Monthly Archives: October 2016

Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009) Review

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

10

Remember in my last review when I said reviewing a remake was difficult because everyone knows the story already? Well, Rob Zombie’s Halloween II bears no resemblance to its 1981 counterpart so that will not be a problem here. In fact, this movie bears no resemblance to any of the other Halloween films at all. After the success of the 2007 remake Rob Zombie was given the freedom to do whatever he wanted with the sequel and as a result what we got was the strangest entry in the franchise since Halloween III.

The story picks up precisely where the last one left off. Laurie is taken to a hospital and the “body” of Michael Myers is being taken on a gurney to the morgue in an ambulance. The two ambulance drivers become distracted and hit head on a cow on the road. The driver’s head is mashed to a pulp and the other paramedic in the passenger seat is not much better off. He suffers from lacerations, broken bones, and who knows what else but it doesn’t last long since Michael awakens from the crash and slashes the mans throat with a piece of broken glass.
He tracks Laurie to the hospital where he kills several of the nursing staff, but before he can get to his sister she awakens from the experience which is nothing but a nightmare. It’s unclear if the death of the ambulance drivers is real or a part of the dream and the film does not say. She is now living with Sheriff Brackett and his daughter Annie who, a year after the events of the previous film, have still not fully recovered emotionally. Laurie and Annie’s relationship is starting to fall apart as Laurie’s PTSD is causing her to fall deeper and deeper into insanity.

Elsewhere, Michael is wandering about on his own while having strange visions of his mother dressed in white followed by a ten year old version of himself and a white horse. These apparitions are telling him it is time to bring Laurie home and so he heads to Haddonfield to find her.

Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis has become extremely famous and has published another book disclosing more details on the Myers case. The book is an overnight sensation and he is asked to appear on talk shows and speak at seminars. All the fame goes to his head and Dr. Loomis turns into a monstrous diva with a high opinion of himself who takes himself more seriously than he ought to. In fact he takes himself so seriously that he actually becomes offended when he shares a guest spot on a talk show with Weird Al. I’m not sure what Loomis’s problem is here, but if I got a chance to meet Weird Al I would not be upset no matter how serious my work was. And here we get a great scene where Weird Al jokingly asks Dr. Loomis if Michael Myers is the actor from Austen Powers. It’s about time the connection got made.
Although some people are not taking the Doctor’s ego seriously others are enraged at him and claim he is profiting off of the tragedy of Michael Myers’s victims. A leading point of contention that many of his critics have against him is that he displays no discretion with the information he reveals in his book. In fact it is through this book that Laurie finally discovers that she is Michael’s sister which had not yet been told to her. This further causes her mental health to fracture.

Laurie trying to get away from her emotional problems goes to a party. When she returns home she finds her friend Annie murdered by Michael who has been going though Haddonfield killing anyone who got in his way on his quest to find Laurie. She flees and hitches a ride in a car, but fails when Michael kills the driver and knocks her unconscious. He takes her to an abandoned shed where she begins sharing in Michael’s visions of her mother and the younger Michael Myers. The police arrive and Dr. Loomis who is with them tries to reason with Laurie who is hallucinating that the younger Michael is holding her down. The elder Michael Myers kills Dr. Loomis just before Sheriff Brackett shoots him down. Laurie approaches the downed Michael and stabs him multiple times. Completely maddened by all this trauma she takes Michael’s mask which is crumbling to bits and puts it on before leaving the shed.
Later at a psychiatric hospital she is sitting alone on a bed when she suddenly has a vision of her mother and the white horse coming for her. She looks on them and starts to grin.

For a long time I was not sure what I was supposed to make of this movie. Except for the visions this sequel is ultra-bloody, gritty, and realistic with its execution. It stands to reason that Michael’s mask would fall apart which explains why for much of the film we see Michael without it. Instead he dons a hoodie and his face is covered in shadow most of the time and when we do see his face it’s covered in a long beard. A shaggy Michael Myers is certainly a step away from the series’s usual trends, but, when you think about it, it makes sense. Would Michael really shave? I doubt it. Then of course he would have a beard!
Being realistic is what this movie does. It does things that make sense if this story happened in the real world. The characters who survived the last film have severe emotional issues and PTSD. Michael has a beard. The mainstream media are callous to true life tragedy and making jokes about how Michael’s name is similar to Mike Myers the comedian from Austen Powers. These are the sort of things we would expect to happen if Michael Myers really existed.

Halloween II puts Michael in the world we live in today. The horror genre has always reflected the fears of its reflective generation. In the atomic age 1950’s and 60’s B movies depicted giant monsters created by nuclear waste because nuclear Armageddon was a strong fear among the movie-going generation. In the 1970’s through the early 90’s films were about serial murderers like Jason, Freddy, Michael, or Leatherface in reaction to how violent the world was getting in those decades.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween II was released in 2009. This is a time period where we have the internet and the news media is daily reporting school shootings, terrorist bombings, and bodies of young girls being found in rivers. The world is violent and ugly and the close, quick transmission of information in the digital age has created people callous to all of it. People no longer can bat an eye at real life violence the way they would in 1978.
And it is into these times that Rob Zombie puts Michael Myers. The violence in this film is brutal and realistic with a raw tension that is completely unlike the stylised fantasy gore of typical slasher films. The news media is depicted in a way similar to the way it was depicted in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. None of these journalists, talk show hosts, and speakers give a shit about the innocent lives that were murdered. They are cashing in on information and using it to bolster their own popularity. Halloween II shows us monsters on both sides. It’s not just about the boogeyman any more. Real life horrors are thrown at us relentlessly. When Sheriff Brackett discovers the body of his daughter we see him break down and the films shows us glimpses of his memories of her as a child. It’s a heartbreaking scene that reminds us that in an ugly world these lost lives are still losses and not mere statistics rising as the world becomes crueler.
Looking at the film this way has allowed it to grow on me. I hated it when I first saw it, but every time I re-watch it I understand what Zombie was trying to do a little more. I must confess I like this sequel a better than the 2007 remake. In fact it is quickly becoming one of my favourite entries in the franchise. Unpopular opinion, I know. But, I stand by it.
The 2007 film was just a take-it-or-leave-it exploitation interpretation of the original 1978 classic. This sequel on the other hand does something different and for the first time in a long time actually has something to say. The message may have been missed by most fans which is why it failed miserably, but the more I view it the more I like it.

Thanks to everyone who has been following these reviews. Next year I shall be reviewing a new franchise. See you next year and have a Happy Halloween!

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Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007) Review

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

9

One of the hazards of reviewing a remake when you had just reviewed the original is there is not much to say when it comes to reviewing the story. When it comes to remakes the only thing to talk about is the differences. Thankfully, the Rob Zombie Halloween remake is significantly unique from its 1978 predecessor. The differences are mostly in tone and atmosphere, but there are some notable story alterations as well.
The original Halloween was a bloodless, suspenseful, Hitchcockian thriller with the music and setting creating a frightening atmosphere. The Zombie version, on the other hand, is a more or less exploitation-styled retelling of the Michael Myers story that’s brutal, gory, loud, and obnoxiously verbose with strong language and sexually-charged dialogue. It’s a nasty piece of work which looks and feels vile, trashy, and disgusting in all the ways Rob Zombie knows best how to deliver.
For some fans this will be a bad thing and for others it will just be another interpretation of the Myers mythos albeit in a different horror subgenre. We already had the Hitchcockian suspense version. So why not the exploitation drive-in film version be next?.

One noticeable difference is that we are given a much more intimate look at Michael’s childhood and home life before we see his eventually transformation into the mute, mask-wearing stalker we know today. This is, in my opinion, one of the weaker aspects of the film because as I said in previous reviews Michael Myers doesn’t need a backstory. He is at his best when he is just evil incarnate without him having to be indoctrinated in druidic cults that demand blood sacrifices from him to explain his motivations and emotional baggage.
While not being a part of a cult, the Rob Zombie version gives us a family history of abuse and neglect that eventually culminates in a violent outburst in which Michael not only kills his older sister, but also her boyfriend and his stepfather as well. Rob Zombie loves violence so much that he just makes up characters for him to kill. He is like the George R. R. Martin of the horror world.
His family consists of a stripper for a mother, a drunken abusive lout for a stepdad, and a vulgar bimbo for a sister. All of them, we are led to believe, contributed to his descent into violence and all of them are not necessary to tell his story. In the original film when his parents drove up after he killed his sister they looked pretty normal. They drove a decent car and didn’t dress like trailer trash. And that was the better way to go. The less reason Michael has to kill people the better. Michael needs to be that inexplicable fluke in humanity devoid of human emotion and moral sentiments. The backstories undo all of that and I think Rob Zombie seriously screwed up when he tried to make sense of Michael’s behaviour.

We see further expansion on Michael’s development as an emergent mass murderer during his time at Smith’s Grove Asylum. There Michael is befriended by child psychiatrist, Sam Loomis (here played by Malcolm McDowell) who tries to reach out to Michael who claims to have no memory of the murders. The boy becomes more and more insular as time wears on and he becomes less and less forthcoming to the doctor until he stops speaking altogether. He starts obsessing over these homemade masks he constructs made of cardboard and coloured markers which he refuses to take off. He develops an almost schizophrenic fear of being seen by others and as he becomes more and more uncontrollable and aggressive he is eventually isolated and handcuffed at all times for the next fifteen years. His mother commits suicide unwilling to cope and Dr. Loomis devotes his life in studying him. He eventually publishes a book about Michael in which he expounds on his view that Michael is pure evil without soul or moral conscience.
He eventually tells Michael that he is no longer going to visit him any more as he needs to move on with his life. The film does not explicitly state that this is what provoked him to escape, but not long afterward Michael breaks out and violently kills much of the staff and security employed at the hospital.

The rest of the film is pretty much the same as the original except for its distinct Rob Zombie flavour. There is more blood, more tits, more foul language and the characters are less likeable and endearing. Laurie Strode is about as vulgar and potty-mouthed as anyone else in the film. In fact, in her first appearance in the movie one of the first things we hear her say is a gross sexual joke using her finger and a bagel to demonstrate.
Many of the other characters in the movie are different in personality too. Sheriff Brackett is played by Brad Dourif (of Chucky fame) and he is less pleasant to Dr. Loomis here than he was in the original. The reasons for this are that Dr. Loomis is a much less likeable man who used the Michael Myers case to sell a book which leaves Sheriff Brackett unimpressed with the doctor’s integrity and unhappy that he is in his town.

Among other differences Michael doesn’t steal his signature mask from a hardware store, but retrieves it from his old house. Why was it there in the first place? Well, just before he killed his sister Judith fifteen years ago her boyfriend brought it with him for what he hoped would be some kinky role playing. He was unsuccessful and Michael puts it to better use.
Another difference is that Laurie’s friend Annie Brackett survives in this film rather than getting killed like she was in the original. She also doesn’t use the word “totally” nearly as much as she used to and she is played by none other than Danielle Harris herself who was Jamie Lloyd in Halloweens 4 and 5. I am not sure why Rob Zombie chose to spare the life of a character, but I imagine it must have pained him dearly knowing how much he loves gore which is why I am guessing he has Michael kill off Laurie’s foster parents in this movie who had survived in the original film.

Other than these things and the nearly hour long prologue delving into Michael Myers’ childhood the film’s plot is identical to the original classic. It’s just bloodier, raunchier, and more vulgar. But that is style, not substance.
John Carpenter and Rob Zombie both made a Halloween movie according to their respective styles and so both are vastly different in tone and mood. Carpenter’s is more subtle and frightening and Zombie’s is more loud, violent, and obscene. I think they both made the best Halloween movie they could make with the talents they had.
I don’t hate the Rob Zombie Halloween like some people do because I have no expectations for it other than it to be the sort of flick I can expect from Rob Zombie. And that is precisely what it is. It achieved its aims and it achieved them well. If you prefer Carpenter’s style like me then that is the one you will like more. If you are a gorehound and exploitation drive-in cinema junkie then you will like what Zombie did with the place when he moved in. To each their own.

Halloween Resurrection Review

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

8

Halloween: Resurrection is by far the worst Halloween movie ever made! It is worse than Rob Zombie’s Halloween II. It is worse than Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Yes, it is even worse than Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
Making a film this terrible right after the series’ revitalisation in H20 seems like an accomplishment in and of itself. I am at a loss for an explanation for what the writers and director were thinking. H20 was a serious attempt to bring the series out of the campiness and absurdity of the recent sequels and to bring Halloween back to its more suspenseful roots.
So whatever lobotomised intellectual reject who greenlit this insulting piece of tripe needs to seriously reconsider the appropriateness of their continued involvement in this franchise. If you spent a few hours scrubbing the bathtub after your 2 year old took a dump in it you would not immediately afterward pull down your pants and take a shit in it yourself. And that is precisely what this film does. It shits on the effort made to make the franchise serious again. And every time I view this horrendous rubbish I scratch my head wondering why.

The film takes placeĀ  a few years after H20 and we discover Laurie Strode has been in a mental hospital the entire time since. It turns out that the man she decapitated in the previous film was not Michael Myers, but a police officer Michael stuffed into the body bag when no one was looking. He switched clothes with him and even put his mask on him. To keep him from crying out and identifying himself he crushed the officer’s larynx rendering him voiceless. Ignoring certain plot holes (like how a normal guy with a crushed larynx had the strength the rip himself out of a body bag, why Michael did not simply kill him so he could just pass as his corpse, or why the officer didn’t just take the mask off when he got out of the bag) the main point we are supposed to take away from this is that Laurie killed an innocent man and went crazy with grief.

With the same apparent investigative prowess Michael displayed in the last film he once again discovers Laurie’s current location and breaks into the asylum. Laurie faces him and almost defeats him again before she hesitates knowing that she once murdered an innocent wearing Michael’s mask. Unfortunately, her hesitation yields disastrous results and she is killed by Myers. It took him over two decades, but Michael Myers’ mission is now complete. When you think about it Laurie was being quite stupid since unlike Ben Traymor and the decapitated cop this man dressed as Myers actually did try to kill her. I would also point out removing his mask to identify him as Michael would be pointless since she has no idea what Michael Myers even looks like. Last time she saw his face was 20 years ago in a dark hallway.
Isn’t this a wonderful way to begin a bad movie? Before unleashing all of the really stupid shit upon us Halloween Resurrection flushes out the last vestige of quality the franchise had by killing off our heroic icon. Laurie Strode is now dead and all we have left is a story so retarded that I can scarcely believe what I am seeing.

Sometime later a reality network that showcases live programmes streaming on the internet is auditioning for some young college students to spend the night live at the old Myers house. The network is called Dangertainment and is run by Busta Rymes and Tyra Banks. Actually they are characters played by Rymes and Banks, but I am too lazy to research their character names for a film this disgustingly offensive to me. The less time I spend on this review the less moments of my precious mortality I waste.
A bunch of cameras are placed throughout the house which live viewers can switch back and forth to over the web. But, Rymes, feeling that spending the night at the childhood home of a mass murderer isn’t interesting enough, decides to plant a bunch of fake props to spice up the production. Now the old Myers house has fake skeletons in the walls and weird toys that look like they came out of Sid Phillips’ bedroom to imply that Myers had a troubled childhood. Because nothing is more tasteful and respectful to victims’ families than making their killers out to be the boogeyman. I mean, just imagine if someone hosted an overnight stay at Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment and placed fake body parts in the fridge. I know Michael Myers isn’t real, but in context to the film’s world Busta Rymes is a serious asshole. Cashing in on tragedy for entertainment is a real dick move. But, perhaps I shouldn’t say too much since this film itself is a tragedy and I am writing a review of it to gain more traffic on this blog.

One of the actresses, that I will just call the Heroine because I am on principle actively refusing to look up any details I forgot on this stupid movie, who was selected to be on the show is online friends with a computer nerd whom she relies on for encouragement throughout her involvement with the production. He even goes so far as to bring his laptop to a Halloween party he is invited to so he can quietly watch her show while his peers get drunk and make out in the corner.
Sadly for Ryme’s career his fake props and cheap scare gags impress no one and soon his audience and the participants start actively looking for fake props and gags to laugh at and mock at his own expense. This, of course, presents a serious problem for the jaded audience when the real Michael shows up and starts murdering the actors and actresses for real. Most of the audience streaming the programme think the murders are fake, but, the computer nerd believes they are real and calls the police. He is dismissed by the cops as a prank caller and is disbelieved. He starts texting the Heroine to help her find safe places to hide since being an audience member he has access to all the cameras’ feeds. He eventually helps her escape and to make a terrible story short Busta Rymes shows up, does some karate moves on Michael, and then leaves him to die in a fire. Before making his exit Mr. Rymes decides to give us some great lines like “Trick or treat, motherfucker!” and “Happy fucking Halloween.” Remember the good old days when Halloween dialogue consisted of Dr. Loomis creepily ranting about the “devil’s eyes” and hell refusing to take Michael into the Abyss?
Busta and the Heroine are met by some press people trying to interview them to get the scoop on what happened, but Rymes, now a changed and somber man, pontificates that the horrific events are not something to cash in on; but a serious tragedy that should not be taken lightly. While I agree with him I would suggest he still get off his high horse since less than 24 hours ago he was just as bad as those reporters and tabloid journalists. In his position the only stance he can take outside of hypocrisy is one of pity rather than scorn.

Later on Michael’s body is taken to the morgue and about to be examined by a coroner when his eyes suddenly open and the credits begin to role.

Unfortunately, the loose ends established by that cliffhanger are never rectified since no sequel was ever made. In 2007 the first Halloween was remade by Rob Zombie rebooting the series and ending the original continuity. I say unfortunately only because I don’t think any sequel to Halloween Resurrection could have been this bad. The movie is an atrocity that undermines everything H20 tried to do. What really pisses me off is that Resurrection actually continues to ignore Halloweens 3-6 just like H20 did. While those films aren’t that good it still takes a lot of balls for a movie like Halloween Resurrection to assert itself as better. That would be like General Ambrose Burnside or James Abercrombie snubbing Patton and Napoleon at a party. Halloween Resurrection is in no position to put on airs.

The humour is stupid and poorly timed, the characters are all either morons or assholes, the plot makes no sense, and no respect is paid to the franchise.
I am still sitting here amazed that a sequel this terrible could be made right after H20. Most movie franchises degenerate with time as they go along, but they don’t do a sudden 180. The James Bond film Moonraker didn’t immediately follow From Russia with Love. It occurred during the notorious Roger Moore era. Nor did Jason X didn’t come right after Friday the 13th Part IV. It followed Jason Goes to Hell and Jason Takes Manhattan. Obvious patterns of badness are set before the worst of the bunch is revealed. Halloween Resurrection is one shocking exception. I am not sure who thought this sequel was a good idea, but it was one of the worst fuck ups in horror history.

Halloween H20 Review

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

7

Halloween H20 is the last good Halloween movie in the series. The franchise has this peculiar habit of fixing mistakes and taking the films in the right direction only to fuck it up again immediately afterward. Halloween H20 is just another example as the sequel Halloween: Resurrection will demonstrate. But, for now, let us focus on what is sadly the final film that treats the series with the reverence and dignity it deserves. Halloween H20 is not without its problems, but its imperfections are mild especially when compared to the movies that preceded it.

The story completely ignores the continuity of Halloweens 4, 5, and 6 and instead takes place 20 years after Halloween II pretending as if the events of those other sequels never happened. This is a good thing since if we were to believe that those films were canon we would be forced to view Laurie Strode as one colossal, heartless bitch. According to Halloween H20 Laurie had faked her own demise to hide from Michael Myers who survived the explosion in the Haddonfield hospital and had been missing ever since. If the other films were canon the only possible conclusion to make of this would be that she had abandoned her daughter Jamie and is either oblivious or apathetic to her death in 1995 and the birth of her grandson Steven. Thankfully that is not the case.
And skipping the sequels after Halloween II is a good idea for other reasons too. Now, the idiotic Cult of Thorn nonsense is behind us and we don’t have Jamie Lloyd adding any complications to the plot. While I miss Dr. Loomis it may be for the best that he had died in the explosion 20 years ago instead of turning into an overly obsessed maniac using children as bait and fighting off supernatural cults like he was Kolchak or something.

The film starts with a brief prologue where Michael Myers appears in Langdon, Illinois where the nurse who worked at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium in 1978 is now living. At her home he kills her and two teenagers (one of them played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and takes off with a file on Laurie Strode. With this he somehow deduces that Laurie is now living in California as a teacher at a private boarding school called Hillcrest Academy.
Her son, John, is a student here and he and his girlfriend Molly and their two friends Charlie and Sarah decide to have a Halloween party while the other students go away to an overnight field in Yosemite. Being underage they are forced to remain on campus in their dormitories. They try to keep this from bumming them out by planning a Halloween party in their dorm’s basement. Feeling strangled by his mother’s overprotectiveness John sneaks out of the campus by getting on the school security guard’s good side. This guard is played by LL Cool J and when he is not being a security guard he is working on a raunchy romance novel he is writing. This character is pretty goofy and he is the obvious comic relief of the film. However, unlike the two bumbling cops in Halloween 5, LL Cool J is not out of place and the humour he adds to the story doesn’t ruin the tone of the entire piece. I honestly wish there was more of him in this movie.
Unfortunately for John, he gets caught by his mother outside of the campus and she angrily sends him back.
Laurie, for all of John’s life, has been overprotective of him and her alcoholism has done no wonders for their straining relationship. She has a boyfriend named Will who is a psychiatrist and his career seems to have afforded him a great deal of patience in dealing with Laurie’s quirks especially when she finally reveals to him that she is the sister of mass murderer Michael Myers. He takes the news very well and it is never clear if he believes her or not.

By this time Michael Myers has made it to California and is lurking about Hillcrest. Driving an old truck from Illinois to California he stops at the gate during the night and sneaks out of the vehicle while leaving it running in neutral. He sneaks past the guard who approaches the vehicle to investigate and enters the campus.
At the Halloween party he kills Charlie and Sarah and begins stalking John and Molly. Fleeing from him they run into Laurie and Will who rescue them. They hide the two teens before deciding that killing Michael is the only way to survive.
Will sees the security guard and mistakes him for Michael. Will shoots the man and discovers his error only after the fact. Michael appears around the corner and stabs Will to death. Whether Michael killed him for simply being there or because he was an LL Cool J fan, the film doesn’t say.

In the ensuing fight Laurie gets the upper hand and stabs Michael Myers multiple times presumably killing him. LL Cool J shows up afterward having survived the shooting and he and Laurie call the police. While the coroner is taking away Michael’s body the security guard gets inspired by his experiences to write a romantic thriller. Yay, I guess.
However, Laurie does not believe Michael is truly dead and hijacks the coroner’s van. True to her suspicions Michael starts wriggling in the body bag and she slams the brakes causing Michael to fly out through the windshield. She runs him over with the van and pins him to a tree. Michael reaches out his arm toward Laurie and as he does this she takes an axe and lops off his head. With Michael Myers dead the only horrors to plague the world now are the soon to be published novels of LL Cool J.

While not a perfect film, by any means, Halloween H20 is certainly a marked improvement over the sequels we have been treated to earlier. That being said there are some illogical moments; for example, how did Michael know where to find Laurie if she had faked her own death? I really do not think the file on her from Smith’s Grove would shed any light on what her aliases were, where she was, or even whether she was alive at all. In fact, the whole prologue sequence is not even necessary. Barring Michael himself, no one in that scene is in the rest of the film and I think they could have written a better reason for Michael knowing how to find his sister.
There is also a very strange scene with actress Janet Leigh (the woman who got stabbed in the shower in Psycho) who has a brief bit of dialogue with Laurie. Janet’s character simply expresses some maternal feelings for Laurie before she leaves with a bit of music from Psycho subtly playing in the background. The in-joke, of course, is that Janet Leigh is the real life mother of Jamie Lee Curtis, but the scene would seem like a bizarre lingering bit of meaninglessness to a viewer who did not know that. Overall the moment is pointless and I wish they would have incorporated Leigh in a scene more connected to the film’s plot.

Those points, thankfully, are my only complaints about Halloween H20. It’s a fairly generic slasher film, but it presents a nice, dignified climax to the series. Michael is dead and Laurie’s nightmares are over. That is, of course, if you accept this as the series’s true conclusion. I certainly do. But, one more sequel was produced and I will be reviewing that one soon. However, for a casual fan of Michael Myers who just wants to see the best of the Halloween series this is my recommended stopping point.

The Quilted Mannequin

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Colors scattered throughout the shivered blanket piece, those shiny brims were too close to make out being so stale. Funded with cash, they brought to you a withered view of the future. They stood in rows of three, all supported by beams of lighting. They were taken out, fished in the ocean and briskly shaken. Those worlds are pixelated, the mannequins have a purpose in this machine. The fight is harder than you thought, the opposition deadens your attacks with brutal gestures. They are equipped with sharp centered teeth, used to relish in a glorious disfigurement. These fights are for the betterment of you who wish for a better life, those that know what war means.

Contributors- Chris Ballenger

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers Review

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

6

While not being guilty of being the worst Halloween film of all time Halloween 6 is to be blamed for completely ruining the mystique of Michael Myers and that is bad enough. In the original Halloween Michael was without motivation and reason, but instead operated solely as a mindless force of evil. Here he is portrayed as some servant who does what he does because he is told to. Michael Myers is scarier when he works alone and for no reason. But the creators of Halloween 6 seem to disagree. They seem to think that the best thing to be done with Michael is to give him a motivation and a reason for the things he did. And it is for this revelation that the poorly made Halloween 5 spent so much time on confusing setup. It all culminates in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers which is sadly the last time we see Donald Pleasance as Dr. Loomis as the actor died shortly after this film was made.

The story is set about six years after Halloween 5 and Jamie is held captive in some strange facility where she is about to give birth. The father is not identified, but we are led to assume that he is one of the associates of the Man in Black who is apparently an official in a cult that is somehow controlling Michael Myers. To coincide to with a constellation that will be visible on Halloween the cult desires to sacrifice Jamie’s baby in some Druidic ritual. The constellation forms the Runic Thorn symbol we saw on Michael’s wrist briefly in the last film and it occurs every few decades. When it appears in the sky the Cult of Thorn sends a child that they groom to kill his or her entire family and Michael Myers was that child in 1963. Trying to kill Laurie and Jamie was just an attempt to finish the job all those years ago.
Why he felt the need to kill a bunch of other people who weren’t even remotely in his way is beyond me, but that is just one of the many logical inconsistencies that occurs when you try to create an explanatory backstory to a story with no such backstory in mind when it was first written.

After her baby is born Jamie manages to escape with it thanks to the help of one of the nurses who pities the girl. Michael kills the nurse for this, but Jamie gets away in a stolen truck before he or the other cult members can catch her. At a deserted bus station she calls a Haddonfield radio station to tell a shock jock to warn Haddonfield that Michael is returning. He doesn’t believe her and he hangs up on her while making fun of her on the air. I am not sure why she didn’t just call the police. If a bunch of Druids were trying to kill me and my kid I would call the cops not Howard Stern.
But anyway, seeing that she is not being believed she hides the baby in a bathroom and flees to a barn where Michael finds and kills her using some farming equipment. Before she dies Jamie tells Michael that he can’t have the baby. Michael then realises that the child is no where to be found and leaves in a rage.

Elsewhere, there was one listener that did believe her story on the radio and that was Tommy Doyle of Haddonfield who lives across from the old Myers house. There he spends his time studying the killer who once tried to murder him and his babysitter 17 years ago and spying on the neighbours next door who live in the old house. They are the Strodes who are relatives of Laurie’s adoptive family. Due to the house’s history they got the house for cheap. The father is an overbearing, awful, piece of shit who is verbally and physically abusive to his family; the mother is a timid quiet woman who craves calm and serenity and fears her husband, his teenage son Tim is pretty laid back for a kid living in the sort of family he is in, and his daughter Kara is staying with them for awhile until she can finish college. She had run away from home years ago, but returned when she had a son with an unknown father and her dad resents her for it.
Whether Tommy Doyle sees the extent of the domestic strife in the Strode family is not known, but he still has much cause for concern since he knows that that house once belonged to Michael and his family.

Kara’s son, Danny, is hearing voices telling him to kill his family, but his mother thinks it is just a six-year old having nightmares. Unfortunately, the voice is more than a fantasy and is the same voice that prompted Michael Myers to kill his sister in the 60’s.

Meanwhile, Tommy Doyle is studying the background noise from Jamie’s call to the radio station and he determines that she must have been at the bus station during the time the call was made. He goes there and finds the baby in the bathroom. He takes the child home to his apartment and names him Steven. Thankfully his landlady, Mrs. Blankenship, is deaf and won’t be aware of the infant living under her roof.

Elsewhere, Dr. Loomis is retired and working on a book he is writing when he is visited by his friend Terence who was an old colleague at the Smith’s Grove Sanitarium where Michael Myers was placed as a child. They drink and reminisce for awhile and then the next day Loomis is out and about and runs into Tommy Doyle who has the baby with him. Tommy believes the child belongs to Jamie and he and the doctor both conclude that Michael Myers is alive and returning to Haddonfield.
Loomis tries to warn the Strode family, but he is disbelieved and Mr. and Mrs. Strode are eventually killed in their own home by Michael. Tim and his girlfriend are killed some hours later when they return from a party and decide to have sex in the bedroom upstairs. Having sex is another one of those big no-no’s in scary movie lore that always attracts the killer and Halloween 6 sees no reason to be an exception.

Meanwhile Danny is befriended by Tommy, and Kara meets them at Mrs. Blankenship’s boarding house. The not-so-deaf-after-all landlady begins telling Danny a charming Halloween tale of the Cult of Thorn and how they would select a child every few decades to kill his family. Kara deciding that such stuff is inappropriate for a six-year old’s ears tries to send him to bed, but Mrs. Blankenship intervenes telling her that Danny is hearing the same voice that Michael Myers did the night he killed his sister. She knows this because she was babysitting him that night. She reveals herself to be a member of the Cult and she, with the help of cult-members, kidnap Kara, Danny, and Steven. After Loomis’s old friend Terence shows up and reveals that he is the Man in Black that we have been seeing in the previous film Tommy and Loomis are drugged.

Tommy and Dr. Loomis rush to Smith’s Grove where the cultists are staying and they help Kara, Danny, and the baby get free. Michael Myers goes berserk and kills Terence and his staff and stalks our heroes in a laboratory. Tommy saves the day by injecting Michael with some corrosive substance and beats him senseless with a lead pipe. This makes this the second film where Michael is subdued by getting the shit kicked out of him. I think he is getting old and losing his touch or something. Either that or the writers are.

Dr. Loomis declines a ride with Tommy and the others since he has some last minute details to tidy up. This is never explained and the last thing we hear is Loomis screaming from inside the facility. This, of course, leads one to the conclusion that Dr. Loomis was killed. Thus ends the film and we seen none of these character again in any of the sequels.

This is an exceptionally dark movie when compared to the rest of the films that preceded it. Jamie, the beloved heroine of the last two films, is killed brutally. Dr. Loomis meets his end. The story is full of Druidic cults and satanic rituals. And the overall tone is just grim and unpleasant. It has none of the suspense of the original and none of the humour of the sequels. It’s just a dark, unpleasant, mess with none of the subtlety of the original. As I said before the character of Michael Myers is ruined by giving him a backstory. We never needed to know why he did the things he did and I don’t understand why the writers thought such an explanation was overdue.
This explanation also makes a lot of things from the previous films make no sense in retrospect. If his motivation was to please a cult that wanted him to eliminate his family then why did he kill all those other people. Laurie’s friends in the original Halloween were never in his way. In fact many of the people he killed in the films had no reason to be on his hit list at all.
I also do not fully understand why they had Michael kill Terence and his staff. If Michael has no loyalty to the cult then for what reason did he kill his sister, Judith, all those years ago? This so-called backstory is an exercise in confusion, contradiction, and convolution.

Some fans will point to the workprint version of the film (often dubbed the Producer’s Cut) as a better version of the film. I tend to agree, but that doesn’t mean it made Halloween 6 any good. It was still a bad movie, but there were notable improvements.
For one thing Jamie’s death was handled with more dignity than the theatrical edit in which she was murdered brutally and violently with farming equipment. In the Producer’s Cut she is stabbed, but survives the wound and is later taken to a hospital where she dies of her injuries. There is a very emotional moment where Dr. Loomis says his good-byes and this was a much more proper way to end Jamie Lloyd’s story than killing her off in some extremely gory and undignified fashion.
We also learn in the Producer’s Cut that Jamie’s son, Steven, was the product of a forced union between Jamie and Michael. The grossness of cult-enforced incest aside, I am puzzled how this was managed. Michael killing Terence and the staff shows he is uncontrollable so how they managed to get him to procreate is beyond me.
Probably the most notable difference, though, is the ending. We get to see Dr. Loomis reenter the sanitarium and there we see what it was that set him off screaming. It wasn’t Michael killing him at all. In some weird twist of fate the Thorn tattoo appears on the doctor’s wrist and he screams in horror as he wonders what may happen to him now. I really don’t understand this scene and I am uncertain if I am supposed to interpret this as Dr. Loomis being unwillingly drawn into the cult and must now do its bidding. If that is the case I think that is pretty dumb and I object to the bringing in of magic and the supernatural into this series. It’s not necessary. But nothing in this film it seems is necessary or asked for.
Either version of the film you watch it still is a weird convoluted mess that makes no sense under scrutiny and will never be referenced or acknowledged again in the Halloween franchise’s remaining sequels and the remakes.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is not a needed addition to Michael’s story and I would prefer to leave him where is best; and that is as a mysterious entity of evil and not some pawn manipulated by a larger force. It’s like the Star Wars Prequels. Darth Vader was cooler until we see him act like a bitch and pushed around by the Emperor in Episodes II and III. Sometimes the best explanation for why people do what they do is because they are evil. No additional data is necessary.

The Abysmal Mind

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Its trapped in a incandescent, treated by the wounds of shivering blades. We never look back into that hole, the once silver is mindful of weightless atoms. We track backwards in the unknown further out. blank and meaningless glances that are fearful of judgement. Those futures end with a abysmal laughter, they make your period fade once more without a call to your space. Classes with rooms filled with brainless antiques, they first ask questions of the instructor. Asking for them and you shall find, seek and you shall know where you must tread forward in knowledge. Rage turns on the eyeless handmaidens, they simply have no guidance in whirlwinds and a seafront.

Contributor- Chris Ballenger