Sunday, July 5, 2009
Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985, Phillipe Mora)
I still remember seeing the video box for Howling II as a kid and its silly subtitle "Your Sister is a Werewolf". I always assumed it was more of a tongue in cheek horror comedy because of this. For the most part, I was wrong (we'll get to the comedic bits a little later). I did watch this about two years ago for the first time, mainly because I liked the first one so much and it had Christopher Lee.
Howling II takes place directly after the events in the first film. Ben White (Reb Brown) is out to find out what really caused his sister Karen's death (played by Dee Wallace in the first film and by some other lady in this one). One of Karen's fellow news reporters Jenny (Annie McEnroe) befriends him and they end up taking a trip to Transylvania after meeting up with a priest named Stefan Crosscoe (Christopher Lee). Crosscoe insists that Karen was a werewolf and that they must travel to Transylvania to destroy the queen werewolf Stirba (Sybil Danning).
Howling II is for the most part a disappointment. The story is silly, the werewolves look ridiculous and the cast is...well, lets talk a little bit about the cast. First of all, Christopher Lee. What the fuck were you thinking? I read that he claims that the biggest regret of his career was turning down the role of Dr. Loomis in Halloween. I'd say he must have forgotten that he was in this movie when he said that. Though I also read that he apologised to Joe Dante (director of The Howling) on the set of Gremlins 2 for being in this film. Lee is fine but the over the top dialogue and overall ridiculousness of his character makes it nothing but laughable. Next up is Reb Brown: Action Hero. Reb uses his boyish good looks here to basically stand around and spout unfunny one liners. Then there are the werewolf trio of Stirba (Sybil Danning), Vlad (Judd "I wonder if this is his real name?" Omen) and Mariana (Marsha A. Hunt). The scenes with the werewolf orgy is absolutely hilarious. They lay in bed scratching, biting and snarling at each other. You really have to see it to believe it. The eroticism of this scene is pretty much void when it shows them all hairy and whatnot. Gasp! It's like every guy's worst nightmare when you finally see a hot girl nekkid and she's all hairy. Gag! (no offense to all you hairy women out there) Moving on, there is also a recurring music video throughout the film of some faux-new wave band singing a song which isn't half bad...until they play the thing 20 times! Actually, now that I think of it the beginning of the film (which starts with the new wave band performing on stage in a club) is VERY reminiscent of the beginning of the David Bowie vampire film The Hunger, though Tony Scott's ultra cool and dark direction is leagues above this film (as is Bauhaus' performance of their classic Bela Lugosi's Dead to this film's unknown band). Also of note is the end credits scene, which shows scenes from the film cut up with (you guessed it) the film's new wave theme song. You can tell the director is having a little fun, showing Danning rip off her top about 20 times. Actually, this end credit scene should have been the movie! Speaking of the director, Phillipe Mora, I think he did a competent job and he definitely added some style to the silly plot (especially the puppet show scenes). I loved his film The Beast Within so I'll admit I was a little disappointed with this one. Oh, the one thing I did like about this film was when the dwarf's eyeballs popped out. Great scene.