Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1998)

howling iv the original nightmare poster 1988 movie
3.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 5/10

Some originality, weird werewolf transformations

Sort of a remake of the original, horrible script and acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Howling IV:  The Original Nightmare

Studio:  Warner Bros.

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  November 1988

MPAA Rating:  R


I like to eat people

Writer Marie Adams (Romy Windsor) is plagued by visions of wolves and nuns and believes she is going crazy.  When her doctor suggests a break, Marie’s husband Richard (Michael T. Weiss) rents a cottage in the California countryside town of Drago.  Marie’s visions keep coming and now they are joined by howls in the night.  When a woman named Janice Hatch (Susanne Severeid) reveals to Marie that her friend had some event in Drago which led to her death, Marie and Janice realize there must be a connection to Marie’s visions…but what is Drago hiding?

Directed by John Hough, Howling IV:  The Original Nightmare is a follow-up to Howling III:  The Marsupials from 1987.  The straight-to-video werewolf horror film is a closer adaptation of the original The Howling by Gary Brandner from 1977.  The film was generally panned by critics.


This does make it easy for the dentist

I love the original Howling and have also read the short novel.  I remember when I heard that they had done a version of the novel, I was curious…unfortunately, the movie is so cheap.

The story is much like the original story…just slightly skewered.  The basic framework is still there, but the names have all been changed to create a bigger rift from the first film.  Though the story might be more faithful, the first film is just a better telling of it.  If the first film had resembled this story, it might have been good as well…but here it just feels redundant.  Plus, the solution of burning of the barn seemed tacked on.

The acting is atrocious throughout the film.  The C-Listers of the movie are mostly from South Africa where it was shot and this means a lot of dubbed voices.  I don’t think that the actors are any great actors, but they really struggle here with the poor dialogue.


That’s a spicy meatball!!!

Visually, the movie isn’t up to the level of the first film, but I do have to say it features one of the strangest werewolf transformations I’ve ever seen.  The movie treats the transformation more like a skinwalker legend.  The character (at least for the first transformation) completely sheds his skin and emerges from a pool of goo.  It is gross…cheap but gross.  It also doesn’t make much sense with the other transformations that vary from straight wolf transformation and ripping out of their skin transformations…apparently it varies.

Howling IV:  The Original Nightmare isn’t very good, but it is a bit different in the realm of werewolf films.  There is some originality to it, and in that sense, it might be worth seeking out. Howling IV:  The Original Nightmare was followed by Howling V:  The Rebirth in 1989.

Related Links:

The Howling (1981)

Howling III:  The Marsupials (1987)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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