It’s Sunday and it’s October and that means that it’s time for another edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse trailers! For today, we have six trailers from the early 80s! These where the years when the only thing bigger than the Italian zombie boom was the American slasher boom. And we’ve got the trailers to prove it!
1. Friday the 13th (1980)
Needless to say, if you’re going to talk about American horror in the early 80s, you have to start with Friday the 13th. Interestingly enough, the first Friday the 13th was less a traditional slasher film and more an American take on the giallo genre.
2. Halloween II (1981)
The 80s were also the year that Hollywood learned to love the sequel. As a result, Michael Myers returned and so did Dr. Loomis. The current franchise claims that all of this never happened but we all know better.
3. The Beyond (1981)
While the Americans were dealing with slashers, the Italians were committing themselves to the zombies. Though Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond was not widely appreciated when first released, it’s reputation has grown over the years.
4. The House By The Cemetery (1981)
Eventually, Fulci combined both zombies and slashers with The House By The Cemetery.
5. Poltergeist (1982)
Of course, not every horror film that came out in the early 80s was about a slasher or a zombie. Poltergeist was a haunted house story. Though the trailer says “Steven Spielberg production,” the film was directed by Tobe Hooper.
6. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Even the Halloween franchise tried to do something new with the third film in the series. Like The Beyond, this is a film that was underappreciated when released but which has since become a horror classic.
4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!
This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films. I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.
Today, we take a look at 1981, 1982, and 1983!
10 Shots From 10 Horror Films: 1981 — 1983
The Funhouse (1981, dir by Tobe Hooper. DP: Andrew Laszlo)
The Beyond (1981, dir by Lucio Fulci, DP: Sergio Salvati)
The House By The Cemetery (1981, dir by Lucio Fulci, DP: Sergio Salvati)
The Evil Dead (1981, dir by Sam Raimi, DP: Tim Philo)
Creepshow (1982, dir by George Romero, written by Stephen King, DP: Michael Gornick)
Tenebrae (1982, dir by Dario Argento, DP: Luciano Tovoli)
Poltergeist (1982, dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Matthew F. Leonetti)
The Dead Zone (1983, dir by David Cronenberg, DP: Mark Irwin)
Christine (1983, dir. John Carpenter, DP: Donald M. Morgan)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (dir by Tommy Lee Wallace, DP: Dean Cundey)
Evening approaches. The sun is setting. It’s time to start counting treats and perhaps playing a few tricks. In other words, it’s time to put on your Silver Shamrock masks and gather around the television….
(Actually, its seem like Silver Shamrock would have more success if they had a bigger online presence but I guess they like to do things the old-fashioned way….)
And then, in 1982, the story of Halloween went off the rails in what I feel was the coolest way possible. And to think, some felt Rob Zombie’s Halloween II went off the mark.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch was mostly a flop when it was released. It managed to make the money to cover the film’s budget, but the film was hurt by the lack of connection to the original series. I think most people at the time were just expecting to see more of Michael Myers and wondered just what the hell this was about. Imagine if The Force Awakens had absolutely zero ties to the main characters in the Star Wars Universe. Actually, you might end up with The Ewok Adventure, but that’s a different review for a different time. Still, Season of the Witch was just that kind of shake up when it was released.
Tommy Lee Wallace sat in the director’s chair this time around. Having actually played Michael Myers in the first Halloween film, Wallace does well here, showing he learned something about setting the scene. It all moves well, and the pacing isn’t too slow. Viewers expecting gore and attacks might find themselves sighing and fast forwarding a bit, but then again, it’s not that type of film.Season of the Witch has a slew of jump scares, though it does go a little overboard in the second half of the movie. Were it cut down to an hour, Season of the Witch could serve as a good Tales from the Darkside / Crypt episode. As a horror story, the body count is low (which is typical for a Carpenter story anyway)
From a writing standpoint, Season of the Witch is solid, though somewhat predictable. Writing duties were handled by John Carpenter (who couldn’t fully walk away from the project), Nigel Kneale, and Wallace himself. My favorite horror tales are the ones that surround the one or few individuals that have discovered something wicked, only to find that they can’t seem to get anyone else to believe what they’ve witnessed. It’s one thing to be chased by a maniacal killer or space creature. It’s another thing entirely to find out you’re the only thing standing between the creature and the rest of humanity. Films like The Wicker Man, every version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Count Yorga: Vampire are examples of this, and Season of the Witch handles this very well, particularly after everything is revealed to our hero and to the audience. Okay, the truth’s out. Who’d even believe you, if you told them? That’s always bothered me. The focus in Halloween deals more with it’s Celtic origins and the celebration of Samhain, and this honestly adds to the creep factor if you do a bit of background reading on it.
Season of the Witch starts a few days before Halloween, with a man on the run from men in black suits. He’s able to defeat the men after him, but not without taking on a few injuries. It’s in the hospital that we’re introduced to our hero in Dr. Dan Challis, played by Carpenter film alum Tom Atkins (The Fog, Escape From New York & Night of the Creeps). Challis has a pretty normal life – a good job, a wife and two kids. When the new patient warns him about some strange danger looming on the horizon and passes along a Halloween mask, Challis decides to share his information with the man’s daughter, Ellie (Stacey Nelkin). Ellie believes that her father died due to foul play, and nothing is going to stop her from finding out why it happened. Challis makes a quick call to the Missus, lies about what he plans to do (he spends a great of his conversations with her like this, as he’s basicially cheating on her), andcontinues on the mission. Dan and Ellie find their way to a small town called Santa Mira and to Conal Cochran (played by Dan O’Herlihy, also in The Last Starfighter & Robocop), owner of the Silver Shamrock company.
The trailer and videos actually give away more of the film than I ever could. If you have the chance to watch it, give a try. I don’t think it’s the worst film ever, but others expecting knife wielding killers may find themselves disappointed. Besides, if you take nothing else away from the film, there’s always the catchy Silver Shamrock Jingle to remind us of the fun in Halloween. The jingle was created by Wallace and Carpenter, with Tommy Lee Wallace providing the vocals and reminding us all to get our Silver Shamrock masks.