Thursday, October 9, 2014

this whole thing is a big joke

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is not a slasher film. It’s barely a witch movie. But, I’m watching it anyway.

This film is a series of wrong decisions linked together. Though it’s not a slasher film, the opening sequence, leading up the murder in the hospital, plays like it’s trying to be a slasher film, except instead of a menacing killer with a mask, it’s a guy in a suit.

Within the film—and in the planning bit for the film itself—the Silver Shamrock business model is seriously lacking; I mean, what costume company produces only three masks? For that matter, why are kids wearing these three masks with costumes that don’t relate?

In casting, the young people who watch horror films don’t want to follow around some old divorced guy, even if you do team him up with a young girl. Which sounds funny, considering the original Halloween, but the old guy is the lead here, and this guy is no Donald Pleasance.

Musical cues that slightly resemble previous Halloween themes seem like a desperate attempt to remind us of something better, but without the content to back it up.

Similarly, the opening sequence taking place in a hospital after Halloween II spending so much of its time there begs a comparison that this film cannot win.

The Silver Shamrock song is annoying.

About 20 minutes in, this film makes its biggest mistake, it acknowledges the existence of the original Halloween.

The idea of an anthology series of films isn’t a bad one. Horror anthologies have done ok on television, for sure. But, after the success of the previous Halloween films—keep in mind, at this point, the original was the most profitable film ever—leaving behind the best part of the series for this... This is barely even a horror film, really. It’s more on par with a thriller or detective film.

The weird thing is, I was only 6 when this movie came out but I remember the disappointment still. Hell, I remember knowing ahead of time that this was deliberately unrelated to the previous films. There’s no way I had a subscription to Fangoria yet, but I knew that.

Okay, the laser to the face scene with the bug coming out of the woman’s mouth after—that started boring but turned awesome really quick. Of course, then weird (but not scary) guys in white coats, plus an old guy (also not scary) show up and make things boring again.

Cochran has no reason to explain to Dr. Boring what the plan is. I think he thinks this is a James Bond movie. Should have killed him days ago. And, if they were going to go after the coroner also, that should have happened a long time ago as well. And, why does this guy need a drill to kill her? He should be just as strong as all the other robots.

There is no sense of urgency in the film. Dr. Boring is sneaking around the place and Cochran and his robots don’t seem to even care. Boring drops some Silver Shamrock chips that, apparently because... random, spark and knock out all the robots then create some bizarre ring of energy...

You know, I think I want to assume that Michael Myers was also a robot. Created by some boring old guy for some boring purpose, he rebelled and made his way to Illinois where he could pretend he was a real boy, then he killed some folks...

No, that doesn’t improve anything. I shouldn’t map the shitty plotline onto the better one.

Dr. Boring’s last few lines echoed my own. Stop it. Stop it! STOP IT!

3 comments:

  1. No way! I can't agree with you about this one. I think Halloween: Season of the Witch is a deeply flawed semi-classic in its own right. The Silver Shamrock song isn't annoying, it's the creepiest jingle ever invented, and I think that ON ITS OWN it makes the movie! It certainly haunted my childhood. The corporate neighbourhood is quite creepy and works effectively as some kind of vague metaphor for a corporate society. There are plot holes bigger than the Grand Canyon, for sure, but I definitely feel this has much more of a horror atmosphere than a thriller or a detective movie. Not on a par with Halloween, for sure, but memorable in its own right.

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    1. Now I gotta ask, is it an Irish thing?

      Seriously, though, I think the pseudo-Stepford town plays a bit too subtly, and the metaphor is a bit TOO vague. Watching this in the midst of slasher films--and doing so deliberately because it was slasher fans who went out to see Halloween III originally and slasher fans who left the theater disappointed--perhaps I'm biased toward a film in which barely anything actually happens, the climax seems arbitrary--Dr. Boring just happens to know what buttons to push to mess with the computer, then drops those Shamrock chips and it is sheer luck that they DO anything--and the ending is ridiculous; he calls... SOMEONE and they have control over multiple networks? Big problem at that point is why should we care? the movie hasn't really told us that HE cares. As I tell my speech students when they are doing interpretive pieces, just being loud doesn't mean you're angry. Just yelling at the random superpowerful person over the phone doesn't mean you sound like you care about kids that have nothing to do with the story we're seeing. And, me personally--if a bunch of kids just died in this fictional universe, I just can't be bothered to care because I don't know them. HIS kids are who we should see being saved because we've met them.

      for a "classic" to be "deeply flawed" and remain a "classic" for me, the film has to do something far more special than Season of the Witch does

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    2. It might be an Irish thing! It could be racial memories of paganism and human sacrifice!

      You make a good point about the slasher expectations raised by the title. And also about needing to sympathise about characters before you care if they get bumped off. But the thought of thousands of excited kiddies putting on Halloween masks, which should be fun, and turning into monsters (or whatever happens...I barely remember) is really disturbing.

      I seem to remember Roger Ebert's review was particularly hilarious about the plot holes, and pointed one out that I hadn't even noticed.

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