Howling VI: The Freaks


Action / Comedy / Drama / Horror


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Deep Roy as Toones
Carol Lynley as Miss Eddington
Bruce Payne as R.B Harker
Antonio Fargas as Bellamey

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Spikeopath 6 / 10

Finally a worthy sequel

The Howling (1981) remains to me one of the finest Werewolf movies ever made, though looking a bit tired these days, there still remains a wrought terror there, the effects work impressive even in this age of amazing effects advancements. What is actually surprising is that it would spawn a whole raft of sequels, becoming a cash cow franchise that not only failed to grasp the essence of writer Gary Brander's prose, but also in how the stories were schizophrenic in relation to the Werewolf formula.

Part VI: The Freaks is not a great movie, but it has a grand idea at its core, shifting the story arc into the mysterious realm of circus freaks, thus making this very much of interest for anyone with a kink for carnival/fairground/circus horror films. It's this backdrop, and the all round eerie atmospherics wrung out by director Hope Perello and cinematographer Edward Pei, that keeps this sequel above average.

Plot basically finds a drifter known only as Ian (Brendan Hughes) wandering into the town of Canton Bluff and in spite of some hostility from the sheriff of the town, manages to find some lodgings with troubled pastor Dewey (Jered Barclay) and his daughter Elizabeth (Michele Matheson). All seems rosy until the arrival of a travelling show called Harker's World of Wonders. Fronted by the mysterious R.B. Harker (Bruce Payne), it's a veritable showcase for the misfits, the freaks and the runts. But much like Harker has a dark secret, so too does Ian, and when revealed, the town of Canton Bluff will never be the same.

Unfortunately the main promotional poster for the film gives the game away, so it's no spoiler to say that it's all building towards a monster face-off, with the character name of Harker a not very subtle clue as well. In between there is the standard relationship building narrative, with Ian battling his demons as he comes to adore both Elizabeth and Dewey, while the tours around the "show" are suitably creepy. Payne is giving good pompous aristocratic entertainment, while seeing Antonio Fargas and Carol Lynley in this gives novelty value whilst serving to remind that actors do sometimes have to work for food!

It's dressed up nicely and never insulting, and in context to the budget available it deserves a gentle golf clap type of grudging appreciation. Even if it's hardly a must see for Werewolf lovers. 6/10

Reviewed by sgtking 6 / 10

Another interesting sequel that doesn't go far enough

The idea of two Horror monsters going at it always sounds like a cool idea. You would think that it wouldn't be too hard to blend the two mythologies together and lead up to an epic battle. This has been done from time to time, but not always successfully. In facts, more often than not "versus movies" are a letdown. 2003's 'Freddy vs. Jason' is an example of one that did well financially and with fans of both franchises and villains. This is a device that has been used to try and revive a dying series, which is the case with the fifth 'Howling' sequel. After a solid fifth entry the producers had to find some way to keep the series afloat and not let it sink again. The result is not totally satisfying, but worth seeing none-the-less.

Pros: Good work done by the cast. Excellent score. Interesting story that's different for the series. Pretty good make-up and special effects. Pace zips right along. Chilling stalk/attack sequences. Exciting finale.

Cons: Mostly uninspired direction. Leaves you with a feeling that more could have been with this. Romantic subplot that goes nowhere. Showdown should have been more drawn out.

Final thoughts: This installment of this odd series gets an A for effort. There's a lot of goods to be found here, but also a few faults. The main issues appear to be the low budget and script, which could have used some reworking. It's too bad because there is a lot of potential here, but still it's an interesting watch. It's also the last film in the series that can be recommended because after this things really took a dive.

My rating: 3/5

Reviewed by ([email protected]) 10 / 10

"Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to meet the devil!"

I really enjoyed this film.Normally I don't like werewolf movies but this one is very entertaining.It might not be scary enough,but it has really good characters.The werewolf is a good guy which is something,unlike other people,I enjoy!The real star of the film though is Bruce Payne who is once again amazing to watch as the bad guy.The fight scenes between werewolf and vampire are reasonably well executed.I don't like most of the other sequels to the original howling(especially that awful 3rd film)but this turned out to be much better than I had hoped.

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