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Monday, 13 September 2010

The Howling

I've just finished reading the novel "The Howling" by Gary Brandner. This was made into a film and eventually a series of "Howling" films. This blog has never done any book reviews yet or reviews of anything so this post is my first attempt at it.

I found this book very gripping. Although I'm familiar to the film that was made after this book was originally published, I do find that books include things that are left out in films. There are differences here and there to the characters and storyline.

This plot is eerie. I couldn't put the book down. The story begins with a tragedy, set in the Arda Forest in 1583. Mysterious deaths are pinpointed to an entire village. Then the story moves fast forward to the 1970's California. A young married couple, Roy and Karyn, have their perfect lives in suburbia turned upside-down when an intruder comes along to destroy it. After the attack, Karyn becomes traumatised and is persuaded to take some time out in the countryside. Her husband Roy invests in doing up a holiday home in the centre of a forest, and they both leave the city to get away from their troubles. Now where they move to is isolated and shadowy, with a very small community nearby. An unfriendly sheriff is the first person they encounter there. As they both settle in and get to know a couple of shop keepers, more things don't make sense. First of all Karyn wakes up to the sound of howling at night. Then their pet dog vanishes outside. Then Karyn is wondering what has become of her husband, who started behaving oddly since they got there because he was enchanted by the place. Things unfold and it becomes very tense and creepy.

The book was well written and it was almost poetic in style. In the novel are also some references to actual werewolf reports that went on throughout history. A particular book was mentioned called "The Book of Werewolves" by Sabine Baring-Gould and I happen to own that book.

"The Howling" movie cast and characters are slightly different though. Some of the names are changed and the plot isn't exactly true to the book although another film titled "The Howling: The Original Nightmare" was closer to the book. The book is serious and yet the film version is tongue-in-cheek but it was atmospheric and entertaining enough to want to see it again. I think Hollywood should do a remake of "The Howling". Oh btw yes "The Howling Reborn" is in the making right now.       

Gary Brandner
The Howling

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