Ben White (Reb Brown) attends the future of his late sister, news reporter Karen White (Hana Ludvikova), who was murdered under mysterious circumstances. Following the funeral, Ben meets Karen's colleague Jenny Templeton (Annie McEnroe), who wants to find out what really happened to Karen. Enter Occult Investigator Stefan Crosscoe (Christopher Lee); Stefan informs Ben and Jenny that Karen, following her experiences at The Colony, became a werewolf and had herself killed to protect innocent people from her.
Like Vampires, Werewolves are a popular part of European folklore and mythology that has long fascinated us, but why? In the case of Vampires, it's all about primal sexuality and everlasting youth. The Vampire legend preys on the vanity of mankind. When it comes to Werewolves, however, it's something much more psychological and disturbing. Mankind can be a violent, cruel and monstrous species, but what separates us from the Lions, Tigers and Bears is our humanity and compassion. Werewolves represent the loss of that humanity; the legend dares to wonder what happens to humans when they're stripped of their inherent moral compass and ability to care for fellow man. What happens when intelligent, thinking people become monsters? It's a frightening concept and, for me, makes Werewolf mythology far more interesting.
While I personally prefer An American Werewolf In London, The Howling is a close second in the pantheon of Werewolf films. Darker and edgier, The Howling is a love-letter to the classic werewolf films from Universal Studios in the '30s and '40s and Hammer Films in the '60s and '70s. Four years after its release, Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf, also known as Howling II: Stirba - Werewolf Bitch, was unleashed. Other than returning producer Steven A. Lane, no one from Dante's film returned for the sequel. Interestingly enough, Gary Brandner, the author of the 1977 novel The Howling Dante's film was based on, co-wrote the script for this, as he was reportedly unsatisfied with what Joe Dante did with the source material.
Taking this bit of trivia into account when thinking about this film, I can only conclude that either Brandner wrote a first draft re-written by the other writer, Robert Sarno, or that his ego was so massive that he had no idea that he was raping his own creation to death, because that's exactly what he, Sarno and director Philippe Mora have done. Howling II is a clusterfuck of such epic proportions that I don't even know where to start. And I've seen some of the worst horror films out there; Strawberry Estates? Yep. Bloody Murder? Ouch. Rick Bota's Hellraiser sequels? Dear God. The Platinum Dunes remakes? Unfortunately. Asylum films? Kill me now. My soul has been crushed by this genre many times over, but it's been a while since a film left me this shattered. Where to begin?
"...a highly talented artist and film-maker with an impressive resume to boast of...Philippe Mora has definitely left his mark in both art and film." Either LeBrun has never really seen Mora's films, or Mora's paying him off. There's no way you could possibly call this guy talented. He seems more interested in showing some bad '80s new wave band rocking out than creating any sort of tension or atmosphere. Not to mention his editing; what the heck is with the weird editing transitions? Scenes form out of triangles, scenes dissolve into circles, the Babel theme song re-appears time and time again for no reason and random shots of Werewolves pop up out of nowhere. Worst of all is the end credits sequence set to the Babel theme song when, for absolutely no reason, the shot of Stirba exposing her breasts is replayed SEVENTEEN times! I know she's hot, but seriously? That little fact right there lets you know what kind of people are making this movie; the kind that don't know anything about filmmaking.
I give Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf 0.5 out of 5 Stars. That 0.5 rating exists solely because of my respect for Christopher Lee and Sybil Danning's impressive rack. All in all, I think part of my hatred for this film stems from it being a sequel to The Howling. If it was just called Your Sister Is A Werewolf or Stirba - Werewolf Bitch, I'd still hate it but I'd just let it go and remember as just another shitty horror film. The fact that this claims to be Howling II, a sequel to one of the best Werewolf films of all time, not to mention one of the best horror films of all time, is indefensible. No one, not even the strange, twisted sect of people who like this, could possibly give me a single reason to appreciate this film. And let's not forget; there's six more Howling's after this. God help us all.
Next Up: October 9th: The Curse of The Cat People (1944)