31 Nights of Horror – Night 5 – The Howling 5 – The Rebirth:
All good things clearly cannot last, and so after the enjoyable Howling 4 I was not really surprised to find myself back in the territory of bad special effects, poor plot, and awful acting.
The last of the films in the franchise that was shot in the 80s, The Howling 5: The Rebirth decides to usher the franchise into a new decade with a story that is immeasurably divorced from the original.
TH: TR takes place in a mysterious Hungarian castle, which has opened its doors after being shuttered for over 500 years following a horrific, intentionally staged family massacre; with the apparent intention of attracting tourist business. A diverse group of people from different parts of the globe is assembled at the eerie dwelling after having been chosen when they entered a ballot. But once they arrive some begin to wonder if there is more going on than meets the eye. First they hear terrible stories about savage packs of wolves that used to roam the area and then people begin to disappear, only some of whom are found later with their throats torn out. It soon becomes clear that a murderer is among them, and the culprit may be only partially human…
This is going to sound very conceited, but it needs to be said. The cast of TH: TR are all deeply ugly. Seriously, there is not one amongst them, and it is quite a large cast mind you, that I would fuck with your dick, let alone my own! The token blonde 80’s hunk wears dirty Nike sneakers, is not attractive, and doesn’t even show off any skin EVEN THOUGH he has a whole scene in a thermal spa! The casting director should be found and beaten.
The cinematography in this film is fairly appalling, and the musical score is atrocious. There’s one bit of music, much like TH: YSIAW, but instead of an insipid 80s mess, this is some sort of ‘classical’ piece that is very dramatic the first time it is used. The subsequent 20 times it is dragged out, for every single death, is not in the remotest sense dramatic. You could make a drinking game of it in fact. “Drink every time you hear the dramatic chant music”.
Your liver will not thank me.
I am a little confused on the werewolf front with this film, and I cannot decide if TH:TR has been clever or not. Like Alien, TH: TR relies on a lot of off-camera action to get you wound up and scared. However, you see the werewolf a fair bit in the film, it is just always really fucking dark in the castle, and the wolf is always blurred and in shadow. So, did they have a low budget and work to that as best they could? Or is it just a happy coincidence that their shitty werewolf is rarely seen? Who knows? TH: TR also introduces a ‘mark of the beast’ concept, where everyone present at the castle is somehow descended from the original, medieval werewolf; and as a result they all have a wolf’s head shaped birth mark on their upper forearm… This could have been brilliant, but it was executed poorly and just sort of tacked on at the end.
Sidenote: There is an Australian character in this film, Ray, who I hate. I really, really f**king hate Ray, and I feel cheated because his death was deeply unsatisfactory for me. Ray is the worst kind of caricature of Australians, the larrikin. His broad accent, easy-going attitude, colloquialisms and lank ponytail make me want to draw blood. FUCKING RAY!
Also, the werewolf turns out to be the young actress, whose name is Mary-Lou. Mary-Lou the werewolf… It has a really menacing ring to it, no?
I am giving The Howling 5 three out of ten werewolf howls. This movie was shit, but not soul crushingly so. You can watch it if you want, but I would advise you to skip it altogether.