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Rated PG-13
Copyright 1987 Bancannia Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 27 October 2003

The Characters:  

  • Jerboa - Do you like a woman who rarely bathes, sweats buckets, and has thick hair on her stomach and lower back? Well, have I ever found the pinup girl of your dreams.
  • Donny - Somebody contact the police, Jason Priestley's principal facial features have been stolen.
  • Professor Beckmeyer - He believes in a dozen different crackpot theories. One had to come true.
  • Professor Sharp - Joe Friday?
  • Olga - The Russian ballerina werewolf. She falls in love with Beckmeyer, because he believed in her.
  • Thylo - Nothing like a violent, heavyset, bald werewolf to serve as your species' ambassador. Takes a LAW rocket on the snout. Maybe he should have stuck to Jugging.
  • Jack - The accomplished horror director. He wears heavy chains around his neck.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

I already knew that this movie was going to be bad after reading the title. "Howling III: The Marsupials." I mean, not only is she a wereroo, but that also means that she has a pouch! Oh no! Not a pouch! Needless to say, the mental image of being chased by a killer kangaroo (no matter how large and slavering) did not inspire awe. The idea of a little wereroo hanging out of the mother's pouch only made me giggle.

In all fairness, the creatures are not wereroos, but werewolves. On the other hand, the production company used a thylacine as their mascot. Not quite as imposing as a lion, plus the darn thing is extinct. Hardly bodes well for the company's future.

Jerboa runs away from the rest of her clan to avoid Thylo's sexual attentions. She winds up sleeping on a park bench in Sydney, where she is spotted by Donny. The young man falls in love immediately. He chases the frightened girl through the park before finally catching up and telling her that she would be perfect for the female lead in a horror film. Pow! That is how a runaway girl, with no acting experience, can become a star. (Note: it is still recommended that they intern at a strip club, especially midwest girls.)

While filming "Shapeshifters" (the horror movie being made), Jerboa and Donny fall in love. Or something like that. The end result is that they have very sweaty sex in Donny's bed. Listen, do you smell wet dog?

The two lovebirds also go to see a movie about werewolves. Between this and the "Shapeshifters" set, the viewer gets the idea that the film is trying to act in a self-conscious and self-depreciating manner. The effects used are certainly not Rick Baker quality. Plus, some scenes are brought off as parody or satire. Nevertheless, if you are going to make crap, it would behoove you not to make a point of telling people that what you made was crap.

While at the wrap party for "Shapeshifters," Jerboa is exposed to strobes. The flashing lights cause her to start changing. She flees the party, but Donny is in hot pursuit. Unfortunately, she runs into traffic and is hit by a car. The doctors at the hospital realize that there is something very strange about their patient's physiology.

Which brings us to Beckmeyer. He has been searching for proof of werewolves for years. The man's father disappeared in the Outback shortly after recording a film of villagers apparently killing a werewolf. So, Beckmeyer is called in as an expert once the doctor's discover Jerboa's little secret. His investigation is short lived, because three of Jerboa's sisters (disguised as nuns) show up and whisk her away. Deprived of a werewolf, Beckmeyer and Sharp spend the evening watching a visiting ballet troupe practice. They are rewarded with Olga suddenly changing in mid-twirl. It's raining werewolves!

By the way, the village that Jerboa is from is named "Flow." Oh boy is that ever clever, in a Troll II sort of way.

Are you still with me? Olga is being poked and prodded by Beckmeyer and visiting military officers, while Jerboa has returned to Flow. There she gives birth to a mole in a scene that defies explanation. Nothing quite like watching a funky little mammal crawling up a woman's wet and hairy stomach, then disappearing into her pouch. Egad. Meanwhile, Donny knows that his girlfriend was from Flow. The young lad goes on a walkabout to find her. Instead, Jerboa smells her baby's daddy nearby and goes to him. They flee into the hills.

About now the movie starts dragging. A government task force captures the werewolf clan. Beckmeyer frets over the injustice done to the werewolves (including the U.S. Army hunting them in 1889), before freeing Olga and Thylo. The trio escapes into the Outback and eventually finds Donny, Jerboa, and the baby. They are pursued, but Thylo and another werewolf massacre the hunters at the expense of their own hides. Olga falls in love with the goofy professor. The makeshift family establishes a homestead and lives in peace for a time. At long last, the younger two grow weary of the sylvan life (probably as bored with this section of the film as myself); they leave, intending to return to the city and establish new identities.

Did you catch all of that? The movie is trying to cover more ground than a four-part miniseries. I will not even get into the end of the film, when an amnesty is offered to the werewolves. Or Beckmeyer meeting Jerboa and Donny's (now adult) son. Or... ...oh, skip it.

One of the movie's major failings is trying to cram in too much. In the space of about ninety minutes, the authorities make three separate captures and there are two escapes. We progress from the set of a low budget movie to the official investigation of the lycanthropes. Following the big escape, the plot moves straight into a long segue of the families living in exile, then back to becoming accepted members of society. Another big failing is the filmmaker's attempt to convince the audience that they should feel sympathy for the werewolves. Maybe at AnthroCon, but it will not happen on the streets of South Town, USA. Bottom line is that, when I find a parallel between a movie and Troll II, lots of warning bells go off.

Nilbog, Flow, Nilbog, Flow, Nilbog, Flow... ...AAARRRGGHHHHHH!

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Lycanthropes play hell with Echelon.
  • Sex does not soothe the savage beast.
  • Geographic maps are helpful when you have to explain gestation to military members.
  • Lycanthropy is related to epilepsy.
  • Females, the world and species over, love the bald look on a man.
  • Werewolves use nuclear fusion to change form; hence they give off a strong electromagnetic pulse.
  • It is difficult to wink while hypnotized.
  • Bales of hay do not make good roadblocks.
  • Shakespeare would have been far different, had he lived down under.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • Opening Credits - These just scream for anamorphic widescreen.
  • 9 mins - What is the Catholic Church's policy on shapechangers?
  • 10 mins - "Breakin' 3: Australian Melody!"
  • 17 mins - She is not a virgin...
  • 34 mins - Wow, he can do the same thing with his forehead that bodybuilders do with their pectorals.
  • 42 mins - I guess that it is less traumatic than passing a thirteen centimeter head, but this scene is freaking surreal.
  • 54 mins - Sodium Pentothal: the interrogator's friend.
  • 77 mins - Olga is still wearing that red dress.
  • 90 mins - He looks like a serial killer. Run! Run!


  • Beckmeyer: "What do you make of that, Sharp?"
    Sharp: "Not much. The ramblings of a genetic mutant on psychedelic drugs."
  • Thylo: "Help me change into the big one! Emunen!" (Emunen is the God of Australian werewolves. Rather an obscure entity.)

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note howlingiii1.wav CIA Guy: "Werewolf was sighted near village of Leovitch. Three villagers killed. Special army team tracking monster. Well, do we tell the powers that be?"
Other CIA Guy: "Werewolves loose in the Soviet Union. I'm not telling them."
Green Music Note howlingiii2.wav President: "I wanted to ask you about the Shroud of Turin."
Beckmeyer: "Yes, Mr. President?"
President: "Is it a Goddamned polaroid of Jesus Christ, or what?"
Green Music Note howlingiii3.wav Priest: "You should not run away from home."
Jerboa: "I don't like home."
Priest: "Why, child?"
Jerboa: "Because my stepfather tried to rape me and he's a werewolf."
Green Music Note howlingiii4.wav Sharp: "Don't get emotional Beckmeyer. Too many people have died already."
Beckmeyer: "But how many of them have we killed over the years? They're nearly extinct."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliphowlingiii1.mpg - 2.3m
The only person that does not notice Olga is turning into a werewolf is her partner. He completes the ensemble and becomes a snack.

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