Friday, October 25, 2013

The Howling: Episode VII

Howling 7: New Moon Rising DVD Rare

Oh. Holy. Shit.

This. This was some bullshit right here. The movie gods (devils) heard my complaints last round about the ho-hum lameness and lack of association in the last 3 films and delivered unto me The Howling VII: New Moon Rising, an artifact of such epochal, dimension-shambling awfulness that to view it is to go insane. And here's the real shit-kicker: this movie, shot for $40 and a sandwich on a VHS camcorder and starring no one, not a blessed soul, deigns to be the narrative glue that connects the last four clearly disparate films together. I stand humbled before you, movie devils.

As a bit of backstory, we need to be introduced to Clive Turner, the visionary responsible for documentary that calls itself a Howling movie. Clive co-wrote Howlings IV (where he had a bit part) and V (where he also acted in the role of Ted, a long-haired knob who ran out of the castle and was werewolfed in the snow) and decided that this masterful quadrilogy needed its curtain call. So, Clive unearths his character, now named Ray, and makes him a mysterious drifter who mysteriously drifts to a Branson-esque outpost in the arid nowhere of (very) Southern California - a place called Pioneertown. There are exactly two things in Pioneertown: a motel and...Christ, I have to breathe deeply into a brown paper bag before I can even say this....Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace, a bar and theater of sorts where the eponymous Pappy and Harriet perform country-western pantomimes so hokey that Andy Williams just rolled over in his grave and sharted.

And that's when you realize what is happening here, the chill spreading over your body like a blanket of icy curdled milk: Pioneertown is a real town; Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace is a real goddamned place; there is (or were) a real Pappy and Harriet, belching tunes to tiny crowds of rednecks and bikers; every shuffling troglodyte in this film is a real person, performing unsimulated his or her real actions and selfhood. About 10% of New Moon Rising is plot, the rest is scenes of local autochthons sitting, drinking, puking, slapping their knees, farting, drinking, picking their noses, burping, chuckling, drinking, and making grampa-at-the-VFW jokes so bad they kill children. I can't stress the existential dread I felt upon hearing one slack-toothed yokel murmur, "Thar's durt in th' chilleh!"and knowing the moment was not one of cinematic subject and object - he was really saying that and meaning it.

Other moments like that transcend the h'yuk h'yuk folkism the movie passes as humor and hover near the surreal: a group of townsfolk line-dance sadly in the dark; chili gives one man gas the instant it enters his mouth; Pappy sings about how beer is better than drugs. I don't. I don't even.

Story? Uh, well, Ted-Ray is totally alive and escaped Part V's werewolf and worst actress, Marylou, who had a pointless cameo in VI. Ray is hiding out in Pioneertown for reasons of nobody cares, where new slayings mean that Marylou has come back to town, though this is treated as a mystery until the end. Marylou is played by the same actress from V, and Romy Windsor, the main actress from IV appears for no reason and is immediately dispatched. Marylou becomes a werewolf in the worst transformation scene done by humans. The townspeople shoot her.

Despite being padded by footage from Parts IV, V, and VI, as well as old recordings of Harriet and Pappy performances straight from Satan's abattoir, it felt like it took 8 days for this movie to unfurl, treacling out like blubbery flesh. It is wonderfully bad, yes, but the taste is still acidic. The film is dedicated to Pappy, who had the good graces to die a couple months after filming, possibly after watching it, and I'm pretty sure he's been haunting Pioneertown ever since.

The Gaffer's Rating: 0 out of 4 Snausages.

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