Uncle NecRo Watches: HALLOWEEN 2018

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UNCLE NECRO WATCHEShalloween 2018 banner
It’s been 40 years since the release of the horror classic that gave birth to our greatest fears in a William Shatner mask. Of course, Uncle NecRo and Brian went to see it, more out of morbid curiosity than anything else. Were we pleasantly surprised by a treat? Or did this turn out to be yet another nasty trick? Listen in and find out…

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Movie Review: HALLOWEEN

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movie-review_-halloweenCompas International Pictures
1978
R

“I met him, fifteen years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding; and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.”

Fifteen years ago, Michael Myers brutally massacred his sister. Now, after escaping from a mental hospital, he’s back to relive his grisly crime again, and again…and again.

Before there were the horror icons of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger and Pinhead, there was Michael Meyers. Kind of the older brother to the Big Four of the late 20th Century horror icons, making his first appearance in this little low budget independent slasher flick by a young John Carpenter, then a still relatively obscure film maker whose credits up to then were just Dark Star and Assault On Precinct 13.

With Halloween, Carpenter brought us a different kind of evil in Michael Meyers: a silent, mysterious killer who spent most of the time wearing a mask and leaving everyone in the dark as to his motivation or back story, save for the brief opening scene of him as a child. No reasoning, no explanation as to why. Michael kills, just because. Everything about him on the surface is…normal. His family, his suburban dwelling, even his name is unassuming. White bread. Safe. And that is what makes him so downright disturbing, really.

I should really pause to mention that, if the 2007 remake by Rob Zombie is the only version of Halloween you know of, stop reacting this, go out and secure a copy of the 1978 original, watch it, and then come back. Trust me; you owe it to yourself. And I realize this defeats the purpose of a review, but co’mon. If you haven’t watched this thing yet, you really need to. Continuing on…

What makes the original Halloween so effective is the simplicity: a psychotic killer breaks out of the asylum he was kept in, comes back to his home town and terrorizes a babysitter and the kids she’s watching. Said psychotic killer is being pursued by the psychiatrist who has worked with him since he was admitted as a boy, to help bring him back in. Or something to that effect.

The movie makes great use of minimalist aesthetics (which, given the budget, was the only way to do it), making the shadows, the void of the mask, and John Carpenter’s own composition of the theme music to great effect. And while future installments have turned this simplicity into something convoluted, this is the one that has the most lasting effect. Like I said earlier, if you haven’t seen it by now, for whatever lame excuse you have (if one of those excuses falls under “It was before I was born”, I have confidence you wouldn’t be reading this anyway, but just in case, THAT’S NOT AN EXCUSE!!!!) you still have time to rectify this. Watch it. It’s required watching.

Movie Review: HALLOWEEN Resurrection

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HALLOWEEN - ResurrectionDimension
2002
R

“Let the dangertainment begin!”

Laurie Strode is paid one last visit by her brother Michael Myers at the sanitarium she’s been at since the end of the last movie (if I was in that stink bomb, I’d sign myself into a nut house as well). Mercifully offing Laurie early on in the film (my guess is so she didn’t have to face the humiliation of being part of this watered-down sequel), he heads back to his childhood home for some good ol’ R-n-R. Only, when he gets there, he finds a group of “teenagers” with web cams strapped to their detachable heads, filming an online reality show based on Michael’s home. What’s an exploited psychopath to do? An attempt at wackiness…and Busta Rhymes…ensues…

First of all, it must be said that, given the last couple of offerings, the Halloween franchise simply must be redesigned back to its original concept to maintain any form of viability as a classic series. Not that many of the sequels can even hold a candle to the original John Carpenter classic…it’s just this and the last movie prove that you can’t take a formula that worked somewhat with the mindless Scream WB-teen-of-the-month PG-13 pap and make it work for a character that has a history its own and is beloved by horror fiends worldwide. STOP HOMOGINIZING MY HORROR FOR THE TEENIEBOPPERS, DAMMIT!!!! Okay, deep breaths, here…

Basically, I went into this movie thinking that, somehow, the Halloween franchise would be given a fresh lease on life, so to speak. That, and I wanted to see how they explained Mikie surviving getting his head lopped off at the end of H2O without resorting to the “Oh, it wasn’t really him Laurie killed” cop-out. Well, after the first ten minutes, and realizing that yes, they resorted to the cop-out, my hope slowly died, along with Laurie on the big screen. Why? Let me tell you…

Obviously, with a premise of a bunch of people staying in the house of Michael Myers, and recording it on web cams, when the serial killer in question pops in expectantly, it’s just ripe for many juicy and wonderful suspense-heavy and bloody Ten Little Indians-like moments. On that level, it did succeed, as the POV shots from the main players and the dark atmosphere of the house added to the tension nicely. And the kills…oh, my. Nicely done.

And that’s about the only great things about the flick, really, as the screenplay is nonexistent (it’s like they were given bare-bones suggestions, and told to wing it), the young cast mostly annoyed me with their insipid dialogue, and Busta Rhymes…ugh. You talk about miscasting. Mind you, nothing against the guy and his acting career (I enjoyed him in the Shaft remake), but here it’s like he’s trying to be the big tough guy comedy relief. AND HE LIVES!!! WTF?!? There’s a scene where he runs into Michael, and starts spitting out poser crap at him that normally would have resulted in his death rattle…but NOOOOOOOOO. All Michael had to do was snap the punk’s neck like a twig and move on. Instead, Busta wound up making an arse of Mike, and that just didn’t set right with me.

To be fair, from what information I’ve gleaned on the ‘net, it seems that mucho substance was cut from the original script, leaving us with merely a guy in a mask killing people with web cams strapped to their collective person. If that’s enough for you, fine, have at it. Enjoy. As for me, I will continue my rage against Dimension Films for slowly and methodically ruining horror as I know it…

Movie Review: HALLOWEEN: H2O

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HALLOWEEN H20Dimension
1998
R

“Oh, we’ve got a psychotic serial killer in the family who loves to butcher people on Halloween, and I just thought it in bad taste to celebrate.”

This movie is a true testament of what happens when a studio decides to take a classic franchise and try to re-image it into their more recent money-making hits. In this case, they took the Halloween franchise, totally disregarded the third, fourth, fifth and sixth entries in the series, and got Scream co-creator Kevin Williamson to do a polish-up on the script (btw, Williamson is also the producer of the soapy Dawson’s Creek…there you go). What happens is this movie feels like Halloween for the WB crowd.

This isn’t supposed to be another Scream movie…but sadly it is. It makes references to better movies (mostly Psycho), has inane little in-jokes, and features teens-of-the-week. And L. L. Cool J. Look, Scream is the reason why most horror movies that Hollywood puts out today suck. I don’t need this…

Anyhoo, after a few calming breaths, at least let me stick the plot: 20 years after the second Halloween instalment (the one where Laurie Strode is stalked by Mike in a hospital), Strode is now in the witness relocation program and head mistress of a posh school. Not to mention a bit whacked-out due to her troubled relationship with her younger brother- just a shredded mess of paranoid nerves. Her son John (even when you’re in hiding from an amoral psychopathic family member wearing a modified William Shatner mask, you find time for love apparently) takes care of her, but even he’s getting a bit fed up with this crap, and just wants to go on with his life. Well, soon Laurie decides to give her son some space to live his life…and that’s a cue for Uncle Michael to stop by for a spontaneous family reunion.

On paper, this sounds like a great premise for the Halloween franchise. In theory. However, as I’ve bitched about earlier, the execution just sucks it dry. By trying to cater to the mindless teeny-bopper crowd, they’ve turned a classic horror franchise into the equivalent of Velveeta. Looks like horror, tastes like horror, but not really horror. Is this the future of horror? Making references to better movies, having little in-jokes, getting the teen of the month to star? Listen, I like Velveeta like the next guy, but it just ruins fine cuisine. Unfortunately, in hindsight, this isn’t the last of the crap…

Movie Review: HALLOWEEN- The Curse Of Michael Myers

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Halloween 6Miramax
1995
R

“There is help for people like you. It’s called electroshock therapy. C’mon, you don’t really believe Michael Myers is actually alive?”

In a single horrifying night, Michael Myers’ masked reign of terror changed Halloween forever! Now, six years after he was presumed dead in a fire, Myers has returned to kill again- and this time there’s no escape! As the homicidal fury builds to a spine-tingling climax, the long-hidden secrets of the screen’s most maniacal murderer are revealed…with shocking results!

It may seem that I’m approaching the Halloween series all bass-ackwards by reviewing them out of sequence and all, and I wish I could say there’s a method to my madness, but…yeah, see, the truth is that this particular movie was included in that 20 Movie pack that I got at Wal-Mart (that I’m almost through, finally). I don’t know why exactly The Curse Of Michael Myers seems to be the one included on sets like this; maybe it has something to do with this one being owned by the Miramax corporation, which seems to be what a lot of these horror multi-packs have in common, come to think of it.  But enough of my rambling. Let’s get on with this review, shall we?

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers seemed to have started out as a way to tie all of the Myers-themed Halloween movies together and delve into the back story of both the Myers and the Strode families. Really deconstruct the mythos of the iconic horror character, if you will. This was back in the early 1990s. By the time this sixth instalment of the Halloween franchise was released in 1995, the script went through several rewrites, the rights to the franchise itself were bought by Dimension/Miramax (seems that they were bent on having all of the iconic modern horror icons at the time – Freddy, Jason, Pinhead and Michael – under one roof, or something like that), and somehow the angle of giving him a mystical Celtic curse as the reason why he does what he does was injected in there.

So, anyhoo, we start off about six years after the events of Halloween 5, and we see the now 15-year-old niece of Michael Myers give birth to a baby in the bowels of a hospital amidst a bunch of candles and several hooded robed figures standing around watching. Insert politically charged medical insurance joke here. With the help of a nurse, the girl escapes with her newborn son, finds herself pursued by Michael Myers, and manages to hide the baby in a bus station bathroom before Uncle Mike catches up and impaled her on something sharp and pointy. Meanwhile, a new set of Strodes are residing in the old Myers homestead (which will totally end well, I’m sure), while the grown-up child Laurie Strode babysat in the first film lives across the street and keeps watch on the family while being a couple tacos short of a platter combo himself. He stumbles across the baby boy in the bus station (of course), Michael returns to Haddonfield, Dr. Loomis comes out of retirement to once again hunt down his former patient, and all the while Kara Strode and her 6-year-old son is caught in the middle of the wackiness that ensues.

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers suffered from trouble even before any filming began, and the end result here shows. The narrative is disjointed, the concept of the “curse of Thorn” came out of left field and seemed rather ham-fisted into the subplot…which was later abandoned by the final reel of the movie, and let’s not forget the late, great Donald Pleasence in his final role before passing away shortly after this film was made. Despite giving it all he got (and being the highlight of the movie once again), you could tell he was on borrowed time. Sad.

As it stands, Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers is…all right.  Outside of the whole Rosemary’s Baby angle, this was your standard Halloween movie, with Michael Myers showing up, racking up a body count, and then getting taken out only to suddenly get better and disappear at the end to set up the sequel. Nothing we haven’t seen before, and a bit better than the two sequels that followed this one. Overall, worth a watch, a rental at the very least.