Never screw up a werewolf's filing system.
The Howling was apparently meant to be a cross between a horror film and a comedy. Some of the humour does work in a sort of mild, vague chuckle producing way, like all the juxtapositions and references to other wolf related media--cans of "Wolf" brand beans, Wolfman Jack, even a brief glimpse of Allen Ginsberg's Howl. There's stuff that may be homages to old horror movies or jabs at them, as when the vulnerable heroine decides to go out and investigate the scary noises alone or this scene where her flashlight goes out in the middle of the forest at night;
I guess they'll just have to somehow find their way back by the massive floodlights just off screen. I wish I could say this was something movies didn't do anymore--my favourite was in Passion of the Christ when Jesus is being hunted down in the forest at night and there appears to be a football stadium of lights over every rise.
Some of the horror elements don't quite work, I suspect, because of to-day's faster paced special effects. Watching the man-to-wolf transformation sequence in the film is sort of neat, except it takes so long, and actress Dee Wallace isn't terribly good at reacting--she starts to look oddly indulgent; "Oh, yes, I'm so frightened, I'm rooted to the spot, compelled to watch your, what, two hour metamorphosis? Oh, it's only been thirty seconds? Huh."
The best part of the movie is the nymphomaniac werewolf chick, who looks sort of like Angelina Jolie before Angelina Jolie looked like a bare skeleton with wax lips.
I can see a lot of similarities in terms of tone and sensibility to the director's next film, Gremlins, in which he seemed to overcompensate for The Howling's primary flaw--an almost total lack of personality in its leads.
Anyway, I was moved to improvise lyrics for the music that plays in the film's ending credits;
Twitter Sonnet #276
Shadow stripes strip rolling eraser burn.
Paper tongues wreath a white scissor cut face.
Data freezes in a green crystal fern.
Mercury minds are too dear to replace.
Jelly tinsel eyes set orange ocean sun.
Squid beads slide on a marine abacus.
Sheaves of calculators tumble to one.
Rebel worsted conceals a blunderbuss.
A red skirt clashes with green leather shoes.
False feet exceed the demands of running.
Digits of cloud press a darkening bruise.
Laurel crowns belie vegetable cunning.
Cool avocados fatten black crust heat.
Breading covers can't conceal insect meat.