First and foremost, let me set a few things straight. The first The Howling is a film I didn’t love the first time I saw it. I have yet to go back and watch it again, but I will one day. The sequel, Howling II: … Your Sister is a Werewolf was a flick that I instantly fell in love with. It had a ton of nudity, Sybil Danning, hilarious-and hairy-orgy scenes, and was just a damn blast through and through. This brings me to the third film Howling III. Director Philippe Mora returns from the second film to bring us a story that ventures even further out from the series, not bothering to continue the story from the first two and instead heads to Australia to give us a flick that has an identity crisis.
Howling III starts wonderfully. It’s cheesy fun, with a load of hilarious scenes and you can tell it doesn’t want to take itself seriously at all. Jerboa (Imogen Annesley) is a female werewolf who is having issues with her werewolf tribe. She wants to live her life on her terms and not be forced to have sexual relations with her bald leader, played by Max Fairchild. One day while relaxing in the sun, Jerboa is seen by a movie producer who immediately chases her down for a role in his upcoming horror film Shape Shifters Part 8. The director, a Hitchcock lookalike played by Frank Thring, says she is a natural, and from there some pretty fun scenes unfold. Unfortunately, about halfway through, the fun immediately stops.
For some reason, director Philippe Mora decides to shift the tone of the film into what can only be described as a Werewolf Love Story. Oof! A scientist is studying the werewolves and falls in love with a Russian ballerina, who is a werewolf. She is in love with the scientist, but also in love with the clan leader mentioned above. The government meanwhile wants to wipe out the werewolves in Australia, who are actually in fact descendants of the Tasmanian Tiger. Cue a lot of running around and a whole lot of bloodless, boring scenes. Eventually, the film ends but keeps going, and then ends, but then keeps going until we get a weird ass ending that is actually the real ending but leaves you scratching your head and crying over the fact the film started so fun. Damn.
Okay, I ended up not liking most of the movie, but what do I know. Let’s pretend you really like the film and want to know if the new Scream Factory Blu-ray is worth picking up. Scream Factory announced the transfer for Howling III was a new digital transfer sponsored by The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. You might be thinking maybe that’s a bad thing, but fear not, the transfer is fantastic looking. I’m amazed at how lovely this Blu-ray looks. I noticed no compression issues and a healthy grainfield, with hardly any dirt and debris present. Audio provided is DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo, with no problems that I could hear.
Extra Features provided from Scream Factory are on the light side. We get an enjoyable interview with director Philippe Mora, who spends some time discussing both his work on Howling II and Howling III. He mentions how he brought in author Gary Brandner, who was happy with the way the film turned out (umm okay.) The feature runs 22-minutes long. Next, we get a new commentary with Philippe Mora, moderated by Jamie Blanks (director of Urban Legend). Rounding out the features are vintage interviews originally featured on Not Quite Hollywood, and a 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
Vintage Interviews From The Documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! By Director Mark Hartley
If you love Howling III, you’ll enjoy the new Scream Factory Blu-ray release. The film looks terrific, and the features, albeit on the light side, are very much welcome. I didn’t enjoy this movie thanks to the needless love stories, lack of nudity and not a drop of blood in sight, but as I’ve said a million times before, that’s my useless opinion.
Howling III starts on the right paw, but eventually shift tone into more of a love story, a bland love story. Scream Factory doesn't let that stop them from releasing a solid Blu-ray, with some extra features to dip your hair toes into.
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