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Movie Review: "Howling III: The Marsupials" (1987)
I thought "Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf" was bad, but then I saw "Howling II: The Marsupials" and realized that I was wrong. When it comes to sequels, I've always noticed that there is a certain point of no return in every franchise where only so many mistakes can be made until enough is enough. I think "Howling III: The Marsupials" crosses that line here.
"Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf" was a big mistake and this third entry clearly shows that they no longer had any intentions to take these movies seriously anymore. It's as if they said 'Ah what the heck, let's just make another sequel! Who cares what it's about?'. If you don't think this is a common occurrence, then watch the 'Hellraiser' films because they have a lot in common with this series.
"Howling III: The Marsupials" tries to cover way too much in such a short amount of time and that's one of the film's biggest problems. However, the things that it tries to cover within that short time-frame is also a problem. The story is one of the worst yet -- Runaway werewolf chick with a pouch becomes a movie star, falls in love with one of the crewmen and has disgusting hairy sex with him, and gets kidnapped by some evil military guys only to escape with some werewolf buddies whom all end up camping out in the Australian outback.
Howling III: The What!?
Even since "Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf", the series has presented us with utterly ridiculous titles for each film. Actually it's just Parts II and III. So now we have "Howling III: The Marsupials". You can somewhat tell this is going to be a very bad sequel from the get-go just by this title alone. One might think that this is about some kind of werewolf/kangaroo hybrid creatures.
Unfortunately, that's not far from the truth. What triggered the filmmakers to make this decision? The werewolves didn't have "pouches" in the last two movies, so what happened with "Howling III"? This new addition to the werewolf anatomy doesn't benefit neither this sequel nor the series in any way whatsoever. Heck, the Predalien in "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem" makes more sense than this crap and that's saying a lot.
Sex is Blind
Nothing is worse than a love interest that is hairy, stinky, and has a kangaroo pouch. There's a scene where Jerboa and Donny have sex for the first time... disgusting. Then later on in the movie, Donny acts all shocked and surprised when he finds out that Jerboa has a pouch and hair everywhere. So how come this idiot didn't notice it the first time he saw her naked in bed?
Being that "Howling III: The Marsupials" is only ninety minutes long, the film is more crammed with subplots than "Spider-Man 3". In almost every single 'Howling' movie but this one, the story is very simple and straight-forward. But they obviously tried to get fancy and epic with this one, with very unimpressive effort I might add.
The story moves from the dumb Jerboa actress subplot to being admitted to the hospital, then the military become more apparent in the film, we're introduced to a werewolf community where Jerboa goes into hiding, Donny conducts his own search for Jerboa, the werewolves get captured but some escape, there's some chase scenes, One of the werewolves fall in love with a moron professor, the escapees make their own sanctuary, and then... ah, now I'm getting dizzy.
Mind you, the second half of the film is pretty boring, so it looks like cramming all that crap in there did nothing to benefit the experience. There's enough capture and escape scenes in this movie to make one's head spin, like mine for instance. How can one possibly fit all of this in ninety minutes and make it effective? The low budget movie set, the government investigation, the huge escape sequence, the overly long section that depicts the exile of the werewolves who eventually become accepted back into society... I think it's time to hit the bar at this point.
"Howling III: The Marsupials" does a role reversal of sorts and now the werewolves in this movie are portrayed as the good guys and the government-type humans as the bad guys. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes they could have ever made when putting this sequel together. It's something different, yes, but it really doesn't work.
This reminds me of the fourth 'Living Dead' film, "Land of the Dead", where Romero tried to make the zombies appear as the good guys in disguise in a sense. Of course there was Bub in "Day of the Dead" but he was the only good one, the rest of them were bad. However, portraying the zombies as less of a threat, so to speak, helped to turn that movie into a train wreck much like this one.
This is a lesson to be learned here for filmmakers. If you have an established franchise that is centered around an evil creature or force, don't ever attempt to portray them as not evil or misunderstood in any future sequel. Big mistake. Can you imagine if they tried to pull this nonsense with the aliens in the 'Alien' movies?
What Should Have Been Done
Changing the title and getting rid of the humor would have made for a good start. Simplify the story instead of cramming so much into a ninety minute runtime and while doing that, coming up with a different story would have been nice as well, one that doesn't involve showing sympathy for the stupid werewolves. These creatures present far better when they are depicted as the villains, as they had been in the past two movies.
What's also upsetting is that they make no effort to tie in the first two movies, whereas in the the movies that followed after this one (Parts IV-VII) are all connected to each other. Heck, maybe if they tried to adapt more of the three 'Howling' novels into this story, that would have helped this sequel. Why am I even calling it a sequel? Wait, why is this movie called "Howling III" again?
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