attendance are her brother Ben (Reb Brown), co-worker Jenny Templeton (Annie McEnroe) and mysterious Stefan Crosscoe (Christopher Lee). Hey, at least it is a direct sequel I’m thinking. Crosscoe breaks funeral etiquette by offering Ben his card and telling Jenny that Karen is a werewolf. Despite such lunacy, Ben and Jenny visit him at his home and he elaborates on the werewolf legend while showing Ben a videotape of his sister turning into a werewolf during a television news broadcast (in a laughable recreation of the original film’s ending). Karen will be coming back and Stefan plans to end her misery by stabbing her with a titanium spike. Ben thinks he is nuts, but he and Jenny show up that night to try and stop him. As expected, Karen comes back and the group is attacked by werewolves. They survive and Ben and Jenny pledge to help Stefan eradicate these shaggy shapeshifters. Apparently they are off to a bad start as they forgot to kill Karen and put her out of her misery. Nice. Anyway, the trio head to Transylvania in order to find the location of werewolf queen Stirba (Sybil Danning), who fornicates with her followers while using the life source of virgins to stay young.
Jenny: “You see that dwarf staring at us?”
Jenny: “Should we follow him?”
Ben: “Why not?”
Revisiting this flick after 25 years did offer some positive things though. Viewing it through 36-year-old eyes that have been exposed to tons of bad movies, the first HOWLING sequel is hilarious due to all the unintentional comedy. I can completely understand my disappointment as a kid viewing this and the film totally deserved that scorn, but now it is a riot. From Reb Brown’s acting style to Mora’s decision to put Lee in a punk club to the production trying to pass off eastern Europe for parts of L.A. to female lead McEnroe being a dead ringer for Eric Stoltz, the film is comical from nearly start to finish. You'll get so much joy from the absurd display that your eyeballs might pop out of your head. I should also point out that HOWLING II is significant in that it was the first time I saw Danning in a film and a lifelong lust was born. Mora definitely knew she was the film’s highlight as he repeats the shot of her ripping off her top EIGHTEEN TIMES (!) over the film’s closing credits. It’s like he is saying to the paying audience, “Sorry about the film, how ‘bout some titties to make up for it?” I’ll save you an hour and half and just give you this Danning nude shot. For more of Danning nude, check out her Playboy spread here.
Sybil Danning topless:
And me after seeing that Danning pic:
HOWLING III bears no relation to the previous two films outside of it being about werewolves. Prof. Harry Beckmeyer (Barry Otto) travels from the U.S. back to his homeland of Australia because of a report of a werewolf in Russia (huh?). Meanwhile (you’ll be seeing that word a lot), werewolf Jerboa (Imogen Annesley) runs away from her incestuous father Thylo (Max Fairchild) to the big city of Sydney. She immediately catches the eye of film casting agent Donny Marten (Lee Biolos) and is cast in the lead of the horror film SHAPE SHIFTER PART 8. She and Donny have known each other for a full day so, naturally, they fall in love and he never asks why she has hair extending up to her bellybutton and a marsupial pouch (!). Young love is fleeting though as strobe lights at a wrap party almost make Jerboa wolf out and, after being hit by a car, she ends up in a hospital under Government watch. Meanwhile, three of her sisters have traveled to the big city dressed as nuns to bring her home. Oh, and a Russian ballerina named Olga, who is also a werewolf, has defected to Australia. You still with me?
|Me during HOWLING III re-visit|
film. Instead, the werewolves end up looking like some sort of warped combination of a Tex Avery wolf drawn by 8-year-old using their teeth. Seriously, look at those pics and tell me a FX factory missing its supply of silly putty and fake hair. To add insult to injury, Mora makes this one completely bloodless during werewolf attacks. Believe it or not, this sucker actually played in theaters and one would think it would have been the silver bullet to the heart of this franchise. Yet, despite earning a paltry $500,000 at the box office, the film went on to be a huge success on home video. According to Variety in 1988, the film sold 84,000 tapes in the U.S. and 10,000 in Japan, enjoying “vid sales of about $4,000,000.” Even I will admit that I was suckered as my 13-year-old brain went into a tizzy when I saw this video on the shelf for the first time. Hell, I even asked the video store clerk to hold the tape before I could return with my parents 5 hours later to rent it. Did I learn my lesson? Helllll no! I’m a horror fan and we never learn our lesson. “The next one will be better,” I convinced myself with the shadow of P.T. Barnum over my shoulder. Parts IV and V up next!