ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

The Howling - A franchise with bite
By James Whittington, Sunday 28th January 2018

Based on Gary Bradner's novel of the same name, The Howling is one of those werewolf movies that dared to be more vicious than its predecessors and yet still retained a more traditional tone. Horror is proud to be showing this classic on Saturday 3rd February as part of our Season of the Wolf, so here's a quick timeline of The Howling franchise and personal opinions of the movies. Let us know if you agree via email and our social feeds.

Directed by Joe Dante in 1981, The Howling took the young director to new heights after cult hits Piranha in 1978 and Rock N' Roll High School the following year. Though the movie only took some of the ideas from the original story, it was strong enough to earn itself a lasting place in many horror movie lovers Top Ten lists. Over the next 30 years the movie would spawn seven sequels, each with their own merits but none that equaled the intensity of the original.

Released in the same year as An American Werewolf in London and the often overlooked Wolfen, The Howling boasts a solid cast which includes Dee Wallace, Robert Picardo, John Carradine, Dick Miller and Patrick Macnee as well as showing off the early skills up and coming SFX maestro, Rob Bottin, the man who would give John Carpenter's sci-fi masterpiece The Thing life in 1982.

In the film a reporter is attacked by a notorious serial killer and to get over her trauma is sent to 'The Colony', a remote mountain resort. But there her problems really begin, as the residents are werewolves.

OK, it doesn't sound that cool at first, but with a script that's as humorous as it is scary, The Howling gave the werewolf genre a grimy edge as well as a wicked sense of humour. The transformation scene is a startling blend of innovative (for the time) prosthetics, though some of the other moments (who can forget that werewolf sex scene?) have dated but still have a fun retro feel to them.

The Howling, though commercially successful, stayed in the shadow of An American Werewolf in London and also suffered a mauling from most critics at the time. This didn't stop the kennel-load of sequels which followed.

Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf hit screens in 1985 and all seemed well with a line-up including Christopher Lee and Sybil Danning plus the author of the original book on board. The movie though is as awkward as its title as Lee looks lost and Danning chews the scenery each time she's on screen. It also suffers from what seems a limited budget with little being made available for the werewolves themselves. Howling III: The Marsupials followed only two years later and went directly to VHS, which is a bad sign for any release. Described as a "quirky comedy!" on some posters, it has nothing to do with the first two movies, plus the relocation to Australia didn't help the budget!

The series was back on track for Howling IV: The Original Nightmare, released in the UK in 1989 which decided to go back to the original text and be more faithful with it. Though limited in budget it's a great shocker, that feels less of a remake but more of a re-interpretation. Howling V: Rebirth the following year continued the upward trend and even though it has more drama than hairy action, it's a good story and the effects are far better than you'd expect for a direct-to-DVD feature.

Howling VI: The Freaks quickly followed in 1991 and although it has the worst effects of the whole run, it actually has one of the best stories concerning a werewolf captured by a circus which is ran by a vampire! It's a tight little movie but wasn't followed by another Howling movie until 1995, Howling VII: New Moon Rising. OK, the seventh movie in a franchise isn't usually the strongest and this is very true with this one. More mockumentary than straight horror it's a sort of NCIS meets The Wolf Man sort of an affair. A strange mix indeed.

The final Howling movie in the series, The Howling Reborn (2011) attempted to make the franchise appeal to a younger audience where teenage animal instincts are uncovered, quite literally. Its not a bad movie; though its connection to any other in the series is by name alone.

For now, The Howling series stops here though; news of a remake/reboot/reimagining has been touted for a long time, much like Dante's other masterpiece from the 1980s, Gremlins.


Related show tags: GREMLINS, HOWLING II: YOUR SISTER IS A WEREWOLF, HOWLING III: THE MARSUPIALS, HOWLING IV: THE ORIGINAL NIGHTMARE, HOWLING V: REBIRTH, HOWLING VI: THE FREAKS, HOWLING VII: NEW MOON RISING, JOE DANTE, SEASON OF THE WOLF, THE HOWLING, THE HOWLING REBORN
MORE FEATURES
Happy 50th birthday Rosemary's Baby
Posted on Tuesday 12th June 2018

Kids! What are they like? Some can be cute, others can be little devils... literally!

Today is the 50th anniversary of the classic shocker Rosemary's Baby so here we take a look at five of the finest devil child movies. Do you agree with our list and which ones would you refuse to babysit?! Note we have not included the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Junior as that's horrific in other ways (!)

5: Devil's Due (2014)
A recently married couple on honeymoon experience a bizarre warning, a long journey, come across some strange symbols, then are drugged, left in a room and a couple of weeks later the wife discovers she's pregnant! Her pregnancy is a time of torture for her and convinced she's being watched. Could...

SHARE: READ MORE
13 reasons why John Carpenter is The Horror Master
Posted on Thursday 31st May 2018

On the eve of Horror Channel's John Carpenter Season (stars June 2nd), we present to you 13 reasons why he truly is the Master of Horror. Agree or disagree let us know via out social media channels.

1: Made the slasher movie cool again with Halloween (1978)

2: His use of a Steadicam put us in the heart of the terror on screen.

3: Gave the world the finest horror movie theme, ever (Halloween, 1978)

4: Turned Kurt Russell an action hero.

5: Way ahead of his time with They Live (1988), Carpenter delivered a movie that woke up the world to the evils of subliminal consumerism and stimuli via a cool sci-fi movie.

6: They Live also has a fight scene that lasts over 6 minutes and co...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel to celebrate the films of John Carpenter in June
Posted on Wednesday 23rd May 2018

From horrific hauntings and supernatural sorcery to alien invasions and blood-sucking battles, Saturday nights on Horror Channel at 9pm in June will be devoted to John Carpenter, one of the true Masters of Horror.

The celebratory season is highlighted by the network premieres of Carpenter's classic car-rage chiller Christine, with the superb Harry Dean Stanton, and John Carpenter's Vampires, a horror Western starring James Woods, as a vengeful, stake-wielding bloodsucker hunter. It also includes iconic favourite The Fog, the high-kicking fantasy thriller Big Trouble in Little China and his timely sci-fi political thriller They Live.

The Fog on the 2nd is set in a Northern California fishing town, built 100 years ago over ...

SHARE: READ MORE
13 reasons why you need to watch The Evil Dead
Posted on Sunday 20th May 2018

Sam Raimi's horror masterpiece, The Evil Dead is rightly regarded as a true horror classic.

So, it's weird to think then that there are still some viewers have yet to enjoy this ultimate experience in gruelling Horror.

Here's 13 reasons why you need to see The Evil Dead when it's shown on Horror Saturday May 26th.

1: The film spawned a cult hero in star Bruce Campbell and gave the world Ash Williams.
2: The BBFC deemed it to be placed on the Video Nasties list in 1983 even in cut form and not released uncut until 2001.
3: Stephen King liked it saying in 1972 that it was "The most ferociously original horror film".
4: The cover art for the VHS was the first...

SHARE: READ MORE
Exclusive: Director Johannes Roberts talks 'The Strangers: Prey at Night'
Posted on Tuesday 1st May 2018

This weekend sees the release of a long-awaited sequel to one of 2008's most beloved slasher films. Yes, nine whole years after The Strangers premiered, UK cinema-goers will be met once again by Dollface, the Man in Mask and Pin-Up Girl in The Strangers: Prey at Night.

Starring Mad Men's Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Martin Henderson, and Lewis Pullman, son of the late Bill, the film sees a family of four being stalked and tormented shortly after arriving on what was supposed to be a quiet family trip to a remote mobile home. The family must decide whether to take on the dreaded strangers hell-bent on wreaking havoc, or to run for their lives.

We had a chat with the film's direct...

SHARE: READ MORE
Acclaimed sci-fi thriller Radius amongst four UK TV premieres on Horror Channel in May
Posted on Tuesday 17th April 2018

The gates of Hell are well and truly opened on Horror Channel in May, as the UK's most popular TV destination for genre fans plays host to chilling Chinese legends, sinister sorcery, deadly zombies and a rampaging Arnold Schwarzenegger.

There are four prime-time UK TV premieres this month, headed by Caroline Labreche and Steeve Leonard's unusual and compelling sci-fi thriller Radius on the 25th.

Premiered at FrightFest in 2017, it weaves an ingenious plot from the moment Liam (Diego Klattenhoff) wakes from a car crash with no memory of who he is. As he makes his way into town to look for help, he finds only dead bodies, all with strange pale eyes. Liam's first assessment is that a virus is present in...

SHARE: READ MORE
Cinematic Psycho Sequels
Posted on Saturday 7th April 2018

Everyone who has seen Alfred Hitchcock's monochrome masterpiece Psycho will know that how it created one of the most enduring horror icons of the 20th century, Norman Bates. Played to chilling perfection by Anthony Perkins and based on the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch which was first published in 1959 the movie was a benchmark in the horror/thriller genre and Hitchcock sent the rest of his career trying to match it.

Bates was a reflection, an amalgam of several real-life killers, most notably Ed Gein, whose ability to be in plain sight of his hometown whilst committing hideous crimes is almost as hideous as the crimes he committed. Much has been written about the movie Psycho, but what about the c...

SHARE: READ MORE
John Krasinski talks directing and starring in 'A Quiet Place'
Posted on Friday 6th April 2018


In case you hadn't heard, A Quiet Place has opened in cinemas nationwide.

The film, starring real-life couple, John Krasinski (US adaptation of The Office and 13 Hours) and Emily Blunt (Sicario, Wind Chill and The Devil Wears Prada) takes place in a post-apocalyptic(-ish) environment, in which strange wild creatures that hunt by sound have destroyed a significant amount of the population.

Krasinski and Blunt's characters, husband and wife Lee and Evelyn try to lead a life with their family as quietly (and by that we mean literally) as possible, in able to ensure their survival.

We sat down with the director and one half of Krasinski-Blunt to talk about the film, what scares him the most, and which...

SHARE: READ MORE
The 10 best lines from the Evil Dead movies
Posted on Thursday 5th April 2018

Horror Channel is sponsoring a "groovy" night of gore on April 7th at the Stockport Plaza Cinema in conjunction with those fine folks of Grimmfest.

The Evil Dead Marathon will start at 1.30pm (doors at 1pm) and is made up of The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987), Army Of Darkness (1992), and finally Evil Dead (2013). There's also prizes up for grabs and merch stall. More info on the event here.

But what is your favourite line from this amazing series of movies? Here's our Top 10!

10: Alright you primitive screwheads, listen up! You see this? This... is my Boomstick! (Army of Darkness, 1992)

9: What kind of a virus makes someone cut their face off with a ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Norman Bates stalks Horror this April
Posted on Wednesday 28th March 2018

Fans of Anthony Perkins and the Psycho franchise are in for a treat as Sunday nights in April are devoted to the network premieres of Psycho II, Psycho III, and Psycho IV: The Beginning. Each movie starts at 9pm.

Set twenty-two years after the famous murder of Marion Crane, Psycho II (showing April 1st) sees Norman Bates (Perkins) declared sane and allowed to return to his now dilapidated motel. But, when the murders start up again, Norman realises an old friend is awaiting his return - Mother! Co-starring Meg Tilly, Robert Loggia, and Dennis Franz, this sequel to the Hitchcock masterpiece is now viewed as an unmissable classic thanks to the way it carefully continues the legend without shying away from expa...

SHARE: READ MORE
Top 5 worst horror movie remakes!
Posted on Wednesday 21st March 2018

Remakes, love them or hate them if there's money to be made they'll always be with us. Hollywood loves to look back at past glories and try and wring some more blood out of a well rung stone. Here's my list of frightful fright-flicks that failed to restart an already dead franchise.

5: Poltergeist (2015) "They're here". The original Poltergeist movie from 1982 was a tour-de-farce of effects and atmosphere. Directed by Tobe Hooper with Steven Spielberg as writer and producer, it took the paranormal into new territory. Forward to 2015 and Gil Kenan is given the task of resurrecting the story. Poor guy, the film is a mish-mash of re-visited scenes and not so special effects. The scary clown has been given an update, but the movie lacks...

SHARE: READ MORE
Get infected this April on Horror
Posted on Tuesday 20th March 2018

April on Horror Channel sees an Infection Season spread across Saturday nights with a highly contagious collection of outbreak action, headed by the network premieres of Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later and the equally impressive sequel 28 Weeks Later, starring Robert Carlyle. There are also welcome re-showings for Breck Eisner's critically-acclaimed remake of George Romero's 1973 movie, The Crazies, and M. Night Shyamalan's boldly unsettling survival movie The Happening.

28 Days Later on the 7th was one of the most successful genre movies of 20...

SHARE: READ MORE
Features Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
PICK OF THE WEEK
Wind Chill
WIND CHILL
Thursday 28th June
10.50 PM
Urban Legends: Final Cut
URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT
Tuesday 19th June
9.00 PM
13 Sins
13 SINS
Thursday 21st June
9.00 PM