Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (Video 1988) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A successful author moves to a small town after suffering a mental breakdown and is tormented by demons and werewolves.

  • A successful author was sent to the small town of Drago because of a nervous breakdown, and gets wound up in an unknown mystery about demons and werewolves. She begins seeing ghosts and dismisses them as her own imagination, but when they turn out to be real, she begins to get suspicious of the small town and of its past. But at the heart of this scenic, serene village is much darker than its benign appearance; and while she hopes her vacation will dispel her visions, a sinister presence has drawn her there. She will soon discover that the ghosts that have haunted her are real and that her horrific visions are an unknown message.

  • After a nervous breakdown, bestselling thriller author Marie Adams takes a much needed vacation with her husband in the country. In her rural hideout, she gets little rest as bizarre and unknown things begin to happen to her. Her dog vanishes, she sees visions of a nun and suffers from reoccurring nightmares about werewolves. The residents are little comfort and when her nightmares become reality, she discovers that the sinister terror has been resurrected. As her husband transforms into a werewolf before her very eyes, she becomes involved in a one-woman battle against the bloodthirsty creatures.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • After experiencing visions of a nun, author Marie Adams (Romy Windsor) is in the middle of meeting 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 her overacting imagination is leading her into some dangerous territory. The doctor advises Richard to take her away from the pressures of life for several 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 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 manage 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 in the words, 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 who 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 in her visions. She runs after her - but this 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 visions are gone. The newcomer is Janice Hatch (Susanne Severeid), who is taking a holiday in the area and is a huge 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 being able to explain what happened to her; and determined to discover the truth, Janice left the covenant. Marie is disturbed by the mention of the nun, and becomes even more so when Janice shows her a photograph of Sister Ruth; it is the nun from her visions. Meanwhile, becoming frustrated with Marie's instability and visions, Richard becomes drawn to Eleanor and sleeps with her.

    Marie eventually learns that most of the inhabitants of the village are werewolves and Sister Ruth was babbling "Werewolves are here" and "We're all in fear" as everyone has assumed. When she tells Richard what she has learned, he angrily dismisses her claims and goes for a walk in the woods by their house. As he is 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 that he saw the werewolf. But that night, after being examined by the doctor, he claims that he just fell down. Richard begins acting strangely and the next night as he is 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 of the local church using its bell and then burns most of them alive, including Richard. The film ends with a burning werewolf lunging at Marie out of the fire, just as she had foretold in her visions.

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