Howling III: The Marsupials (1987)

Director Philippe Mora
Writers Philippe Mora
Starring Barry Otto, Imogen Annesley, Leigh Biolos, Dagmar Blahova
Genre Werewolf
Tagline Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Down Under

Talk us through it

In a rather convoluted and overtly complex plot Prof. Harry Beckmeyer is an expert on weird stuff who seemingly lecturers on old footage at some unnamed university and in his spare time advises the U.S President and various Government agencies about werewolf activities in the Soviet Union.

Meanwhile back in Australia Jerboa has escaped the clutches of Thylo and his over developed hormones in the Aussie outback and is heading to Sydney, because she had a snow globe of the Opera house. Before you ask no it doesn't snow in Sydney. Anywise Jerboa is living on the streets but gets "discovered" by Donny, who thinks she will be perfect as a scream queen in Shapeshifters 8, a horror movie he is working on in some unknown capacity.

Back in Flow, where Jerboa escaped from, her absence hasn't gone unnoticed and three were-nuns are dispatched to bring her back to the clan. And if that isn't complex enough for ya a Soviet Ballerina, who also happens to be a were-dancer, has defected and has some mental connection to Thylo. On the bright side Prof. Beckmeyer is on the case and just happens to pop up in the right places on a fairly regular basis.

Okay so Sydney streets running with blood, were-things on a rampage, and Government bodies out to eliminate the were-a-roo threat once and for all. Did I mention we also get some thylacine hocus pocus and a shot at including some Koori mythology. Oh and Donny also got Jerboa up the duff after a night of ruggered sex brought about apparently by the aphrodisiac properties of It Came From Uranus, a movie the young couple attended.

In case you are wondering, yes it becomes a lot more complex as Director/Writer Philippe Mora tries to jam ten or so movies into 90 minutes of "B" grade schlock.


"What I need is a werewolf holding a smoking gun." - Prof. Beckmeyer

The title of this movie should give the game away here, no we aren't talking a serious movie in the style of Joe Dante's original The Howling we're talking B grade schlock that tries to go one step beyond, and in so doing steps in some were-poo. The dialogue is atrociously bad, the special effects look like they were cooked up in Ed Wood Jnr's basement, and the plot of this howler is from the far side of the moon during a lunar eclipse. Naturally I loved every minute of it and had an awesome time as things bounced from one badly constructed scene to the next. Barry Otto what were you thinking!

Director Mora comes at the movie with everything including the kitchen sink in an attempt I think to confuse the hell out of the Audience and thus avoid any accusations of having made a really bad movie. It didn't work Philippe, but full marks for giving it a go mate. We have the concept of a movie within a movie, always worthy of throwing in for any of the Wine and Cheese set that may have wandered into a screening by mistake, an attempt to incorporate the last Tassie Tiger and Koori mythology into the mixture, and gosh some really bad were-a-roo makeup attempts. You get the feeling that Moria might have started out with the intention of making a serious lycanthrope outing but somewhere during the first draft of the script realised that marsupial werewolves were a pretty ludicrous idea to begin with ergo let's throw our hands in the air and simply ham it up. What Moria does achieve in delivering is a movie that thrives on its schlock value, and is just getting down and dirty with the "B" grade beat. One of the great saving graces of Howling III is that the movie at no time takes itself seriously and is prepared to go even more left field as the plot, term used loosely, develops towards a final awe inspiring scene of badness, which just happens to reference the final scene in Dante's The Howling. Hey third movie in the series, things coming full circle, how's that for doing it doggy style Joe?

I don't even know where to start on the convoluted plot Moria for no apparent reason decided that he should shot our way, without apology at that. The Jerboa and Donny sub plot would have been enough for most movie makers, but Moria decides we should somehow incorporate defecting were-ballerinas, inbreed outback towns, Government conspiracies, and a partridge in a pear tree. If only we had of got alien involvement Mulder and Scully could have come Down Under as well. Damn, opportunity missed right there. I actually completely lost track of what was going down here and whether or not the current were-a-roo infestation was due to some thylacine magic or Koori elemental gods or heck pollution. There's no single focus here and the strands of the movie fray out as things lurch from one contrived scene to the next. Having a were-a-roo outbreak calls for the local Bogans to tool up and go hunting wolf! You simply can't beat this sort of plot development, it's almost awesome in it's scope of share folly.

It would be pretty easy to write this one off as simply a terrible movie, but that's what Moira set out to do, and he delivers the B grade jam by the bucket load.

What's really cool about this movie is that Moria, realising the whole plot thing went south from about page two of the script, simply goes with some of the worse dialogue it's been my pleasure to listen to since the last Uwe Boll movie I caught; "It's really great. Is it a boy or is it a girl?". Characters don't react as any normal person would and you are left with a feeling that you are either in the presence of share cinematic genius or have somehow taken a wrong turn and ended up at the local Psychiatric ward for the criminally insane. Jury out there folks.

"Are you a werewolf" - Movie dude
"Yes. But I don't want to be." - Jeboa

Special mention of the props and special effects Moria signed off on for the movie, the dude is sparing no chance of ensuring we are not hitting that perfect "B" grade note here. Besides the obvious rubber masks, intentionally made as ludicrous as possible, the were-a-roo transformations are awesomely bad, and Peter Jackson's Wheta Studios were definitely not on call for the odd scene that involved anything like cinematic magic.

Naturally you can't get it all wrong, and to be honest Director Moria is intentionally making an appallingly bad movie here, there are some aspects to the movie that surprise. The township name of "Flow" was kind of clever if you think about it. Early in the movie we get a version of "Bad Moon Rising" in an obvious wink to An American Werewolf In London's multiple versions of the same song. And we get this sort of fish eye focus when Moria decides to go with were-a-roo POV, though I wouldn't have been able to help myself and would have added a red filter.

Barry Otto (Prof. Harry Beckmeyer) shines through as a competent actor, and full marks for not bursting into laughter over some of the lines of dialogue. I have no idea why Otto signed onto this one to be honest. Imogen Annesley (Jerboa) is a honey and gives an adequate performance in a very strange role. Leigh Biolos (Donny) is an archetypical Aussie actor from the 1980s, was there a cloning plant I was unaware of? And Dagmar Blahova (Olga Gorki) is prepared to be completely embarrassed before removing all evidence of this fillum from here cv. We have always known here Dagmar, we have always known.

I'm strangely not sure if T&A got down and funky in this movie or not. Check it out for yourself rather than relying on my version of reality kids. We get a hairy tummy and this pouch situation that would drive Freudians to drink.

Did Moria set out to include the most excruciating pop numbers he could find on the soundtrack? I want to expunge all knowledge of the mental torture induced by the tracks thrown out by this movie. It's mental cruelty folks and deserves a UN intervention. Allan Zavod did the score, but hey who really cares.

Summary Execution

First up sorry for the convoluted review, the movie is all over the shop and I was playing down to its level of ineptitude here. Well I for one had a bloody good time with Howling III, was howling at the moon over its awesome awfulness, and am calling it the best ever "B" grade schlock movie ever made Down Under. Then again I have multiple Millpond 50 movie sets. Director/Writer Philippe Moira set out to make a "B" grade were-a-roo feature, has achieved his aim beyond the wildest dream of mankind, and has delivered a cult classic. I was certainly entertained and can see myself slipping this naughty little pleasure on once or twice a year when no one else is at home.

Umbrella Entertainment have recently re-released Howling III: The Marsupials on R4 DVD to a general public wondering why. There was a previous DVD release but the good folk at Umbrella are coming at you with a few extra bits and bobs to add to your whole Howling III experience. Not sure on other regions but figure you will probably be able to score either a standalone DVD or maybe a box set as there's been quite a number of films in the increasingly laugh out loud franchise. Check it out, and hey get back to me if you find something tasty box set wise.

If you dig "B" grade schlock, and who doesn't, then dive on into the madness that is Howling III. I don't think I've ever seen another movie from Down Under that is this intentionally bad folks. If after something slightly more Academy aware then you probably shouldn't have read this far into the review really. If interested your best bet is probably to hop along to your local movie emporium and hire up a copy, please note this film is not a shaggy dog tale.

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

  Yes it's a terrible movie but I had one well of a good time in country.