Howling II (1985)
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Critic Reviews for Howling II
The heroes get involved in the strange rituals of the cult of Stirba. Although the rituals, like the rest of the movie, are impenetrable and amazingly inept, I have to concede that no one presides over a ritual quite as well as Sybil Danning.
It may not be a flawless effort by any means but I can't help but adore a film that gave us Sybil Danning as Queen of the Werewolves, put Christopher Lee in a New Wave night club and also gave the modern lycan mythology a bit of an unexpected twist.
Second only to 1941's The Wolf Man as the greatest werewolf flick ever made, 1981's The Howling remains a high-water mark in lycanthrope cinema. That's why the very existence of this wretched movie is so depressing.
The now-infamous closing credits scene features Syblil Danning's rapid-fire striptease replayed no less than 17 times. Danning was livid at the exploitation. The director was not.
Isn't what one would call a chilling time at the cinema, but it has such a cool '80s-retro vibe to its score, its tight editing, and its gorgeous locations that it hardly matters when it falls into clunky absurdity.
Audience Reviews for Howling II
Irony plays a major role in why Scream Factory decided to release Howling II, an inept, poker-faced sequel to Joe Dante's already overrated lycanthrope ode. From costuming (the cumbersome dominatrix garb of Danning) to atrocious special effects (the shots of werewolves could be inanimate animatronics waved by a gaffer in the frame), the film is a minimal notch below Troll 2 for execrable quality. The Mystery Science Theater riff rewatchability is ripe with potential. The band Babel's droning punk-rock song is recycled over and over. Reb Brown blares like an air raid while decimating skinwalkers with bullets that are not explicitly silver. Apparently editor Charles Bornstein had finally learned triangle wipes and other hokey transitions in his pre-Final Cut software because he flaunts every variation for the choppy segues. Perhaps, Philippe Mora surreptitiously collaborated with Robert Sarno and Gary Brandner on a deadpan satire of the werewolf craze. How else to explain the rhetorical "The Following Afternoon" title card or the lycanthrope ménage a trios scene? If so, it is utterly brilliant in its sincerity. If it's a foray into New Wave eroticism as Mora has proposed, it's an unmitigated failure. Sybil Danning is deliciously nubile in (and out of) leather bondage outfits but draping her in wooly hair all over her genitals is a mammoth faux pas. Most people cherish werewolf films for their transformation scenes where their limbs contort, their snouts extend and their hair bristles but, in Howling II, they are predominantly off-screen. Christopher Lee might be catatonic in the film because he is completely emotionless and unfazed by scenes of nonchalantly spiking a werewolf playing possum in a roadside accident. Lee's tussle with Danning should be equivalent to his lightsaber duel with Yoda. Instead it's a mess of light-emitting orifices and dispassionate embraces. Not the most glamorous exit for the queen of the werewolves. A reanimated bat basically having sexual intercourse with a priest's throat is a tawdry prosthetic which only increases the grossness factor.
Sequel to The Howling is a poorly conceived sequel in to a classic horror film. Director Phillippe Mora is the first of many directors to make pointless and unnecessary sequels to a great film. Howling II is a stupid, boring film that has nothing going for it. I absolutely hated this film, and I thought that the great Christopher Lee was wasted here. He's too good an actor to act in schlock like this. This might have been a good sequel, if the writers of the original and Dante himself would have been involved; unfortunately this film is the first of seven dreadful sequels that should never have been made in the first place. I thought that this film was simply awful, not engaging, entertaining or fun. Horror films should be fun, thrilling and scary. Howling was none of those things. Even Christopher Lee couldn't save this film, and this is one of the weakest films he's ever done. I mean the guy is such a horror icon from all the Hammer horror films he's done in the 50's to the classic Wicker Man, he's got a solid resume of horror films. But The Howling II is not such a film. This is a dreadful film that strips away everything we loved about Joe Dante's classic. A boring, unimpressive sequel to a great film, Howling II is the perfect example of how a studio can create a dud to cash in on the success of a great film. A film not worth watching.
When it comes to God-awful sequels this one is right up there (or down there depending on your perspective) with Chud II. So bad it's NOT even funny.