OCTOBER 27, 2007
I must credit the source of today’s October Extra to Ryan Rotten of ShockTillYouDrop.com, who informed me of a theatrical screening of my beloved Halloween III: Season Of The Witch right here in LA. I skipped multiple parties and had to listen to Game 3 of the World Series (which the Sox won, wooo) on the goddamn radio in order to attend this rare event, but I have no regrets at all.
More than probably any other entry in the series, III deserves to be seen with a big crowd and on a big screen. It’s such a delightfully odd and mean-spirited film, there’s no way one could TRULY experience it without the film being presented larger than life, in a room full of appreciative fans. As many times as I have seen the film, I never noticed the totally fake fireman hat in the early hospital scene until it was magnified and pointed out by an audience member. Go back and watch the scene (widescreen version only) after the guy blows up at the hospital, and keep your eye on the fireman on the left. It’s breathtaking in its cheapness.
Also, come on people, let’s be honest: Tom Atkins is Oscar-worthy here. From his rampant hitting on of every woman who crosses his path, to his utterly horrified reaction to a generic cartoon playing at the bar (the one he frequents so much that his co-workers “said he could be found here” – keep in mind he’s a doctor), to his ass scene, the crowd cheered almost every time he appeared on screen. The scene where he calls his wife and tells her he has to go to some medical conference before grabbing a six pack and heading off to visit a mask factory with some chick he just met a few hours before (and of course, nails a few hours later) is possibly the greatest scene in any Halloween film.
Which brings us to the most controversial aspect of the film: the total lack of Michael Myers (something that escaped Roger Ebert, who, in his review, claimed that “the film begins where II left off, with the killer being immolated in the hospital parking lot” – dumbass!). Since we see clips of the original in the film, we are to believe that III exists in the “real world” (if so, I need to buy more 6 packs and make up more medical conferences than I already do), despite retaining the Halloween name. Everyone by now knows that this was Carpenter’s intent all along, to make a different film about Halloween every year, but he was vetoed by the money men and thus left the franchise after this one, and the “franchise entry” Halloween 4 was made, apparently by the people who survived the likely apocalypse at the end of this film. The long running argument is “If they didn’t call it Halloween I would probably like it”, which just speaks volumes as to how ignorant people are. If The Godfather was called “Horse Head In A Guy’s Bed”, I’m pretty sure it would still be a great movie.
Back to the film itself and how amazing it is. Let’s see, we got a kid’s head turning into snakes and insects because a computer chip with a piece of Stonehenge inside it reacted to an epileptic TV commercial, and... well really, what the fuck else do you need out of a movie? Atkins’ ass has already been mentioned.
The film’s most memorable contribution to pop culture is of course, the Silver Shamrock theme. Set to the tune of London Bridge, it is simply impossible to watch the film and not sing along to the ad (which we hear about a dozen times) at least once. Carpenter and Howarth’s score is one of their best collaborations (love the main theme over the computerized pumpkin assembly/credits), and even a die hard Myers fan would be hard-pressed to claim otherwise.
One thing I don’t get about the movie is the timing of the “Big Giveaway”. So this tiny mask company somehow convinced all major networks to show Halloween at the same time across the country (starting at half past the hour no less), and everyone was watching it? At one point, Cochran is told “they” are getting a 41 share, so maybe he owns all the networks and just chose not to sink any of his money into a more impressive factory.
But who cares. I love this movie, and watching in theaters with a couple friends and 30 other like-minded folks was one of the best theater experiences I’ve had this year. Another friend didn’t understand why I would pay 10 bucks and miss out on a party to go see a film I have on DVD (twice in fact) – but people like that just don’t get how important the theatrical experience is in terms of enjoyment. I almost feel bad when I see a film (especially one that wasn’t direct to video) for the first time on DVD. And revival screenings such as this are even more fun, because you get to sort of see the film for the first time again.
I usually never censor my comments, but I will make an exception here – anyone who posts “This movie sucks because there’s no Michael Myers”, even to be sarcastic, that comment will be deleted. I want good feelings and love here! Myers or not, there’s nothing anyone can do to convince me that any of the last 4 films (though H20 I can go either way on) is somehow truer to the spirit of Halloween (the film or the holiday) than III. BUT, if you can explain in a way that has nothing to do with Myers, or the title, why this film is somehow bad, I am all ears. Or, eyes, I guess, in this context.
What say you?