As a holiday treat (no tricks sorry), here’s Part 1 of our Halloween 3 Double Feature!!!
(And don’t forget to read Part 2.)
Unfortunately, the only thing spooky about this review is how easily it was for the Captain to convince me to read the script…
And be sure to check out the Halloween 3 Script Discussion.
1.) Marketability of the Idea
The movie came out in 1982. The original Halloween came out in 1978.
That’s 3 movies in 4 years, and I’m guessing the producers decided two movies of Michael Myers chasing Jamie Lee Curtis was enough.
So they tried something a bit different this Halloween film…but did it work?
$14 million? Guessing not, since the previous sequel made $25M and the fourth installment, where Mr. Myers returns, made $17M.
2.) Plot Stability
Okay, so the first thing The Cap’n told me, when I agreed to this double feature was, “LOL, you’re going to hate it!”
Honestly? I didn’t.
Let me get this out of the way though, the ending was completely stupid, especially the villain’s motive.
“We’re going to ship cheap masks all over the USA, with little microchips in them that contain small shards of a pillar from Stonehenge, and then this will kill kids as spiders, snakes, and lizards spawn from them because….WITCHCRAFT!”
What the fuck?
The brilliance of this film, was that it started out as an early 80s movie warning about technology.
Don’t let your kids watch too much TV, or else corporate media can hypnotize them.
Beware “big brother” could be watching your every move on closed circuit cameras.
Don’t became a mindless drone, slaving away at some cheap corporation.
Beware the microchip, and its small technology that has the ability to kill us all!
This plot definitely had potential, if it didn’t take a turn into stupid at the end.
One of the things I thought of as I read was one of the Captain’s newest favorites, WESTWORLD.
There the “hosts” (machines manufactured to serve/please humans) are becoming self aware, and threaten to overpower their human creators.
It wasn’t an exact parallel, but at the time Marge discovers the microchip, I was convinced we were going to see some cool mind control of millions of trick or treaters, making them rabid kids who turn on their parents!
Oh boy, would that have been cool.
Instead we got stupid, and that’s sad, because it made producers default back to the “Michael Myers dons mask, chases X” formula.
Anyway, here’s the good and the bad…
Page 5 – We’re five pages in and we’ve been shown a computer jack-o-lantern and some super corny commercial for Shamrock masks, why do we need all this detail? Luckily, it’s important later, and we’re given a dying Grimbridge who collapses at a gas station.
Page 9 – Good. A tall, thin mystery man lurks in the shadows, following Grimbridge. Who is he?
Page 13 – He’s the guy that suffocates Mr. Grimbridge, gouges the dying man’s eyes out, and then for a “getaway” runs to his car, douses himself in gasoline and lights a match. BOOM!
Page 32 – Challis and Ellie, Grimbridge’s daughter, head to the main office of Shamrock Industries, in a creepy little town called Santa Mira. It’s a company town, with little to nothing left open besides what the factory needs.
Page 35 – In keeping with good horror, we get a bit of sexy. Wouldn’t it be a bit rushed for Ellie to undress in front of a guy she just met? Sure, in real life, but with horror, we need sexy!
Page 40 – Via the town drunk, Challis discovers Cochran, owner of Shamrock, has cameras all over town, and he’s watching your every move!
Page 47 – We’re told something’s off about the office staff, and their applause feels too rehearsed. That’s good, because we want to know what’s going on.
Page 50 – The weird and off-putting “gray suits” anticipate Ellie’s moves, especially trying to go places she’s not allowed. Creepy!
Page 55 – Then she catches a glimpse of her father’s station wagon in the Shamrock factory, she’s barred from entering…oh yeah, something’s definitely off at this plant.
Page 58 – Microchips?! Is Cochran electronically controlling his employees? The town? The children wearing the masks? (This speculation is good, but please don’t disappoint your reader like this script did.)
Page 61 – Marge accidentally trips one of the microchips, and her face contorts into its own sort of ghoulish mask…OH and a spider crawls out of her. What?!
Page 65 – Instead of taking her to the nearest hospital, and this being a company town after all, Cochran will “take care” of Marge…oh no! We don’t know exactly what that means, but it can’t be good!
Page 75 – Factory full of robots! (Okay, we saw this coming…)
Page 81 – Weak ass witchcraft tie-in for title and motive? Lame.
Page 89 – Masks, once activated by the final commercial, use kids as hosts to spawn spiders, snakes, and lizards? Dumb.
Page 97 – Final commercial will air at 9:00pm, but in which time zone? In each, wouldn’t that cause a chain reaction alerting other time zones foiling Cochran’s plan?
Page 106 – Ellie was replaced with a robot? Assuming the factory blew up, the real Ellie is dead? Was she always a robot? What the fuck here?
Page 110 – Decent that Challis couldn’t get the final network to stop the commercial in time, but realistically, with less than 15 minutes left when he made the call, how could he stop TV stations around the country with a single phone call?
That’s just silly.
3.) Quality of Characters
Few problems here.
First is our “hero” Challis, a divorced guy who blows off spending time with his kids to go on a wild goose chase with a hot girl he just met?
Extremely hard to root for him, given a selfish flaw like that.
“Sorry kids. Daddy’s gotta get laid!”
The second issue was the “company town” citizens. All Irish, and all speak like stereotypes? The one bonus here was that the town drunk didn’t speak in Irish slang, so we don’t know if he was or wasn’t Irish. Stereotypes are silly.
I guess they needed folks to be Irish because of the whole less than stellar “witchcraft” tie in?
Lastly, I did enjoy Cochran’s character. Jovial, happy-go-lucky manufacturer whom everyone loves, and is too good to be true.
Then when it turns out he’s the villain, he doesn’t hide it, and dares Challis to stop him.
If only there was a stronger motive for him to be doing what he was doing…
4.) Dialogue and Description
Description was fine. Since this was a shooting script, the shots were broken up and easily digestible.
Sprinklings of the style I’m fond of were in it as well, and one example comes from page 43, where Red the dock worker shows up “too immediately”. But there were others, signifying that what was happening was important.
Dialogue was also fine, with one memorable line coming from Cochran on page 67:
You’re putting these in the
hands of children. Why?
I’ll show you.
Menacing! He’s not even hiding, at this point, he’s a bad guy.
Shooting script, and even if you plan to shoot a spec yourself, leave the directions out initially so readers/producers can focus on the story. It’s very distracting trying to comprehend HOW we’re supposed to be watching characters’ actions, instead of focusing on the actions themselves.
Including Easter Eggs? I did enjoy how the original Halloween was being played throughout the film on various television sets. My one suggestion for how to make it better would have been for an unfinished mask to show up and look like Michael Myers’s.
6.) What I liked…
The first three fourths of the script, because it kept me guessing.
7.) What needs work…
The ending, and coming up with a better twist for why the bad guy’s doing what he’s doing.
Rating: Read it if you’re a Halloween series junky.
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