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The werewolf is unleashed on The Howling reissue

Before Interview With The Vampire and Blade showed vampires living in high-order organizations, The Howling showed that werewolves did it first. In 1981, The Howling faced some stiff competition from other soon-to-be classics, such as An American Werewolf in London and Wolfen.

Each week brings a slew of new DVD releases; the majority of them are re-releases of old 60s, 70s and 80s films. What makes The Howling a standout is the fact that the DVD actually comes equipped with noticeable features, and the re-mastered soundtrack helps viewers experience the movie like never before.

The film opens with television anchorwoman Karen White (Dee Wallace) meeting a suspected serial killer, Eddie Quist, who has repeatedly called to meet with her and wants to show her something “spectacular.” With assistance from local police and the unbearable pressure from network bosses, Karen allows herself to be used as bait.

Following Eddie’s instructions, she waits for his call in a public phone booth, nervously unsure of who Eddie is or where he may be. The phone rings, and Karen is directed to a specific booth within a local sex shop.

After being attacked at the sex shop by Eddie, Karen retreats to the Colony in hopes to escape what she possibly couldn’t have seen — a werewolf. At the Colony, Karen learns that the werewolves have been living in a group amongst the humans and hiding the animal urges to feed. The film’s action picks up as a riot breaks out because a group of hairy beasts decide that they will no longer hide themselves from their prey.

MGM Home Entertainment has finally released a special edition of The Howling with more extras than just a commentary, the only special feature of the 2001 release.

The re-mastered disc looks and sounds better than ever before, and breathes new life into this horror classic. For the first time, The Howling can be viewed with 5.1 Dolby Digital remix, a huge improvement of the mono mix on the previous DVD.

The DVD’s most impressive special feature is a making-of documentary, “Unleashing the Beast,” a 45-minute piece that includes new interviews and never-before-seen footage. It also has the obligatory audio commentary by director Joe Dante and the film’s cast.

On the second side of the disc is an 8-minute “Making a Monster Movie: Inside The Howling” and 10-minutes of deleted scenes, although the majority of it is just scene extensions from the colony segment.

Wrapping up the special edition are the outtakes, which consist of the typical movie set gags and the promotional materials.

The bonus “promos” consist of two still galleries, a set of nicely polished publicity photos, production stills and two original theatrical trailers.

In what should be named the year of the werewolf, The Howling was a stellar addition to the horror genre, and at last MGM has given this classic the special edition the film and the fans deserve.