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.
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.
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:
*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 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.
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.
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.
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 award is presented to her by Dame Edna.
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."
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).
|Donny, too busy being a stud to care.|
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.