31 Nights of Halloween

October 25, 2014

Yet Another 31 Nights of Halloween: Go to the Head of the Class (Amazing Stories TV Show – S2:E8)

Okay so I’m going to try something a little different here. In the late 80’s, Steven Spielberg came out with a TV show called Amazing Stories that seems to ether grab a ton of flack or a ton of love. I never really watched the show, maybe a totally of two episodes of which I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about. I do remember the show and that opening but not a bit of memory regarding the episodes. So since Amazing Stories is on Netflix, I’m going to pick a couple of episodes out of order strictly do to the crew and actors that appear in that episode.
Go to the Head of the Class: Enjoyable
Season 2, Episode 8 (November 21 1986) 60 mins
The reason why I picked Go to the Head of the Class was because of the involvement of Christopher Lloyd as Professor B.O. Beanes, Bob Gale (teleplay), Alan Silvestri (Music) and Robert Zemeckis (Directing). Yes the majority of those who worked on my favorite movie of all-time, Back to the Future.

Right off from the start this has the Zemeckis look. The opening is classic Zemeckis just like Back to the Future, it tells a lot about the character. We start off on the TV that slowly comes out showing our main character’s room filled with pictures of a girl. We start to pan down from a window with a basketball and baseball bat, band posters, stickers, a phone going off and a clock. Our main character (Peter Brand) picks up the phone to find a screaming mother yelling at him about being late for school.

Cut to a shot of Peter Brand jumping out the window running to school, its so McFly like and that is just too damn awesome. 

The next scene is where Christopher Lloyd comes into the story. He plays a teacher who is pretty hard on his students. Seeing a student crewing gum, he questions the student who quickly swallows the evidence. The Professor then picks a piece of gum from under the desk of the student, ask what is this then? The student says thats not the kind I chew, which in a silly way catches the student in a lie. So he requires the student to swallow the random piece of gum. I love this scene a lot because Brand is trying to sneak into the classroom during this time. The way the whole scene flows just reminds me of Back to the Future, which isn’t a bad thing mind you. Alan Silvestri scores this episode just like Back to the Future. When Peter falls into the grave around the 18:20 mark, just listen, it just screams Back to the Future and damn do I loved that. 

Regarding the story it’s definitely not the strongest but still enjoyable to watch. It’s a revenge plot after Brand and his best friend; Cynthia Simpson (Mary Stuart Masterson) gets caught with the same paper. Brand takes the blame and is punished in front of the class by the Professor. So the two decide to cast a deadly spell on the Professor which doesn’t go to plan. I really enjoyed this episode mostly because it felt so Back to the Future like. That said Go to the Head of the Class was still enjoyable to watch especially with Halloween around the corner.
October 3, 2014

Yet Another 31 Nights of Halloween: Halloween (1978) Redux

MAGIC

 Halloween – Magic

Kicking off this year’s edition of the “31 Nights of Halloween” I only felt it appropriate to re-review a film that we reviewed a long time ago, and really needs no introduction. It’s the 1978 touchstone for horror; John Carpenter’s “Halloween.” This will also mark the first in a series of reviews all about the “Halloween” franchise, even the abysmal “Halloween: Resurrection.” So away we go from Smith’s Grove to Haddonfield.

“Halloween” starts with the murder of a young girl named Judith Myers by her 6-year old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years under the watchful eye of Dr. Samuel Loomis, Michael is able to escape the Smith’s Grove Sanitarium and Loomis knows there is only one place where he can be headed; the scene of his original crime in Haddonfield, Illinois.

Meanwhile we meet Laurie Strode and her friends Annie and Linda, just three girls looking to hook-up, smoke weed, and have a good time on Halloween, well, at least Annie and Linda are. Laurie is more the straight arrow type, looking forward to babysitting Tommy Doyle, watching “The Thing” and carving jack-o-lanterns. However, a dark presence has invaded the small town of Haddonfield and is looking to kill horny, weed smoking, babysitting teens.

As day turns into night, Dr. Loomis warns the local Sheriff, Leigh Brackett, that evil is coming to his little town and officers need to be on alert looking for Myers. Ever the skeptic, Brackett agrees to Loomis’ demands, but tells him he’s got until tonight to track down Myers.

Needless to say, Myers murder spree goes off without a hitch, victims including Annie and Linda, not to mention a dog, a horny boyfriend, and some stranger while on the road to Haddonfield. With only Laurie remaining, she is able to fight him off with a knitting needle, a wire hanger, and finally Michael’s own knife. But you can’t keep a good “unstoppable force” down as Michael moves in to finish off Laurie. However, putting the pieces together with the help of some screaming kids, Dr. Loomis comes to the rescue and empties his revolver into the chest of Michael and the nightmare is finally over as Myers falls over the balcony to his death.

As Loomis comforts Laurie and tells her that Michael was the boogeyman, the doctor leans over the balcony to observe his kill, but is shocked to see that Myers is gone, nowhere to be found.

There isn’t much to say about “Halloween” that hasn’t been said before; it’s one of the best proto-slasher films ever made, outside of possibly “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” The different between Michael Myers and Leatherface, however, is where Leatherface is a hulking caricature of serial killers like Ed Gein, Myers is simply the silent force that cannot be stopped and there is no rhyme or reason. That makes the film so much scarier; you can’t rationalize with something that you can’t understand.

What makes “Halloween” stand apart from the rest of the crop of slasher fare that exploded in the 1980s was the sense of dread and the play on the fear of Halloween itself. This is more apparent in “Halloween 2” but you can still see how Halloween affects the town. The streets are empty, people lock themselves in the house, they don’t open doors, and it’s way easier to scare people, as Loomis does to a group of kids playing around the old Myers house. It’s interesting to see moments of levity in a horror film. It’s also interesting to look back at “Halloween” after seeing it the numerous sequels, that perhaps Haddonfield has always been that type of town that has harbored the terrible secret of the Myers murders and it’s legacy. Despite the fact that “Halloween” and “Halloween 2” are supposed to be standalone films and the Myers arc is supposed to end, it makes a little more sense why the streets are empty in Haddonfield after dark and people are reluctant to open the doors to screams of terror, or at least that is the way that I look at it.

Getting away from the subtext of “Halloween” and more into the actual substance, there are numerous things that I simply love about this film. The biggest, and most long-lasting effect “Halloween” has made on the public, is the music, which for my money is nearly as recognizable as the “Star Wars” theme, “Jaws” theme, or any other soundtrack theme ever. It still can raise the hair on the back of your neck, and just hearing the opening piano notes, people will automatically say “Oh, Michael Myers.” And while “Halloween” is a great film on it’s own, it wouldn’t be half the film it is without John Carpenter’s score.

The characters and actors are top notch as well. I’m not a child of the 70s, shoot, I’m barely a child of the 80s, but if I was to venture a guess, I would assume that Annie, Laurie, and Linda, are pretty typical kids of the 1970s. The talk about guys, do drugs, and get into trouble. My one gripe would be the overuse of the word “Totally” by Linda. If my count is correct, I heard “Totally” 13 times; probably close to the amount of screen time Linda gets, so you get a “Totally” a minute. There is also a lot of name dropping in this film, which I guess is a thing. The most famous of them all is Ben Tramer, who has a pseudo-important role in the sequel. These, again, are just minor quibbles.

The last thing that really stands up is the actual creation and depiction of Michael Myers. Pure and simple, there is no rhyme or reason behind Myers, he just is. In later sequels it’s explained, sort of, that he worships Samhain and his reason for killing is that he is the curse of his family name, so he mist kill all members of his family? That stuff is just weird, but if you just take the first film into account, the fact that there really isn’t a reason for the murder of his sister and the senseless murder of everyone else, is pretty scary. Even in our daily lives, we constantly search for the what if’s and why’s when something awful happens. From mass shootings, to serial killings, to everything in-between, we want to know why. In the case of Michael Myers, there is no why, the only explanation is that he is pure evil, which when you think about a doctor saying that (Loomis) is pretty silly, but it’s also understandable. Sometimes there is no reason for bad things that happen, which is both frustrating, and terribly frightening.

For a film being close to 40 years old, “Halloween” has aged very well. The scares are timeless, the music adds to the never-ending sense of dread, and the characters are still pretty relatable. You can go into the film deeper and talk about how it either exploits women, empowers women, or is a morality tale that punishes the evil people who do drugs and have sex out of wedlock, but that’s for another review, and I’m looking at this from a pure horror film aspect, and the film still plays very well. While there might be scarier films out there, “Halloween” for my money, can still scare someone who hasn’t seen it and is a milestone for not only horror, but film in general.

Fun Fact: It took John Carpenter four days to complete the score for “Halloween.”

October 26, 2012

31 Nights of Halloween, Click: The Calendar Girl Killer

 Click: The Calendar Girl Killer: Laughable

A perfect early 90’s horror film in all the wrong reasons.
If there is a word for beyond cheesiness it would fit for this film.

What we have here is another transvestite killer with some major mommy issues. I really don’t have much to say for this review, so I made a few notes for you while I watched.

Other then that, its a bad horror film. Fun if you have a pizza, beer and some friends come over to watch it but yeah other then that its pretty bad.


Some Notes While Watching! (Now with 40% Extra Denim!)

First bad line of the film, “You are gonna party to you die…keep the bubbles going”. Followed by some creepy laughing.

Wow another line, this one is better! “She’s a bitch…but she screws like a demon”. Followed by Two 90’s guys with mullets laughing.

Im going to use that line one day, somehow I will!

There is a moment when two people fall into a spa and get wet. Next shot they’re dry and only their hair is wet.

Denim vest! All I see is Denim in this shitty film!

The main guy is a photographer and his camera only has one lens!

Yep the guy crosses out the victims with red ink.(Thats how you know they’re dead…from being apart of this film. Hope to see my photo get crossed out with red ink soon!)

He goes to Chinatown looking for models. And apparently only finds white models. So no asian women in chinatown?… Thats kinda odd.

Stereo typical biker boyfriend with the black leather jacket, jeans and white t-shirt. Always a good sign in a film.

(Nothing happens for awhile, well something does but it goes nowhere)

90’s sex scene, with 90’s sex scene music!

And they have a tea kettle in front, blocking all the nudity! And yes the kettle goes off at the right “moment” of the 10 seconds of crappy sex.

Hey everyone! The killer looks like game show host Chuck Woolery!

90’s poolside slow-mo oil up scene, now with more denim!

Follows 90’s poolside fight scene also in slow-mo and with bad sound effects.

Finally some, Boobies!

Some stupit shit happens.

More bad dialogue.

The killer dresses up as a nurse with a wig and lipstick. It looks…bad.

He also talks. Which is clearly ADR at its worst.

More Boobies, but with strobe lights, which gets old very fast.

The strobe light is still going this time a murder is taking place which last a few mintues. Yeah a few mintues of fast flashing strobe light, I feel sick now thanks guys.

The fight scenes are soooooo bad.

Remember the main guy? The photographer with the one lens? Well it is officially the whole film, only one lens!

The killers outfit also has fake boobies and socks up to his/her knees.

The final fight scene is a “Jesus on the cross remake”, yep no lie. I uploaded it so you could watch it, if you like. The Biker boyfriend knocks the killer down and thinks its over, clear it’s not. The killer gets up and they both pick up torches to fight almost like a fight with swords. And thats it, it just ends.

Wow thats the film, Click…it really is bad, but funny…but still really Bad!

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