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The Howling (1981)

R | | Horror | 10 April 1981 (USA)
1:35 | Trailer

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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 »
3,316 ( 58)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Margie Impert ...
Lew Landers (as Jim McKrell)
Older Cop


In a red light district, newswoman Karen White is bugged by the police, investigating serial killer Eddie Quist, who has been molesting her through phone calls. After police officers find them in a peep-show cabin and shoot Eddie, Karen becomes emotionally disturbed and loses her memory. Hoping to conquer her inner demons, she heads for the Colony, a secluded retreat where the creepy residents are rather too eager to make her feel at home. There also 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. Written by Tim Kretschmann <Tim.K@VirComm.com>

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
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Did You Know?


Annette Haven was offered the role of Marsha Quist, which she turned down because she was opposed to the violent content of the script. See more »


When Terry is in Dr. Waggner's office talking to Chris on the phone, there is an over-the-shoulder shot of Chris. Just before it cuts back to Terry in the office, a crew-member's shadow is visible moving toward Chris. 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

The opening credits roll over TV static and features dialogue snippets from the movie. See more »


References A Bucket of Blood (1959) See more »


Howling Chicken
by Rick Fienhage and Joyce Fienhage
See more »

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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