Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf (1985)

“How?” That’s the one-word question I kept asking myself while watching this alleged sequel to Joe Dante’s underrated, understated original. How in the world did this happen? I mean, the first movie is a strong, classy affair, the kind of slow-burn spookshow that calmly, consistently builds to a memorably nihilistic climax, but this? This makes “Exorcist 2” look contained and coherent by comparison. Now, with that out of the way, let’s get down to business, which is to say: This movie is absolutely awesome in the most bonkers, coked-out way imaginable. It’s in every frame of the movie from the beginning: The music is Eurotrash dance-pop masquerading as punk rock, there’s half-dressed werewolf orgies, a befuddled Christopher Lee wandering through the proceedings in a half-daze, and werewolves that look more like monkeys than anything else, really. Simultaneously set in Los Angeles and the Balkans, the movie’s geography is difficult to lock down because its Los Angeles looks suspiciously like Czechoslovakia, and with the movie’s narrative so steeped in local customs once in the Balkans, the audience is transplanted to the second half with little time or context, trying to piece together what, exactly, is happening. That being said, even if the narrative had painstakingly walked us through the changes, it still wouldn’t make any sense because the movie is little more than a barely-related patchwork of undercooked ideas that don’t add up well together (like the aforementioned werewolf orgies, which are sexy to exactly no one). It’s just so bonkers and schizophrenic, so poorly acted by leads Annie McEnroe and Reb Brown, and just so feverishly hallucinogenic that it’s worth a shot for the ‘wtf’ factor alone, and seriously, this one is memorable as all hell… just for all the wrong reasons.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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