I was stuck at home yesterday while the repair man made the central heating work again. My best friend and I sat in front of the TV, where I assume he took great delight in watching me squirm uncomfortably while we watched the next in the Halloween film series.
My understanding is that John Carpenter never intended the series to focus on Michael Meyers alone. Halloween was envisioned as an anthology, where the Shape of Evil would change from movie to movie. Not a bad idea, but the execution of such an idea makes or breaks such things. I knew going into this to expect a steaming turd of a film. Not only do the legends speak of how horrible this movie is, but so does the fact that Michael Meyers keeps coming back after this point.
Released on October 22, 1982, this film is all about the nefarious plan of the Silver Shamrock Novelties factory making a line of three glow in the dark masks that would be so popular that every kid on Halloween would wear them as part of a weird bid to… well, I’m not entirely sure what they were trying to do. I’ll come back to that in a second. Assuming you buy the idea that the key stone from Stonehenge could go missing, smuggled by minions of an Irish novelty company to a small town in the U.S. to be used as part of a techno-magical spell to make masks turn their wearers into host cocoons for snakes, bugs, and assorted creepy-crawlies even though they clearly don’t need them to turn people into mindless killer robots with orange juice concentrate as lubricating fluid, then there’s still one more giant, gaping plot hole to consider.
My buddy and I are in total agreement on this one. You see, I remember 1982. I was the target audience for Halloween fun at eight years old. The costumes of the age were largely the plastic masks from Ben Cooper that were so bad you needed a picture of who the costume was supposed to be on the plastic body suit. The most popular ones were licensed from pop culture as they are now. At the time, those included Star Wars characters, He-Man, Skeletor, Smurfs, E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Pac-Man, G. I. Joe, Rambo, Mr. Spock, and assorted DC and Marvel superheroes. So assuming you actually buy into the plot of this film or can at least suspend your disbelief, you’re still expected to buy into the idea that the most popular costumes would be… a jack o’lantern, a skeleton, and a witch. Why? Because the synthesized electronica ditty to the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down” created the earworm from hell while telling kids everywhere that these were the best costumes ever. And I thought Khan’s eels from Ceti Alpha V were bad.
Personally, I can tell you from experience that if such a commercial existed back then, the product would have been boycotted on principle by angry parents… not that it would matter much since you aren’t going to make mega-sellers of those masks in the year of E. T. and Smurfs. If you were around in 1982, you know what I mean and accept this statement without question. Just for the record though… I wouldn’t mind one of those company logo badges that fires off face-wrecking laser blasts. I think I could be dangerously creative with one of those. If anything would sell those masks, it would be that feature.
Ordinarily, I’d go into more digging on a film I review for Project: Monster. I’d give you some background on the film, maybe talk about the characters and offer up some of the good points to counterbalance the snark. I don’t think I’m going to do that this time. You see, we’re coming up on Thanksgiving this week, and while this year has been a smoking crater of a disaster for a lot of reasons, this year I’m thankful I don’t have to dwell on movies like this. If you’re that curious about the story behind the story, this one’s on you. Good luck, and may the Force be with you.
2 stars, but only reluctantly because I have seen a lot worse, and some of those films are actually worth talking about because they really are that bad.