Howling III: The Marsupials

Howling III: The Marsupials
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A strange race of human-like marsupials appear suddenly in Australia, and a sociologist who studies these creatures falls in love with a female one. Is this a dangerous combination?

Title:Howling III: The Marsupials
Release Date:January 1, 1987
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Genres:Horror, Comedy, Foreign
Production Countries:Australia
Director:Philippe Mora
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , ,
Alternative Titles:
  • Howling III - [DE]

Howling III: The Marsupials Reviews

  • Camp or campy?
    by uds3 on 25 September 2002

    17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

    Misunderstood and ultimately quirky little entry in the HOWLING series. Absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the original film, being simply an antipodean tale of lycanthropic maladjustment!

    Way better now than upon its release, the full low-budgetry inanity of Mora's little pet works quite well if you can get on its wavelength, that is, down to a primordial level. Beautiful redhead, Miss Annesley (shame she can't speak as well as she looks) is the aptly named Jerboa, a girl with a rare secret. Biologically er, different, she has the cutest little pouch just above her more "R" rated parts, which following a night of passion, soon gains the tiniest of new inhabitants in a scene one can only describe as "different!"

    A subject of extreme interest to the medical profession, trivia buffs may notice none other than film historian and TV presenter Bill Collins making his rather pedestrian debut here as a hospital doctor, somewhat enamoured with Jerboa's never-seen-before physiology.

    Played strictly for laughs and non-conformist fun, the budget constraints were such that at the point of anyone actually being attacked by a werewolf, all the viewer ever gets to see is a back-pedalling actor with varying expressions of laugh-out-loud fright. In hindsight I think this adds to the quirkiness rather than detracts!

    Ever reliable Barry Otto (first up on anyone's list with a fully left-field flick in the offing) is Professor Harry Beckmeyer who takes it upon himself ultimately to protect Jerboa from those who would harm her. Michael Pate and son Christopher make a suitably stilted (as in "What the hell am I doing in a film like this?) contribution and Australia's grandest thespian Frank Thring, camps it up shamefully as a Z-Grade horror-movie director. Pontius Pilate (In Ben Hur) to THIS???? Hmmm, its a worry!

    IN the wash-up, what we have here a one-off film experience, one anyone can miss and be none the worse off for! If you ARE unavoidably entrapped one night, well at least you can say, "Yeah I've seen HOWLING III, my life is now fulfilled!"

  • Horror-comedy with a heart
    by Barry Knobel ( on 3 January 1999

    14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

    Despite this being one of many sequels to an acclaimed original, don't let this fact put you off from watching this under-acknowledged film. "Howling III - The Marsupials" is a surprisingly good werewolf spoof with a twist; set in Australia (and let's face it, an Aussie horror movie is a rarity - only "Body Melt" and "Razorback" spring to mind), it deals with the plight of a dwindling pack of marsupial werewolves who are in danger of becoming extinct.

    The movie focuses its attention more on character development and emotion rather than the usual random slashings that prevail in such similar movies. The premise is novel and therefore makes for some interesting watching and genuine involvement. Horror fans need not dismay, as there is also a fair share of scares and realistic (if a little corny) human-to-wolf metamorphosis sequences. Some nice welcome comic touches are present, including a Hitchcockian horror movie director played by Frank Thring, relishing every moment of the role. Barry Otto is likeable as the anthropologist who joins the werewolf clan to help save them. And let's not forget the exquisite Imogen Annesley as Jerboa, who shines as a beautiful young human marsupial, escaping from her abusive stepfather and running off to the big city (Sydney) where she finds fame and romance (no, she's not Joan Collins).

    The movie comes off quite well on the whole, and has a very moralistic and humane message, dealing with the preservation of dying species.

  • One of the most unusual werewolf movies
    by kelvinthelion on 7 October 2004

    13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

    I realize that this is not one of the more popular films in the howling series. I still haven't seen Howling parts 2, 4, or7, but I've read some pretty bad things about them. The Howling 3 is my favorite one. Yes, I pick it over the first one which seems to be everybody else's favorite.

    It has it's flaws of course but it also has a lot of insignificant firsts like werewolf nuns. We call them insignificant firsts because nobody else ever did the same thing but they are still neat ideas. It's also one of the few werewolf movies based on the idea that werewolves are people too and at times it seems that the people hunting the werewolves are the real bad guys. I really felt something for them and the plight of the thylacine (marsupial wolf) that was wiped out decades ago.

    It really seems more like an action comedy than a horror movie. The director claims that gore was the furthest thing on his mind. It also might be the only Howling movie with a PG-13 rating. My only real gripe is the dragged out ending that just keeps on going. It seems they had a hard time figuring out how to end it. All in all, I think they did pretty well with what little money they had. (1 million dollars Australian.)

    Notice during Jerboa's run through the arcade you can see a Rampage arcade machine. One of the characters in that game is a giant werewolf.

  • Is this the most catastrophically awful movie ever made?
    by ExpendableMan on 18 February 2007

    19 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

    The original Howling was a fun little Werewolf flick. Nothing too serious, just a simple but original premise, some well-handled tension, cool makeup effects and a nice healthy dose of gore and violence to round things off. Compared to its most immediate rival, An American Werewolf in London though it comes up second place, so why in the name of heaven it spawned so many follow ups is something of a mystery. The series is up to its seventh entry thus far and if the diminishing laws of sequels is anything to go on, they must be unspeakably terrible because Howling 3 (the only one I've been bored/curious/stupid enough to sit through) is so bad I'd have to say it's one of the worst films I've ever seen.

    The principle reason for this is the premise, as director Philippe Mora decides to do away with the original's everyday people versus rampaging monsters approach and instead, provides us with what must be the only Marsupial Werewolf Romance Epic in movie history. The script is massively overambitious, the acting so bad the cast might as well have been made of cardboard and any promise of bloodthirsty violence a la the original goes forever unsatisfied. You might get a few laughs out of it, but ultimately it's just a very poor film.

    The overambitious storyline considers an anthropologist, Dr Beckmeyer (Inspector Clouseau lookalike Barry Otto) and his studies of a race of marsupial werewolf people discovered in Australia. Mixed up in all this is a Russian ballet dancer who is secretly a non-marsupial werewolf herself come to breed with the Australians, a B-movie actress from the countryside who is also a werewolf and an idiot movie talent spotter who's fallen in love with her. So blindly in love with her in fact that he doesn't bat an eyelid when he first notices how hairy she is. Dr Beckmeyer is determined to prove that the werewolves are not to be frightened of and that studying them is the best approach, the Government is not so certain and wants to destroy them and eventually, after a painfully long set up, he joins up with the lycanthropes in an attempt to lead them to safety in the outback.

    You might think a film with 'Marsupial Werewolves' in might be entertaining. It isn't. The delivery is slow and tedious, with characters and subplots being introduced with no concern for cohesion and what should have been a campy, violent and fun film instead is dull, pretentious twaddle. Indeed, the only attraction to come from this is Imogen Annesley, a very attractive young woman whose career has failed to take off since the high point of stripping naked in a barn, giving birth to a rodent thing and having it crawl up her belly and into a kangaroo pouch on her abdomen. She might be gorgeous in a "I wish you weren't a hideous mutant freak monster" kind of way but she's more or less the only noteworthy thing deserving praise in the entire sorry enterprise. Oh and Dame Edna pops up at the end.

    So there you have it, a werewolf movie with a humanitarian message. Great, that's just what we needed. If you're a film student looking for a lesson in how not to make a movie you might just be capable of scraping some little residue of a hint out of this, but if not, I'd advise avoiding this movie like the bubonic plague.

  • Could have been a classic... if only...
    by devinecomic on 7 July 2005

    6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

    Howling 3 is yet another horror effort, where excellent ideas and even the mood and atmosphere of a horror classic are not cultivated or nurtured throughout the film.

    I was brought up in the era of "The American Werewolf in London", definitely the classic, archetypal werewolf flick. Tough competition by anyone's standards. Yet Howling 3 has just as many good ideas, just as much depth, just as much potential... but just doesn't make it.

    The basis of the film resides upon some old Cine8 footage of a werewolf's capture by some natives. Grainy, snowy, short lived images, set the scene well, and could be perceived as scary. The idea of the werewolf being a type of marsupial species, a separate development of human life is interesting, and could be scary in that they have always lived amongst us. Separate werewolf societies, driven to the bleakest habitable places on the planet, but in contact with each other spiritually and genetically... yes, yes, this is definitely going somewhere.

    And then three of said werewolves dress up as Nuns, and travel to the big city to retrieve their runaway teen-wolfette, and gain entry to a fancy dress party having changed into actual habit-wearing wolf people... oh perleeease!

    A serious film, even a horror, can carry some comedy, but in Howling 3 the comedy is inappropriate, badly timed, and too farcical for words. The more serious horror aspects of the film being ruined by these interruptions. I remained unconvinced by any of the man-to-wolf changes, in fact, they were equally farcical, with their obvious "fur means fear" reliance.

    So, a film with potential, which obviously had serious horror intent, became a farce, even a spoof, by it's own making. A real shame and a real sham all in one. Stick to "American Werewolf in London" or even "Dog Soldiers" for that fur-fear-fix!! I rated a "3"

  • Imbecilic in-name-only sequel
    by gridoon on 29 March 2005

    9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

    After the complete failure of a sequel that "Howling II" was, Philippe Mora returned for yet another installment, trying a different (more spoofy) approach this time....but it didn't work out much better. Most of the blame must go not to the direction, but to the awful, disconnected script, which makes the film feel thrown-together almost at random. The werewolf effects are mostly pathetic, though those involving Imogen Annesley's newborn "baby" somehow manage to be good (and disgusting). Obviously this film was also intended to be a spoof, but it could have used more subtlety: we know that that director is meant to be an Alfred Hitchcock - lookalike, we don't need to hear him talk about Janet Leigh and the shower scene in "Psycho", we know that "flow" is "wolf" spelled backwards, we don't need to see it reflected on a mirror, etc. Perhaps the only two good things about "Howling III" are two of its actors: Annesley (definitely the cutest werewolf I've ever seen) and Barry Otto, who gives an honest performance as the compassionate scientist. (*1/2)

  • Weirdly enjoyable
    by whitetailedwolf on 4 September 2007

    2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

    I'm a hardcore werewolf movie fan and I love watching them more then anything(next to romance movies.) So I took it upon myself to start buying all of the howling movies that were made after the original. Most don't even have anything whatsoever to do with the original, and they are all extrememely B-rate.

    Other then the fact that the way they filmed this movie sucked, the storyline and some of the acting was pretty appealing. It was actually better acting than most b-rates and you could sum it up in the phrase "The best of the worst." I watch this movie whenever I'm bored mostly, but it's fun to watch and I may be a girl, but that Jeboah sure is a hotty.

    Some things didn't make much sense to me, though. For one thing, the constant change in the way the werewolves looked was rather confusing. Another, Donnie had sex with Jeboah even though she had a hairy stomach and a weird pouch. He didn't seem to notice it much before until she was asleep and he had nothing better to do but stare. Weird.

    Well anyway, this one is better then most b-rates so give it a chance and enjoy it for what it is...good crap.

  • You'd need a lot of beer to wash this one down.
    by bill baxter on 14 November 2009

    8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

    The box says 'just when you thought it was safe to go down under.' That's got to be a reference to the pouch, right? That's no accident. No one slips on bananas.

    This movie was difficult to watch. Confusing and directionless plot, strange characters that appear without warning or purpose no logical connection between scenes...its a mess.

    I find it difficult to believe that this film ever saw the big screen. The effects were laughably bad. As far as acting...I caught a little schadenfreude off the quiet desperation of some bit players, particularly the announcer from the final scene. I guess Hollywood has its share of heartbreak.

    This film was a disaster, just a disaster. That sad magic mix of bad and boring. I sat down tonight with a whole pile of Howling sequels. This was my first and it fills me with trepidation.

  • It's different that's for sure
    by sgtking on 5 June 2011

    1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

    In addition to being entertained we want films to take us to new and exciting places. They are an art form, but when they lack imagination and are too much like other films people lose interest. It's great when filmmakers experiment and attempt new things with a story that may have hit a block. However, this is not always totally successful and this is where 'Howling III' comes in. The first film is considered to be one of the best of it's kind while the first sequel bombed the big one at the Box Office. In an attempt to make up for II, director Phillipe Mora cooked up the next installment. The result is interesting and unlike any film in recent memory, but as to whether that's good is up to the individual.

    Pros: Performances are quite good. Engrossing, if out there story. Plenty of memorably weird moments. Moves at a good pace. Lots of beautiful shots of Australia, including Sydney and the Outback. Respectable attempt by writer/director Mora at something different for the series and werewolf films. Some of the goofy humor is amusing. Great ending that's an homage to the original's.

    Cons: Unconvincing effects. Completely lacking in scares. A lot of the humor falls flat. Forgettable score. Pretty bland direction this time from Mora, who did a much better job on II. Hasn't aged well.

    Final thoughts: This film, which unlike the previous one is a sequel in-name-only, is difficult to judge. There is a really good movie in here, but the quality of the production and effects plus an uneven tone keep it from being all it could be. It also doesn't succeed as a Horror film since it's neither scary nor suspenseful, but there is just something about it. If you go in with an open mind you may find it worthwhile.

    My rating: 3/5

  • "We are turning into a little monster. Aren't we?"
    by lost-in-limbo on 13 November 2010

    1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

    What comes to mind when you think of director Philippe Mora. Who's that I might hear… but Philippe Mora is truly a one-of-a-kind filmmaker that cult fans would know in some shape (Mad Dog Morgan comes to light). For good or bad… his ideas are unique (if crazy) but the end product is usually an unhinged mess. A baffling mess. How did it come to this mess? Its head scratching, although entertaining at that. I thought Mora's "Howling 2" was strangely bad… however he tops it with the Australian based "The Marsupials: The Howling III". Well more so in the bewildering weirdness, although it felt purposely campy despite some mock serious contributions. Not as incompetent, but hypnotically tacky with its beaming personality. Mora takes one audaciously original idea (a twist on folklore to relate to specific culture and sense of place; marsupial werewolves!) and clumsily patches it together into an Aussie werewolf soap opera filled with shocks and laughs. Like no other could do. He's a man of pure vision who's never heard of the word cohesion. Maybe he doesn't know the definition. Please could you put in to a sentence. The direction of the material simply lacks cohesion. You could say that it might just benefit from that, as everything is so outrageous so why confine it in a sensible manner. Mora's surrealist direction is just as random and erratic, like the busy plot and choppy editing. There's no denying how ambitious the concept is, as it's quite different from the norm. Where else can you get werewolf nuns, a Soviet werewolf ballerina, aboriginals that don't look like aboriginals, a determined but love struck Barry Otto (a sincerely good turn), an eye-opening birth scene that sees a baby marsupial werewolf in a pouch (while the father doesn't seemed to be too fazed by making love with a she-wolf and having a werewolf baby… "It's beautiful") and for the locals the never ageing Bill Collins, Frank Thring portraying b-grade horror director and Barry Humphries' Dame Edna getting close and personal to a snarling werewolf (which could be seen as a homage to Dante's original's ending). There are references aplenty from home grown to feature films (like the amusing quip in the cinema --- gotta love the facials of the audience, it's priceless), but being a Sydney resident it was nice to see some familiar scenery on screen. When the action leaves the city (which looks like it's during a heatwave) and heads out bush to the town of "Flow" is when I found it to fall away. Really the werewolves are not the threat, but the humans that don't understand and fear them turn out to be. Specialists are called in to deal with this threat. These so called military specialists (two of them) are anything but… and I don't think it's purposely done either. The local hick hunting party seem better equipped and last much longer then those nervous wrecks. The performances of the leads (Imogen Annesely, Lee Biolos, Max Fairchild, Dasha Blahova and Ralph Cotterhill) are fittingly good. The make-up FX of the werewolves was quite uneven, cheap and rubbery although with some colourful shots. It's laid-back air and offbeat charm is simply hard to resist.