A number of vicious murders take place in a small Californian town not long after a mysterious stranger has arrived. The local detective talks with the local priest who reveals that the killer is in fact a werewolf. Is the stranger in town all he is cracked up to be or is someone else out there using him as a scapegoat?
Who cares? This pathetic series has provided so little in the way of entertainment or decent filmmaking that I’ve gone beyond caring for plots. I’m only watching them because I’m a completist and need to watch all of the films in a series just so I can say I’ve seen them all. As inept as some of the previous Howling were, this one is right up there (or should that be down there) with the worst – scratch that, it is the worst and by a long, long, long way. I don’t know where to start.
As with most of the films in this series, the fact it has Howling in the title is little indication that it’s a direct sequel, more so a standalone werewolf flick with that title added on. Having said that, director (and lead actor) Clive Turner has seen fit to carve up the previous films and rewrite history. He does manage to link this one with the others but in rather bizarre and pointless ways, including referring to a circus which was in town a while ago (from Howling VI: The Freaks) and even using a scene with a character from Howling IV: The Original Nightmare having a phone conversation with one of this film’s main characters. I don’t know why I’m being too harsh on it to be honest, it’s actually quite ingenious how all of the little bits have been connected together to try and connect all of the films in one. It just ends up confusing the hell out of the plot as characters are used and events happen that only happen because footage is being reused. Turner has tried to wrap too much up from the previous films when he should have kept it as a minimal as possible.
It really makes no difference though because the film blows and when its trump card is lifting scenes from slightly-better-but-still-shit films, you’re in trouble. Turner’s most blatant rewrite of history is when he has the scary-looking priest constantly babble on about a werewolf sighting in a castle in Hungary. Footage from Howling V: The Rebirth is shown which, ironically enough, starred Clive Turner as a different character. But not anymore, now his character is the same one, travelling from place to place fighting werewolves or turning into one (see the film wants to make you think he is the werewolf but this recap scene just kills that notion).
Right from the opening moments of a bunch of cops standing around a body, each of them trying to outdo the previous one in terms of exclamations (“Jesus Christ” is followed by “Holy Shit” and then “Mother of God”), you know this film is going to test your patience. Big montages of cars and bikes moving around the town are shown for the titles. I also hope you like country music and line dancing because there’s way too much of it in here. I had to check the DVD cover to make sure I’d picked up a horror film and not one of those ‘Learn To Line Dance’ DVDs. It’s a gruelling combination of bad music and even more horrible dancing. Time seems to stop as characters have conversations with each, with day and night happening in other scenes (the priest and detective seem to talk to each for the entire duration of the film whilst everyone else gets on with their lives). The conversations suck too because not only is this film completely jokey and throwaway, there’s also no actors! All of the people use their real names and seem to play the roles they actually work in real life in the town. It tells because they can’t emote to save their lives. Everything is drawn out in a monotonous, reading-the-autocue style of acting.
In case you’ve forgotten this is actually a werewolf. In the midst of this juxtaposition of country music, line dancing, endless clips of bikes, confusing story and locals playing themselves, there is actually a werewolf story. There are a few kills and the werewolf gets a Predator-esque POV. But you never see it or even glimpse it until the final two minutes when there is a terribly executed transformation (watch as the curtains around the person pixilate as well thanks to the crappy computer effects) and a woman bursts through a door wearing a Halloween costume.
At least Turner finally finished off the Howling series (at least for a long while, until an attempt recent reboot) with this mercy killing of a movie, which injected a lethal dose of poison into the flagging franchise. Pray for small mercies whilst you can!