Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988)

Howling VI: The Original Nightmare

Fear is breeding … fast

When she starts having weird hallucinations, writer Marie Adams and her husband head off to stay at a cottage in the remote village of Drago. However her hallucinations get worse as they come to realise that everyone in town is actually a werewolf.

 

I don’t know how. It seemed impossible. But this third sequel to The Howling is actually worse than the previous two sequels by a long way and that in itself is a big task. I’m not quite sure how I even managed to make it this far into the series without giving up but I’m a completist and like to make sure I’ve given franchises a fair crack. Call it insanity if you like but there’s always hope that franchises pick themselves up, dust themselves off after a stinker and get back to what they do best. Only in the case of The Howling films, the only thing they’re good at doing is stinking….and stinking badly.

A troubled production where filming was halted for a brief period until director John Hough stepped in to pick up the slack, The Howling IV: The Original Nightmare is apparently a more straight adaptation of the original novel. But just because it’s a more faithful adaptation doesn’t mean to say that it’s any better as a result and in fact the opposite is true. I guess this is where the creative licence of Joe Dante came in handy to spruce up the material and make it a little more exciting in The Howling. Though I think he understood the necessity to feature a werewolf in a film about werewolves: the writers of this one have seemingly forgotten even that saving grace.

There is hardly a werewolf in sight (not counting the chest hair of one of the actors) with the exception of the poor finale when the werewolf angle is wheeled out for token screen time. Even here, the werewolves are either a bunch of actors dressed up in shoddy, cheap werewolf fancy dress costumes or simply dogs with red gleams added to their eyes. The best scene of the film involves a pre-werewolf transformation as one unlucky guy simply melts into a puddle of human goo. It’s a great effect but in a film about werewolves, it’s not really that relevant.

The Howling IV: The Original Nightmare is a basic rehash of the original with two people heading to somewhere remote and stumbling upon a population of werewolves. I was never a huge fan of the original but I can at least acknowledge its place as one of the most famous werewolf films. But here, it seems that the story has been sucked dry of anything even remotely interesting. I’ve said it before in other reviews but the cardinal sin a film can make is that it is boring and The Howling IV: The Original Nightmare is a prime example of how to fill seventy minutes of nothing. The film does attempt to create some mystery but guess what? We know that it’s a film about werewolves so the whole angle is a bit of a waste of time because we know what the eventual outcome is going to be.

Devoid of any action or excitement, a flawed pace and no style whatsoever, the film is even badly made from a technical standpoint with continuity errors, poor lighting and awful sound. Like really awful sound – the actors sound dubbed at times, especially the male leads with their really deep and dreary monotonous voices. Not forgetting the almighty mullet that Michael T. Weiss sports, a definite symbol of its 80s time. These are mere side distractions though and the bottom line is that there is nothing here, quite literally.

 

Do not watch this film. Do not watch it at any cost. Pretend it didn’t happen. Even if you have a burning desire to watch all of The Howling films, avoid this at all cost and pretend that they just got their Roman numerals mixed up.

 

 ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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