From the stars of cult hit Mystery Science Theater 3000 comes RiffTrax, audio commentaries you can play along with your favorite, or least favorite, blockbuster and B-grade films. As RiffTrax claims: “We don’t make movies, we make movies funny.” In this weekly series, we will be reviewing their Geek Speak-friendly offerings, in order of publication. This time:

halloweenHalloween (1978)
Riffed by: Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy
Release Date: October 19, 2006

FROM RIFFTRAX.COM

The most shocking Halloween-related thing ever – with the possible exception of the joke about Mrs. Ghost not being able to get pregnant because Mr. Ghost had a hollow weenie. But in a respectable 2nd place, anyway, is Halloween, the horrifying tale of an evil madman named Mike Myers (as if his Simon character wasn’t chilling enough) who terrorizes a babysitter by putting on a jumpsuit and hiding in the hedge. (A technique now widely used by custodians the world over.)

Featuring the blood curdling theme song by director John Carpenter in which he hits a G on a piano key 900 times, then a C about 738 times and then hammers on the G for a time before hitting a G# and then starting the process over again and repeating it several hundred thousand times.

THE RIFF

John Carpenter’s classic indie slasher horror flick is given an enjoyable ribbing by Mike and Kevin as they grow impatient with the over-long scenes, repetitive score and lack of actual horror for at least two thirds of the movie. If you’ve ever wondered what the fuss was all about but were too chiclen to watch, this is the way to do it.

HIGHLIGHTS

[Hospital-gowned catatonics wander in a field]
RIFF: [yelling] We’re more tender and juicy than farm-raised mental patients!

[Tommy is roughhoused into squashing his pumpkin]
RIFF: And so a young Billy Corgan is pushed inextricably into a life of music.
— Hilarious because Billy Corgan is the lead singer of Smashing Pumpkins, of course!

[Billboard]
RIFF: Hey, I’m gonna get me some tickets for high school!

tickets

[It goes from daylight to pitch dark outside, in the course of a short drive]
RIFF: [as announcer] Introducing new Instant Night, when you need your night right now. Instant Night and Instant Day, sold separately.

[Laurie has a poster of an early Impressionist on her wall]
RIFF: Wonder how much James Ensor paid for this product placement?

james-ensor

ANNIE: Come on!
RIFF: I hear there’s a Nightmare over on Elm Street! A Ring of Devil’s Rejects have been holding a Grudge since Friday the 13th and they seem to Know What You, and others, Did Last Summer.

[Laurie staggers away, having stabbed Michael Myers]
RIFF: [as Laurie] There, every possible reason for me ever to need a knife again has been eliminated. The best course of action now is for me to leave it within the reach of the indisputably dead killer.

RUNNING GAGS

Donald Pleasence/pleasant/unpleasant
The 70s.
The two-note music.
The long, long scenes.
There’s not enough slashing in this slasher movie.
Quite a lot of Shakespeare.

ENOUGH ALREADY!

Okay, it’s the 70s!
Poor Illinois.

SCATALOGICAL INDEX

Very low, actually.

GROANS

[Laurie is doubled over as she runs from a killer in fear]
RIFF: What a time to be cramping and bloating!

Not. Okay.

OBSCURE REFERENCES

truckster[A station wagon screeches around the corner]
RIFF: Oh no, Rusty’s driving the Truckster now!

The Truckster is the name given to the station wagon driven by the Griswold family in National Lampoon’s Vacation. Rusty is the scapegrace teenage son. (Fun Trivia: Rusty has variously been played by Ed Helms, Johnny Galecki, Anthony Michael Hall and Ethan Embry.)

hotelcalifornia[Laurie holds a knife after stabbing Michael Myers with a knitting needle]
RIFF: Well, she stabbed it with her steely knife, but she just can’t kill the beast.

“They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast” is a line from The Eagles’ 1976 smash “Hotel California.”

mommiedearest[Michael Myers attacks Laurie in a closet]
RIFF: I said no wire hangers!

In her 1978 autobiography Mommie Dearest, Christina Crawford details abuse from her adopted mother, actress Joan Crawford. The book was adapted into a film in 1981.

frankbooth[Heavy breathing is heard as Michael Myers apparently gets away, breathing heavily]
RIFF: And we run into Frank Booth on his way up the stairs.

Frank Booth, played by Dennis Hopper, is a psychopathic gangster dependant on an oxygen mask in David Lynch’s 1986 thriller Blue Velvet.

OBLIGATORY STAR TREK AND/OR WARS REFERENCES

Darth Vader was a must, considering all the heavy stalker breathing.

RIFFTRAX IN-JOKES

This is more an MST3K one – Donald Pleasence appeared in two movies covered by the gang, hence “we meet again.”

VERDICT

A solid B effort. Maybe even a B+, if this commentary gets your scaredy-cat self through this slow but withal creepy movie with no consequence more dire than a few jump scares.

PURCHASE INFORMATION

Audio Download

NOTES

Mike was fourteen in 1978. Just FYI.

About the author

RACHEL HYLAND

Rachel Hyland is Editor-in-Chief of Geek Speak Magazine and, she is pretty sure, the one true queen of Fantastica, raised in obscurity to protect her from the dark lord Sinisterium. If you see her magic sword, get in touch via twitter: @rachyland or Instagram: @rachelseesdeadpeople. The fate of the many worlds may just depend upon it.