Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

Howling 2


Starring: Annie McEnroe, Reb Brown, Marsha Hunt, Sybil Danning and Christopher Lee
Optimum Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 18 January 2010

This follows directly on from the events which took place in The Howling, which culminated in key character Karen White turning into a werewolf and subsequently being killed. Her brother Ben and her friend and aspiring journalist Jenny are attending the funeral when they are approached by a formal man called Stefan Crosscoe. He explains to them what happened to Karen, and warns them of the danger they are all still in. Persuading them to accompany him to Transylvania, Ben and Jenny find themselves in the middle of a village populated by werewolves, who are celebrating a festival for the new full moon. But Crosscoe is only interested in Stirba, queen of the werewolves and the origin of all activity. When Jenny is abducted as a sacrifice, Ben goes to her rescue, while Crosscoe - who has more than a casual connection - goes head to head with Stirba in a battle of good and evil.

While the first film had Patrick MacNee to bolster its status, Howling II has no less than the great Sir Christopher Lee in its ranks. However, for some reason he is reduced to a co-starring role in the credits. Not only is he prominently present in the vast majority of the film, but I would be promoting the film on his status - particularly in the field of horror. But rather than shouting his name from the rooftops the film heralds the names of Sybil Danning (known at this time for her B-movie femme fatal roles) and Marsha Hunt - presumably for their sexual appeal to a male audience. The point is that Lee is the only actor on display that shows conviction for the piece, made all the more difficult considering the meagre material he is given to work with.

The creature effects, although not as impressive as those in the first film, are solid; unfortunately, they are not taken seriously amidst such a hammy script. Half of the film seems to consist of partly transformed humanoid werewolves waving their arms (or should that be legs) inanely around and growling at nothing in particular. Much of the dialogue and action is ludicrously cringe worthy, and so it doesn't work as a serious or quirky piece, because there's no tension or laughs. It surprises me somewhat, because the original author of the book trilogy, Gary Brandner, had a hand in writing the script and really should have made sure that it works. For a lesson in the correct balance of horror, comedy, acting and fantastic 'for real' make-up effects, see An American Werewolf in London - incidentally, one of my all-time favourite films.

The writers seem to have got their horror legends mixed-up here. The characters travel to the home of werewolves, Transylvania (which we all know is the home of vampires, and in particular Dracula), protect themselves with garlic, and as well as dispatching werewolves with the established manner of shooting them with silver bullets, also shove a stake through their hearts.

Early in the film we are introduced to a club in which an 80s synthesizer band is performing, on stage, a song called 'The Howling'. This becomes a running theme throughout the movie until you just want to scream out, "Play something else!" However, the best part of the entire film features an end-credits remix version of the song, interspersed with short clips the film we have just viewed; an ad infinitum clip of Sybil Danning ripping off her top to reveal her breasts, and all the other clips are used as reaction shots to what she has just done. It's genuinely funny, and a glimpse into what the film might have been.


Ty Power

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£9.98 (
£9.99 (
£9.99 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.