Saturday, October 29, 2011

Movies to Scare the Sh!t Out of You: HALLOWEEN III: Season of "I'm Too Scared To Ever Wear a Mask Again"!

This entry gets as much flack for not being representative of the slasher in chief that gave the original two films their lofty success as the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street gets for not having Robert Englund portray Fred Kruger.  Because of this simple marketing “error” this film gets dumped on, spit on, shit upon… name the bodily fluid, put it in motion and aim directly at this film. That’s what’s been done to Tommy Lee Wallace’s masterpiece.  What’s that I say? Masterpiece!  I’m not purest.  I don’t mind variety. I just want a great horror picture that gives me more than the gross out, can make me laugh and can TELL A STORY. Halloween III tells a story… a warning in the fashion of Grimm.

Classic Trailer:

Amazing TV Teaser Spot:

You think Michael Myers is Scary? How about Conal Cochran? Dark, deep voiced man from Ireland who founded a toy company that makes truly terrifying masks. Cochran at first glance is the grandfather you always wanted. Congenial. Has toys. … Old.  You don’t assume he’s the boogeyman just by looking at him which isn’t necessarily misdirection when you think of how this movie was marketed, but the film manages to take you just a little off guard.

Those masks are perfect. Simple, novelty variations on classic Halloween designs. A Skull. A Pumpkin. A Witch. These are the things that should terrify you as you trick or treat on Halloween night.  Forget the Power Rangers and forget being Barney.  When you dress up for Halloween at least try to make it scary. I realize that for some people Halloween is simply a dress up day. It’s a play day for your kids. A day when the neighbors give out candy.  For me Halloween will be the day when you get to play scary. Sure, you’re playing, but you’re playing the nightmares that fill your sleepless hours.  I guess that really brings home why I love this film so much. Yes, the masks are Cochran are spooky, but there’s a concept here that is altogether very unconsumer.  Youth rules the world. Youth demand Silver Shamrock masks. Parents act as good consumers and slaves to their kids. Kids get the mask they desire and kids DIE! Somebody get Aesop on the phone.

There are a few parts of this picture that get my attention and we’ll go into them in detail, but the most important reason for liking Halloween III is the diatribe delivered ever so bluntly by Cochran himself.  After Tom Atkins is caught by the Silver Shamrock rabble. He is delivered the typical James Bond, bad guy plot map. Cochran breaks out a whole lotta plot in a very short period of time to fill you in on everything you may have missed while you were groping your girlfriend.  Here is the speech that freaks me out. 

In part, I understand exactly where he’s coming from. There was a time when Halloween was a completely different holiday. I think there’s plenty of info on Samhain (the mispronunciations are endless) and there true story of our modern day festival of the dead. What gets me going is that I’m sure that someone actually believes this. Maybe not enough to steal a piece of Stonehenge, but enough to put a razor in your apple. Now I know that the stories surrounding the innumerable harmful incidents of children being hurt via candy bar are the stuff of urban legend, but there’s no reason to think that there’s a Cochran out there that believes he can change the world in his image.  He’s a terrorist of sorts, but with a magical force at his command and a clever delivery system.

The Silver Shamrock song and logo are iconic. To this day we, the horror nerds of the world, look upon the Silver Shamrock logo and are perpetually certain that it is 8 days until Halloween and that it’s “almost time”. We also feel the need to buy masks even though the Don Post re-issues have not been mass market released in some time (soon). The song is catchy. The voice is annoying… on the first go around. Then it gets in your head like so many insects or snakes and pretty soon you can’t stop singing the jingle.  This is my favorite Facebook post during the autumn months.

How about those men in the gray suits? How about that yellow blood? Tom Atkins just punches right through the fucker, so I guess Silver Shamrock isn’t the mark of quality they would have us all believe they are. Those robot/humanoids are pretty bad ass. The drill sequence? The head removal …tossed it like a basketball.  The use of sound throughout the picture adds to a healthy dose of suspense and gross out and the fact that the gray suited minions of Cochran are silent reinforces every kill. Maybe almost Michael Myers like?

Should Halloween III have been given the gold crown of the Halloween franchise name? In my humble opinion, absolutely. The concept was simple. After the success of the first two pictures tell a different tale of terror each year under the Halloween name.  I love this idea. I wish it had caught on and I think that we’ve finally seen that happen with the Saw and Paranormal Activity franchises (whether you like them or not the marketing is working).  If this concept had caught on we might never have known  Jamie or the man in black. Laurie Strode would have lived. Maybe she would have made curly headed babies with that nice EMT Jimmy.  You may find it a bit campy at times, but some of the gore in this picture has definite vomit bag potential.  A horror film with insects has a high probability of success in the heebie jeebie factor. Add insects to a kids head and now you can fear for your child’s life ever October 31st.   

-Dr Terror … mask on, jingle in head, waiting for nine o’clock for the big giveaway.


  1. i never knew the movie was this good..never watched it.

  2. I actually think the soundtrack to this is better than the first two.

  3. A total and utter underrated gem! I'm always thrilled to see the movie getting love from the horror community... next to Trick r Treat, it's a must for the yearly Halloween movie marathon!

    Proud to say I snagged Tom Atkins autograph on my Season of The Fog poster from those legends over at Fright-Rags. :D

  4. An actual Tom Atkins autograph? I believe that gives you super powers! Glad to see so much appreciation for this film. Makes you wonder what might have been. What if Halloween dropped Myers for yearly installments of Halloween terror? Might be a fun way to continue the series. Keep Myers going and keep a separate, parallel Halloween going at the same time. The confusion would be charming.

  5. I believe you're right... now all I need is an Atkins tash and my power will be complete lol.

    And I totally agree on the idea of running a series of separate stories.

    It's just a shame that Season of The Witch was tagged under the Halloween brand instead of being allowed to stand on it's own feet. I guess a Halloween movie without Myers didn't sit well at the time.