Noonan at Noon

Noonan’s Guide to the Best D-List Halloween Movies

He’s baaaaaaack: Noonan’s guide to (not so) scary Halloween film fare.

Greetings Fellow Criqueteers,

First thing’s first. Arnold Palmer. The King.

Much has been written these past few weeks of the great one, a god among golfers and a golfer among men. (And a snappy dresser, to boot.) It’s only fitting that his spirit was alive and well at the Ryder Cup where he reigned supreme in the past. I ask for but another few seconds of silence on the green, as he aces that final 18th hole and shuffles off to the eternal 19th.

There.

Now, join me in raising his namesake drink. A Him for him. With a healthy dash of Buffalo Trace thrown in, for good measure. Because the angels shall have their share too.

Well played, sir, well played.
Well played, sir, well played.

The King has left the clubhouse. May his game live on forever.

Now, on to happier subjects. And by happier I mean scarier.

I have no wish to wade into something you no doubt see in your socials every damn day. Suffice to say – whether it’s stories of perverted clowns or anatomy-grabbing politicians – these next three weeks leading up to the eighth day after Halloween are going to be pure hell. It’s enough to have you reaching for the nearest razor-blade candy apple to swallow.

But Noonan, you ask, where do I turn? How do I escape this constant barrage of bad news and political rancor? Fear not, my friends. Simply gaze up my Halloween movie list amidst the warm glow of your computer.

Sorry, my whiskey ice cubes were clinking too loud – did somebody say Halloween movie list?

As always, yours truly has scoured the slimy, axe-murderer basement depths of the Internet to bring you only the choicest Halloween schlock to addle your eye organs and brain parts. These movies are awful, but not nearly as much as (insert news channel) political commentators. The Noonan not-so-scary movie list below contains a few rare gems, forgotten treasures, obvious choices, and crowd favorites. In short, movies that wanted to give a ‘AHHH’ – but just couldn’t muster much more than an ‘EHHH.’

A quick word: Much like I hold a special place in my liver for a Lagavulin 16, I hold a special place in my heart for Bruce Campbell and the Evil Dead series. And all the classics, everything from the Texas Chain Saw Massacre to the Shining. I have no interest in the latter-day horror offerings like Human Centipede. And if that’s the list you want, well, I feel like you need a hug. From a straitjacket.

That’s right, Ash.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ve given each movie a rating on the Pleasance scale (0 being quite horribly unpleasant, and 5 being awfully pleasant.) No, the scale doesn’t make sense. And yes, I’ve only invented it to honor the John Carpenter character actor Donald Pleasance, who appeared in two Halloween movies and a number of others.*

*I would be remiss, dear readers, in not mentioning Pleasance’s arch villain role in the 1980 Italian movie “the Pumaman” about a man who discovers an ancient Aztec belt that gives him the power of a puma. Also, Pleasance was in a James Bond movie.

pleasance
Donald Pleasance. The man, the myth, the not quite legend.

 

THE THREES

We begin our journey with the obvious. Most horror movies seem to come in threes. Also, fours, fives, sixes and well into Police Academy territory. And most threes tend to suck. Poltergesit III, Alien III, Hellraiser III (presumably), and the Godfather III. So I bring to you the infamous third in the Halloween series. It probably has some higher message about rampant consumerism, but mostly it’s got a poor man’s Brawny man (and his mustache) running around trying to save kids from cursed masks that turn their brains into bugs.

Donald Pleasance rating:       pleasancehead  pleasancehead

Mainly because of the catchy Silver Shamrock jingle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoqxhvdAdns) -1 Pleasance point for being the first Halloween movie with no Donald Pleasance. Or coherent plot.

 

GROTESQUE

Our journey continues with none other than the queen of projectile pea soup, Ms. Linda Blair. Like most successful kid actors, her adult career died faster than the “lady of loose-morals” in nearly every horror flick ever. There’s not much to say about this disaster-piece other than it involves a psychotic gang of bikers called “punkers” – of which the top bad guy looks like Guy Fieri on speed (or more speed) – there’s a disfigured monster who escapes a basement, most of the main characters die halfway through the film, and…well, I realize as I type this it makes no sense whatsoever. Linda screams “NO!” a lot throughout this movie. Mostly because she’s thinking about what she should’ve told her agent.

Donald Pleasance rating:    pleasanceheadpleasanceheadpleasancehead

+1 Pleasance for over-acting that lives up to the movie’s title. -1 Pleasance for the wasted natural resources that were used to make and distribute this movie.

 

SQUIRM

An electrical storm does something to the ground…a bunch of earthworms turn vicious and bloodthirsty and…yes, I did say earthworms. No, really, earthworms. Yes, normal size earthworms. A bunch of them burrow into people’s skin and…uh…yeah, I don’t know.

Here’s the terrific version where a former worker form Gizmonic Institute becomes stranded in space and builds robots to make fun of said movie:

Donald Pleasance rating:    pleasanceheadpleasancehead

The filmmakers tried. Probably.

 

PRINCE OF DARKNESS

This movie is amazing because instead of featuring Satan as the demonic horned goat lord of the netherworld, he is portrayed as a vial of green goo that lives in the basement of a church. Satan’s world domination plans need work. Starring one of the guys from Simon and Simon. And Alice Cooper as a homeless man. Also, Donald Pleasance is in it as a priest who closes the portal to hell.

Donald Pleasance rating:  pleasanceheadpleasanceheadpleasanceheadpleasancehead

Including one extra Pleasance for the presence of actual Pleasance.

 

DAUGHTERS OF SATAN

This is one of Tom Selleck’s first movies, and you can tell from the start his mustache is destined to be a star. Synopsis: he buys a painting of a witch burning (because who doesn’t want that as a centerpiece above the mantle?) and somewhere along the line the spirit of that witch begins to posses his girlfriend. A number of things happen and then he gets stabbed.

Donald Pleasance rating:    pleasancehead

.5 for the plot, .5 for the mustache

 

GHOST DAD

The idea of this lead actor to pass through your doors is beyond terrifying.

cosby

Donald Pleasance rating: no

 

TROLL 2

You know the idea of the Ourobourous – the snake eating it’s own tail? That’s this movie. It sucks so much, and to such incredible lengths, that it comes full circle to being quite wonderful. To say anything more would ruin the sheer delightful horror of watching it unfold in front of you. And yes, it was even the subject of a documentary Best Worst Movie. It’s worth seeing it as the director hoped you would. Pour yourself a nice glass of the good stuff, and luxuriate in the badness.

Donald Pleasance rating:  pleasanceheadpleasanceheadpleasanceheadpleasancehead  pleasancehead

 

EVIL LAUGH

This movie has it all. Awful ‘80s music. A dance montage. A killer with a laugh as menacing as a giggle from Richard Simmons. Humor duller than the tools the killer uses to off the college students who dared come to rebuild the orphanage the killer burned down years before (that’s the plot, I’m not being sarcastic.) But wait Noonan, tell me, does it feature Scott Baio’s younger brother, Steven Baio – the B-list sibling of a C-list actor? Well, of course it does, of course. Enjoy!

Donald Pleasance rating: pleasanceheadpleasanceheadpleasanceheadpleasancehead

-1 Pleasance for the killer somehow microwaving Steven Baio’s head with the door open and the machine unplugged. Spoiler alert? Please. That’s an appetizer.

 

There you have it. No doubt I’ve left many equally bad or worse movies hung out to dry like bodies in the final act of a Friday the 13th flick. Feel free to suggest your own. Or better yet, let these few roll and I’ll see you after the election. That is, if the impending zombie apocalypse doesn’t do us in first.

Sweet dreams. Lock your doors. Don’t answer the phone. And be the ball.

-Noonan