Thursday, October 08, 2009
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF, A HOWLING and a pack of WOLFEN!
This time out a triple feature! It’s pretty interesting how this came about. Originally, I was going to screen two Joe Dante Films, GREMLINS and THE HOWLING. But while watching GREMLINS I realized that it just wasn’t much of a horror film. I had been dying to watch my new blu ray of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, so I decided on a werewolf double feature instead. Then Gary came up with the idea of throwing WOLFEN into the mix. Presto! Instant triple feature! The coolest thing is that until I started doing research, I didn’t realize that all three of these films had been released in 1981!
I had never seen THE HOWLING from beginning to end until this recent screening. I must say that I was a little disappointed by this film. The mix of horror and humor, for the most part, doesn’t work. Also, I love old school effects but sadly this movie has just not aged well. The werewolf transformations are just not very convincing here. And one moment has a very obvious piece of cartoon animation that the audience is not supposed to know IS cartoon animation! This is also kind of a slow moving movie that doesn’t really pick up until the third act. A case of too little too late.
The film has an impressive cast that includes Dee Wallace-Stone, Patrick Macnee, Kevin McCarthy, John Carradine, Silm Pickens and Dick Miller. The DVD I viewed had the option to view either in full screen of wide screen on the same side. This means that the bit rate is lowered which means that THE HOWLING is a little weak in the transfer department but watch able. The 5.1 sound mix is pretty good, however, giving some sonic boost to all those howls.
A few years back I saw this films sequel HOWLING II-YOUR SISTER IS A WEREWOLF. Christopher Lee is in that film but avoid it! It’s horrible!
Next, I screened the vastly superior AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. This is a great film that blends horror and comedy brilliantly. And that’s no easy feat as THE HOWLING proves. The transformation scene in this film is still impressive today. I was so happy to discover that this film has held up so well after all these years!
The well cast film features David Naughton, Jenny Agutter and Griffen Dunne. The supporting British cast is terrific. This is a great film to break out for the
Newly re-released on DVD and Blu Ray, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON looks good and sounds even better! The blu ray also comes with a bunch of extras that makes picking up this movie on blu a no brainier!
Finally, I took a look at WOLFEN. I hadn’t seen this film in quite some time. This is really kind of an odd film. I liked the whole gritty detective angle in this story but the horror elements just didn’t work for me. And, for the record, this in NOT a werewolf movie. The WOLFEN of the title refers to a pack of super smart wolves that “sit above man on the food chain.” Yeah right. I personally could have lived without all the Indian mumbo jumbo that takes place here. It’s too bad because there is a good movie in there somewhere!
WOLFEN has a good cast that includes Albert Finney, Gregory Hines, Tom Noonan and Edward James Olmos. The DVD is anamorphic and the sound is Dolby digital 2.0 mono. I noticed that this title also comes in a DVD 4 pack that also contains the movies COMA, BAD MOON and Abel Ferrara’s version of BODY SNATCHERS. Not a bad way to go considering that the set only costs about 12 bucks!
Well I can’t really get behind this triple feature. I recommend that you watch AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and then throw on THE WOLF MAN instead for a chaser!