Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Season's Greetings

Here we are at the end of October - the fastest 31 days of the calendar year! To celebrate the occasion, the latest Retro Shock Theater column is devoted to the dark horse of the Halloween franchise - 1982's Halloween III: Season of the Witch. For anyone old enough to remember the reception that SotW recieved back in the day, it's kind of mind-boggling to see the (still growing) fan following it commands today.

SotW was a movie I had skipped seeing for years, simply because it had such a toxic reputation, but when I finally saw it on TV in the late '80s, it really jumped out at me as being a cool little movie with a funky sensibility. The bait and switch by Universal was truly kind of bullshit but over time the movie has had a chance to be judged on its own merits.

Even with its improved reputation, however, the love for SotW is by no means universal. Some fans are still pissed that this doesn't have Michael Myers in it. Seeing as there's been, like, seven movies since SotW with Michael in them to still be upset about the one movie that didn't include him seems, um, I don't know - deranged, I guess.

Anyhow, I really dig the movie. I hope you do too.

And in honor of the insidiously addictive Silver Shamrock commercial, I'm posting some of my favorite retro Halloween spots.


Jose Cruz said...

I'll champion SotW any day of the year, even though other casual and die-hard horror fans tend to look at me like I have three heads. I actually loved the idea of Carpenter doing a different Halloween-themed story with each installment... seriously, think how cool that would have been. It would have predated the SAW/PARANORMAL ACTIVITY shenanigans by two decades *and* you would always be surprised by what was coming the next year. The perfect holiday treat. And I say this all as a supporter of Michael Myers.

Jeff Allard said...

Oh yeah, believe me - I'll keep seeing whatever new Halloween comes out. And if they announced a new sequel or reboot tomorrow, I'd be jazzed. I'm a devoted franchise follower and don't see myself jumping off that train any time soon.

Still, like you say, it's a shame that Carpenter's innovative idea went to waste.

Jeff Allard said...

Arbo, I'd love to get some backstory on why Carvel went with the name "Dumpy."

Wings1295 said...

I have loved H3 more and more every year. It has such a weird sensibility that you have to judge it on its own to be fair. It is creepy and cool.

Happy Halloween!

Unknown said...

Count me in as a big fan of HALLOWEEN III. Still gotta pick up that new special edition Blu-Ray. I too think that a series of different installments would've been a great idea. Too bad part III tanked so badly. Someone really should run with that idea. Maybe the guy who did that fantastic TRICK R TREAT film a few years ago?

Timmy Crabcakes said...

Gah! I remember my first visit to the East Coast, falling asleep in a shabby apartment with the TV on and being woken up by a Carvel commercial featuring 'Cookie Chick'... I knew nothing of Carvel and it seemed like I'd awoke to some nightmare demon speaking at me from the TV.

More on topic... not being much of a fan of Mr. Myers past the original, H3 remains my favorite of the original series. As I recall most of my horror friends back then really liked it too. I'm only recently aware of any backlash against it.

Jeff Allard said...

CJ, HIII is a movie that tends to grow on people!

J.D., oddly enough I think you could say that American Horror Story has run with the "new story every year" notion but done it on TV. Essentially what they're doing is the same thing that Carpenter propsed with Halloween - keeping the title and the brand but telling a completely new story every time out - but doing it as a TV series. I guess the world is finally ready for that concept!

Knob, you must have some open-minded friends because most in the horror community weren't cutting HIII any slack back then. Hell, some still resent the fact that it even exists! Oh well - their loss!

Happy Halloween, gents!

Bob Ignizio said...

Great minds think alike, I guess. I almost missed posting my own thoughts on this one because the storm took out my internet service until this afternoon. Anyway, couldn't agree with you more. It's a weird, uneven film, but there's nothing else like it. And Atkins rules.

Jeff Allard said...

He certainly does!

Mummbles said...

I started off thinking it would be terrible not to have Myers but then I actually watched it and it grew on me more and more. Now I am a big fan of the movie and watch it once or twice a year. I love how Atkins is a smooth pimp in the movie...check out how many women want him!

Jeff Allard said...

Clearly it's good to be Tom Atkins!

Ivan said...

Happy Halloween!
H3 is one of those flicks that, had it gotten a "different title re-release" (like how Corman re-released "Cockfighter" as "Born to Kill"), I think it would be so much better remembered. But by the early-80s, I guess that tactic was passé. But I am surprised that Universal & Co. didn't just at least try a release as simply "Season of the Witch"... For me, despite the flick's big flaws, there's so much pure nasty, genuine weirdness (and a sweet perf by Big Dan O'Herlihy), that I return to it again and again. Jeez, I love the line, "We had a TIME getting it here. You wouldn't believe how we did it."
Lerner International

Jeff Allard said...

Thanks back, Ivan - always good to hear from a fellow SotW admirer!