(1979, Aus)
Half a star   Cheese Rating: 50% Feisty Fromage!

"They Thought It Was Over But The Real Horror!!! Began... THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN"

directed by: Simon Wincer
starring: Chantal Contouri, Robert Brunning, Sigrid Thornton, Hugh Keays-Bryne, Vincent Gil, Denise Drysdale, Jacqui Gordon, Peter Stratford, Lulu Pinkus

(back of video blurb):

(Can anyone help with this?)

choice dialogue:

"You've heard of "still-life"?... Well, this is "still-death"!"

slash with panache?

       (review by The Blue Iris)

       In case anyone was wondering if there was ever a debate over SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT (1972) and the Australian THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN, a sort of Bizarro-world version of the BLACK CHRISTMAS/HALLOWEEN debate that still rages to this day, I can safely say: not that I know of. Because while BLACK CHRISTMAS, HALLOWEEN, and, as I shall go into more detail about in its own review, SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT, are classics of the genre, THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN COULD never and SHOULD never be confused with those other fine films. In fact, in the fear of sounding a bit childish here, I am at a loss to even describe this as a "movie". I mean, it apparently had a plot of some kind at one point, they've made sets, hired actors to read lines, etc. but in the whole damn movie NOTHING HAPPENS. NOTHING. If this was supposed to be a slasher film or a soap opera, it fails miserably in both respects. If, when this was released, it was supposed to be a joke, well, my mistake. I was only 4 at the time, and I can't really be blamed for not paying more attention. I was too busy hiding from the clown poster that hung in my room...

       But back to the "movie"... I guess I should just describe it, but it really needs to be seen (not that I'm suggesting for a minute that any of you should) to fully understand the awful tediousness of the thing. After 45 minutes, nothing had happened. Nothing. Not Seinfeldian nothing either...just nothing. Although I kept clinging to the hopes that the same people who were responsible for PATRICK (1978) and THIRST (1979) (two films that I DO recommend) might pull something out of their sleeves and redeem themselves, they instead go flailing limply to an ending that isn't really an ending. It's almost an invitation for a sequel that, as far as I can tell, never happened. Thank God.

       Apparently, this was originally called SNAPSHOT, a title that fits, makes perfect sense, and doesn't lead one to believe that this is going to be a horror movie. It conjures up visions of other early 80's, highly stylised, Ennio Morricone-scored yuppie fests, but not slasher flicks. So there's it's first (although not only) problem: it's hitched a ride to one of the scariest movies ever made, HALLOWEEN, by having its name changed to THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN, and then having nothing to do with the first film. (Just ask someone about the ZOMBIE/DAWN OF THE DEAD debacle) What the hell were they thinking anyway? There's no significance to the day after Halloween... Really, could you see this trend catching on? See "THE DAY AFTER MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING: THE HANGOVER" or "THE DAY AFTER MY DINNER WITH ANDRE: THE LEFTOVERS". Anyone who went to the theater thinking this was a sequel was probably having a screaming match with the movie theater manager because they've played the wrong movie... alas, this IS the right movie, but there is oh-so-much wrong with it.

       First off, there are no likable characters in the whole thing; I mean, I was begging someone--anyone--to kill the heroine just to keep her from taking her shirt off again...more on that later. We can't empathize with any of them. As I said, maybe that's what they were going for, but then you have to at least have some sort of interesting action and plot for them to get involved in. We're 0 for 2 so far...Ok, so unlikable characters that do things no one cares about. Maybe the soundtrack is cool? Three strikes! Seeing as it was the late Sigrid Thornton prepares for her close-up in THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN70's-early 80's, well, disco was, to some extent, still popular. Either that, or Australia was just more reluctant than other countries to admit that they all looked really goofy in polyester suits. Whatever the case, the "hip" rich people all hang out at some Studio 54-wannabe where the other lead female, played by doe-eyed Chantal Contouri, chases away all the male suitors for our "heroine", played by Sigrid Thornton. We find out why later, but I while we're at the club, we're forced to listen to cheezy disco-lite tunes and, God help me, a leatherboy Elvis impersonator lip-synching in drag makeup! My jaw dropped and I realized this wasn't just going to be painful to was going to be EXCRUCIATING! The rest of the "score" was done by Brian "No, not the guy from Queen" May. He had a long and respected career as a composer, but unfortunately his work here is merely dull and over-saccharinated (great, now I have to invent words to describe how awful this movie is...)

       Plot? You want me to tell you the plot? Well, there was no plot! It was, for all intents and purposes, like watching a week in the life of someone you don't know and could care less about. Sigrid Thornton is our heroine, but I couldn't stop thinking about how she looks exactly like a cross between Elizabeth McGovern and Jennifer Jason Leigh long enough to concentrate on her "character". She plays Angela, a young hair dresser who's constantly harangued by her openly gay stylist boss (oh yeah, the film wears its homophobia on its sleeve...and on everything else, for that matter). First thing he says when she arrives late and quite mussed: "My godfather, you look like the dog's dinner!" (hopefully, not as a reference to the story of the ill-fated 30's actress Marie Provost...)Those wacky Aussies! Popping in for a good "brushing" that day is Madalyn, played by the aforementioned and, in my opinion, porno-named Chantal Contouri. Madalyn is a glamorous and famous model who is good friends with Angela (apparently). She whisks into the salon with a bitchy attitude and proceeds to berate the groveling homosexual manager, which is pretty funny, considering she's...ah...well, anyway, it's all an act as we see Madalyn becoming all peaches-n-cream around young Angela. They have one bizarre conversation after another, in which Madalyn spews forth some of the most obscene and hilarious lines ever put forth in a non-Andy Warhol produced film. These aren't improvised either, folks, someone actually wrote them down this way! When Angela insists she could never be a model because she's so flat, Madalyn helpfully deadpans "Oh sugar, tits went out with Jayne Mansfield!" (Really? Did you guys know about this?) And when Angela's still unconvinced, noting how her strict mother would disapprove, Madalyn spews forth with "You only live once, Angela, you've got to reach out and grab life by the short and curlies!" Oh God!

       So I guess the fur-bedecked and chain smoking Chantal Contouri is the only real reason to watch this (please, I'm begging you, you DON'T HAVE TO DO IT!!). If you want to see an even better performance by Chantal in a much more interesting movie, try THIRST. Here, she does play a rather convincing middle-aged glamour queen with a BIG SECRET--that I figured out well before she plants a big wet one on Angela...oops, have I given it away? Oh, and guys, don't watch this thinking it's going to give you any cheap it because you only have a few days to live and you want to make them feel INFINITE.

       Ok, there is a "suspenseful" subplot in which we're introduced to Angela's old boyfriend (and I stress the word old). She wisely breaks up with him, as he kowtows to her bitchy, controlling mother and she wants to get away from her family somehow. Apparently, he didn't take very well to the breakup so the creep stalks her--in a Mr. Whippy ice cream truck! Oh yes, the cheeziness is neverending. As one character puts it "How does a 16-year-old virgin get mixed up with a 30-year-old ice cream freak?" The answer to that could only have been more interesting than this movie! I'm not sure who decided that the ice cream truck device would increase the menacing quality of this big lug, but there's really nothing quite like seeing this pink truck that plays "Greensleaves" driving up and down the block and Angela sprinting for safety! But that's not even the scariest part of the movie...that honor goes to the horrible "rawk" song that plays during Angela's big "photo shoot". Madalyn gets her flaky photographer friend to take pictures of Angela for the "Bermuda Cool" cologne ad campaign (oh right, that happens ALL the time) So while Angela's romping topless in the surf (just remember the Jayne Mansfield comment!) we hear (or are subjected to) ANGELA'S THEME, aptly titled "Angela", and performed by the band "Sherbet" (!!!) Get it? Ice cream truck??...sherbet?? The singer pines away, asking morosely, "Angela, have you gone too far this time?" I wanted to answer as she waded further into the ocean: "Just a few more feet, Angela...we can still see you!" Unfortunately, she never wanders too far from the camera. So we sit and listen for an eternity to this part-lite rock, part-funk monstrosity as we watch topless Angela at her first professional modeling gig--poor flat-chested, doughy, pale Angela. Fortunately, this is the only modeling session we're subjected to...until a dirty old man cons her into posing topless on his own settee! Her shirts have a habit of flying off at the smallest provocation! (And no, that's NOT a good thing!)

       So that's the plot. She gets bitten by the modeling bug (which unfortunately is not fatal!), she runs around a little bit, gets taken advantage of, and that's it. All sleaze and snooze...Oh, some other things happen, but I'm afraid describing them will cause your brain cells to shut down as mine did while watching it! Suffice it to say, yes, it does end--eventually--with nary a drop of blood spilled. One would do well to avoid sitting through this mess, but if you're into that kind of torture, pick up a copy, grab a few friends you don't mind never speaking to again, and enjoy the cheesefest. I know someone who's willing to part with her copy immediately...real cheap.

BODYCOUNT 2  bodycount!   female:0 / male:2

       1) Male burned alive
       2) Male run over with ice cream truck!