The Howling (film)

1981 film by Joe Dante

The Howling is a 1981 horror film in which a TV newswoman, after a near fatal encounter with a serial killer, is sent to a country resort where the residents turn out to be werewolves.

Directed by Joe Dante. Screenplay written by John Sayles and Terence H. Winkless, based on the novel by Gary Brandner.
Imagine your worst fear a reality.

Dr. George Waggner

  • [on TV] It is, after all, what we are. Repression. Repression is the father of neurosis, of self-hatred. Now, stress results when we fight against our impulses. We've all heard people talk about "animal magnetism", about the "natural man" and the "noble savage". As if we had lost something valuable in our long evolution into civilized human beings—and there’s a good reason for this. Man is a combination of the learned and the instinctual, of the sophisticated and the primitive. We should never try to deny the beast, the animal, within us - only to channel these energies in a positive direction.
  • All of us have a great untapped potential - a potential for living. What we do with that potential, with that life, depends as much on our attitudes toward our physical desires as it does on the social programming of our minds. The struggle between mind and body is not a necessary one. It produces anger, frustration, the strain of modern-day living in a world that's moving too quickly toward its own annihilation. Stress results when we fight against our impulses, when we attempt to destroy the natural man or woman within us. Repression is the father of neurosis, of self-hatred.

Walter Paisley

  • [about his occult bookstore] We get 'em all: sun-worshippers, moon-worshippers, Satanists. The Manson family used to hang around and shoplift. Bunch of deadbeats!
  • [watching Karen transforming on TV] Oh, boy!

Eddie Quist

  • [pulling the bullet from his fractured skull out of the hole it left in his head] You said on the phone that you wanted to get to know me. Well, here I am, Karen. Look at me. [pulls out a piece of his brain] I want to give you a piece of my mind. I trusted you, Karen. You can trust me now.
  • She didn't feel a thing, Karen. None of them do. They're not...real, the people here. They're...they're dead. They can never be like me. But you're different, Karen. I watch you on TV. And I know how good I can make you feel. I'm gonna light up your whole body, Karen.

Karen White

  • We have to warn people, Chris. We have to make them believe.
  • Good evening. From the day we're born, there is a battle we must fight, a struggle between what is kind and peaceful in our natures, and what is cruel and violent. That choice is our birthright as human beings, and the real gift that differentiates us from the animals. It is as natural to us as the air we breathe. All of us take it for granted. But now, for some of us, that choice has been taken away. A secret society exists, and is living among all of us. They're neither people nor animal, but something in between. They're monstrous mutations with violent natures that must be satisfied. I know what you're thinking, because I've been where you are... But I have proof, and tonight I'm going to show you something... to make you believe! [she howls and starts to transform]


  • Erle Kenton: You can't tame what's meant to be wild, Doc. It just ain't natural.
  • Fred Francis: [on the phone after Karen freezes during a newscast] Who knows? Maybe she's pregnant. Listen, get in touch with that Fujiama, Fujimoto, or whatever the hell her name is and get her ready for the 11:00 report.


Karen White: There was howling just a minute ago.
Bill Neill: It was probably somebody's stray dog.
Karen White: Not like any dog I've ever heard. It sounded like a wolf.
Bill Neill: Honey, you're from Los Angeles. The wildest thing you've ever heard is Wolfman Jack. This is the country. There are no wolves here.

Chris Dugan: We'll find out if any of Eddie's killings were on a full moon.
Walter Paisley: Hey, that's a lot of Hollywood baloney. Your classic werewolf can change shape any time it wants, day and night, whenever it takes a notion to it. That's why they call 'em shapeshifters. I got a dozen books on it.
Terri Fisher: What about killing it with silver bullets?
Walter Paisley: Well, sure. Silver bullets or fire, that's the only way to get rid of the damn things. They're worse than cockroaches. They come back from the dead if you don't kill 'em right. Plus they regenerate, you know what that is? Cut off an arm, cut off a leg, stick a knife in the heart, nothing. They may look dead, but bam, three days later, they're as good as new.
Chris Dugan: You believe in this?
Walter Paisley: What am I, an idiot? I'm makin' a buck here. You want books, I got books. I got chicken blood, I got dog embryos, I got black candles, I got wolfbane. Look at this: silver bullets. Some joker ordered them. Thirty-ought-six. Never picked 'em up. I take Bank AmeriCard, American Express, Visa. You gonna buy that or what?

Chris Dugan: [looks in what was Eddie Quist's morgue locker] He's not here!
Morgue attendant: He was here this morning!
Terry Fisher: [notices the damage on the inside of the locker door] Look at the door!
Chris Dugan: You think somebody took him?
Morgue attendant: Well, he didn't just get up and walk away!

Eddie Quist: Hello, bright boy.
Chris Dugan: Eddie?
Eddie Quist: You know me, and I don't know you. Now why is that?
Chris Dugan: Where is she?
Eddie Quist: Why? Is she your girlfriend?
Chris Dugan: Just answer the question. Where's Terry?
Eddie Quist: Just down the ritual center, down the path. That's where Wagner sends us to, uh, unwind. He's so repressed.
Chris Dugan: What did you do to her?
Eddie Quist: Why tell you, when I can show you. [points to tape recorder; sounds of growling and screaming] She's got a sexy voice. I like a woman with a sexy voice. I, uh...listen to this part here. [sound of Terry screaming]
Chris Dugan: You're crazy!
Eddie Quist: Oh, I'm much more than that, bright boy. I'm much more. [hands Chris his rifle] Here. Take it. For all the good it'll do you. Call it a gift. Come on. [pats his chest] Come on, bright boy. Lay one on me. Don't you know anything?

Bill Neill: I'm looking for my wife.
Marsha Quist: Why?

Karen White: Where's Bill? And what have you done to him?
Marsha Quist: He's one of us now.
Dr. Waggner: In given time, he would've brought you over to us; our secret would be safe.
Donna: It's wonderful, Karen. When I was first bitten, I fought against it and so did Jerry. And then we found the Doctor. He helped us. He helped us to adjust. You see, Karen, he understands all about the gift. He knows how to use it... how to control it.
Dr. Waggner: You'd have Bill back; there's still time if you accept the gift.

Jerry Warren: It was a mistake to bring her to the Colony.
Erle Kenton: We should have stuck with the old ways. Raising cattle for our feed. Where's the life in that?
Charlie Barton: The humans are our cattle.
Erle Kenton: Humans are our prey. We should feed on them, like we've always done. Screw all this "channel your energies" crap.
Dr. Waggner: But the danger of exposure! We need this shelter to plan! To catch up with society! Times have changed and we haven't! Not enough.
Marsha Quist: Shut up, Doc! You wouldn't listen to me! None of you! "We can fit in," you said. "We can live with them!" You make me sick.
Dr. Waggner: Marsha!
Marsha Quist: Oh, you're through, Doc! She's ours now...for the taking.

Karen White: Chris, run! They'll kill you!
T.C. Quist: That gun won't do you any good, mister.
Chris Dugan: Don't come any closer.
[T.C. snarls and starts to transform, but Chris shoots him and he collapses]
Chris Dugan: I have silver bullets in here.
Jerry Warren: Silver bullets, my ass! Get up, T.C.!
[Jerry aims his own gun at Chris, but is also shot down with a look of shock]
Dr. Waggner: [to Karen] They're real. [approaches Chris]
Chris Dugan: Don't come any closer, Doc, please.
[Waggner growls, and Chris shoots him]
Dr. Waggner: [with a look of relief] Thank God... [collapses, dead]

[last lines, after Karen transforms and is shot on live television]
First man at bar: The things they do with special effects these days! Did you see the one about the guy in the spaceship?
Second man at bar: It was real. She turned into a werewolf, and they shot her.
First man at bar: You're plastered!
Second man at bar: Doesn't mean it wasn't real.
Third man at bar: Hey, Ernie? Put that pepper steak on for me, would you? And a hamburger for the lady.
Ernie: How do ya want that?
Third man at bar: How do you want it, honey?
Marsha Quist: Rare. [smiles]


  • Imagine your worst fear a reality.
  • Beyond anything human.
  • When the howling starts... the horror begins!
  • They're out there - and you're in the middle of your worst nightmare...
  • All your nightmares are about to be transformed into one single inescapable fear.
  • [from TV spot] What she has witnessed, she cannot escape. What he has become, he cannot control. And what you experience, no one will believe - until they come face to face with the inhuman fear that is The Howling.


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