The Karate Kid is a timeless movie that's hard to imagine anyone not enjoying it, especially since the friendship between Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) is pure movie magic. But here's something most people don't seem to consider: I've always found The Karate Kid to be a particularly good watch during the Halloween season. Why? Because it celebrates Halloween with gusto - and I'm not just talking about the Cobra Kai guys dresed up as skeletons. Awesome as they were, there's a LOT more Halloween fun in this movie than most people may realize. I've seen the movie countless times, and I've often found myself pausing it during the Halloween scenes to catch a glimpse of what else is going on in the background.
With that in mind, let's break down every portion of the Halloween scenes in The Karate Kid, and see what wonderfully spooky things appeared in this 1984 classic that you may have missed. Come now, don't be afraid... it can't possibly be scarier than the remake.
The first sign that the film has changed seasons from the cruel, cruel summer to the fall is when we see Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) blowing up some orange balloons with her friends in preparation for the big Halloween dance. Behind her, is her now ex-boyfriend and everybody's favorite teenage villain, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), wearing his totally eighties red Cobra Kai jacket and messing around with the leg from a skeleton prop. Sweep the leg, Johnny!
Next, we cut to Mr. Miyagi's workshop where he wishes Daniel a happy Halloween and has carved not one, but three jack-o-lanterns. Miyagi may be an artist when it comes to trimming bonsai trees, but his pumpkin carving skills are what I'm far more fascinated with. He didn't try to make them happy pumpkins, he gave them fangs and angry expressions, because even he knows that Halloween isn't about being cute and kid-friendly... it's about being spooky. As he lights up his fang-filled pumpkins with a match, he talks to Daniel about the big Halloween dance tonight.
Miyagi tells Daniel he should be spending Halloween with people his age and go to the dance, but Daniel obviously doesn't want to go due to his recent altercations with the Cobra Kai guys who will surely be there. He then says that he doesn't have a costume anyway, to which Miyagi responds, "If have costume, you go?" Daniel says he'd go if he could be the Invisible Man so nobody would see him, and that's when the gears in Mr. Miyagi's head start turning.
What I love about this scene, and many people probably haven't noticed, is that they actually foreshadow the costume that Mr. Miyagi is going to make. Look behind Daniel's head on the wall up there. Those are the exact supplies Miyagi used to create Daniel's Halloween costume!
And what a costume it was! Not only did Miyagi listen to Daniel's needs and figure out a way to make him an invisible man by having him dress as a shower, but he also created an unforgettable costume. And the costume construction itself is fantastic, a shower curtain complete with a nozzle and tinsel used to replicate water coming out of it, all held up by a harness that Daniel wears so he can walk around freely. Keep in mind, Miyagi made this after Daniel got out of school on the day of Halloween. That's gotta be the all-time greatest last-minute costume creation in the history of the holiday!
We also have to address just how awesome this high school was to hold such a kickass Halloween dance. Even if you're not into dancing, you can't tell me you wouldn't want to attend this thing. There's so much going on here that we have to talk about.
First and foremost, look in the front of the screen near the lower left section. Notice that skull mask? That's one of the official Don Post skull masks, now famous for being in Halloween III: Season of the Witch! This opens up a whole new possibility that Conal Cochran and his Silver Shamrock company had begun distributing his murder masks to the children that year, and that the characters in The Karate Kid were all part of that world. You think Cobra Kai embraces the whole "No Mercy!" thing? The Silver Shamrock company takes it to a whole other level.
So yes, it's canon - Halloween III: Season of the Witch and The Karate Kid are now officially connected.
But there's more. Did you notice the dead football player prop in the top left corner of the background? I didn't think we saw dead football players in movies until Beetlejuice came out, but The Karate Kid beat 'em by four years! Also, I can only imagine one of the crew members had a good laugh by giving him the number 69 for his jersey number. Gotta love that they snuck in an immature joke like that into a family film.
There are plenty of other spooky sights, including some Beistle ghost & witch decorations hanging in the room, classic costumes like cowboys and princesses, and more. Oh, and bubbles. Lots of bubbles for some reason. At the start of the scene, there's a guy in a bright red cowl walking across the room in some kind of truly weird and elaborate patriotic costume that appears to include a red, white & blue cannon with legs sticking out of it. No idea what that was supposed to be, so if anyone knows, I'd love to hear about it.
There's also somebody wearing a blue ski mask and sunglasses in the background to the left of the candles, which continues to fascinate me to this day. Were they dressed as something in particular, or did the prop department people just find those two things in the bottom of a storage crate and say, "Screw it, you're an extra... this will do." Either way, I'm pretty sure he's/she's a serial killer, and the blue ski mask person will forever haunt my dreams.
Ali is there in costume too, of course, and she's hanging out with her two friends. Her costume is kind of a generic white masquerade get-up, but her friend Susan on the right has a pretty great purple cheetah punk rock get-up going on. I'd probably like her costume more, but Susan basically spends the entire film scowling at Daniel and even relates him to fungus, because he's not one of the cool kids. Screw you, Susan. How about trying to be a nice person to everyone for a change?
Ali sees the shower costume and immediately knows it's Daniel. As she makes her way to him, we see some more of what's going on at the dance. I wish they gave us a big overhead pan of the entire dance so we could see more of the decorations, but shots like this are what we have to make due with.
In this shot, there's a guy who used some tin containers from the kitchen to make a pretty awesome helmet, complete with ear covers, and we can also see one of the Cobra Kai skeleton guys dancing behind him as well. The real star of this shot, however, is the giant spider behind band on the stage. We can only see its legs and the big web, but that thing is obviously huge! How they could put so much effort into creating a big Halloween prop and not show the complete thing in the movie is beyond me.
Also, the band on stage actually is Broken Age, who provided the "No Shelter" tune we hear during the Halloween scenes.
Ah yes, who could possibly forget the amazing chicken costume? The costume itself is incredible, because it's not just some generic fuzzy get-up that you could find in any drug store come October. No, this is like a true mascot-level quality chicken costume with loads of feathers 'n all. The dark circles around his eyes actually make him look kind of nightmarish, and I can only imagine the folks behind Poultrygeist wish they had access to this costume during filming.
Best of all, he's not there just to show off his killer costume... she's smashing real eggs on everyone's head, as he shakes his body around the dance floor, clucking like a chicken all the way. And much to everyone's amusement, even Daniel isn't safe behind his shower curtain, for chicken man nails him with an egg right on his head. We love you chicken man!
Fun fact: I found out the chicken was portrayed by Todd Lookinland, who's the real life brother of Mike Lookinland, who played Bobby in The Brady Bunch. Sorry Mike, but Todd clearly scored the best role in your family's history.
Much like my spotting of the Silver Shamrock mask, my many screen pauses led me to another amazing discovery. While the chicken man is bouncing all over the screen, it's hard to pay attention to anything else going on in the background, but if you look at just the right moment, you'll actually notice someone in the background dressed as one of the Baseball Furies from The Warriors! Holy shit, that's awesome! It's only there for a split second, but there's no denying that's what this guy was going for and I absolutely love it.
So yes, for those of you keeping track: I've now connected both the worlds of Halloween III: Season of the Witch and The Warriors with The Karate Kid.
After having the egg smashed on his head, Daniel heads to the bathroom to wash it out of his hair, and we get to see Johnny in his full skeleton costume for the first time. To further push the bad boy factor, they have him hanging out in one of the bathroom stalls, rolling a joint. You better hope John Kreese doesn't catch you doing that, Johnny, or you'll be doing push-ups on your knuckles for the rest of your life!
Daniel decides to get some revenge and play a Halloween prank on Johnny by putting a hose above his stall, turning the water on full blast, and then running away quickly as he can. With his joint ruined, Johnny immediately runs out of the stall in his awesome skeleton costume, slipping as he tries to chase after Daniel.
Before we leave the bathroom, we need to give props to the guy dressed as Spider-Man! Sure, he couldn't find or afford Spidey's mask, so he put on a generic bandit eye mask to get the job done. And you know what? He still looks fine. What's sad, however, is that he says, "Hey, Johnny, what's up?" and goes to give him a high-five. And what does Johnny do? He completely ignores him, and runs by the poor guy.
How do you create a truly deplorable movie villain? You have him leave Spider-Man hanging by not giving him a high-five. I would've given you a high-five, Spidey guy. I really would have.
As the chase begins, the Hallow dance crowd parts ways to let Daniel and the Cobra Kai guys pass through, but I need to call your attention to those glorious blue moon boots in this shot. This are particularly amazing for me to see in the movie, because my dad actually owned that exact same pair! They were the most comfortable things ever, and I remember walking around in them as a kid and laughing about how incredibly huge they were.
My dad wasn't in The Karate Kid, but his boots were. Close enough.
Another great thing in this scene is when Ali uses Daniel's shower head accessory to trip up Johnny and the other Cobra Kai skeleton guys. The skeletons clumsily topple over each other like a bunch of dominoes. And honestly, who doesn't like seeing skeletons fall over and over again? You think I made that GIF for you? Okay, it's true, I did... but I also made it for myself. I'm gonna stare at that GIF as if it were Silver Shamrock's magical flashing pumpkin.
As Daniel and the Cobra Kai guys make their way out of the dance, we see a bunch of teenagers in costumes hanging around outside for a breath of fresh air. After all, I'm sure all those smashed eggs, compliments of the chicken man, started to smell pretty awful as the night went on.
So what do you see here? For starters, we have a Beistle spider decoration, and right in front of it is another guy dressed as Spider-Man! This guy doesn't even have the bandit eye mask, and you know he's bummed out that someone else wore the same costume. No wonder he's hanging around outside. Thinking you have an original costume, only to find out someone else has the same thing and did a better job than you, is the worst. On the plus side, he's hanging out with someone who's dressed as a one-eyed sheik, so this Spider-Man is gonna go home with some interesting stories to tell at the very least.
There are some other generic costumes like a safari guy and an old-timey prisoner, but the real star of the show here has got to be Cool Dude Pig Man. That's the name I'm assigning to him, because what else can you call a guy wearing yellow suspenders, a golden bow tie, a bycocket hat, a pig mask, and sunglasses? You call him Cool Dude Pig Man. End of story.
After causing some car accidents, Daniel makes a run for home by cutting through an open field, and it's an absolutely beautiful shot. Could there be a more perfect Halloween scene in any movie? Think about it: skeletons chasing a terrified teenager through an open field that's covered in mist, as we hear the lyrics, "Danger! Everywhere I turn. No shelter, and the truth is gunna burn!" blended with the ominous musical score. That's pure Halloween magic, right there, my friends.
This is the part of the movie that always gets me. As he flees from the Cobra Kai guys, Daniel tries to jump over the fence so he can make it home before they beat him to a pulp. It still makes me nervous to this day watching Daniel attempt to scale the fence. I always hope he's gonna make it over the fence, but he never does, and the Cobra Kai proceed to beat the hell out of him. Getting beat up by a gang is scary enough, but getting beat up by a gang of angry skeletons on a foggy night? That's a goddamn nightmare.
Before Johnny can deliver his final "No Mercy!" kick to Daniel, Mr. Miyagi jumps down from the fence like a ninja and saves the day. He proceeds to take on all five skeletons and beats them like they were white belt amateurs. I've always loved that blurry shot at the end of the fight from Daniel's point of view before he passes out. Seeing a foggy Miyagi standing above the five fallen skeletons in a martial arts stance, is one hell of a great way to wrap up Halloween in The Karate Kid.
So let's recap: We saw an amazing Halloween dance with killer decorations. We made connections to Halloween III and The Warriors. We saw the chicken man smash eggs on people. We saw a hidden "69" joke on a dead football player. We saw moon boots. We saw Cool Dude Pig Man. If all of this hasn't been enough to convince you that The Karate Kid has some truly great Halloween material in it, I implore you to consider this one final fact...
Watching Mr. Miyagi kick a skeleton in the nuts NEVER gets old.
This is my final article of I-Mockery's "Two Months of Halloween" 2016 season, and I hope you all enjoyed it. I wanted to extend a HUGE thank you to all of you who've joined in the Halloween fun these past two months, and I hope all these articles have made the season even better for you. I'll still be posting more updates on the I-Mockery homepage in the coming days & weeks, so be sure to keep checking back. In the meantime, I hope you all have a Happy Halloweeeeeen!
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