A long-unexpected revival comes our way, folks, and just in time for Halloween. You won’t be able to catch The Howling Reborn until this Tuesday, folks, but we’ve got a special advance look thanks to the folks out at Anchor Bay. And what we’re getting a fresh revival of is no less than one of the last such untrammeled franchises of the eighties: The Howling.
The Howling Reborn joins us with Will Kidman, who’s about to graduate from high school. Sensing he’s got precious little left to lose, he makes a play for the brass ring, a pretty classmate he’s been interested in for years. But this idyllic young love is interrupted when we discover that Kidman is part of a line of legendary monsters, namely, werewolves. And now, a load of werewolf hunters has recently arrived in town sensing that Kidman is about to come into his full lycanthropic destiny. Now, with young love on one hand and certain death on the other, Will’s got to fight back against enemies both within and without to save his dream girl and land his happily ever after.
This may well be one of the strangest horror movies I’ve seen in a good long while. Not only do you have the sheer massed ranks of weirdness that this movie relentlessly puts up–the bit with Will taking on the school bully, who for some reason has brought a gun to school to take on a nerd, is nothing short of preposterous–but you also have the strange amount of downright Williamson-esque teen drama that gets shot into this thing like adrenaline into a seized heart. In fact, large portions of the movie won’t even make a whole lot of sense even when viewed through hindsight. That and I’m getting kind of tired of watching movie monsters who think they’re superior to normal humanity because they’ve got a few extra abilities and absolutely nothing resembling restraint or decent moral behavior. I got enough of that with the vampires, I sure don’ t need to see it with the werewolves too.
Though even I have to admit, the last half hour of this one really does pick up, and it represents a big improvement over the previous hour. This by itself is somewhat odd–it’s not every day I see a movie manage to overcome a horrible sludgy opening hour to become a worthwhile, killer last half hour. The end result is a very mixed bag that, while somehow managing to be more teen-angst-whiny than anything that came out of the nineties, still has a little good old fashioned horror punch to it.
The Screenhead Ten Scale in turn gives The Howling Reborn a seven out of ten. It’s got its share of problems, but man, does it manage to put on a good show. Stick around after the credits for extra surprises on this one, and I think you’ll find it’s worth your time.