Today in Movie History: April 10

1981 was a banner year for science fiction, fantasy and horror movies… perhaps more than 1982, which is usually cited as the high water mark for genre cinema. Two of that year’s bumper crop were released today. First up, Excalibur: John Boorman’s ambitious attempt to cover the entire Arthur legend from conception to death. Its reach exceeds its grasp more than once, but it succeeds in capturing the core of the legend in a way no other film before or since could quite manage. And egad, that armor…

Occupying equal status on the pop culture ladder is Joe Dante’s The Howling, part of a trio of notable werewolf movies that came out that year. While it can’t quite match An American Werewolf in London (which is duking it out with 1941’s The Wolfman for best ever), it makes a surprising game run at it, with Dante’s signature wit and iconoclasm punctuating a wild story about a colony of werewolves disguised as a nature retreat in Northern California. Watch for column favorite Robert Picardo — Dante’s perennial good-luck charm — as a grinning serial killer.



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