Saturday, May 31, 2014

Midnight Cinephile's Favorite Scenes: Episode II - Halloween III

Welcome back for another episode of Midnight Cinephile's Favorite Scenes!  This time around I'm taking at a scene from Halloween III:  Season of the Witch.  There are many terrific scenes in the film so it may surprise you to learn what scene I am going to be looking at today.  Let's jump right in, shall we?

Halloween III:  Season of the Witch
The Gas Station Scene

That's right, tonight we're going to take a look at one of the film's opening scenes that (I think) really helps to set the tone of the film, as well as giving us some subtle foreshadowing that essentially tells us what's going to happen in the film.  Now of course I realize that some of you may not have seen this film yet so there shall be no spoilers ahead, fear not.

After we see Mr. Grimbridge narrowly escape being choked to death by one of the business suited fellows that are chasing him, the scene dissolves to an hour later.  Walter Jones, gas station attendant/mechanic and tow truck driver extraordinaire.  Walter is pulling the night shift at the gas station and has made himself comfy with a magazine while the news is on the television.  There is a news report about a missing stone from Stonehenge.  Then the commercial for the Silver Shamrock Halloween Masks comes on, playing that old familiar jingle (the tune is London Bridges)  "8 More days 'till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween....8 more days 'till Halloween......Silver Shamrock!" (You'll hear this jingle quite often during the course of the film).

Just as the commercial is finishing, the power goes out.  Walter hears a noise outside and gets up to check.  Seeing nothing out the window, Walter looks out the door.  Again, nothing.  Then, BLAMMO!  Jump scare as Mr. Grimbridge falls into Walter, grasping at him desperately before falling to the floor and ominously telling him "They're coming" and then promptly loosing consciousness.  Walter, being the nice guy that he is loads Mr. Grimbridge into his tow truck and takes him to the hospital.

So what's so great about this scene?  Well, first of all, it's got a fun spooky vibe to it.  Not quite that Campfire Tale Feeling™ to it, but a thunderstorm done right always adds some great atmosphere.  Plus, I can relate to Walter pulling the night shift and being alone.  See, I used to dispatch for a private ambulance company.  The base was located in an old woodworking shop in a less than savory neighborhood.  Late at night the ambulance crews would either all be in their quarters asleep downstairs, or they would be out on calls.  Either way, I was pretty much alone in a creaky old building.  I would often watch movies to pass the time.  Many a stormy night was passed that way....sitting alone in the dark watching horror flicks while a thunderstorm raged outside.  Anyway, I guess it gives me a bit of a sense of nostalgia.

Secondly, for those who pay close attention there are clues to what will take place throughout the film.  The news broadcast.  The commercial.  They tie in together.  How?  Well, you'll have to watch the movie to find out.  Suffice to say that it's pretty diabolical.

Furthermore, I enjoy scenes like this because it serves to prove that even if you think that you are completely detached and out of the way of potential harm and danger, think again.  Who would have thunk that working at a service station out in the middle of nowhere would involve you in a giant evil conspiracy.  Because Walter chose to help Mr. Grimbridge by bringing him to the hospital, Dr. Challis became involved.  Dr. Challis then became involved with Grimbridge's daughter Ellie and the whole things spirals from there.  Had Walter assumed that he was nothing more than a drunk, he may have been killed by one of the business suit assassins as well and that would have been the end of it.  Remember that next time something kinda odd, but seemingly insignificant happens to you!

John Carpenter's score, naturally helps to set the mood as well.  The electronic, yet sinister score evokes a sense of dread and impending doom, which you slowly learn is coming sooner rather than later.  If you haven't seen Halloween III yet because you heard it sucked because Michael Myers wasn't in it, well...shame on you!  Don't let other people's opinions sway you!  Get yourself a copy immediately and check out this great slice of 80's horror.  Coincidentally, Scream Factory has released a stellar Blu Ray of the film!

Here's the scene!  Enjoy!

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