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John’s Horror Corner: Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985), a serious horror genre admixture with some inexplicably random shit!

January 18, 2013

MY CALL:  This is exactly what you’re looking for when you have beer and friends to entertain–loads of breasts, bad acting, incredibly inconsistent effects, a dumb story and some serious horror genre admixture with some inexplicably random shit.  Disturbingly bad; shamefully hilariousIF YOU LIKE THIS WATCH:  Well, if you’re in the market for a great werewolf movie that has a sense of humor, then see An American Werewolf in London (1981)–hands down the best werewolf movie ever made!  Second best would be The Howling (1981), which takes itself quite seriously.  Another fun one is Cursed (2005), which is loaded with clichés and honors many past horror flicks.  If you want another utterly ridiculous werewolf movie, then movie on to Howling 3: The Marsupials (1987).  FRANCHISE/SEQUEL NOTE:  This movie picks up right after The Howling (1981), but is in no way connected to Howling 3: The Marsupials (1987).  ALTERNATE TITLEHowling II: Stirba, Werewolf Bitch.

Opening quote by Christopher Lee:  “For it is written, the inhabitants of the Earth have been made drunk with her blood; and I saw her sit upon the hairy beast and she held forth a golden chalice full of the filthiness of her fornications and upon her forehead it was written behold I am the great mother of harlots and all abominations of the earth.”

Following an Old World-ish provocative monologue, we see images of European gargoyles and paintings burdened by a terrible scoring job.  Then we are transported to Los Angeles for the funeral service of Karen (the lead chick from The Howling).  During the service, Karen’s brother Ben (Reb Brown of such classic films as Sssssss, Yor the Hunter from the Future and Night Claws) and his main squeeze Jenny (Annie McEnroe; Beetlejuice) speak to the mysterious Stefan Crosscoe (Christopher Lee; The Hobbit, Dark Shadows, Season of the Witch), an occult investigator who informs her that her sister is (not was) a werewolf.

OKAY, TIMEOUT!!!  Let’s stop right there.  1) I had no idea that an occult investigator was a thing.  Is it anything like a paranormal investigator like in Grave Encounters (2011) or Insidious (2011)?  2) How does he know Karen is alive if she’s in her casket?  Do werewolves not die (like vampires) in this flick?  Did the coroner or maybe an EMT check her pulse?

This movie, completely unlike the elegantly made original (The Howling), looks and feels like a tacky, asshole-y monstrosity like most other bad 80s horror.  There are over-sexed punks galore, slutty supernatural chicks with plastic skeleton earrings who lure idiotic men to their doom, and a clichéd out hunter of the supernatural who considers a pair of sunglasses to be a pretty good disguise.

So Stefan summons Jenny and Ben to his expensive home–no doubt financed by werewolf hunting and the like–and informs them that because some silver bullets were removed from Karen during her autopsy, she’s alive and well…and still a werewolf.  He drops this perfectly credible story on them basically seconds after showing them to the living room.  So…because she was shot with a silver bullet, she is a werewolf?  There’s a bit of a flaw in this logic.  I mean, she IS a werewolf–but not BECAUSE you shot her with a silver bullet and downed her ass!  A bullet of any metal would likely drop a 110 pound person!  He continues to explain that werewolves live among us in secret and that Karen was investigating one such faction of lycanthropes who, upon discovering her intentions, made her into a werewolf. Then she arranged her own murder–like ya’ do.  To prove his case he shows them the last scene from The Howling, poorly re-enacted, in which Karen “turns” on live television.

The effects are pretty weak, but pretty damn funny!  Mariana (Marsh Hunt; Dracula A. D. 1972, The Sender), the hot black werewolf, transforms into an ugly mongoloid that drools slimy blood and slowly looks back and forth like a gorilla with a learning disability.

She looks like she was Sloth’s prom date in The Goonies.

Mariana is a special werewolf, immune to silver and good taste, but vulnerable to titanium and leathery hooker outfits.  Just to be clear of how ridiculous this movie is, to kill this werewolf you must drive a titanium stake through her heart.  That’s technically harder than killing a vampire!  Worse yet, if the coroner removes it she would evidently spring back to life.  Lucian could have used this chick in the Underworld series!  Oh, but they’re vulnerable to holy water.  How vampy is this nonsense?

Stirba (Sybil Danning, who was robbed of Oscar nominations for Warrior Queen and Amazon Women on the Moon) is the werewolf leader.  Stirba is about to celebrate her 10,000th birthday on which something interesting will supposedly happen.  Until then, these werewolves all look like hobos without health insurance suffering from advanced leprosy.  They’re groaty, ugly messes and you’d have no idea they were werewolves if you had just switched stations.

Stefan, Ben and Jenny travel to Transylvania to stop Stirba…from turning 10,000, I guess.  What a coincidence!  Mariana was also heading that way to have uber-wolf babies to fuel the revolution.

Stirba runs a tight ship.  She lives in a castle with an indoor bonfire surrounded by coven members in leather dominatrix apparel complete with bare breasts and thongs chanting like Temple of Doom monks to Conan-like leather drum beats.  They seem to be performing religious rites using a blood-soaked virgin to revive Stirba from a crusty old witch to an STD-free stripper who uses sorcery, finger lasers and cleavage to transform the members of her pack into excessively ugly werewolves.  We also find skull walls, wooden cages and an in-house 80s pop band entertaining an orgy which Stirba hosts and oversees from her slut throne.  It’s all quite high society chic.

The special effects are all over the place, but always subpar and hilarious–compared to The Howling anyway.  We see werewolves that look like tall, angry leprechauns, others like sasquatches, rabid orangutans or Neanderthals and a few that actually look like a wolf-man hybrid. But, like The Howling, they keep shit classy with some mid-coitus transformation action–a threesome actually. Stirba, Mariana and Vlad (Judd Omen; Dune, C.H.U.D. II Bud the Chud) basically twitch and hiss like zombies as they get hairier and hairier while laying naked next to and/or on top of one another.  You know, classy!

The performances by our three star protagonists are wooden at best, matched only by the supporting cast’s gross inability to carry a line.  To make things yet more funny (and NUTS!) some really random shit goes down in this movie that is never explained and you can tell that the filmmakers never batted an eye at it.

1)  At one point you’ll find yourself asking “Did Christopher Lee just throw a MF’n holy hand grenade?” The answer, apparently, is YES.

2)  Stirba has a pet killer mutant dragon-bat that actually mouthrapes one of Stefan’s men to death.  I guess she stole it from the Game of Thrones chick when she wasn’t looking.  Why mouthrape and monster rape were so prevalent in 80s monster horror (e.g., Xtro, Galaxy of Terror, The Kindred, Humanoids from the Deep, Breeders), I have no clue.

This thing looks like a stillborn pterodactyl.

3)  Stefan is somehow Stirba’s MF’n brother!!!  WTF!?!  He’s in his early 60s.  Before she ate a virgin’s soul she was like 90.  After, somewhere looking amazing in her topless 30s.  Other than finding out that they are brother and sister we receive ZERO explanation.  This probably won Best Screenplay in ’85.

The movie ends with the most anticlimactic climax ever!  And then a painfully awful attempt at a tongue-in-cheek ending.  The only thing this movie did right was show you the same clip of Sybil Danning ripping off her top over and over again like the instant replay button was stuck.  Really, like 15-20 times in the last three minutes of the movie.  That, and the 20 pairs of breasts to remind us of why we liked horror during our “hair down there” years.

Trusted horror comrade @LucioFulciFan ( best captured the “near-horror” accomplished in this movie by saying “It has some almost creepy moments.”  To his credit, I agree when he says “how the whole movie gives off that isolated feeling no matter where it’s based in each scene.”

While it’s all 100% awful, everything about this movie made me smile.  If you love horror and could use a good laugh, treat yourself to this little slice of 80s Heaven.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt Pearce permalink
    April 16, 2016 11:15 pm

    I love howling 2 far more than the original despite the original has far better effects especially on the close ups of the transformations to werewolf. But overall i just find the original howling more boring than its sequel. Yeah number 2 is a little cheesy and fairly predictable, but just find it more entertaining all the way through, christopher lee is superb in it and the soundtrack fits in perfectly. And for those who are English there is a short appearance from Jimmy Nail in at, at the start of the film, he is part of some small time biker gang. My opinions in sequels usually differ to the majority, for example i much prefer scanners 2 to the original. Im more into non-stop action and funny characters over production and technical ability. As in i know scanners 1 is better made of the two… but meh … its more boring. I also believe Hellraiser 3 is easily the best of the franchise and i hate number 2 for the same reasons as mentioned above. Anyway looking forward to howling 3… which i hear is awfull. But i will not judge any film on other peoples opinions as you can tell. Matt Pearce

    • John Leavengood permalink
      April 16, 2016 11:23 pm

      I rather enjoyed part 3. It’s idiotic, but very fun.


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