And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

How could I not review Halloween on Halloween? And how could a movie this predictable hurt so much?

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Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
The best ideas in this film? Stealing shots from the original.

The best ideas in this film? Stealing shots from the original.

These Slasher sequels are supposed to be simple. Trot out a brace of clay pigeons, watch them all die one by one, tack on some stupid cliffhanger, and you’re all good to go. It seems impossible to screw that up, but by God, Mustapha Akkad found a way. Several, in fact.

The first, Halloween 4, was a complete waste of its own potential, meant to compete with the other Big Names in this sub-genre by copying all their worst eccentricities. By 1989, the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street films had long-since surpassed the original Halloween in the popular imagination. They (rightly or not…mostly not) were synonymous with American horror movies of the late-80s, leaving their mutual progenitor in the box office dust.

Akkad  couldn’t allow that. Nor could he allow Halloween 5 to pick up where the last left off. Sure, The Revenge begins with a re-staging of  The Return‘s final moments, but that somehow makes it worse. Unlike the mouth-breathing audiences Akkad obviously targeted, I actually remember the end of Halloween 4. I hoped it signaled a spark of creativity finally flaring up within this franchise. Nice of Halloween 5 to crush that right out of the gate. Continue reading



Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Thank God...before the film located me in time and space I was completely adrift.

Thank God…I was completely adrift, myself.

In all the history of cinema, Godzilla and Star Trek stand alone as the only franchises in history who’ve managed field strong fourth films (Mothra vs. Godzilla and The Voyage Home, respectively – though this feels like an invitation for everyone to “well, actually” me). One day they will do epic battle for the hearts and souls of nerds the world over. But until then we, their partisans, must content ourselves with taking the piss out of other, less-fortunate film series.

After Halloween III‘s non-success, John Carpenter apparently had an idea: the story about some small town, haunted by the memory of a violent killing spree in its all-too-recent past…rather like Haddonfield, Illinois. It could’ve been an Our Town for the 1980s…except George went insane and murdered his sister Rebbecca at the end Act One, spent the scene break in an asylum, escaped, and spent the whole of Act Three trying to murder Emily. C’mon: you know you’d love to see that. We won’t see it here, but you just know it’d make a better movie. Continue reading



Halloween II (2009)
Werewolves of Illinois.

Werewolves of Illinois.

I get what Rob Zombie’s going for. No, no, I really do. I even appreciate it. He’s trying to inject the iconography of real-world serial murderers into mainstream Slasher movies, and my hat’s off to his efforts. I, too, once harbored the delusion that the two had anything to do with each other. But both our efforts are hampered by the inconvenient fact that Slasher villains are are not serial killers.

If they are anything, they’re spree killers. Think Charles Starkweather instead of Edward Gein. I know everyone’s had Edward on the brain since the police first hauled out his human-skin living room set, but you know what? It’s been done. At least Zombie avoids going down the tried and oh-so-true Silence of the Lambs route, since by now even that‘s degenerated into Jerry Brukheimer’s boring, CGI-assisted propaganda for the coming police state, CSI. Continue reading



Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Boo!

Boo!

Everyone ignores this Halloween sequel, and why shouldn’t they? I’m guilty of it myself. Why should we waste our time on something called Halloween that’s not centered around one Michael Myers? Besides, it’s written and directed by the man who’s puerile “mind” vomited up Amityville II: The Possession: Tommy Lee Wallace.

Not that I hold that against him. Sure, Tommy participated in a classic Dino De Laurentiis land grab, writing the screenplay for a film the De Laurentiis Group had no right to make. Sure, Tommy began his screenwriting career by slandering real-life murder victims, telling a story that absolved their killer of any responsibility by straight-up ripping-off The Exorcist. Sure, all that is horrible human (and, more important for me, writerly) behavior…but does being a horrible person mean you have good horror movie in you? We’ll find out tonight, won’t we? Yes. Continue reading