‘Howling II’ wants to be an erotica vampire flick and fails spectacularly

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Howling II - Sybil DanningHowling II: … Your Sister Is a Werewolf
Written by Robert Sarno, Gary Brandner
Directed by Philippe Mora
USA, 1985

If you couldn’t tell from the ridiculous title, Howling II: … Your Sister is a Werewolf is quite a bizarre film.  Blending together the myths of Lycans and vampires to craft a profoundly confusing feature.

Starting off with a brief Christopher Lee intro then picking up immediately after the events of the first Howling.  For those who are unfamiliar with that film let’s just summarize it as a female reporter, Karen White, who discovers a community of werewolves, gets bitten and then transforms on live TV to expose the world to the werewolf threat.  It seems that somehow this broadcast was cutoff and covered up so the film takes place in a world still ignorant of the lycan existence. At the funeral of said reporter we are introduced to her brother Ben White (Reb Brown) and colleague Jenny Templeton (Annie McEnroe).  The two are approached by werewolf hunter Stefan Crosscoe (Christopher Lee)…wait a minute Lee isn’t just reading the intro he’s acting in this as well, cool.  Apparently werewolves in The Howling universe don’t die easily and Karen needs to be staked through the heart to find eternal peace, and the numerous vampire genre rip-off’s begin.  The three travel to Transylvania (see what I mean) together to take on the centuries old vampire…I mean werewolf queen Stirba (Sybil Danning).  Why is it that centuries old monsters in movies are always: 1) Still vibrantly young and attractive and 2) Suddenly a global threat despite being around for centuries?

At this time we enter what is easily the oddest part of The Howling II.  You tell me the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen on film and I’ll raise you a werewolf threesome.  Now this scene is not comprised of people in giant wolf masks humping each other, instead it has the three participants in a half-transformation state with their naked bodies selectively covered with think wolf hair.  Passionately snarling and biting at one another on a giant silk bed it’s the singular scene where the audience will either bust a gut laughing or turn off the film in disgust. Count me as one of the former.

Howling II - Werewolf threesomeMost modern vampire films add a level of eroticism to the story and The Howling II tries to do so with their creatures.  The only problem is that vampires are basically normal people with elongated dentures and no pulse, yet the furry mutts of wolfmen are hardly ever, with good reason, seen on film in a seductive way.  Basically Sybil Danning with vampire teeth is still hot; Sybil Danning covered in wolf hair is furvert territory.  Nevertheless there’s a Gothic erotica theme throughout much of the time spent in Transylvania which has to be the reason for the films lasting effect in the public consciousness.

Getting back to Lee and the group some more info about these unusual werewolves is revealed.  Apparently descendants of Stirba are stronger than normal werewolves and are immune to silver, with the more potent titanium required to take them down.  This of course begs the question of “who the heck cares”?  Couldn’t we have just left it at silver and saved precious seconds of everyone’s life.  More completely unnecessary lycan trivia is unveiled, oh and a dwarf shows up to help out.

All of a sudden cut to a giant werewolf orgy.  That’s right.  Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, they’re not transformed in the slightest here.  Although they’re not in lycan form there is one remarkable thing about this scene that I loved, it’s incredibly 80’s.  With punk group Babel’s odd 80’s soundtrack going on in the background, the revealing leather outfits and the big eighties hair it’s a scene that’s almost as much a joy to marvel at as the earlier wolf erotica.Howling II - Orgy

It’s very rare that I’m unable to follow the plot of a film but Howling II lost me right around the point where a weird bat creature goes all facehugger on a guy, again what’s with all the vampire stuff.  In the end the good guys triumph, Stirba is defeated but unfortunately the helpful dwarf has his head exploded somehow.

Howling II - Exploding Head (2)Best scene is easily the credits sequence.  It shows all the great scenes of the film set to a music video backdrop of the film’s original song “Howling” by the band Babel.  Oh and it also rhythmically sets the scene where Sybil Danning rips her shirt off exposing her chest to the chorus; which allows the audience to see this flashing scene a hysterical 17 times.  It’s as if the filmmaker was so proud to get Sybil topless that he wanted to get as much out of those things as possible.  Evidently he never grasped the concept of always leave them wanting more.

– Matthew Younker

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