Director: Philippe Mora
Stars: Barry Otto, William Yang, Imogen Annesley
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
In 1981 one of the best werewolf movies in the history of cinema, The Howling, was released and it was good. Then in 1985 the sequel came out, Howling II…Your Sister Is a Werewolf, created by Australian director Philippe Mora and it sucked hard, but in an enjoyable so-bad-it’s-good way. Also it had Sybil Danning taking her top off every 15 minutes and that didn’t hurt. Then in 1987 this third entry in the lycanthrope saga came out, which was again directed by Mora and this time written by him too. Was it a return to the good stuff or just more of the bad (but fun) stuff? No, it was some even worse stuff. So get some silver bullets and grab your didgeridoo because we’re going to the land down under this time out.
So for the third movie we’re going with werekangaroos. Okay, not really, but we do start with a young woman named Jerboa in an isolated part of the Australian outback being hunted down by a pack of werewolves, some of whom like to dress as nuns. Jerboa winds up involved with a guy in the movie biz making godawful werewolf movies, just like this one. Yeah, it’s a meta look at making horror films years before Scream was a thing, so that’s neat. Oh, and we get a Russian werewolf ballerina, werewolves linked to the Tasmanian tiger and therefore marsupials, and that odd bit is paid off with a human/werewolf hybrid baby living in Jerboa’s tummy pouch because yes, she’s a werewolf too. Add to this the Australian government trying to kill the shapechangers, a gigantic Aboriginal werewolf god, werewolf transformations triggered by flashing lights, werewolf glasnost through arranged marriage, and another seven or eight ideas I’m forgetting, all tossed in the mixer that is this movie.
Now as you might have guessed by reading that, this flick is a bit of a mess. It isn’t helped by less-than-stellar acting and truly laughable special effects, especially when it comes to the big, hairy brutes. The direction is workman-like if uninspired, but there is a bit of charm buried deep, deep, deep down in here, somewhere. But do you have the patience to dig for it?
On to those howling good extras and special features that Scream Factory included on this new Blu-ray. There is an audio commentary with writer and director Philippe Mora, then Mr. Mora backs that up with a 27-minute-long video interview. There are about 20 minutes of various interviews with people involved with Howling II for the documentary Not Quite Hollywood about Ozploitation movies, directed by Mark Hartley. Last but not least there is a theatrical trailer here. All in all a not-too-bad collection of extras for a movie like Howling III.
Howling III is not a great movie, it’s not even a very good movie, but it can be a fun movie if you’re in the right frame of mind. Serious horror fans and lycanthrope lovers should avoid this one, but if you are looking for something goofy and silly and featuring marsupial werewolves, this movie will do that for you. Consider this a conditional recommendation for those who already know that they like it.