100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Ninety-Seven - "Halloween 3!"


Ghoulish greetings my mindless minions! And welcome to the final few days of the 100 Days of Horror challenge! It's been a long, strange trip to say the least and looking at these last few days, it's hard to believe that I have been able to accomplish this task.

True, I missed a few in the last couple days - between my Halloween party setup and recovery, I went four days without a post - but in all, I have diligently posted on an almost daily basis. In fact, I only missed one day in the entire month of August, and that ain't not too bad!

Anyhoo, we're here in the last days and the list grows thin. So thin, we've included the only "third in a series" film on the list, but it's still a pretty good time. So sit back, relapse and check out "Halloween 3: Season of the Witch!" Thanks to you all for following along! I LOVE YOU ALL!

Halloween 3 (1982): Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. Starring Tom Atkins, Stacy Nelkin and Dan O'Herlihy.

The Skinny: An ancient sect of witches hopes to play the greatest Halloween trick of all time on the unsuspecting children of America by using a blend of magic and technology to pull off the greatest mass human sacrifice ever.

What's Good: If you pick this movie up hoping to see another chapter in the Michael Myers saga, you're in for a surprise. Because this movie has absolutely nothing to do with the premise of the first two films in the franchise that went on for six more films AND a remake. And a sequel to the remake. And that's it. Anyway, the premise here is interesting if poorly executed - the consensus among may reviewers is that, were it not associated with the "Halloween" franchise, it would just be another crappy 80's horror film. Yes, there are some murky spots, but there's also an intriguing idea behind the mess; the idea that a thousand-year-old coven of Irish witches are looking to return to the days when "the hills ran red with the blood of animals and children" with a mass sacrifice. And how do they pull off the slaughter of thousands (if not millions)? With an arcane blend of technology and magic (using pieces of Stonehenge, which they've somehow removed and smuggled into North America) to create a microchip that is attached to Halloween masks. When the kids wear the masks and watch a particular commercial ("Happy, Happy Halloween! Silver Shamrock!") to be broadcast on Halloween as part of a prize giveaway ... hoo boy, does some crazy shit happen!

What's Bad: Well, sadly there is plenty bad. Other than 80s staple actor Tom Atkins and classic Irish actor Dan O'Herilhy, there are no names attached to the film - meaning, the acting is horrible. And as per usual, the movie is shot largely at night, without the benefit of proper lighting, so it's actually difficult to see everything. Not as bad as, say, "Phantasm," but still pretty bad. And there are holes in the script that you could float a battleship through if you think too deeply about it. So don't.

Why We Like It: It's a so-so film, to say the least. But veteran O'Herlihy makes the movie into something a bit above pure trash. His speech towards the end about the roots of Halloween as Samhain and its blood rituals is absolutely chilling. So forget the plot holes, forget the shitty lighting, and just focus on the fun this ridiculous romp can generate if you don't take it too seriously (it helps to understand that original "Halloween" director John Carpenter hoped to make an anthology series out of the title, with each film focusing on a different aspect of the holiday, but never got that idea off the ground).

Memorable Stuff: There are two scenes that stand out for me - and one of them gave me nightmares for weeks. When a family tours the factory where the masks are made, they also get a demonstration of how the magic works. They are put into a test room and their children are given the masks. When teh Silver Shamrock commercial starts to play, the children collapse and snakes and insects start to pour out of the masks as they appear to rot and collapse. And second, O'Herilhy's speech about Halloween's origins and the sacrifices performed by the ancient Celtic clans is well written and impeccably delivered by the classically trained O'Herilhy. Fun stuff if you can sit through it!