Archive for the 'B-movies' Category

Jan

Comments Off on Evil Dead (2013)

weapons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to another review, folks. Since I did the original series of Evil Dead, it only seems appropriate that I finish off the quadrology. So, like the time elapsed between movies, it’s now time to get to the last of the films that helped define my love for horror. Let’s get to Evil Dead, the reboot.

So we start this film up on a far different note than the other three. A girl is being chased through the woods. Okay, kind of like the other three, but not really, as her pursuers are people of a…red necked nature. And with no shocker, she’s captured. The next time we see the poor girl she’s tied up, doused in gasoline, and her father is pouring out niceties while leveling a double barreled shotgun at her head. Either this is an extreme form of family counseling, or something is seriously amiss. Oh, look, a voodoo witch. Always good when there’s one of those around. Suddenly the sweet little girl is spewing obscenities that’d make a sailor blush. So with an apology, a lit match, and a shotgun blast we begin our movie.doom

After shaking off that little bit of ‘What in the hell was that about?’ we finally begin to meet the appetizers, I mean cast…..I totally meant cast. This time around, however, instead of the usual two or three teens at a haunted cabin in the woods, we have five, count ’em, five warm bodies to put through the meat grinder; Evil Dead style. The five are gathered there to help Mia kick her drug habit, once and for all. Of course, horror movie tropes aside, it has to be pointed out: Best place to kick a drug habit? Rehab Clinic with medical staff? Nope. Hospital with trained doctors? Absurd. Abandoned cabin in the woods, cut off from all modern technology, emergency services, and any help? Perfect!

Now, that we’ve set the stage…wait. Wait a minute, there, nerd guy! What are you doing? Don’t read from that! Don’t say-And it’s too late. We have our demon, folks. Yes, thanks to an overtly curious nerd, our movie can now become a full-on gorefest! Maya steals a car in a withdrawal fueled rage, crashes it, and meets up with the summoned thing from the book. Like all horror films before, she panics, and makes the classic mistake of GOING IN THE WOODS! A bad situation turns much worse and the movie gives us a hi-def re-imagining of a scene that nearly got the first film banned in a lot of countries. Old alumni of the series cringe, new comers to the series cringe, as well. It’s just cringe worthy. Don’t worry, folks, nobody blames you.

gothAfter being rescued by her brother Mia is returned to the house, gets checked out by their nurse friend, and thus the rest of the freaky truly begins. Possessions, dismemberment, and that basement. Oh, that basement. Now. THIS is where I’d usually detail all the gruesome death scenes, the ooey-gooeys, and even the spewtastic moments of this well-loved film. But, I must not go further, because it’s all just too good to describe via text, it must be seen. Even my most shining string of words would not be able to capture just how amazing the experience truly is. However, I must put my highest seal of approval on this movie, recommend it with no issue, and above all else, beg for more! Wonderful practical effects combined with minimalist CGI give us great scares, wonderful gore, and a really fresh take on a classic piece of horror cinema.

This film takes me back to another time in movie history: When people cared about their work. And that care howmondays through every frame, second, and squish that we experience while watching Evil Dead. While Sam Raimi and The Chin were not behind the camera, they were definitely on the sidelines coaching the new players. Evil Dead is a fantastic remake filled with respect and love for the original material, as well as updating a lot of different aspects, such as making the gore and the characters a little more realistic. It gets scary because the hokey-ness of the tried and true horror characters are gone, instead replaced with more grit and grime. Watch this movie, folks. And as always, Stay tuned!

roadside attractions

  • I know that car.
  • Why would you open that?
  • Don’t go in the woods!
  • That’s why you don’t go in the woods.
  • There’s a health violation!
  • Wait until after the credits.
totals

10

blood  

BLOOD

50,000 gallons in just the final scene.

1

blood  

BREASTS

Those…uh…I don’t…They’re there. 

 

10

beast  

BEASTS

While not Deadites, you won’t miss them.

10.00 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for Evil Dead

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Dec

Comments Off on Harbinger Down

Welcome back to another review, folks! Today we’ll be taking in a low budget little masterpiece that I thoroughly enjoyed. What makes it special? Aliens? Nope. Zombies? No. This little piece of film is about the adorable little microbe known as the waterbear. Let’s take a look at Harbinger Down.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, and I’ll say it as long as I remember how to: Practical effects will always trump CGI. And I must give kudos to the makers for understanding this. Let’s begin the setup this odd tale of frozen horror. We start off in 1982 with a Russian cosmonaut falling to earth, calling for help, I presume, and having pink yogurt leaked onto his face. I don’t blame him, yogurt on my face would upset me, too. He disappears into the clouds above the arctic circle and we have our very first scene of the movie. Way to make it vague, guys.

Next up our buffet of people start to introduce themselves, names don’t matter, of course, because they’re all just human sized happy meals. Our title gives us a Hans Zimmer “BWOM” on to the screen and we’re into the ship of the movie title: The Harbinger. The crew is introduced, bad accents and all. Everyone say ‘Hi’ Lance Henrikson! Or as he will always be known to the Sci-Fi world: Bishop! Exposition is the name of the game as things are explained and you’re simply cringing at some of the attempts at acting. And, just for safety, let’s throw in a fart joke. More exposition and B-roll of ‘Deadliest Catch’ try to convince us that we’re really on a ship. We’re not, and the crabs are only mentioned once more. That’s not a plot point, it’s a plot afterthought.

The plot rears its ugly head! Just as the view of the CGI whales was getting good, too. Something in the ice caught the attention of Main Character Girl, and they grab it. And I do love the switching of camera angles to the discovery channel type narrative. The line “Some things should stay frozen.” could’ve been a great omen, but it’s passed over like a sneeze in the wind. We find out what happened to our Russian cosmonaut: He’s the chunk of ice they just grabbed. And I do have to admire the fact that the captain can look at the helmet of said cosmonaut and instantly tell it’s been frozen since the ’80’s. Maybe Soviet Identification-101 was a requisite of his captain schooling. I, once more, blame Michigan State.

After more exposition, and the main love interest whispering his every line, and I mean every line. We finally get to the autopsy of the fallen astronaut. Or, rather, the bad wax statue that is supposed to represent him. DUN DUN DUNNN!!! Russian McBadchick reveals that the yogurt that leaked on our space guys face was actually waterbears. To which we all responded with an unenthusiastic, “Okay.” Which is followed up with the subtle foreshadowing through the “Double Cross” vodka brand. After retrieving a sample from the mansicle, spouting puns bad enough to make even the punniest person groan, we get the plot moving along. Finally. We’re a good chunk of time into this movie and no one has died a horrible, grizzly death yet!

There we go! Tentacles come to the rescue and squish the head of the mechanic, marking the first death. And we’re back to explaining stuff. Oh, come on, guys! You can’t start up the mayhem and have it just cut off! If you’re gonna start the party, and the killing, keep it going! No amount of brooding music can make up for poor pacing. After some unnecessary yelling our resident jerk professor becomes infected with waterbears, and turns red, sprouts four huge flesh tubes on his back and spews out more death yogurt. Still cringing from that bit of ick, we get a few little homages to what probably inspired this movie: The Thing. And like The Thing, lines are drawn, and sides are chosen. Then all of that is instantly forgotten.

Ladies, and gentlemen! Let’s meet our creature! Attached to the ceiling, and the cosmonaut, it instantly eats the Inuit of the movie. Bishop steals a line from “Jaws” and we continue on, trying to figure out who’s infected and who’s not. Someone asks just how smart the thing is, and before you can say ‘How could they cut the power, man, they’re animals!’ it cuts the power. They go after the creature with liquid nitrogen, freeze it, and continue to advance the plot, which also seems to be frozen. Russian McBadchick reveals her true purpose, and an infected crew member burns on the deck. We find out that Main Character Girls mother died, to what end, I have no idea. A random tentacle eats the black girl and we finally start the murder spree…..I hope.

The Cosmonauts reanimated lower torso sprouts a head of its own and takes down Russian McBadchick. I retyped that sentence three times, but they all came out just as bad. And now we take another break from our monsters to bring you some plot device involving explosives. You don’t care, I don’t care. Main Character Girl goes for a dip in waterbear sludge for the explosives. More tentacles! Another creature appears and we lose Bishop, uh, the captain; who instructs the crew to stay away from him, but has them all join him on the deck two minutes later. Russian McBadchick comes back for one last scare as an infected, and we move into the final scenes.

No spoilers, here, folks, but I will recommend to keep watching. Is it a bad movie, is it a good movie? Well, it’s a creature movie with a lot of charm. Mostly practical effects, and the old school charm of older movies like “The Thing” and even “Tremors” earns this creature feature major bonus points. It has some major pacing problems, and some of the acting can be hokey, but all in in all, you can tell the entire crew is invested and wants it to succeed, and it’s that little touch of passion that makes movies like this gold. Cons aside, it’s a fun romp with some surprises up its sleeve, and I recommend checking it out on Netflix to relive some classic monster magic without having to resort to classic monster movies. Thanks for reading, folks! Stay Tuned!

roadside attractions

  • Blue ice balls.
  • Kill it with…ice?
  • Aw. It’s kind of cute.
  • Legs don’t fail me now!
  • Bishop has aged.
  • No longer cute!
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

Good amounts of blood, guts, and gross icky-ness.

0

blood

BREASTS

None. None at all.

10

beast

BEASTS

Who knew bears were so terrifying?

8.5 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for Harbinger Down

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Nov

Comments Off on Friday the 13th: Part III

To celebrate Friday the 13th by watching Friday the 13th, I wanted to take a look back at my favorite Friday, “Friday the 13th Part III.” It’s like watching “Die Hard” at Christmas at my house.
Part III, how do I love thee? Lemme count. Number one, there’s the sweet 80’s main theme that I like to call Disco Jason. Such a party track. Number two, Part III is in 3D, and many copies you can buy even come with old school 3D glasses. (And, mercifully, the option to watch in 2D.) But number three and most importantly, this is the first Friday where Jason is the Jason we know, love, and make action figures of, the man in the mask Alice Cooper belted about in part VI. I mean, everyone knows Mrs. Voorhees is the killer in part one, and in II, Jason’s rocking a flour sack and not truly at full Jason – although, in fairness, he is mourning his crazy mama. Part III is Jason moving on, out of the shack with mama’s severed head, out of the camp setting entirely, and while he’s still pretty human looking around the edges, we do get the hockey masked, immortal/undead/zombie/whatever the hell he is killing machine of legend and box art in this movie.

Part III opens with the end of part II, just in case you were afraid you’d be lost in the mythology. Ginny, the Final Girl of II, pretends to be Jason’s mama and then machetes him real good in the shoulder. When the coast is clear though, we see wounded Jason scoot away into the darkness. Then we rock out with Disco Jason and 3D movie credits invade our personal space.
But the movie really starts with a bickering couple, presumably middle-aged, although I think the wife is actually pretty young and they put her in a bathrobe and curlers to make her insta-45. Bickering couple are just chilling out at their combination crappy home/crappy rural grocery, when the wife listens to local news recount the aftermath of part II, so of course, Jason’s ears are burning. It’s OK; bickering couple were just the appetizer.
After we’ve established that Jason’s on the loose and his stabbing arm is all warmed up, we get to meet our crew of nubile young victims. And they’re in a van. They even have a pair of stoners in the van. I’m just glad they didn’t have a dog, because I cannot stand violence against animals.

OK, so roll call: we’ve got Chris, the Final Girl – we know this because she’s a pretty, but serious girl, kinda turned off of sex, and she both owns the van and has a boy’s name. We have Shelly, who attempts to make up for his lack of traditional good looks with gory practical jokes and pouting about how no one likes him; the stoner couple; Deb the pregnant girl and her innocuous boyfriend Andy; and finally, Vera, a cool Latina who was conned into being Shelly’s date. Pretty good selection for Jason to run through. Despite happening upon a crazy old man who warns them, um…pretty much just to be warned, he’s not very specific, the kids continue to Chris’s family farm, which is also convenient to Camp Blood.

When they arrive, Chris meets up with Rick, an old boyfriend, and she starts to get emo and ominous about not being back to the place for two years. I would like to take a moment and point out that despite not seeing each other for an undefined amount of time or being in a current relationship, Rick instantly begins pressuring Chris to get snuggly and never, ever stops. I realize inviting a guy to spend a weekend with you strongly implies receptivity to snuggling, but let her finish a sentence, you horndog. Rick’s painted as a good guy, driving a VW Beetle and everything, but really, he’s a jerk. Jason will make it better, I’m sure.

Back to the plot. I need to introduce a few more victims. Our other variety of jerk (bigus fatus jerkus), Shelly, goes with Vera to a local grocery for supplies. This grocery, however, is being menaced by a three-person biker gang. They don’t do much though besides threaten the kids a little bit, and you have to wonder exactly how much tough biker ganging there is to be done in a brightly-lit country store too small to even have aisles. Shelly manages to back over one of their bikes as they leave though, and in so doing unwittingly adds three more to Jason’s kill list, because you know the gang’s going to have to follow them and try to get revenge.

All the dominoes are now set up, and it’s fun to see how Jason knocks them down. 3D filming techniques will assist where possible. He’s less creative than he will be in the future, of course, but I believe he does innovate the fuse box kill here, and while there are some callbacks – Kevin Bacon’s death in the first “Friday the 13th” is a good one – they’re well repurposed.
It all comes down to Jason and Chris though, and we learn through torturous, onion peeling dialogue scenes that this is not her first rodeo with a deformed psycho killer. In fact…it was at this very place on the lake… Sigh. Chris, you’re an idiot, aren’t you?

I will give Chris credit for being a pretty effective Final Girl, using things in her environment as diverse and innocuous as hay bales and manual car windows to her advantage and executing traps with minimal whimpering. I wouldn’t be able to go close enough to Jason to loop a noose around his neck, uh-uh, no way. She may not be Kirsty Cotton or Laurie Strode, but she’s pretty tough stuff. Not as tough as Jason, but hey, who is? Jason’s basically jerky to start with.

roadside attractions

  • Brand-new crazy old man to warn the kids about Jason
  • Jason finds his signature look
  • Central casting stoners
  • Central casting bikers
  • Fried hippie
  • Not practicing speargun safety
  • Not practicing hammock safety
  • Red-hot poker action
  • The Boy Who Cried Psycho Killer
  • I am crushing your head
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

A little dated and heavy on the eyeballs for my taste, but Jason shows real enthusiasm for this kind of work.

2

blood

BREASTS


Fleeting exposure in a pretty self-conscious shower scene.

8

beast

BEASTS Jason will get hulkier, maggotier, and more inventive in later sequels, but there wouldn’t have been a Jason X without Disco Jason.

8 OVERALL There’s a purity to Part III I enjoy. The formula is solid by this point without being overdone, and it’s happy to just be what it is: a big dumb fun slasher movie for Reagan’s America.
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Watch the trailer to “Friday the 13th: Part III”

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Oct

Comments Off on Extinction (2015)

Welcome to another review, folks! It seems the world can’t get enough of zombies: TV shows, movies, dolls, video games, books, it doesn’t matter. So film studios depend upon the word “zombie” to get attention, or some kind of segue into the more mainstream focus. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it should. “Extinction” is one that should get some recognition. Now, before you get your pretenses in place, let’s get a good look at this little movie that could.

This movie began with so much camera shake, I tried to put my seat belt on. Note to directors: Shaky cam is bad. And if the movie DOES call for it: Less is more! A man, his wife, their infant daughter and his best friend are trying to get away from the oncoming zombie apocalypse, that started well before the movie did. They’re on a bus with a large amount of people, and two army guys, all just as terrified as the next person, for good reason: The zombies have caught up! Now the bus is just a meal in a box, as they wait for the inevitable. The first military guy exits the bus, gets eaten, and the second one doesn’t fair any better. One of the gentlemen (who will be a main character later on) takes the lead, and tries to retrieve weapons from the land of jump scares. The first part of this movie is filled with jump scares, so get ready for that, along with neck-breaking shaky cam. For those with a weak stomach, skip this part altogether.

More tragedy strikes! The main characters are in all sorts of trouble; the wife is injured, the baby is covered in blood. Whose blood is it? Tune in next time to find out! Same undead time! Same undead channel! And now that the pulse-pounding beginning is over, prepare for something truly intense: FAMILY BONDING. Here’s where things grind to a halt, changing the pace so hard an airbag would deploy. One minute there’s running zombies, army guys firing guns everywhere, screaming, blood, and violence, and the next it’s father-daughter bonding time in a winter wonderland. While none of this is explained outright, hints are dropped. Get used to this domestic scene, because it lasts longer than most sequels do.

After cycling through survival set-ups, how they’re surviving, and what they’re doing to stay sane, we finally delve into the characters, themselves. It seems the family plus one have made themselves a little outpost: Two houses in a northern climate. across the street from the other, sharing resources, but that’s about it. We see few interactions between the men, as the environment paints the relationship between the two as less than hospitable. The ex-best friend has let all hygiene go, as he’s transformed into Rob Zombie’s crazier and dirtier cousin: Scruffy McCrazyDude, who spends his evenings broadcasting to any survivors out in the frozen wasteland, and getting blind, stinking drunk. Meanwhile, Angry McHostileDad spends hours with his daughter, and all seems right with the end of the world.

But, hey, this is a zombie movie! Where are the zombies? This question is the one I pondered, about the same time everyone else does at this point. The director must have foreseen that, and decided to give us a reminder that it is, indeed, a zombie movie. Scruffy McCrazyDude goes on a supply run to an old haunt, to not only get the little girl a birthday present, but to top off on end of the world stuff. A local piece of wildlife alerts him that things can still live. Then the same piece of wildlife gets eaten like a piece of cake at a two-year-old’s birthday party. Scruffy follows the shadowy creature back to their homestead, where Angry McHostileDad is showing his daughter how to shoot a gun, which attracts the beast.

The zombies at the beginning of the film are typical runners who chase their prey and eat them. The zombies at the second half are completely new: white skin, blank eyes, nude, and they hunt by sound. I like this change, making the creatures evolve with their natural environment, changing the way they hunt. I’m impressed by the switch from Play Doh-caked faces to this new super zombie. But you can’t have zombies without making them a threat. Scruffy defends the little girl from the first attack on the homestead, but gets bitten while Angry leaves him to fate to save his daughter. The three prepare for the worst: Scruffy becomes part of the legion of the undead. But days go by, and nothing happens. It seems these zombies have a glitch: their bite doesn’t turn you. This fortunate, or unfortunate, event leads Angry and Scruffy to make up and be friends, even to the point of going on a supply run together, daughter included.

During their little family trip to the grocery store, we begin to learn about what went down between all the adults in the movie, giving some background to the drama. It’s kind of hard to follow if you haven’t been paying attention, but the gist is there. While the family is shopping, they find a young woman, frozen in terror and ice. They take her back to the honeycomb hideout to find out her story, while discovering that Scruffy didn’t finish off the new zombie. Instead he took a note from “The Walking Dead’s” Michonne and disabled it, chaining it to his house for research. This decision doesn’t sit well with Angry, and things really go downhill. But, as always, no spoilers here, folks. But I will end with this: There’s a hell of an ending.

With the pace a lot slower than most modern horror movies, “Extinction” may be harder for younger audiences to grind through, but old schoolers enjoy the massive character development. There are typical “Why would you do that?!?” moments that every horror movie suffers from, but, show me one that doesn’t. There’s plenty I left out of this review, and for good reason: I want you guys to check this one out. Top-notch gore, acting, creatures, and setup, but it’s a shame it suffers from such a generic name. I recommend this movie, available on Netflix, with a big bucket of popcorn and the lights out. Thanks for reading, folks! And, as always, Stay Tuned!

roadside attractions

  • What did you think would happen?
  • Did you forget how doors work?
  • Run! Run! You can stay still.
  • Winterwonderland of Death
  • Who wrote that?
  • THAT had to hurt!
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

The blood flows, the body parts rain down, it is awesome!

0

blood

BREASTS

None. None at all.

8

beast

BEASTS

Cool new design to a tired genre!

8.5 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for Extinction

trailers

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Oct

Comments Off on Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Look, no one loves the “Halloween” series more than I do, at least until Busta Rhymes gets involved. The first film is an unimpeachable classic that defined a subgenre and entirely makes up for “Ghosts of Mars” and “John Carpenter’s Vampires” in the same way that the Beatles catalogue means Paul McCartney still gets to be a legend even though there’s that terrible Christmas song and “Kisses on the Bottom.”

But there’s one movie nestled among the chapters of Michael Myers’ seasonal quest to kill his sister/niece/sister again that does not belong – 1982’s “Halloween III: the Season of the Witch,” or The One Where He Didn’t Come Home. Nope, “Halloween III” doesn’t have Michael. It doesn’t have Michael’s final girl blood relations fleeing into narrow dead ends. It doesn’t have Donald Pleasance earning every bit of his paycheck and all the residuals in the universe as Dr. Loomis, foremost authority in the field of abnormal EVIL child psychology.
John Carpenter and Debra Hill, who created ”Halloween,” its sequel, and produced III, envisioned the series going in an anthology direction after “Halloween II,” like a theatrical “American Horror Story.” But audiences hated “Halloween III” for not being more “Halloween III.” For years, even after I’d memorized Halloweens I, II, IV, and V, I still hadn’t even tried hate-watching III because everyone I knew spat on its clamshell. But you know what? Once I did give it a shot, it instantly became a favorite. Among the Halloween series – which, again, I have memorized, 4srs — I’d put it second in quality only to the first one, although I still watch it far more often. Let me tell you about it!

The movie starts out with an old guy running pell mell to escape what appear to be tax preparers or junior executives, maybe Mormon missionaries, a pretty sweet jack-o-lantern mask stuffed in his waistband. Seeking refuge in a junk yard, old guy manages to commit vehicular manslaughter on them, escapes, later to ruin the shift of a night watchman at a garage who’s just trying to watch a news report about Stonehenge. (Plot point! Plot point!)
Enough of that exciting stuff. We are transported to meet our real hero. Tom Atkins’ Dr. Dan Challis is instantly relatable, although partly because we meet him while he’s being sneered at by his killer shrew ex-wife and disappointing his kids by bringing them less awesome Halloween masks than mom got. (“They’re Silver Shamrock!” the children exclaim, singing along to the commercial for the very same masks at eye-ruining distance from the Magnavox. Get used to that hectoring singsong; it’s going to be a motif.)

Dan is your basic good guy caught up in terrible events; he’s a doctor, sure, but there’s definitely more Sears catalogs and Playboys in his place than medical journals. He drinks when he’s on call, has implied alcoholism, endures a bitter ex-wife with custody of their two kids, and pats the night nurse’s bottom with no fear of repercussion ‘cause he’s too OK to harass anybody. He is an 80s main character in search of a Stephen King novel. He’s a good — not perfect! — but good guy. And he has a sweet mustache.

By the way, bitter ex-wife Linda is played by Nancy Loomis, the same actress who played Annie, one of Laurie Strode’s less fortunate babysitter friends in “Halloween.” (Also her staring corpse in “Halloween II!”) Foul-mouthed and half-naked in “Halloween,” 5 years later, she accessorizes a grey wig with a dowdy shawl and 80% of her lines are yelled over the phone at Challis. Hollywood really is terrible for the aging actress.

Challis gets paged, and the scene can’t jump cut hard enough away from that domestic bliss. The garage night watchman has delivered the old guy to the hospital, still clutching that Halloween mask. (Yes, Silver Shamrock! How did you know?) As Challis asks what happened, old guy is summoned to consciousness by that obnoxious commercial for Silver Shamrock Halloween masks, gasping, “They’re coming to kill…ALL OF US.” Challis prescribes Thorazine, because death threats always look better after a good drug-induced snooze.

While Challis is sleeping something else off in the doctor’s lounge, another Botany 500 suit model stalks into the hospital like so much Michael Myers. This is, in fact, an even less populated and policed hospital than the one in “Halloween II.” He arrows in on the old guy and takes another page from the Michael Myers playbook with a brisk head crushing. The night nurse walks in on the end of it, but luckily for her, the killer doesn’t care, and like a bee that’s spent its one sting, proceeds directly out to the parking lot, douses himself with accelerant, and goes up in a suicidal pyre.

Challis gets to see the conflagration and is on hand the next morning when police reveal the body to a young woman, the old guy’s daughter, Ellie Grimbridge. She identifies the body, horrified and grieving, but also cute. Later, she tracks Challis down in a bar and asks whether her father said anything the night he died. Challis tries a comforting lie, but when that fizzles, he expresses an urgent desire to find out what’s going on. And an amateur sleuthing team is born! Cue the upbeat opening.

Challis and Ellie check out her father’s shop, where he has a conspicuous inventory of those Silver Shamrock Halloween masks, and decide to take a day trip to the mask factory, his last known whereabouts before what we saw in the first 15 minutes of the movie. Challis also asks a friend in the coroner’s office to do the autopsy on the old man’s murderer and pass Challis any fun, plot-advancing tidbits.
The Silver Shamrock factory is located in a Southern California company town called Santa Mira, populated by…Irish immigrants. OK, sure. Realizing it’s too small a town to snoop without a cover story, Challis and Ellie decide to pretend to be a couple, buyers from the factory like Ellie’s dad was, and book a room at the local motel. Luckily, Ellie also packed lingerie for her day trip to track her father’s last movements with the nice, strange doctor.

We also meet an angry woman staying at the motel, in town to pick up her mask order, and another buyer, Buddy, with his wife and truly obnoxious brat, who are so National Lampoon, guys, I’m not kidding. So a lot of the snooping comes to Ellie and Challis at the motel, and that’s convenient. We learn that the factory (and thus the town) is run by Conal Cochran, a famous maker of novelty gags, toys, and masks, and Challis risks all kinds of fun backwash sharing his brown bag o’ booze with a local deadbeat, who points out the video cameras monitoring the whole town and complains bitterly that the factory is staffed entirely with outside people, not local talent like himself.

The night wears on. Ellie’s lingerie goes on, and maybe off, but we don’t see that. This is pretty PG-13 here. The deadbeat is double head crushed by more tax preparers of the night. And angry lady toys with one of the Silver Shamrock masks, unleashing a beam that fries her face off and generates worms and bugs from the gaping face holes. Face obliteration is a pretty ironic thing for a mask to do, and it’s still a fairly good practical effect, trading blood for broken teeth and exposed sinews.

The next day, best Halloween mask salesman evar Buddy and his family are taking a tour of the factory, which Ellie and Challis manage to glom onto. Cochran tours them personally though the place, and we get a closer look at his legacy of successful clockwork toys (Plot point! Plot point!) as well as the mask making process – less the tantalizing “final processing,” which Cochran explains has to do with trade secrets and volatile chemicals. He doesn’t want anyone to get hurt.

Speaking of getting hurt, Challis spots some more of the menswear models of doom and recognizes their eerie resemblance to the killer what bonfired himself in the hospital parking lot. Ellie also spots her dad’s car, partially hidden under a tarp, although she’s prevented from getting close by more members of the Silver Shamrock Kraftwerk tribute band.
And then our heroes, with the proof that Ellie’s dad was there (which wasn’t really at issue, was it?) and the serious heebie jeebies, hear what the audience is yelling at them and decide to get the hell out of Halloweentown. But FIRST, Challis wants to call the cops. Dumb, dumb, stupid man. While Ellie packs her one tiny overnight bag, he goes to the motel office and finds all lines are routed to a wrong number recording. By the time he gets back to the room, Ellie’s gone, and the room is surrounded by blank-faced, sharp-dressed men. So Challis is off to the races.

For a while, he manages to kill rather than be killed, and soon realizes that the suited baddies in pursuit are automatons, super realistic killbot versions of the clockwork toys that helped make Cochran so successful. So are most of the people in Santa Mira. But if Challis were successful in escaping, we wouldn’t get a villain speech, and we do get one from Cochran, a splendid speech not just about his evil plan, but about Halloween itself and, unlike Dr. Loomis, he pronounces Samhain correctly.
Challis isn’t down for the count though. There’s more movie left, a big scary child sacrificing plot to avert, and a cute girl to save, too. I’m leaving out a lot of good stuff actually, like what happens to Challis’ coroner friend and Cochran’s demonstration of his evil plan for Halloween night. You should watch and see. …Probably not while wearing a Halloween mask though.

roadside attractions

  • Killer Clockworks from Killarney
  • Honey mustard blood
  • “Halloween” Easter eggs
  • I’m crushing your head (x2)
  • Face/off
  • Killer driller
  • Willy Wonka level cruelty to children
  • A cult following
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Not a bloodbath. More of an acid bath with snakes and worms playing pinochle in dissolved skulls.

.3

blood

BREASTS


.3 Glancing nip slip. Be ready to hit pause.

1

beast

BEASTS Once again, the real monster is man and army of his killer robots.

8 OVERALL Maybe they should have called it All Hallows Eve or Samhain or The Night Celtic Witches Sacrifice All Y’All’s Children.” “Halloween III” both deserves the Halloween name and doesn’t deserve the short shrift it’s gotten because of the “Halloween” name. On its own merits, you get a great cast, a fairly original story in the vein of 70s, early 80s conspiracy horror with both witchy and technological components, a spooky Kraftwerky soundtrack, and plenty of memorable practical effects that still ook out effectively decades later.
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Watch the trailer to “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”

trailers

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About the Highway

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