Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf (1985) (Blu-ray film review).

November 14, 2016 | By | Reply More

‘Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf’ also goes by the name ‘Howling II: Stirba – Werewolf Bitch’. On the Blu-ray disc, it’s just called ‘Howling II’. I only ever saw the first 1981 film, so this one is all new to me.

More werewolf shenanigans in Los Angeles following the events of the first film. No one, not even in 1985, believes in werewolves and thinks the attacks were down to coyotes. Werewolf specialist Stefan Crowcoe (actor Christopher Lee) attends the funeral and spurs the interest of journalist Jenny Templeton (actress Annie McEnroe) but not Ben White (actor Reb Brown), brother of the dead apparent werewolf.


Later, after a punk dance, a cycle gang literally take on a little more than they can chew.

Jenny and Ben visit Crowco who explains to them that the latter’s sister is still alive in her grave as the autopsy removed the silver bullets. He briefs them and points out that one of the werewolves, Mariana (actress Marsha A. Hunt) is immune to silver but susceptible to titanium. There is also the 10th millennia of Stirba’s re-birth when all the werewolves will reveal themselves. Stirba (actress Sybil Danning) is also the queen of the werewolves,.

Ben still doesn’t believe Crowco but also not keen on the latter desecrating his sister’s body and get side-tracked in the graveyard by a couple werewolves and then get in real trouble in the church itself. He quickly changes his mind. The result is Crowco gets two volunteers to help his quest, all the way to Transylvania.

From watching this, the life of being a werewolf is a lot of fun. You snack on hitchhikers and have fun in a pack with lots of sex and violence. You would have thought werewolves would have sex doggie fashion but a lot of it is just posturing.

Their arrival at the village, after Crowco takes a short cut ahead of them, shows the villagers are getting ready for a festival. They meet up with Cowco at the church as well as a few villagers left who want to kill the werewolves. Too much more is definitely spoiler and there are a few scenes that will make you jump.

The film is loaded with symbolism to keep reminding you that you’re watching a werewolf film, as if you’re likely to forget. It gets fun picking out secondary cast members list like Jimmy Nail and Ferdy Mayne, For those who are really knowledgeable, Reb Brown also starred in the 1979 film ‘Captain America II: Death Too Soon’.

Two audio commentaries. The first with director Philippe Mora, although its more an interview led by Michael Felsher. ‘Howling II’ was amongst the first to be filmed behind the Iron Curtain filmed in the Czech Republic and Prague during the Cold War and is Chris Lee’s only werewolf film. The sunglasses that Sybil Danning wore in the film because of conjunctivitis has now become a stable of other werewolf films. The sunglasses not the conjunctivitis. The sets in Prague were the real places and saved a fortune. So the place you see with skulls for walls is real.

The second audio commentary consists of two separate interviews with composer Steve Parsons and editor Charles Bornstein, also being interviewed by Michael Felsher. For Parsons, he was cheap, available and wanted to do film scores and they didn’t want orchestral, which he says he wasn’t capable of at that time. Parsons is interviewed for 35 minutes and, after a brief gap, for the rest of the film, Bornstein who explains how he worked his way up to editing. This was Bornstein’s first full editing job and he regards as his worse film. The films he worked on are high calibre genre films before getting this one and finding himself working through translators with Czech assistant editors who would normally expect to just their boss cups of tea.

There are a lot of extras. ‘Man, Monkey, Wolf’ is a half hour recent interview with director Philippe Mora giving a chat about the film. Chris Lee was a war hero in Czech and given full respect wherever he went. A lot of this is repeated in the audio commentary. Mora discusses ‘The Return Of Captain Invincible’ (1983) as this is where he first worked with Chris Lee.

A 13 minute interview with actor Reb Brown talks about his career and the film in particular. A 17 minute interview with Sybil Danning and being the first blonde werewolf. An 15.5 minute interview with special effects Steve Johnson and Scott Wheeler about their tribulations working in the Czech Republic. I couldn’t see much difference in the opening 10 minute alternative beginning of the film but there’s an extra scene in the 9 minute alternative ending.

‘Behind The Scenes’ covers 4 minutes of Mora trying to get the right things from his Czech cast. It also gives an opportunity to look at the ‘Planet Of The Apes’ hair suits used on some of the background apes…I mean werewolves…or were-apes as they make the transition. These look more like those used in ‘Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes’ than the earlier films in the series and even these were only really used at the docking bay there when new apes were brought in from abroad. Oh, just in case when you start going through the extended stills gallery and think the photos are all in black and white, they aren’t. There are a lot of colour ones towards the end.

All in all, this Blu-ray disk is going to give you all you need to know about ‘Howling II’. I can see why its developed a cult classic feel but to explain that would need more analysis time than I’ve given here. Just make sure your neighbours aren’t barking late at night.

GF Willmetts

November 2016

(region B blu-ray/region 2 DVD: pub: Arrow Films. 2 dvd/blu-ray 91 minute film with extras. Price: £19.99 (UK). UK Cat: FCD1386)

subtitles: english

cast: Christopher Lee, Annie McEnroe, Reb Brown, Marsha A. Hunt, Judd Omen and Sybil Danning

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Category: Films, Horror

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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