Category: Werewolves

Howling VI: The Freaks (1991)

Poster

In regards to film, there’s really few things quite as baffling to me as the Howling franchise (unless it’s the Children of the Corn series). Despite only the first movie having any sort of measurable quality, they went ahead and made eight of the damn things. So far of the Howling’s I’ve seen, I – IV, and now VI, they’ve ranged from laughably stupid to “oh my god I’d rather give Carrot Top a blowjob than watch that film again.” The fact that I found The Freaks to be a decent if flawed experience might stem from the fact that I totally expected it to blow donkey chunks but I guess I will give the people that made it some credit. At least they made an interesting film, which is more than you can say for Howling IV: The Original Nightmare, which is so dull that it makes Al Gore look like Jerry Lee Lewis…
The film opens with your typical “werewolf stalks it’s prey by the full moon” scene which kind of sets up the whole tone of the movie. It’s well done but not really creepy and there’s no real pay off. When the attack comes, the camera cuts away. That happens pretty much every damn time someone get’s killed, which isn’t that often, honestly. If  you’re looking for bloody werewolf mayhem, I’d suggest you look elsewhere. After the title sequence we find our wimpy hero wandering into a dusty small town that’s on the way out as a drought is driving away all the farmers (which probably helped keep production costs down as they didn’t have to hire a town full of extras). And if you didn’t already know he’s a werewolf, there’s a ton of very obvious clues. I guess the producer’s thought that if you were dumb enough to watch another Howling sequel, they’d have to spell out the obvious.  Also in town is a traveling freak show run by a hammy Bruce Payne. Payne would be the best thing in the movie, but he’s upstaged by his collection of freaks, including an alligator boy, a transvestite with a mean streak, and fucking Deep Roy! Incidentally, Deep Roy is also fucking the transvestite. Hey, you got your freakshow in my werewolf movie! Unfortunately, this sideshow angle is really what makes the film interesting, thanks to the lack of gore and hardly any werewolves actually in the damn thing.
Our wussy British hero shacks up with the local preacher, helps him fix up his church, and turns down the sexual advances of the preacher’s hot daughter (Michele Matheson, who really needs some acting lessons).
Is our 90 LBS weakling werewolf connected with the seedy carnival manager somehow? Of course he is. If you didn’t get it, it’s pretty much spelled out on the back of the DVD case…

While Howling II is so stupid you can’t help but laugh and Howling IV is mind numbing, VI is just kind of there. It’s an average grade horror movie that’s decently put together with a hint of intelligence, but it can’t bring itself to really go over the top like it should, using it’s weirdness to try and make itself memorable, which doesn’t work since it’s not weird enough. It also doesn’t help that the special effects and makeup are atrocious. The hero werewolf looks like Ron Pearlman in that late 80’s Beauty and The Beast show and the main villain vampire looks like bad Na’vi cosplay. His death is also ripped right off of Fright Night, only it looks like butt. Hooray for mediocrity! Hooray indeed.

Rating: C

Random Things

  • I do love my movies about carnivals and freak shows, which is one reason why I graded this a C instead of a D. It comes nowhere near Carny but it’s better than She-Freak, at any rate…
  • Antonio Fargas plays a geek in this. And he actually bites the head off of a chicken! Yup, pop this in your DVD player and you’ll get to see Huggy Bear bite the head off of a chicken. Your life will be complete.
  • I’ve seen way too many Howling movies now. It’s not like I seek them out, they just kind of fall into my lap. I’m going to find Howling V in a cereal box or something…