Let me start out with the following comment: I’m not a great fan of the movie The Howling. Based on my memories, I’d put it up on my review site as being an excellent film (2 points) that I don’t care for (0.5 point) but think it worth hunting up (RECOMMENDED, or +). If we need to know a bit more, I really more of an American Werewolf in London kind of guy (4 points and a plus).
However, when I found Gary Brandner‘s source novel at the Half Price book store, I picked it up in a heart beat. I’d been looking for that sucker for ages. No way I was going to pass up a chance at reading it.
In essence, both stories follow the same plot: A woman recovering from a horrible attack goes to the country side to recuperate, only to find something worse waiting for her there. However, there are major changes through out between page and screen, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. With massive books like, say, Dracula, a little pruning goes down unnoticed. With The Howling there is absolutely no fat to cut. The novel is so well tuned it practically hums. Like the best of Edgar Allen Poe, everything part is geared to increasing unease.
That it didn’t work as well as it should have on me stems from me watching the movie before reading the novel. A lot of the suspense hinges on one particular aspect of the plot and, knowing what that aspect is, it lost some of its suspense for me. That said, I think that if you enjoyed the movie, you may well enjoy the book, too.
I’m not going to tell you the book is perfect, a lost gem, but I do wonder why it’s not easier to find.