We’re gonna kick off the season and our countdown with this fun, non-horror Halloween debut from Mr. Phantasm himself.
Before Don Coscarelli, Michael Baldwin and Reggie Bannister stared down death in the form of an inter-dimensional undertaker with flying spheres, they tackled death in a much different way with a family movie framed (no doubt quite intentionally) by Halloween.
Kenny and Company is a good-natured, casual and often amusing tale where very authentic and (actually) young kids in the 70’s do a bunch a shit you’d never see kids doing in a family movie nowadays. They build shit, daydream, play outside, trick or treat alone, get shot at, look at nudie mags and face bullies without intervention from a committee of concerned buttinskis.
It’s also a mediation on coming-of-age while learning about death that feels loosely parallel to Phantasm.
But most importantly to us, it’s all surrounded by Halloween, culminating in a lot fun hi-jinx and ambiance as the kids go trick or treating.
Starting off with a great animated pumpkin, the film makes no bones about its Halloween intentions, but it is not a film based on Halloween itself, but rather uses it to mirror death (and Kenny’s awakening to it); the age-old ending of the seasons.
There’s nothing scary or horrific about Kenny and Company, but it’s an entertaining glimpse into an America that no longer exists. It also provides plenty of festive imagery for an autumn evening, and heralds in the the month of October nicely.
For Phantasm fans it’s should prove especially interesting to see Michael (who’s quite good here as Doug) and Reggie being directed by Don outside of their usual Tall Man adventure.
This one gets 2 Jack-O-Lanterns, a Paper mache bear head and a Bill Malone mask. Dig in!