70 user 38 critic

Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988)

R | | Horror | Video November 1988
A successful author moves to a small town after suffering a mental breakdown and is tormented by demons and werewolves.


John Hough, Clive Turner (uncredited)


Gary Brandner (based on the novels "The Howling I, II, & III" by), Clive Turner (story by) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Romy Windsor ... Marie
Michael T. Weiss ... Richard
Antony Hamilton ... Tom
Susanne Severeid ... Janice
Lamya Derval Lamya Derval ... Eleanor
Norman Anstey Norman Anstey ... Sheriff
Kate Edwards Kate Edwards ... Mrs Ormstead
Dennis Folbigge Dennis Folbigge ... Dr Coombes
Anthony James Anthony James ... Fater Camefron
Dale Cutts Dale Cutts ... Dr. Heinemann
Clive Turner Clive Turner ... Tow Truck Driver
Megan Kruskal Megan Kruskal ... Sister Ruth
Denis Smith Denis Smith ... Mr. Ormstead
Greg Latter Greg Latter ... John (as Gregg Latter)
Maxine John Maxine John ... Paula


A successful author was sent to the small town of Drago because of a nervous breakdown, and gets wound up in an unknown mystery about demons and werewolves. She begins seeing ghosts and dismisses them as her own imagination, but when they turn out to be real, she begins to get suspicious of the small town and of its past. But at the heart of this scenic, serene village is much darker than its benign appearance; and while she hopes her vacation will dispel her visions, a sinister presence has drawn her there. She will soon discover that the ghosts that have haunted her are real and that her horrific visions are an unknown message. Written by Matt Dotzenroth <smdotzen@compmore.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Terror unleashed from the cages of hell... See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The Howling (1981) and Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988) are both based on the same novel by Gary Brandner. Interestingly, Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988) actually represents the more faithful adaptation of the novel than The Howling (1981). See more »


When Tom is speaking to Janice in the parking lot of the the archives, when his back is shown, his lips continue to move during an audio pause between sentences. See more »


Marie Adams: I saw Sister Ruth last night.
Janice Hatch: What?
Marie Adams: I know this is going to sound crazy. Maybe it is, but, I saw her here. And the expression on her face... was like... something horrible was happening right here in my living room. Like, I don't know what.
[Janice doesn't respond]
Marie Adams: I told you I have quite an imagination.
See more »


Referenced in 31 Days of Horror: Howling IV (1988) (2011) See more »


(from 'The Four Seasons', op. 8)
Written by Antonio Vivaldi (as Vivaldi)
Performed by The Orchestra Da Camera Di Milano
See more »

User Reviews

No terror on this journey
14 February 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Of 'The Howling' franchise, the best of the films will always be the first by some considerable distance. While not perfect, it's the only one classed by me as good, still having a lot of wit and atmosphere with amazing effects. Don't consider the numerous sequels (seen as part of a franchise completest quest) completely disposable, but all of them have major problems and are nowhere near close to being as good, suffering primarily from looking cheap, poorly written and acted and either being far too silly from taking the camp to extremes or being too serious.

Didn't care at all for the previous two sequels, which suffered from all the above problems bar the being too serious one, the excessive campiness and cheapness indicating films made by people who had completely forgotten seemingly what was good about 'The Howling'. It is hard to say whether 'Howling IV' is better or worse than the previous two instalments, in my mind they are as very bad as each other in their own way. Sure 'Howling IV' is one of the more faithful 'Howling' films to the source material, as has been mentioned frequently here, and it does try to take itself more seriously compared to the previous two sequels with the daftness and campiness being nowhere near as strong.

Sadly, all of this should have made 'Howling IV' a superior film but it is an instance of being more faithful not being a good thing. Have actually found this a lot in the past, when a re-make or another version of a book etc. is made that is more faithful in some way but in translation loses what made the previous version(s) so memorable on its own terms or doesn't have the same amount of impact. That was one of 'Howling IV's' biggest issues, it completely lacks the wit and atmosphere of 'The Howling' and has the opposite problem of the previous two sequels of being completely bland and taking itself too seriously. For most of the film, there is absolutely no tension or suspense and what little there is of the story is meandering, contrived and with nothing to it. On top of the first quarter of an hour being rather rushed, on the most part 'Howling IV' takes far too long to get going with interminably sloggy pacing, often uneventful stoytelling and too much emphasis on very talky and utterly uninteresting melodrama passing for dialogue and drama.

The acting from a largely unknown cast is better not going into too much detail because there isn't really much acting going on to warrant talking about. Not one redeeming cast member and they are all as bad as each other that giving an award for who fared worst of all would be hard. 'Howling IV' on the most part looks cheap, with editing that really lacks flow and feels slapped together while the camera work is chaotic and the lighting dreary. Most of the effects are slapdash at best and they and any gore are used gratuitously, despite being present much less than in the previous two films. The werewolves are criminally underused and are not scary at all while the direction has no character, style or pace.

What does redeem 'Howling IV' a little are a few things. It does pick up a little in the last twenty minutes, where there is a little fun and well-timed genuine shocks (too far and between) that come far too late. A few of the effects are decent and a little credit is due for them not being overused or being as bad-looking as in 'Howling II' and 'III'.

Likewise with the music, which is a lot less intrusive or inappropriately cheap here with a nice enough main theme that doesn't grate.

So all in all, a mess and far from terrifying but with a few merits. 3/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

November 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Howling IV: The Original Nightmare See more »

Filming Locations:

Fresno, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Matrix Surround



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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