Posts Tagged ‘halloween’

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Halloween (2018)

October 26, 2018

Director: David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Your Highness, The Sitter)
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak

My goodness I loved it. I had to watch it twice to be sure, but yes, it was great. Exactly what I want from a Halloween movie.

For those that don’t already know, this Halloween is a sequel to John Carpenter’s original 1978 film only. It has nothing to do with the ten other sequels and remakes in the franchise – not even the ones with Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as ultimate final girl Laurie Strode.

There’s no Thorn Cult garbage here. Laurie is not Michael Myers’ sister. Michael has never had his eyes shot out, burned to death, been riddled with bullets by a vigilante firing squad, or had his head axed clean off.

He has, however, been stabbed in the eye and neck and shot six times before falling off a second story balcony.

I think. We definitely see scars of the eye and neck injuries, but there’s a cop introduced in this new movie that “stopped Dr. Loomis from killing Michael.”

I’m not really sure what that means because Loomis shot Michael six times, he fell backwards and suddenly he is gone and that is how the original film ends.

There’s no stopping Loomis. There’s no other cop interfering. Michael is shot multiple times and he survives and the supernatural mystique of a human being that kills people begins.

So I don’t know if this film is trying to revise that finale or not, but either way, Michael is in captivity in 2018 and this movie opens with some podcasters visiting him in the psyche ward and trying to get a rise out of him by flashing his old mask around. It’s a cool scene that re-establishes Michael as a human with irregular focus and total disregard for anyone around him.

He hasn’t spoke a word in 55 years. What a scary dude.

Of course the powers that be decide to transfer Michael from a psyche ward he’s been at for 50+ years and transfer him by bus on the eve of Halloween and it can be easy to nitpick some of these plot points.

Why does Laurie watch the bus pass through the gate and leave the institution but not follow it to its destination? When you meet Laurie in this film it’s clear she has spent the last 40 years preparing for the possibility of Michael’s escape and return to Haddonfield. I can’t imagine that person not making sure that bus gets exactly where it’s going.

And why did she spend all that money tricking out her house and buying guns when she could have just moved to Hawaii or something?

But I’m glad she didn’t because once Michael is loose, the magic really starts.

Michael might be over 60 years old, but he has the strength of a silverback gorilla… on steroids.

I’m okay with that. The kills in this movie (when we see them) are fun and brutal.

And Michael is scary again. The mask looks amazing. The mask has definitely had its down moments over the years, so when it is done right, it makes a big difference. I think it’s a big reason why Michael Myers works so well as a horror villain. He’s supposed to be some normal kid that just snaps for no reason and becomes pure evil. But he’s a regular dude. He could be anyone. Until he puts on the mask. And then he becomes something a bit more… unnatural.

John Carpenter returns to do the film’s score and it hits all the right notes and drastically raises the tension. The music during the scene when Laurie’s granddaughter first encounters Michael is nothing short of epic. It really elevates the moment. I was practically giggling to myself with glee during that sequence.

Director David Gordon Green also gives us a wonderful single take shot that follows Michael on the streets then through a couple of houses, as he acquires different weapons and murders multiple people before finally cutting away. It’s a phenomenal sequence and it’s easy to overlook its brilliance if you’re not paying close attention.

Jamie Lee Curtis is of course wonderful as Laurie, giving her all in a role she’s played five times in 40 years in a franchise that has really seen some low points. But she returns here to give a serious performance in a mostly serious film, putting the affects of PTSD on full display.

The rest of the cast is solid but unremarkable, but I will say I loved the duo of Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney as Michael Myers. They nailed it. Even when Michael is unmasked, he is seriously intimidating and ruthless. You know… like most men in their 60s.

I thought this was a great Halloween movie, but it should be noted I am a horror film fan boy. It pays tribute to the original, gives subtle nods to the other sequels it otherwise ignores, and really understands how to create an atmosphere that makes Michael Myers work. The duo of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride clearly understand what makes the franchise tick and what fans of the original movie would want to see.

The ending of the movie was cool, if not entirely satisfying, and I liked Halloween enough that I’d like to see everyone come back for another one. More more MORE please!

Michael Myers done right is a thing of beauty. Halloween is a must watch for fans of the franchise and I give it a strong recommendation in general.

Replay Value: I liked it more the second time and I’m kind of itching to see it again.

Sequel Potential: Evil never dies.

Oscar Potential: None.

Dina Meter: She had fun watching it.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

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Rob Zombie’s Halloween: A Big Rant

June 29, 2009

I grew up on horror films. I was watching the A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday The 13th franchises when I was as young as four. I idolized Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees more than Batman and Superman. I can’t explain my early fascination with these seemingly unstoppable and deformed serial killers, but it was my thing as a kid. It’s kind of sick to think back about it now. My parents probably questioned their leniency in the matter when they came home one day to find out that I chopped their kitchen counter to shit with a butcher knife. I’ll never be able to explain why I did that, but somehow I turned out to be a harmless human being anyways. For whatever reason, Halloween was the last classic horror franchise that I got into and it now stands as my favorite and Michael Myers is by far my top horror icon. While I’ll never be able to understand what it was like to see John Carpenter’s original film for the first time in the late 70s, I can still appreciate it as an iconic movie to this day and possibly the best in the genre. When I heard Rob Zombie was going to remake/re-imagine the Halloween series I had mixed emotions: on one hand, it’s better to leave the classics alone, but that’s a lost cause in today’s Hollywood; on the other hand, I felt like if anyone was going to take the reigns, Zombie was a good choice. I wasn’t expecting the subtle chilliness that made the original so scary or even for the remake to be a good overall film, but I figured Zombie would give us a solid slasher pic with plenty of gore and breathe life into a franchise that has been on life support for about a decade.

The first third of the film is painful to watch. I certainly didn’t expect Zombie to dive into Michael Myers’ childhood and attempt to provide a reasonable explanation for his murderous ways. No thanks. One of the scariest things about the original Michael was that there wasn’t a good explanation for his homicidal activity… something about him was just… pure evil. In Zombie’s version, he spends forty minutes accomplishing what the original film did before the opening credits. We are introduced to the Myers gang and between his stripper mother, deceased father, verbally abusive and alcoholic stand-in dad figure, and promiscuous older sister–plus the added bonus of school bullies–I think we are somehow supposed to understand why Michael Myers just had to go a little nutty. Does Zombie really expect us to empathize with this kid? If not, then what’s the point? If that wasn’t problematic enough, Michael was 5 or 6 in the original version and when he killed his sister, we were left with the impression that he didn’t really understand the severity of what he just did. In the 2007 version, Michael is 10, clearly understands death and the consequences of his actions, and murders four people before finally being locked away in Smith’s Grove. Ugh. The first part of this movie just makes me sick to think about. It’s the ultimate butchering of a classic. Michael Myers has dialogue. He kisses his baby brother (or sister, I don’t fucking know). He has long hair and looks like the raggedy outcast from The Mighty Ducks with the power slap shot. The little shit even puts on the classic inside out Shatner mask and parades around like a Mini-Me version of his future adult self. Hopefully we get to see an infant Freddy Krueger in a crib wearing a glove of knives and a fedora in the upcoming A Nightmare On Elm Street remake. I could really go on and on about how much this shit sucks.

And I will. Once at Smith’s Grove, we are subject to even more unnecessary character development. We are introduced to Malcolm McDowell as Professor Sam Loomis (played fantastically by the late Donald Pleasence in the original series), a child psychotherapist that watches helplessly as Michael slowly dissolves into social withdrawal and the sanctity of the masks he insists on wearing at all times. Again, too much time is wasted trying to explain something that is better off without explanation. None of these scenes mean anything and when Michael ultimately kills the nurse in charge of him (why someone would turn their back on a kid with four homicides under his belt to read a newspaper is beyond me) and his mother cracks under the pressure and commits suicide, I’m still as emotionless as Michael Myers should be. Despite all the added “development,” Loomis’ obsession with Myers doesn’t have nearly the impact that it did in the original series. It all leads up to one important question: Who fucking cares?

Fortunately, the movie takes a turn for the better once it jumps forward 15 years. In the meantime, Michael Myers has become a mute and Loomis has published a book describing Michael as “the devil.” For some reason, one of the hillbilly security guards at Smith’s Grove thinks it would be a good idea to invite his friend out to rape one of the female patients… in Michael’s room… while he is unbound, working on a mask at his desk, with his hands free. Yeah, it’s always smart to rile up a 6’9″ 250+ pound serial killer that looks like The Undertaker. Obviously, Myers escapes and we finally get to the meat of the movie. Danny Trejo plays a different security guard that has been watching over Michael for 17 years, developing a Dane Cook “thanks for the Snickers” relationship with the pyschopath, and I liked how Myers doesn’t hesitate for a second before drowning him and smashing his face in with a TV. That’s the Michael Myers I know and love.

The rest of the movie plays out pretty similarly to the original. Lots of stalking his sister, Carpenter’s classic score, and ghastly death scenes. Scout Taylor-Compton isn’t nearly the actress Jamie Lee Curtis is and her Laurie Strode is kind of bland. It’s kind of dope to see Danielle Harris in a role. She played 10 year old Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4 and Halloween 5 and returns in the new franchise as Laurie’s friend Annie Brackett. She’s such a good sport, that she even goes topless for several minutes while being chased by Myers.

All in all, Halloween is a pretty good remake once you get past the first forty minutes or so. Taylor Mane is a beast and makes Michael Myers more intimidating and scary than he ever was. I really liked the look of the mask in this movie too. I just hated the first third of this film so much that it kind of leaves of sour taste in my mouth. Thankfully, in Zombie’s upcoming sequel, we won’t have to wade through any corny background story and can get right into Michael Myers in beast mode. I’m looking forward to it.

Grade: 5 out of 10 (worth watching)