So how do you follow Joe Dante’s 1981 classic werewolf film The Howling? First you have Gary Brandner, the writer of the 1977 book take a shot at the screenplay. The author was shockingly…at least to me…not pleased with Joe Dante’s take on his work. Brandner based his screenplay for the sequel on his own 1979 Howling II book but by the time Director Philippe Mora (The Beast Within, The Marsupials: The Howling III) and crew began filming behind the iron curtain in 1984 they had Robert Sarno take a crack at the screenplay.
So what direction did the story take? To completely go bug nuts crazy and distance itself almost entirely from the original. To give you a hint of what I’m talking about the actual shooting title for the movie was “Howling II: Stirba – Werewolf B!&@#”. They changed that before it’s release of course and it was renamed “Howling II:…Your Sister Is a Werewolf”.
The only connecting tissue between the satirical sequel and the original movie is at the beginning of the film when we meet Ben White (Reb Brown), the brother of unfortunate journalist Karen White (though Dee Wallace doesn’t return to reprise her role) from the first film. He is attending the funeral of his slain Sister and it appears her on-air Werewolf transformation has been hushed up, only a handful of people like Stefan Crosscoe (Sir Christopher Lee) are aware of what actually went down. Also at the funeral is Jenny Templeton (Annie McEnroe) a journalist who worked with Karen at the TV station and was absent during her transformation.
Stefan does his best to warn Ben and Jenny that Karen was a lycanthrope and since the coroners removed the silver bullets during her autopsy…that she will rise again. Crosscoe even has got his hands on the video of Karen’s willing execution, which he plays for the understandably doubting couple. Not that the video convinces Ben who believes it to be faked, perhaps Stefan is trying to play a cruel practical joke?
Jenny and Ben aren’t among the doubters for long as when they investigate the cemetery that night they are witnesses to and almost victims of a Werewolf attack moments before Stefan is about to give the peace that Karen wished for. The startled couple then learn of Stirba (Sybil Danning) who is the Werewolf Queen and they agree to join Crosscoe in traveling to Transylvania to put a stop to her immortal evil before her ten-thousandth birthday, a celebration when all lycanthropes will cast off their disguises and unite to destroy humanity once and for all.
Our friends from Scream Factory as usual have packed this cult film with all manner of special features:
Audio Commentary With Director Philippe Mora
Audio Commentary With Composer Steve Parsons And Editor Charles Bornstein
Leading Man – An Interview With Actor Reb Brown
Queen Of The Werewolves – An Interview With Actress Sybil Danning
A Monkey Phase – Interviews With Special Make-Up Effects Artists Steve Johnson And Scott Wheeler (This is explained in the commentary with Director Philippe Mora, they were not sent Werewolf costumes but the used suits from the Planet of the Apes series. On the fly they decided before a lycanthrope earned a full transformation into a Werewolf they experienced…a monkey phase.)
Behind The Scenes Footage (In HD – From Philippe Mora’s Archive)
Alternate Opening And Alternate Ending (In HD – From Philippe Mora’s Archive)
If you are ready to add Howling II:…Your Sister is a Werewolf to your library you can pick it up starting today, you can even order your copy over at Scream Factory.
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