In The Desert Of Seth

By G. B. Marian

The 31 Days of Halloween III – Day #3: Where’s Michael?

You’re probably wondering why Halloween III has nothing to do with any of the other Halloween films. This is because John Carpenter, the creator of the franchise, was really tired of the Michael Myers storyline. He never intended to make any sequels to the first film at all, and he only co-produced Halloween II (1981) to avoid being dragged into a nasty legal dispute. (Apparently Carpenter had verbally agreed to do the second film and then forgot about it while he was making 1980’s The Fog; one of the other producers then threatened to sue.) If you’ve ever seen Halloween II, you’ll know that it’s pretty lousy in comparison to the first. While it did incredibly well at the box office (hence why there are now 10 movies in this franchise to date), Carpenter couldn’t think of anything exciting or new to do with the story or its characters. So he settled on telling the exact same story all over again (and to make matters worse, he did it half-assed).

He’s a Carpenter, his initials are “J.C.,” and he looks undead. Coincidence?

Mind you, I don’t actually blame Carpenter himself for the fact that Halloween II stinks; I think the project was doomed from the start. Consider that old campfire tale, “The Tale of the Hook,” in which the girl and her boyfriend hear a bulletin on the car radio about an escaped mental patient with a hook on one hand. They suddenly hear a scraping sound coming from outside, and the girl demands to be taken home. The boy concedes to her wish; but when he pulls into her driveway and goes to open her door for her, the boy finds a hook hanging on the car door handle. And that’s the end of the story.

Creepy, huh?

It’s like a joke with a setup (i.e., the radio bulletin, the scraping noise, etc.) and a punchline (i.e., the hook on the door). But imagine that some asshole tried to tell you what happens after the boy finds the hook on the door. Nothing that guy comes up with will ever match the initial “punchline”; in fact, the “punchline” works much better if you don’t know what happens next. Well, the original Halloween works in much the same way that “The Tale of the Hook” does, especially when it comes to its ending. So no matter what Carpenter did, Halloween II never had a snowball’s chance in hell of filling its predecessor’s shoes. Granted, it probably would have helped if Carpenter had actually wanted to make a sequel in the first place (as later filmmakers would prove with such superior offerings as 1988’s Halloween 4), but my point still stands.

(Mind you, I don’t think Halloween II is a completely “bad” film. It features some top-notch performances from its cast, and it does have a few ingenious moments. I enjoy watching it, too; it’s just that it’s very repetitive and uneven compared to its older and more sufficiently developed sibling.)

But despite its flaws, Halloween II made so much money at the box office that Carpenter’s fellow producers became greedy for another sequel. And that’s when Carpenter decided to get all experimental on our asses. The new film would take the Halloween franchise into Twilight Zone territory by introducing a completely new Halloween-themed story, and later sequels would follow its lead in this regard. I mean, think about it; there are so many different things that are associated with Halloween the holiday. Druids, fairies, ghosts, witches; why on Earth should a franchise called Halloween be limited to just an escaped mental patient? I would love to visit an alternate universe in which this new anthology angle actually took off; I often wonder what Halloween 4, 5 and 6 might have been like if they hadn’t decided to resurrect the Myers character instead.

“Halloween” means more than just Michael Myers.

“Twenty-eight more days ‘till Halloween,
Halloween, Halloween,
Twenty-eight more days ‘till Halloween,
Silver Shamrock!”


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