Reviewing The Howling Horror Movie Franchise

Reviewing every movie from the Howling and whether I recommend them

The Howling franchise started off promising with the release of the first movie in 1981. It was a decent werewolf flick that I can recommend to fans of the genre. The sequels however....

The Howling

The Howling is the first movie in the franchise and is widely regarded as a fine flick and a great werewolf film. While it may not reach the same level as films like American Werewolf in London, it still holds its own and provides an enjoyable viewing experience for fans of the genre.

The plot of  follows a reporter who becomes involved in a serial killer case and is ultimately recommended by her doctor to go to a rehabilitation camp for therapy. The camp, located in an upstate coastal area, provides a fish out of water scenario where she encounters eccentric locals with a taste for red meat and a love for wearing furry clothes.

The movie has a suspenseful plot and the refreshing take on the werewolf mythos. It does a great job of keeping you engageds without giving away too much. Without spoiling anything, I highly recommend this movie to any horror fan looking for a good werewolf film.

Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf

The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf had the initial promise of embracing the iconic 80s aesthetic, with its wild sunglasses, punks, and catchy songs about being a wolf. It seemed like the perfect setup for a fun and cheesy werewolf flick. However, the movie quickly took a disappointing turn when it shifted its focus to Transylvania, completely abandoning the vibrant 80s vibe.

One of the major issues with the movie was the inconsistencies with the location and languages used. While the movie was meant to be set in Transylvania, it was clearly filmed in Czechoslovakia, as indicated by the train station and the use of the Czech language. The lack of attention to detail in this aspect takes away from the authenticity of the setting and made it difficult to fully immerse in the story.

Also, the poorly shot and executed occult scenes added to the disappointment. The ritual scenes in which the old lady drained the life energy of a young woman felt amateurish and lacked the eerie atmosphere that was intended.

Howling III: The Marsupials

Howling III: The Marsupials takes an interesting premise by setting the movie in Australia, showcasing the marsupial werewolves. But the execution of this movie falls short, resulting in poor storytelling and a lack of proper rules for werewolves.

The underutilized setting of Australia is a missed opportunity, as the film fails to fully explore the potential of this location and the lack of established rules for the werewolves leaves you confused and disconnected from the story.

Despite its flaws, it does have the potential for entertainment due to its sheer weirdness. The bizarre premise and strange plot twists can provide some amusement for those who enjoy unconventional and offbeat movies.

Howling IV: The Original Nightmare

Howling IV: The Original Nightmare is a cheap and boring addition to the Howling franchise. This movie lacks the presence of werewolves and has an unengaging plot.

One redeeming aspect of this film is the decomposing scene, which features impressive effects. But this brief moment of interest is not enough to make up for the overall disappointment of the movie. The lack of excitement and poor storytelling make it difficult to find any enjoyment in this film.

Although the movie claims to be an adaptation of the original novel, it cannot be given a pass for its shortcomings. The connection to the source material does not improve the overall quality of the film.

Howling V: The Rebirth

The fifth installment in the Howling franchise, titled Howling V: The Rebirth, attempts to tie together the previous films but falls short in many aspects. While the idea of connecting the movies may seem promising, the execution leaves much to be desired.

A big disappointment in this film is the wasted potential of the cursed werewolf family. The movie introduces the concept of a werewolf curse within the family, but fails to fully explore this storyline. It feels like a missed opportunity to delve deeper into the mythology and create a more compelling narrative.

Despite its flaws, it does have some redeeming qualities. The dynamics between the characters are decent, providing some enjoyable interactions. The relationships and rivalries among the famous guests invited to the castle at least add some intrigue.

Howling VI: The Freaks

In Howling VI: The Freaks, the franchise continues its downward spiral. 

The plot revolves around a freak show, introducing an outsider protagonist who becomes entangled in the spectacle. While the premise has potential, the execution falls flat, resulting in a lackluster and cringe-worthy horror comedy.

One of the major disappointments of the movie is the underutilization of characters with powers. While the concept of characters possessing unique abilities adds an intriguing element to the plot, this potential is never fully explored, leaving viewers longing for more.

The movie's poor execution and cringe-worthy moments hinder its ability to be a truly effective horror comedy. The attempts at humor often fall flat, resulting in awkward and uncomfortable scenes that detract from the overall viewing experience.

Howling: New Moon Rising 

Howling: New Moon Rising  was yet another failed attempt to tie together the previous movies in the franchise. The film features two concurrent plotlines—one following an Australian drifter and the other focusing on a group of preachers. Unfortunately, both plotlines are poorly executed and lack depth.

The film is plagued by terrible acting and cringe-worthy attempts at horror comedy. The dialogue and performances are so bad that it's hard to take the film seriously. The humor falls flat and the horror elements are more laughable than scary.

One of the major issues  is the lack of clarity in the werewolf lore and storyline. It's unclear how the werewolves are connected to previous films or how they fit into the overall mythology of the franchise. The film fails to provide a cohesive and coherent narrative, leaving viewers confused and frustrated.

Despite its many flaws, the film does have one redeeming aspect—the decent werewolf scenes. The special effects and werewolf costumes are surprisingly well done, providing some enjoyable moments for fans of the franchise. 

Howling: Reborn (2011)

Howling: Reborn  is a clear attempt to cash in on the popularity of the Twilight franchise. Influenced by the success of Twilight, this film tries to replicate its formula, but fails miserably. From the terrible acting to the oversaturated visuals and cliché high school drama, it's clear that Howling: Reborn is nothing more than a Twilight rip-off.

The acting in this film is downright cringe-worthy. The performances are wooden and lack any depth or emotion. The characters feel like caricatures rather than real people, making it difficult to become invested in the story. The oversaturated visuals only add to the overall cheap and amateurish feel of the film.

It also attempts to provide social commentary on modern youth, but it comes across as cringe-worthy and forced. The film tries to explore themes of love and relationships, but it does so in a superficial and shallow way. It's more of a drama then a werewolf story.

That being said, the slightly redeeming aspect is the werewolf scenes that do make an appearance in the film. While they are few and far between, these scenes offer a glimpse of what the movie could have been. 

Do I Recommend The Howling Franchise?

Overall, The Howling franchise is a disappointment. While the first movie is a decent werewolf flick that I can recommend to fans of the genre, the subsequent movies in the franchise fall short of the mark. 

It is my recommendation to only watch the first movie and skip the rest of the franchise. The sequels lack consistency, suffer from poor storytelling, and often introduce unnecessary and distasteful elements, such as the hairy sex scenes in Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf.

What's your thought on the Howling Franchise?

Check out a few of my other horror movie reviews.

Lake Mungo Review
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 Review
The Babadook Review
Noroi: The Curse Review
Ranking The Child's Play Movie Franchise

And don't forget to connect with me on Twitter (X) and get involved!