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Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf (Blu-ray Review)

Howling IIAfter countless millennia of watching, waiting and stalking, the unholy creatures known as werewolves are poised to inherit the earth. Legendary horror icon Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings, Count Dracula) faces off against sexy cult favorite Sybil Danning (Battle Beyond the Stars, Chained Heat, Grindhouse) in this terrifying descent into a world of nightmares that turns out to be all too real!  Fans of the popular HOWLINGS movies rejoice as the long-awaited Blu-ray edition of HOWLING II hits home entertainment shelves everywhere on July 14, 2015 from SCREAM FACTORY™.  This high-anticipated release contains extensive bonus content, including all-new interviews with actor Reb Brown, actress Sybil Danning, special make-up effects artists Steve Johnson and Scott Wheeler, audio commentary, behind-the-scenes footage and much more!  A must-have for movie collectors and horror enthusiasts.

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Film 

After newscaster Karen White’s shocking on-screen transformation and violent death, her brother Ben is approached by Stefan Crosscoe, a mysterious man who claims that Karen has, in fact, become a werewolf. But this is the least of their worries… to save mankind, Stefan and Ben must travel to Transylvania to battle and destroy Stirba, the immortal queen of all werewolves, before she is restored to her full powers!

It’s been well documented of the love for Troll 2 and The Room (Seriously tired of The Room these days).  The films that are such glorious failures that they provided heightened entertainment.  Before either of them existed, there lay such a batshits crazy film that was a sequel to solid well received hit werewolf movie called Howling II.  Not just Howling II, but Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf.  And yes, people do spout the title out on more than one occasion in the film.

This film is a myriad of mistakes, bizarre choices, weird editing and just overall insanity at times.  The film is indeed a direct sequel to the original by way of Dee Wallace’s “Karen” having a brother in this one.  Said brother, is played by the extremely dull Reb Brown.  Its also notable that Christopher Lee was always said to have been pretty ashamed of this film.  His character is pretty hilarious, as after he gets laid, the guy seems less caring and far more relaxed than he did at any point earlier in the film.

But, I can see why he took it.  He always said that as an actor his biggest mistake was turning down the role of Dr. Loomis in John Carpenter’s Halloween.  Its not hard to see that regret seeped over into his acceptance of Howling II.  He’s pretty much a Dr. Loomis character and looked to have been merely trying to right a wrong there.  Credit must be given though, no matter how bad the movie is or how silly the dialogue, whenever Lee is on screen and commanding a scene, you always buy into it and take it as high art.  That’s something FEW people with Oscars and nominations could even pull off.

Sybil Danning.  Sybil Danning!  What a fox right?  Man, this movie is crazy and has insane outfits for her to wear, but she pulls them off.  This was supposed to be a big crossover for her from her grindhouse era, but as you can see by its legacy, that didn’t quite work.  While it adds to the insanity of the movie, the end credits does her a complete disservice by CONSTANTLY replaying her fierce disrobing scene.  Yes, there’s humor added to it, but man, I can only imagine how she would be seeing that on the big screen the first time.

While watching the film, of the MANY questions you can have for it, I wondered if werewolf time was different than that of regular human time.  While the orgy events going on in the werewolf castle seem to be going on through one long night, the Reb Brown/Christopher Lee storyline seem to be taking place over a period of a couple days.  But when worlds collide it seems to be just one day.  Like I said, part of the joy of this terrible movie, but I just couldn’t put that together.  Then again, I know better and probably am not supposed to.

I rated this film accordingly.  While I see the enjoyment of watching such lunacy unfold, I understand I’m of a niche group.  For me, that 1.5 is a GLORIOUS 1.5 rating.  People who like the Miami Connections, the Troll 2s, The Visitors of this world really should check out Howling II: Your Sister Is  A Werewolf.  Its up there as an all-time cult, schlock, so-bad-its-good legendary status and must be seen to be believed.  I remember being SO DAMN CONFUSED as a kid watching this movie trying to take it seriously.  As an adult, it gets a good chuckle out of me at many of its twists and turns.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Folks, I remind you, this is Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf.  One of the most notoriously bad sequels and movies of all time.  A camp classic.  With that in mind, the folks at Scream Factory have done an impressive job in transferring it over to Blu-ray.  The image is a tad soft likely due to the source and detail looks very good.  Sybil Dannings iconic outfits look better than ever here.  This is likely the best this film may ever see and it should satisfy the fans of it.

Depth:  Character movements in their environments run pretty cinematically.  Background images are as clean as the focus will allow.  On the better side of average on the freeness of objects and people in their environments.

Black Levels:  Blacks are kept pretty accurate.  There is no major areas of crushing present and any loss of detail is due to poor lighting.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are kept to a more natural look.  Reds stick out pretty good and greens are really impressive.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are consistent and on the natural end.  In closer shots you can make out stubble, pores and facial blemishes.

Noise/Artifacts:  The film features the usual grain, specs and dirt with light compression issues in minimal areas.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  Don’t worry folks, that kicking theme song comes out beautifully on this mix.  Sound effects and the like sound decent enough with the fire crackling or spells casting.  There is a nice loose sound to the mix, featuring a good balance of the vocals, effects and music in the film.  Easy to say its the best Howling II has ever sounded.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are nice, loud and clear.  ADR comes off as obvious, but sounds clean in its own right.  And if you count ’em, the howls and growls sound pretty damn good in the mix.

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Extras 

Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf comes with reversible cover art featuring a foreign market’s poster and title.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Philippe Mora
  • With Composer Steve Parsons and Editor Charles Bornstein

Leading Man: An Interview with Actor Reb Brown (HD, 13:51) – The former Captain America discusses his start to acting, the crazy stay in Czechoslovakia to shoot the film, working with Christopher Lee and his thoughts on watching it.  He looks like a high school football coach now.

Queen of the Werewolves: An Interview with Actress Sybil Danning (HD, 17:03) – To cut to the chase; yes she discussed the end credits.  But she’s not as vile as you’d think about it.  She covers her early start to acting and praises and gives a glowing recollection of the film and her time on it.

A Monkey Phase: Interviews with Special Make-Up Effects Artists Steve Johnson and Scott Wheeler (HD, 15:29) – Yay, Steve Johnson, the real life Tony Stark is back!  These guys are HILARIOUS.  I don’t want to spoil, but they have some great stories from the set to tell here.  Outstanding!

Alternate Opening (HD, 10:34) – The credits feature the “Your Sister Is A Werewolf” subtitle and has a focus on the Reb Brown/Christopher Lee conversation that is only seen from a distance in the theatrical cut.

Alternate Ending (HD, 9:35) – Aside from maybe some extra chase footage, I couldn’t see what was different here.

Behind The Scenes (HD, 3:52) – Some raw footage of some effects shooting, complete with audio of the people giving direction.  Features the director coming in and being a smartass each shot.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:02) – “It’s the rocking, shocking new wave of horror; Howling II!”

Still Gallery (HD, 8:17) – Features behind the scenes pictures, promo stills, make-up/fx tests

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Summary 

I have to admit, I got pretty excited when Scream Factory announced they were continuing on with the Howling series and having the balls and bravado to put out Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf on Blu-ray.  First off, a word to the wise; if you want more of the Howling series from Scream Factory on Blu-ray, you need to buck up and pre-order or buy this one day of.  This one may not say “Collector’s Edition” on it, but its only shy a slip cover and “remix” new key artwork from being one.  For not being a Collector’s Edition, this thing is absolutely rich in bonus content, outdoing some of their ACTUAL Collector’s Editions.  The performance is the best the film has ever (and may ever) look.  It is without hesitation that I found this to be possibly the best release of a gloriously bad film ever put out.  A must for collectors, Howling fans, Scream Factory fans, bad movie fans or whoever you are.  What’s not to love above this batshit crazy film?  While you ponder that, I’ll leave you with this image, followed by the pre-order link so you can see what that’s all about.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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