Welcome to our monthly review of werewolves, where forgotten/overlooked werewolf characters from movies, series, books and games are drawn back into the spotlight and given the invasive treatment. Why? Cause someone has to. Also, I really like werewolves.
Full disclosure: I took one look into the first Howling book by Gary Brandner, and closed it again. There are certain things I will tolerate in my horror fiction, and this didn’t qualify. However, according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the books and the movies barely overlap. I haven’t yet decided whether this is good or a bad thing, seeing what a shitshow the first film was. Maybe it’s a good spiritual adaptation. Of course, I am being unfair. The first one has some absolutely delightful moments, from actually awesome transformation scene where the face of the pre-werewolf (prewolf?) bubbles like a volcano, to the fucking insane town members, and I cannot figure out whether that acting was intentional or not.
But the first film pales in comparison to the second Howling in this apparently hugely popular franchise. The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf is amazing the way only certain movies ever get to be. I cannot begin to explain the editing, except maybe the director and/or DOP saw a Lynch film sometime, and assumed the visuals were a kind of exciting punctuation, like three exclamation points after the words “we’re so mysterious and quirky”.
Either way, it’s mostly just a series of unrelated images being thrown at your head with a slingshot and intercut with Reb Brown’s gormless staring face. Yeah, Reb Brown is in this, which is a real mark of quality right there. But we aren’t here to talk about Captain TV Hulk, we want to talk about Stirba the werewolf queen. The threesome scene with Stirba, played Sybil Danning, has got to be one of the greatest unintentionally hilarious sex scenes in the history of film.
In fact, everything involving any werewolves in this is hilarious, whether they are wearing cute little furry hats during Stirba’s resurrection or are just silly-looking puppets. Stirba is surprisingly dignified amid this mess, fursuits and ripped bodices aside. She is also the only character which is of any interest whatsoever. The “protagonist” couple is appallingly dull, their horrible acting making Christopher Lee wish he were elsewhere, according to the Wikipedia page. The Wiki is incidentally a goldmine, the amount of stupid which took place during production makes the movie so much better (see for example the government-assigned assistant director importing garbage for the clean communist streets of then-Soviet controlled Prague).
Name: Stirba, Werewolf Queen/Werewolf Bitch
Role: Well, the name kind of spells it out.
Wolf Alignment: So very evil. Sexy, sexy evil.
- holy earplugs to avoid transformation or possible exploding eyeballs. I am really not entirely sure at this point.
- the schnitzel scene
- Stirba’s glorious battle armour that she wears to face off against Christopher Lee.
- the torn bodice, which is repeated 17 (!) times in the credits.
Whoops: Stirba is not the eponymous sister in this story. The sister, Karen White, died in the previous movie, and is killed leaving the grave in this one. So…I guess you really liked that title, then.
Wolfy effects: Not good. There are barely any onscreen transformations, and the half-turned wolves look more like early Jackson rejects than anything else.
Overall rating: Four freed werewolf bosoms out of ten. This is definitely so awful it’s good material, check it out.