Tag Archives: fantasy

Taking a Second Look: The Howling

 

The Howling(1981)

Directed by Joe Dante

Starring Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Christopher Stone, Dennis Dugan, Belinda Balaski, and Robert Picardo

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen The Howling, so I decided to watch it again to see if my opinions have changed. However, after giving it a second look, I have to say that I surprisingly still enjoyed it.

This movie is a well-written werewolf horror story. Not only is the story engaging, it is an interesting commentary on the dynamics of civilized behavior vs animal behavior. Which behavior is more natural? How do you balance the two? Should you repress one type, and if you do, which one should you repress? The Howling, in my opinion, brings these types of questions to mind.

Not only do you get the thought-provoking questions, you also get some good scares and some decent practical effects.

So if you haven’t watched a werewolf movie in awhile, The Howling comes highly recommended. My score: 8.5/10(purchase worthy)

Looking Back: Labyrinth(1986)

Labyrinth(1986)

Starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly

Since the long-awaited Labyrinth 2 is in the works, I just thought I’d take another look at the original Labyrinth(1986) from Jim Henson Productions.

I will have to say that this movie is one of the best modern fantasy films.   Not only does it have an engaging story, but the themes of friendship, gratitude, and on some level, love, are presented in a way that it appeals to both young children and older adults.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the plot, it’s basically about Sarah, a young girl who feels that she can’t have a life taking care of her baby brother, Toby.   So as a result, she says the “magic words” for the Goblin King, Jareth to take him away.   However, when he does so, Sarah regrets it, and she wants her brother back.   The Goblin King says the only way she can get Toby back is to solve his puzzle.

The story that unfolds in Labyrinth is entertaining and it presents its themes that are open to interpretation for the viewer.   For example, let’s take a look at the friendship between Sarah and Hoggle the dwarf.   At first, the “friendship” was undefined, but towards the end their friendship was solidified, where both of them learned that they were important to each other in times of need.   When Sarah was able to get her brother back, she gave him her teddy bear, grateful for the fact that she has Toby again.   At first, Sarah didn’t want her brother to have her toys.   However, after her ordeal, she had to realize that giving away a plush animal would not diminish her sense of control.

The theme of love was definitely open to interpretation.  The dialogue between Jareth and Sarah towards the end, was suggestive in the fact that it explored intimacy in a covert way.  There was a part of me that wished the movie explored that dynamic more, but maybe the sequel will further show the subtextual meaning of their relationship.

Labyrinth is the type of fantasy movie that is many things to many people.   It is a coming-of-age tale, comedy, a puzzle(metaphorically and literally), and an adventure that resonates with the viewer.  If you’re in a mood for an entertaining and thoughtful fantasy film, add this one to your collection.   My score: 8/10.