Much in the same way that Noah constructed the ark under the pretence ‘Build it and they will come’, Howling II – full name: Howling II: …Your Sister is a Werewolf – hinges on the fact that ‘if Christopher Lee is in it then someone WILL want to watch it’.
Werewolves, of course, were old hat to Lee when making this cinematic blunder back in ‘85, a career low even for him.
He had already wrazzled with lycanthrope back in 1974’s hammy classic The Beast Must Die, a film much more charming than this phoned in sequel to the largely entertaining Joe Dante original. It’s predictably awful stuff but – and this is key – it is the right kind of awful.
Imperative to your enjoyment of this film is in knowing how to place yourself in the correct state of mind to view it.
A strict recommendation is to have a friend – close or otherwise, it need not matter – gently skull f**k you until your brain is a fine soup; an elegant mix of erectile discharge and cerebral fluids.
Only then may you proceed with the plucky if unsightly amateur porn that will befall you over the next 90 minutes.
Anyway, you can’t say that I didn’t warn you.
The story follows the bizarre exploits of Jenny and Ben, a couple of emotional mannequins who react to the news that werewolves exist much in the same way one would to a traffic jam.
After meeting werewolf hunter, Christopher ‘I AM getting paid for this, right?’ Lee at a friend’s funeral they decide to join forces in order to track down and kill head flea-ball, Stirba. This act will in turn break the curse on someone or something that was once a… or… oh I don’t bloody know!! The plot is immaterial!!! It only exists in order to facilitate werewolf boobies, exploding eyeballs and a Jimmy Nail cameo, three things I found myself, oddly, approving of.
Of course, the occasional bare flesh, gruesome death and reference to Auf Weidersane Pet will only get you so far.
If this film were only that then it would entertain but not excite. It takes the presence of a true thespian hack like Christopher Lee to provide the kind of fist bumping naffness that Howling II so righteously delivers.
It’s not just that he’s in it; it’s that he’s actually trying. All credit to a man that can deliver a performance of such blistering, passionate histrionics while being attacked by an eyeless, zombie dwarf.
Of course there are other interesting oddities on display here. The throat humping rat-bat is quite a sight to behold as it propels itself from Stirba’s magical staff and shoves its hooked penis into the mouth of a confounded priest.
Better still is the abundance of peculiar edits. Star, stripe, twirl and cross wipes infest the feature with all the misguided enthusiasm of a one legged trapeze artist. By force of quantity alone they become an integral crowd pleaser, providing the audience with a sense of curious anticipation, wondering what the next one will be.
Periodically, between the intelligible violence, eighties goth tunes and passionless sex scenes, Howling II seems to reach out from the screen, grab you by the throat and shout ‘LOOOOVE MEEE!!! I’m adorably sh**e!!’
And although, to a large extent, it does succeed in its cumbersome come-ons, it is ultimately Christopher Lee’s bombastic presence that saves this from being a bad film to merely being a bad film with Christopher Lee in it. And that, I think, is something that we can all live with.