Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988 Video)
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There are two good things I can say about this movie. First, it serves as a lesson about how not to adapt a book to the screen. Second, it shows how much of a great film The Howling is, simply by comparison. As it's another version of the same novel, you already pretty much know the plot ... a disturbed woman goes to a retreat of some kind in order to set her mind straight, and decides to investigate a mysterious howling in the woods. The only positive thing I'll say about the adaptation is that it retains the strong religious element from the book, which was neglected in the Joe Dante version. This movie is apparently a lot closer to Gary Brandner's novel, but it lacks any of the flavour, metaphor or subtext.
First off, you don't care about the characters. Secondly, it just isn't scary. Director John Hough may manage to stay faithful to the book like some kind of a literary parrot, but apparently he hasn't heard of those things we call mood or pace or style ... in no way does this feel like a horror movie (it features the most un-frightening ghosts I've ever seen in a film). It's not even a particularly well-made film, and I noticed several errors in continuity. The acting isn't great, as all of the cast seem to belong on a soap opera, but by no means is that the worst thing about the movie. Also, for some odd reason all the dialogue is dubbed. Badly. And there's no excuse for it ... it just distracts you from the rest of the scene (or perhaps that was the intention). The special effects are actually very good, but unfortunately you don't see any of them until the last ten minutes of the movie when they're all thrown together in a hectic mish-mash.
Why do we need this movie? It sure beats me. There's absolutely no reason to watch it, unless you're curious about the original novel but can't be bothered to read it. Joe Dante's The Howling is superior in every single way.
This is one god-awful cheap-looking crappily acted mess with the most unsustainably fake and illogical werewolf transformation in history. Having the victim regress to a pile of glutinous mush then (quick reversal of film) reconstitute himself as a lycanthropic tease with major orthodontic problems? Huh???? not to mention the hour or so everyone's been yawning, wondering where the film actually is!
They even had the temerity to rip off the original's finale...herding all the K-mart inspired werewolves into a belltower for a spot of the old mass-destruction! Not that you can actually SEE anything!
For reasons of international "co-operation" shall we say, this abysmal flick was shot in South Africa with the majority of the cast being locals, needing to be dubbed into Anericanese during post-production. It shows!
Howling IV is about a writer named Marie who after having a metal breakdown goes to a town called Drago with her husband Richard. Once there Marie begins to hear howling noises from outside, her husband think's she's making it all up due to her breakdown and the townsfolk are not too concerned about the noises. Soon an ex-nun arrives and tells Marie about a friend of her's that was attacked in Drago and Marie has seen her in her mind. The two soon go off searching for info about the town's history.
Her husband soon catches an eye on the art owner who resembles a similar look to Marsha from The Howling. After meeting her again in the woods she changes into a Werewolf and bites. After telling Marie it was a wolf that attacked him the next day he tells her he fell and scratched is shoulder.
Soon her nun friend discovers that the town people are Werewolves and hurries to warn Marie, meanwhile Marie's publisher Tom also tries to warn Marie but sees Richard in the road thriving in pain. He tries to help him only to get killed by a Werewolf in the bushes. It's not long before Marie and the ex-nun hide in the bell tower where Marie must wait outside while she summons the Werewolves with the bell.
Doing so Marie has no choice but to burn the tower with her friend, and after looking at the burnt body of her husband a Werewolf jumps out at her.
Although I haven't read the novels reading the reviews and seeing the film gives me a clue what the novel is like. Howling IV isn't a bad film, the transformation is kind of good and the Werewolf in the tower isn't that bad. The one thing is that the Werewolves don't show themselves until the final twenty minutes of the movie but I wasn't that bothered. I enjoyed the film.
I also love that theme song "Something evil, something dangerous"
movies were made from these books. Even though this movie
may seem like a remake of the original, it is actually the one movie
closest to the first book. When seen from this perspective it's a
pretty good movie. Plus you get to see Michael T. Weiss (of TV's
Pretender fame) with a mullet! What more can you ask for from a horror movie with the number 4
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
If we've got to have a Howling movie so similar (plot-wise) to the first one, could we at least have it improve on the original in just one way? Apparently not.
A real sleeping pill about a woman recovering from a trauma, sent to a wilderness retreat, finding that nearly everyone there is a werewolf. Nothing happens in this entire movie, just a lot of yawning from the audience. As with several other films in this series, good on-location photography (this time in South Africa) can't redeem an otherwise unwatchable flick.
This looks like it could have been a TV movie. And a terrible one, at that.
1/2 a star out of ****
The quality of the film as a whole, is more at a level you'd expect from an episode of a series, than you would from a film.
What you get instead is an incredibly boring movie. It's so slow. Nothing happens. There's no budget, fine, but why also must there be no fun? Lackadaisical la-de-da storytelling. My lord. At least the last two went for it. It's not terrible, but man have some imagination here. It's The Howling 4 for crying out loud.
The lead male looks like David Copperfield's long lost illegitimate son. The lead female is rather bland - but then again so is the rest of the cast.
I think I'll just leave this one in the past where it belongs. Not worth finishing the movie - leave it as a distant, fading memory.
Here's the problem: The story sucks. Apparently this is closer to the book than the first Howling. I saw the first movie many years ago, and don't remember it as being this horrible. The script, the dialogue, the stupid non-important, non-consequential scenes. It's so incredibly boring. The acting is horrible all around. You could tell Romy Windsor, the main female actress is trying. But trying does not mean you should be in front of the camera. Maybe as a model. Not as an actress. All the rest of the cast sucks completely. The worst actor here is the husband. Again, he is no actor. Maybe as a clothing model. This guy has zero acting talent. The wife's boyfriend. He was slightly better than the husband, but what the hell was his story line in the movie. The former nun, acting is whatever. How does she go from being a nun to a civilian and all of a sudden she has a car, fancy clothes and can stay in hotels? Where did she get the money for all that?
This movie is consistently bad all around. The camera work sucks. The editing is whatever. Best part is when that couple gets killed by the water halfway through the movie. And guess what, they screw that up too with some completely inappropriate music. I mean this thing has to be seen to be believed.
There are scenes where the husband and wife are in the cabin talking about some stupidity. The camera angle is like, OK, we got the shot, roll the film. Nothing special going on. Conversation is not moving the film forward.
We don't get to see any wherewolfs, or wolfmen, or whatever the hell they are until the last 10 minutes. The worst transformation scene ever! Worst, and ugliest costumes and that includes the human wardrobe. Take a look at that double button down vest on the doctor. This is one stupid and ugly movie. Sets suck, take a look at that town and the cabin. Crappy music, crappy dialogue, crappy non acting, no chemistry, no packing, no atmosphere, no surprises, no nothing.
If you can bare to watch this it would be a test in discipline and endurance. It took me two sittings.
I have read most of the user reviews and some of the critic reviews. And You Call Yourself a Scientist! critic reviews was most entertaining to read as they give a very good account of this mess of a movie. There should be a book written about this movie. Screen for screen description of how not to make a movie, and what is wrong with each scene, and an overall serious takedown of the screenplay and the movie overall. Now, that would be entertaining. Then they should produce a remix of this movie with 50's TV laugh tracks. Then we are in the realm of full blown entertainment.
As it stands, this thing is garbage. No value at all. It is not so bad it's good. It is not so bad it's bad. It is so bad, you fall asleep. I still believe Suspiria is the worst movie ever, simply because a lot of people actually love it. Which is inconceivable. But, there is room at the bottom for Howling IV.
Complete Failure! F, 1 star. One thing it does do, it elevates other crappy movies like Star Wars Force Awakens to entertainment level.
Bless them, they were trying their best to give the story some kind of class. But it's just plain boring. The movie spends a whole hour to mystifying the fact that we are dealing with werewolfs here. We already know that, guys! It's the fourth movie, there's no need to be so secretive about it. The production is riddled with shortcomings. The editing is unbelievably sloppy and the sound is inconsistent. The script is slow and predictable. The special effects at the end of the movie are alright, and the obligatory transformation scene is pretty cool. But at this point, why should we even care?
"Howling IV" is a truly mystifying movie. There's just no good reason for this remake to exist. It's worse than the original in every single way, and the original wasn't that great in the first place. A lycanthropic sleeping pill – ingest at your own risk.
The movie's subtitled "The Original Nightmare" because it's more faithful to Gary Brandner's original novel, which doesn't mean it's better, not even close. The low-budget prevents it from being anything more than a decent sequel with a rushed, awkward ending. Unlike the classic "The Howling" (1981), werewolves are scarce, but it's superior to "Howling II" (1985) and "Howling III" (1987) in that it throws out Phillippe Mora's goofy camp and general eccentricities.
I like the slow-build mystery and the cast. There's some quality full moon ambiance as well and Windsor & Severeid make for an effective female team. Moreover, Weiss is one of the few actors who could get away with a mullet. While the bulk of the movie was shot in the sticks of South Africa, and you can tell, it's not THAT bad of a substitute for the desert wilderness of Southern Cal. Actually, it makes for an interesting change of pace for the barely-connected series of stand-alone werewolf flicks.
The film runs 94 minutes and was shot in South Africa with some parts in Fresno & Los Angeles, California. It was directed by John Hough from a script by Clive Turner and Freddie Rowe. Clive would continue serious work with the franchise on 1989's "Howling V: The Rebirth" and 1995's "Howling: New Moon Rising."
This film starred: Romy Windsor, Michael T. Weiss & Anthony Hamilton.
I have seen the first 4 howling films and this is my favourite one although I still don't like it. In my opinion best to worst is like this (so far as I have not seen some of the sequels)...
Howling 4 Howling Howling 3 Howling 2
This film is not really recommended.
This film starred: Romy Windsor, Michael T. Woods & Anthony Hamilton.
Howling 4 is the best from the first 4 films but it is still crap, It's boring and dull. Again not recommended.
A young mystery writer (Romy Windsor) becomes plagued by weird visions of wolves. She and her husband (Michael T. Weiss) decide a country vacation is just the right prescription. At the same cabin in which a nun was found nearly catatonic and babbling incoherently about demons and danger, the two take up residence. During the nights, she begins hearing eerie howling sounds. Her husband brushes them off as the new surroundings making her crazy. Befriending a friend of the nun (Susanne Severeid), the two decide to explore the nearby town. Finding the locals quietly resentful, she begins to suspect foul play and tells her husband. He again laughs it off as the new surroundings and storms out in anger. Walking alone at night in the forest, he is attacked by a werewolf and bitten savagely. He barely manages to stagger home. Convinced more than ever that something weird is going on, the writer and her friend decide to investigate the town some more. They discover that a local church bell is from a town in Europe called Drago, the birthplace of werewolves. They then uncover another startling secret concerning the nun that finally solves the missing pieces of the puzzle. Again trying to explain to her husband what is happening, he goes into a rage and storms out, never to be seen again. The writer and her friend try a last ditch effort to rid themselves of the werewolves.
The Good News: What I enjoyed about this movie was it's simple story than followed along quite nicely. The several subplots don't get in the way too much and help the movie. There isn't a second of the film that seems like filler material. It keeps your attention throughout and, unlike most werewolf movies, gives quite a lot of suspenseful scenes and effective scares. The special mention is the part when Weiss is in the forest with the slut from the town and they start to kiss, then she ducks her head down to kiss his neck. When she pulls her head up, it is a true demonic werewolf face that comes up rapidly. It is better than how I wrote it, but the scene is quite nicely done. Steve Johnson's XFX Inc did a truly recommendable job in place of Rick Baker in special effects, and he creates several impressive scenes. Remarkably, the goriest scene isn't a werewolf attack, but Weiss disintegrating from flesh done to a flopping skeleton in an at least three minute scene. It still gives me the creeps when I see that part. The only downfall was an unspectacular transformation that takes place in about thirty seconds. Compared to the amazing disintegration scene, it leaves one puzzled. Another interesting part was the subplot involving the nun. I don't want to give away too much, but this subplot would have damaged the movie if handled poorly, but director John Hough made it work. Uncovering her cryptic saying tied the loose ends of the movie together and made it enjoyable. Replaying the original legend of the church bell, they lead the werewolves into the church and then blow the place up, burning all the wolves inside and ending the threat is a great ending, but it feels to rushed to have been done effectively. It allows for some good action parts, and the fiery destruction of the landmark building in town is a nice visual to end on.
The Bad News: The film does have a few flaws, such as the hurried ending. After discovering the truth about the village and the bell tower, the film ends five minutes later. The two woman lead the wolves into the church by ringing the bell, then setting the place on fire. It seems like it could have been dragged out an extra couple minutes by giving the two some obstacle to overcome at the end, as they set about destroying the place in a remarkable amount of time when infiltrating the enemy's headquarters. The lone werewolf inside offers no challenge to the two and lets them go about their business. Also, for a werewolf movie, the werewolves are on screen a relatively short amount of time. Most of their screen time comes in the final ten minutes of the movie, making it a slight disappointment if you want to see a lot of werewolf attacks or seeing them on screen.
The Final Verdict: 'Howling IV: The Original Nightmare' is a better werewolf movie than either the original 'Howling' or 'An American Werewolf in London.' It contains some convincing lead performances and some impressive gore set pieces. This is recommended viewing for any werewolf movie fan.
Rate R: Graphic Violence, Nudity, a sex scene, and some language
Think about the original Howling, but with different and less likable characters, a less interesting setting, poorly done f/x, and a not so good plot.
"The Original Nightmare" is a dull version of "The Howling" disguised as a sequel. The acting is horrid except for Romy Windsor who seemed to have a bright future because of her looks and decent acting skills. The direction is dull, boring, and does not offer anything for the viewer. The f/x as I mentioned, are poorly done and have nothing to do with the original. Ugh. The gore is laughable and I won't even talk about the beasts.
Please, my advice is, avoid this horrid sequel. It's truly one of the worst sequels to any movie. Not to mention that it has one of the most horrible endings in the history of Horror! The look of Romy Windsor's face in the last scene summons the whole movie.
The acting is worse than i've ever seen before. And to stay awake through the whole movie you should not have seen the first because it kinda gives EVERYTHING away. Bad camera work, bad screenplay with cheesy lines with every possible clichés in it. And on top of all this: Extra low budget. Low budget doesn't mean the movie automatically sucks. It's not worth making a movie with very little money unless you're clever and creative. These guys were not.
Usually this kind of super-sucking low budget b-movies make you laugh and deserve some credit as "Hilarious and good bad-b-movies". But no, this one doesn't and i cannot recommend it to anyone, not even the howling fans.
One star for cool latex-gore effects in the end.