Cat People (1982)
Directed by Paul Schrader this version is obviously more feline than lupine. This sexually charged remake of Val Lewton’s 1942 classic stars Nastassja Kinski and, Malcolm McDowell. With its brief descent into graphic horror, the threat of bestiality, and shamelessly indulgent eroticism, Cat People was one of the 1980s’ most controversial major films. Ludicrous or not, Cat People is gorgeous to look at due mostly to cinematographer John Bailey and his marvelous detailed rendering of New Orleans in autumn. Giorgio Moroder’s also presents a moody score with help from David Bowie.
Hound of Baskervilles (1959)
Peter Cushing delivers a sterling performance as always. Here he shares the energy, arrogance, and mannerisms of the Holmes you picture reading. The cinematography is stylish and gaudy with that distinctive Hammer look. Jack Asher, the cinematographer, did an excellent job of providing the proper atmosphere and the subtle lighting tones to bring the picture to life. One of the best remakes and better hammer films to date.
Director by Michael Wadleigh and based on a novel by Whitley Strieber, this urban horror is inspired by the legends of American Indian shape-shifters. Albert Finney turns in one of his best performances as the New York cop investigating strange murders and discovering the killer is entirely inhuman. Certainly one of the most intelligent and imaginative of all werewolf movies.
An American Werewolf
One of the all-time great horror movies, a pitch-perfect mix of comedy and genuine scares. Directed by the stroke of genius of John Landis and made before the advent of CGI, yet all of the effects including the werewolf transformations are more realistic than recent horror films. Landis wrote a clever script that starts with the same hackneyed werewolf legend we’ve all heard and seen before and gives it a few new, mostly comic twists. Complete with thrills, atmosphere, romance, sex, nudity, a great soundtrack, and some memorable visual effects.
The Howling deserves respect simply for being the innovative modern werewolf flick, that is the first to actually show the lycanthrope transformation process in slow, painstaking detail through a combination of clever edits and animatronics. Werewolves are the least-regarded of all the classic monsters. Unlike vampire films and Mummy films werewolves have never had much luck at the box office. 1981 changed all that with not one but two movies baring these hairy beasts: John Landis’s An American Werewolf in London and Joe Dante’s The Howling. Both films are equal in terms of its story and humor but The Howling delivers more action, gore and true scares letting the wolves bite in and howl more often than not.