Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Howling by Gary Brandner

(pb; 1977: first book in The Howling trilogy)

From the back cover:

"Karyn and her husband Roy had come to the peaceful California village of Drago to escape the savagery of the city. On the surface Drago appeared to be like most small rural towns. 

"But it was not.

"The village had a most unsavory history. Unexplained disappearances, sudden deaths.
People just vanished, never to be found."


Howling is a waste-no-words, excellent read, one of my favorite werewolf works in the horror genre. It illustrates, in a cinematic, lycanthrophic and terror-toned manner, the disintegration of a marriage in the wake of a brutal, no-one-is-safe-anywhere rape, even as the husband and wife (Karen and Roy) change in startling ways.

At the time of this writing, this type of story has become common (with varying degrees of quality) in the horror genre. What sets Howling apart from other shape-shifter-based tales is Brandner's superb focus and editing, which keeps its storyline entertaining and palatable, without sacrificing the efficacy of its underlying, disturbing and personal themes.

This standout work is worth owning, one of the best furs-&-fangs genre entries of recent memory.

Followed by The Howling II.


The loosely linked, resulting film was released stateside on April 10, 1981. Joe Dante directed it, based on a script by John Sayles and Terence H. Winkless.

Dee Wallace played Karen White. Christopher Stone played R. William 'Bill' Neill. Dennis Duggan played Chris. Belinda Balaski played Terry Fisher. Kevin McCarthy played Fred Francis.
Patrick Macnee played Dr. George Waggner. John Carradine played Erle Kenton. Slim Pickens played Sam Newfield. Elisabeth Brooks played Marsha Quist. Robert Picardo played Eddie Quist. Don McLeod played T.C. Quist.

An uncredited Roger Corman played "Man in Phone Booth". An uncredited John Sayles (mentioned earlier as the film's co-screenwriter) played "Morgue Attendant". An uncredited Jonathan Kaplan played "Gas Station Attendant".


For those interested in the entire book series, all of the The Howling novels have been collected into one omnibus volume, The Howling Trilogy.

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