Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Forgotten Sequels: The Howling III- The Marsupials

The Howling is a great movie and deserves more praise than it really gets.  The Howling 2-7 are generally just bad.  With an apparent 8th film in the works, I have to wonder if that trend will change.  I'm just going to go ahead and guess 'no,' just to be on the safe side.  Let's focus less on the future and more on the past.  The year: 1987.  An Aussie named Phillipe Moira is responsible for a film version of the third book in 'The Howling' book trilogy.  Seriously, did you know that there were books about this shit?  Mind you, almost nothing in the books shows up on screen, but you get my point.  In spite of using the title (but not the subtitle 'Echoes') and listing it as being based off of the book, The Howling III: The Marsupials is a completely-unique tale.  Of course, by 'completely-unique,' I mean 'utter shit.'  How bad is this movie?  Find out in my review of...
The film begins with a bunch of out-of-context scenes that appear to explain nothing.  An Inuit guy is killed by a camera, a person in the jungle is stalked by a camera and a bunch of villagers pose in front of a hairy body.  No, not Robin Williams!  Apparently, this all has to do with reports of werewolves showing up in Russia, something that is monitored by the NSA.  Ha ha- they think that it's code for something!  That's so...stupid.  The footage of the villagers is apparently from Australia in 1905 and they killed a werewolf.  This is shown in a class taught by a man who is apparently the grandson of the man who shot the footage, shortly before disappearing.  He makes sure to mention how the wolf 'mask' looks very realistic, something that just makes me laugh.  Maybe that word means something else in Australia!  He gets called about the weird reports picked up by the NSA and meets up with the President...who's played by the same guy who was the President in The Return of Captain Invincible.  In another weird and pointless thing, they acknowledge the camera for this one scene- apparently  the character is filming everything- and never again.  Um, huh?  We cut from this to meet our heroine, a woman who flees her village home of Flow (spell it backwards) because 'my step-dad tried to rape me and he's a werewolf.'  She ends up in Sydney and gets hired as an actress in Shape Shifters, Part 8.  I would have just stayed home, honey.
Things get weird in a hurry here and never really find time to stop.  In a matter of minutes (maybe a day in story), she falls in love with the lead guy, goes to see a shitty werewolf film with him (ha ha) and has sex with him.  He ogles her while she sleeps and she has a freaky nightmare about an alien-thing bursting out of her chest.  Meanwhile, a trio of werewolves from Flow follow her dressed as nuns...for some reason.  She wraps up shooting the film, but starts to transform at the party when the strobe lights get too much.  She ends up in the hospital after running into a car, whereupon she is discovered to be a werewolf and studied by some scientists, including the man from before.  The were-nuns free her and take her home to have her weird, werewolf baby.  The young woman escapes again and meets up with her beau, who is out with the police trying to find more of the creatures.  In a surprisingly-easy manner, Flow's residents are captured and taken for study.  As it turns out, they claim to be related to the now-extinct Tasmanian Tiger and don't follow the usual werewolf rules.  Strobe lights trigger the transformation- why?- & they are part wolf and part marsupial.  How?  Why?  Who knows?  As a bonus, a fleeing Russian ballerina shows up in Australia, turns into a werewolf and is also captured.  Why not?
It only manages to get weirder as the lead scientist is told that the creatures must be destroyed, something that was also decided in the 1880's by President Harrison and the Catholic Church.  In an easy fashion, he breaks out the two key lycanthropes and disappears into the jungle.  A group of hunters go out there to kill them, so the weird Aborigine priest summons the power of the Tiger's spirit, kills the men in werewolf form & then dies...for some reason.  Some conflict occurs as the lead marsupial-lycanthrope doesn't like the young guy with our heroine, so he wanders off.  He does the same ceremony, turns into a giant werewolf and is blown up within seconds.  Fun fact: RPG explosions look just like fireworks.  His former beau gets over his dramatic death quickly and hooks up with the scientist, proceeding to hide out in the bush with him and the other couple.  All of a sudden, the movie gets time-jump happy and starts playing with time more than all of Pulp Fiction!  After several years (without a card showing how long), the young couple go back to the world, eventually becoming a director and a model.  Several more years go by (also without a card) before the scientist's old friend tells him that it's safe to go home.  At the Australian equivalent to the Oscars, Dame Edna(!) gives an award to the werewolf actress, but the strobe lights cause her to transform.  The End. 
There are many words to describe this movie.  First off, there's 'bad,' something that goes for its plot, special effects and attempts at humor.  Having The President ask if the Shroud of Turin is a 'God-damned Polaroid of Jesus Christ'- not really funny.  Second word: weird.  There's just something off about Australian humor, something I figured out a few years ago when I first saw The Return of Captain Invincible.  The jokes are bizarre, come at seemingly-random points and just generally make no sense.  The third word: random.  Seriously, so much in this movie is just there and never explained.  Werewolves are descended from a man who committed bestiality and watched over by the spirit of a Tasmanian Tiger?  Sure.  These werewolves can be killed with normal bullets?  Okay.  The burned-skeleton of the Aborigine priest comes back as a werewolf skeleton?  Why the hell not?!?  The whole thing is just freaking weird, makes no sense and can't decide what kind of movie it wants to be.  On the plus side, it doesn't have Christopher Lee palling around with Reb Brown.  Man, I have low standards!
Up next, the rare and out-of-print sequel to an '80s horror gem.  Will it live up to its predecessor?  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. In a weird way I love each of the Howling sequels, and this one is no exception. Are they great? No. Good? No. OK? ... well maybe they suck, but they are still awesome.