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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Howling V the Rebirth (1989)

Not going to lie. I gave up on the Howling franchise after part three. But upon hearing some friends talk about part five I figured it was time to revisit the series. Though I skipped ahead a bit and checked out the one that they recommended.

It is the late 1400s and there are a lot of bodies lying around the castle. The lord and lady have killed everyone and finish themselves off last. While he is dying the lord hears a baby crying which disturbs him greatly. Fast forward to today, if today were the eighties. A group of people have been invited to the castle’s reopening as it has been uninhabited since the massacre. They were seemingly chosen at random and don’t know each other. After arriving and being met by the Count they head off for the party to celebrate and promote the castle as a tourist attraction. But not long after arriving the guests start to die. Eventually the Count lets everyone in on the secret to the castle and why they were invited. Spoilers, it wasn’t random.

This is a werewolf movie with very little werewolf in it and that is okay. The creature is kept in the dark for basically the entire movie, but still drives the plot. Howling Rebirth plays more like a murder mystery with Lycanthropy then it does a monster movie. At first no one knows that people are being killed. Then they still have to figure out it is a werewolf, which then leads them to trying to figure out who the werewolf is. Toss in another twist that the count has to offer about who everyone is and you have a movie that keeps you guessing. That is where the story excels. I was interested from start to finish and was guessing throughout as to who the monster was. Man was I wrong.

Hey gang lets split up and wander around... again!
The movie appears to be a very low budget affair. Almost the entire thing takes place at the castle location and the cast is full of unknowns (at least to me). But it is a great location and the actors do a fine job in their roles. The direction, cinematography, and lighting are good as well. This is important with so much of the movie taking place in the castle, which is dark and creepy looking. The only place that the budget shows is in the creature effects. We get very little werewolf in movie and what we do see is again kept in the shadows. Given what we do see this is probably a good idea. But with the kind of story that they are telling not seeing the creature is a huge asset as it allows the mystery to build instead of getting bogged down in “hey look at the makeup” moments.

The only issue that I can find with the movie is that the characters do the typically silly eighties horror movie thing and keep splitting up. They split up to look for missing guests, split up again when they find a body, and split up yet again after they know a werewolf is wandering the halls of the castle. This is probably not the best idea. Other than that, I really enjoyed Howling Rebirth and am going to give it a recommendation. Crap I guess that means I should check out the other sequels… This is going to suck.

© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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