Howling VI: The Freaks is a 1991 direct-to-video horror directed by Hope Perello, from the screenplay by Kevin Rock, starring Brendan Hughes, Bruce Payne, Michele Matheson, Sean Gregory Sullivan, (a.k.a. Sean Sullivan) and Carol Lynley. "The Freaks" is the sixth entry in the series of seven standalone films with a loose continuity. Like most of the other films, the film is loosely based on The Howling series of novels by Gary Brandner; however, minor elements from the third novel, The Howling III: Echoes, are in the film, which includes the solitary drifter who is cursed as a sympathetic werewolf and later recruited by a supernatural being, as well as werewolves being used in carnival freak shows.
Artisan Home Entertainment and Timeless Media Group has released this film along with Howling V: The Rebirth as a double feature on DVD and as a triple feature with Howling IV: The Original Nightmare and Howling V: The Rebirth on Blu-ray.
A young girl runs through the woods being chased by a creature which corners and kills her, leaving nothing behind but the teddy bear she was holding. Later, a young man named Ian Richards (Brendan Hughes) is walking along a desert road holding a satchel and the teddy bear. He finds himself in the town of Canton Bluff, where he befriends the local church owner Dewey and gets a job helping him to repair the church. Whilst living with Dewey (Jered Barclay), Ian meets Dewey's daughter Elizabeth (Michele Matheson). A few weeks later after the repairs are done, Ian and Elizabeth go to the fair and Ian wins her a teddy bear, similar to the one we see at the beginning of the film. Soon after, they encounter R. B. Harker (Bruce Payne), owner of the local circus, and Winston (Sean Gregory Sullivan), who goes by the stage name of 'alligator boy'. Harker behaves suspiciously around them both and, feeling nervous, Ian and Elizabeth leave the circus and return home. The next day is the full moon and Ian plans to leave town before it appears, but whilst waiting for Elizabeth so he can say goodbye, he falls asleep in his bedroom. Later that night, Ian awakens to find it is nighttime and the full moon has risen. He immediately begins to transform into a werewolf and then jumps out the window of the bedroom. Harker's assistant Bellamey (Antonio Fargas), who was sent to spy on Ian, sees the werewolf walking away from the church and returns to the circus to inform Harker. When Ian returns to the church later that night in human form, Harker has Ian restrained and reveals to Dewey and Elizabeth that Ian is a werewolf by forcing him to transform again by using a crystal he wears around his neck and reciting an ancient spell.
Ian wakes the next day to find he has been caged by Harker at the circus. Harker appears and tells Ian that he had killed Elizabeth the night before in his werewolf state, leaving Ian distraught. Meanwhile, Dewey and Elizabeth, revealed to be totally fine, argue over if Ian is the work of the Devil or God. The local sheriff, Fuller (Gary Cervantes), visits Ian and offers to help him leave the cage but Ian refuses, believing he is better off caged in case he hurts anyone else. Fuller reveals that Elizabeth is actually alive and well and Ian still decides to stay in the cage to protect everyone. Harker then adds Ian in his circus show as a dangerous werewolf with an uncontrollable urge for human blood along with the other 'freaks'; Bellamey, Winston, Toones (Deep Roy), and Toones's lover Carl/Carlotta (Christopher Morley). Later, Winston visits Ian and whilst talking to him, asks Ian to make him a werewolf too as he wishes to change his appearance due to his malformed body and skin. Ian refuses and encourages Winston to leave the circus as there is nothing wrong with him and he doesn't need Harker to survive. That evening, with a crowd of townspeople watching, Harker forces Ian to transform once again using the crystal and the spell. After Ian has transformed, Harker throws a cat towards him expecting Ian to kill it, but instead Ian holds the cat briefly and then sees Winston in the crowd and throws the cat to him for safety. Harker is annoyed and immediately cancels the show. Dewey and Fuller are in the audience and are conflicted over what they have witnessed.
Later that evening after the circus has closed, Sheriff Fuller believes there is something suspicious happening with the circus and investigates the grounds. He finds evidence Harker is up to no good and goes to find and arrest him. When Fuller confronts Harker, Harker reveals that he is actually a vampire by transforming into his true form. Horrified, Fuller runs away but Harker easily finds and kills him. Fuller's corpse is found the next morning and the townspeople believe that Ian was responsible. Meanwhile, Ian escapes the circus and runs away with Elizabeth. That night, Ian reveals to Elizabeth that it was actually Harker who killed his family when he was a young boy and placed the werewolf curse on him. Soon after, Ian and Elizabeth make love. Later, Ian leaves a sleeping Elizabeth to confront Harker once and for all. He returns to the circus and enters Harker's RV, but finds it empty. As Ian opens the door to leave, he finds he is surrounded by Harker and the local townspeople, all armed with guns. Harker orders them to shoot Ian but they refuse, seeing just a man and not a monster standing in front of them. Fed up, Harker transforms into his vampire form and the townspeople attack him with their guns instead, but they have no effect. As the townspeople flee, Ian runs deeper into the circus grounds whilst Harker pursues him. Elizabeth has awakened and goes to the circus to look for Ian but is attacked by Toones. He drops his gun and in a struggle with Elizabeth, she picks it up and shoots him. Carol/Carlotta witnesses this and attacks Elizabeth, but gets shot and killed by an arrow fired by Dewey, who reveals he has followed Elizabeth to the circus. Ian and Harker then face off, with Harker easily overpowering Ian. During their fight, Harker drops his crystal and Winston grabs it and runs away. As Harker continues to attack Ian, Winston stands close by and uses the crystal and the spell to help Ian transform and gain the upper hand on Harker. Seeing Winston help Ian, Harker mortally wounds Winston by biting him in the neck. Ian rushes to assist Winston but, in the scuffle, also ends up biting Winston in the neck. Ian eventually is able to stab Harker in the heart and whilst he writhes in pain on the ground, Ian jumps up and rips the tent to allow the dawn sun through to shine on Harker, which kills him. Ian returns to his human form and looks at the pile of dust that was Harker. Ian then lifts the injured Winston and walks out of the circus towards the countryside, whilst Dewey and Elizabeth remain behind and watch them leave.