1981 was a great year for horror film fans, but not just a great year for them but also a great year for cinematic werewolves. 1981 was the release of the now classic film ‘An American Werewolf In London’ by John Landis, but also ‘The Howling’ by Director Joe Dante. Both strangely are currently in various stages of the remake treatment, and both having had a sequel at one point or another (in The Howlings case, there have been many sequels)
Today I revisited for the first time in thirty years, the sequel to The Howling, wonderfully entitled Howling II:Your Sister Is A Werewolf, although when I first watched it the film was called Howling II:Stirba Werewolf Bith. And what an insanely strange and wonderful film it is. Pure 80s filmmaking of course but I love that about it. For those of you who havent seen the film for a long time, its certainly worth checking out for several reasons. It has a wonderfully scenery chewing performance by the late Sir Christopher Lee as Stefan Crosscoe who is intent on tracking down and dealing with the nasty Stirba: Queen of the werewolves who is brilliantly played by Sybil Danning and easily has some of the best costumer design ive seen for a while. It also features a very strange cameo role by British actor Jimmy Nail as…….well youll see. But it a small bite of a role thats for sure butits always great to see Jimmy Nail pop up in a film, I guess he must have been on a lunch break from Auf Wiedersehen Pet or something
So what is Howling 2 about? Other than werewolves and a super erotic Sybil Danning in leather. Well a mans sister is murdered by werewolves and ends up helping an investigator track down a gang of the hairy vicious monsters through the United States and Eastern Europe. Thats all the plot you need to know. This film is insane, with werewolf threesomes (yes you did read that right), a wonderful musical score, and some really watchable cheesy performances in a film that is very different from Joe Dante’s The Howling but no less watchable.
Howling II is more Mad Max Thunderdome and The Lost Boys than Twilight that’s for sure with its visual eroticism and costumer design that is a cross between Underworld and The Wicker Man. Of course with this being an Arrow Video release, the special features are glorious with featurettes that add up to well over an hours worth of material and not one but two full length commentaries (one from Director Phillipe Mora, the other with composer Steve Parsons and editor Charles Bornstein) All adding up to enough insight into Howling 2, that you could write an essay about the film .
You can also spend hours pondering whether the transformation from human to werewolf of Stirba is either one of the coolest scenes in cinema, or just one of the strangest. Ever seen a naked woman changing into a werewolf? Nope I hadnt either until I watched Howling 2:Your Sister is a Werewolf.. So do check out the film especially if you love 80s films and pure cheesy visual treats.
Howling 2 is available from 14th November, 2016