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The Howling (1981)

R  |   |  Horror  |  10 April 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 21,106 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


Imagine your worst fear a reality. 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?


The climactic transformation had to be done all in closeup because the film had exceeded its budget by then, and it had to be shot in an office because they had no money for sets anymore. See more »


When Eddie is transforming into a wolf in front of Karen, his left hand turns gray and grows hair down to the knuckles. Then in the shot of his arm muscles expanding, his left hand has a normal skin color and hair only down to his wrist. 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 »


Featured in Heartstoppers: Horror at the Movies (1992) See more »


Rocky Mountain Waltz
by Chris Carney
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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'.

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