The Howling

discs rectify header

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Rectify Daniel Holden (Aden Young) is released from prison after serving 19 years on death row for the rape and murder of a teenage girl, but his return home opens up a world of troubled complications for everyone involved. The small, Southern community is divided on the issue of his innocence as the DNA evidence seems at odds with his own confession, and those doubts are just some of the issues he now faces. Character actor Ray McKinnon moves behind the camera here as the show’s creator, and the result is easily one of the year’s finest and most affecting shows. The story shares some thematic similarities to the brilliant Boy A, but it quickly finds its own rhythms and strengths thanks to a smart ensemble filled with heartbreaking performances and characters. It’s not needed, but the show also features some suspense and mystery surrounding Daniel’s possible guilt. It’s a short season at only six episodes, but happily Sundance Channel has ordered an additional ten for season two. [DVD extras: Featurettes]


blu howling

1981 was the greatest year ever for fans of werewolf cinema. Bold statement? Possibly. Plain silly in light of Sybil Danning’s 1985 entry into the genre? Most assuredly. But if you were to make a list of the top five werewolf movies of all time it’s a near certainty that two of them were released in 1981. Late summer ’81 saw the August release of John Landis’ classic horror/comedy An American Werewolf in London, and just four months earlier Joe Dante‘s The Howling tore its way onto screens across America. While the two films are often spoken of in the same breath thanks to their chronological proximity and successful mix of laughs and terror, they’re also bonded through their unique but equally mesmerizing werewolf transformation scenes. A very young Rob Bottin handled the effects for Dante’s film, and they’ve never looked better than they do on Scream Factory‘s brand new Blu-ray of the film.


Scream Factory New Releases

Shout! Factory has been kicking ass on the DVD/Blu-ray front for a while now with a mix of genre and pop culture releases that appeal to the movie/TV lovers in all of us. Most specialty labels would be content with those successes, but it wasn’t enough for these folks. A few months ago they rolled out a new genre arm called Scream Factory that focuses on horror films primarily from the 1980s. They’ve already released some pretty fantastic HD transfers and Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of Halloween II, The Funhouse, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Terror Train and They Live, and now they’ve announced their first wave of titles scheduled for 2013… and they include a certain space vampire’s ample and frequently nude assets in glorious high definition. Check below for the list of upcoming awesomeness as well as a look at their exclusive new cover art for From Beyond.


An American Werewolf in London

They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge, so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy! Synopsis: Two American friends backpacking through the UK are attacked on the moors by a werewolf. Jack (Griffin Dunne) is mauled to death, but David (David Naughton)survives the attack with bite and claw wounds. Dreams where he runs naked through the woods tearing into animals with his teeth hint that something is wrong, and visits from a decomposing Jack seem to confirm it. Something is very wrong indeed. Thankfully, it’s also very very funny.



If the people behind The Howling Reborn are to be believed, the reason why horror movies suck is because no one wants to see 40 year olds in the lead. Their solution was to hire a Harry Potter look alike and walk down the Twilight road instead of a Howling road. When someone thinks about The Howling, often fondly, placing it among the best werewolf movies (saying little, as most werewolf movies strangely blow), what comes to mind? A prolonged, awesome transformation scene a la An American Werewolf in London perhaps? Maybe 40 year old leads? Either way, you probably conjure up in your head, I don’t know, a giant werewolf? So if you were to make another installment in this franchise, you’d think at the very least there would be a cool transformation scene and a big, bad ass werewolf. I think I would have preferred that you made this film, as The Howling Reborn is satisfied with their dopey, emo werewolf narrating his sad story rather than turning into a werewolf. Rather than anyone turning into a werewolf. Okay, so that’s not entirely true. There are werewolves in this movie. For a few minutes anyways.


4 Skulls Out of 5

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis: People probably know Joe Dante best as being the guy who directed Gremlins, that movie about goofy little green monsters that still managed to be pretty creepy. But a couple of years before Gremlins got big he made a full-on creepy werewolf movie called The Howling. The main character is a news reporter named Karen (Dee Wallace). When we first meet her she’s trying to help the police in a sting operation meant to catch a serial killer. The cops plan to use Karen as bait in order to flush the killer out, but things don’t quite go according to plan and she ends up seeing something that leaves her traumatized and experiencing a slight dusting of amnesia (hint: the serial killer is a werewolf). In order to get over the traumatic experience, her psychiatrist advises that she and her husband spend some time recuperating out at this hippy commune in the woods named The Colony. That doesn’t quite go as planned either though, as the members of The Colony all have their fair share of dangerous secrets (hint: they’re all werewolves). Once things really start going south, Karen finds herself faced with the daunting task of hacking, slashing, silver-bulleting, and burning her way out of there; making her probably the most put-upon news reporter since Lois Lane or April O’Neil.


American Werewolf in London

For those of you new to the column, I am revisiting formative events in my life that have made me what I am today: A Special Effects Make Up Artist searching for relevance in the 21st Century. I left my home in a suburb of Gretna, Louisiana, traveled to Valencia, California where I attended the California Institute of the Arts. I am nineteen… Being in college, in California, in 1981, was like being in the front seat of an incredible roller coaster. Unlike how it was in New Orleans, where I would be lucky if I was able to get a hold of a genre magazine like Cinefantastique because it was not consistently available in news stands, now I felt like I was closer to “the hub” than ever. Magazines, trade papers, Hollywood poster stores, all were up to date with what was happening in motion pictures. There was also the benefit of being in one of the two (or three) “preview” cities for new films. Altered States, for instance, had opened in late November rather than at Christmas time when it opened wide, nationally. This, for a fan and initiate to Make Up Effects, was like being at ground zero.


Joe Dante

Joe Dante was recently at Comic-Con and as for what he was promoting, I have no idea. As far as I know, he wasn’t there to sell or pitch me anything. Both him and Roger Corman were in attendance this year, and amongst the hardcore geek community, it was a big deal. Dante is someone that’s had a hand in nearly every movie nerd’s life. I think we all remember watching Gremlins as a kid (or Innerspace, The ‘burbs, The Howling, etc.) So, when I sat down with Joe Dante, I wanted to talk about his life, the films that influenced him, and the joy of horror.



It appears as if our prayers have been answered friends, and werewolves will be following vampires in the great ‘classic monsters rebirth’ cycle of this century. Well, most of our prayers have been answered.



Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves writing bestselling mystery novels and helping hot detectives capture evil-doers. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. This week’s releases include Barker’s Book of Blood, Observe & Report, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Albino Farm, lots of TV shows, and more!

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published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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