The Howling

“We should never try to deny the beast – the animal within us.” 

After news anchor, Karen (Dee Wallace) suffers from harassing phone calls, the police convince her to help them jail the culprit. A seedy video store, darkness, and terror grip Karen after the fact as she struggles to remember the face of Eddie (Robert Picardo). Upon psychiatric evaluation by the renowned Doctor George Waggner (Patrick Macnee), Karen and her husband Bill (Christopher Stone) venture to the doctor’s retreat. Unfortunately, The Colony is not so much a safe haven for traumatized people as it is for werewolves.

Karen’s Problem
We immediately feel for Karen, and not just because there are memes dogging her name when this woman seems unlikely to demand to speak to a manager. This Karen is introduced to us in a vulnerable situation. She is meeting a man who has been sexually harassing her via the telephone (this movie was shot in the 80s before social media platforms could be used for harassment); the cops that appear to be ready to find her are of course having a hard time finding her; and her husband is either overwhelmed with stress or underwhelmed in his ability to support his wife.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Nightmares 
    Karen is awoken during a daytime nap by her husband, Bill. This is because she shouts, “No” and is shaking during her slumber. Of course, the fact that she is asleep during the day implies that maybe she is not getting adequate sleep during the night.
  • Intrusive Thoughts 
    When she attempts to go back on camera following Eddie’s death, Karen is plagued by bright lights and bad memories. She cannot focus for her television appearance and is promptly escorted backstage. Before shuffling up to The Colony, Karen panics when Bill tries to have sex with her. This is thought to be the result of post-trauma following a sexual assault or similar situation. Bill again proves to be an unsympathetic douchebag.

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    Elisabeth Brooks as Marsha gets howling in “The Howling”


    This is topped by the arrival of the couple at The Colony. Once there, Marsha (Elisabeth Brooks), a confident beauty is ready to pounce on Bill. Karen recognizes this instantly and rightly accuses Bill of getting tangled up in Marsha, which he responds to by smacking his wife across the face and subsequently sticking it in Marsha.

    Seriously, fuck that guy.

  • Delusions 
    Karen’s psychosis could be so pronounced that the evolution of these people into werewolves is actually all in her head.
    Then again, there are those two amateur investigators on the case…

After Karen’s struggles to cope with Eddie, Karen’s friend Terry (Belinda Balaski) and way-more-supportive-than-Bill boyfriend, Chris (Dennis Dugan) delve into Karen’s situation a little further. They visit a bookstore (watch the video); keep their ears and eyes open; and even watch…The Wolf Man! The couple begins to believe in the werewolf idea along with Karen, which makes one wonder if this whole thing is really in Karen’s head, after all.

 

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