Released 40 years ago, the original Halloween, starring a teenage Jamie Lee Curtis, had the shadow of the Chi Omega murders on the Florida State University campus earlier in the year, which led to the arrest (and eventual execution) of serial killer Ted Bundy. While a good horror movie can provide pure escapist entertainment, the subtext will provide dark unease.
There have been a total of 11 films in the Halloween franchise and Jamie Lee Curtis has been in five of them. Twenty years ago, Curtis first acknowledged her debt to the franchise. With Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, despite a strong ensemble cast, the film felt repetitive. Yet, it is significant for this film features the final onscreen appearance of Jamie Lee Curtis’s mommy, Janet Leigh. As an Easter egg, Leigh offers Curtis some maternal advice, then drives away in a car similar to the car she drove in Psycho [with score from Psycho playing in the background]. Leigh was Oscar-nominated for playing the victim (most known for the shower scene) in that classic Sir Alfred Hitchcock movie.
Ironically, Leigh was given the role that was originally written for J.P. Soles, a memorable victim from the first Halloween movie. Having been seen as a memorable bully with a red baseball hat in Carrie, Soles appeared topless in Halloween and improvised her funny dialogue and tragic death scene.
The comedic spark has served Soles well as she made appearances in comedies like Stripes, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (starring the Ramones), Private Benjamin (starring Goldie Hawn) and the Oscar-nominated Breaking Away, where she worked with her future ex-husband, Dennis Quaid. A friendly face on the horror convention and film festival circuit, Soles has a cameo appearance as “Teacher” in the new Halloween film.
Last Saturday night, Abbott and Costello meets Frankenstein played on Svengoolie on MeTV. This film effectively retired the champion monsters from the previous 18 years: Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man. As a closing gag, the Invisible Man shows up to scare off Bud & Lou. The voice of the Invisible Man is portrayed by Vincent Price, an actor who retained his reign of terror for the next 50 years of Cinema.
Vincent Price earned a Lifetime Achievement honor from the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival in 1991. In recognition of the 65th Anniversary, Savor Cinema will be screening House of Wax on Saturday, Nov. 3 and Friday, Nov. 9 and it is this columnist’ honor to host these two screenings. At each screening, Cinema Dave will donate Vincent Price’s book about his faithful dog, The Book of Joe , which was autographed by Vinnie and his daughter Victoria Price. BE THERE and BE SCARED, if you DARE!