Howling IV: The Original Nightmare is a 1988 direct-to-video horror film. It is a sequel to The Howling, and was directed by John Hough from a screenplay by Freddie Rowe and Clive Turner. It stars Romy Windsor, Michael T.Weis, Antony Hamilton, Susanne Severeid, and Lamya Derval. International Video Entertainment (IVE) released this film directly to home video in 1988. Platinum Disc Corporation released it to DVD in 2004. It was filmed on location South Africa. The Back of the DVD shows scenes from Howling III: The Marsupials.
An author who was sent to the small town Drago, because of a nervous breakdown, gets wound up in a mysterious mystery about demons and werewolves. She starts seeing ghosts and dismisses them as her own imagination, but when they turn out to be real, she starts to get suspicious of the odd town and of its past.
After experiencing visions of a nun, author Marie Adams (Romy Windsor) is in the middle of a meeting with her agent, Tom Billings (Antony Hamilton), when she has another vision of a wolf-like creature lunging from a fire, and begins to scream hysterically. Marie’s husband, Richard (Michael T. Weiss), discusses her condition with her doctor, agreeing that Marie’s overactive imagination is leading her into some dangerous territory. The doctor advises Richard to take Marie away from the pressures of her life for a few weeks. Richard locates a cottage in the small town of Drago, some hours from Los Angeles. Tom drives Marie there, but then departs quickly in the face of Richard. Marie looks around the cottage and declares it to be perfect; but that night, while she and Richard are making love, Marie is disturbed by the sound of howling out in the woods. The next day, Marie and Richard look around Drago, where they meet the mysterious Eleanor (Lamya Derval), a local artist who owns a shop of antiques and knick-knacks, and the Ormsteads, who run the local store. Marie takes her dog for a walk, and becomes distressed when he runs off. That night, Marie dreams of wolves, of herself running through the woods, and of the same nun of whom she had visions. Richard drives into Los Angeles for a meeting, and Marie spends time chatting with Mrs. Ormstead, who tells her about the previous couple to occupy the cottage, and that they left town without a word. Marie is walking home through the woods when, suddenly, she sees before her the nun of her visions. She runs after her – but it turns out to be Eleanor in a dark cape. Eleanor points out a shortcut to the cottage, which Marie takes. She discovers a cave on the way, and what’s left of her dog. In horror, Marie runs through the woods, suddenly aware that she is being pursued. At the cottage, Richard quiets his hysterical wife and checks outside, but sees nothing; not even the dark figure nearby. The next morning, Marie witnesses a strange apparition: an elderly man and woman who appear in her living-room and who warn her to go away. Marie is momentarily distracted by a car pulling up outside, and the next instant her ghostly visitors are gone. The newcomer is Janice Hatch (Susanne Severeid), who is holidaying in the area and is a fan of Marie’s writing. Marie invites her in and, as they are talking, mentions the howling that she hears at night. After some hesitation, Janice reveals that she used to be a nun, and that her closest friend, Sister Ruth (Megan Kruskal), disappeared over a year ago, only to be found in Drago speaking incoherently of the devil, and a bell, and the sound of howling. After a long illness, Ruth died without ever being able to explain what happened to her; and Janice, determined to discover the truth, left the convent. Marie is disturbed by the mention of a nun, and becomes even more so when Janice shows her a photograph of Sister Ruth: it is the nun from her visions. Meanwhile, Richard, becoming frustrated with Marie's instability and visions, becomes drawn to Eleanor and sleeps with her. Marie eventually learns that all the inhabitants of the village are werewolves and Sister Ruth was babbling "Werewolves here" rather than "We're all in fear" as everyone had assumed. When she tells Richard what she's learned, he angrily dismisses her claims and goes for a walk in the woods by their house. As he's walking, he sees Eleanor seemingly waiting for him. As the two begin to get intimate, the evil Eleanor transforms into a werewolf, bites Richard, and runs off. He stumbles back to the house and tells Marie he saw the werewolf. But that night after being examined by the town doctor, he claims he just fell down. Richard begins acting strangely and the next night as he's walking in the woods, transforms into a werewolf as the villagers, who are also revealed as werewolves look on and then attempt to attack Marie. Marie escapes and following the storyline of the original folk tale she lures the inhabitants to the local church using its bell and then burns them all alive, including Richard. The film ends with a burning werewolf lunging at Marie out of the fire just as she had foretold in her vision.
- Romy Windsor as Marie
- Michael T. Weiss as Richard Adams
- Antony Hamilton as Tom
- Susanne Severeid as Janice
- Lamya Derval as Eleanor
- Norman Anstey as Sheriff
- Kate Edwards as Mrs. Ormstead
This film has not generally been well received by horror fans due to little- on screen werewolf activity. Fangoria awarded the film its 1988 Golden Chainsaw Award for best Direct-to-video feature.
Co-Writer Clive Turner appears in the film as a tow truck driver. Turner also worked on the subsequent Howling V: The Rebirth and wrote and directed the seventh film in the Howling series, Howling: New Moon Rising.
The Film's theme Something Evil, Something Dangerous was performed by Justin Hayward, lead singer of the Moody Blues.
- Howling IV: The Original Nightmare at the Internet Movie Database
- Howling IV: The Original Nightmare at AllMovie
- Howling IV: The Original Nightmare at Rotten Tomatoes
- Howling IV: The Original Nightmare at Wikipedia
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