A rant for the ages, guests galore and the flick wasn’t bad, either
The second part of The Last Drive-In’s Halloween Hootenanny defied expectations in more ways than one. Not only did we get a classic rant from Joe Bob (on the exploitative aesthetics of Lifetime movies of all things), we got a guest theory from a World Champion Mutant on what makes Michael Myers tick, Darcy dropped herself a Weezer reference and got Tom Atkins to threaten the big guy with bodily harm, and the movie, despite its flaws, was pretty dang entertaining, too.
But first off, we have to deal with the elephant in the streaming box here: Halloween III: The Season of the Witch was not shown during the Halloween Hootenanny, much to the consternation of Darcy the Mail Girl and a certain percentage of vocal Joe Bob fans. Neither was Numero Two-o, a personal favorite of yours truly because it happens between midnight and six in the a.m. in the hospital directly after the original (hey, I used to work the night shift for like 15 years) and even though the Laurie-is-Michael’s-sister thing is a weakness, you can hand wave that away in the sequel.
Anyway, there’s this cult following that has sprung up around Season of the Witch, which is pretty appropriate considering that the flick deals with a mad Irish warlock-type who has created radio-controlled masks with bits of Stonehenge in em that turn the heads of kids wearin them into glopola. But let’s face it, the movie basically kilt the Halloween franchise (yeah, I know that Mr. Silver Shamrock was Irish – I’m in the same geographic region) for FIVE YEARS.
So while Jason Voorhees was goin out and impaling campers on a pretty much annual basis — seven flicks from 1980 to 1988, poor Donald Pleasence had to sit around at home appearing in stuff like Dario Argento’s Phenomena waiting for Moustapha Akkad to come to his senses and get things going again. But even though Moustapha finally got off his hiney and called Big Donald and told him that he got better after being blowed up after the second one, there was a lot of catching up to do. By 1988, even Freddy Krueger leapfrogged slasher granddaddy Mikey with four flicks and a TV show of his own in four years during Halloween’s fallow period.
Move over, David Byrne: Once in a Lifetime — Joe Bob style
Speaking of periods — during the intro segment to Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Joe Bob revealed his great regret dating back to the 1990s: the fact that he never got to be the lead bad guy in his own Lifetime movie. Perhaps the regret that JBB never got to play a jealous deranged stalker drive-in owner in “The Speaker in the Shadows” spilled over into his later fury that resulted in the dismantling of the set later in the third part of the Hootenanny.
But before he engaged in trailer destructo mode, Joe Bob spelled out why he rues the fact he didn’t get his Lifetime gig:
- The bad guy in the Lifetime movie gets to wear a great wardrobe.
- The bad guy gets to chew the scenery.
- The bad guy gets to blackmail everybody else.
- The bad guy gets to use some weapons.
- The bad guy gets to die multiple times.
After a few years, it was too late because the creepy male stalker movie got replaced on Lifetime by the “psycho-bitch” movie. Joe Bob says the garden variety Lifetime psycho-bitch flick features an older, bipolar woman who’s trying to create a “perfect” family and won’t let anything — secretary, insurance salesman, crappy driver — get in their way.
Then it morphed again and the psycho bitch had to be jealous of the younger set, leading to homicidal tendencies toward cheerleaders, even though the evil psycho bitch was usually prettier and more popular than the nominal bland “good” girl in the flick.
Let’s not forget the supporting characters, either, such as the porn-addicted, coke head problem child who gets manipulated by the psycho bitch and aligned against the mom, who herself had isolated herself from the sisterhood and thus is subjugated by the patriarchy. (And speaking of which, Laura Beerman gave me express permission to usurp the sisterhood and subjugate the blog to the patriarchy and write about this particular genre even though I’m a dude, so there).
The Lifetime formula was rendered complete when the movie ended with a girl fight at the end and the psycho bitch incarcerated.
Why Halloween 4 rules
Having dropped this immense knowledge bomb on the Mutant Family, it was time to kick back and watch Halloween 4, which did a pretty good job in re-establishing the brand after the devastation wrought by Tom Atkins and co. with a lot of callbacks to the original in the tone and relationships among the characters.
You get Jamie Lloyd being tormented by kids like Tommy was in the first one. You get Michael killin another dog (maybe Ma and Pa Myers didn’t get him the puppy he wanted for his fifth birthday and that set him off?). You get a great scene between Dr. Loomis and a mad preacher truck driver played by Carmen Filpi. You get a redneck militia squad trying to re-create the scene where they annihilate the jungle in Predator but instead of getting Michael they just kill some guy named Ted Hollister. And let’s not forget the legendary Power Station Bucky, he with the custom shirt and custom hardhat who isn’t going to put up with your Halloween shit and absolutely deserved a franchise of his own.
And I’ll say it: Dr. Loomis > Dr. Dan.
And hey, how about the ending to Halloween 4, which regrettably was basically ignored in the next flick?
Atkins. Briggs. Jericho. A steel cage. Be there!
Members of the mutant family got in the act theorizing about what make Michael the way he was and we got a surprise guest appearance via email by Le All-Elite Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho, who paused from enjoying a bit of the bubbly with his own speculation that Michael Myers just loved Judith Myers a bit too much, if you know what he means, and we think we do…
And as an aside, if Mr. Tom Atkins does follow through on his threat to Mr. Briggs, he’ll not only make Le Champion’s infamous List, there might be a Judas Effect in his future as well as a Von Erich claw from our favorite drive-in critic.
The ‘wha?’ moment
Darcy said that Halloween III: Season of the Witch and H20 are better than the John Carpenter original. Just gonna leave that there.
The episode closed with a letter from Sgt. Jeremy Julian, who recounted how a little bit of Joe Bob and some Deathgasm brought a disparate group of soldiers together in Georgia. Jeremy — thanks for your service to the country and to expanding the Mutant Family.
Next Up: Post #3 includin Darcy cosplay, Michael Myers berserk theories, Joe Bob berserk theories, why his rant on Dominique Othenin-Girard sounds oddly familiar, and what we could figure out to say about Halloween 5.