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Howling III: The Marsupials (1987)

Kangaroos With Fangs





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We're at a complete loss when it comes to describing this hairy film from Down Under. It doesn't bear any resemblence to the original film that spawned it but it does focus on a commune of marsupial lycanthropes and a lot of other things like shape-shifting nuns, werewolf ballerinas, an Alfred Hitchcock lookalike, and an outcast wolf girl who lands a part in a horror film.

Don't skip Howling III just because it's got a Roman numeral in the title. This surprisingly clever sequel takes up the wicked sense of fun from the first film, skewering bad movies along with some real social problems. Hold those groans, though, since it's certainly not preachy. After all, this is a movie loaded with werewolves, explosions, scheming politicians, arrogant filmmakers, heavily armed hunters and a nice guy anthropologist. Not exactly your predictable cinematic fare.

Want werewolves? Well, we got a whole town full of them. OK, it's a really small town named Flow (spell it backwards), but it has werewolves nonetheless. Only furry young lass Jerboa doesn't like it and decides to head for the big city (oh, when will today's youth ever learn?). Since Jerboa is, as they say, a "looker" she quickly and accidentally lands a job in a horror movie directed by a Hitchcock gone awry. Only it turns out that a production assistant has fallen in love with her, an American scientist is tracking her down on direct orders of the President and a Russian ballerina-werewolf decides to enter the picture. Then things start to get complicated.

Howling III is a real treat for MonsterVision regulars since it makes fun of so many lame horror movie conventions. Just take a look at the film-within-the-film where those werewolf transformation scenes are played for all the silliness they're worth. But the filmmakers didn't skimp on the real special effects for the rest of the film. One particular challenge was the werewolf babies, which aren't as easy as you'd imagine. They first tried real babies in make-up, which was a disaster and then experimented with, of all things, mice in little costumes. As the director put it, "That didn't work at all."

Howling III was made in Australia using both Australian actors and American transplants who lived there. Imogen Annesley (as Jerboa) hasn't been in nearly enough films. You can catch her in Strapless, Garbo and Sweet Talker but not much else. Barry Otto (as Professor Beckmeyer), on the other hand, has a busy career stretching from arthouse hits like Bliss and Oscar & Lucinda, to Jackie Chan's Mr. Nice Guy. Frank Thring (as the demented director) played alongside Mick Jagger in Ned Kelly and Mel Gibson in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Of course the awards presenter is known to British and Australian audiences (but few Americans) as Dame Edna, aka Barry Humphries. By the way, keep an eye out on the bedroom wall for a poster of The Beast Within, one of director Philippe Mora's earlier films. (Did anyone catch Snide and Prejudice, Mora's 1998 flick, with Mick Fleetwood as Picasso?)
We know you're bored with the same old werewolf films and we feel your pain. That's why MonsterVision uncages Howling III for your viewing pleasure.
Rating: TV-14-V. Now here's Joe Bob Briggs:

"Howling III" Intro

"I'm Joe Bob Briggs and it's Werewolf Night here at "MonsterVision." Our first flick is "The Howling III: The Marsupials," which puts werewolves in the kangaroo family, and then we skip a few years to "Howling VII," the one where the werewolves learn to line-dance at a country-western bar outside Barstow.

Don't ask, just go with it.

I went to a wedding today. Ask me if I'm happy. It was one of Wanda Bodine's 64 cousins--I'm not gonna name her on national TV-- but the SIZE of these bridesmaids.

I mean, it wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the bridesmaids outfits, but they had so much chiffon-- we're talkin Weight Watchers From Outer Space. Why do women do that? You're taking the Chrysler Building and puttin Victoria's Secret lingerie on it. Silver mini-dresses with "Gone with the Wind" lace collars on em, like a Star Trek convention that got freeze-dried.

I think the bride was going for some kinda "Barbarella" effect, but you know what happens when you put 300 pounds worth of direct downward pressure on a spiked high heel? Besides tearin up the hardwood floors in the Methodist church? Those things start to CRACK, little tiny fissures, like an earthquake or a glacier, and you never know the exact moment it's gonna happen, but you know at some point a bridesmaid is going down. They're standin up there by the preacher, he's saying "Do you take this man..." and all of a sudden three of em crack at once, like strippin paint off a chifferobe, and you know those silver support struts are startin to wobble, and you can get a domino effect. If one bridesmaid starts windmillin her arms to stay in balance, the next one can get an eye poked out and end up plunging through the baby-Jesus stained-glass window.

Anyhow, that was depressing enough, but this was also one of those Reformed Slut weddings. This gal qualified three years in a row as a United Way Agency.

So here's my question: Why is it that, whenever a girl like this gets married, she always marries a bald-headed religious guy? We're talking about a woman who has never had both legs in the same zip code at the same time, and she's gonna go get a little starter home in the suburbs with Buster the Baptist Deacon. And my other question is: what's in it for Buster? What are they gonna do afterwards? Discuss Leviticus? And doesn't it ever occur to Buster that, if she's been having sex 947 times a day for the last ten years, maybe he might be a little lean in the leotards when it comes to satisfying this woman?

If she cheats on him, what's he gonna say to the divorce court judge: "Well, I knew she was a floozy, but I thought it was her dream to cook and clean all day for me and our eight little dirty-faced barefoot kids."

Meanwhile, we all stand around eating cheap angel food cake that tastes like cardboard and sipping white wine out of a plastic cup and saying "Aren't they BEAUTIFUL together?"

How did this tradition get started anyway?

Okay, speaking of howling at the moon, we have one of the best "Howling" sequels coming up right now, "Howling III," and then, in the interest of scientific comparison, later on we'll have one of the LOONIEST "Howlings," "Howling VII," which was apparently made after they started licensing the "Howling" name to anybody with an 8-millimeter Kodak camera. Anyway, this first one is about a couple of Austrileyan character actors who help a wild and sexy gal with hair on her tummy, her little rodent were-baby, and a Russian ballerina escape extinction by the Pope and the President of the United States--who for some reason has an Australian accent--even though they turn into werewolves and start eating folks every time somebody takes their picture.

Point being: werewolves are people, too.

We'll do the drive-in totals in the first break.

[fading] Yall don't think I'm cynical about marriage, do you? I'm not cynical about marriage. I think everybody should get married at least three or four times just to understand the suffering of others."


"Howling III" Commercial Break #1

"Ah yes, the science fiction classic "It Came From Uranus." This is one goofy movie--I really like it. The original "Howling" was made in 1981, and was directed by the sometimes brilliant and sometimes not-so-brilliant Joe Dante. "The Howling," as we know, is a great flick. "The Howling II," on the other hand, was so pitiful they had to put lipstick on Christopher Lee, dress Sybil Danning up in a wolf suit, and then run an instant replay of Sybil ripping off her blouse 14 times during the closing credits.

In other words, pretty durn lame. But here's what's weird. The director of that movie, Philippe Mora, which was maybe the WORST one in the whole series, and it's not a great series, also made THIS one, because by the time the second one came out he was already signed up to do this one. And what do these guys always do when they think their horror franchise is getting lame? They make the next one CAMPY. They put a crazy guy named Junior in it, or use all kinds of fish-eye lenses, or put a cheesy horror movie-within-a-movie in it, to show that they can laugh at themselves. And that's what we have here, isn't it?

Well, it's kinda campy, and kinda like something you'd see on the Discovery Channel.

One guy wrote to me from a U.S. Naval Base -- where they're apparently desperate for entertainment -- and said it should be called "Those Amazing Marsupials!" But I'm gettin ahead of myself.

Those drive-in totals...we have:

29 dead bodies.
One dead kangaroo.
No breasts.
Throat-ripping.
Exploding tent.
Killer nuns.
Marsupial child-birth.
Werewolf ballet.
Werewolf voodoo.
Cheesy movie-within-a-movie.
Hypnosis Fu.

Four stars. Check it out, and we'll be here for the full "Howling" experience. Roll it.

[fading] Did I just say "Howling 2" was the worst sequel in the series? The only reason I can say that now is that they haven't seen our second feature, "Howling VII," yet. You could actually have entire academic seminars devoted to the topic "Which is the worst 'Howling' sequel? And you're not allowed to say 'All of them.' Vote only once and don't look at your neighbor's ballot." When the moon gets waxy, the were gets wolfy."


"Howling III" Commercial Break #2

"You gotta love a movie with werewolf nuns. But I feel like we're missing a few scenes here, cause I'm confused--did she get hit by a car, or did she just collapse in the street mid- transformation, or what? That's Imogen Annesley as Jerboa the wolf-babe, and she is a fine looking woman, isn't she? Even if she does have stomach hair. She looks a little bit like Linda Hamilton. Linda Hamilton mixed with Milla Jovovich -- remember her, from the immortal "Return to the Blue Lagoon"? She's some kinda L'Oreal spokesmodel now. Actually, I don't think she spokes. Ever since "Blue Lagoon," they don't let Milla talk very much. And that's Leigh Biolos as Donny. This was the first in a series of one movies for Leigh.

All righty, the werewolf nuns just killed 16 people in one-fell-swoop, so let's roll it. We got another good scene coming up here.

[fading] Milla Jovovich was actually in that Bruce Willis flick, "The Fifth Element." I didn't see that--did they give her any lines in that? She also put an album out a few years ago. Probly funded by proceeds from her Banana Republic ads. I know more about Milla Jovovich than any man alive. Whenever they have that Milla Jovovich category on "Jeopardy," I kill. She shaves her armpits twice a week."


"Howling III" Commercial Break #3

"All right. Now. I ask you. Is that one of THE most original characters in horror film history? The aging Russian ballerina werewolfess who journeys to Australia to mate with her bald-headed stud wolf she feels a spiritual bond with.

And the wolf transformation WHILE ON POINTE -- I think we may be in the hands of a genius here. Australian writer/director Philippe Mora. Maker of the killer pig flick, "Razorback." But I have a question. Jerboa shows Donny the little slime-monster, and what does he say?

"It's beautiful." It's not beautiful!

It looks like Yoda! It's like a shaved rat with K-Y jelly smeared all over it. I don't think he was looking at the little fetus, I think he was looking at her chest of drawers, if you know what I mean and I think you do. Now THAT inspires an "It's beautiful."

Okay, back to el flick-o.

[fading] I'm practicing my Spanish. Got a trip to Mexico planned for this year's Chihuahua Perfecta. Ernie's teaching me what to say. "A hundred pesos on numero uno to win, por favor." "Donde esta la cerveza?" What's the other one, Ernie? "Tu madre esta una estacionamiento. Your mother is the size of a parking lot. They love it when you speak like a native."


"Howling III" Commercial Break #4

"One of the few marsupial carnivores, descended from the extinct Tasmanian wolf. Of course! I love this story. Now, if you're like me, you may be wondering: was there REALLY a Tasmanian wolf. Yes! The crack TNT research department has FOUND the Tasmanian wolf. What happened is that, when settlers moved into Tasmania, the Tasmanian wolf, or thylacine, killed all their sheep, so a land company put a bounty on em. Then the government took over, paying 25 bucks a scalp, which was a lot a dough in 1890. Kill a coupla those guys, you could open up a little pub in the outback--you were MADE. But in 1910, the Tasmanian guvment stopped paying for the skins, and after the last one died in a zoo in the 1930s, the guvment said anyone who killed a thylacine had to pay a $500 fine. Poor planning, considering there weren't any LEFT. Shoulda charged people a fine when they were cartin the carcasses into town by the truckload. This is why guvments always have to raise the dang taxes. And speaking of poor planning, real smart giving half the exposition scenes to the Russian actress. "We are likenfrome. Baht human. Baht wolf." Ask me how many times I had to play it back to figure THAT out. She's actually Czech--Dagmar Blahova is her name. Makes movies in the Czech Republic called, like, "Pasti pasti pasticky" and "A pozdravuji vlastovky," which I believe translates to "Sorority Babes in Prague: The Spandex Revolution." Okay, let's go. "Howling III: The Marsupials."

[fading] My favorite Dagmar Blahova flick is "Nechci nic slyset," which means "Attack of the Killer Loaf of Rye Bread."


"Howling III" Commercial Break #5

Okay, while the hunters venture into the bush, and since I have NO IDEA what they were just talking about, I'd say it's time for "Joe Bob's Jail Break," where we read some mail from the fine penal institutions of America. And here to help us out is one of my favorite members of the species, [enters] Rusty, the TNT Mail Girl. You know, Rusty, we're venturing into the bush tonight.

RUSTY: Really.

JB: Yes, it's Animal Rights Night.

MG: [boots] What are those, snakeskin?

JB: Sharkskin. All my boots are sharkskin.

MAIL GIRL: Sharks are living creatures, too.

JB: Not anymore they're not. Right now this shark is a boot. I always stop by the Tony Lama factory in El Paso when I go down to Juarez for the bullfights.

MAIL GIRL: You shouldn't go to bullfights! They're totally cruel and inhumane!

JB: They don't kill the bulls in Juarez. They just torture em a little bit.

MAIL GIRL: Promise me you won't go to them anymore.

JB: What'll you give me if I promise?

MAIL GIRL: Um

JB: Will you have a drink with me after the show?

MAIL GIRL: You'll NEVER support those terrible people again?

JB: Bullfighting is cruel and inhumane.

MAIL GIRL: Okaaaay. One quick drink. And I'm paying for it myself.

JB: But you'll actually drink it, right? You have a letter for me?

MAIL GIRL: This is from Michael P. at South Central Prison in Clifton, Tennessee.

"Dear Joe Bob and Bunny,"

Who's Bunny? [Mail Girl shrugs]

"Just another letter from South Central in Tennessee. Thought you might like to know a few other luxuries about this pit. Handball, volleyball, shuffle board, arts and crafts, drug and alcohol rehab, softball, school, a library with no law library, tattoos, etc. We thought we were getting a good deal over a minimum wage job, except half goes to living expenses (we are wards of the state), 25 per cent goes to Victims Compensation, five percent goes toward the Release Upon Parole which you can't touch, and the other 20 per cent goes into an account in which these dolts collect interest.

"The clinic has found a miracle drug that heals arthritis, cancer, AIDS, gout and the common pain in the butt. Tylenol!!! But, for them to tell you that secret, you have to pay three dollars to see a nurse.

"My roommate would like to see Bunny n*de (*censored), but I would love to have an autographed picture of her.

"Your friend, Michael P.,
aka Kilo,
South Central Prison."

Well, Michael, if you mean RUSTY, your roommate's not the only one who'd like to see her nude, if you know what I mean. And I'm sure she'll be happy to know that they won't have to do any more animal testing for cancer and AIDS, since your prison has found the cure. Good going, South Central! South Central Prison is located in Clifton, Tennessee, population 700. 1506 male inmates, medium to minimum security, most in for long terms. Michael pretty much covered what they do for fun there.

Thanks for writin in, Mike. We love a captive audience. Free your mind and your butt will follow. [to Rusty] So, I'll swing by your dressing room after the show?

MAIL GIRL: You promise no more bullfights?

JB: Absolutely. Wait'll the guys down at the dog track hear I'm goin out with you.

MAIL GIRL: Joe Bob! Don't patronize dog tracks!

JB: Lemme ask you something. You have a dog?

MAIL GIRL: Yes.

JB: What do you feed it?

MG: Dog food.

JB: You know what's in dog food? ANIMALS!

MAIL GIRL: You're such a hypocrite. [exits]

JB: So I'll see you a little later, huh? Rusty? Bunny? We'll go to Blockbuster and watch Bambi. I love the scene where Bambi's mother is KILLED IN COLD BLOOD! Only kidding.

A little animal-rights humor."


"Howling III" Commercial Break #6

"Isn't that a great goofball scene when the guy in the wolf suit attacks the hunters and none of them get off a single shot? Did all their shotguns jam at the same moment? Then we had the attack by the skeleton werewolf, and then, of course, it goes without saying, the huge explosion when the Army has to turn the bazooka on Philo, the now sympathetic Nazi werewolf leader of a decimated people. The special effects on this picture were done by Bob McCarron, who also did that killer pig movie, "Razorback," which I mentioned earlier. And he worked on the "Mad Max" flicks, and some people say his BEST work was transforming Linda Hunt into Mel Gibson's male sidekick in "The Year of Living Dangerously." But how hard is that, making Linda Hunt look like a guy?

Okay, it's time for the exciting conclusion to "The Howling III: The Marsupials." Go.

[fading] Making Linda Hunt look like a woman-- now THAT'S a special effect."


"Howling III" Outro

"The plot of that movie just continually spins in new and unexpected directions. And the woman presenting the Oscar at the end is Barry Humphries in drag. The guy who does Dame Edna Everage. Great movie. Unfortunately, our next movie is "The Howling VII," which was apparently made by three drunk rednecks with a camcorder."

On to "Howling 7" Monstervision review and host segments

Joe Bob's review of "Howling 2"

Joe Bob's review of "Howling 5" (Joe Bob swears he doesn't remember there ever being a "Howling 4." If there was such a film in theaters, let us know and try not to think about it.

Or click here to continue your reading enjoyment with Joe Bob's review of "Howling 6"

The Howling III (1987)
Last seen on 100% Wierd on September 16, 2000, and on Monstervision in 1999 followed by Howling 7 host segments
*Technically, this is the morning of September 17

Click here for Howling movies & cast list by the folks at Amazon.com

Click here for Northern Exposure's wolves (954k wav)


Howling 3 movie trailer

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Monstervision Movie description above for 2/20/99 broadcast
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