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It's that time again, kids. Time to enjoy the sweet smells of fall, the colors of the leaves as they fall to the ground, Mom's pumpkin pie and being transformed into bugs and snakes through the powers of Stonehenge. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (yes the one that doesn't have Michael Myers) stops in on Stinker Madness to kick off our three episode series on our favorite spooky films. Be sure to wear your masks!
Be sure to listen after the credits to maybe the longest outtake section we have ever made with Star Wars theories and a new song from Jackie.
This film feels like one of Carpenters lesser projects. I watch it and it feels like Carpenter wrote and directed this. It sounds like a Carpenter film. It is ultimately a Carpenter film as he produced it, but with writing and directing duties falling on Thomas Lee Wallace, it is really a film by the latter. Wallace, a graduate of the MFA in film production from USC, a program responsible for so many notable members of the film industry, is a long time collaborator of Carpenter. Wallace started as associate art director on Carpenter’s first film, Dark Star. He was promoted to Art Director as well as Sound Effects Editor for Assault on Precinct 13. On Halloween, he had risen to Production Designer, a capacity he would serve for several films until Carpenter would ask him to direct Halloween 2, he would decline. He would however return for this film.
Though Wallace receives sole credit for the screenplay, it was a script written by Nigel Kneale that was overhauled by Carpenter and rewritten by Wallace. The project started with Joe Dante set to direct and the original script was a horror comedy which is why Kneale wished his credit to be removed. Kneale stated the rewrites were demanded due to the spirit and humor of the film not making it through the ad-hoc translation to Italian required by Dino.
The plan was to make a new Halloween movie every year featuring new unrelated stories with rotating cast and crew. A theatrical “John Carpenter Presents”. This thing tanked pretty hard so that didn’t happen. I think it could happen now. If Carpenter went into a Cormanesque mode and kept it down to $20 million, you bring your script, it could work. Shit passes for horror these days. A monkey that kills the elderly with a fried chicken leg would recoup 20mil and then some, provided that monkey jumps out of a closet with a sting of some sort.
I was a bit reluctant to pick this, as it is one of the best horror movies ever made. Yes they are that bad. One of the resounding reasons this isn’t a good movie is Tom Atkins’ “sit on my dick” routine. It’s fucking awesome, but the Academy isn’t going for it, even though it is widely known that if they needed to they could ride around on that mustache for a while. Atkins plays a cop like half the time. He was in Lethal Weapon, so he’ll be back. Even recently he played a retired Sheriff in Drive Angry. He’s from Pittsburgh, and he really looks like it.
Another reason it isn’t Oscar stock is Stacey Nelkin, who is only convincing when it is time to get on Atkins’ dick, because she wasn’t acting at that point. She didn’t do a whole lot before retiring from acting to become a relationship expert. There were enough appearances to leave the Internet with spatterings of her in a bikini. She was a bit top heavy.
Dan O’Herlihy does a good job, I think, his characters motivations are not clear to me. He has been in about everything and will be back for Robocop.
Ralph Strait is back, you will remember him as Sacco in The Beastmaster.
Stunt Man Dick Warlock plays Assassin Android. Warlock was Kurt Russell’s double for 25 years. He is also Michael Meyers.
Joshua John Miller will be making his third appearance. He’s the kid in Near Dark and the Kid Brother in Teen Witch. He may be back if we do Death Warrant. He was also in Class of 1999.
They put the masks on shelves as a promotion tie in. As poorly as the movie did, I think you can still by the masks today.
Speaking of masks; in the film Tom Atkins throws a mask on a security camera. This took him 40 tries.
Keep an ear out for Jamie Lee Curtis and Director Tommy Lee Wallace. Curtis is the voice of the telephone operator and Wallace is the Silver Shamrock Commercial Announcer. Keep an eye out for orange juice.
I have mentioned the disappointment in the returns for this film. It returned $14.4 million against a $2.5 million budget. Fucking Dino…