Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Howling III: The Marsupials (1987)

To say "Howling II:...You're Sister's a Werewolf" did bad would be an understatement. Critics savaged it, horror fans were pissed, everyone else was confused as to what kind of movie they had seen, and the movie tanked in the box office. So, did director Philippe Mora own up to the movie being a disaster?

Of course he didn't.

Like many directors whose movie was poorly received, Mora said it wasn't his fault. Nope, it was the studio and the producer's faults, as they compromised his vision. Well what luck for him-the studio wanted nothing to do with the series after "Howling II", so Mora could now make a second sequel, and this time, he could do it in his vision. He could show those studio execs what's what, and he could show the world that the failure of the previous movie wasn't his fault.

It didn't work out that way.

Oh sure, like "Howling II", it was a bigger hit on video than it was in theaters, and it's gained a cult following, but also like that movie, it was poorly received by horror fans, critics and the general audience alike, and did poor box-office, only this time it killed any chances of another "Howling" sequel getting a theatrical release. So, is it bad like everyone says it is? In a word: yes.

Having nothing to do with the prior movies, "Howling III" revolves around a strange Australian race of werewolves that are part man, part wolf and part marsupial. You can't say there isn't any originality in this movie. Anyways, Jerboa (Imogen Annesley) is trying to escape her tribe after her stepfather attempts to rape her. Traveling to the city, she meets Donny (Leigh Biolos), whose the assistant director for a horror movies called "Shape Shifters 8." Donny offers her a role, and they soon fall in love. However, it soon becomes apparent that something other than her lycanthropic tendencies is acting up, and to make matters worse, Professors Beckmeyer (Barry Otto) and Sharp (Ralph Cotterill) are after them. Then there's that Russian Ballerina Olga (Dagmar Bláhová).

Like "Howling II", much of the humor here falls flat-the only times I laughed are when Olga kills her ballet partner and the poster for Mora's "The Beast Within" hanging on Donny's wall. In fact, the humor here is even worse than the prior effort's. Say what you will, but at least "Howling II" tried to come off as a horror movie. Here, Mora goes for a full on satire of horror movies, but none of his jabs at the genre (such as a fat, Alfred Hitchcock looking director played by Frank Thring, and a few parody movies and a tribute/spoof of the original's conclusion) hit the mark. As it's been said a billion times, balancing horror and comedy is a tricky thing, and there's nothing wrong with opting more for laughs. However, when most of the jokes are bad, why should you care? When Dame Edna and a town called Flow (ha ha) are all you got, and even werewolves disguised as nuns can't be interesting, your movie has problems.

It also doesn't help that only Annesley stands out as far as acting is concerned. Everyone else here ranges from mediocre (Biolos makes for a bland love interest) to terrible (Thring is really annoying and all around bad as main director Jack Citron), and they don't really do anything to warrant a reason to care about them. To make things worse, Mora's direction is even worse this time. Watching this, it was hard to believe that this came from the same director of "Mad Dog Morgan" and "Communion", as he shows none of the skill those movies offered.

Needless to say, the four sequels that followed it went straight to video, and it somehow manages to be slightly worse than "Howling II." At least that movie had moments of inspiration. This movie will mostly just inspire fits of boredom.

Rating: 2.5/10

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