I’ve extolled the virtues of SOV in that it’s the most democratic of all film formats — well, iPhone movies would be but no one makes them full length all that often and people today would rather make unboxing videos than get their friends together and make a goofy slasher movie — because for the first time, literally anyone could get a video camera and quickly shoot and edit the movie that was in their head. Even more than Super 8, which still demanded that you hand cut and edit film, the VCR changed the world of films. And due to the need for video stores to have products or — in the case of Halloween Party — public access stations allowing normal citizens to create programming, all manner of new voices got the opportunity to be seen.
Dave Skowronski is one of those voices. A teenager when this was made, this was part of The D.J.P. Halloween Special that aired on a Cheshire, Connecticut public access channel. Halloween Party is just part of that whole affair, as Skowronski hosted parody videos, an older movie he had made and even a “Monster Mash” video with the cast of Halloween Party.
What you get is a movie that has only the most tenuous of slasher set-ups — Becky is having a party and that old farmer that killed his family has risen from the grave — but it somehow combines a film that gives you an authentic time capsule of 1989 teenagers — farts and all — with a movie that loves Halloween so much that it Bruno Mattei-style lifts music from the first, fourth and fifth movie. Also: the arrangement of “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” from 2001 and the theme from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes also show up, copyrights be damned.
Yet all is forgiven because the farmer has makeup that looks frankly horrifying and when combined with the darker hues and blurry quality of the video format appears even more sinister.
Everyone talks too fast. Most of them showed up probably for the chance to get free soda and Doritos at a suburban house party that was turned into the setting for this movie. There’s also a scene where two girls abuse one another vocally that reminds me that I’ve forgotten the dudes who knocked out my teeth in hockey or broke a bone in wrestling, but have never ever forgotten off-hand comments a mean fourth grade girl said to me.
At once a tribute to the power of the slasher, the joy of making any movie you want and an amber capture of the teenage years of 1989, Halloween Party is true magic.
You can watch this on YouTube.