I’ve never been a fan of THE HOWLING series. Even as an admirer of almost all things that Joe Dante’s name appears on, his werewolf opus just does not do it for me. Perhaps it is due to how surprisingly serious the film takes itself or that it just has not aged well. Regardless, this film has nothing to do with Dante’s work. Hell, it has nothing to even do with the second film in the series either. In all honesty, it really has nothing to do with anything and the sooner you allow yourself to accept that, the more likely you will be to enjoy it (or at least try to).
I’ve been trying to find a way to coherently explain this film and I can’t do it. This film defies logical explanation in the way that few films before and/or after it can claim to do so. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I’d even argue that it actually works in its favor. I mean, it’s hard to have plot holes or gaps in logic if there is not any plot or logic to begin with, right? Perhaps the strangest aspect of this is that it almost doesn’t matter. Almost. The film is ridiculous enough that it in a way transcends mere narrative yet not to the point where it can justify doing so.
Clearly, there is no reason to outline the plot as it does not realy exist. If you honestly try to argue that this film is attempting to tell a story than you are not deserving of the incredible non-narrative related sights it provides. Seriously, do you need a narrative to have a film feature kangaroo-werewolves, russian balerina werewolves or line dancing werewolves? No? Well, how about werewolf nuns? Yes, I’m serious. All of that is in here. However, none of these elements are really taken advantage of to the fullest.
Watching a young woman give birth to a rodent only to have that rodent climb up her abdomen and snuggle up inside her kangaroo pouch may sound like the subject of many a pre-teen wet dream, but you can see it in HOWLING III: THE MARSUPIALS. It is actually a touching scene. A scene about life, love and the women in Australia who have abdominal pouches to house their rodent offspring. Yes, I said Australia. This is an ozploitation article after all. The first two films in the series are not Australian, but for some inexplicable reason this one takes place in the great outback and, as a result, features far better scenery than any film with The Pope fighting werewolves should. Yes, that is really in this too.
In all honesty, despite how insane the film is, it is still hard to recommend without reservations. As an ozploitation film it is not all that sleazy/violent/tasteless and as a werewolf film it is just too damn retarded to take seriously. However, taken as a non-narrative excuse to feature the most ludicrous examples for lycanthropes that would be allowable by any world film censorship board, this is a winner.