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The Howling (1981)

R  |   |  Horror  |  10 April 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 21,129 users  
Reviews: 190 user | 161 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.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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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


Beyond anything human. See more »




R | See all certifications »

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
See  »

Did You Know?


Annette Haven was offered the role of Marsha Quist, but turned it down because she was opposed to the violent content of the script. See more »


When Terry is in Dr. Waggner's office talking to Chris on the phone, there is an over-the-shoulder shot of Chris. Just before it cuts back to Terry in the office, a crew-member's shadow is visible moving toward Chris. 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

At the very end of the credits, there is a brief clip from The Wolf Man (1941). See more »


Referenced in A Monkey Phase (2015) See more »


Rocky Mountain Waltz
by Chris Carney
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Joe Dante's The Howling has plenty of scares throughout
20 April 2007 | by (Baton Rouge, La.) – See all my reviews

Earlier this week, I saw An American Werewolf in London in its entirety for the first time in my life. Now I just saw another werewolf movie from 1981 from beginning to end in my first viewing: The Howling. With direction from Joe Dante and a script co-written by John Sayles, this flick was almost as awesome as the John Landis' England-based comedy-horror pic. Dee Wallace, who would later be better known as the mother in E.T., is fine as the television reporter who is recovering from an unpleasant encounter with a serial killer as she and her husband (Christopher Stone) take in a retreat in the woods with a community waiting there for them. Many effective werewolf transformation scenes abound although some may take so long that you want to laugh after a while. Still, good support from Robert Picardo, Dennis Dugan, Kevin McCarthy, Slim Pickens, Patrick Macnee, John Carradine, and in cameos, Roger Corman, Sayles, Forrest J. Ackerman, and frequent Dante regular Dick Miller as Walter Paisley, a name he first used in Corman's A Bucket of Blood. Great use of scares throughout up to the ironic finale. So give The Howling a try with maybe An American Werewolf in London as its second feature...P.S. Like AWIL, there's references to The Wolf Man with clips shown on a television screen and a picture of Lon Chaney, Jr. in a cabin somewhere.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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