Sunday, February 17, 2013

THE HOWLING: NEW MOON RISING, THE (1995) movie review

Howling: New Moon Rising, The (aka The Howling VII) (1995) d. Turner, Clive (UK/USA)

Writer/producer/director/star Turner resurrects the long-running, wildly erratic lycanthrope series for a seventh go-round...then proceeds to line-dance all over its grave. This final (barring 2011's reboot The Howling: Reborn) installment in the hodgepodge werewolf series based on Gary Brandner’s novels features lots of down-home, country-fried humor, mostly of the sniggering, self-congratulatory kind – which might not be so bad if any of it were actually funny.

While there’s really no point in lodging complaints about the besmirchment of Joe Dante’s 1981 original (Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf already took care of that), there’s nary a hairy beast nor transformation to be seen throughout the entire film, unless you count the occasional flashback to Howlings 4, 5 and 6, the exception being a clumsy, lazy, last minute morph that constitutes the film’s “climax.” There’s even a nod to the audacious anomaly that was HIII: The Marsupials in that our writer-producer-director-star Clive Turner hails from the land Down Under. What our ambulating Aussie is doing in Texas is anyone’s guess, though the suspicions arise soon enough that he might get even furrier (hard to imagine, considering Turner’s natural hirsute appearance) when the moon is full.

Outrageously padded with countless country music numbers, glum and shadowy scenes of bored line-dancers, hysterical fashion accidents, low-wattage acting, numerous “comedic” vignettes showing off Turner’s supposed wit and guile...and fart jokes. Most of the goddawful “story” is supplied by John Ramsden’s smart aleck detective and severe priest-cum-werewolf hunter Jack Huff. And, for what its worth, both Turner and co-star Elizabeth Shé appeared in previous Howling installments (she in V and VI, he in IV and V).

Unless you’re a fan of amateur hour country music, this is nothing less than 90 minutes of sheer agony, only to be seen in the company of trash-loving fiends, preferably with alcohol to dull the pain.


  1. Oh man, the pain, the pain! It is amazing how Turner complete fired a silver bullet into this franchise with this film. I mean, how can you co-star in part 5 and not have the sense to try and connect part 7 via the character you played in that? At least try! Just insane.

    1. I initially watched this on my own and it nearly killed me. Then my buddy John Pata convinced me to watch it again in a group setting. Even with all the MST3K action going on, everyone was still ready to commmit hiri-kiri before it was all over. Now that says something.