The Howling (1981)

R  |   |  Horror  |  10 April 1981 (USA)
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Reviews: 193 user | 163 critic

After a bizarre and near fatal encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Margie Impert ...
Lew Landers (as Jim McKrell)
Older Cop


Television newswoman Karen White takes some much-needed time off after a traumatic incident with a serial killer. Hoping to conquer her inner demons, she heads for The Colony, a secluded retreat where the creepy residents are a little too eager to make her feel at home. Also, there seems to be a bizarre connection between Eddie Quist and this supposedly safe haven. And when, after nights of being tormented by unearthly cries, Karen ventures into the forest and makes a terrifying discovery. Now she must not only fight for her life... but for her very soul! Helped launch the short-lived werewolf craze in the early 1980s. Written by Tim Kretschmann <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


All your nightmares are about to be transformed into one single inescapable fear! See more »




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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 April 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aullidos  »

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)


$17,986,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Roger Corman:  Uncredited, the famed B-movie producer, who had mentored the film's director Joe Dante, as a man waiting to use a phone box after Karen White (Dee Wallace). When Corman checks the pay-phone for change, this is an in-joke reference to the producer's legendary penny-pinching. See more »


Werewolf Eddie needed to press the Play and Record button at the same time to record Terry's attack. But only the Play button was pressed down. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. George Waggner: Repression. Repression is the father of neurosis, of self-hatred. Now, stress results when we fight against our impulses. We've all heard people talk about animal magnetism, the natural man. the noble savage, as if we'd lost something valuable in our long evolution into civilized human beings. Now there's a good reason for this.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A burger being fried on a grill plays out over the closing credits. See more »


Referenced in Cutting Compromise: Editing Nightbreed (2014) See more »


Howling Chicken
by Rick Fienhage and Joyce Fienhage
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

'The Howling' is one of the all time best werewolf movies.
2 June 2004 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

Most of my favourite horror movies of the 1980s were small, indie movies made outside the major studio system e.g. 'The Evil Dead', 'Maniac', 'Basket Case'. Most of the "big" horror movies then (like now) were pretty lame. 'The Howling' is a notable exception. Watching it over twenty years after it was originally released is quite an eye-opener. It not only holds up well, it is in fact, a damn fine movie. Joe Dante must take the credit for this. For me in the 1980s Dante was like a smarter, more inventive Spielberg. Dante, who learned his chops working for Roger Corman as an editor, writer and director, is a knowledgeable horror buff (Universal, Hammer, Bava movies) with a sly wit and great sense of fun. 'The Howling' is full of in jokes and ironic nods, but never goes all the way into comedy. Dante takes the material seriously. This is a pretty scary movie and the werewolves are some of the best ever seen. Dee Wallace ('The Hills Have Eyes', 'The Frighteners') is a TV reporter who is traumatized after a close encounter with a serial killer (Dante regular Robert Picardo). Dr. Waggner (Patrick Macnee of 'The Avengers' fame), a charming psychiatrist she knows and trusts suggest that she and her husband Bill (Christopher Stone) join him at his therapeutic retreat "The Colony". I won't spoil the movie by going into detail about what happens next, but it's creepy and entertaining. Wallace is very good and Picardo, who usually plays comic roles, is convincing as Quist the psycho nut job. 'The Howling' was co-written by John Sayles, who pops up in a cameo, as does Roger Corman, and super fan Forrest J. Ackerman, former editor of 'Famous Monsters Of Filmland'. Dante is a loyal guy who always likes to acknowledge where he is coming from, so as well as Corman and Ackerman there are roles for horror legend John Carradine, Kevin McCarthy ('Invasion Of The Body Snatchers'), Kenneth Tobey ('The Thing From Another World'), Slim Pickens ('Dr Strangelove') and Dick Miller (as "Walter Paisley" his character in Corman's 1950s b-grade classic 'A Bucket Of Blood'). 'The Howling' is sure to be enjoyed by every horror buff and for me is one of the all time best werewolf movies along with Universal's 'The Wolf Man' and Hammer's underrated 'The Curse Of The Werewolf'.

28 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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