Howling V: The Rebirth (1989) Review


Directed by Neal Sundstrom

Released in 1989

A bunch of strangers in a weird old mansion is a trope has been a trope for more than a century in literature and movies. Most famously found in thrillers by Agatha Christie, but quite popular in horror flicks as well, where the human murderer is replaced by a paranormal entity of some kind. Charles Band’s Full Moon Features used this setting extensively, since it’s cheaper to rent a mansion or a castle in Eastern Europe than building sets in Hollywood, especially when the work force required to make a film is cheaper there and not unionized.

The fifth sequel to The Howling (1981) is set in a haunted castle. One can never expect anything from a Howling film. The series makes the Children of the Corn series look planned out. Obviously, it has no connection to the previous films except the werewolf lore. Speaking of the werewolf lore, if I understood the film correctly, a werewolf can only be killed by a relative of his. That’s important to the story and it makes no sense at all. These are not Highlanders. They have been killed by silver bullets for centuries without any need for hereditary confirmation.

The story is simple. A bunch of D-grade actors got a trip to Hungary to play unmemorable characters that are to be killed off, one by one, by a werewolf in an ancient castle that was abandoned a millennia ago for some unknown werewolf-related reasons. Like Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988), the whole filmed is dubbed, so the actors could focus on the dramatic visualization of their roles. Also, like Original Nightmare, the film is produced and written by Clive Turner, who got a lot of blame for how bad that film turned out. He is probably to blame here, too.

One of my many issues with Original Nightmare was the suspicious lack of werewolves. There is nothing wrong with Jawsesque building of tension before we see the monster, however, I do take offense when the monster isn’t present. The Rebirth somehow manages to feature less werewolf action than the previous one. They are on screen for maybe a minute, if that. Even the poster has a werewolf from Original Nightmare on it.

Howling V: The Rebirth is a painfully dull, poorly produced and badly acted cheap cash in on a series that I don’t even know made any money to begin with. The fact that they couldn’t even write in, or afford, werewolves makes the film a must miss.

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