Uh Oh! It looks like it’s that time of year to eat, drink and be scary!
Outside of the hugely underrated and insanely Halloweeny Season of the Witch, Halloween II is really the only other Halloween installment I can recommend in good conscience. Plus, it’s the sequel, so we gotta give props to that this season.
I don’t love Halloween II and I rather blame its existence on why the franchise wasn’t able to continue and expand the way John Carpenter wished. If Halloween II was Halloween III, we could have had a different Halloween themed story with every outing for who knows how many years.
Had they simply ended Michael’s tale with part 1, it would have been more haunting, more powerful and had prepped fans straight away that this was not going to be “Michael’s Series.” Who was that masked man murdering teens on Halloween? I dunno, guess he’s just wandering around now. Moving on with some other tales.
As it stands, II continued “the night he came home” and forever sealed the fate of this franchise as “The Michael Myers Story” With each new installment removing more of what made Michael great in the first damn place…ambiguity.
It’s also the film that introduced the whole extended Myers family angle to the story, an aspect in which I couldn’t be less interested. I like the fact the Laurie and her friends were chosen by almost complete chance and that their murders are the random outbursts of some mysterious, masked maniac.
All that being said, Halloween II is still Michael’s best sequel. It still features the original mask (a huge plus when considering the awful, awful resculpts), maintains the general feel of the original and literally picks up right where the first one left off, thus taking place on the same night. You could have ended Michaels story here successfully, no doubt, but fans just wanted more and they were eventually given just that.
It’s pretty Halloweeny and the hospital setting is an interesting location and leads to some unnerving sequences and kills. It also gives an expanded glimpse into Haddonfield as it reels from the previous film’s mayhem. Everyone in town is starting to hear about the horrible things that have happened just a block or two over. It’s neat to see the night just continue.
Poor Ben Tramer gets straight plowed by a police cruiser and goes out in a blaze of Halloween glory, though. Poor Michael gets both of his eyes shot out, which never really seems to pose him too much difficultly on any of his further adventures. And poor Laurie has to find out she’s that guys fucking sister. Samhain bummers all around.
This year was a celebration not just of other Halloween themed movies, but also of the Halloween Sequel. While Halloween II may be cheating just slightly, is a mere shadow of its forebear’s glory, and sets this entire franchise on many of its awful roads, it’s still the greatest Halloween Sequel there is.
Double it up with the original for one extended “night he came home” this year.
I give 2 bloody eyes and a burning Ben Tramer up!
Happy Halloween, weeners. Thanks for joining us through Return of the 31 Days of Halloween Horror 2: Revenge of the Halloween Sequels: Trick or Treat?
Halloween by Dead Kennedys
Halloween needn’t always be about ghost and goblins, right? Well, at least not according to Dead Kennedys front man Jello Biafra, who uses the holiday as a jumping off point to throw some criticism at the socially repressed who use Halloween as an excuse to dress up like an idiot and get drunk.
Your business suit and tie are your costumes, insists Biafra, satirically jabbing
But why not everyday?
Well, I somehow doubt your boss is gonna be too jazzed about you showing up to work everyday and getting hammered in a Batman costume.
Nor is that sexy cashier from the Jamba Juice gonna be too excited to go have dinner with some jackass dressed up like The Wolfman.
Well, what will they say?
Probably “You’re fired,” and “don’t ever call me again,” respectively.
Maybe that’s the right reaction. Maybe it just means you need a new job and a better girlfriend. Or maybe you’re the asshole. Maybe leave the crepe hair and capes at home like a normal person, idiot.
But I get Jello’s point,…to an extent.
It’s metaphorical, in its way and we could all stand to live less reserved lives and quit reserving Halloween as the one night to break out of our social conformity.
But is that what’s really happening on Halloween? Is that what it’s really all about? Are these people to whom Mr. Biafra speaks seriously stuffing themselves into a costume for work? Is Halloween really the night they’re their truest selves? Should it really just be all the time? I doubt that, but maybe that’s the problem he sees.
Maybe we’re all so programmed into that 9 to 5 lifestyle that it’s no longer just a costume, but who we all really are now. Maybe that’s his gripe. Maybe he’s right.
I can’t say for certain, but that’s no reason to exclude it from a Halloween playlist. However, it can’t be included out of context just for saying “Halloween” a bunch of times either. A frank discussion should be had.
One thing I am certain he’s right about is that you better plan all week, all month and all year, cause some of you are really phoning it in with these costumes. But that’s a conversation for another song.
For now, let’s just enjoy the Dead Kennedys’ Halloween.
Happy Halloween, Weeners!
Tonight by SSQ
There’s a lot of reasons why everyone loves Return Of The Living Dead. There’s its great special FX, its endlessly quotable script, its moments of genuine fright, its fantastic soundtrack…
and then there’s Trash.
In the role that turned Linnea Quigley into a horror icon, Trash is the terminally insouciant, death obsessed, gutter punk exhibitionist who just can’t seem to keep her clothes on.
She also can’t seem to talk about anything but death, but I doubt there was one straight male horror fan in 1985 between the ages of 12 to 34 who gave one damn.
I love Linnea Quigley. She stars in one of my favorite Halloween movies of all time and appears in my favorite Christmas movie of all time. I love to see her in anything and I’ve sat through quite a bit of garbage (Deadly Embrace, I’m looking in your direction) simply because she makes an appearance.
You may not always get a Trash or a Suzanne (Night of the Demons) or a Spider (Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama) but you’ll always get Linnea. And whether she’s being cute and bubbly, or morose and sassy, she will always be refreshing compared to her surroundings.
This track from SSQ will forever remind me (and I’m sure countless others) of both Trash and Linnea and my first experience with the horror vixen, who takes almost as close a place in my heart as The Mistress of the Dark herself.
So, let’s get some light over here, Trash is taking off her clothes again.
X’s and O’s,
Exactly 78 years ago on this night, October 30th 1938, Orson Welles produced a radio dramatization of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. Legend has it that the broadcast threw listeners into a frenzy, not realizing the production was a work of fiction and thought actual Martians were invading the Earth.
To what extent that is true is apparently up for some debate, with critics citing the allegations of panic as merely hokum the newspapers concocted to slander their newfound competition…radio.
Exactly 41 years ago tomorrow, Halloween 1975, ABC aired this recreation of that broadcast and the events supposedly surrounding it (with a fair amount of artistic license, no doubt) The Night That Panicked America.
For years following its initial broadcast, local stations made a habit of airing the film on the anniversary of the original Welles radio broadcast, October 30th.
And in the grand tradition of radio and local television, the Shindig Presents Joseph Sargent’s The Night That Panicked America, available to you here embedded from YouTube.
Happy Cabbage Night, Weeners. Go panic America!
I wouldn’t necessarily call Lady in White strictly a Halloween movie, but its first 40 minutes are so awesomely and insanely Halloweeny that they totally trump the dated ghost effects, cheeseball climax and even the touch of Christmas that all appear later in the film.
And Halloween is a solid 3rd of this movie, which is nothing to sneeze at, particularly considering the movies that’ll get nods for featuring Halloween.
Plus, there aren’t many movies that ramp up the Halloween and then just nail that atmosphere as much as this one does in those first 40 minutes. They’re dense. That classroom sequence alone feels like it was shot from inside a hazy Jack-o-Lantern into another hazier Jack-O-Lantern. It’s so perfectly and wonderfully Halloweeny.
Add to that, it’s a weird little spooky ghost story that predominantly features a child-murderer. How’s that grab ya? Keep in mind too, that I think this is suppose to be a kids movie. Which makes sense to me. What would appeal more to the concerns of children than other children being murdered?
I would describe it as the nexus point between Dark Night of the Scarecrow, The Halloween Tree and To Kill A Mockingbird. All solid Halloween fare.
Lady In White can definitely hold its head high among the titans of The Class of 1988, even graduating with an average well above the curve.
One cement covered Jack-O-Lantern and a bowl full of candy corn up!
No One Lives Forever by Oingo Boingo
Delivering back to back jammers from 2 Shindig Allstars in your film and a great way to get that double-shot of hot rock ‘n roll represented directly onto the playlist. It’s just too perfect.
Oingo Boingo, who were no stranger to 80’s soundtracks themselves, found their music webbed up in this Sawyer family fiasco and it adds a lot of chaos to the intense opening chase sequence from Texas Chainsaw 2.
Rick the Prick wants to hear “Bright Lights, Big Titties,” or rather, he’d like to see them.
Unfortunately, all he’s gonna see is the bright lights of a truck carrying a corpse and a big fucking chainsaw.
Here’s Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo, with a track that might have just made the cut without even being featured in a movie, No One Lives Forever.
Goo Goo Muck by The Cramps
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s status as a horror classic is indisputable, even if you don’t care for it all that much. Why you wouldn’t is beyond me but I’m sure there are some of you out there.
Personally, I love it. It’s subtle in all the right ways, despite it’s rather incongruous reputation as a gorefest. It’s not overbearing, it’s wildy disturbing and suitably intense when it needs to be.
As a franchise though, it’s one of the weaker offerings in my opinion. Troubled by lengthy lapses of inactivity, tonal shifts and studio bouncing, it never seems to catch a rhythm; never feels like a true series.
All the sequels seem detached from one another, almost like reboots rather than sequels.
Some people swear by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 and with plenty of good reasons. Savini’s on board with some great work. Billy Mosely comes out almost more iconic than the films real draw with an inspired (albeit over the top) turn as Chop Top. Dennis Hopper shows up to bring an added sense of gravitas. The perceived gore of the original is actually on display in this outing. And all in all, it’s pretty fun, albeit very different sequel.
One thing I appreciate most about this Texas 2 though (as is the case most times with The Shindig) is its soundtrack. Featuring some great tunes from some Shindig All-Stars knocking it out of the park.
With the added wraparound of Stretch and the KOTLA radio plot, you got some Shindig gold.
Here’s a little double threat of Texas Chainsaw goodness from some of the ‘dig’s finest.
Leading off is Shindig Allstars The Cramps.
We all know The Shindig has a lotta love for The Cramps. Without being overtly horrific they manage to exude the genre subtly with they’re Shock! Theatre and drive-in double feature aura. 80’s horror producers took note and The Cramps found themselves mixed up with all sorts of genre offerings.
Here, within the Texas Chainsaw sequel, Stretch from KOKLA Red River Rock radio has a soft spot for gang too, and we can’t blame her.
So what is a Goo Goo Muck? Well, it just sounds like a horny teenage monster or some ilk similar to that of a werewolf or a vampire.
Sounds like something Lux might just whip out of thin air. Ah, but interestingly enough, this Cramp’s cut is actually a cover!
Originally recorded by Ronnie Cook in 1962, this old rock and roller is perfect fodder for The Cramps’ spooky sound.
So, you better duck, when I show up!
Once you’ve experienced enough completely atrocious or utterly unwatchable garbage, regular bad movies just don’t seem so bad anymore. Sometimes they even seem pretty fun and likeable, and some things that any normal person would completely dismiss become weird, small joys.
It was suggested to me that this is exactly happened when I watched Flesh Eater. Now, I’m almost inclined to agree somewhat, but I still think this one has a lot of legitimate good to offer.
It would appear that Bill Hinzman was pretty bored and not cashing-in enough on his former appearance as the cemetery zombie from Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead. So he set about writing, directing, producing and starring in this spin-off movie about just that zombie.
Sound pretty great? Well, it’s actually a whole lot of fun.
First and foremost, it’s got some great gore gags from Pittsburgh FXician and all around awesome dude Jerry Gergely. Bonus.
Plus, It’s got that low-budget, mid-80’s townie vibe that I just love in a horror movie.
Also, it’s got absolutely relentless, weapon wielding maniac-zombies that literally kill everyone they come across. This movie spares no one.
Additionally, it’s got all the weirdo dialogue, goofball acting, and almost unanimous under-reactions to all of its zombie chaos that make for an entertaining watch.
And last but by no means least, it’s got Halloween. There’s trick or treating, candy apple making, costumes, decorations and the requisite Halloween dance party.
While not quite the official sequel it imagines itself to be, Flesh Eater rather seems like some sot of bizarro Night of the Living Dead from another dimension where that movie was never made in ’68. This might actually be what Night of the Living would look like if it had been churned out in the mid-80’s by someone a lot less capable than George A. Romero and featured Halloween.
I can’t say you’ll enjoy Flesh Eater as much as I do, or at all really, but I’d gladly take this over any unnecessary remake, found footage nonsense, or whatever spooky ghostboy bullshit is clogging up cinemas, redbox and video-on-demand any old Oct. 28th of the year.
1 dead little angel and a drunk Dracula up!
Slugs is gross. Slugs is gory. Slugs is ridiculous. Slugs is great.
But most importantly, Slugs, for no particular reason (other than that it’s more awesome if it does), takes place during Halloween.
Sure, it might appear to be an almost absolute afterthought, completely tacked on through some Godfrey Ho-style over dubbing and a sad looking Jack-O-lantern placed at an otherwise suspiciously unfestive party through reshoots…but it’s there goddammit and that’s all that matters.
Besides, Slugs doesn’t really need Halloween anyway. Between its grotesque death scenes, its gross slug photography, its bizarro performances and its intense, out of place score, Slugs is doing just fine without Halloween.
The unnecessary, and frankly half-assed inclusion of the holiday is merely one of many small touches that makes Slugs so great.
Now I may not have the authority to declare happy birthday…but I can confidently declare Happy Halloween and so can Slugs.
So, c’mon Weeners, get naked and get crazy!
2 Slugs Up!