Comfortable and Furious

Halloween III

“It’s time. It’s time. Time for the big giveaway. Halloween has come. All you lucky kids with Silver Shamrock masks, gather ’round your TV set, put on your masks and watch. All witches, all skeletons, all Jack-O-Lanterns, gather ’round and watch. Watch the magic pumpkin. Watch…”

Those faithful to the legacy of mass murderer Michael Myers will certainly balk, but for my money, there’s no better chapter in the Halloween saga than the one that has nothing whatsoever to do with the immortal slasher. Instead, my heart and soul belong to Part III, a film whose premise involves the slaughter of millions of young children by an evil corporation that makes Halloween masks. The company, Silver Shamrock, is led by a sinister Irishman (is there any other kind?), who longs for a pagan past, and seeks to bring back a time when the “streets ran red with the blood of the innocent,” or some such nonsense.

To help him in his quest, he has constructed an army of slime-filled robots and erected a facsimile of Stonehenge for a purpose that remains elusive throughout. All I know is that when we look inside Shamrock’s facilities, men in white coats with clipboards surround the giant structure, gather data, and feed it into bleeping machines that serve no other purpose than to look like something scientific is going on.

And did I mention that when mask-wearing kids watch the Silver Shamrock commercial, their masks melt, their heads implode, and cockroaches, crickets, and snakes pour from the gaping wound? This Irish fella is about more than killing the wee ones; he wants to butcher them in style! And lest you think that all ends happily, the Stacy Keach look-alike who stumbles across the plot only manages to remove the commercial from two stations, leaving one open to bring about Armageddon. As the film ends, Keach roars “Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!” with such gusto that we halfway want him to succeed in foiling the plan. That is until we realize that in an instant the country would be rid of nearly every child under the age of thirteen.

To make things extra special, we have a robot in a suit who gouges out the eyes of an old man, which leads to his skull breaking apart. An obnoxious family is locked inside a room so that the redheaded kid will die horribly, the fat dad will be attacked by snakes, and the loudmouth mother will drop dead from a heart attack. Keach’s love interest will be kidnapped, turned into a robot, and attempt to kill Keach before he knocks off her head with a tire iron. A female doctor will have a drill inserted in her skull by yet another robot. And the old Irishman will be zapped by a computer, which is connected to Stonehenge, which makes him disappear in a blaze of blue light.

I don’t have any fucking clue what all of this means, of course, but I’ve seen this film no less than 15 times since I was in grade school. It’s grotesque, mean-spirited, and so dimwitted that when a massive “October 31st” is flashed on the screen (to remind us that this is judgment day), it also says “Halloween,” as if the meaning of the date were lost to us. The score is an ear-splitting mess (especially the “Silver Shamrock Theme”), the acting third-rate at best (Tom Atkins ranges from pissed to deeply pissed), and the scares all but absent. Utter bullshit. Proudly so.



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