Movie Review: "Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf" (1985)
"Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf", as cringeworthy and stupid as that subtitle sounds, is actually not the worst of the "Howling" sequels but it still has a lot of issues. But let's start with the good. First off, Christopher Lee steals the show as heroic werewolf hunter, he is perhaps the best reason for watching this (aside from the eye candy that can be called the closing credits).
One moment, Christopher Lee is donning a hip '80s disguise at a rave club, sunglasses included, where he spies on one of the main baddies. The next, he's dressed like a badass priest, ready to kick werewolf butt. He plays perhaps the most interesting character in the movie.
"Howling II" is in fact the most hip "Howling" movie throughout the entire franchise, everything from Christopher Lee's trendy disguises, the sexy werewolf women, to the wickedly awesome soundtrack in which the film's main song, no matter how many times it is played throughout the film, is pretty fitting and catchy. Seriously, by the time the movie hits the 30 minute mark, we've heard the main song at least three times already.
"Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf" gets its story from the closing moments of the first film whereas a news reporter transforms into a werewolf and is shot to death on live television. Ben White happens to be the brother of the deceased woman, he teams up with journalist colleague Jenny Templeton and eventually with the werewolf hunter Stefan Crosscoe (Lee) to track down those responsible.
They travel to none other than Transylvania to hunt down Stirba, a werewolf Queen of many. Sitrba is well-protected in her fortress and is aided by her right-hand werewolf henchwoman, Mariella (Marsha Hunt). They're a bunch of horny creatures who conduct many orgies and murders throughout the movie.
1. Boring and Stupid Protagonists
Simply put, our heroes in "Howling II" are both boring and stupid. They fall victim to some of the dumbest horror movie traps ever, all of which result in them getting either kidnapped or killed. Ben and Jenny are way too trustworthy for starters, especially considering the fact that they're in a village where they don't know anyone.
For instance, since during the film did Ben become so trusting in the bellhop character from the hotel? They barely even spoke during the film and all the guy did was bring up their bags, yet he's comfortable leaving his girlfriend alone with this guy in the middle of a festival while he goes to investigate something by himself. Gee, smart move, because next thing you know, she's kidnapped by the werewolves.
While Jenny is too stupid to take a hint at anything, Ben is even more less admirable because he has a weak backbone. The guy puts up very little resistance when it comes to making decisions he doesn't want to make (i.e. accepting the fact that his sister is a werewolf and that werewolves are actually real). All you have to do is tell him twice and he'll go along with whatever you want to do.
Luckily, Stefan doesn't fall victim to these problems. Instead, he does so to entirely different problems. He is most notable for practically getting his entire team of werewolf hunters murdered in the final act. These guys are closing in on Stirba's fortress in the forest and after a couple of encounters with the werewolves, he tells his men "Best if we separate". Um, actually, it's really not. I mean either way, you've got a chance at sustaining casualties but you have an even bigger chance of this happening if you separate your group.
2. Transgendered Love Interest
This is one of the most unavoidable annoyances with "Howling II". The love interest of the movie looks like a cross between a boring old school teacher and Eric Stoltz. In fact, the two main female villains (Stirba and Mariella) are way hotter than her, now what is that telling you? Heck, I think this is maybe the only "Howling" movie with a damsel in distress that looks like a dude.
Nothing against the actress, surely there are better roles for her, but I honestly don't think this was one of them. They really needed a hot actress to play this character. At least if she was beautiful then perhaps she would have a chance to redeem her character's stupidity.
3. Unintentionally Funny Scenes
There's times when I really can't tell if this movie is serious or not. The first "Howling" was, but when it comes to this sequel, there are so many unintentionally funny scenes all throughout that it makes me question what they were thinking. It's almost as if this was some messed up dark comedy of sorts. Here's some of the ones that stand out the most:
- So after getting settled into their hotel room, Ben and his boy-... I mean girlfriend immediately start getting it on and almost everyone in the village outside can "sense" the intimacy, so to speak -- You know, because they're all like werewolves. But then there's a stupid owl sitting around which happens to sense it as well. Okay, isn't this movie about werewolves? What's the point of showing the owl?
- After one of Stefan's friends die, a very short friend, he is revived as a werewolf and is sent back to kill Stefan in the village. To do this, he dons a ridiculous monk disguise with a halloween mask and plays 'catch me if you can' with Stefan. Being the idiot that he is, Stefan follows the midget at a zombie's pace into a dark alley and then into an abandoned building all while he teases him like a child by saying nonsense like "Na na na na, you can't catch me". This is so out of place.
- Then we have the scene where our team of werewolf hunters choose their weapons. So what kind of arsenal has Stefan prepared for his beloved men? Nothing but some acid, a torch, a few big knives, and only two guns. Hey idiots, you're about to fight a gang of werewolves, not an ant colony!
- After our heroes have gained access to Stirba's fortress, she sends her two most elite werewolves (Erie and Mariella) after Ben. However, Erie is having a hard time focusing because he's too horny. This is depicted as he becomes more and more hairy and shrieks continuously as Mariella tries to slap him out of it while dragging him down the hall with her.
4. Filler, Filler, and More Filler
"Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf" is a pretty short movie. But if you were to remove all of the unnecessary exposition shots, it would be even shorter as a result. This movie tries to get by with a lot of repeated filler shots all throughout. These shots consist of mostly creepy werewolf shots, sex scenes, creepy statues and surroundings, and more sex scenes.
There is a lot of this especially during the last five minutes of the movie when the credits begin rolling in which we bare witness to a montage of scenes from the movie mixed in with the sex scenes and repeated shots of Stirba disrobing her chest over and over again. I mean really, why didn't they just make a werewolf porno instead of a "Howling" sequel?
- Howling II: ... Your Sister Is a Werewolf (1985) - IMDb
Directed by Philippe Mora. With Christopher Lee, Annie McEnroe, Reb Brown, Marsha A. Hunt.
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