The Howling Blu-ray Review – So So 1981 Werewolf Offering

My October horror season begins here as I count down to Halloween.  It’s time to take a look at some of the horror films that are now available on Blu-ray.  The film I’m looking at here is Joe Dante’s The Howling from 1981 and has a bit of a cult following.  I can’t really remember it that well but with Studiocanal having released a brand new restored version on Blu-ray just last week I’m more than keen to take a look.  So without further ado here’s my The Howling Blu-ray Review.

  • The Howling (1981)
  • UK Rating 18
  • Released By Studiocanal
  • Blu-ray Released: 9th October 2017
  • Starring Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone, Belinda Balaski
The Howling releases on Blu-ray in the UK


Television news anchor Karen White (Dee Wallace) finds her fame comes at a cost when she is stalked.  Instead of just leaving it to the police she and her television station decide to lure out the stalker. Things don’t exactly go to plan when Karen ends up alone with her mystery man.  As she turns around to look at his face she screams prompting the police to enter and shoot the man dead.

Following this incident Karen begins to experience strange dreams and visions which prompts Dr. George Waggner (Patrick Macnee) to suggest she take a break with her husband at secluded resort set deep in the countryside.  What she is unaware of is there might just be the odd werewolf lurking in the woods.

Style / Direction

The film is reasonably well shot but struggles a little from a poor main story thread made worse by the slow pace.  The plot seems confused and is pretty uninteresting for the most part. The film ambles along until the eventural Werewolf reveal which isn’t worth the wait.

Looking back now years later The Howling doesn’t stand up as well as say An American Werewolf in London which also released the same year.  The werewolves aren’t particularly well done, I know this is a quite hard to pull off even now with all the computer graphics but it really doesn’t work too well.

Directed by Joe Dante, with the cinematography being handled by John Hora.

Music / Audio Effects

The music is I guess functional without being really memorable, the score is provided by Pino Donaggio.

Acting / Characters

Karen White is the main character played by Dee Wallace but she isn’t a particularly interesting character and neither is her husband.  Patrick Macnee as Dr. George Waggner brings some authority to proceedings and is good in the limited scenes he is in.

Overall the performances are decent enough but the real issue lies with the writing.

Conclusion: The Howling (1981) Film Review

The Howling isn’t a particularly scary film and its story is rather uninteresting, I may be being a little unkind but I was expecting a bit more.  It is however magnitudes better than the sequel Howling II by director Philippe Mora.  I don’t think The Howling has aged that well but I do still think it’s worth watching maybe I went in with higher expectations than I should of.

Personally if you are looking for a Werewolf film I would highly recommend An American Werewolf in London from the same year.

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Conclusion: The Howling Blu-ray Review

This Blu-ray release has had a brand new restoration and it looks fantastic.  The picture looks sharp and clear with vibrant colours and there are no signs of any speckles of dirt.

On to the extras and Studiocanal deliver a decent collection interviews giving some insight into the process of making the film.  That said if you already own the DVD version many of the extras included there are not present on this Bluray version.

Bottom line if you are a fan of The Howling (1981) then this brand new restored Blu-ray version is well worth purchasing.


  • Howlings Eternal with Producer Steven A Lane (19 mins)
  • Cut To Shreds with Editor Mark Goldblatt (11 mins)
  • Interviews with co-writer Terence Winkless (13 mins)
  • Stop-Motion Animator David Allen Interview
  • Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: A Look At The Film’s Locations (12 mins)
  • Audio Commentary with Author Gary Brandner

Popcorn Cinema Rating: The Howling (1981)




The Howling (1981) Blu-ray is available now from Amazon.

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The Howling Blu-ray Review (1981)

The Howling (1981) Film Trailer

For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…

Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version

That’s The Howling blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:

What Do You Think?
Summary: The Howling (1981) Blu-ray Review
The Howling Blu-ray Review (1981)

Movie title: The Howling (1981)

Duration: 91 mins

Director(s): Joe Dante

Actor(s): Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone, Belinda Balaski

Genre: Horror

  • Movie Rating
  • Blu-ray Picture Rating
  • Extras


A slightly disappointing werewolf horror that fails to terrify.