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HOWLING III: THE MARSUPIALS ($25) is something of a mish mash of a movie; not knowing which direction it wants to take. At times, the film seems to be a straight horror movie trying to frighten its audience, and at other times HOWLING III plays as though it were devised as a tongue-in-cheek parody of the genre. Set in Australia, the plot involves Professor Harry Beckmeyer (Barry Otto), a scientist who believes that a race of Marsupial werewolves exists after examining a vintage piece of motion picture film from 1905 that depicts aborigines with the body of one of the creatures. Eventually, Beckmeyer gets his proof in the form of a young woman named Jerboa (Imogen Annesley), who ran away from her isolated village and wound up appearing in a low budget horror movie. After Jerboa ends up in the hospital, Beckmeyer is brought in to examine the young woman because of her unusual physiology, which includes a marsupial pouch. Finally having the proof that he has been searching for his entire career, Beckmeyer is forced to "save the werewolves" after the government targets them annihilation. The cast of HOWLING III also includes Leigh Biolos, Max Fairchild, Ralph Cotterill, Frank Thring and Dagmar Bláhová.

Elite Entertainment Inc. has made HOWLING III available on a DVD in a 1.85:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for 16:9 playback. The transfer is quite nice, producing a crisp, nicely detailed image. Colors are rendered with good saturation and flesh tones appear very natural. Neither chroma noise nor smearing caused any concerns during the presentation. Blacks are suitably deep, contrast is smooth and the level of shadow detail is pretty good. The film element used for the transfer displays minor blemishes, but noting distracting. Although film grain creeps into some shots, it can be overlooked. Clean authoring keeps digital compression artifacts at bay.

For this release, Elite has produced a new Dolby Digital 5.1 channel sound mix. Considering the film's low budget origins, the soundtrack is quite good. There isn't an overwhelming use of directional sound effects, but those that are present do come across in a reasonably convincing manner. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and is pretty intelligible, as long as one can get past some of the Australian accents. The bass channel is solid- rounding out the overall sound and enhancing the film's music.

The basic interactive menus allow one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. Writer/director Philippe Mora provides a pretty good running audio commentary, which some may find more entertaining than the film itself. A theatrical trailer, TV spot and still gallery fill out the extras.

Elite Entertainment Inc. has done a really nice job with HOWLING III, making this a disc that the film's fans will want to own.


 Howling 3-The Marsupials


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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