Tag Archives: Behind the Scenes

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch Is The Imperfectly Perfect Halloween Film

If you would have told me ten years ago I’d be writing these following words, I would absolutely say you were out of your fucking mind. HALLOWEEN III: THE SEASON OF THE WITCH is finally recognized by most fans as a worthy entry in the beloved horror franchise; and honestly I couldn’t be more pleased that SOB Colonel Cochran is part of the inclusive horror legends club.

Now, John Carpenter’s Halloween and it’s sequels, particularly 2 and 4, are of course amazing and essential Halloween viewing. However, Season of the Witch is an entirely different bag of dicks in the franchise as we all know and although the fans have been much kinder to the red-headed stepchild of the series in recent years, the hatred still exists for those unwilling to accept a non-Michael Myers Halloween movie.

To that, I just have this to say…

Which brings me to a very good point that we can only watch Myers gut up teenagers so many times before our brain sensors tell us enough; we want something else. Which is precisely what John Carpenter had in mind when studios were pushing for another Halloween film from the director after burning Michael alive in Halloween II. The Shape was dead and Carpenter grew tired of the story- hence Season of the Witch came to be with the idea of a Halloween horror anthology series focusing on different and terrifying urban legends and folklore surrounding the holiday. The main idea of the film would be “witchcraft meets the computer age.” They brought in Joe Dante ( Gremlins) to direct, and hired the remarkable Nigel Kneale (the Quatermass films) to pen the script, which focused on modern-day Druids practicing Halloween in the old-fashioned way. Oh and well, with a couple of androids thrown in. After all, the early to mid-eighties movies focused a LOT on technologic advances; peering into the future with slave robots and such.

Now get Pauley that beer SICO.

Dante dropped out of the project when Steven Spielberg and John Landis offered him a chance to participate in Twilight Zone: The Movie. Even though Halloween III was a box-office bomb, I’d much rather be associated with Season of the Witch than a movie that contributed to the death of three people. Anyways, in stepped in Tommy Lee Wallace to direct who also helped Carpenter coin that Silver Shamrock jingle that is forever imbedded into our brains as some sort of fucked up version of “London Bridge Is Falling Down”; which is exactly what the tune was modeled after.

Halloween III may be the most “halloweeniest” of all the movies in the franchise- yeah, I just made that word up for all intents and purposes. It takes every aspect of the beloved holiday and throws it all together in this film like a delightful bowl of Halloween candy varieties. When you think of Halloween, you think costumes, children, trick or treating- and this installment has it all and then some. Along with aheavy dose of old-world style witchcraft. For the longest time, society has paired witches and Halloween together in an unholy matrimony. It’s sort of problematic to practicing witches, as they are who they are all year round, and they are certainly not evil, but that’s an argument for another day. It’s never been a deal breaker for me so let’s move on.

While, other films in the franchise may have scenes involving Trick or Treating that set the nostalgic Halloween mood, Halloween III focuses on the premise of DEATH by trick or treating and their beloved masks. That’s pretty fucked up and to boot, the film had the balls to kill a kid very brutally in front of us. It was trailblazing at its finest.

As for atmospheric settings, one could never forget the montage near the end with that Silver Shamrock jingle going off in the background like some sort of death march for the children decked out in their Silver Shamrock masks rushing through a night of candy- collecting all in an effort to get home in time for “the big giveaway”. Beyond the opening credits and nighttime neighborhood scenes in Halloween 4, this movie gives off the some of the most Spidey-senses worthy moments of the holiday ever captured in these films. My favorite moment, and maybe the most iconic, is the group of children trekking across a dark landscape, silhouetted against a pumpkin-orange sky. Few images in the Halloween series better sum up the spirit of Halloween night as much as this one moment right here.

It’s a true aesthetic pleasure to say the very least.

Then, there’s Conal Cochran: the most underrated horror villain of Halloween… EVER.

I don’t use the word “underrated” lightly, however, I feel it’s quite appropriate here. Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), the proprietor of Silver Shamrock Novelties and sworn allegiance to the dark arts of Witchcraft make him for a dangerous enemy to have indeed; especially if you’re a kid. Cochran, presumably has way more kills under his belt than not only his film predecessor Myers, but the holy trinity of slashers themselves – Freddy, Jason, and Michael. And think about this: The ending is open-ended and leaves us to speculate whether the final commercial ran its full course. If it did, then Cochran would have succeeded in committing mass genocide of children across the United States.

What a dick, eh? Cochran, who uses his success of his company to coordinate the largest Samhain sacrifice to appease the Celtic Gods on the glorious night of Halloween, is as evil and terrifying as they come. As if his ominous stare downs weren’t creepy enough, his monologue alone is chilling to the bone (the thrill and absolute madness in his voice sells it completely). Cochran is hardcore. But as tough as he was, he was no match for Tom Atkins: The Man, The Myth, The Mustache. If anyone can save the world from a Pagan madman, beer guzzling- womanizing Dr. Challis was gonna be that guy.

While the movie has gained moderate success over the past few years, maybe the key factor in acceptance of the bastard installment is our own maturity and longing for the nostalgia aspect of what Halloween once represented. As children, we hated it. As adults, we embraced it as the perfectly imperfect Halloween film it is. What a grand joke on the children, eh?

[Video] RARE Home Videos From The Set Of A “Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”

The great thing about the A Nightmare On Elm Street franchise is that everyone has a favorite installment; and I think it’s fair to say that while Dream Master is considered an off-beaten track sequel to the three that came before it, it doesn’t exclude the immense popularity this film has with fans. Especially since this chapter in particular blasted Freddy in pop-culture superstardom- and now thanks to Bill Forsche, celebrated special effects guru who worked on the film, we get a rare look at some never-before-seen, behind the scenes home video movies on the set of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master!

 Released on August 19, 1988, Nightmare 4 grossed $49.4 million at the domestic box office on a budget of $6.5 million, which made it the highest-grossing film in the franchise in the United States. At least that is until Freddy VS Jason surpassed that mark in 2003. While it would be another year until I myself, first got to see Freddy on the big-screen in the form of The Dream Child, I was already a Freddy Fanatic thanks to the mass marketing campaign Dream Master deployed onto the masses via horror hotlines, toys, lunchboxes, and even a huge MTV special hour presentation dedicated to the Springwood Slasher himself! Not to mention several more music videos made for promotion with the movie played in rotation from the once music-only station. Shortly to follow Dream Master‘s release, the basic cable show of Freddy’s Nightmares took off on the the small screen in a weekly syndicated show giving kids a dose of Krueger without having to go to the theater for it.

What a time to be alive where child serial killers were celebrated with such admiration!

Behind the massive success of Nightmare 4, lies within some of THEE coolest special effects of the franchise alone- including Freddy’s demise at the end thanks to Dream Master Alice. Beyond notable names like Bill Forsche, Kevin Yagher , Screaming Mad George, and John Carl Buechler were a massive team of make-up and effects artists to pull of this innovative spectacle that truly was Dream Master and a big reason why it did so well in theaters. One of my favorites, and I think many others’ as well, being the soul ripping chest from Freddy’s final fight scene where a giant version of Freddy’s chest was made for the shot. Of course, this thing was a pain in the ass for the crew as it was so unsteady and massive, that it was difficult to mount properly and actually fell over during one of their takes. A woman named Michiko supporting the prop from the rafters of the set, came tumbling down when the mighty chest fell over.

But hey, at least we got to see a cameo of Linnea Quigley ripping through the prop, in all her big busted glory. We salute you guys.

Via Bill Forsche’s personal YouTube channel, the special effects master has uploaded some home video shots of behind the scenes action of not only the fore mentioned Freddy’s chest scene, but also some segments of Freddy AND his stunt-double in the make-up chair conversing back and forth before shoots. Also included is Freddy’s scene on the Dream Beach where it is suggested he take on a “Coppertone commercial” for his next project (HEH).

“Very rare and raw footage from the set of “A Nightmare on Elm Street IV: The Dream Master” (1988). The short has some very interesting behind the scenes material, including the makeup trailer where Bill Foertsch aka Forsche work on the makeup for Freddy’s stunt double, while other effects artists goofing around on the set and other events. This short documentary is from Bill Forsche aka Foertsch personal home collection and was made during his employment as special effects technician at Steve Johnson’s XFX, Inc., the company responsible for the most spectacular demise of Freddy that was ever done in the series.”

Pick up the Nightmare collection here!

Creature Features: The Beautiful Practical Effects of 1988’s “The Blob”

Nightmare Nostalgia Presents Creature Features: An ongoing tip of the hat to some of horror’s greatest monsters throughout the genre that don’t seem to get the recognition they wholeheartedly deserve.

I don’t care how stubborn, or pompous this may sound: Computer generate all the damn monsters you want with the world’s greatest CGI program and programmer running it. It still won’t look better than practical effects and I certainly can’t appreciate it as much. The perfect example of such splendid monster-movie-magic is of course, Chuck Russell’s vision of the 1950’s Sci-Fi B movie, The Blob jello-molding it’s way into 1988.

 Creature Features: The Beautiful Practical Effects of 1988's "The Blob"

Thinking back to my childhood years, I clearly remember my first interaction with this glorious film, that at the time, I had no idea was a remake. In a pre-internet era and films relying on physical media such as TV spots and the good old-fashioned newspaper to get the word out. The one other way to draw unsuspecting fans into a film post-theater release, was the almighty VHS box art that would stare at you from the lined-shelves of the horror section like a haunted painting. This film, like many others of that time, sold itself to a tiny Patti with the cover-art alone that both intrigued and terrified me as a child. The simple showcase of what I later learned to be Paul’s fate displayed on the front of the rental, initially scared the shit out of seven-year-old me. I’m not entirely sure why, as growing up in a horror-loving-household watching Halloween at the tender age of two, this piece of art gave me the skeevies. I can distinctly remember only a few VHS horror art covers having that sort of effect on me. For almost 2 years, that pink, gooey man screaming at me through the art cover taunted me every time the parental units and I made a family trip to our local Action Video for the weekend rentals. And it wasn’t until I was allowed to ride my bike across the busy street by my damn self I was cut loose to roam the horror shelves of that mom and pop video store and rent freely on my own. Whatever I wanted. So of course, I gravitated to that jerkoff blobby Paul who has been tormenting the hell out of me. I had to see what this was about just based on this one picture alone. And now, 30 years later, it has become one of my all-time favorites.

Creature Features: The Beautiful Practical Effects of 1988's "The Blob"

 

Which brings me to the point here: That one image from the film doused in practical effects reeled me in and like many films before this gem in the ’80s, was balls-deep with beautifully done man-made monster magic. From Paul’s tragic demise to Vicki being eaten from the inside-out, The Blob is filled to the brim with dazzling and believable imagery that STILL looks better than a lot of modern day effects. The team responsible for igniting a fear of jello-molds everywhere was that of Tony Gardner, Chet Zar, and Bill Sturgeon of Alterian Studios. Who have since released some REALLY FUCKIN’ COOL behind the scenes stills on making that “extraterrestrial” man-eating glob that every fan of the film should take a gander at.

blob 2

 

blob 3

 

blob 4

 

blob 5

 

blob 6

 

blob 8

 

blob 9

 

blob 10

 

LONG LIVE PRACTICAL EFFECTS.