Archive for category Halloween
Yeah, I know we haven’t done anything on this site forever. We’ve been busy/lazy, blah blah blah blah. Well here’s something that I can post that requires almost no effort on my part, so I can continue on my with my blatant disregard for our 6 readers.
Director Michael Dougherty, the man behind 2007′s Trick ‘R Treat, has released a quick two-minute video for FearNet that briefly features Sam, the evil doll/ghoul from the film. It rides the line between adorable and morbid quite well and definitely makes me want to watch Trick ‘R Treat again. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and check it out (along with this new clip). It’s something to hold you over until Trick ‘R Treat 2, which is still in the works.
Happy Halloween everyone. Since I’m going out tonight (and you should be too), this meager post will have to suffice. I was going to compile this list myself, but about 400 people beat me to the punch. I present to you, a top 20 Michael Myers kills video as featured on GorillaMask. I think they did a pretty good job but the Halloween IV shotgun kill is a glaring omission. Don’t get too too wasted, kids. Never mind, you can.
AMC’s playing Halloween right now and that gives me the right to gush (again) about why I think it’s probably scariest damn movie ever. I’ve said this a hundred times already, but Halloween is a complete masterpiece. Every aspect – the score, the cinematography, the direction – is ingeniously executed. After sitting through Exorcist: The Beginning (not bad) and Thir13een Ghosts (terrible), Halloween came on. I’ve seen it at least 20 times and even now, it gets me right form the beginning. As soon as Judith turns off that bedroom light and Carpenter’s eerie score starts, I’m enthralled. In a few images, here is why I think Halloween is brilliant.
After weeks of wondering if AMC was abandoning its annual October horror movie marathon, they have finally put our fears to rest with the announcement of Fearfest ’09. I always look forward to having horror on at any given point for my consumption but in past years I’ve been somewhat disappointed with AMC’s selections. I do appreciate that they try to balance out the selection between older classics (Night of the Living Dead, The Fly) and newer films (Exorcist: The Beginning, Alien Resurrection) but I’m always wishing for movies not on their playlist. I guess I’m just being idealistic, but can’t we have The Beyond? Friday the 13th? Suspiria? The Descent? You get the idea – all the movies that I want to watch. Screw everyone else, right?
One thing I’ll never understand is the channel’s handling of the Halloween movies. In past years, they’ve played parts IV and V but not the original! And this year, they’ve completely omitted Halloween II but are playing parts I, IV, and V in a row. How can you just skip the second one?
But enough complaining. This year brings some great selections to the table including the full quadrilogy of Alien films, Puppetmaster, The Shining, Night of the Living Dead, Psycho, and The Frighteners. Additionally, they will be offering about a dozen of B-movies streaming online, along with quizzes, competitions, and other cool content.
The TV segments will be hosted by some genre staples including George Romero, Cloris Leachman and Margot Kidder. I know I’ll be catching as much as possible. Long live the horror marathon. Check out the official site for schedules and more.
Full list of films: Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, Return of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead, Jack the Ripper, The Brain Eaters, The Fly (1958), The Fly II (1989), Dracula (1979), Exorcist: The Beginning, End of Days, Wolf, The Beast Must Die, The Frighteners, Raising Cain, The Shining, Psycho, The Innocents, Thir13een Ghosts (2001), Halloween, Halloween IV, Halloween V, Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, King Kong, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, And Now the Screaming Starts, Puppetmaster, House on Haunted Hill (1999), Return to House on Haunted Hill (2007), Blood of Dracula, The She-Creature, Sabretooth, Young Frankenstein, The Ammityville Horror, Pinata: Survival Island, Night of the Living Dead.
I think it’s fair to say that such a fuss has never before been made over a straight to DVD horror film. Trick ‘r Treat has been the most highly-anticipated horror release in recent years. And rightfully so. After being denied a theatrical release for reasons I’ll never understand, Michael Dougherty‘s moody ensemble of horror tales finally saw the light of day this week.
Taking place on Halloween night in a small Ohio town, the film cleverly weaves together four equally-creepy story arcs in a tribute to both the genre and the holiday. While Trick ‘r Treat could be considered a horror anthology, that term is better reserved for Creepshow, to which it has already been compared. Rather than simply framing four tales within an overarching framework, Trick ‘r Treat‘s stories interact with and impact each other. Really, it’s one big snapshot of a horrific Halloween evening.
In this town, Halloween is a big event and everyone is up to their own hijinks. We follow four stories as they unfold – a creepy school principal (Dylan Baker) with some skeletons in his closet (or back yard, I should say), a group of five kids collecting jack-o-lanterns to pay tribute to victims of “the school bus massacre”, a 22-year-old (Anna Paquin) looking for the right man for her first time, and an old curmudgeon (Brian Cox) who is seemingly being stalked by a child wearing a burlap sack for a costume. This eerie burlap sack clad boy, Sam, is the main thread tying all the stories together as he plays a part in each. The stories are told by jumping back and forth in time throughout the evening to show events that occur simultaneously. It’s not the Memento take-a-drill-to-my-brain kind of jumping though. It’s easy to follow and is an effective device for weaving the tales together.
What makes Trick ‘r Treat special is not its scariness. Granted, there are some good jumps and suspenseful moments but they’re not going to keep you up at night. Instead, this film derives its strength from the atmosphere deftly created by excellent direction and photography. Dougherty and Director of Photography Glen MacPherson want you to be swept up by the spirit of Halloween and their execution is flawless – jack-o-lanterns adorn every property, dead leaves line the streets as crowds of eerily-dressed kids scour for candy, parties rage in the woods, and a shadowy mist obscures visibility at an abandoned rock quarry. It’s a celebration of Halloween mythos, and tradition that I haven’t seen in a horror film since Halloween IV.
On top of atmosphere, each story offers truly unexpected twists that make you both shiver and laugh at the same time. The characters aren’t particularly developed (there’s no back story for anyone), but because the story being told at present is so strong, underlying motivations and personality traits cease to matter. You won’t notice all of them at first, but once you’ve pasted the whole picture together in your mind, there are small nuances to be seen everywhere hinting at upcoming plot developments. I also found that just the right amount of gore is peppered in throughout as are nods to some genre staples (I noticed Halloween and Pet Sematary on first viewing).
So, does Trick ‘r Treat live up to its hype? I think so. It’s an inventive medley of everything that makes Halloween scary and fun at once. You’ll find yourself surprised where Dougherty brings each story, you’ll squirm with suspense, and you may begin to remember that horror movies can be fun too.
The Halloween series has its ups and downs. Well, mostly downs. John Carpenter’s original movie is nothing short of a genre-changing masterpiece but what followed it was a series of sequels ranging from pretty good to downright shameful. I have always held the belief that 1981′s Halloween II was the most effective sequel. While not the moody atmospheric gem that Halloween is, Halloween II is a creepy slasher that maintains many of its predecessor’s best elements. I was foolish in assuming that all other genre fans also felt this way. While browsing Bloody-Disgusting recently, I dug through a 43-page Halloween IV thread where I was surprised to see many people defending it as the series’ best sequel. I hadn’t seen it in at least five years but what I remembered was that it was about Michael returning to Haddonfield to stalk his niece. Maybe I had been wrong all of those years. Maybe Halloween IV was the best sequel, as it has been described as “the only (sequel) with any suspense” and “superior to H2 is every way”.
So, I’ve re-watched both of them with a critical eye and here’s my breakdown. Please feel free to second my opinion, rip me to shreds, etc… All opinions are welcome here. A WHOLE LOT MORE after the jump. Read on.
I feel like I’ve been gearing up to write about this movie for a decade now. Seriously though, the anticipated failure of H2 has been a hot topic for months now. And now the movie is out, I’ve seen it and maybe I can pick a new topic to obsess about. Anyway, here we go.
As I just said, I’ve had nothing but contempt for the idea of this film ever since Rob Zombie’s initial attempt at the Michael Myers legend. Zombie’s Halloween was a trough of cliches, ill-placed cameos, bad acting and worst of all, it wasn’t scary. So, I expected nothing more from H2 and I wasn’t far off. Rather than attempt to remake the original Halloween II, Zombie took his film in an entirely different direction. This film bears no resemblance to its 1981 predecessor, save for a quick scene in Haddonfield hospital.
H2 picks up right where Halloween left off – Michael is seemingly dead at the hands of Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton), Annie (Danielle Harris) has been taken away in an ambulance and Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) appears to be dead as well. Sheriff Bracket (Brad Dourif – who gives the only decent performance in this film) finds Laurie hobbling down the street covered in blood, holding a gun and whimpering “I killed him” over and over. Myers’ body is taken away in a van and Laurie is swiftly admitted to the hospital. Now, about five minutes in, enter your first taste of Zombie’s white trash dialogue as the one of the morgue workers tells his buddy that he was getting turned on by the dead body he saw at the Myers’ place. Coroners are creepy – get it? Right.
While engaged in this conversation, the driver stops paying attention and plows right into a cow standing in the middle of the road. The impact apparently jostles Michael awake and he proceeds to murder the coroner who survived the crash, ending his thoughts of raping dead bodies. Following this, Michael tracks Laurie down at the hospital and stalks her. While not great, this scene was ultimately H2′s most effective one. There is at least a little tension as Laurie attempts to flee with her leg in a huge cast and as she tries to hide in a security outpost booth. Unfortunately, this turns out to only be a dream sequence. It’s as if Zombie is showing us that he can create some suspense and then tells us to forget it – it’s just a dream.
Flash forward a year later – Myers’ body is missing, Laurie is living with the Bracketts, and Loomis has become an astonishing sell-out douchebag who is hocking a book about Myers. We learn that Myers has been biding his time in the outskirts of Haddonfield and growing one hell of a beard in the process. As Halloween nears, he migrates back toward his former home to unleash more mayhem. That’s the basic plot. I won’t spoil much more than that. Actually, I probably will in a few hundred words when I talk about the ending.
As you may know already, Zombie chose to physically manifest Myers’ evil motivations. The ghost of Deborah Myers (Sherri Moon Zombie, of course) and the spirit of Michael as a young boy are shown literally guiding Myers as he carries out his crimes. Sherri even walks with a white horse. This frustrating melodrama continues throughout the entire film under the guise of being eerie but fails to illicit anything more than an eye roll.
Worse yet, Zombie introduces the idea that Laurie and Michael are psychically linked. That is, Laurie begins having visions about Myers as he kills people in order to get closer to her. I have some thoughts about Carpenter’s choice to reveal Laurie as Myers’ sister in the original Halloween II, but at least he did it without cheesy visions and backlit ghostly incarnations of his mother. Zombie’s Myers is hell bent on killing Laurie in order to satisfy his mother (in his head, I guess…bah, who cares?).
While Zombie’s first attempt at this franchise relied on cheap jumps and the “scary” idea of a child torturing animals and other pop-psychology cliches, H2 goes straight to violence for the sake of violence. Here is how Michael kills people in H2: Stab, victim falls. Stab, stab, stab, stab, stab, and then….stab. All the while, Myers is grunting up a storm. Beyond those kills, Zombie goes so over the top with his violence that it just becomes cheap and stupid. Sure, it may be brutal to watch for the first 15 minutes of the film but eventually you find yourself desensitized and bored. Violence alone cannot make up for the fact that this movie is not scary.
We have a decent amount of hick screen time in H2, as well. All the locals speak like they’re from Tennessee, with the exception of the main characters of course. And in this “extreme vision”, Haddonfield Halloween parties seem to include to include strippers on stage with a band.
**HUGE SPOILER ALERT** What annoyed me the most was this movie’s ending. After Myers takes Laurie prisoner in a barn, she too starts to see Deborah’s ghost and becomes physically restrained by long-haired child Michael. When Michael is cut down by Sheriff Brackett’s sniper rifle, he falls into some spikes (farming equipment, I assume). Laurie comes to his side, strokes his face, and says “I love you brother”. She then proceeds to stab Michael about a dozen times until he is dead. I’m sure you can see where this is going. Laurie walks out of the barn wearing Myers’ mask (which looks hysterical on her small body). She ends up in a mental institution much like her dead brother did so long ago. The camera zooms in on her face and she issues a menacing smile while Sherri Moon walks down the corridor with her stupid horse. The cycle begins anew.
That’s all. What can I say? Yeah, it was definitely better than Zombie’s first Halloween. He toned down the hicks a bit and left Sid Haig out of the picture at least. However, Zombie continues to prove that he’s not capable of doing anything other than what he’s done before. There’s nothing interesting, scary, or different here. The plot is bare bones, we don’t care about any of the characters, Loomis plays literally no role, and Zombie throws in pointless scenes of Myers killing locals for violence’s sake. This is Myers at his most human and it is also Myers at his worst. Fans of John Carpenter’s Halloween, Rob Zombie has a message for you:
I’m late to the game here (as always) but an unused H2 trailer surfaced this week on Bloody-Disgusting, giving us some more insight about Zombie’s redneck rehash plot.
I’m not sure if this was used in the previous trailer (maybe I just didn’t notice it), but does Michael really spray paint “Welcome to my holiday” on a wall? REALLY? That’s the corniest shit I’ve ever seen. I’ll be at the theater in a week to see this and as well done as the trailers are from a production standpoint, I can only believe they will be misleading. I hate this pop-psychology inspired Michael. But I’ll give it a chance…
My favorite filmmaker, Rob Zombie, has released a new image from Halloween 2 (courtesy of Bloody Disgusting) which is set to open on August 28th. This new still shows Michael in his long-haired child stage restraining an adult Laurie. I assume this is some kind of dream sequence, as this situation is chronologically impossible. But then again, with Rob Zombie you never know. Also this synopsis:
“Unleashing a trail of terror that only horror master Rob Zombie can, Myers will stop at nothing to bring closure to the secrets of his twisted past. But the town’s got an unlikely new hero, if they can only stay alive long enough to stop the unstoppable.”
I agree with one thing here. Rob Zombie definitely can unleash a trail of terror – namely, his career as a filmmaker. Truly terrifying. But despite the fact that it will probably be about 101 minutes of rednecks, cliches and a few jump scares, I have to go see it. I suffer for my hobbies.
In somewhat happier news (depending on your stance), Platinum Dunes released its first image of Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger in their 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Part of me wants to not like this movie because I’m generally annoyed at remakes and “re-imaginings”. While the original NOES is a great genre-influencing film, as the series progressed, Freddy became a caricature of himself. The terrifying Freddy of 1984 was replaced with a sarcastic ghoul who spouts one-liners.
From what I’ve seen and read so far, it seems like Freddy is returning to form with this new film. He looks pretty damn creepy in this shot anyway. I’m down for this one. Hopefully we’ll get a trailer soon.