Saturday, October 27, 2012


Halloween III 
John Carpenter and Alan Howarth 

If only you could see me now, dragging nine feet of headphone cord as I pace the room anguishing over how to condense a lifetime of...what's the opposite of lucrative?...futile obsession into an impossible "top ten" list when suddenly I'm confronted with the hopeless conundrum of choosing a favorite John Carpenter score. I'm immediately partial to Prince of Darkness, mostly because Carpenter cast Alice "Monster Dog" Cooper in an awkward cameo which seemed like a fitting gesture of gratitude considering Halloween Theme/Main Title echoes almost identically the opening 12 seconds of Cooper's 1975 creeper Steven from Welcome to My Nightmare...which in turn is something of a Tubular Bells belch...which further underscores our central premise here regarding the occult roots of horror and heavy metal. Ultimately it's a coin toss but I'll go with Halloween III today since so many fans initially wrote it off for abandoning the slasher formula that its predecessors pioneered in favor of Conal Cochran's admittedly asinine plot to sacrifice trick or treaters with a TV jingle. Silly heathen. All he had to do to destroy Halloween was slip cyanide into a few bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol and let the copy cat crimes do the rest. Do you remember the infamous "Tylenol Scare" of 1982? I do. It effectively ruined the only decent holiday Americans ever had and marked an end to a particularly enjoyable chapter of my childhood. Almost overnight the streets were empty and the undead were driven back to their crypts by PTA moms and community center safety dances. Halloween III was released the same month. Unlike Richard Band who fancies his music a crucial third dimension to the total cinematic experience, Carpenter has always maintained that his compositions are "intended to support the visual image, and that enjoyment of the music by itself is a secondary result." Makes sense when you consider that he and Howarth composed this stuff while watching a time coded video of the movie so it would synch perfectly with the imagery. It's also awfully modest and pragmatic and completely underestimates how thoroughly enjoyable this record is with the lights out. Four more days 'til Halloween! It's almost time, kids. The clock is ticking. Don't forget to wear your masks. It's almost time...