Svengoolie and Joe Bob Briggs' panel at Flashback Weekend '23 pt. 2
A very controversial conversation about Halloween III.
August 2023 saw a historical horror summit as Flashback Weekend once more turned Rosemont, IL, into the spooky capital of the world. Fans who were lucky enough to attend were delighted by Q&A panels with horror icons like Dick Warlock (Michael Myers, Halloween II), Kane Hodder (Jason Vorhees, Friday the 13th pts. VII - X), and Rose McGowan (Scream, Planet Terror).
However, the highlight of the event, the crown jewel of Flashback Weekend, was a panel hosted by horror legends Svengoolie and Joe Bob Briggs. Together, the hosts regaled guests with tales of TV, from their onscreen lives to their hopes for the future of horror hosts. With attendance limited to seating capacity, the intimate conversation will be fondly remembered by everyone in the room. Luckily for fans who could not make it to Rosemont, the conversation has been lovingly recorded and transcribed here for posterity. Enjoy!
The conversation continues as Svengoolie and Joe Bob discuss the evolution of horror, beginning with the changing tides in 1968. Things heat up when Sven presses Joe Bob about his Halloween III opinions.
Joe Bob: There was a big change in 1968 when Night of The Living Dead came out, where all of a sudden you have — it was kind of a hippie movie, with a down ending. And the down ending became a staple of horror. They used to resolve in an optimistic way, even in horror movies.
Sven: Sure, with the couple walking off into the sunrise.
Joe Bob: Night of The Living Dead changes all that. Everybody dies! Then, you have The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and you have Halloween, and you have other really negative — you know, you don’t necessarily feel good at the end of the movie.
Sven: Speaking of Halloween, if I may, I know there’s a bone of contention between you and Darcy about Halloween III, a movie that I actually ran in the early days of my show here at this company. Please explain to us what you have against that movie.
Joe Bob: So you have this great movie called Halloween, and you have Jamie Lee Curtis and you have Dr. Loomis, and you have babysitters. And then you make another equally good movie — or, some even think it’s a better movie — called Halloween II, which has Jamie Lee Curtis, and has Dr. Loomis, and it has babysitters. And then you make Halloween III. Everybody gets ready to watch Jamie Lee Curtis, Dr. Loomis, and the babysitters. And then they said “Oh, we’re starting a new thing! Every movie called ‘Halloween,’ from now on, we’re gonna have a different story with a different cast. And there’s gonna be no Jamie Lee Curtis. And there’s gonna be no Dr. Loomis.” YOU DO THAT ON NUMBER TWO! YOU DON’T DO THAT ON NUMBER THREE!
I think the reason it failed, which it did, was audience expectations. You set up audience expectations with number two. And number three comes along and you have them like “What? Exploding masks on children? I don’t think so!”
Last summer at the drive-in in Memphis, we had Tommy Lee Wallace, the director of Halloween III, and some of the cast members. I said “Tommy Lee, tell me the plot of Halloween III. Just explain exactly what’s happening.” He says, “Well, it’s obvious from the movie.” I said, “No, it’s not obvious how in a small town in Northern California they have a piece of Stonehenge.” And in the first scene in the movie, there’s a 20-second news item that says “Oh, a piece of Stonehenge was stolen last night.” Now that’s like twenty days before Halloween. It’s like a tiny, little news thing. “Somebody stole some Stonehenge!”
First of all, wouldn’t this be on EVERY newscast in the entire world? Wouldn’t it be on the front page of EVERY newspaper? “Stonehenge: Giant 20,0000lb Theft!”
How did you get the piece of Stonehenge — the twenty-ton piece of Stonehenge — from Southern England — and it’s not near Heathrow — to a small town in Northern, California without owning the biggest Russian freighter plane in history? First of all, you gotta get a Ford F-150 — or whatever’s the toughest truck — you gotta put it on the truck, take it to Heathrow, then you gotta get the Russian plane to come. Then you gotta fly across two oceans and God knows — Arctic Circle, whatever — for a day and a half. Then you gotta get it to the biggest airport in Northern California. Then you put it on another F-150, then you gotta take it to the little small town in the middle of nowhere in Northern, California.
“Tommy Lee, I don’t think you had enough time to do that.” And he was like “Well, it’s a movie.” That was finally his argument. “It’s a movie.”
So, anyway, we went over the whole plot of Halloween III, and I remain opposed. I also said, “Tommy Lee, you can’t kill the 9-year-old boy on camera.” I mean, talk about something MeTV would not — MeTV would not show Halloween III.
Sven: Actually... We did.
Joe Bob: You did?! You showed the 9-year-old boy with the mask, and he had worms coming out?
Sven: We might’ve edited it just slightly.
Joe Bob: Edited just slightly? Like, there is no 9-year-old boy in the MeTV cut?!
Sven: Oh, he was there! And he was watching TV, and suddenly he wasn’t feeling well, and now, a commercial for a carwash.
Joe Bob: The female lead...
Sven: Stacy Nelkin.
Joe Bob: Stacey Nelkin becomes an android at some point in the movie. In order to follow how she becomes an android, you have to think, “Well, actually she was an android when he first saw her at the beginning of the movie.” Otherwise, when did she become an android — there was nothing in the movie to show how she would possibly become an android. She just suddenly—
(AUDIENCE MEMBER YELLS) She carried the stone in!
Joe Bob: What? She carried the stone from Southern England to… Ok.
Sven: She was deceptively strong.
Joe Bob: Ok, you can work for Tommy Lee Wallace. So, she was a robot the whole time, including the scene where she and Tom Atkins [aardvark].
Sven: This is true! Plus, she also took a shower! So, if she was an android, and she was in the shower would she have… short-circuited or something?
Joe Bob: Yeah, alright, so… I remain opposed to Halloween III. Darcy is not here to defend herself.
Continue reading with Part Two.