Howling II


So how do you take an underrated cult classic like The Howling, a movie that has wit, intelligence and some pretty good scares, and ruin it? How do you manage to make a horror movie so far off the mark that iconic Hammer star Christopher Lee and the frequently exposed chest of Sybil Danning cannot even save it? How in Hell do you make a horror movie that actually employs holy earplugs??? You make The Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf. The original Howling was, to many horror fan’s tastes, a great movie. Unfortunately, the six sequels that followed, without the guiding hands of director Joe Dante and writer John Sayles, were on the whole bad. Really bad. (Note: This isn’t even the worst of the bunch. What better way to top holy earplugs than by trotting out marsupial werewolves?!?) This was the first, and the results were not pretty. Howling II begins at the funeral of Karen White, played by the lovely Dee Wallace Stone in the original, but not here. Several forces show up at the funeral: Karen’s brother, a female reporter, Christopher Lee as a master of the occult, and a number of werewolves. How this leads to Sybil Danning topless in Transylvania, I would rather not discuss. Let’s just say that Karen’s brother and his new girlfriend/reporter have to go to Romania to put the stop to Stirba (Danning), queen of the werewolves. Transylvania? Queen of the werewolves? Apparently the filmmakers were going the Dracula path, but these aren’t vampires. This is muddled scripting at best, and downright incompetence at worst. There’s no doubt about the acting however; other than Lee, there’s not a competent performance in the lot. Ohh, but the special effects match the acting, folks! For those of you who are into bestiality, there’s a werewolf threesome that is the farthest thing from a turn on outside of John Travolta in a fat suit. But hey, it’s followed by a werewolf orgy. Some people should just not be allowed to make films. MGM actually still owned the rights to The Howling title, and so this is the only sequel that relates back to the original. There’s even a recreation of Dee Wallace’s transformation from the original. As with the rest of the film, it’s appallingly bad. MGM may still own the rights, but they apparently didn’t care to do anything with the product. The only extras on the film are a trailer, and the choice of widescreen or full screen. But then, would you really want to watch a documentary in which Christopher Lee talks about disgracing himself for a paycheck? I leave you with this anecdote, which Joe Dante tells on the Gremlins 2 soundtrack. Christopher Lee played a geneticist in that film, and on his first day of shooting, he pulled Dante aside and apologized for his appearance in the Howling II. Sometimes an apology isn’t enough, Chris. -Phil Fasso


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