WASHINGTON – Gary Brandner, a horror novelist whose trilogy about “The Howling” gave werewolf enthusiasts much to salivate over and inspired the popular fright film series of the same name, died Sept. 22 at his home in Reno, Nevada. He was 83.
The first installment of “The Howling,” published in 1977, is about a werewolf colony living in a small town in California, hiding its carnivore lifestyle among the human population. A reporter recovering from a mental breakdown stumbles onto the colony after she and her husband visit the town for a getaway. The husband is seduced and then turned into a werewolf.
“There are very few novels of lycanthropy that stand out,” says the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers. ” ‘The Howling’ is one of these, partly because Brandner constructed a tight, suspenseful plot, partly because he hit upon a novel idea.”
Brandner’s other books included “The Beezlebub Business” (1975), about a psychic investigating a satanic spy network, “Quintana Roo” (1984), a zombie story set in Mexico, and “Cameron’s Closet” (1987), in which a young boy’s night fears create a real-life monster. The last was made into a film in 1988.
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