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Old 06-27-2004, 01:16 PM
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Default Howling III

Reviewer: Dave
Review Date: July 1, 2001

Released by: MGM
Release date: 7/3/2001
MSRP: $29.95
Region 0, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes

Howling III has made its way onto DVD courtesy of Elite Entertainment, boasting a 16x9 transfer and a surprising supplement - a commentary track by the writer/director. Does it bother anyone that The Howling III is getting special edition treatment on DVD, yet the original Howling, which already has existing supplements from a past laserdisc special edition, is getting a bare bones DVD release this Halloween through MGM? Yeah, I thought so.

This is my second Howling sequel; I sincerely hope it's better than the atrocious New Moon Rising. Lets take a closer look and find out.

The Story

inline Image Professor Harry Beckmeyer (Barry Otoo) believes in the existence of werewolves. His belief stems from video footage shot in 1905 by his grandfather in Cape York, Australia. In the footage, a group of aborigines stand in front of what appears to be some sort of werewolf that they've tied to a tree and killed with their spears. This footage has fascinated Beckmeyer all his life; it has fueled his quest to prove werewolves do exist. When Beckmeyer hears reports of werewolf sightings from both Russia and Australia, his longtime dream begins to become a reality.

inline Image Jerboa (Imogen Annesley), a young woman living in a small Australian village, runs away from home after his stepfather tries to rape her. She travels by bus to a nearby city, where she meets Donny Martin (Leigh Biolos), an assistant director filming Shape Shifters Part 8. Donny offers Jerboa a role, describing her as a perfect mix of beauty and thrills that is perfect for the film. Jerboa accepts the offer; after a short time filming, the two fall in love.

inline Image Neither romance or happiness last very long for Jerboa and Donny. At the wrap party for the movie, Jerboa becomes ill and ends up in the hospital. At the hospital, doctors discover some of Jerboa's strange characteristics - her high metabolism, as well as a pouch in her stomach. Professor Beckmeyer is called in by an associate who is aware of Beckmeyer's interests. After examining the woman, Beckmeyer believes he's discovered someone that is the mix of werewolf and marsupial he's been looking for.

inline Image Three women from Jerboa's village, also werewolves/marsupials, have disguised themselves as nuns and have been following Jerboa since she first came to the city. The three nuns attack the hospital staffers, eventually kidnapping Jerboa and bringing her back to their home village of Flow (spell it backwards, folks - yup, too cool!). When the military comes into the situation, Beckmeyer learns of their intentions - to wipe out the marsupials. With a panicked Donny, who has only recently learned that Jerboa is pregnant with his child, Beckmeyer takes Jerboa and a few other marsupials up into the mountains to go into hiding. Hope for the group is slim, though. The army has bounty hunters out after them, and when the group of refugees begins to fight amongst themselves, it becomes all too evident that the bounty hunters are not their only problem.

inline Image Any of you that have read my Howling laserdisc review know that I'm a big fan of the original. The original is a classic werewolf movie, easily one of the greatest ever made. Prior to this review, the only Howling sequel I saw was New Moon Rising, which obviously doesn't leave a good impression of Howling sequels. I'm happy to say that Howling III isn't quite as horrendous as New Moon Rising, but it comes in the vacinity. It's one of those sequels that has nothing to do with the original, though it seems all the Howling sequels are that way. The whole werewolf/marsupial things is just plain stupid. I'm not sure if it was just an excuse to bring Australia into the picture, since it's obviously the marsupial capital of the world, or if writer/director Philippe Mora was actually trying to bring some sort of originality to the series. Either way, it doesn't work.

inline Image It's not just the marsupial storyline that makes Howling III bad. Look at the cover art - it looks cool, and makes one think you're in for some serious werewolf action, which isn't the case. It doesn't have the scares and thrills one would expect from a werewolf movie. There is no real transformation scene, no silver ANYTHING, no full moons or wolves howling in the night. These are absolute musts for any werewolf movie! Lets not forget this is rated PG-13. PG-13! Don't expect much gore, because there's hardly any. No, what you get here is a type of werewolf love story which, in my opinion, fails miserably. If there's one good part to Howling III, it's the It Came From Uranus movie within a movie segment, which pokes a bit of fun at werewolf movies.

Internet Movie Database lists this as a horror/comedy, and some of the user comments claim it has some nice "twists" to it. I couldn't disagree more. I saw no horror aspects, no comedy, and no twists. The effects and acting are both mediocre at best. Normally I'd recommend a movie I dislike as a rental, but I can't even bring myself to do that here. In fairness, I'm a huge, huge fan of the original, so perhaps I'm a bit bias here. But the fact is, I can't imagine any fan of the original Howling (that's everyone, right?) enjoying Howling III: The Marsupials.

Image Quality

Stunning transfer by Elite Entertainment on this DVD. Howling III is presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Image is clear and sharp with hardly any print blemishes evident. Colors are strong and vivid; flesh tones appear accurate. There is some occasional grain but it's light and only noticeable in a few scenes. Very worthy of an A- rating.


The sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1, which is yet another surprise given the low budget nature of the film and the fact that it doesn't have a large fan base. Still, the 5.1 remix is nice - there is some decent use of surrounds and some occasional LFE activity. The score sounds solid and powerful in this mix; dialogue is clear and sound as whole is distortion free. The sound is very worthy of the A- rating I'm giving it, I'm just not sure how beneficial the 5.1 mix is given there aren't many action scenes.

Supplemental Material

inline Image Howling III isn't labeled as a special edition, but it mine as well be. Anything with a commentary track is worthy of being labeled a 'special edition' in my book. Here we have a commentary by writer/director Philippe Mora. Philippe is interesting to listen to, and it becomes obvious right off the bat that he's genuinely proud of the film. He even manages to call it the best film of 1986 without breaking into a laugh. He talks about a variety of topics - why he went with the whole marsupial bit, various members of the cast and crew, the film's success in the video market and how it helped to spawn even more sequels. It's a good commentary track, but it didn't help me to like the film any more.

Rounding out the supplements are a promotional theatrical trailer, a TV spot, and a still gallery consisting of about XX photos.

Final Thoughts

Poor excuse for a werewolf movie that has received an excellent audio/video presentation by Elite Entertainment. There are a good amount of enjoyable extras here; film buffs should enjoy the commentary track by writer/director Philippe Mora. If you're a fan of the film, or have some sick desire to see a Howling sequel that isn't as bad as New Moon Rising, rest assured this Howling III DVD delivers in the quality department. Even those people might have trouble justifying the somewhat high $29.95 price tag.


Movie - D
Image Quality - A
Sound - A-
Supplements - B

Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1

  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Philippe Mora
  • Promotional Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot

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Old 05-07-2005, 08:24 AM
The Apocalyptic Kid
I used to love this movie as a kid, anyway I ordered the DVD for $3.95 and about how much anyone should pay for it. A legit guilty pleasure!
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