Oct 18th: The Howling part V: The Rebirth(1989): http://youtu.be/pPBePSNzYxo
We see, in The Howling franchise, one of the best examples of why sequels are sometimes a stupid idea. The original is a classic, as we know, but it was followed up by two of the most ridiculous werewolf movies ever made. Howling II, which I’ve already reviewed(https://doctorhavok.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/31daysofhorror-oct-13-15/), and The Howling III: The Marsupials…which is just what it sounds like. Fucking Marsupial Werewolves with stupid little pouches running around the Australian outback. Part IV was dubbed “The Original Nightmare”, and was more closely on the original Howling novel by Gary Brandner, but barely has any werewolves in it. The same can be said of part 7, as well as it being a terrible story re-using footage form previous films. Part 6 was an ambitious effort, introducing a Vampire into the story, but the whole thing was killed by TERRIBLE special effects. I can’t comment on “Reborn”, because not only have i not seen the film, but from what I can gather, it is related to the rest of the franchise in name only. Part V, however is the lone sequel that isn’t face-slappingly bad.
Set in Budapest, the film concerns a castle that has been closed off for 500 years following the murder/suicide of all of the inhabitants, being re-opened in the hopes of attracting tourists. Somehow i don’t think the brochure will mention the massacre of 500 years ago, but what can you do? A seemingly random assemblage of people were selected to visit the Castle for it’s grand opening, having been selected when they applied for their VISAs, but as the film goes on, we learn these people were selected with a purpose. All are descendants of the lone infant to survive the killings 500 years before. To make matters worse, members of the group begin to disappear one by one, and some are found with their throats torn out. Someone or something savage and sinister is prowling the corridors of this ancient castle…but WHO???
While we never get a good look at the werewolf, the setting of an ancient dark castle lends itself perfectly to keeping the creature hidden in shadows. The snowbound castle is a striking image, as is that of the people searching the tunnels beneath the castle by candle light. This is a throwback to the Hammer era of gothic horror films, but with a modern touch to keep it accessible. In an era of modern classics such as An American Werewolf in London and Wolfen, which bring the beast of legend into an urban setting, as well as the original Howling film, it is refreshing to see a film set in Eastern Europe, in an ancient castle, with a creature of pure evil prowling through corridors, catacombs, dungeons and secret passages.
Also, the score is awesome. Not for any particular music though. Y’know how some films have a “Dramatic-Music-Sting”(google it)? Well, The Howling V has a “Dramatic-Chorus-Sting”. I posted a link to the trailer at the top of this review. check it out, or watch the full film, for that matter. Listen for that creepy chanty part. Told you it was awesome!