There were many, many horror films released in the 80's and since then many of those titles have gone on to become classics, or at least cult classics. The Howling, (which was released in 1980 in America and 1981 here in Australia - back in the days when movies took months to make it out here!) may not have reached cult classic status, but it's a werewolf film that came before many others.
The movie centres around Karen White, a Los Angeles television anchor who is being stalked by a serial killer called Eddie Quist. Karen involves the local authorities and soon enough Eddie is dead and Karen has amnesia. Her therapist decides to send Karen to a retreat, so can be relieved of her stress, but this retreat is filled with many undesirable characters.
One of these undesirable characters happens to be a werewolf and soon enough it is revealed than everyone at these retreats is a werewolf. In any other film this would mean Karen is safe during the day but in The Howling these werewolf can shapeshift and do not require a full moon.
Once it's revealed that everyone is a werewolf at the retreat things start to heat up a lot. Karen needs to escape the werewolfs and survive, which results in plenty of eighties styled horror action. There are some action scenes, death, shots fired, it's the type of movie you don't take too seriously and just enjoy.
Overall while watching The Howling it felt to me like the movie had been given a complete coat of varnish over the entire transfer. Everything glows and this works for the most part, but occasionally the glow becomes quite strong on certain objects. An example of this is a plank of wood towards the end of the movie which has a really strong blue glow that seems out of place.
The Howling contains a DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio track. The sounds of the werewolves and the shotguns and glass breaking is strong and sounds good.
Besides the English 2.0 audio track this disc includes French, German, Spanish and Castilian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 tracks as well. The disc also contains French, German, Castilian, Spanish and Dutch subtitles.
The Werewolf Effect (26:58/HD): This featurette is the shining gem on the Blu-Ray. It's in High Definition and takes a look through the werewolves in the film, as well as a quick look at the special effects utilised throughout the film. We were hoping that this special feature would extend beyond the first films release of 1980, but unfortunately not.
Teaser (0:34): This teaser trailer is also in standard definition and is quite short.
As a bonus this disc inludes an Audio/Video Configuration tool. This option is something we've previously never seen on a Blu-Ray (I've seen similar on quite a few discs, including Pixar's titles - Dave). When you select audio configuration you can test to see that your speakers are set up correctly as the Blu Ray plays a surround sound audio track. The video configuration option presents you with a menu indicating what you should adjust your brightness and constrast ratio to.
Review By: Luke Van Leuveren