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What the Hell Did I Just Watch: The Howling: New Moon Rising

Ezekiel Kincaid

Jul 26, 2023

A werewolf movie so bad, you have to see it to believe it

Gather ‘round, aspiring movie directors and scriptwriters! It’s time for you to take notes on how to successfully kill a franchise in this edition of What the Hell Did I Just Watch. I want y’all to get acquainted with The Howling: New Moon Rising, also released as Howling: New Moon Rising and Howling VII: Mystery Woman. Never heard of it? Good! Let me remedy that for you.

For some unknown reason, my high school self bought this movie years ago on VHS. I was going through my collection the other day when I saw it and said, “Hmm, I don’t remember ever watching this one.” So, I popped it into the VCR and hit “Play” … then the suppressed memories came flooding back. Twenty minutes in, I remembered why I’d suppressed them in the first place.


Now, I might be wrong, but I have a conspiracy theory as to why this movie sucks so badly. I think there was a challenge made, or a wager, where someone said, “Hey, I bet no one out there can make The Howling sequels even worse.” Directors Clive Turner and Roger Nall heard about the challenge and said, “Here, hold our beers.”


Don’t believe me? Well, that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. I just don’t think it is possible to make a movie this bad unless there is some intentionality behind it. Surely these filmmakers couldn’t have been taking this movie seriously, could they? Or maybe they were … and that thought is scarier than anything in this low budget sewerfest. 


Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way first. The film is the seventh in the series and is a direct-to-video movie made in 1995—four years after the previous entry, The Howling VI: The Freaks. Turner and Nall should have ended the torture and stopped there, but they couldn’t leave well enough alone. Neither had ever directed a movie before, and they both made their debut with The Howling VII: New Moon Rising.


The plot is simple: A lone, red-haired drifter from Australia strolls in and settles in a small town. When he does, strange murders begin to happen, all of which trace back to him. Our lone cowboy, Ted Smith, is played by none other than Clive Turner himself, who also stars in The Howling V: The Rebirth.


Clive Turner as Ted Smith

All the other (and I use the term loosely) actors in this movie go by their real-life first names, and the only recognizable face is Mary Lou (Elizabeth Shé), who was the main character in The Howling V and The Howling VI.


Elizabeth Shé as Mary Lou

She has some scenes in The Howling: New Moon Rising that end up linking all three sequels together. And that is the only redeemable thing in this movie.


To start off, there’s lots of line dancing. Most of the movie is set in a country western bar. All the people in this town do all day is drink beer and line dance. At first, I thought, “Okay, cool, a line-dancing scene,” thinking it was just one. Yet there continues to be scene after scene after scene of pointless line dancing that adds nothing to the story. I think ole Turner and Nall were just proud of everyone’s skill and wanted to show it off a hundred times. That’s the only thing that makes sense in my mind as to why there is so much of it in the movie.


And gore? Those visceral kills we all love to see in werewolf movies? There are none. None! You never get to see the werewolf kill anyone. You see TWO dead bodies the entire movie, and it's after the fact. Even then, all the dead bodies have on them are a few gashes. You never get the satisfaction of seeing a bloody kill, dismemberment, decapitation, or disembowelment. The only cool scenes are the flashbacks from the previous installments.


Now, let’s talk werewolf transformations. Maybe they were saving the big payoff for this? That’s what I was hoping anyway. If that’s what you’re hoping, too, prepare to be disappointed. The transformation scene is a huge letdown. All we see are some cheap camera tricks on whatever camcorder they filmed the movie and then boom, a person dressed in a rubber werewolf mask shows up on screen. 


You’re in luck here, because in place of a movie trailer, all that seem to exist online are various scenes from the film, and it just so happens the werewolf transformation is one of them. So, for your viewing pleasure …


Jump back to 2021 for a second. Did you happen to see Werewolves Within—the who-done-it werewolf movie? If not, you can find it on Apple TV, Vudu, Roku, Prime Video, Hulu, and Max. The Howling: New Moon Rising tries to do some clever plot twists to keep you guessing who the real werewolf is, like Werewolves Within did, but it fails miserably. It is so outlandish, stupid, and confusing at times, and weird plot shit just keeps coming out of left field. I wish I could say, “Great writing job, fellas!” but I can’t. 


Should you watch this movie? Yes, you should. Why? Because it is THAT BAD and you have to see it to believe it. Besides, if I had to sit through it, so should you. Misery loves company.


The Howling: New Moon Rising got a whopping 1.8/10 stars on IMDb. Me? I give this movie one 1 of 5 drunken line dancers.


You can find The Howling: New Moon Rising streaming on Amazon Prime, Screambox, Freevee, and Tubi. 


You’re welcome.




Ezekiel Kincaid lives for horror and loves to watch it, write about it, and talk about it, whether that be in his own novels or in reviews. His experience as both a pastor and a paranormal investigator bring everything he writes to life. Want him to review something specific? Send an email to

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