31 Days Of Horror: The Howling

It’s pretty clear zombies have a viral disease that spreads through bites. Yesterday’s Dawn of the Dead demonstrated that. Depending on what vampire movie you are watching, vampire bites are either infectious or part of a process that also includes drinking a vampire’s blood. Either way, again, a viral infection. But what about werewolves?

Everyone knows that being bitten by a werewolf creates new werewolves but there are some films, like An American Werewolf in London, were the attack is more about transferring a curse than spreading an infection. In the 1981 Joe Dante-directed The Howling, it’s clear werewolfism is a viral infection caused by bites.

Reporter Karen White (Dee Wallace) has been receiving phone calls from serial killer Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo) and has agreed to meet him. The police have Karen wired and have officers trying to track her. They lose her and the transmitter signal keeps cutting out. Karen meets Eddie in a porno shop where he terrifies her. The police save her by shooting Eddie.

Karen has amnesia from the event as well as severe trauma. Her doctor, Dr. George Waggner (Patrick Macnee) suggests Karen and her husband Bill (Christopher Stone) spend a couple of weeks at his country retreat that he calls the Colony. There they meet many odd characters.

Meanwhile, Karen’s co-worker Terri (Belinda Balaski) continues investigating Eddie. She finds that he was obsessed with werewolves which leads her to investigate the legends of werewolves.

Back at the Colony Karen keeps hearing wolves at night and things seem off. Bill is attacked by a wolf and bitten. Without revealing the ending, Karen and Terri soon find out the Colony’s terrifying secret and source of Karen’s trauma.

I love this movie. It’s fun and the effects still hold up well. There was a lot of potential for the many sequels that followed but sadly they are all pretty bad.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.