Howling II: ...Your Sister is a Werewolf
Howling II: Stirba - Werewolf Bitch
***/**** Image A Sound B+ Extras A
starring Christopher Lee, Annie McEnroe, Reb Brown, Sybil Danning
screenplay by Robert Sarno and Gary Brandner, based on the novel Howling II by Brandner
directed by Philippe Mora
by Sydney Wegner Let's get this out of the way first: Howling II--a.k.a. Howling II: ...Your Sister is a Werewolf, a.k.a. Howling II: Stirba - Werewolf Bitch--is a mess, an entity that refuses to be judged on any conventional, objective scale. Though originally intended as a comedy, the studio sliced it up to come across as more of a horror movie, and the bizarre result is a tone that changes with each scene. Half new-wave werewolf erotica, half Hammer horror, Howling II's themes of grief and rebirth and female sexual empowerment swirl together in a campy, indecipherable whirlwind. Just as things begin to approach being scary, they're kicked right back down with a novelty wipe effect or a cartoonish facial expression. Christopher Lee, playing werewolf hunter Stefan Crosscoe, was allegedly so appalled by the acting of his co-stars that he spent much of his time offscreen trying to flee the planet using only the power of his mind. You can feel the ennui behind his eyes with every line delivery, yet the attention he commands is undeniable. In a way, his performance is a microcosm of the entire film. The opening shot finds Lee suspended in a sea of stars, reciting werewolf legend from a book, and that is probably the most normal thing that happens in Howling II. It's ridiculous, it's stupid; it's occasionally embarrassing and endlessly fascinating.