Category Archives: Movie Reviews

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 place  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.

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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.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers Review

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

5

If Halloween 4 was a step in the right direction then Halloween 5 is a step away from it. This film acts a connecting piece between Halloween 4 and Halloween 6 which automatically causes a whole set of problems. For one thing, Halloween 6 is not a good movie which I will get into in my next review. And for another, this movie is chock full of strange, confusing, and unexplained plot threads that acted as a setup for a sequel which took six years to come out.

The story opens where we left Michael in the last film: gunned down by a posse of hicks and falling to the bottom of a mine shaft. Michael is still alive, of course, and is crawling through the mine seriously wounded. He happens upon an old hermit living in a shack and collapses at his doorstep. The kindly hermit takes Michael in not bothering to ponder what a man in a mask, riddled with bullets, carrying a butcher knife might have been doing prior to collapsing at his door. I would have been a bit more curious myself, but I guess if everyone in horror movies were smart then there would be a lot less people for slasher icons to kill.
The hermit tends to Myers’s wounds and places the mask on a peg near a mirror. Still unconscious Michael is laid on a bed to rest and we get a brief glimpse of a strange tattoo on his wrist which we have never seen before. It’s a symbol that looks just like this:

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This is the Runic letter, Thorn and if it happens to look like something out of The Lord of the Rings that is only because Tolkien was well learned in Runes himself and used them in his stories. Although the creator of Middle-earth did not to my knowledge ever conceive of them as tattoos for slasher icons.

Now while not being either a wizard or an Elf, Michael does seem to have some magic abilities since his niece, Jamie Lloyd, can sense that he is alive through a psychic connection between the two of them. I am not sure why this is the case since Laurie never had any such connection to him and I would imagine the implications here are that Jamie and Michael are psychically linked by blood. To add to the strange mysteries of this situation there is a man in black wearing steel-toed boots who is seen wandering about Haddonfield throughout the film with no explanation given to who he is and what he wants, but seems to have some coinciding relation with what is going on between Jamie and Michael Myers.
Jamie begins to have these psychic premonitions a year after the events of Halloween 4 when Michael Myers who had hitherto been in a comatose state in the hermit’s hut, begins to awake. To show his gratitude for saving his life, feeding him, and changing his soiled underwear (you know it happened) Michael kills the hermit and takes back his mask and butcher knife.

Elsewhere, Jamie is sensing all of this in her bed at a Children’s Hospital where she has been staying since her attack upon her foster mother last year. She is in an extremely traumatised state and has lost her ability to speak since the incident.
The attack on her foster mother is apparently a result of her psychic link with her uncle who compelled her to attack the woman a year ago and it is that same psychic link that is leading her to sense Michael’s resurrection now.
In my opinion the main point to take away from all of this is that the writers of the film changed their minds about making Jamie the killer in the sequel and created a bizarre explanation for her behaviour to keep Michael Myers as the central antagonist in part 5.

Rachel and Dr. Loomis are still regularly visiting Jamie at the hospital and the combination of their visits and the attention of a kindly nurse keeps Jamie from despairing completely. Jamie has become a bit of a pariah in Haddonfield now that her relationship to Michael is known and the fact that she attacked her foster parent with a pair of scissors is now public knowledge. Jamie has very much grown dependent on the friends she has and the visits from them are an important part of her emotional well-being. Occasionally Rachel brings her ditsy friend Tina along and even sneaks in the family dog, Max, in through her bedroom window. Dogs aren’t allowed in the hospital, but the doctors and nurses look the other way. It seems when your uncle is a notorious mass murderer and you yourself have shown psychotic tendencies you get special privileges. I can’t think of any other reason for why Jamie is so special in deserving this exception to hospital policy. If I attacked my mother with a pair of scissors I don’t think they would even let me see a picture of my pet let alone visit it.

During one of these visits a stone is thrown suddenly through Jamie’s window with a letter taped to it which says “The evil child must die.” The strange thing about this is how the vandal knew which window of the hospital to throw the rock. But, that plot hole aside, the idea of Jamie being a pariah is referenced very little in this movie despite this episode. We get the scene with the rock and a bit of dialogue between Rachel and Loomis about how scared the townsfolk are of Jamie, but it culminates to nothing more than that. The whole pariah concept eventually goes no where and it seems like a waste of time to bring it up at all. While we are supposed to believe Haddonfield is afraid of Jamie it seems most of the people in the town who interact with her don’t mind her presence at all. These angry stone-throwers seem like a small minority to me and are no reflection on the sentiments of the entire town.

While all of this is going on Dr. Loomis, always attuned to Michael Myers and his evilness, becomes aware of the psychic connection between Jamie and her uncle. He begins to suspect that Michael is still alive and despite Jamie’s refusal to communicate with him on the issue he tries to convince Sheriff Meeker to be cautious. Meeker doesn’t take the doctor seriously and in this scene we get one of my favourite Loomis lines ever. He tells the sheriff, “I prayed that he would burn in Hell, but in my heart I knew that Hell would not have him.” It’s so delightfully cheesy and it is a perfect line for a character like Loomis. He’s the Halloween equivalent to Van Helsing and his keen understanding of the enemy the town is fighting makes this bit of dialogue remind me all the more of Helsing and characters like him.

Later on, Jamie has another one of her premonitions and she senses Michael Myers’ presence in her family’s house. Dr. Loomis calls the home and Rachel answers wearing a bath towel because she was just taking a shower. As any horror buff will tell you she has committed already two of the biggest no-no’s in slasher flick culture. 1. Never survive a horror film and then appear in the sequel. 2. Don’t be naked in any scene.
Having committed both of these heinous crimes her fate is sealed.
In response to Loomis’s phonce call she, out of fear for her safety, calls the police and they search the area and find nothing. Here we meet two police officers who are supposed to be the comic relief of the movie. They search her house and then come out to tell her the coast is clear. As they leave the house and make their appearance we are treated to some very stereotypical clown music that I guess is supposed to let us know that the too cops are morons. The music, however, is a big turn off and when I first saw this movie I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It seems from Dukes of Hazzard to The Last House on the Left the tradition of bumbling cops is alive in well Halloween 5 too.
Rachel, feeling stupid for wasting the Haddonfield police’s time, goes back into the house where she is then attacked by Michael Myers and killed. This leaves us with Jamie, Dr. Loomis, and Tina as the film’s main protagonists. I don’t mind Jamie and Loomis, but Tina is annoying. She is a ditsy airhead whose favourite topics of conversation never ascend beyond the asinine and acts like a cheerleader in the most inappropriate moments. This woman is a very poor replacement for Rachel.
She is dating a douche-bag named Mike who is in love with his car and gives it fresh waxings with all the tenderness of a man making love to a woman. This strange, antisocial jerk becomes extremely angry if anyone even touches his car and it soon becomes apparent that only an idiot would see anything worth dating in him. So naturally he is going out with Tina. Their relationship ends abruptly when later at a car garage Mike is sitting in his vehicle when he sees through the car’s mirror a hand holding a rake scraping the paint off his car. Mike completely incredulous that someone would dare do such a thing to his beloved vehicle gets out of it and threatens the vandal who, unfortunately for him, turns out to be Myers who decides scraping Mike’s face with the rake is more fun than doing it to his car. It’s evident that in Haddonfield there is simply not enough room for two assholes named Michael and someone had to go.

Becoming increasingly concerned for Tina’s safety Loomis urges the two bumbling cops to keep on an eye on her so they follow her to a Halloween party where she and some friends decide to sneak off to a barn. Tina’s two friends, Spitz and Sam, decide to have sex on a pile of hay and this ends poorly when Michael kills them with a pitchfork and a scythe. He then proceeds to go outside and kill the two police officers as well.
Jamie senses that Tina is in danger and begins talking again and decides to go warn her. A boy her own age named Billy who has a crush on her agrees to go with her. They sneak out of the children’s hospital looking for her and meet up with her just around the time that Tina has discovered the bodies. Trying to escape Michael who is stalking them Jamie, Tina, and Billy flee into the woods and when Myers catches up with them Tina sacrifices herself to give the two children time to get away. The kids are rescued by Sheriff Meeker and Dr. Loomis and the Doctor convinces Jamie to help him lure Michael into a trap at his old house. The set-up is botched when the cop guarding Jamie is killed and she is forced to flee up a laundry chute. She encounters Michael in the attic and she attempts to reach out to him by calling him ,”Uncle.” He takes his mask off briefly and seems receptive to Jamie until she touches his face. This sends him into a rage and he puts the mask back on and goes back to trying to kill her. Thankfully Loomis makes it to the attic in time to trap Michael in a chain net and beat him unconscious with a wooden plank. Dr. Loomis suffers a stroke during the attack, but Michael is nonetheless subdued and taken to the Haddonfield jail.

Outside of the jail Jamie hears an explosion and several gunshots. She runs back in to see the entire police station painted red with blood and dead policemen everywhere. The man in black whom we had been seeing throughout Halloween 5 has busted Michael Myers out of jail leaving the shocked and perplexed Jamie sobbing, “No!”

The film ends here leaving the identity of the Man in Black and the fate of Jamie and Michael unknown.
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers is a dark turn from the more lighthearted Halloween 4. It is filled with depictions of Jamie’s emotional state and personal demons affecting her relationships, losing all of the friends she cares about, and it gives us an ending that evokes a complete sense of hopelessness in the fight against Myers. It’s a very depressing movie compared to Halloween 4. Also the story is peppered with unexplained mysticism, psychic phenomenon, and strange eerie figures whose actions and motivations perplex and confuse the viewers. A lot of this is explained in Halloween 6, but in 1989 I must imagine this film was not well liked by the fans. In the horror medium it needs to be understand that in certain sub-genres confusion and unexplained events are done well and in others they are not. The slasher genre is one of the latter. Michael Myers is not a Lovecraftian creation. His character is supposed to be obvious, one-dimensional, and without deep secrets. Movies like Suspiria and Silent Hill can get away with being as confusing as they want because they are visually-oriented films. They don’t depend on a straight-forward and easily understood narrative. And it seems to me with Halloween 5 and 6 the writers were trying to make a more sophisticated horror story that simply didn’t work with the slasher genre. Horror films of this type shouldn’t have entries that depend on future sequels to be understood. All the setup for Halloween 6 here is unappreciated by most fans (myself included) even 21 years after that sequel came out. Heavy-handed setup for sequels might work for the Saw franchise, but not Halloween. Halloween 5 would have been a much more enjoyable movie if it was not so busy being Halloween 6’s harbinger.

In the end Halloween 5 is a weak entry in the series that tied into a sequel that ended up being one of the worst in the series. The payoff in 1995 must have left fans feeling more disappointed than the kids in Halloween III were with the Silver Shamrock Special. Sometimes hype is better than the result.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers Review

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

4

Five years after the debacle that was Halloween III Halloween 4 came along to bring the series back to the character that made it famous. I would make a comment about how it is usually a sign that a series is going downhill when numbered sequels shift from Roman numerals to the more common Arabic ones, but since this movie is not that bad I won’t bother.

The film is set ten years after Halloween and Halloween II and throughout that time Michael Myers has been kept at a sanitarium very much alive. Apparently both Michael and Dr. Loomis had survived the explosion at the hospital a decade ago with only some scars to prove they were there at all.
Without Dr. Loomis’s approval Michael is moved via ambulance out of the sanitarium to be relocated someplace else. In the ambulance Michael decides it is time to come out of retirement when one of the paramedics mentions that he has a niece and kills everyone in the vehicle. The ambulance crashes into a river and Michael Myers escapes still wrapped in bandages from head to toe. At a gas station he kills all of the employees and finds a new mask for himself there. Why a local gas station out in the boonies had a mask for sale modeled after the one a serial killer wore ten years ago is beyond me. You would think that after 1978 it would have been considered tasteless to continue selling these masks and they would have instead become vintage, hard-to-find rarities like Song of the South or Richard Bachman’s Rage.
Dr. Loomis arrives at the gas station and finds Michael still there. Why Myers lingered is unclear since he makes no attempt to kill Dr. Loomis. Instead he just steals a tow truck, destroys the doctor’s car, and heads toward Haddonfield. With no vehicle the doctor hitches a ride with a crazy preacher ranting about prophecy and Judgment Day. The crazy religious person gimmick in horror movies is getting a little old ever since Stephen King did the cliche to death in recent years. Especially when the nutjob serves no substantial service to the plot. Well, at least he is not carrying around a rotting eye ball like the hermit in Friday the 13th Part III

Elsewhere, the aforementioned niece is suffering from insomnia. Her name is Jamie Lloyd and she is the orphaned daughter of Laurie Strode. It’s not made clear what happened to Laurie in this movie and all we know is that Jamie is living with a foster family. The family has a teenage daughter named Rachel who often babysits and watches over Jamie even though she would much rather spend time with her boyfriend, Brady, than watch an eight year old.
None of the adults in Jamie’s life have felt the need to suppress the truth of Michael Myers from her so she knows all about her uncle and the murders he committed ten years ago. At her foster family’s home she has been having nightmares about Michael in which he is under her bed or lurking on the other side of her bedroom door. While I have nothing against the nightmare scenes per se there is one thing about them that really annoys me. The dream occurs at night during a thunderstorm so there is a lot of lightning flashes illuminating the bedroom for split seconds. While Jamie is heading toward her bed for her nighttime prayers she passes her mirror just as there is a lightning flash that reveals Michael reflected in it standing in the middle of her room. The villain reflected in a mirror cliche is a common staple in horror movies, but the problem here is that he is only a figment of Jamie’s imagination and not real. Yet when she passes the mirror Jamie doesn’t notice Michael reflected in it. Only the audience does. How? If he is not there and is only a figment of her imagination then how could she not see him? How do you miss a hallucination? That’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard!
Anyway, Jamie eventually does see the apparition and screams prompting Rachel to rush into the bedroom and wake her up. The following day Rachel takes Jamie out to a store to pick a Halloween costume where she meets her boyfriend Brady. While Jamie is browsing the two teens end up fighting over something petty which leads Brady to go find a different girl to sleep with behind Rachel’s back. Rachel discovers this when she takes Jamie trick-or-treating and head to the Sheriff’s daughter, Kelly’s home. When the door opens the girl is dressed in nothing but a t-shirt with Brady clearly visible standing in the hall. Rachel leaves in a huff and Brady rushes out to try to apologise and explain that he was “just angry.” When Rachel makes the logical choice of telling him to buzz off the supposedly contrite Brady goes back to Kelly.
Now I have to stop to ask how this guy Brady is even worth fretting over. The kind of fellow who will go roll in the hay with some random bimbo because of a little fight is probably not the best guy to shed tears over. When his apology was rejected instead of going home humiliated and contrite he just heads back to Kelly’s house. If getting laid is so much more important to him than being a decent human being then Rachel should just let Kelly have the loser.
And another thing that I don’t understand is why Kelly is wearing only a t-shirt in this scene. I mean, I know that is one of those things a lot of women do to turn their partners on, but if you are going to do that then perhaps you shouldn’t be giving out Halloween candy as well. It’s not as bad as giving out apples with razor blades I suppose, but I am still fairly certain most parents would not be pleased to learn that while their kids were ringing door bells asking for candy they were greeted by some slut wearing naught but a t-shirt with obviously no bra on and showing off her legs. If I had a son the object of letting him go trick-or-treating would be to let him have some fun and get treats. Not ease him into puberty.

Meanwhile Michael Myers arrives in town and goes right into the Police Department and kills virtually the entire Haddonfield police force. This leaves the town only protected by the sheriff and a few deputies who were on duty at the time. When this is discovered an army of hicks decide to round up a posse and go hunting for Michael. And while they are running about feeling important the Sheriff takes Dr. Loomis, Rachel, and Jamie to his home where Kelly and Brady are still enjoying each other’s company. Using this house as a base of defence fails miserably when Michael breaks in, kills the deputy, and then kills Kelly with a shotgun. And by killing with a shotgun I mean he speared her with it. A stupid way to use a shotgun, but Michael dislikes using guns the conventional way it seems. Brady attempts to defend Rachel and Jamie with a shotgun of his own, but the weapon jams and before he can fix it Myers reaches him and breaks his neck.
Rachel and Jamie escape onto the house’s roof and they climb down toward the yard. Jamie is unhurt, but Rachel falls and knocks herself unconscious. Michael, still hellbent on getting to his niece, chases after Jamie who runs away and finds Dr. Loomis. The doctor takes her to her school and sets off the alarm. The lynch mob hears the alarm and rush to the school. At the school Michael attacks Loomis and Jamie, but Rachel rushes in and sprays Michael in the face with a fire extinguisher. This stops him for a second or two while they meet up with the mob who agree to take them to safety in one of their trucks. Unbeknownst to them Michael had sneaked out and was clinging to the underside of the truck and while on the road he crawls onto the top of the vehicle and kills the driver. Rachel takes the wheel and drives like a maniac trying to shake Michael off. He eventually does fall off and she rams the truck into him shoving him near an abandoned mine. The rest of the posse show up and they gun down Michael repeatedly until he falls over into the mine and gets buried under the debris.
Assuming he is dead Rachel, Jamie, the sheriff, and Dr. Loomis head to the girl’s foster family’s house to settle down. Jamie’s foster mother prepares a bath for her when Jamie suddenly goes berserk and stabs the woman with a pair of scissors. Dr. Loomis becomes horrified and begins screaming over and over again “No! No! No! No!” before slumping to the ground sobbing.
This ending comes completely out of left field, but close examination does reveal some interesting things about what Dr. Loomis must be feeling right about now. After Michael had murdered his sister Judith when he was only six the doctor had studied the boy for 15 years. He eventually reached the realisation that Michael had no vestige of humanity in him, bur was only a mindless shell of a man whose essence was pure evil without any feelings of remorse, compassion, or morality. Michael Myers was a strange enigma. The fundamental qualities that make humans human were absent in him and this frightened the doctor enough to insist that this person be locked up forever. He was proven right in 1978 when Michael escaped and murdered several people. The event left Loomis permanently scarred while having to endure ten years of waiting while Michael was once again incarcerated. After escaping again and killing more people Dr. Loomis is understandably tired and worn out. 25 years of dealing with Michael Myers does that to a person. After Michael is presumably dead Dr. Loomis feels that perhaps now he can finally rest. Perhaps retire in peace knowing that he accomplished what needed to be accomplished. Dr. Loomis is feeling serene in the knowledge that he doesn’t have to face a being like Michael unleashing itself upon the world in his lifetime again.
But this is all shattered to pieces when Jamie attacks her foster mother. The inhuman essence of Michael Myers is living on in his niece. Loomis now understands that his work may never be over. Whatever happened to Michael as a boy that sent him into this state of inhumanity is passing itself onto the next generation of his family. Dr. Loomis is a tired old man with hardly any energy left and probably fears that Michael Myers, in whatever form he takes, will outlive him and flourish in the world for a very long time to come.

This is one of the few good sequels in the series. While it is a bit more bloody than Halloween II it doesn’t have the same exploitative feel. Halloween II felt like the franchise was trying to cash in on the success of Friday the 13th by replacing the suspense with gore and pointless nudity. While Halloween 4 may not be as subtle as the original it still tells a decent story. The heroine, Rachel, is likable and Danielle Harris gives a good performance as Laurie’s daughter. Dr. Loomis is still a lot of fun and seeing him as a much older and more subdued man is a nice bit of development for the character. He’s not as crazy as he was in Halloween II although he is still very much obsessed. The scars and his cane accentuate his brokenness and that he is not the same virile zealot he was in Halloween and Halloween II.
Halloween 4 is a good sequel that may not live up to the original, but was still a much needed revitalisation after the nonsense that was Halloween III.

Halloween (1978) Review

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

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So now that it is the month of Halloween it is time to begin a series of retrospective reviews on the Halloween horror franchise. Every three days I will post a review of each of the ten Halloween movies including the two Rob Zombie remakes. Enjoy.

The first Halloween released in 1978 is a step way above the others. While the other films fell into the same patterns as other slasher series of their day like Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween was an extremely effective thriller that would have made Hitchcock proud with a bare minimum of blood and gore. In fact, this movie is really not that violent at all. More family friendly films like Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, or even the recent Batman v Superman movie are more bloody than this. We have a couple of strangulations, a stabbing, and a few gunshots, but all of them are practically bloodless. It’s R-rating is pretty much just for nudity alone as far as I can tell and if one was to watch this around Halloween time on network TV edited for content it would probably be about as inoffensive as Psycho or The Bride of Frankenstein. And that is by no means a critcism of the film. I think the lack of gore is one of Halloween’s high points. A horror film in the 70’s and onward that did not depend on gore and extreme violence to be frightening and effective is a real testament to the skill that John Carpenter employed in crafting this masterpiece.
And unlike the sequels and the Jason and Freddy franchises this movie does not showcase  Michael Myers as the main attraction. In subsequent films and in the other franchises the killer is a walking, identifiable, icon who is the real star and hero of the show. Not with the original Halloween though. Here Laurie Strode truly is the heroine. We root for her and want to see her escape. We aren’t watching a typical horror flick with a piling body count. Only three people die in this movie (not counting Michael’s sister and the murdered truck driver killed offscreen). Psycho was the same way in its preference for suspense over brutal violence.
In Halloween suspense and intense moments of sheer terror are the villains and Michael Myers is their instrument the way Jason’s machetes and Freddy’s glove were the instruments of their respective owners. What scares us about Halloween is not Michael Myers and the things he does, but rather the suspense, mystery, and irrationality behind him. Myer’s irrationality is what chillingly tells us that motive is irrelevant and that the only way to stop him is to either destroy him or succumb to fate and die by his hands. He is not seeking to avenge a dead mother or avenge himself against those who killed him in some past life. His motivation is simple. He’s evil. Dr. Loomis, the psychiatrist who studied Michael after he murdered his sister realised that Michael had no semblance of a human mind left in him. The fundamental human attributes of intelligence, emotion, moral discernment, and conscience were absent in the man. He was devoid of the simplest aspects of humanity. Thus he was evil.Some moral philosophers have defined evil as an intangibility since it literally consists of nothing. Evil in their view is not a polar opposite to good like in yin/yang philosophy, but rather a pure absence of good. And what is good if not intelligence, emotion, conscience, and moral discernment? Michael is without those things. Ergo what is left is that absence which is evil. The film does not explain what happened to Michael to cause him to lack such fundamental principles of human character, but the viewer does not need an explanation. In fact the film is better without one. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers attempted to provide us with a back story, but that only ruined the character’s mystique. We like him best when he is unstoppable, mindless, and irrational in his desire to kill.

The reader may notice at this point that I have done little to describe Halloween’s plot. This is intentional as I assume most of the readers of this retrospective series will have seen the first film and be familiar with it. I will be more in depth about the plot in the sequels, I promise.
What I will say about the film’s content is that with the exception of Dr. Loomis and Laurie most of the characters are forgettable. While there are not the typical hacking fodder of other slasher flicks they lack much distinction from each other. There is one girl who has an irritating habit of using the word “totally” ad nauseum, but otherwise names and distinguishing characteristics remain unremembered by me and I have seen Halloween dozens of times.

One fun fact I do have though before I leave. Before Donald Pleasance was cast as Dr. Loomis the great Christopher Lee was approached for the role but he turned it down. He later went on to say he regretted that decision in his career. While Donald Pleasance will always be Dr. Loomis to me I must confess Sir Christopher Lee would have awesome. Just imagine the famous “blackest eyes, the devils eyes” speech in his voice. It would have been epic.

Snowden “Film Review/Analysis”

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This of course begins as a story about a normal man, with exuberant and one could argue exacerbated fantasy’s. Of what he see’s as the world he wants to believe in, yet as it follows as our man begins to slowly drip away like a damp rag. Which is funny because, you don’t really expect it from him of all people. Yet as much of a prodigy as Snowden clearly is, he is so much more than that under the surface. He simply wants to do the right thing, no matter the cost. Which is what we all want right? I already was fully aware of how great Joseph Gordon Levitt is, but this shows just how impenetrable he is as an actor. He is charming, and yet distant which is what you’d think a guy like Snowden would be.

The thing that makes this so good, is he’s just as vulnerable as you or I would be. It didn’t necessarily glorify him, as this sort of God like figure. Why in the world would you need to do that? But what it did do for his case, is simply put it in your face clear as day. This was a man on a mission, and he was willing to lose it all to make a difference in the world today. In the world of mass surveillance, he didn’t have to do this!! In fact, he could have just kept his trap shut like so many I am sure demanded of him. But he didn’t, and if you can’t grasp why that’s so heroic in itself. I feel genuinely sorry for you, and realize that most probably would never want to be in his position. Snowden did what others refused to do, because he knew it needed to be done.

I would recommend you see this, if for no other reason than to try and understand what he was trying to accomplish. I get it, I have since it happened. It requires critical thinking to comprehend it, in which I’m sorry to say some don’t really possess in our world. I can’t say whether or not it had an impact, but what I can say is Snowden did what he thought was right. Did it put us at risk? As opposed to any other time in history in comparison? No, I really don’t think so not in retrospect. As he said many times, we have to hold our officials accountable. They either work for you, or they don’t. Some of us have lost sight of that, because we’d rather stay safe and secure. That’s not what this country was founded on, is he a traitor? In my opinion, no not in the least bit. But then again, I’m not the deciding factor. It was a great movie, and showed you how difficult the journey was to get where he is today. 8/10 One of the best films of the year, bar none!!!

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

Film Review “Now You See Me 2”

now-you-see-me-2-trailerAs most who have spoken to me about this film know, I really felt the original was a breath of fresh air. And brought some much needed intrigue, and extraordinary life into this type of a project. The cast was interesting, a lot of them didn’t seem like they were going to mesh very well. I didn’t realize how funny, and how much I would enjoy it back in 2013. And is that what film is all about normally? You are supposed to just get lost in a world. =)

That brings us to the 2016 sequel, this is one of those things I hoped they would build on. What happens in the original leaves you kind of wanting more, especially when it comes to the impending competition between magicians. The things they can do, really brings that speciality, and intrigue of what a they are capable of showing you and then well not. This is why magic has had the history it does, because people loved to be tricked. They have this desire for the truth to be shielded from them.

And these films? Does this in such a creative way, once you figure out what it all means though. It kind of leaves you with a suckin in feeling of disapointement, like there was all of this delusion and tricks and all of this stuff we got to not see. And then finally, when we figure it all out its like “Was that it”? I guess I was expecting something really shocking, and it turns out that you don’t get that at all. What is noteworthy of these two movies?

Well, the amazing visuals for one thing!! The card tricks, they bounce off there specific strengths so well!! I think the funniest parts are when people get hypnotized. There is also this one scene in the beginning, where the new character played by Lizzy Caplin. Who cuts her own head off, using a distraction and she ends up on the other side of the room with her body in tact. IT WAS GENIUS!!!! =) I found myself the most interested, in the journey of Danny Atlas. Played by the always strange Jesse Eisenberg, where exactly were they taking us with him?

The most boring aspect of this whole thing, was the most fun in the last one. Was the mystery surrounding Dylan Rhodes, the guy that was a Cop that sort of stayed a Cop as a cover? And then all of a sudden he wasn’t a Cop anymore, because people just suddenly found out who he really was. I was hoping that wouldn’t happened so quickly, keep that going a little while longer maybe? Ruffalo never disappoints me though, that is one thing that stays consistent.

Daniel Radcliffe plays the smoke an mirrors this time villain, and he does it quite impressively I might add. At first you think he’s a fellow magician, and then it turns out he owns the majority of a company and potentially half of a country. So he’s really involved, and there’s a lot of mysticism going on with him in this as well. There’s a running theme in the new one, that makes it very clear that Science is superior to magic. Which turns out every time to be exactly true!!

Does this movie ever get slow? No, and maybe that’s its really big problem. It seems to be very good at distraction, and making you think one thing and doing another!! What hurts it so many times though, is that you get zero time to care about anyone!! And that is one thing the first one did manage to do. And that’s what sequels are for in the first place, to find out what you thought was true. And to analyze the main players in the world. It had elements of the first, which was what made it great!! But there was just this underlying annoyance, that I found myself continuing to address.

5.5/10

Contributor- Chris Ballenger