Howling II: Stirba – Werewolf Bitch (1985)

Howling II

Directed by Philippe Mora [Other horror films: The Beast Within (1982), Howling III (1987), Communion (1989)]

The first sequel to the 1981 film, commonly known as Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (which, believe it or not, is actually more ridiculous than Stirba – Werewolf Bitch), has little value, but still provides silly entertainment. It’s not a movie that I’d want to see again any time soon, but it does possess a bit of charm.

I don’t want to give off the false impression, though, that the movie’s good. Were it not for Christopher Lee’s presence, I sort of doubt this movie would be worth mentioning at all. It’s interesting that Lee plays his character so straight in a movie that’s this wacky. That said, the movie’s not necessarily overtly comedic – I’m not entirely sure the funniest scene (the hotel check-in) was even meant to be a joke.

Which says quite a lot about this. The tone is far more hammy than the first movie (which, to remind you, I wasn’t a fan of either), and the spectacularly bad special effects during some of the scenes really make this one of those bad 80’s movies a group of friends might watch for the sole purpose of making fun of.

There were some special effects worth noting, though, mostly when it came to the gore – there were occasionally some good stabbings and the like, and a memorable scene in which a character’s eyes, under the evil influences of a wolf goddess, pop out. I’ll admit, I sort of thought that was cool.

The tone and occasionally-goofy effects aside, though, what hurts the movie most is the story. The idea of hunting down an evil leader of a werewolf group seems, to me, a close-to-impossible story to actually do well. Much of the movie was filmed in Czechoslovakia, which give a more authentic feel to the film, but ultimately couldn’t improve the plot any.

As stated, Christopher Lee is about the only performance here of worth. I sort of liked Annie McEnroe, but her character made far too many idiotic mistakes. Still, she’s probably the second-best performance here. As for Reb Brown, Marsha Hunt, and Sybil Danning, they provide nothing but generally unnecessary nudity.

A few final notes – those cuts, those very comic book, silly cuts, seemed pretty pointless, as they added nothing to the movie but an additional negative quirk for people to smile in a befuddled manner at. And that song, seemingly one of the only songs they had (“In the pale, pale light/pale, pale, light of the moonglow”) started out being rather annoying, but honestly, after it was played for the third time, starting to grow on me.

The second Howling film is definitely worse than the first, which is a shame, as the first itself is below average. If you’re into ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ cinema, this movie may well appeal to you. I first saw this many years back (five, if not more), and I thought it was goofy then. I feel much the same now, and honestly, despite occasional hokey charm, I don’t know if this movie is worth it.

5/10

Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

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