Howling III is a 1987 Australian independent horror film and the second sequel in the Howling franchise. Like the previous film, The Howling III was directed by Philippe Mora and loosely based on a series of novels by writer Gary Brandner. This film has no connection to the previous films and it explores the concepts of lycanthropy and the possible evolution of Tasmanian wolves into marsupial werewolves.
|Barry Otto||Harry Beckmeyer|
|Leigh Biolos||Donny Martin|
|Dagmar Bláhová||Olga Gorki|
|Ralph Cotterill||Professor Sharp|
|Frank Thring||Jack Citron|
|Fred Welsh||Dan Ruggle|
|Danielle Sharp||Gracie (age 15)|
|Andreas Bayonas||Zac (age 23)|
Marsupial Werewolves Edit
The National Intelligence Agency discovers evidence of a possible werewolf attack in the town of Leovich in Siberia, Russia. Three villagers have turned up dead.
Meanwhile, Professor Harry Beckmeyer lectures a class on sociology at the University of San Andreas. He shows them footage of an Aborigine ritual recorded by his own grandfather in Cape York in 1905. In the video, several Aborigines dance around what appears to be a female werewolf tied to a pole. Professor Beckmeyer's students believe that the woman in the video is wearing a mask, but even Beckmeyer is curious as to their craftsmanship.
After the class concludes, Beckmeyer is summoned by the President to discuss the situation in Siberia. Beckmeyer tells the President about werewolves and illustrates that strange things exist all over the world. The President decides to send Beckmeyer back to his home city of Sydney, Australia, but he wants him to keep abreast of this "werewolf" phenomenon.
Donny & Jerboa Edit
Meanwhile in the Australian bush, a werewolf girl named Jerboa is unhappy with her life. She dislikes being a werewolf and she despises the people in her commune; in particular, her stepfather Thylo. Thylo has chosen her to be his new mate, but Jerboa resists him. Kneeing him in the crotch, she runs off. She takes a bus to Sydney.
A boy named Donny Martin sees her sitting on a park bench and begins to approach her. Jerboa grows scared and runs off. Donny chases after her and finally corners her. He explains to her that he is the assistant director on a film called Shape Shifters Part 8 and he believes that she would be perfect for one of the parts. Jerboa calms down and agrees to give it a try. Director Jack Citron thinks she's wonderful, even though Jerboa corrects him on a few details concerning werewolves.
After the shoot, Donny takes Jerboa to the movies to see It Came from Uranus. Afterward, they retire to Donny's apartment where she continues to correct him on the physiology of werewolves. He asks Jerboa if she is a werewolf, to which she responds, "Yes, but I don't want to be". The two make love and afterward, Jerboa falls asleep. Donny pulls the covers back revealing a marsupial pouch and excessive hair on Jerboa's abdominal region.
The following day, Jerboa works on Jack Citron's movie set where she does repeated takes of a scene where she is attacked by a werewolf and begins screaming. Citron thinks the work is perfect, but Jerboa wants to redo the scenes. Citron won't hear of it and declares an end scene.
That evening, Jack Citron hosts a cast party at his flat. Everyone arrives dressed in a costume, many of which are in homage to various horror movie personages. Donny comes dressed as Dracula, while Jerboa wears a bride's dress. During the party, Jerboa seduces Donny and the two fornicate in an anterior hallway. Jerboa then makes a hasty exit from the scene.
A short time later, three of Jerboa's fellow werewolves from her commune come looking for her. At first, they appear as nothing more than a trio of unassuming nuns, but upon arriving at Jack Citron's place, they reveal their true werewolf faces. The revelers flee in terror as the werewolves descend upon them.
While wandering the streets of Sydney, Jerboa is struck by a car. She is taken to a nearby hospital where the attending staff discovers her unique physiology. Professor Harry Beckmeyer and his assistant, Professor Sharp are contacted and they soon arrive at the hospital. They determine that Jerboa is not only pregnant, but due to her enhanced metabolism, will likely give birth to a child at an extremely accelerated rate. The three werewolf nuns arrive at the hospital and begin slaughtering their way through doctors and orderlies in their search for Jerboa. Professor Beckmeyer and Sharp avoid the frenzy, but the nuns succeed in finding Jerboa and taking her away. Beckmeyer and Sharp then find Donny Martin and tell him about Jerboa's condition. They theorize that Donny might be the father of her child even though it had only been a few days since they had sex with one another.
The Ballerina Edit
Meanwhile, a Russian ballerina werewolf named Olga Gorki prepares for a rehearsal at the Sydney Opera House. Her attendant, also a werewolf, shows her a drawing of Thylo. Olga knows that this man is destined to be her mate. She goes on stage, but her thoughts are on Thylo. She cannot resist her internal urges and transforms into a werewolf in the middle of the rehearsal. Breckmeyer and Sharp are present to witness the event and they have Olga apprehended.
She is brought to a facility where she is hooked up to an EKG machine. As the staff members monitor her, Olga's attendant appears in the room as a werewolf and begins attacking people. He kills a police inspector and hurls his body from the window. Professor Sharp shoots the attendant and he resumes human form upon hitting the floor. Olga however, turns into a werewolf and escapes.
Beckmeyer and Sharp track Olga to a town in the Australian bush called Flow (wolf spelled backwards). They encounter an indigenous Australian named Kendi who taunts them with barbs and Australian clichés such as "G'day. Throw anotha shrimp on the Barbie?" In a nearby barn, Jerboa arrives and gives birth to an infant marsupial human. The infant crawls out of her womb and Jerboa begins nursing it.
Olga arrives in the camp and meets with Thylo. Thylo, having seemingly forgotten about Jerboa, chooses Olga as his mate. Suddenly, armed soldiers appear and shoot a tranquilizer dart into Thylo's chest.
While all of this is going on, Donny Martin also arrives in Flow. He finds Jerboa who shows him their child. Donny is overwhelmed and professes his love for Jerboa, but he also knows that they are in danger and the three seek shelter in a nearby cave.
Beckmeyer comes to Thylo's camp and finds Olga. He is quickly growing infatuated with her, and tells her that he only wants to help her people. Thylo and Olga are taken back to Beckmeyer's facility where they are tested. Beckmeyer places Olga under hypnosis and asks her questions pertaining to the evolution of marsupial humans. He then performs the same hypnosis treatment on Thylo. The scientists learn how this species came into being after a human mated with the phantom spirit of the great Tasmanian wolf. During interrogation, Beckmeyer uses strobe lights to maintain hypnotic control over Thylo, but the flashing light only seems to cause him great pain. He transforms into a werewolf and goes berserk until Professor Sharp puts him down with a tranquilizer gun.
Soldiers vs. Werewolves Edit
Later, several high-ranking military figures from several nations convene to discuss the outbreak of werewolf attacks in Siberia as well as the discovery of the marsupial werewolves in Australia. They indicate that the Vatican has decried all werewolves as inherently evil. Knowing that they have the Vatican's support, these special government conspirators authorize the extermination of all werewolves. Surprisingly, Professor Sharp supports the movement, citing, "Safety first" as his prominent motivation.
Beckmeyer however, adamantly disagrees with this policy and returns to the laboratory where he sets Olga and Thylo free. He packs them all into his jeep and drives back towards Flow, breaking through a police roadblock. Jerboa and the others flee the commune and take refuge farther out into the bush. The Aborigine, Kendi vows to protect them and conducts a ritual designed to invoke the great phantom spirit.
A pack of hunters hire a guide to help them find Jerboa and her offspring, but the Kendi appears in werewolf form, covered in grease paint. He attacks the hunters, but one of them gets off a lucky shot and Kendi falls. The hunters travel on, but soon after, Jerboa and Donny find the dying Kendi and hear his final words. They erect a funeral pyre and bid goodbye to their friend. That evening, a group of soldiers (part of the military consortium) patrol the area and find Kendi's burnt skeleton. There is still some life in the werewolf and the body springs up to attack them. The soldiers fire their automatic weapons at it, reducing the blackened bones to dust.
Thylo decides that he too shall invoke the spirit of the phantom wolf and fight back against the soldiers. Donning white and red grease paint, he performs the ceremony and transforms into a gigantic werewolf. He invades the soldiers' camp, but one of them fires a bazooka shell directly into the creature's face, killing it.
Beckmeyer and Olga meet up with Jerboa and Donny. They find a safe haven for themselves, and Beckmeyer decides to remain in Australia. Professor Sharp warns him that this will be seen as an act of betrayal on the part of the government consortium. Beckmeyer doesn’t care however. He is in love.
Sharp travels to the United States and consults with the American president. He tells him about the situation with Beckmeyer and how he has chosen to remain in the Australian bush with the Russian werewolf. The President asks, "Was it female?", to which Sharp replies, "Yes". The president responds with, "Well thank Christ for that!"
Time passes and Beckmeyer, Olga, Jerboa and Donny all eke out lives for themselves in the bush. Jerboa and Donny name their son Zac while Beckmeyer and Olga have a child of their own, Gracie. When Zac is four-years-old, Jerboa and Donny decide to reintegrate themselves with modern society. They assume new identities and return to the movie industry. When Gracie is fifteen-years-old, Beckmeyer and Olga receive a surprise visit from Professor Sharp. Sharp tells them that the Pope has reversed his stance on lycanthropes and that they are not the Devil's handiwork. He tells him that the President has offered Beckmeyer and Olga amnesty. They decide to return to the modern world as well.
While Jerboa and Donny continue to make movies, Beckmeyer resumes his position as a professor at the University of San Andreas. At one of his lectures, he meets Zac, who is now twenty-three years old. Zac tells him about Jerboa and Donny.
That evening, Beckmeyer, Olga and Zac watch the 82nd Annual Academy of Laser Arts and Sciences Awards where Jerboa (under the alias Loretta Carson) is to receive the award for Best Actress. Jerboa takes the stage to accept the award, but as the photographers begin taking pictures of her, she reacts violently as the flashing lights cause her immense pain. She transforms into a werewolf in front of millions of viewers on live television.
- The film ends with a clip of Jack Citron yelling "Cut!"
- The Howling III was first viewed at Cannes, France on May 15, 1987. It was later made available in the United States in October, 1987.
- An alternate title for the film was Womb With a View, a humorous reference to a marsupial pouch.
- This film has been made available on VHS, DVD and is included on the Sights, Frights and Tights compilation.
- The tagline "Just when you thought it was safe to go down under..." is a play on "Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...", which was the tagline to Jaws 2.
- The logo in the opening credits shows archival footage of a Tasmanian wolf. This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the infamous growling lion seen in the openings of films by MGM.
- Several horror film posters can be seen in Donny's apartment, one of which is The Beast Within, also directed by Philippe Mora.
- The song playing in the background during the Jerboa/Donny sex scene is a rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising".
- The footage of the Tasmanian wolf (or Tasmanian tiger) seen in this film is real. The Tasmanian wolf went extinct sometime during the 1930s.
- Actress Dagmar Bláhová is credited as Dasha Blahova in this film.
- The scenes showing the birth of Zac were done using a mouse wearing a rubber costume. The mouse proved uncooperative and the production crew had to run the film backwards in order to show the mouse entering Jerboa's pouch. Director Philippe Mora states that this is the first and last time he would ever direct a mouse.
- Philippe Mora used a polarizing filter to bring out the background colors used in many of the scenes shot in the Australian bush.
- The prop used for Thylo's giant werewolf head is the same item used for the giant wild boar in the 1984 film Razorback.
- Philippe Mora refers to the Howling III as "Bohemian Werewolves in the Bush."
- Donny Martin's alias in this film is Sonny Spellenberg, a possible re-spelling of Steven Spielberg.
- The scene involving Olga Gorki's dance rehearsal was actually filmed at the Sydney Opera House. The production crew were only allowed four hours with which to film the scene.
- The Academy of Laser Arts and Sciences is intended to reflect the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, also known as the Oscars.
Werewolf culture Edit
The Howling III introduces several new elements to werewolf lore. The most pervasive addition is the concept of marsupial werewolves. In this film, werewolves are an actual species as opposed to other cinematic werewolves who become a lycanthrope either via a curse or through transmission of blood or saliva from another werewolf. These werewolves are descended from the ancestors of the extinct Tasmanian wolf (or Tasmanian tiger). Female werewolves are marsupials, equipped with an abdominal pouch used for protecting and nursing their young. Australian werewolves of both genders typically have striped markings across their bodies, similar to their Tasmanian forbearers. The Howling III also dismisses many of the traditional notions of werewolf lore. The full moon holds little significance to them and they can change form whenever they choose to. No reference is made to silver bullets, and it appears as if silver is no more or less effective against them than normal bullets. These werewolves can be killed through conventional weaponry, provided that significant force is used. Flashing lights or other strobe effects also prompt feelings of intense anxiety and pain in marsupial werewolves. It should also be noted that Olga Gorki descended from a different strain of werewolf and was therefore not a marsupial. It is unknown whether her daughter Gracie inherited any of her mother's lycanthrope characteristics.