Blu-ray Review: HOWLING III

HOWLING III: THE MARSUPIALS is loosely based on Gary Brandner‘s novel “The Howling III: Echoes”. The movie was written and directed by Phillippe Mora and stars Barry Otto, Imogen Annesley, Max Fairchild, Dasha Blahova and Frank Thring.

The race is on as a colony of marsupial werewolves attempts to outwit and outlast their human counterparts in the offbeat horror film Howling III. Long ago, the now-extinct marsupial wolf (a.k.a. Tasmanian Tiger) roamed the Australian Outback. Today, a werewolf colony that has descended from these marsupials has taken over the land. This race of human-like creatures roams the outback, feeding its need. The race for survival is on as the humans struggle to contain these out of control creatures.

This 1987 Australian horror-comedy follows Jerboa (Imogen Annesley), a young Aussie woman who runs away from her tribe where she ends up meeting Donny Martin (Leigh Biolos), an American, and the two instantly hit it off. Donny offers her a role in a movie he’s working on and Jack Citron (Frank Thring), the director, thinks she’s a natural. Donny also learns a lot more about his new girlfriend including the fact that she also happens to be a werewolf. Jerboa comes from a race of marcupial werewolves that have evolved from a legendary hybrid that’s now extinct.

What happens is, Jerboa accidentally starts transforming in public and now the government is after her following her big reveal. Jerboa and Donny go on the run where they befriend Harry Beckmeyer (Barry Otto), an anthropologist who wants to help save the marsupials from their enemy. Jerboa also ends up pregnant and when the baby is born it’s natural instinct is to crawl in her pouch, Sorry, I had to throw that in there, but she is a marcupial after all. Anyway, a lot of time goes by and the two decide it’s time to start over with new identities but just when it all looks like it all worked out, Jerboa’s wild side reveals itself once again – or is she simply playing a new role in a movie? Cut!

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. This Blu-ray release has been given an all-new digital transfer. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition upgrade were crisp and clear. I noticed a little grain in some of the darker scenes but I really didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Howling III is another horror movie that I remember renting from the local video store when I was a kid but I also remember it being an extremely weird entry in the franchise. One thing is for sure, I like it a lot more now than I did back then. The movie doesn’t follow too closely to the book it’s based on but it still expands the lycan mythology by introducing this strange looking marcupial tribe. Yes, they look a little different from the normal looking werewolves but that’s part of this cheesefest’s charm. It was a low budget production but the makeup effects ended up looking really good. We even get some marcupial werwolf nuns! I can tell director Phillippe Mora is very passionate about this horror-comedy of his after watching the new interview with him and I thought he did a great job with what he had t owork with – Planet of the Apes monkey suits and all. Howling III: The Marsupials joins previous Scream Factory releases The Howling and Howling 2: Your Sister is a Werewolf when it makes its Blu-ray debut in the U.S. on January 15th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 98 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include some new audio commentary, a new interview, vintage interviews and the theatrical trailer.

  • NEW Digital Transfer sponsored by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia
  • NEW Audio Commentary with writer/director Philippe Mora, moderated by filmmaker Jamie Blanks
  • NEW A Conversation with Philippe Mora – an interview with the writer/director (27:23)
  • Vintage interviews from the documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! by director Mark Hartley (18:56)
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:06)
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