Yesterday morning the people over at That Hashtag Show broke the news that last night during a Q and A for the new film ‘Underwater’, Director Andy Muschietti (‘It: Chapter One’ and ‘It: Chapter Two’) confirmed that he will be directing a new adaptation of ‘The Howling’ for Netflix as soon as he’s done with DC and Warner Brother’s ‘The Flash’.
Upon reading this news I felt a little torn. On one hand, ‘The Howling’ is making a comeback and a competent filmmaker is at the helm, so as a fan of the franchise I’m pretty excited. But on the other hand, I have to ask why must we get yet another adaptation of the first book when the second and third in Brandner’s series have yet to be adapted at all? This would make the third adaptation of the original book from 1977; granted, the first two, ‘The Howling’ (1981) and ‘The Howling IV: The Original Nightmare’ (1988) are both loose adaptations, with the latter being closer to the source than the former, and while I still find the first novel to be good, I feel that the second and third novels are superior.
To reiterate a point that I made in my ‘The Howling’ Franchise Ranking, there are three in Gary Brandner’s series of novels, and there are eight in the film franchise. Of those eight films, only two are actually based on Brandner’s books, and those two are based on the same novel. Despite what some of the sequels claim in the credits, 1985’s ‘The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf’ (also known as The Howling II: Stirba – Werewolf Bitch’), 1987’s ‘The Howling III: The Marsupials’, 1989’s ‘The Howling V: The Rebirth’, 1991’s ‘The Howling VI: The Freaks’, 1995’s ‘The Howling VII: New Moon Rising’ and 2011’s ‘The Howling: Reborn’ share nothing in common with the books aside from title – although Gary Brandner, who disliked Joe Dante’s first film, was brought in to co-write the script for the second film.
Sure, doing multiple adaptations of one book isn’t really a new trend – after all, there are countless adaptations of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ and Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, and even Jack Finney’s ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ has been adapted four times – but It’s a pity to keep going back to just the first book, because I think that the second and third books would make great films and are of higher quality than any of the film sequels.
It will be interesting to see what Muschietti’s approach to the material will be. Will he go back to the source and deliver the most faithful adaption to date? Will he cherry pick elements from the book and Joe Dante’s movie? Will he just straight up remake the first film, taking it further away from the book? Or will he do his own thing and have a movie with minimal similarities to the original story?
Although this article is primarily advocating for adaptations of the two books that haven’t been turned into movies, I do have to say that I would be fine with them pulling a ‘Halloween’ 2018 and doing a direct sequel – or companion piece – that directly follows the first film. After all, Marcia was still alive at the end, so they would have that as a jumping off point.
But, considering that Muschietti still has ‘The Flash’ ahead of him, Netflix’s ‘The Howling’ is still a few years away, and anything can happen in that time. Regardless, I am eager to see what’s in store for this franchise and all I can do is hope for the best.
One last thing, IF he does decide to tell a faithful adaptation of the first book, I hope that it does well enough for the sequels to be made in the future.
You can read That Hashtag Show’s report here: