Horror fans in the Bradenton, Florida area must’ve been thrilled when this double feature was released in 1971. Now showing at the Bradenton Village Theatre is Beast of the Yellow Night and Creature with the Blue Hand.
The main attraction was new for ’71 and was produced in the Philippines. Notably it was distributed by New World Pictures, started the year prior by Roger Corman. Creature with the Blue Hand, meanwhile, was originally released in West Germany in 1967 and was based on the 1925 novel The Blue Hand by Edgar Wallace. New World acquired the rights in 1971.
To be honest, I couldn’t even tell you of these classic 1950s horror movies are any good. But I can say with certainty that their posters are. So to celebrate beautiful design, and one of the golden ages of American horror cinema, here is a gallery of 13 classic horror movie posters from the 1950s. Gaze upon them if you dare…
When Halloween III: Season of the Witch was released in October 1982, fans of the horror series were no doubt surprised at the total lack of Michael Myers. That and anything resembling a good story. But all you needed to do was look at any of these lobby cards for the film to know that this would be very much unlike the first two Halloween flicks.
Turns out that masks, old men, and dudes in business suits aren’t the crucial ingredients for a classic horror movie. Who knew? Still, that Silver Shamrock tune is so very catchy.
To understand just how large a failure Halloween III: Season of the Witch was, first consider the premise. An evil scientist/company owner seeks to use a vaguely mystical and ancient pagan technology to kill millions of children wearing Halloween masks. Now say that out loud. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? And yet this was the story that John Carpenter and Debra Hill ostensibly signed off on for the third installment in Carpenter’s legendary Halloween horror series.
Look, bonus points to Carpenter and Hill for boldly moving away from what was already becoming a tired genre — the slasher film. It’s hard to imagine now, but their 1978 original was just that — original. And the sequel, while not nearly as groundbreaking, was almost as good. But by 1982 it was already clear that Hollywood studios smelled blood in the water and so a glut of Halloween copycats were released — some good, most of the atrocious. The heyday of the modern horror/slasher was underway.
But while I give Carpenter and Hill all the credit in the world for not bring Michael Myers back from the dead, that’s all I can give credit for. Because while the idea had a little potential, the entire thing was an exercise in bad judgment. Halloween III is nothing more than prime Mystery Science Theater 3000/Rifftrax material, and no amount of revisionist cult love can change that.
On just about every front the movie fails. The direction and acting is stale, bordering on amateur. Tom Atkins, a Carpenter mainstay in the early ’80s, is stiff and almost laughable as the protagonist, Dr. Dan Challis. Stacey Nelkin, who plays his awkwardly placed love interest/partner in investigation Ellie Grimbridge, is little more than a pretty face and body. It’s like the worst buddy cop comedy ever, shoehorned into a mediocre science fiction/horror movie.
To be fair, there are elements of Halloween III that work. Some of the film’s early death sequences are workmanlike but effective, and those masks are actually quite cool. But those elements are simply buried under piles of bad direction, clumsy screenwriting, and about a thousand lame horror clichés. And don’t give me any jazz about how the movies is really a subtle dig at American consumerism and herd mentality. That’s revisionist apologism, nothing more.
The best thing about this whole awful movie.
And let’s not even get into the giant plot holes. Such as — how was Conal Cochran’s (Dan O’Herlihy) evil plan to inflict bug-infested death through Silver Shamrock commercials supposed to work, when the climax was supposed to take place at 9pm on Halloween night? Had he not heard of time zones? What East Coast kid would be up on midnight for a silly TV giveaway? Did he not expect any reprisals to take place once everyone put 2 and 2 together regarding millions of dead kids wearing masks from the same company? How exactly was he able to keep the entire town of Santa Mira under his thumb?
And don’t even get me started on what was almost a really neat horror scene, when the fat salesman’s kid bites it with his jack o’lantern mask. A poisonous snake just happens to come out of his head and kill the father? Ugh. Oh, and I also can’t forget the completely inappropriate and unrealistic “romance” between Dr. Challis and Ellie. Oh, my father just died and I suspect he was murdered in a very mysterious and nefarious way. Let’s make love even though we just met, we’re in a creepy town, and, oh yeah, you’re at least twice my age.
After not having seen Halloween III for many years, I really wanted to like it. I wanted it to be better than its reputation. But it’s simply not. I can’t help but wonder how much better Season of the Witch could have been had Carpenter directed it. Maybe he could have saved it from becoming B-movie schlock. Maybe not. But man, just about anything else would’ve been better than this stinker. Where’s my Silver Shamrock mask? I’d rather put one on and become bug food than go through this again.
Oh, and just because I’m cruel, watch this and try to get it out of your head before Christmas. Mwahahaha!
Fans of the horror classic Halloween have noted quite a few inconsistencies over the years. Like, why are the trees full of green leaves in Illinois during late October? Why do all the cars have California plates? And most importantly, how the hell did Michael Myers learn to drive a car when he’s been locked inside Smith’s Grove Sanitarium since he was 6 years old?
Well thanks to Adam Green of ArieScope Pictures, now we know. Turns out there’s a deleted scene that explains the whole thing. Check it out:
Nice. Oh and how cool is it that Michael is played by Kane Hodder, who also played Jason Voorhees in four Friday the 13th films? Very cool indeed.
I stumbled across this crazy-ass science fiction film while I was researching wire photos for my Facebook page. It’s called Wild, Wild Planet and it looks absolutely terrible in the best way possible.
The movie was released in Italy 1965 (where it was called I Criminali della Galassia) but has a definite ’50s vibe about it. The trailer bills it as the first space horror movie, which is something to hang your hat on I guess. I have no idea what the hell is going on here, and I suspect that watching the full movie would be even more confusing. There’s some people with four arms, and then there’s some really strong women who can kick ass.
There’s also an attempt to merge a man and a woman into something called a “bi sapien,” which is a dumb name because that translates roughly to “two knowing,” not “two humans” as I’m sure they thought it meant.
This piece originally ran in October 2008. I’ve republished it because, really, this should run annually. But to show I’m not just being lazy, I’ve added posters from Denmark and Italy below!
October 25 marks a momentous day in horror history — the 30th anniversary of the release of John Carpenter’s slasher classic Halloween. While it certainly wasn’t the first horror film on the block, it is one of the best and most influential. I and many other fans of classic horror consider it to be part of the holy trinity of the genre, alongside Friday the 13th (1980) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).
In retrospect, it seems like such a simple concept that it’s hard to believe it hadn’t been fully explored before. A psychopath is on the loose in the streets of a quiet, suburban town (Haddonfield, Illinois) and strikes during the most sinister day of the year… Tax Day! No, actually it’s Halloween.
Director and co-writer Carpenter took a $325,000 budget and spun a cinematic tale that relied as much on an atmosphere of dread and anticipation as on outright violence (and even that violence is tame compared to today’s standards). Contributing to this atmosphere was Carpenter’s iconic score, played pretty much entirely on piano and synthesizer.
After a slow start at the box office, Halloween picked up steam and eventually grossed about $55 million worldwide, catapulting Carpenter and star Jamie Lee Curtis into the big time. The film and its numerous sequels also gave the inimitable Donald Pleasence steady work for the ensuing 15 or 16 years until his death. The original film was re-imagined by Rob Zombie in 2007, but I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about the marketing campaign for the ’78 classic.
Those familiar with the movie probably recognize this image — it’s the main promotional poster used in the U.S., and was designed by Bob Gleason (who went on to create the artwork for Halloween II and III.)
Pretty effective if you ask me, even with the rather prominent veins on the back of the hand. Is that some kind of common trait with serial killers?
Seriously, leave it to our Teutonic friends to take a scary concept and make it even weirder. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be a jack o’ lantern or that weird mask thing from Super Mario Bros. 3. Anyway, the subtitles translate to “The Night of Horrors” and “The night he came home.” The knife is downsized from the American version and looks more like a switchblade here.
Here’s the French poster, in case you couldn’t tell. Pretty much a straight lift from the American, other than the translation of the title to La Nuit des Masques, or The Night of Masks. Ooh la la!
The Belgian poster is pretty much the same as the French one with the addition of the subtitle, which translates roughly as “The Night of the Creeps.”
Forget what I said about that West German poster — the Japanese trump them for sheer weirdness. Witness Michael Myers, who appears to have traded in his trademark William Shatner mask for a Dr. Zaius model. Or maybe it’s supposed to be a simian Mr. Roboto motif.
Boy, the Swedes don’t mess around to they? Instead of going the typical horror movie poster route of showing a frightened teen, they slap on a picture of Lynda (P.J. Soles) post-murder. And we get the return of the super vein-bulge hand from the American poster.
“‘Cause he’s once…twice…three times a killer… “
Ah, the good old cut ‘n’ paste technique finally makes an appearance, courtesy of this Spanish-language poster for La Noche de Halloween (The Night of Halloween). Jamie Lee Curtis is understandably mortified at the clumsiness of this design.
This British/Australian entry takes the lazy way out and simply uses a frame from the movie. But they do add an original touch with the “The trick is to stay alive” and “Everyone is entitled to one good scare” taglines. Struth!
I’m pretty certain this one is also British/Australian, as it has the same tagline as the previous poster. Then again it does share a font with the Spanish-language one above, so it’s not entirely clear. Again, we get a scene from the movie, but taken out of context it looks for all the world like Michael Myers has the ability to project some sort of killer light beam from his hands.
And here we have another take on the killer light beam motif. This one seems a little more artful than the Australian take above, although it leaves you with even less of an idea of what the film’s about. I do like that jagged film title font.
I like this one. It has a decidedly ’70s feel, in terms of the quality of the illustration. Really makes Halloween seem more tied to that decade than we think of it now.
Nothing special here, but it’s accurate at least.
Anyway, for the last entry let’s enter the realm of moving pictures and check out the original 1978 movie trailer (or at least until the YouTube Censorship Squad kills the link):
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