New Wave Lycanthropic Orgy – The Howling 2: Your Sister is a Werewolf (Film Review)

Rating:

The much maligned follow up to Joe Dante’s 1981 classic, The Howling 2 : Your Sister Is a Werewolf arrives on Blu-ray from Arrow Video and is one of those great bad movies that deserves to be reassessed. The Howling 2, written by Robert Sarno and author Gary Brandner, follows the original film’s events beginning directly after Dee Wallace’s Karen White journalist turned into a lycanthrope on live television.

After those horrific events we now follow Reb Brown’s Ben White (in a role originally intended for Joseph Bottoms) as he travels to Transylvania with werewolf expert Stefan Crosscoe (played by Christopher Lee) and Karen’s colleague Jenny to do battle against Sybil Danning’s Stirba, an immortal werewolf who also possesses witchcraft powers.

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It’s famously said Sir Christopher apologised to Joe Dante on the set of Gremlins 2: The New Batch for appearing in this movie. But the veteran actor shouldn’t have said sorry because he’s one of the shining lights in this horror/comedy, adding gravitas to the movie’s insanity. Appearing alongside Sybil Danning’s strawberry blonde leather-clad queen of the werewolves, it’s not everyday you see lycanthropic threesomes and orgies on screen.

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The other cast members deliver very wooden performances. Annie McEnroe is a bland damsel in distress and Reb Brown’s insane shrieking shotgun-wielding Dudley Do Right clad in cowboy clothes is a sight to behold. This gory daft movie takes unique byways with genre conventions and werewolf mythology (man/monkey/werewolf) which seems to be mixed with vampire myth.

The film directed by Philippe Mora mixes new wave visuals with classical other-worldly, spooky eastern European locations of Czechoslovakia photographed around various villages and castles in Mělník. While Howling 2 wasn’t a box office and critical success, many people have wrongfully labelled it the worst werewolf movie ever made and it has developed a large enough cult following for it to be garnered with an packed special edition release from Arrow video.

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This release contains two audio commentaries from director Philippe Mora who shares tales of the production challenges of filming a low budget horror during the Cold War and his experience of working for the second time with Christopher Lee (who’d made his name as Dracula for Hammer Studios) in his only Werewolf movie. The other chat track is a series of long interviews with composer Steve Parsons and editor Charles Bornstein, who’s very frank discussing his experience of working with the Czech assistants that enjoyed the local beer a little too much.

The plentiful disc also contains interviews with the special effects crew members, actors Brown and the still stunning Danning dressed much like her character in this movie. It also includes behind the scenes footage, photo gallery, trailers and alternative openings and endings.

The Howling 2: Your Sister is a Werewolf  is a fun movie that has a possessive quality over those who watch it. The dodgy werewolf/monkey suits and rubbery special effects might have not the ability to scare audiences but it was never Mora’s intention for this horror satire.

3/5

Dir: Philippe Mora
Scr: Robert Sarno, Gary Brandner
Pro: Steven A. Lane
Cast: Christopher Lee, Annie McEnroe, Reb Brown, Marsha Hunt, Sybil Danning, Jimmy Nail
D.O.P: Geoffrey Stephenson
Edit: Charles Bornstein
Music: Stephen W. Parsons
Country: USA
Year: 1985
Run time: 87 minutes

The Howling 2: Your Sister is a Werewolf is available on Blu-ray and DVD now.