Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988)

John Hough has some great movies on his directoral history, including Twins of Evil, The Legend of Hell House, The Watcher in the Woods, The Incubus, American GothicEscape to Witch MountainReturn to Witch Mountain and Biggles. Thats a great run. He also made this movie, which attempts to bring The Howling series back to something closer to the first film.

Author Marie Adams keeps having visions of nuns and werewolves attacking her from a fire. It seems like the same imagination that helps her write books is also helping her go crazy. Her husband takes her to a small village of Drago, where a small cottage will be the place that she plans on resting and relaxing away all the terror that she is going through. That would work if she didn’t keep hearing howling in the woods.

Much like the first film, her man can’t stay faithful. The small town is also rife with werewolves, ghosts and visions of the nun. The whole thing ends in a burning church and yes, that same werewolf leaping through the fire.

Well, if anything, this is the only werewolf movie I’ve seen that has a theme song by the lead singer of the Moody Blues. So there’s that.

That said, this is a more faithful version of the book than The Howling. Yet it’s not as good of a movie. Writer and co-producer of the film Clive Turner was originally going o direct, but when the financiers pulled out he had to get Hough on board.

That’s one story. The other is the one that Hough told Fangoria. The script was written by someone named Freddie Rowe and he would also receive notes and messages from him as well as additional pages of the script while making the movie. However, when the director asked for Rowe’s contact information, he was never given it, leading him to suspect Rowe of actually being Clive Turner, who really wanted to be the director of the movie. Seeing as how Rowe only wrote one other movie — Howling V: The Rebirth, which Turner also wrote — that may or may not be true.

Making that story sound even more true is the fact that Turner recut and re-edited the film, adding scenes like the one where the evil werewolf queen Eleanor went bobbing for hot dogs with Marie’s husband.

You can watch this for yourself on Tubi and try and make better sense of it than I did.

One thought on “Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988)

  1. “Bobbing for hot dogs.” Love it!

    I’m probably one of the few people on the planet that actually enjoys this film. It’s my second favorite Howling film after Joe Dante’s 1981 gem. While I know it’s extremely unlikely it would ever happen, I’d really like to see a Director’s Cut of this get released at some point. I’d be interested in seeing how Hough’s vision deviates from what Turner ended up giving us. The rumor was that Turner went as far as to create a “writer” for the film whom Hough had never met or was allowed to meet. All the while changes to the script were coming in from a writer nobody had ever heard of or met. Hough suspected it was actually Turner himself who was making the changes to the script. But, all in all, I tend to agree with Clive. In the end I think they got a reasonable film out of The Original Nightmare considering the power struggle at play and the miniscule budget.


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