philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Halloween II (2009)

I went into this dreading the worst. Rob Zombie's sequel was not well-received and, having not been terribly keen on Zombie's initial entry in the series, I hated to think what his follow-up would be like. But low expectations can be helpful sometimes.

In early scenes I was as unimpressed as I'd expected to be. Rob Zombie's shock tactics come in when we spend some time with the undertakers and get to hear one of them express his curiosity about necrophilia. Still, I suppose I should be thankful that he wasn't actively engaging in it considering the rape sequence in the last movie *shudders*.

When Michael first strikes the portrayal of Michael's attacks seem more brutal than ever. In this sequel Zombie seems to have a better idea how to capture Myers' violent stabbing motions and the unrelenting horror of his attacks, as opposed to in the previous film where such attacks felt somewhat boring and repetitive.

Also it now finally seems to make sense that we have an absolutely enormous juggernaut of a man in the role of Michael Myers. It seemed rather jarring in the first instalment, not least because Myers had always been a slim figure before. But this time we see him absolutely demolishing his targets (both people and objects) in such a way as really suits his larger stature.
Click here to read the rest of the review... )

Ranking the Halloween movies:

10) Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) E-
How do you jump the shark this badly and yet manage to remain so unbearably dull? Now Michael is being controlled by a bizarre cult who use a special rune to make him kill his own family. What stupid nonsense is this and why isn't it more fun?

9) Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) E+
After a promising early scene with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it's clear that no one working on this has a clue how to make a decent Halloween film. Very little happens for the majority of the runtime. Some fans praise the sequence whereby Laurie Strode faces Michael Myers down in the final act, but to be quite frank that is too little too late. If Laurie is supposed to be such an important character in this sequel, why is she so ridiculously under-developed? Even the final act seemed to be lacking in thrills.

8) Halloween 5 (1989) D-
Very little effort appears to have gone into this sequel and there's very little in the way of characters or story structure. This is semi-bearable lazy filmmaking. A few neat sequences like where Jamie (the new heroine) is hiding in a laundry chute, save this from being a complete waste of time.
Click here to read the rest of my ranking of the Halloween series... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)
Trigger Warning: There is a r*pe in the director's cut of this film. I won't be going into too much detail on it. Just enough to question its inclusion.

Halloween (2007)

Rob Zombie, of "House of a Thousand Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects" fame, took his success with those two rather strange and meandering films and decided to remake John Carpenter's horror classic. What he did with this opportunity stirs mixed feelings in me.

My concerns aren't with the decision to remake the original. I don't have a problem with remakes, I don't think the original Halloween was perfect, and at this point in the franchise a fresh start seems like a really good idea. My problem is more how Zombie re-imagined the character.

I need to give credit where credit is due first of all. This isn't a boring re-hash. Zombie is clearly trying to do something new and the best remakes generally are the ones that have a new take on the original material. I actually wonder whether this remake would not have been better off taking even more liberties with the source material.
Read more... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Halloween Resurrection (2002)

This marks the return of the director of "Halloween II" and while the script isn't great and the inclusion of Busta Rhymes seems like a massive misstep, there's a more familiar tone here which is very welcome after the flatness of the previous movie.

And y'know what? While Busta Rhymes has little in the way of acting skills and looks ridiculous when he starts doing kung fu high-kicks towards the end of the film, he does at least have experience as a showman. Unlike LL Cool J's role in Halloween H20 which actively had me groaning, I at least found Busta Rhymes fun here. He's completely over-the-top and ridiculous, but he also has an energy to his performance. He makes up for lack of acting talent with enthusiasm and it's that sort of thing that at least helps to elevate this from the dreck we've seen in earlier sequels.

And we even have some semi-decent actors here too. They've got little to work with script-wise, but they put proper effort into the delivery and the director captures their performances well and it ends up at least being entertaining. Katee Sackoff, of Battlestar Galactica fame, here plays a girl hoping to use a cheesy reality tv program (yeah I know, I know) as an opportunity to reach fame and fortune.

Click here to read the rest of the review... )

If you are interested in checking out previous entries in this series you can find them at the following links:
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

It should probably noted that his appeals to be one of the most stupid movie titles in the history of cinema. Well it wasn't going to take much now for this film to out-do the last sequel. Moustapha Akkad's run of shameless cash-ins had pretty much run this series into the ground. The return of Laurie with a semi-reboot here was a bit of a relief. Or at least it would have been, if the filmmakers had any interesting new ideas on what to do with the franchise.

I have to say that H20 feels like the same as we've seen before only with less brutality from Michael, less of a creepy horror atmosphere and just as contrived as ever. Oh and no Loomis this time. What we get instead is the return of Jamie Lee Curtis, whose recent hits at this time included "True Lies", where she was pretty much out-acted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, and "Fierce Creatures", a fairly unspectacular sequel to the moderately amusing comedy "A Wish Called Wanda" she was in the year Halloween 4 came out. (She would also follow up the success of "Halloween H20" by starring in a widely panned sci-fi horror film called "Virus".)

Click here to read the rest of the review... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

We've had the 'Return', the 'Revenge' and now the 'Curse'. However, this time the title actually has some relevance to the content of the film. We start the movie in some kind of strange institution. Grown-up Jamie is having a baby which is then taken away and has some kind of occult ritual down on it. Then Jamie is given the opportunity to get out of there just before Myers steps in and starts murdering people. The whole thing is totally nuts.

Loomis appears at the beginning announcing in a tired but happy voice that he is now retired as his claim to fame as the man who stopped Michael Myers on previous Halloweens is announced on the radio. While this is clearly an indication that he's not going to be staying retired, Loomis really doesn't seem up to the job here and not without good reason. The dedication "in memory of Donald Pleasence" actually appears at the end. This was Pleasence's last movie and watching it I almost felt complicit in his death. It practically feels like Pleasence is slowly dying as the movie progresses.

Click here for the rest of the review... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Blooming eck, these titles are getting interchangeable. Perhaps the best part of this film is the sequence at the beginning where they completely redo the final since of Michael in the previous movie. Michael crawls away and manages to survive even though, according to this new interepretation of events, we are supposed to believe that the police tried to ensure that Michael was dead with the use of a grenade. Michael crawls to safety and, it turns out, is still on the loose.

Read more... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988)

This begins with some utterly stupid continuity errors. What's more, the filmmakers know damn well that these are utterly stupid continuity errors, but they simply do not care. They've tried starting a brand new storyline and doing something new with the franchise and the fans and box office figures clearly indicated that this would not fly. They now needed a sequel that brought in as much familiarity as possible, so by hook or by crook they brought us back to the same old scenario of the first two movies.

Click here for the rest of the review... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

I was going to say that this movie has the most boring poster ever, but then looking for an image of the movie poster I came across these other rather cool images:

Clearly at least some of these are fan made. The main one seems to be the dull one right at the top of this review, which I think is pretty unappealing. Perhaps laser beams from the eyes is kind of overselling it, but this movie really is a lot more creepy and a lot more fun than its reputation and the most common DVD cover would lead you to expect...

Admittedly it looks like they cranked this one out pretty quickly. It was released just one year after the previous film and clearly with a lower budget than the previous instalments. This movie gets a lot of hate and part of the reason for that is that it doesn't actually feature Michael Myers who is very much the main focus of the Halloween series. That being said, it would be ridiculous if they brought Myers back after the last film. Dr. Loomis was blown up and Michael Myers was destroyed by fire. It felt to me like there wouldn't be enough of Myers left to return anyway.

I must admit there is a sense that perhaps Halloween III might actually be related to the previous two films when we start off seemingly with multiple Michael Myers figures. By that I mean that we start with several calm figures who seem to have nothing on their mind but cold blooded murder. They aren't wearing masks, they are wearing suits. In the initial scene, a man is running away from these homicidal, super-strong, calm and unemotional psycho-killers and it turns out he is carrying a halloween mask...

Click here to read the rest of the review... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Halloween II (1981)
This is a sequel which ups the ante in every possible way. Loomis now has first-hand evidence that Myers is completely inhuman and he is out for blood. The killings by Myers are more impressive and now that there's a greater sense of urgency the pacing has been upped too. There are even some impressive effects towards the end. And while I wasn't as impressed as I wanted to be with the first person perspective scene at the beginning of the first "Halloween" movie, I was absolutely thrilled by the one here. This time around, watching Michael Myers pick up a knife in first-person perspective was a genuinely troubling moment and I was very impressed by how the whole section towards the beginning was handled.

Click here to read the rest of the review... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Halloween (1978)

One element that I've always felt was the main strength of "Halloween" is the way that it is, at heart, a monster movie. This distinguishes it from other slashers like "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Black Christmas".

While, Leatherface in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is a nightmarish figure, in the end he's just a weird guy who likes to wear other people's faces. The (horrendous) Plantinum Dunes remake of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" tried to change this somewhat and it just didn't feel like a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movie to me as a result. The more recent "Texas Chainsaw" reinstated Leatherface's inner vulnerability (even if that movie wasn't any good either).

But it is only when we get to the series more closely following Carpenter's approach to the genre that we get the real 'monsters'. The lumbering Jason from the "Friday the 13th" sequels and Freddy from the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series. (See my reviews for both those series here.) Watching them run around causing havoc is not really so far removed from Dracula or even Godzilla. A central inhuman villain with a supernatural side to them where we are excited by their pattern of attack and keen to figure out their potential weaknesses.

Click here for the rest of the review... )


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