Goregirl’s Werewolf Project: HOWLING V: THE REBIRTH (1989)

I am a big fan of the 1981 film The Howling, so I decided to watch every single Howling sequel for this project. These sequels are pretty damn awful for the most part, but still, I only disliked one of them as much as Blood and Chocolate and Cursed and that was the newest entry in the franchise, the 2011 film Howling Reborn. There is no way I am reviewing all seven sequels! That is right there are eight Howling films! I have no idea what I was thinking. Bloody hell! The Howling III (1987), Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988) and Howling VII: New Moon Rising (1995) were pretty awful and I wouldn’t recommend any of these. They each had a moment or two that was entertaining but are mostly dreck. Howling 2: Stirba: Werewolf Bitch (1985) is the only sequel that connects itself to the original in any way. It is an absolute mess but does have some humorous and bizarre moments. It also has Christopher Lee and Sybil Danning. It is very 80s and it is bad but I would give it a borderline pass. Howling VI: Freaks has freaks! I am not joking when I say I love carnivals and circuses and all the hokum that comes with them! By no means am I saying this is a good film, but it did have some aspects I found rather appealing. I would also give this one a borderline pass. Howling V: The Rebirth was the only Howling sequel I thought had much quality. It has a great castle setting, a sorta whodunit plot, and the acting was better than I expected it to be. Howling V: The Rebirth isn’t exactly good but in my opinion it was the best of the sequels which is why it garnered an actual review.

A group of (mostly) strangers pile on to a bus to tour a castle that was abandoned five hundred years previous. The guests will be the first to tour the castle since the mysterious event. The group begin to surmise their invitations were not random. They discover that they have certain things in common like an identical birthmark on the inside of their arm and they are all orphans. One of the group may be a werewolf and suspects are eliminated narrowing the choices as the film moves along.

Howling V: The Rebirth has a similar plot to another film I reviewed for this feature; Amicus’ The Beast Must Die; although certainly not as entertaining. There is some humour through Howling V, but not all of it is intentional. There are at least two instances in the film where a character acknowledges an unseen person and then we see a furry paw grab them. What is the deal with that? The unseen person is instantaneously turning into a werewolf? You never see a transformation at any point, which apparently happens literally in a blink of an eye anyway! You mainly get obscured views or paw shots of the werewolf. The couple decent head shots you get are very quick. This werewolf is pretty ugly and what in the hell was up with those weird looking teeth? It is not great, but I’ve seen worse. The characters are a real mixed bag. There were two in particular that got on my last nerve. There is one super bitchy female character that is hugely obnoxious early in the film and than makes a complete turn later. She goes from ice queen to suddenly giving a shit and is even willing to risk her life for this bunch of strangers. She has a back-story with the arrogant male character of the group. He was a bit of a non-entity until bitchy woman gets nice, he becomes a huge prick. Outside of these two, others are relatively tolerable. I was surprised to find the film’s airheaded female to be likable. Airheads are generally bimbos whose role is to get naked; but this Victoria Jackson clone is anything but easy. I even felt just a bit sorry for a couple of the victims. The dialog for the most part isn’t too bad, which is good since there is a fair amount of chat. They stick to relevant plot stuff for the most part; but of course there is some filler, and yes, some of it is irritating. There is only a teeny-tiny bit of nudity and gore, and be warned, you do not get to see the kills, just the aftermath. Howling V: Rebirth has plenty of issues, but in the Howling series of sequels I thought it was definitely the best of em. Like Howling 2: Stirba: Werewolf Bitch and Howling VI: Freaks I would give Howling V: The Rebirth a borderline pass but wouldn’t exactly recommend it. For hardcore werewolf junkies and people who love big eighties hair only. Speaking of big hair, here is a picture of me from 1989…

10 Responses to “Goregirl’s Werewolf Project: HOWLING V: THE REBIRTH (1989)”

  1. I think you’re being too hard on the Howling III: the Marsupials. Sure, changing the werewolves into rampaging marsupials was silly, but, as far as gimmicks go, it’s original. Plus the location shooting in Australia always holds my attention, as most horror films aren’t shot in broad daylight. (Another benefit of making your monsters marsupials I guess.) But then, maybe I’m just a huge Australia nerd.

    • goregirl Says:

      I wasn’t exactly stoked about any of the Howling sequels, but on the other hand, I rather watch any of these sequels over and over than watch most horror films made after 1989. I haven’t seen much Austrailian horror. Long Weekend and Razorback I loved. Anything you recommend out of curiosity? I watched a doc called Oxploitation and had a list of titles which I have misplaced.

      • Besides New Zealand’s “Black Sheep,” it’s hard to think of anything. There used to be a great zine out of there, “Reel Wild Cinema,” but even that covered mainly Something Weird stuff. And this was in the late 90s, early 00s, and I haven’t heard of it since. :(

        Check out “Black Sheep” if you haven’t already though. That one’s a lot of fun.

        • goregirl Says:

          I’ve seen Black Sheep and really enjoyed it! I forgot, I’ve seen Patrick, actually did a review for it even! I liked it. Also seen Picnic at Hanging Rock which I included on my list of favourite films from 1975. Yeesh. Snoozing on the job. Read a review for Alison’s Birthday a week ago or so which I’ve added to the queue. Might be a hard one to find.

  2. Nice ‘do.

    Bringing it back?

    hehehehe.

    I’m definitely going to do all the Howling films. I’ve only seen 1 and Freaks and all I can remember from Freaks is the purple vampire.

    • goregirl Says:

      That hair is an impenetrable force to be reckoned with! Could withstand wind, sleet, rain…highly flammable however!

      If I had more talent in the graphics department I would love to do an infographic of all the bizarreness in this series. There is a little bit o’weirdness in all of em.

  3. Who was the werewolf in The Howling V?

    • You are really testing me here…I recall it being the Victoria Jackson looking woman…I think her real name was Elizabeth Shé.

      • Elizabeth Shé was the werewolf in an unsurprising plot development. There were hints sprinkled through the movie. When the Count mentioned the “most innocent” person’s being the werewolf, it became obvious to anyone except the movie characters, who all seem to be among the stupidest people ever.

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