Saturday, September 12, 2009

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

(Note: “Halloween III” was one of the best ideas, and one of the worst ideas, anyone ever had.

“Halloween” and “Halloween II” had come and gone, and end the end of II, Michael Myers was quite dead. His story was told. And yet, there was enough money in the franchise that it was decided to go ahead and make a part III.

A part III, it should be noted, that had nothing to do with parts one and two. Nothing at all.

At its heart, this is a brilliant premise. Get talented people to make a scary movie every year or two, based around the scariest of all holidays: Halloween. Think of it as a Twilight Zone for the big screen.

Unfortunately, this idea had two flaws.

The first was the serial killer movie model, which was already well in place by the time III hit theaters. It had one simple rule: No matter how dead the bad guy was at the end of the last movie, he’s alive at the start of this movie. Freddy and Jason had already established this.

The second flaw was just as simple: II had featured Michael Myers. If III had actually been part II, I think we’d probably still be watching Halloween sequels to this day, instead of the reboot that we eventually got.

Because the Halloween franchise decided to take this weirdly illogical step, many people deride the movie without having seen it. Granted, it has its flaws, which we’ll get to momentarily. But taken on its own merits, it’s a decent horror movie that has a little following of its very own.

I debated whether or not to include III here, since it doesn’t have anything to do with the overarching story of Michael Myers and his family tree. I finally opted to write it up because I know that there are people who have skipped the movie, but still want to know just what they’re missing.)

“Halloween III: Season of the Witch” opens with an annoying noise and a great deal of screen flutter – the live-action pumpkin of part 1 and 2 has been replaced by early 80s computer graphics, perhaps to let us know we’re facing a new threat: TV.

Interestingly, John Carpenter and Debra Hill still have their names on the franchise as producers –and John Carpenter still has his name on the series as a composer, as well.

I will add, however, that the credits look terrible. They’re in a bright blue font that just screams Weekday Afternoon 1980s TV.

Finally, the visual trash heap that are the credits comes to an end, and we get a burn-in that lets us know we’re in Northern California. Though what we’re looking at is something of a mystery. A road? An underpass?

Oh, and it’s October, Saturday the 23rd.

Some dude comes running down the road. He glances behind him. A car is speeding along, coming his direction.

The man runs onto an open lot with a bunch of junk cars on it. He races over to a mobile home up on blocks, and pounds on the door, but it’s nighttime and no one is home.

The man glances over his shoulder at the gate. The car pulls up to it, then drives past, still searching for him. Or possibly searching for a bathroom. Or a nice hotel to spend the night. Maybe this guy just really hates giving directions.

The man walks around a bit, trying to find somewhere to go. The car returns to the gate, and starts to pull in.

And then the man bumps into… another man. In a suit. With a really lame mustache. Mustache Man grabs our current protagonist by the throat, then throws him to the ground and chokes him for a bit while sitting on his chest.

Protagonist grabs a nearby chain that’s on the ground, and gives it a yank. This causes a block to move out from under the tire of a nearby junker. It rolls towards Mustache Man at about ½ a mile per hour, then rams into him, pinning him between the moving vehicle and another non-moving vehicle.

Moustache passes out, presumably from the shame of not being able to avoid a barely-moving junker.

Current protagonist slides out from under moustache man and gets to his feet. Then he runs away.

Now we’re at a gas station, and another burn-in informs us that it’s “One Hour Later.”

A black gas station attendant is sitting and reading a magazine while a documentary about Stonehenge is playing on the television.

That is, until a commercial comes on.

This commercial needs to be explained in detail, because it is going to keep on coming back, over and over, and over again.

Here’s what happens:

Visuals occur, of little kids and some Halloween masks.

But here’s the important bit. In your brain, sing London Bridges. You know the song: London Bridges falling down, falling down, falling down…

Okay. Now replace the words with: Eight more days to Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. Eight more days to Halloween, Silver Shamrock.

The number of days will change each and every time, but I just plain refuse to type that out over and over. So from now on, I shall refer to it as The World’s Most Annoying Commercial.

Outside, there is thunder and lightning, and the power goes out, cutting off as The World’s Most Annoying Commercial.

The black man gets up on his chair and looks outside, when suddenly, Our Protagonist appears out of nowhere and grabs him.

Protagonist whispers, “They’re coming. They’re coming.” And we finally get a glimpse of the orange thing he’s been carrying around. It’s one of the Halloween masks we just saw on as The World’s Most Annoying Commercial.

Then Our Protagonist passes out. The black man loads him into his tow truck and drives him off, while Mustache looks on.

And now we’re in a nice cozy house, where Some Guy walks in and yells out a hello. Two kids come out, who I hope are his son and daughter, because they call him daddy and they give him presents.

Then Presumed Mom shows up and generally gives Some Guy a hard time. Some guy gives the kids a couple of bags, which contain Halloween masks. They tell him that Mom already got them masks – Silver Shamrock!

They go put the masks on (a skull and a witch) and proceed to sing the music from The World’s Most Annoying Commercial.

Some Guy’s beeper goes off, and Presumed Mom says, “Drinking and doctoring, great combination.”

The kids turn on the TV, and what’s playing? Why, it’s as The World’s Most Annoying Commercial.

The man calls the office, and notes that his name is Challis. He needs to head to the hospital. Which is where he works.

This is interesting – II and III might have nothing to do with each other, but both feature drunken doctors. I guess they tie together after all!

Challis arrives at the hospital, and it turns out his patient is Our Protagonist, only I guess he’s just Some Dude. The black man who took him to the hospital informs Challis that he just brought Our Protagonist (man, I hope this guy gets a name soon) to the hospital.

Challis asks if OP has a room, and he is informed that OP is in room 13. Wow. Subtle screenplay craftsmanship, there.

Everyone starts to take OP, who is lying on a gurney, down the hall to his room, when suddenly a nearby TV starts playing The World’s Most Annoying Commercial. OP wakes up and says, “They’re going to kill us. All of us.”

Challis decides to give OP 100 milligrams of Thorazine. And hey, that’s what Michael Myers was supposed to get in court!

Outside the hospital, Mustache Man looks on.

Inside the hospital, Challis talks to Agnes, a black nurse. He says he’s going to take a nap, then asks Agnes to join him. Then he cops of feel of Agnes’s rear. Agnes opts to neither sue nor physically damage Challis.

As Agnes and Challis walk down the hall, the camera settles on Mustache Man, who is standing off to one side.

Mustache Man creeps down the halls, puts on some gloves, and goes into OP’s room. OP is doped up and asleep, though it should be noted that he’s still holding the Halloween mask from The World’s Most Annoying Commercial.

MM covers OP’s mouth, then grabs OP’s nose and… breaks it? Jams it into his brain? It’s tough to tell.

Either way, OP finally drops the mask.

MM wipes off his bloody gloves using the bed curtain, and Agnes walks in and says, “What are you doing in here?” Though she does not detain MM, who walks away without saying anything.

Moments later, Agnes screams, awakening Challis, who was asleep in the doctor’s lounge.

He races out of the lounge, and Agnes points down the hall. Challis gives chase, finally coming to the parking lot, where we finally get a shot of MM’s face. He doesn’t have a mustache. He’s a totally different guy in the same suit.

Good job, director-man. Way to provide clear views of who people are.

No matter. We’ll just call this one Not Mustache Man, which should work great, since he’s not long for the world. Because you see, as Challis hits the parking lot, NMM gets into his car, covers himself with gasoline, and sets fire to himself.

Which causes his car to blow up.

Later, Challis calls his ex-wife and tells her that he can’t pick up the kids because two people died. His ex-wife is not terribly understanding. There’s a joke in there somewhere about why she’s his ex, but I’m going to let you work it out for yourself.

Challis hangs up and looks down at the desk. One of the many police officers on the scene has set the Halloween mask from The World’s Most Annoying Commercial there. Challis picks it up and looks at it.

We fade out, and a burn-in informs us that it’s Sunday, the 24th.

In OP’s hospital room, Challis and a couple of officers of the law are standing around. A young woman in a blue dress arrives. She confirms that OP is her father. Then she asks, “What happened?”

Which is great for me, because I still can’t figure out how NMM killed him.

The officer tells her, “Some crazy man.” A moment later he notes that it was, “Drugs, probably.”

You know, that may go down in history as the worst police work ever done on film.

“Well, sir, this guy snuck into the hospital, killed this other guy, wiped the blood off his hands using the curtains, then set fire to himself in the parking lot. I’m sure it was drugs and not, say, a premeditated murder.”


Blue Dress isn’t really happy with that explanation either. She leaves.

A short while later, Challis sees her crying in the hallway, but opts to not comfort her. Whatta guy.

A new burn-in informs us that it’s Wednesday the 27th. Challis talks to the coroner’s assistant, Teddy. We finally learn what happened to OP (his skull was shattered) but there isn’t much more information to be had.

Challis begs Teddy to do some more investigating for him.

Then Challis heads to the bar. Oh, sorry, it’s two days later, Friday the 29th. Thanks, burn-in.

Or maybe Challis has been there for two days. Either way, it’s just him and the bartender, so he asks the bartender to change the channel, which is showing cartoons.

The bartender does so, leaving the TV on a commercial. For the original “Halloween.” Which is referred to as a classic.

I can’t figure out if this is really meta, a form of advertising, or an attempt to remind viewers that they could be watching a much better movie RIGHT NOW.

No matter. The ad ends, and The World’s Most Annoying Commercial comes on. Of course, now it’s TWO days until Halloween. Challis gets mad and tells the bartender to change the channel again.

The bartender switches over to a football game.

When in walks Blue Dress – whose name is actually Ellie. It seems a nurse told Ellie that she’d be able to find Challis at the bar.

Ellie thanks Challis for coming to her father’s funeral, and asks Challis if her father said anything to him. Challis is reluctant to talk at first, but then he spits out the whole story of Ellie’s dad and the creepy mask.

This gives Ellie pause, but I guess she figures she can trust Challis, so she takes him to her dad’s store. Apparently, it was going out of business thanks to the new mall that opened up.

Poor guy. Things are looking bad for him, and then he gets his skull shattered. Because of drugs. Life just isn’t fair.

Ellie notes that her father kept excellent records, and opens up his datebook. She’s been checking out everything that happened in it, seeing if he really went where it says he went.

On October 20th, he was supposed to pick up more Halloween masks. Ellie figures that she should check out what happened to him starting there.

Challis decides to go with her. She he calls his ex who, once again, chews him out a lot. Among other things, she claims the kids can’t even remember his name. Wow.

Interesting to think that either we’re following a “hero” who is just about the worst man in the world, or we’re following a guy whose ex-wife is, at best, horribly emotionally abusive. I like to envision the kids bringing home B-pluses and being happy they only have to sleep in the closet for two nights, instead of all week. Plus, mom is only going to put the poisonous snakes that have been recently milked in with them, so their chances of death are much, much lower than usual.

Anyway, Challis lies to his ex about where he’s going, then grabs a six-pack of beer off the top of the pay phone. Apparently just talking to her for three minutes is enough to make him require a sixer of “medication.”

Challis runs to his car, gets in it, and drives away.

The camera paaans over to a nearby TV store, where (you know what’s coming) every TV is playing The World’s Most Annoying Commercial.

This fades out, and fades back up on Ellie and Challis driving to the Silver Shamrock factory. As they drive by a bunch of fields, they toss out just a ton of exposition, which mostly boils down to this:

The Silver Shamrock factory was founded way back when by a rich Irishman. It started as a novelty company, then eventually evolved into just selling Halloween masks.

Ellie and Challis arrive in the little old town (I’m sorry, “Wee tiny town”) where the factory is located. Everyone stares at them in a creepy, creepy manner.

They locate the factory, when suddenly, Ellie realizes they need a plan. Challis pulls one out of his rectum: They’ll pose as buyers and rent a room at a nearby motel.

Our not-very-good-at-planning heroes head to the motel, and Challis tells Ellie to distract the Innkeeper while he… goes to the front office, looks at the ledger, and starts thumbing through his wallet. No idea what’s going on there.

Meanwhile, Ellie and the Innkeeper chat, until Cochran, the man who runs Silver Shamrock, drives by. Slowly. To be, you know, all ominous and stuff.

Challis comes out of the front office, and nearly gets run down by a family in a minivan – a husband, a wife, and their unruly kid. They get introduced, so you know they’re important, but I’m sure they’ll be dead soon. So let’s just call them The Meat Family.

Another woman also pulls up in a car, complaining about how the factory screwed up her order.

And finally, Challis tells the Innkeeper that he signed the ledger and left $40 on the counter to pay for the room. Which the Innkeeper is fine with.

Challis gets back to his room, and tells Ellie that her dad was here on the 20th. They plan to run over to the factory, but Challis notes that it’ll be dark soon (what does that have to do with anything?) and that he needs a drink. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.

Challis and Ellie talk about where Challis is going to sleep. The car? The floor? Finally, Ellie asks him where he wants to sleep. He tells her that’s a dumb question. Kissing ensues.

As the sun goes down outside, the speakers on the factory announce that it’s six o’clock, and reminds everyone that it’s curfew and that they should clear the streets.

Darkness falls. A video camera watches the empty streets.

In one of the most random scenes ever, Challis wanders out of a liquor store (uh… did the owner not tell him about the curfew?) and runs into a bum. The bum asks if he can have a drink, noting that he doesn’t have any diseases, and Challis hands him a paper-bag covered bottle. They each take a hit or three, and the bum tells Challis that something freaky is going on at the factory. None of the workers are local, for example – they were all brought in from somewhere else. And the bum has decided it’s time to burn the place to the ground.

Challis listens to the bum’s rantings and then walks away, back to his hotel room.

The bum wanders off to his shanty, where he proceeds to get drunk and sing the song from The World’s Most Annoying Commercial. This goes on until he encounters two Men in Suits, who rip his head from his body.

Back at the hotel, Ellie talks to Marge, the angry buyer staying at the hotel. They yack back and forth, and Marge reveals that the reason she’s visiting the factory is because the Silver Shamrock label fell off one of the masks she was buying/selling.

Marge heads to her room and sets the detached label on the dresser, then accidentally knocks it on the floor, revealing… (duh, duh, duuuh) some sort of microchip on the back. Marge does not notice this.

Back in her room, Ellie takes a shower, because the audience is probably kind of bored by now.

Elsewhere, Challis calls Teddy, his buddy at the morgue, who reveals that the autopsy they’ve been performing has shown… that they’ve been autopsying something metal and plastic – possibly part of the car.

Challis heads back to the hotel room, where Ellie is standing in the room, wearing a blanket. She drops it, revealing some sassy lingerie. That she had in her overnight bag. That she slapped together when she went to her father’s funeral.

Just what, exactly, was Ellie planning on doing at the funeral? Something life-affirming, I guess.

Challis and Ellie get to affirming.

Later, Challis and Ellie lie in bed, listening to the radio, when The World’s Most Annoying Commercial comes on. Challis changes the station, and Ellie decides they should do some more life-affirming stuff.

In another room, Marge is lying in bed when she notices the Silver Shamrock logo lying on the floor. She picks it up, notes the microchip, and starts poking it. So it shoots her in the face with a laser.

Ellie is startled by the noise next door, and wonders what it is. Challis says, “Who cares?” Ellie seems to agree.

Back in Marge’s room, much of Marge’s face has been badly burned. As Marge dies, a bug crawls out of her mouth and into her hairline. Icky.

Later that night, Challis and Ellie wake up because they hear a noise. They see Marge being wheeled out of her room on a stretcher, but no one will let Challis see her, despite the fact that he mentions he’s a doctor. Way to blow your cover there, ace.

Either way, Marge is loaded into a van which doesn’t really resemble an ambulance, and her body is driven away.

At that moment Cochran steps out of the crowd. He assures Challis and Ellie that Marge is being taken to the factory, which is equipped to deal with emergencies.

Ellie and Challis head back to their room. They want to go, but Ellie won’t leave until she finds out whether or not her dad went to the factory. So they fall asleep with no further affirmations of life.

The next morning, Challis calls Teddy again, and finds out Teddy couldn’t find anything to autopsy – just ashes and car parts. Challis asks her to find out everything she can about Cochran. He hangs up the phone, and the camera pans down to reveal a microphone stuck to the desk – Challis’s conversation is being listened to. Or recorded. Or something.

Oh, and forgot to mention. The burn-in helpfully pointed out that it’s Saturday the 30th.

Apparently, the factory is working weekend hours because of the holiday, as Challis and Ellie are able to head over to the office to attempt to “fill” an order that Ellie’s dad “didn’t pick up.”

Only it turns out that he did pick it up, back on the 21st. Ellie talks to man who helped her dad out, and asks if her dad mentioned where he was going. The dude behind the counter tells Ellie her dad was headed North.

Stuffed to the gills with no helpful information, Ellie and Challis start to head out, only to be cut off by The Meat Family, who are here to see Cochran.

Cochran comes out, and tells everyone hanging out by the front desk that Mr. Meat sold more masks than anyone else in the country. Up to this point, I guess, since there’s… One more day to Halloween, Halloween, Halloween… (I feel dirty.)

Cochran informs Challis that his mixed up order, which of course was not mixed up, will be replaced free of charge. He goes on to state that Marge is fine, but she’s been flown to a hospital in San Francisco.

Cochran tells The Meat Family that he’d love to give them a guided tour, and Mr. Meat asks if Challis and Ellie want to come along. They think that’d be a great idea.

Everyone heads into the mask factory, where they see… a bunch of masks being made. They look like masks being made. I know. Riveting.

Mr. Meat fills Challis in on some of the history of the Silver Shamrock empire. Apparently, the many novelties created by Cochran include sticky toilet paper. I realize that we are talking about a guy who puts killer logos into masks, but seriously – that’s just sick.

Little Boy Meat asks for a Halloween mask, which you would think he has already, since his dad sold more than anyone else. Cochran gives him one that went through “final processing.” Then much discussion is had about “final processing,” while Challis glances about and notices several Men in Suits.

He goes over to Ellie and says they should be going, but as they walk away from the factory, a garage door opens up and Ellie sees… her dad’s car. Despite the fact that the creepy factor is amped up to 14 on a scale of three, Ellie runs over to the garage for a closer look.

Her way to blocked by some Men in Suits.

So they head back to the motel. Ellie packs, while Challis heads to the motel office to call the police. He dials the operator, and gets a “We cannot complete your call as dialed” message.

The World’s Most Annoying Commercial comes on the TV.

Challis heads back to the room. Ellie is missing. And there are several Men in Suits standing in the parking lot. Challis closes the door to the room, then escapes out the back.

He races down dark alleyways, attempting to evade capture.

Over at the factory, two Men in Suits pull into a garage, and come out of the car with Ellie in tow.

Over at a phone booth, Challis tries to call the operator from a pay phone, but he keeps getting the same “Cannot complete your call” message.

So he heads back to the factory, and tries to find a way to break in. Dude may be a doctor, but I bet he’s one with a C- average.

Challis breaks in through a window, and starts creeping around the factory in search Ellie. Or evidence. Or possibly another drink. He’s been without booze for almost an hour now.

He encounters a woman sitting in the corner, knitting, and attempts to interrogate her, only her head falls off. She’s mechanical.

But the Man in a Suit behind Challis is not. They fight. Oh wait! The Man in a Suit is, in fact, mechanical, which Challis discovers when he rips out the dude’s guts, and comes away with a lot of yellow goo.

As he looks at his goo-covered hand, another Man in a Suit stalks up behind him and grabs him by the shoulders. Challis sort-of-but-not really passes out, and the Man in Suit lifts Challis to his feet.

Cochran comes out and babbles about how he’s sad that Challis broke one of his mechanical toys. He follows this up by revealing that he knows who Challis is, and who Ellie is, and then he hints about his plans. He’s all excited for Halloween morning to arrive the next day.

Challis and a Man in a Suit and Cochran all head to an elevator, and Cochran does some more babbling, semi-explaining his mechanical men. Eventually they all end up in a giant warehouse, where Cochran shows Challis a giant rock – from Stonehenge.

“It has a power,” he says. “A force.” He leads Challis over to a bank of monitors, using them to show Challis a couple of rooms.

The first has Ellie, and Cochran is happy to point out which room she’s in.

The second has a very dead Marge, who is lying under a bed sheet being all dead. Cochran states that she was the victim of a misfire.

The third room is empty except for some furniture – Cochran says he’s going to give Challis a demonstration.

The Meat Family is led into the furnished room, which is designed to look just like a living room. A couple of Men in Suits hand Mr. Meat a pad of paper and a pen, so he can take notes.

And here comes the nightmare fuel.

The TV starts playing The World’s Most Annoying Commercial, but with a bit of a twist. It tells “the kids,” (in this case, Little Meat) to put on their masks and watch. Little Meat does what he’s told… and then his mask starts to melt, his head collapses, and cockroaches pour out of his head and mask.

So in case you missed it, folks, here’s the plan: Kill a truckload of kids by converting their head areas into a mass of bugs.

Oh, wait, I’m sorry. Now snakes are pouring out of Little Meat’s head as well.

Mrs. Meat passes out. Mr. Meat begins screaming. I wonder if he remembered to take notes?

Challis raises his fists ineffectually, perhaps hoping he can punch these images out of his own head.

One of the snakes that came out of Little Meat’s head turns out to be a rattlesnake. It seeks out, bites, and kills Mr. Meat.

(Seriously, y’all. People asked for more Michael Myers after this. You know why? Because they COULDN’T HANDLE THE HORRIFYING IMAGES BURNED INTO THEIR RETINAS. Myers is about as scary as a bucket of puppies compared to this.)

The movie cuts away from this and decides to play to the slower audience members for a bit, by showing various cities throughout the country. Kids are buying the Silver Shamrock masks. Kids are wearing the Silver Shamrock masks. And The World’s Most Annoying Commercial is playing, announcing to everyone watching TV or listening to the radio that they all need to be sitting in front of their TV and watching their masks at nine PM.

The sun is going down. The End is Near.

Then the movie kind of forgets that the United States is about to become a ghost town, and instead cuts over to Teddy, who tries to call Challis. Only the operator says the call can’t be completed.

So Teddy calls someone else, and says she thinks she has something that isn’t a car part. Only off in the background, you can see a Man in a Suit. The Man locates a drill and goes to have a chat with Teddy.

At that moment, Teddy figures something out, dials the operator, and asks for the sheriff. Too late. The Man in a Suit grabs her, pins her to the floor, and sticks a drill in her ear.

A burn-in lets us know it’s 7:30 PM.

And we’re back with Challis and Cochran.

Challis is all tied up, and he asks Cochran why he’s doing this crazy thing.

Cochran starts by saying it’ll be a hilarious joke on the children, then accuses Challis of not thinking any further about the holiday than about the whole kids go begging for candy angle.

He monologues, “It was the start of the year in our old Celtic lands, and we’d be waiting in our houses of wattles and clay. The barriers would be down, you see. Between the real and the unreal. And the dead might be looking in, to sit by our fires of turf. Halloween. The festival of Samhain. The last great one took place 3000 years ago and the hills ran red with the blood of animals and children.”

Challis points out that this was “Witchcraft,” I guess in an attempt to justify the somewhat obscure subtitle of little ol’ Halloween III.

(Seriously, folks, you just can’t get up in arms about this movie not tying into the first two Halloween flicks. Samhain! It’s right there!)

As if to drive my point home, Cochran sticks a white mask on Challis, and in the background, music from the original “Halloween” begins to play. No, not the theme. That’d be too obvious. One of the other bits of music that gets repeated like five times in the original.

Cochran wraps up his little speech and heads out the door, leaving a TV on in front of Challis.

Challis looks at a nearby clock. It’s 7:49.

You know what, though? Dude lives in California. At this point, two time zones have already been wiped out, and the third is going bye-bye in about ten minutes. Best-case scenario, the man’ll save ¼ of the United States. If he’s lucky.

Challis decides it’s worth it, even if he only saves one person. He drags his surprisingly movable chair around with his legs, and he kicks out the TV screen. Through some sort of offscreen magic, he manages to get a shard of glass from the busted set and cuts his bonds.

Then he rips off his mask and throws it at a TV camera stuck high up in a corner. The mask settles easily over the camera, blocking its view.

Out in the warehouse, one of the Men in a Suit-guys notices that one of the monitors isn’t showing anything. He goes to talk to Cochran, but Cochran is on the phone and can’t be bothered.

Challis finds an air vent and yanks out the grate. He climbs through the air vents, eventually emerging on the outside of the building. He then goes back into the building, sneaking into a small warehouse where several boxes of merchandise are stacked up.

And why is that, I wonder? It isn’t like there’s going to be a huge market for the masks starting in, oh, say, an hour, right? Why the overstock?

Challis finds a phone, and calls his ex. He tries to explain she needs to get rid of the masks. Mostly he does this by babbling. She hangs up on him, assuming he’s drunk.

Cochran and crew, meanwhile, have learned that Challis has escaped.

Challis hangs up the phone instead of calling, I don’t know, EVERYONE HE CAN THINK OF, and he goes to find Ellie.

It’s 8:26.

Cochran and crew spot his escapees on their closed-circuit TV cameras, and Men in Suits are dispatched to find them.

Challis and Ellie head to the Stonehenge warehouse, and sneak around for a while. Challis puts his hand in a damaged box and pulls out one of those Silver Shamrock tags. The little thing that killed Marge earlier.

He tells Ellie to wait a moment, then he sneaks out onto the floor of the warehouse. For some reason, no one is watching the main computer keyboard so Challis punches some keys and The World’s Most Annoying Commercial starts to play.

Challis and Ellie run up some stairs so they’re standing over the warehouse, and Challis shakes out hundreds of Silver Shamrock tags, which fire electric currents into everyone and everything, which kills all the henchmen.

But not Cochran.

The World’s Most Annoying Commercial just keeps on playing, and the Stonehenge stone lights up. Cochran looks up to the rafters and sees Challis, and offers him a slow golf clap.

Lights abound, and Cochran lights up and vanishes, and the Stonehenge stone explodes.

I guess this is as good a time as any to say that every time I mention Stonehenge, I hear that Spinal Tap song. It is almost as maddening as The World’s Most Annoying Commercial.

Ellie and Challis run out of the building, and across the parking lot, and then they get in their car and drive away.

Challis turns on the radio, and we learn it’s 8:48 PM, and The World’s Most Annoying Commercial is on, alerting everyone to head home for the 9 PM show.

Though, as I’ve noted, we’re in California, so most of the United States is already dead.

Challis says they need to “call somebody.” Ellie, meanwhile, just keeps on staring straight ahead, until she turn to Challis and tries to kill him using the time-honored skull-crushing technique of the Men in Suits.

Ellie is a robot. Or she just takes bad news really, really poorly.

(Though if she’s a robot, what took her so long to react? Challis set her free, okay, but she could have pretty much killed the dickens out of him right then and there. Why wait?)

Challis crashes the car and manages to escape by knocking Ellie’s head off with a tire iron.

Oh, except her arm was torn off in the crash, and the arm tries to kill him as well.

Oh, and then her body, minus the head, chases after him for a minute, but falls to the ground before it can crush Challis’s skull.

Challis looks at his watch. Ten minutes to go.

Challis runs to a nearby gas station, where he encounters… the black guy who tried to help Ellie’s father!

Awesome? Or lame? I leave it to you to decide.

Challis gets on the phone, and calls… someone or other. It’s 9 PM, and the TV is playing The World’s Most Annoying Commercial already. Outside the window, you can see a kid in a car wearing a Silver Shamrock mask.

Challis tries to explain to whoever is on the other end of the line that the commercial “means the death of everyone watching.”

Three kids walk into the gas station, each wearing a mask, and the black guy offers them candy. They go to look at the TV.

On the TV, an announcer states that they are experiencing technical difficulties, and to please stand by.

The kid changes the channel. The TV once again stops The World’s Most Annoying Commercial and claims technical difficulties.

The kid changes the channel again. The World’s Most Annoying Commercial is playing, and it ain’t stopping.

Challis begs the man on the other end of the line, who apparently controls all TV programming everywhere ever, to turn off The World’s Most Annoying Commercial on the third channel. As the movie draws to a close, and the electronic pumpkin from the opening credits flashes on the screen over and over again, Challis screams, “Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!”

Creepy music comes up, and it’s roll credits.

(Note: The credits list Sam Nicholson as the person responsible for The World’s Most Annoying Commercial. Feel free to call him up and sing to him in your free time.)

(Secondary note: Seriously, y’all. This movie might make almost no sense, but its creep factor is through the roof. Respect the III. Or it will eat your head and make your neck hole poop snakes.)

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