By Vincent Daemon
Happy Holiday, one and all!
It is finally that most magick (and personal favorite) time of year: HALLOWEEN! Cider, Ginger Snaps, Candy Corn, and razor blade filled Caramel Apples. Cool crisp air, beautiful foliage, early dusks, and long nights that are great for cuddling. And what better to do on those chilly autumnal evenings when wrapped in a blanket on the couch with your favorite loved one (or inflatable love device — I don’t judge) than watch a fun holiday themed film. I mean, that’s really what it’s all about, right?
But what to watch?
Everyone and their mother is currently writing about their best or worst picks for the Season Of The Dead, so I figured why the hell not, I’ll concoct a little something about one of my favorite Halloween Holiday films. Well, here’s my two cents. Take it or leave it.
My pick is going to be the much (unfairly) maligned HALLOWEEN 3: SEASON OF THE WITCH, which may actually be my favorite film in the Halloween Series (of which I am not particularly a fan).
Let me start by saying this: I LOATHE FRANCHISES. Often a great idea or film or book is completely ruined by unnecessary sequel after sequel. CHeap money-grabs. Nothing new, and the Halloween Franchise is no different. I’m not going to waste time with a bunch of synopsis’ and plot points and the like. Chances are if you’re reading this you are a horror fan to some capacity and familiar with the series. Ok, well, change of plans. There may well be a brief synopsis.
HALLOWEEN 3: SEASON OF THE WITCH is the third installment in the franchise. It was executive produced by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, under the condition the film had NO MICHAEL MYERS. And why is that? Carpenter had the good sense to not want to beat a dead horse. Michael Myers was really a one film concept (realistically, Halloween 2 stinks). His original Halloween is a tight, grippingly tense film that captures the spirit of the holiday in fine form. It is a classic, hands down. A fukking masterpiece. That cannot be argued. However, Carpenter wanted the series to become something different, a new story for each new installment. An anthology, if you will, each film its own Tale of Terror. Personally I love that idea (something copped most recently by American Horror Story, which runs a whole new and unrelated plot line every season).
Anyway, it was written by Nigel Kneale (creator of the british 60’s QUATERMASS series, which Carpenter later based his own excellent Prince Of Darkness loosely upon (as well as some Lovecraftian concepts), and was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace (Fright Night 2). It is one of the more original horror films I’ve seen, really. A Monster mish-mash of madness, it is essentially about a sick plan devised by an ancient and evil Druidic male witch to ritually kill hundreds of thousands of children on Halloween night with his odd line of Silver Shamrock masks. Each mask contains a microchip fashioned from bits of Stonehenge. When the kids wearing the masks watch a “surprise giveaway” at 9pm that special night, a signal will be transmitted that will cause the wearers of the masks heads to explode with a horrific variety of poisonous insects and reptiles (including some not so menacing crickets), killing the children (and henceforth attacking and killing anyone in the vicinity) as the sacrificial offering to Samhain.
(A BIT O TRIVIA: A replica of the Don Post-created witch mask was worn by one of the Pawn shop robbers in the brilliant HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN). This tv trailer scared the piss outta me when I was a wee one:
It’s pretty hackneyed, yes, but so much fun, and such a bizarre film. There are androids, laser beams, the exploding heads of children (always a good thing), and a whole host of other oddities that go down, only for Tom “Thrill Me” Atkins to jump to and try to save the day in all his moustached glory. And of course that Silver Shamrock song, maddeningly chanting “Eight more days til Halloween” over and over in monotonous, seizure inducing repetitions (accompanied by a seizure-strobe flash as well). It’s a simple good time.
Of course, most fans of the first two films loathed this entry, and to this day whine incessantly that there is “no Michael Myers” in it. Yeah, boo-fukkin-hoo. And this is not a “great film” by any stretch of the imagination. It’s muddled and confused plot are all over the place. There were numerous production problems. Nigel Kneale was furious that a good portion of his script was changed last minute (and without consent or forewarning) by the production company DEG (Dino Di Laurentiis wanted more gore and violence). The film doesn’t really make a hell of a lot of sense, at all, at any point, though it does feature a heaping helping of whacked out imagery and, again, some wholly unique ideas. Oh, and lots bugs.
It is just a FUN Halloween Holiday movie. That’s all it needs, fun, not to be great.
But what chaps my ass is the braindead franchise fans, who apparently have no issue with entries 4 through whatever that create this ridiculous, dull-as-dogshit storyline that makes even less sense than this particular entry, following the exploits of a boring silent serial killer in a silly white William Shatner mask that possesses no personality whatsoever (much like the real Shatner), and multitudes of flat, bland characters that are impossible to care about. They are sad and pointless slasher films containing not one iota of originality, based around half-assed kill scenes (which were mostly deleted from the final cuts anyway).
Eh, enough bitching. In short, for a fun cuddle-time Halloween trip at the brain, you just can’t really go wrong with HALLOWEEN 3: SEASON OF THE WITCH. It’s light, weird, captures the season perfectly, and doesn’t require too many brain cells to enjoy. It is just fun . . . Oh! the horror. Grab some poisoned candy, and a loved one, and enjoy!
“So all you lucky kids with Silver Shamrock masks . . . put on your masks . . . gather round your t.v. sets . . . and WATCH THE MAGIC PUMPKIN . . . “
Vincent Daemon, writer and rabblerouser, can be followed on FB @ https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 , and join his blog The Writings Of A Depraved Mind @http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/?zx=e40931ba40511a11