Friday, October 5, 2012

31 Horrors: The Howling (#4)

Wherein I attempt to watch 31 horror films over the course of October. 31 horror films that I have never seen before, from obscure to acclaimed classics. We'll see how well I go in actually finding the time to watch and then write about them in some way.

As surprising as it sounds, I had never seen "that werewolf movie with ET's mom in it", before last night. Oh, of course, I'd seen Philippe Mora's The Howling III: The Marsupials before, but not the original? Have you heard about that third Howling movie? It's the one that features Dame Edna presenting the Best Actress Oscar and the winner turning into a werewolf live on stage. Not to mention all of that werewolf ballet that goes on.

Wikipedia informs us that "Nicole Kidman was originally slated" for the lead role and we can only help she filmed a screen test and that one day it emerges online. One suspects a zealous producer updated that information with a porky, but we'll let it slide because the imagery of it is so deliciously absurd. Not quite as absurd as the critic quotes at the end of that trailer there, but absurd nonetheless. Anyway. ET's mom being chased by werewolves? Yes!

I had no idea upon pressing play on the Blu-ray that The Howling was about what it was about. I guess I'd figured it was another standard stalk-and-slash werewolf movie, but instead I found myself getting quite wrapped up in the story of a television news reporter and her attempts to cope with a profane stalker. The initial scenes set in a scuzzball Times Square pornography shop were surprising. Even more so was that extended shots of rape porn being played! They earned that R rating pretty early on, yes. It was certainly nice watching The Howling, which is about some smart people trying to solve a mystery - albeit, a mystery that some seem all too willing to believe rather quickly - rather than the more simplistic werewolf movie I assumed it was. Of course, thinking back on it, I've probably had that assumption about every singe werewolf movie I've ever watched.

The biggest mystery of all, of course, is how on Earth you Americans sleep at night? According to the movies and TV that I've grown up watching, y'all leave your bedroom curtains open all night so that perfectly angled light (moonlight? street lights?) can filter in and illuminate the room just so for filming. It's a wonder you can get any shut eye with such bright lights stretching across the bedroom in the middle of the night!

(I jest, of course, but it's always made me laugh so silly it is.)

I don't really have anything particularly observant to say. It's fun, Dee Wallace is Dee Wallace, there's some fun scary scenes, the ending is a hoot, and it looks great. I would have preferred more of the mystery solving angle, but that's just me and I always enjoy that type of stuff. It's Joe Dante, man, what else is there to really say other than, sure, it's not quite Ginger Snaps, but not many werewolf movies are. Hey! I never said I'd have anything good to say about these movies I'm watching.

Curious to note that, completely by accident, I've watched two films this October that deal with transformation from human to animal. First it was Cat People and now this. Actually, it's not really curious at all since so much of horror is about transformation, it's just that some films utilise it in a very literal fashion whereas others do not. Even The Signal and The Stone Tape were about transformation, but less so of the purely physical world and more sensory (memories into visions, sanity into madness). Hmmm...

1 comment:

FDot said...

I think the combination of Joe Dante and John Sayles helped The Howling to rise just a little bit above normal horror fare.

Have you seen Alligator? Sayles' screenplay for that film also gives it a lift up.