Halloween II

August 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured Content, Movies

When Rob Zombie came onto the horror film scene in 2003 with “House of 1,000 Corpses”, I welcomed him fairly warmly. His film, while a somewhat derivative send-up of 70’s gorefest Drive-In horror movies, was, at its heart, a fun movie. It didn’t take itself too seriously, and it gave a much needed jolt into a horror genre on life support. He created a film version of a Halloween funhouse: something that would give you chills, some laughs, and entertain you throughout. His cast was likable, and his skills as a filmmaker were more than competent.
When he followed that up with “The Devil’s Rejects”, I knew we had a filmmaker in this guy. He took what made “House” strong and made it even better, adding a more serious side to “Devil’s” that gave it a sense of reality, and it was not only gritty and horrific, but endearing as well. But how would he follow that up?
Well, I was hoping he’d continue his quest in original filmmaking, but instead he went the remake route. I had never been in favor of remaking any classic film, be it horror or otherwise. You should remake bad movies, not good ones, I always thought. But the fact that Zombie signed on to do a remake of “Halloween”, I was intrigued. Unlike many horror remakes, this guy at least has a clue and a purpose.
And unlike a lot of people, I actually enjoyed his take on “Halloween”. I looked at both movies differently, and appreciated both for what they were. But I felt Zombie had done his job, and needed to move on.
Hollywood thought otherwise. He apparently didn’t want to make a sequel, but I’m guessing the Weinstein brothers threw enough money at him for him to sign on, and now we have a sequel to a remake, which should instantly make your head explode due to the fact that this is the ultimate deadly sin in filmmaking, in my opinion. But what more could Zombie do?
Unfortunately, this is 105 minutes of proof that the answer is: Nothing. Zombie can blame the producers for forcing his hand (which I still have no sympathy for the guy for), but he did write the script, and the script is very banal. He wanted to create a portrait of insanity by having Laurie Strode increasingly become more like Michael, or at least–insane like him, not a murderer.
But instead of a character film we just get the same hackneyed, cliche’d slasher film all over again–and this time, even the kills aren’t interesting. Scout Taylor-Compton is probably one of the most irritating actresses I’ve seen in the last few years, and while I could look past my own bias in the last film, it really couldn’t be ignored in this one. The laughably extravagant dream sequences, the insistence on hillbilly victims, and the trite “symbolism” with the White Horse and Mother Myers with Young Michael imagery didn’t work and showed that either Zombie had nothing left in the tank, or he is losing his touch. I’m guessing it’s the former over the latter, but Zombie deserves to be torched for this film because it’s lazy filmmaking, and he has always struck me as anything but that, as an artist in general.
There are a few things that save this film from ultimate suckage, however. There is a death scene that actually moved me. I won’t give it away but it involves probably one of the only likable characters in the film. The death scene is far from cliche and I appreciated the sad piano music accompaniment, and the delicate way Zombie handled it. It was the only time I’ve ever been emotionally stirred in a slasher film, I think. I also liked the scenes involving Dr. Loomis that revealed him as a fraud to the public, such as appearing on a late night talk show in which he is *following* “Weird” Al Yankovic as a guest.
Other than that, though, it just seemed like Zombie didn’t have fun at all with this one. I was hoping he’d move on to his own films after this, but apparently he is going to take on “The Blob” next. I’m hoping he will at least get a little more creative with that one. This is the most unnecessary “Halloween” film since…well, I guess anything after the original could be considered unnecessary. But not since “The Revenge of Michael Myers” (Part 5) have I been this bored and uninterested with the franchise. At least Halloween Water had a few funny moments.

My rating: :(

Slasher Classics: My Bloody Valentine (1981)

September 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Home Video

By 1981, slasher flick fever had definitely overtaken the American box office. There were a slew of horror flicks about guys in masks, killers at camps, and even Christmas time wasn’t safe anymore. But what about what was going on in Canada? Things okay up there? Well, not in the town of Valentine Bluffs. Even with free health care, relatively decent cost of living, and plenty of hockey, there were problems with the increase in crime rate. Of course, don’t tell Michael Moore that. This story will make him choke on “Bowling for Columbine”!

This little classic took us away from the sleepy summer camps, and the noisy streets of the city, and even the suburbs. We go right into a mining town in this one. It’s a nice departure, and almost made me think if Michael Cimino would have had a little more of a dark sinister edge to him, maybe this would have been a direct rip off of “The Deer Hunter”. After all, wouldn’t it have been a great horror story? Vietnam vet comes home and instead of trying to hunt deer (which he can’t anymore) he hunts humans? It makes sense! Wow, what a missed opportunity. Think of what “The Deer Hunter” could have been!

Anyway, so yes, we have this little town that is your average, blue collar town and we focus on a group of fun loving miners who are all geared up for the upcoming Valentine dance on Saturday night, the 14th. Remember, this is Canada. But, who knows how many mining towns had their own little Valentine dances here in the great U.S. of A.? There is a snag in the little arrangement, however. You see, twenty years ago, a mining disaster cost the lives of four miners while the two supervisors went to the boss Valentine dance, left them right before the mine collapsed around them. The four men died, but there was a fifth man. Harry Warden was found alive, and angry. He exacts revenge on the two supervisors, decked out in his mining outfit (Slasher Horror Movie Rule #1: The killer must be in uniform!), and he’s committed to an institution. But they say…every year he comes back, and if there’s a Valentine’s dance scheduled, death awaits!

Now, is it just me or is this a subtle way of keeping kids away from dances? Maybe this is how Canada handles their low crime rates. They make slasher movies about things they don’t want their kids doing. I wonder if they’ve made a movie about hunting down hockey players who sign with southern states in America?

So, the way this killer “warns” you he is going to attack, is he sends out valentines with bloody hearts in it.

Lunch is served!

Lunch is served!

The mayor is scared to death of Warden ruining the dance and killing everybody, and after the brutal murder of the Party Committee Leader, Mabel, he cancels the dance.

But, these young horny miners and their girlfriends ask, WHAT ABOOT THE PARTY? They don’t care about heeding the warnings about Harry Warden. They want to get down, listen to really bad Canadian rock music, and drink Moosehead all the way into the wee hours of 11:00pm! That’s how they do, ay?

So, unfortunately for the mayor, and the dumb kids, Harry Warden is going to be making an appearance. He Choo-Choo-Chooses them as his next victims!

While the kids try to get him to Bee Friends with him, he won’t have any of it. The kids are picked off one by one, and the climax takes place in the mine, where of course some of the kids wanted to go to take a ride down the mine shaft. Haven’t you always wanted to do that?

Good thing we got free health care, ay?

Good thing we got free health care, ay?

The film does a great job setting up the killing scenes for the most part. There is always the false-scare once or twice, and the lighting is dark enough to give you the creeps, but not blot out what you need to see. There’s enough blood and gore to keep you sickos who enjoy that kind of thing satisfied (myself included), and the characters, while stupid and Canadian, are pretty fun and colorful. You have the regular assortment of the assclown who snorts beer to get attention, the fat guy with the mustache (pictured above), and you have two men vying for the heart of one girl. Now this is the one side of the story that at times gets so melodramatic, you’d think you were watching a Norman Mailer movie and/or a daytime soap, but it doesn’t crowd the movie too much. And the twist at the end is a very sweet and predictable pay off that makes very little sense, but is just as satisfying as watching the Canadiens beat up on the Maple Leafs. Or vice versa, depending on where you stand with that rivalry.

In any event, this is probably the best Canadian horror film ever made–but then, it’s going up against movies like “The Final Sacrifice”, so I don’t know if that’s a shot or a compliment. But either way, it’s good fun, and it’s classic.

Probably the guy who wrote this movie.

Probably the guy who wrote this movie.

So I recommend sitting back, cracking open a Moosehead or LaBatt’s, put on your netted trucker foam hat, and watch a bunch of Canadian teenagers get killed, ay?

I mean that’s what it’s all aboot, right? Sorry that was a typo.