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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Howling 2:Your Sister Is a Werewolf
Howling 2:Your Sister Is a Werewolf
MGM // R // August 23, 2005
List Price: $14.94 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted August 15, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

From the director of the 1976 Dennis Hopper western Mad Dog Morgan comes The Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf, the follow up film to Joe Dante's witty, funny and frightening exercise in lycanthropic storytelling, The Howling made four years earlier in 1981. Whereas the first film successfully breathed some new life into a genre ridden with cliches and tired old ideas, this first of far too many bad sequels does an abysmal job of capturing that first film's quirky charm.

Ben's (Reb Brown of Bruno Mattai's classic Robowar) sister was killed by werewolves in the first film and this sequel picks up pretty much right where that film left off when we witness Ben at his sister's funeral. It's here that he's approached by a mysterious occult investigator named Stefan Crosscoe (Hammer horror superstar Christopher Lee) who tells him that his sister was killed by werewolves and that in order to stop her from turning into one he'll have to put a silver stake through her heart. Ben's not too keen on this idea but when he and his reporter friend Jenny (Annie McEnroe) follow Stefan to the graveyard and are attacked by werewolves, they soon change their mind and give Stefan a little more credit.

Meanwhile, a new wave hooker style chick named Mariana (Marsha A. Hunt) is cruising around a cheeseball new wave/punk rock club called The Slammer looking for prey. A few horny punks hit on her, and she takes them back to an abandoned warehouse to feast on their innards. This is only one of the soon to be many werewolf attacks that are occurring lately and our three intrepid heroes decide to head on off to Transylvania where the werewolf queen known as Stirba (Sybil Danning of Chained Heat) is making her triumphant return to the world of the living thanks to Mariana's help. She's going to do this by having sex with a few other werewolves throughout the film and ripping of her top whenever the script calls for it, which is pretty regularly. It's all likely supposed to be a clever metaphor to show how closely man and animal relate to one another when it comes to the mating ritual but it backfires horribly and the end result is just ugly, mild lesbianism or not.

What a mess. What a big, ugly, steaming, festering mess of a film this is. You know that when even Christopher Lee, who has to have one of the strongest film presences of all time, can't make a movie worth watching that you've got a real piece of work on your hands. Lee's been in some bad films before and made them watchable – this time out he looks like he's sleepwalking through it. Sybil Danning sure is fun to look at and she seems to be pretty into her role but it's still not enough. I like naked breasts as much as the next guy but even those can't help this film (especially as most of the time they're covered in fur). The script is awful – the effects even worse. The first The Howling had excellent werewolf transformation scenes that to this day still look impressive. Here, the werewolves look like retarded Muppets and they're about as frightening and intimidating as a cheap hand puppet. They're so obviously people in bad fur suits that they provide some relieving moments of unintentional hilarity – the film's only saving grace.

The bad new wave rock theme song that plays far too often throughout the film (it keeps repeating 'howling….howling…' in among the bad techno beat drum machines) in some veiled attempt to make the film cool simply goes too far and has the opposite effect – it's insanely dated and not in a good, kitchy way either. This movie is painful to sit through and no matter how much I should really dig a werewolf movie with Christopher Lee and a bunch of naked ladies, I don't ever want to sit through this film again.

The DVD

Video:

MGM's DVD presents the film in its original aspect ratio of 1.85.1 in an anamorphic transfer that, all things considered, doesn't look half bad at all. The colors come through nicely and the skin tones look nice and lifelike. There's a fair amount of detail present in the image (just look at the hair on the three participants in the werewolf orgy scene) and the black levels stay pretty strong throughout. There is some mild edge enhancement noticeable here and there and some mild print damage and mild film grain can both be spotted during playback but none of this proves to be overly distracting or to really detract from the experience at all – the movie does a good enough job of that on its own.

Sound:

The English language Dolby Digital Mono track handles everything capably enough to get things done. There's a bit of mild distortion in the higher end in one or two scenes but other than that things sound just fine on this release. Dialogue is clean and clear and perfectly easy to hear and to follow and the sound effects and background music that populate the film don't overshadow the performers or their lines. An alternate Dolby Digital Mono Spanish language dub is supplied on the second audio track and there are optional subtitles provided in English, French and Spanish. Closed captions for the hearing impaired are available in English only.

Extras:

The only extra feature on this release (and it's not noted on the back of the cover art anywhere but it is on the disc) is the film's original theatrical trailer which advertises the movie as the 'rockin' shockin' new wave of horror.'

Final Thoughts:

The only reason to pick this one up is if you're a hardcore Christopher Lee fan and absolutely need everything he's ever been in, or you're a completist and you can't live with that space between the DVDs of the first and third films in the series. The Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf truly is as bad as its reputation makes it out to be and despite the fact that this MGM DVD looks and sounds fine, you're still best to skip this one. It's awful.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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