The Halloween Franchise

Started by thecolorsblend, Thu, 17 Jan 2019, 03:26

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"Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."

Yeah, not too sure about those flashbacks either. They don't seem to amount to anything relevant. In a script like that, you'd think flashing back to something related to Brackett would've been the way to go.

Still, Retribution sounds like it would've been a lot better than Halloween 5.

My diet of October horror literature and cinema continues. I finished reading The Phantom of the Opera, and I also read An Exorcist Tells His Story by Gabriele Amorth and Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns by R. L. Stine. I'm now reading The Shadow over Innsmouth by H. P. Lovecraft. Since my previous post I've watched The End of the World (1916), 13 Ghosts (1960), Mill of the Stone Women (1960), The Oblong Box (1969) and Us (2019), none of which I'd seen before. I also re-watched House of Usher (1960), Tales of Terror (1962), The Raven (1963) and The Exorcist (1973). I still haven't gotten around to watching Halloween Kills yet, but I will.

Regarding the announced Halloween TV show, I'm growing tired of this trend of making small screen spin-offs based on theatrical films. How many such shows have actually turned out well, or enhanced the cinematic brand on which they're based? Some might be good, but the majority fall flat and end up contributing to franchise fatigue. Not everything needs to be a shared cinematic/TV universe.

Season of the Witch presents the most fertile ground for expansion, but I don't trust the modern entertainment industry to not screw it up. I love the original movie. It's such a weird atmospheric film, and I don't think it would be possible to recapture its distinctive mood today. Modern filmmakers would probably cast someone like Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Cochran's granddaughter, and then drag out Tom Atkins as the obligatory 'legacy character' just to show how useless he is and kill him off so his diverse female replacement can outperform him.

I'd rather Season of the Witch was left in 1982, untainted by the stain of a modern reboot. I'll be watching it again later this month, a little nearer to Halloween. One thing I would like to see is a copy of Nigel Kneale's original script before it was rewritten. That would make for an interesting read, but I've never been able to find it online. Here's an early teaser that credits Kneale as the writer, taken from a 1982 Universal Pictures trade book.


Speaking of SOTW, has anyone seen the Knight Rider episode 'Halloween Knight'? I caught in on TV a few years back and was surprised to see a Silver Shamrock mask make an appearance. The episode as a whole is largely a pastiche of Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), but it also contains some nods to other horror films, including SOTW.


Quote from: Silver Nemesis on Fri, 20 Oct  2023, 15:34I still haven't gotten around to watching Halloween Kills yet, but I will.
I see considerable merit to the Blumhouse films. But aside from H2018, they've proven to be fairly controversial among fans. I enjoyed Kills. But I'm in no position to guarantee that you will.

Quote from: Silver Nemesis on Fri, 20 Oct  2023, 15:34Regarding the announced Halloween TV show, I'm growing tired of this trend of making small screen spin-offs based on theatrical films. How many such shows have actually turned out well, or enhanced the cinematic brand on which they're based? Some might be good, but the majority fall flat and end up contributing to franchise fatigue. Not everything needs to be a shared cinematic/TV universe.
I found a hot take a while back that suggested that Avengers Endgame didn't break audiences from comic book films; WandaVision (and the subsequent TV tie-ins) did.

The more times goes by, the more it looks like the MCU (for whatever reason) was able to successfully achieve a shared cinematic universe but it's the exception that proves the rule. Namely, that audiences don't want shared cinematic universes.

It's sort of hard to argue against that.

Quote from: Silver Nemesis on Fri, 20 Oct  2023, 15:34Season of the Witch presents the most fertile ground for expansion, but I don't trust the modern entertainment industry to not screw it up. I love the original movie. It's such a weird atmospheric film, and I don't think it would be possible to recapture its distinctive mood today. Modern filmmakers would probably cast someone like Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Cochran's granddaughter, and then drag out Tom Atkins as the obligatory 'legacy character' just to show how useless he is and kill him off so his diverse female replacement can outperform him.
I largely agree. However, the one possibility for success here comes down to the fact that horror is such a niche genre that it can't afford to get too "progressive". The profit margins on most horror properties are already fairly slim as it is. Producers and filmmakers can't afford to antagonize audiences.

The Blumhouse Halloween films dipped a toe into that at times but mostly they tried to keep their collective nose clean. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it. I find it telling that Halloween Ends has the lowest concentration of "progressive" stuff going on. And considering the creative risks the Ends narrative took, it's not hard to see why.

Quote from: Silver Nemesis on Fri, 20 Oct  2023, 15:34I'd rather Season of the Witch was left in 1982, untainted by the stain of a modern reboot. I'll be watching it again later this month, a little nearer to Halloween.
I largely agree that SOTW is best left alone. However, given a choice between a remake or a sequel, I'd prefer a remake. As you say, a sequel can only serve to harm the original. Whereas a remake can be easily ignored if it falls short of the mark.

When you consider how weird the basic ingredients of SOTW all are, succeeding with that stuff seems unlikely. So, a remake seems like less of a threat than a sequel. In my opinion anyway.

Quote from: Silver Nemesis on Fri, 20 Oct  2023, 15:34Speaking of SOTW, has anyone seen the Knight Rider episode 'Halloween Knight'? I caught in on TV a few years back and was surprised to see a Silver Shamrock mask make an appearance. The episode as a whole is largely a pastiche of Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), but it also contains some nods to other horror films, including SOTW.

Blocked in my country (US). But I'm pretty sure I remember the episode. I think it guest stars a character called "Norman Baines", at least one sequence takes place in the original location of the Bates Motel from the original Psycho and some other callbacks. I think the episode's score even quotes from Psycho's score. I'm guessing someone from the production wanted to capitalize on the fact that Psycho II had so recently been released at the time. I remember this being a fun episode, tbh. But it's been years (decades?) since I last saw it.

Quote from: thecolorsblend on Sun, 22 Oct  2023, 06:46Blocked in my country (US). But I'm pretty sure I remember the episode. I think it guest stars a character called "Norman Baines", at least one sequence takes place in the original location of the Bates Motel from the original Psycho and some other callbacks. I think the episode's score even quotes from Psycho's score. I'm guessing someone from the production wanted to capitalize on the fact that Psycho II had so recently been released at the time. I remember this being a fun episode, tbh. But it's been years (decades?) since I last saw it.

Yep, that's the one. There's a very similar episode of Murder, She Wrote titled 'Incident in Lot 7' which is also a pastiche of Psycho and was filmed on the original set. At one point there's a shot-for-shot recreation of Arbogast's death scene on the staircase. It's a treat for Hitchcock fans.


Sun, 29 Oct 2023, 19:02 #115 Last Edit: Tue, 31 Oct 2023, 12:32 by Silver Nemesis
Last night I watched Season of the Witch again. A few random observations.

I like how the opening titles continue the jack-o'-lantern motif of the previous two Halloween movies. Only here it's an animated pumpkin on a computer screen, which evokes the tagline on the teaser poster: 'Witchcraft enters the computer age.'


The theme of witchcraft meeting computer technology isn't all that prominent in the finished film. Perhaps it was more central to Nigel Kneale's original script. If the film were to be remade, I imagine the contrast between ancient pagan magic and modern technology would be more heavily emphasised. It's still present in the original movie in the form of the TV signal used to trigger the Silver Shamrock masks, but if they made it now the signal would likely be distributed via the internet and/or mobile phones.

There's one particular extra that always distracts me during the scene where Challis is phoning his wife after the murder at the hospital. It's the fireman on the left.


I don't know why, but the last few times I've watched the film I always find my attention drawn to this character more than to Challis. Maybe it's the way he's standing there listening in on Challis's conversation, but there's something off about him.

I'm curious about the weird cartoon showing on the TV in the bar. Turns out it's a 3-minute film called The Cigarette and the Weed (1981). It was written and directed by Ralph Bakshi, who also directed the 1978 The Lord of the Rings movie. It doesn't seem to have ever been released commercially and the only footage available online is the brief clip seen in Season of the Witch.

Quote from: Silver Nemesis on Fri,  6 Oct  2023, 13:45It's my favourite Joel Schumacher movie, and I rank it alongside Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark as the greatest modern day vampire film. I love both of those movies. Interestingly, they both came out in 1987, both have terrific soundtracks, and both feature sons of Exorcist star Jason Miller in prominent roles: Jason Patric in The Lost Boys and Joshua John Miller in Near Dark.


That family has some impressive horror movie credentials.

I never noticed this before, but Joshua John Miller is also in Season of the Witch. I can't say I recognised him, as he looks younger here, but I spotted his name on the credits. He plays Challis's son.


So that's another classic horror movie to add to the Miller family's filmography. Miller's dad in SOTW is played by Tom Atkins, who two years earlier had appeared alongside his real life father, Jason Miller, in William Peter Blatty's The Ninth Configuration (1980).

I can't help wondering what the Halloween franchise might've been like if Season of the Witch had been a hit and they'd continued with the anthology concept. Would Halloween IV have been a sequel to Season of the Witch, or would they have come up with a completely new concept? I still think the idea of a Halloween-themed movie coming out every year, or every other year, all under the same banner but each with its own unique plot, has potential.

I'm sure someone somewhere must have sold licensed Silver Shamrock masks, because if they haven't it's a missed merchandising opportunity. The scariest mask by far though is the one shown in the poster, which doesn't actually appear in the finished film. I don't know if it's supposed to represent the spirit of Halloween, a Celtic demon or the true form of Conal Cochran, but the image of it leering predatorily down over the children from the orange and black sky is very disturbing.


On a similar note, for me the most disconcerting shot in the entire film is this one.


The ominous orange sky giving way to an expanse of darkness that portends the evil to come. Chilling stuff.

Season of the Witch is definitely a flawed film. The script, despite some quotable lines, isn't great, and I can understand why Kneale had his name removed from the credits. There are a lot of things in the plot that don't make sense when you stop and question them. However, I score it high for ambience and creativity, and the soundtrack is terrific. It's an underrated seasonal classic.

Quote from: Silver Nemesis on Sun, 29 Oct  2023, 19:02I can't help wondering what the Halloween franchise might've been like if Season of the Witch had been a hit and they'd continued with the anthology concept. Would Halloween IV have been a sequel to Season of the Witch, or would they have come up with a completely new concept? I still think the idea of a Halloween-themed movie coming out every year, or every other year, all under the same banner but each with its own unique plot, has potential.
I'd like to think Halloween IV would've been something completely new. In light of the Satanic panic of the Eighties, I'll suggest that Carpenter's own Prince Of Darkness could've been originally intended for some future Halloween franchise entry. That might be totally wrong tho.

Some sort of alien invasion taking place on Halloween night might've been interesting too. Between stuff like Close Encounters, ET, Starman and probably other stuff I'm forgetting, I think an alien-related Halloween film was probably inevitable.

Quote from: Silver Nemesis on Sun, 29 Oct  2023, 19:02The scariest mask by far though is the one shown in the poster, which doesn't actually appear in the finished film. I don't know if it's supposed to represent the spirit of Halloween, a Celtic demon or the true form of Conal Cochran, but the image of it leering predatorily down over the child from the orange and black sky is very disturbing.
Indeed. It's one of my favorite horror posters of all time. People can say whatever they want about the quality of the movie itself. But at the very least, we should all agree that the poster is awesome.

Quote from: Silver Nemesis on Sun, 29 Oct  2023, 19:02Season of the Witch is definitely a flawed film. The script, despite some quotable lines, isn't great, and I can understand why Kneale had his name removed from the credits. There are a lot of things in the plot that don't make sense when you stop and question them. However, I score it high for ambience and creativity, and the soundtrack is terrific. It's an underrated seasonal classic.
It's been reappraised in recent times. These days, the general consensus seems to be that if one just gets over the fact that there's no Michael Myers in this film, SOTW is a pretty solid and enjoyable little horror film. It gets pretty bonkers at times and the synth score can't be beat.

Quote from: thecolorsblend on Sun, 29 Oct  2023, 21:43I'd like to think Halloween IV would've been something completely new. In light of the Satanic panic of the Eighties, I'll suggest that Carpenter's own Prince Of Darkness could've been originally intended for some future Halloween franchise entry. That might be totally wrong tho.

Some sort of alien invasion taking place on Halloween night might've been interesting too. Between stuff like Close Encounters, ET, Starman and probably other stuff I'm forgetting, I think an alien-related Halloween film was probably inevitable.

I'm sure you're right about the sci-fi angle creeping into future entries. Carpenter had already dabbled in sci-fi horror with The Thing – which I consider to be his magnum opus – and he made quite a few sci-fi films after SOTW. He referenced two scary sci-fi movies in the original Halloween in the form of the films the kids were watching: The Thing from Another World (1951) and Forbidden Planet (1956). The first two Halloweens were psycho killer slasher movies, and the third a supernatural witchcraft movie, so it would've made sense to go in a sci-fi or cosmic horror direction with the fourth. That would've kept things fresh.

And I agree that Prince of Darkness is the post-SOTW Carpenter film that would've fit best with the Halloween franchise. SOTW and POD are the two Carpenter movies most heavily influenced by Nigel Kneale's writing. POD borrows heavily from Quatermass and the Pit and The Stone Tape (1972), and Carpenter even used the pseudonym 'Martin Quatermass' for his writing credit (Kneale was reportedly not amused by that). I doubt Kneale would've collaborated with Carpenter again, given his dissatisfaction with SOTW, but I can imagine Carpenter producing a Kneale-esque concept for Halloween IV. Something involving otherworldly horror. Perhaps an alien menace that's laid dormant for centuries before being unearthed on Halloween night, or else a straightforward alien invasion movie taking place in a small town on October 31st.

Maybe In the Mouth of Madness (1994) could've been adapted for the Halloween franchise as well. That was Carpenter's most Lovecraftian movie and it contains shades of SOTW: following a mysterious death, a man and woman journey to a small town to investigate a wealthy recluse who is secretly plotting to use an entertainment medium (TV/novels) to plunge the world into chaos. Have the story take place in late October and bingo, you've got a Halloween movie.

I suppose the Cult of the Thorn plot in Halloween VI is the closest the franchise came to venturing beyond the usual Michael Myers formula after SOTW. But even then, Myers took centre stage. I don't know if the Cult of the Thorn would have been a strong enough concept on its own to carry a movie without Myers. They might've come across as a less interesting version of Conal Cochran. One of his lines in SOTW foreshadows the cult's astrological fixation:

Quote'In the end, we don't decide these things, you know; the planets do. They're in alignment, and it's time again.'

An extraterrestrial/cosmic threat would've been more interesting.

While we're on the subject, could The Fog (1980) have been adapted for the Halloween franchise? That's one of my favourite Carpenter movies (largely owing to it being coastal/oceanic horror), and I wouldn't really want to change it. But hypothetically, what if The Fog was Halloween II? What if instead of April 21st the town of Antonio Bay celebrated its centennial on Halloween? The streets could've been festooned with Halloween decorations, and the strange occurrences that happen on the preceding night could've been attributed to Mischief Night/Devil's Night shenanigans. The ghosts knocking on the doors of their victims' houses could've been mistaken for trick-or-treaters.

Now I'm imagining an alternate universe where the Halloween franchise looks like this:

•   Halloween (1978)
•   Halloween II: The Fog (1980)
•   Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
•   Halloween IV: Prince of Darkness (1987)
•   Halloween V: In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
•   Halloween VI: H20/The Return of Michael Myers (1998)

Quote from: Silver Nemesis on Tue, 31 Oct  2023, 12:29Now I'm imagining an alternate universe where the Halloween franchise looks like this:

•    Halloween (1978)
•    Halloween II: The Fog (1980)
•    Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
•    Halloween IV: Prince of Darkness (1987)
•    Halloween V: In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
•    Halloween VI: H20/The Return of Michael Myers (1998)

Interesting "what if" scenario. Although, with "Halloween VI: H20/The Return of Michael Myers (1998)", I think the film/script would have had to been revised a bit if Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie Strode was going to remain the same. Looking back at H20, and the recent Blumhouse Trilogy, I kinda prefer the H20 route with her character and PTSD over the 2018 version, BUT mainly because I can envision that type of PTSD given the events of "Halloween II" remaining in the overall narrative. I just find it more believable, personally. With "Haloween 2018", I consider that David Gordon Green's way of not wanting to do a repeat of what we saw with Laurie's PTSD in H20, and going with a more Sarah Conner approach. Since Jamie Lee was being brought back once again, and to which is understandable for a story and marketing perspective.

A timeline where "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" simply doesn't exist isn't something I would really want to jump into, however it is interesting to think of what impact Myers would have had in 1998, with only his second-ever outing in the Halloween Franchise, right smack dab in the Kevin Williamson horror renaissance of the late 1990's.

Considering both Freddy and Jason were on a extended hiatus at that point in time in the '90's, Would Myers have had more impact making a return in 1998, rather than 1988? What would the perception of Myers truly been like had he been essentially regulated as a one-and-done character 20 years prior?

It's an interesting scenario...


"Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."


Danielle had her very own reunion at the recent H45 convention.



"Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."