Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Trailer Park Tuesdays - The Final Member

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesdays.

This week's trailer features some real dicks.

Literal dicks.

The Final Member (2014) is a documentary about an Icelandic man, Sigurdur "Siggi" Hjartarson, who owns and operates the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which houses the world's largest collection of mammal penises.  Everything from bears, bulls, whales, and tigers to hamsters, mice, and shrews.  There is only one specimen not on display at his museum: a human penis.

What follows is a tale of not one, but two men who want to donate their members to the museum.  One guy is an aging Icelandic philanderer while the other is an eccentric American cowboy who has nicknamed his penis "Elmo."

The major difference between the two?  The Icelandic guy wants his penis donated after his death.  The American guy is willing to part with his penis before he dies.

With that, the race is on, and Siggi finds this to all be more complicated than he had originally thought.

The Final Member is a story about obsession and personal legacies, one that is all at once emotional, poignant, mind blowing, hilarious, and disturbing.

Check out the trailer:

The Final Member is being released by the good folks at Drafthouse Films.  It's playing in select cities RIGHT NOW around the country and you can check HERE for specifics on that.  It should also be hitting VOD and things like that in June, I believe (don't hold me to that).

In what might be one of the most unique memorabilia opportunities out there, you can also pre-order a limited edition Blu-Ray/DVD of the movie (same link above), called "The Total Package," that comes with a certified bull penis specimen and other goodies.  Put it on your wish list, kids.

Here's the cool poster:

Sunday, April 20, 2014


It's Easter Sunday (holiday for Christians) and it's also 4/20 (holiday for stoners).
This should provide a sufficient intersection for both camps:

The official movie trailer makes it vague this is a movie about giant killer rabbits, but the narration is great.  I especially love the way he slowly pronounces "mutant" and keeps saying "what?!"

Happy 4Easter20 everybody.  Have a safe night.  Watch out for lepus.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Marsupials: The Howling III

Back in June last year I started a project, The Howling Series Retrospective Review.  I got exactly two films in before I got distracted by a shiny object or something.
However, I am a man who likes to finish what he starts (especially sandwiches) and I promised to review all of the films in the Howling series, so in the tradition of following through, here's the third installment.
-*Catch up with my reviews of Joe Dante's original Howling HERE and Part II HERE.
The third part of the Howling series is titled The Marsupials: The Howling III (1987) and yes, that is how the title is displayed onscreen.  The movie mainly takes place in Australia and has no relation to the previous two films.  The only connection to the previous sequel, Howling II…Your Sister is a Werewolf (1986), is sharing the same director, Philippe Mora.

Howling II is what I would call a "fun-bad" movie sequel; cheesy and not very good, but entertaining in its ridiculousness.  Part III here is more of a "weird-bad" sequel, watchable only because every fifteen minutes or so something really strange would happen, some of these things being incredibly strange.

The plot of Howling III is difficult to explain, as the movie itself has a hard time presenting it straightforwardly.  The structure and editing doesn't make any sense, sometimes bordering on illogical, as scenes just seem to smash up against one another with characters quickly and clumsily introduced.  This is a movie with plenty of different elements, but it fails in successfully bringing them together.  What I'm getting at is, this is a bad movie.
The elements at work within Howling III include and involve an anthropologist who is tracking evidence of werewolves in Australia, a young werewoman who runs away from her colony/family, her brief participation in the movie industry, werewolves dressed as nuns, the birth of a were-marsupa-baby, werewolves being hunted by the military and experimented on by doctors, a werewolf ballerina, plenty of werewolf transformations, and at least one explosion.

Like I said, there are a lot of elements at work here making it difficult to explain or supply any clarity.
Instead, let's just go over some of the highlights:
The young werewoman, Jeroba (Imogen Annesley), runs away from her colony of reclusive werepeople and her abusive father Thylo (Max Fairchild, bit player in both Mad Max [1979] and The Road Warrior [1981]) and hits the city where she is picked up by this doofus guy Donny who works as an AD on a horror movie called "Shape Shifters - Part 8," as his generic white tee proudly declares on both front and back.
 Jeroba is immediately cast in the movie, which is directed by this guy doing his best Hitchcock impersonation, both visually and vocally:
Ha ha.  Get it?  He's the director and he vaguely resembles another famous director.  Ha ha.

*note: this actor is Frank Thring and he played Pontius Pilate in Ben Hur (1959), which is fairly respectable, but probably just as much so as his role as the gatekeeper to Bartertown in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985).

With this movie subplot we get some movie-within-the-movie action, specifically when Donny takes Jeroba to see a film called "It Came from Uranus."

Strange as it may seem, this isn't even the craziest thing in this movie.  Also, say what you will, but these goofy special effects are better than pretty much anything that was featured in Howling II.

Slightly crazier:  while Jeroba is in the city she's being tracked down by three members of her colony who, for reasons I'm fairly sure are left unexplained, are dressed as nuns.
The werenuns get into the Shape Shifters wrap party (because it's a costume party, of course) causing a little bit of comedy (or what passes for comedy in a movie like this) but they eventually find Jeroba at the hospital where she was recovering from a (offscreen) car accident.   They take her back to their colony and, not long after, she gives birth to a werebaby (Donny is the father) in what may be Howling III's craziest scene.

The birthing sequence really is something to see, and I'm fairly sure that Howling III is the only place you can see a woman birth a small baby creature that then crawls up her stomach and into her pouch.  Behold:

Apparently the filmmakers put a werewolf fetus suit on a small mouse to achieve this effect.  They also had to sedate the mouse and use some backwards photography.  It kinda reminds me of a maggot with a face, which is a horrifying thought.

Later the little guy grows into this little abomination:
Even worse, later on he looks like this:

Oh, and I forgot.  Before Jeroba has the baby, she has a classic-horror-movie-nightmare where a monster bursts through her stomach, Alien-style, and her and Donny freak out and overact.

After Jeroba escapes the hospital, Prof. Beckmeyer (Barry Otto), the anthropologist on the hunt for werewolves, fears he might have lost his chance at studying one, so he goes to see a ballet practice (as anthropologists are known to do).

It is here that Beckmeyer witnesses, by what seems to be complete randomness and coincidence, the lead ballerina, Olga, turn into a werewolf onstage and attack her dance partner.

Well, it's less of an attack and more just a case of the other dancer jumping into her open mouth.

After this, Beckmeyer uses Olga to get to the colony of werewolves, which, oh yeah, is named "Flow," which, in a bit that is not unlike that part in Troll 2 (1990), is "wolf" spelled backwards.  The military then raid the colony and take most of everyone prisoner, except Jeroba and Donny who escape into the mountains.

They perform some experiments on the werewolves, there's some crazy negative video effects like it's a Rob Zombie video, etc., but then Beckmeyer falls in love with Olga and grows sympathetic towards the wolfpeople, so he helps her and Thylo escape.
The military come after them, along with what appears to be a hunting posse, but Thylo and this other werewolf, Kendi, kill all of them, both dying in the process.

Thylo, it should be mentioned, goes out with an explosion, sticking his big wolfsnout into a soldier's tent and getting a face full of rocket launcher.

This giant head might resemble that of a pig, and that's because, more or less, that's what it was.  It's a recycled prop from the film Razorback (1984), which featured a massive wild boar terrorizing the outback.
After the climax of Thylo blowing up (which, yeah, turns out to be the climax of the film's action), the movie sputters along for another 10 minutes or so.  Jeroba, Donny, and their baby are safe, as are Beckmeyer and Olga.  They all live in the outback for awhile.  Olga has a baby.

Then Jeroba and Danny take off for the city, where they change their names and start new lives in the movie industry.  Sometime after that Beckmeyer and family move back to the city (like I said, it sputters).
The movie ends with various characters sitting around televisions watching a movie awards show presentation where Jeroba (now going by the name Loretta Kass) wins an award for Best Actress.

The award is presented to her by Dame Edna.

All of the flashing lights make Jeroba turn into a werewolf and she crushes her award in front of everyone. And that's how the movie ends.

I guess it's a callback to how the original Howling ends with Dee Wallace turning into a werewolf during a televised newscast, but where that was clever and felt like the right ending, this ending for Howling III feels forced, more than a little silly, and maybe a touch sad, as in, "this is sad that this is the ending they came up with."
Like I said, The Marsupials: The Howling III is a a weird-bad movie sequel.  Not much makes sense, the least of which is that the film ends with a screen that says "adios amigos."
Director Philippe Mora has said in interviews that the movie was intended as a comedy, one with tongue firmly planted in cheek, and while that might be evident, it doesn't actually seem to work in the movie's favor and it also doesn't mean that any of it is funny.

Yeah I don't know, man.  I can't say I would recommend this to anyone.  This is a "completists only" type of movie.

The special effects are marginally better than the previous film, definitely more unique.  Like I said, that birthing scene is worth checking out, maybe, if you're into that kind of thing.  I guess the best thing to be said about Howling III is that it's an interesting mess of a movie.  Check out this trailer and you get the idea:

This would be the last Howling film to see a theatrical release.  After this, it's all direct-to-video (even though, honestly, these first two sequels already felt and looked like DTV horror sequels and I'm surprised to find that they both actually saw release in theaters).
Thylo agrees.
Donny, too busy being a stud to care.
The credits say this is based on Gary Brandner's 1985 novel, "Howling III," but it bears no similarities to his book, other than being about werewolves.

And one last thing:  apparently Nicole Kidman was up for the lead role of Jeroba but the director went with Imogen Annesley instead, deeming Kidman to not be "werewolf" enough for the picture, which is a shame, as that award show ending would've made for a great internet meme years later if Kidman was in it.