Sunday, July 5, 2009

Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988, John Hough)


Ok, I am starting to regret this venture. There is no way this series can get worse, right? RIGHT?!? Oh god, please let this film not suck ass. Apparently it is based on the same story (Gary Brandner's novel The Howling) that the first film is based on, though this one is more true to the story. I remember seeing the video box for this a lot as a kid but never saw it until now. Please don't suck. Please don't suck. Please don't suck.

Howling IV starts off with an author Marie Adams (Romy Windsor), who is having strange visions. She eventually goes nuts and ends up in a hospital. She is told by her doctor that she needs to go away to relax, so she goes to stay in a cabin with her husband Richard (Michael T. Weiss), in the rural town of Drago. While there, Marie starts having more visions and hears an animal howling every night. The townfolk all insist there is nothing there to be afraid of while Richard starts getting fed up with Marie's weirdness. He starts having an affair with the local shopkeeper, while Marie gets it in her head that there are werewolves around. She is aided by a fan Janice (Susanne Severeid) and Marie's coworker Tom (Anthony Hamilton). Is she hallucinating or is there really a werewolf out there?

Phew. Luckily this film is not nearly as bad as part III. Starting from scratch and dismissing all previous Howling films, this one gets points for its use of atmosphere over visuals. You don't even see the werewolf really until the last 15 minutes. The transformations scenes, especially the first one was well done and much different than in the other films. In this one, the human's skin all melt off into a puddle of glop and the end result is a werewolf. Also there are some crazy visuals at the end with one of the character's heads as it is tranforming. Its face is pretty much ripped off to make way for the werewolf within. Though a little slow and some of the characters were blah, the film worked overall, with a great finale. One last thing about the film is Michael T. Weiss' mullet and wardrobe consisting of canvas vests. Dude, WTF? The 80s were obviously a time of fashion faux pas but this is extreme.

RATING: 3/5



1 comment:

  1. This review just made my day, I love Howling 4, it is one of my top ten guilty pleasures! I thought the FX were extremely ambitious considering it was straight to VHS, and the black werewolf is scary as shit. On to Howling 5

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