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 Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted on Tuesday 14th September 2021
Ahead of the Horror Channel premiere of his sci-fi action thriller G-LOC, director Tom Paton reflects on why making movies is like solving a puzzle, his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman.
Horror Channel will be broadcasting the UK TV premiere of your Sci-fi adventure G-LOC. Excited or what?
It's honesty so strange to me every time Horror Channel debuts one of my movies. The channel has been such a big part of my life growing up and informing my taste in films, that it's always a "pinch myself moment" when I see something that I've made appear on their TV listing. G-LOC is much more of a SCI-FI adventure than any ...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel reveals slate of TV premieres for September
Posted on Tuesday 17th August 2021
Tom Paton's sci-fi action thriller G-LOC is amongst three films receiving their UK TV premieres on Horror Channel this September. G-LOC, which deals with the increasingly topical issue of space migration, stars Stephen Moyer, Casper Van Dien, Tala Gouveia and John Rhys-Davies.
Another UK-produced movie receiving it's UK TV premieres is disturbing haunted house thriller, The Haunted, starring Sophie Stevens (The Black Prince), Kirstie Steele (Waterloo Road, Glasgow Girls) and Nick Bayly (Goodnight Sweetheart, Emmerdale). The third is The Last House. which stars I Spit On Your Grave's Camille Keaton, who is back and out for revenge again - this time against a trio of home invaders.... SHARE: READ MORE Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 announces second wave of films for August Cineworld event
Posted on Thursday 22nd July 2021
It's full scream ahead as Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 announces its second wave of hugely anticipated Discovery Screen and First Blood titles - a summer collection of provocative, edgy and transgressive entertainment to die for. There are fourteen World and ten European/International premieres amongst the thirty-four films on offer.
Eleven countries are represented, with titles ranging from Canadian entries Bloodthirsty, Amelia Moses' simmering LGBQT+ werewolf movie and sinister isolation thriller Motherly to Francesco Erba's As In Heaven, So On Earth, a stunning Italian blend of live action and Gothic puppet animation. Then there's Peter Bergendy's sumptuous Post Mortem, an epic Hu...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel raises hell in August!
Posted on Tuesday 20th July 2021
August is a wicked month on Horror Channel, as the UK's number 1 destination for genre films revives some horror, sci-fi and fantasy classics - including Clive Barker's Hellraiser trilogy, which has one of the most stylish and ferociously original horror fantasy franchises ever and Night Of The Living Dead (1990), Tom Savini's colour remake of George Romero's original Night Of The Living Dead, which transcended the world of horror movies to become a film classic .
Other highlights include Re-Animator, the late Stuart Gordon's darkly comic classic, that has been acknowledged as one of the most celebrated, outrageous and original horror films of all ti...SHARE: READ MORE Original Vs Remake: Which one do you prefer?
Posted on Thursday 15th July 2021
Horror Channel has always celebrated the classics as well as the more recent chillers around. Inevitably we come across some remakes which have either caused celebration or contention among viewers.
But are all remakes bad? Here's five of the finest which are showing at the moment on Horror.
Night of the Living Dead (1990) SFX maestro Tom Savini was given the job of bringing George A Romero's all-time classic back to the big screen, and in doing so gave the classic a colourful retelling. Set during an unexplained event, namely the dead rising from their graves, strangers stranded in a house battle the undead as well as themselves. Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, and Tom Towles ta...SHARE: READ MORE Carpenter, Cronenberg and Eli Roth lead a summer charge of seasonal shockers on Horror Channel this July
Posted on Thursday 17th June 2021
Carpenter, Cronenberg and Eil Roth lead a summer charge of seasonal shockers on Horror Channel this July.
Considered one of David Cronenberg's early genre classics, Scanners was based on Cronenberg's scripts The Sensitives and Telepathy 2000, which he planned to pitch to Roger Corman. Starring Michael Ironside and Patrick McGoohan, the film went on to became one of the first produced in Canada to successfully compete with American films at the international box office. Also airing is David Cronenberg's other cult classic body horror The Brood, which stars Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar. To many this remains one of the director's most frightening and resonan...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel adds First Wave to its weekday evening Sci-Fi Zone
Posted on Thursday 10th June 2021
Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with suspenseful, action-driven drama First Wave, which stars Sebastian Spence as Cade Foster, a former security specialist, accused of murdering his wife and now on the run, determined to expose a vast alien infiltration on Earth.
Helping him in his quest is "Crazy" Eddie, a computer hacker who works on a web tabloid, Paranoid Times. Out to stop them is Joshua (Roger R Cross), an alien hit-man, whose mission is to eliminate them before they can expose 'The Gua' (who live among humans in the form of hybridised genetic clones), a...SHARE: READ MORE They killed his wife. Framed him for murder. Now he hunts them! First Wave coming to Horror
Posted on Monday 7th June 2021
If its action packed, sci-fi infused drama you are after then First Wave is the series for you. With Hollywood legend Francis Ford Coppola on board as one of the Executive Producers the series ran for 66 action-packed episodes which managed to combine high-quality drama with a cool conspiracy theory strand.
The series concentrates on former thief now Security Specialist Cade Foster (Sebastian Spence), as he struggles to uncover an alien conspiracy by deciphering prophecies from Nostradamus as well as being on the run for a murder he did not commit. Along the way he meets The Gua, an alien race of hybridised genetic clones who are focused on enslaving the human race.
Now, the problem with informi...SHARE: READ MORE The Soska Sisters and Alexis Kendra bring female fear factor to Horror Channel in June.
Posted on Tuesday 25th May 2021
This month, Horror Channel highlights the work of female genre talent with the Channel premieres of Rabid, the Soska Sisters visceral remake of David Cronenberg's body horror classic and The Cleaning Lady, written by and starring Alexis Kendra (Goddess of Love), who also produced the much-acclaimed twisted psychological chiller.
Rabid (on the 12th) is the hugely welcomed remake of David Cronenberg's body horror classic from directors, The Soska Sisters. It received its World Premiere at FrightFest 2019 before being released worldwide. They are the first filmmakers to re-imagine one of Cronenberg's films and the fellow Canadian was very impressed with the ...SHARE: READ MORE Supernatural Week - A brief history of things that can't be explained!
Posted on Monday 10th May 2021
Think of the word, Supernatural and probably the first thing that comes to mind is the classic, bedsheet ghost that you'd see in Scooby Doo!
Well, from May 15th Horror will expanding your mind with a weeklong celebration of the genre with a selection of chillers that will have you checking under the bed before you turn out the light.
The genre really gripped the cinema-going public from the early days of the silver screen where directors were only too pleased to bring long used theatre effects to the new art form and mix them with the new medium's ability to dazzle an audience. The Haunted Curiosity Shop (1901) is a shorter than short, running just under two minut...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel goes back to the future with Channel premiere of sci-fi thriller series Extant from May 11
Posted on Tuesday 4th May 2021
Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.
First aired in 2014 and Executively Produced by Steven Spielberg, the futuristic sci-fi thriller was written by rookie Mickey Fisher, whose initial script of Extant won a screenwriting contest. before coming to the attention of Amblin and Spielberg.
Astronaut Molly Woods (Berry) returns hom...SHARE: READ MORE Paranormal forces take over Horror Channel in May
Posted on Thursday 15th April 2021
Otherworldly forces take over Horror Channel with Supernatural Week, eight nights of ghostly scares highlighted by the Channel premieres of Paranormal Activity, and creepy body horror, It Follows.
The special event, running from Saturday 15 May - Saturday 22 May, also sees the return of genre favourites such as demon chiller Firstborn, John Carpenter's classic car-rage chiller Christine, the twisted supernatural gasper Sinister, the star-studded supernatural cult classic Flatliners, the paranormal chiller The Quiet Ones, and Sean Byrne's devastating ride into psychological trauma, The Devil's Candy.
The week gets underway on Saturday 15th with a movie directed, photographed, produced, wri...SHARE: READ MORE Features Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 22nd September
Sunday 26th September
Sunday 26th September