Saturday, August 19, 2017

Howling II...Your Sister Is a Werewolf

Many films are bad, but few are as notoriously bad as HOWLING II...YOUR SISTER IS A WEREWOLF. From its dumb title to its dubious connection to the original (excellent) film to the famous closing credits that repeat Sybil Danning’s topless scene 17 times (!), HOWLING II is rightfully reviled for reasons that have little to do with the story, special effects, or acting, which are bad. It claims to be based on Gary Brander’s novel HOWLING II, but even though Brandner (who also wrote the novel THE HOWLING was based on) shares a screenplay credit with Robert Sarno (DECOY), it really has nothing to do with the book (nor did THE HOWLING).

Filmed primarily in Prague and Los Angeles, HOWLING II stars Christopher Lee from Hammer’s Frankenstein, Dracula, and Mummy movies as an investigator of the occult who appears at the funeral of L.A. television journalist Karen White, the character played by Dee Wallace in THE HOWLING. Lee tells Karen’s brother, played by former Captain America Reb Brown (who screams a lot — his trademark), and Karen’s colleague, Annie McEnroe (BEETLEJUICE), that the dead woman (Wallace did not reprise her role) is a werewolf. They tell Lee to go pound sand.

Eventually, they come around, though, and accompany Lee to Transylvania to help him take out a voluptuous 10,000-year-old werewolf queen named Stirba. Stirba is played by a game Danning (BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS), who spends much of the film covered in fur, including a ridiculous three-way werewolf sex scene that has to be seen to be believed. Though he, of course, is not involved in the sex scene, Lee’s casting is of immense importance to HOWLING II, because he brings such a stern countenance and gravitas to the film that you believe he believes it.

The werewolves’ powers are poorly defined, like maybe director Philippe Mora (THE BEAST WITHIN) never heard of werewolves before. Danning can shoot animated rays from her fingertips that cause a man’s eyes to explode out of his head. Which is pretty sweet, but doesn’t belong in this movie. And it’s hardly the strangest thing to happen in HOWLING II, which plays like Mora throwing a bunch of ideas against the wall to see what sticks.

Little of it does, though nobody can argue that HOWLING II is boring. Certainly not a case to be made against a film where someone throws a midget through a window and impales him on an iron fence, and it — again — is not the weirdest thing that happens. Maybe it’s the ending where McEnroe and Brown ask a priest who looks like Neil Simon to come over for a drink.

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