation, the therapist does not try to fight instinct, but tries to force his charges to put up with the laws of society, the nymphomaniac Marsha is looking for carnal pleasures, but notice that when the main character, Karen, the inevitable happens, even outwardly, it differs significantly from the rest. Whatever one may say, Dante is playing with the moral and psychological aspect of shapeshifting.

Dee Wallace did a lot for the success of the film. By 1981, she had starred in two dozen TV series, the blockbuster '10' and the famous 'The Hills Have Eyes', and therefore had an impact. Dee isn't one of those dumb screaming 'walking boobs' that the genre is full of. She - like Jamie Lee Curtis, despite the specificity of the genre, is really a brilliant actress! You believe her all the time! You do not separate the heroine and the actress, and this happens so rarely, especially in horror films, and you sympathize with her sincerely. By the way, it was Dee who brought her fiancé Christopher Stone to the film, it is to her that we owe the sparing transformation scene in the finale, and to her, who flatly refused to film if at least one more frame with nudity is added to the film, we are grateful for the small amount of the latter. Dee played far beyond the boundaries of the genre, performed much better than the level of the film required.

And Dante was much more than just another artisan to 'somehow make the studio happy'. He proved himself to be a dreamer, a seeker of new forms and ideas, a real artist. Therefore, Spielberg was delighted with 'Howl', and this decided Joe's fate - after a few years he was already filming 'Gremlins', which made him truly famous, but he became a legend thanks to 'Howl' - although at first no one realized this.

'Howl' is not one of those films that are nominated for an Oscar, although it received its portion of genre awards (Saturn, Avoriaz), and not one of those that collect billions. But he is the gray cardinal of an entire subgenre - humble but wildly significant. I love The American Werewolf, everything is much better in it, but without the Howl, no one would have given 10 million to Landis for his project. Without 'Howl', the dying subgenre would not have received such a powerful impetus and would not have found new life in hundreds of paintings. Without 'Howl' we would have nothing to compare other films of the genre with, we would have lost a kind of reference point. Without 'Howl' there would be no 'Gremlins', there would not be many cliches, without which no film about werewolves can do, and indeed werewolves would be different.

A unique film by a unique director - with an alluring atmosphere, revolutionary effects, brilliant actors, which has become a generator of ideas for many creators in the genre. If we take it in the context of cinema in general, it is not the most obligatory, but quite worthy spectacle, in the context of the genre it is a masterpiece and a landmark film that opened a new page in the new history of cinema.

Info Blu-ray
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (77.2 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
English: LPCM 2.0
German: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: LPCM 2.0

English SDH, German, French.

Info Blu-ray
File size: 56.67 GB
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