Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The sixth movie I watched this week was Halloween II, the sequel to the 1978 smash hit Halloween. I've only seen this movie once before so I was anxious to see it again and see how different or similar it was to the original classic. When I originally saw this one it was back when I was in high school so it was a long long time ago. Yes I said that, a long long time ago. 15 years back to be precise. Below is my detailed description.
This film brought back Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode and Donald Pleasance as Dr. Samuel Loomis so the two main characters besides Michael Myers of course were back for this film. Michael Myers was played by Dick Warlock in this film and interestingly enough he also played the role of Patrolman #3 as well. I couldn't tell you where Patrolman #3 was in this film but that was none other than Michael Myers. On a side note this film was Dana Carvey's acting debut as he played an assistant to a news reporter while reporting in front of the Wallace house. Very odd.
This film released three years after the original definitely tried to bring in some of that classic Halloween movie feel especially with the opening credits to this film. It starts right where the old one left off and in fact the beginning of the film is actually the end of the first one which was weird to see but often common in sequels. Its like a refresher for the audience and it is probably more evident in films where the sequel is released 3+ years after the original. None the less this is what happens with this film as it starts with the title of October 31st, 1978 Halloween. After the opening sequence (the end of the first film) the candlelit pumpkin with the opening credits ran very similar to the original with one twist. At the end of the scene a skull rips out of the pumpkin and this was very cool. Nice touch!
The setting for this film was mostly shot in and around the local hospital, Haddonfield Hospital and personally I did not care for it as much. It was originally set to take place in a high rise apartment building however I don't think that would have been great either. Yes the beginning of the film was shot on that tortured street in Haddonfield but it quickly jumped to the Hospital once Laurie arrived. One thing I didn't particularly care for was the lack of authenticity at the hospital. The hospital was much much darker than a hospital would ever be and it was much more quiet and empty than any hospital I've ever seen. That to me was unrealistic. Overall the setting for this film didn't compare to the original at all.
The music wasn't much better. The first time I heard the Halloween theme it sounded like a candy corn version of the original classic, seriously it was more corny than scary. I know that with a new film you want to create a new soundtrack and score but since the original was so excellent I thing they should have borrowed from that playbook at least for some of the music. Even some of the more dramatic and tense scenes in the film had the more fun upbeat sounds attached to them so it wasn't as scary or suspenseful as it could have been. In a movie that plays on the music and score so much it would have been nice to have seen a more dreadful and suspenseful collection of music even if that meant going back with some of the original tracks from the first film.
The kill scenes in this film were ok at best and again I hate to harp on it but that had a lot to do with the poor music in this film. Had there been more dramatic scary tracks associated with certain scenes the kill scenes them self could have been 10 times better. With all that being said there was plenty of killing to go around so lets get to it. First victim (of this movie) was the next door neighbor girl to the elderly couple. This scene was typical and not that scary. The next to go was the Hospital security guard as he met his maker in the storage room at the hospital. Here we saw a kill scene involving a hammer and again nothing all that scary.
For me personally there was one scene that was not even a kill scene but was easily the most disturbing scene to watch. I am talking about the scene where Laurie is brought into the hospital and the repeatedly stick her arm with a needle to draw blood. The constant visual on this scene and the emphasis on the needle going into the arm is like one of the worst things I could witness. I loathe getting my blood drawn and it has to do with a bad experience as a child so watching this scene was actually extremely difficult for me, difficult enough that I had to turn away a couple times. Other scene's that the director I'm sure was actually "trying" to gross people out would have been the boiler room scene where Michael Myers literally cooked a girl to death and her smoldering skin peeling off face was left over to see. Add in a the kill scene where Myers sticks a needle in the nurse's eye and another where he slits the throat of a police officer and I think that completes the actual most disturbing kill scenes the movie has to offer. Much more mellow than today's horror films right?
Considering the let down in both the music and the setting of this film I was actually disappointed. The kill scenes were ok but nothing to write home about and when you really don't have anything other than an iconic slasher movie killer holding up your film it tends to be quite lackluster. Fortunately this franchise picked up the pace with Halloween 4 & 5 which were excellent films. Halloween III: Season of the Witch didn't really involve Michael Myers so I don't really consider that when referencing this franchise. All in all it was ok at best so I would give this film a C!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The 5th movie I decided to watch this week was the original 1978 classic Halloween! This film is what Horror movies are about and just imagining what it was like in 1978and how it would have been to experience this film on the big screem back then gives me gooosebumps! This film in my mind is the greatest Horror film ever made and yes that is a bold statement but one I stand by firmly. There are so many wonderful elements to this film and I was fortunate enough to have gotten the chance to see it in the theaters when they released it on the big screens for its 30 year anniversary. It was mesmerizing on the big screen! Below is my detailed review of this film as for the 2nd time during this movie marathon I am doing a Live Blog!
I love the opening credits to this film with the names of the producers, directors, and eventually the title along side a black background with just a candlelit pumpkin flickering next to the names. The opening scene we see just the title Haddonfield, Illinios Halloween Night 1963 which is then followed by a POV (Point of View) camera shot looking at the Myers house and it is apparent that it is Michael's eyes who were are viewing this from. After that we hear what can only be considered as a sound effect which is hard to explain but if youve seen the movie you know what it sounds like. Its incredibly creepy and scary and if watched at night with all the lights out and surround sound pumped up can scare the crap out of you. What follows is Michael stabbing his sister to death with a clown mask on. The sequence ends when his parents drive up and see him taking off his mask. Now in this scene they just see him then stop and stare at him, weird. Very weird. I would have been freaked out at the large bloody butcher knife in his hand but hey thats just me.
Fast forward in time now to Smith's Grove, This is the first time we see Dr. Sam Loomis who was played by Donald Pleasance as he is driving in a car to the insane assylum where Michael is with a nurse. With it raining outside they come up to the front gate where they see patients in gowns roaming free. It is evident this is not normal and something is wrong. Michael Myers breaks into the car and steals it as Dr, Loomis yells out the "the evil is gone". It was pretty freaky seeing all the patients in their gowns roaming free I must admit. Nice touch! Next we see it is daytime in Haddonfield on Halloween. This is where we first see Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) as she walks to school. I love the look of this quiet neighborhood and it is weird to me how it was actually filmed in and around Hollywood.
The first glimpse of Michael Myers is when Laurie is dropping keys off at the Myers house. We see him appear behind the front door window and then only his left shoulder in his overall get up breathing heavily watching Laurie walk down the sidewalk. Next we see Laurie in school and she see's Michael across the street behind the station wagon he stole just standing there staring at her. Very creepy. I love the patience of this original Michael Myers and how he just stands and stares, it is much creepier and scarier than having someone act more, shall we say normal. One of the more jump out of your seat type scenes is when after the bullies at Tommy's school smash his pumpkin one of them runs right into Michael and along with the sound effects it really produced quite a scare. With the title track playing in the background he follows along the side of the road watching young Tommy while he is in his car again breathing heavily.
Dr. Loomis is on the hunt for Michael and one thing I thought was cool was when he finds a box of matches that says the Red Rabbit on it which was the name of the strip club in Rob Zombies 2nd Halloween. I love when new movies reference old ones like that in little bits and parts throughout the film. We then just to Laurie and her friends walking home where again we see the station wagon driven by Michael Myers driving slowly through the neighborhood with the music again in the background. Very creepy and unnerving stuff if you ask me. A few moments later we see the infamous Michael behind the hedges scene. I love this scene. It was these type of shots in the film that made this movie so mysterious. It wasnt predictable like so many horror movies are now and days. We continue to see Michael outside Laurie's house by the clothes on the clothes line in her backyard. Its a constant game of now you see me, now you dont. His statue like nature in this scenes made him so scary and that is one reason I love Michael Myers as a Horror icon, the biggest and best Horror icon ever!!
I thought it was great seeing the little trick or treaters going door to door while it was still daylight out. So true and real to real life. Little kids just cant wait to get out there and get there candy. As the film moves along we see Michael following Annie and Laurie in Annie's car. Its ironic that Myers drives right by Loomis as he is awaiting to talk with the Seriff. After this we again see Myers come up behind Annie's car as she again is unaware and he follows her as the music yet again plays in the background. One thing I thought was a little odd and in my book would be considered a film flub was the fact that during Myers following of Annie it went from daytime, more like afternoon time to straight darkness at night. There was no gradual change and it looked kind of odd especially since one scene showed daytime and literally the next scene showed night time. The night time is when things get good though and this is where Annie drops Laurie off and shall I say, let the games begin!
After a brief glimpse of Myers standing and staring at Annie entering the Wallace's we see Loomis and Sheriff Brackett arrive at a dark and desolate Myers home. They go inside to investigate and Loomis gets scared by a bird smashing into the window and then after the Sheriff suggests he is "just plain scared" we hear Loomis give his reason why where he includes that "he met a 6 year old child with this blank pale emotionless face with the blackest eyes, the devils eyes" and later he states that what was living behind that boys eyes was purely and simply evil". The conversation was eerie at the very least and Pleassence's delivery of it was perfect and stunning. At this point of the film we have only seen one killing, just one. The one at the very beginning where Michael killed his sister. That all changes very quickly after Tommy looks out the front window and see's the "boogeyman".
As the film starts to pick up we see or should I say we hear Myers standing outside watching Annie. Now being a dog lover I could have done without Myers killing Lester the Wallace's German Shephard but at least we didnt see anything. You know Annie is in trouble when she gets locked in the laundry room but to my surprise she makes it out and after dropping off Lindsey with Laurie she goes back to get keys for her car and there Myers is waiting hidden in the backseat and he chokes her to death. Next we see Tommy looking outside and seeing Myers carrying Annie into the Wallace's. This reminded me of Zombies 2nd Halloween with him carrying Laurie. Switch scenes for a second and we see Loomis having a little fun scaring a couple of kids who dare themselves to go up to the Myers house doorstep. One thing that striked me odd was that Laurie never answered the door for trick or treaters while babysitting and this was Halloween night afterall? Odd!
Next sequence is with Lynda and Bob. This included the kill scene with Bob as he is choked then stabbed up against the door. Now for starters if a butcher knife is that strong to hold up a man then I want to know where they sell them. That was just a little much. I did however enjoy Myers head tilt afterwards while staring at his handy work. Next we see the infamous sheet ghost with glasses scene where he pretends to be Bob then kills Lynda by strangling her with a phone cord. An classic horror movie scene for the ages. I will have to admit I dont remember Myers breathing so heavily so often but it only added to the mystique that is Michael Myers. The music that plays as Myers approaches Lynda as she calls Laurie is the first time we hear this type of music and it is some of the scariest in the film. It reminds me of the Jaws theme only scarier.
As the film nears its end Loomis notices the nurse's station wagon and with the increased Halloween theme song playing in the background you can tell something is about the happen. Loomis now knows Myers is nearby. Meanwhile Laurie heads across the street to The Wallace's house and enters into the dark house alone in search of her friends. What she finds is Annie on the bed with Judith Myers headstone at her head. No sooner does she see that and Bob's upside down body comes flying towards her in a closet and she bumps into a another close showing her friend Lynda dead. Quite a harrowing experience for Laurie and all of a sudden she needs to get out of the house. As she is crying next to a closet Myers mask appears out of the blackness and it is undeniyably creepy and scary. After almost getting stabbed Laurie barely gets out of the Wallace's house alive. The final sequence is about to take place.
I think it is worth noting again that is surprises me and baffles me how it is Halloween night and with Laurie screaming for help there is nobody around that can hear her? I know there was one set of neighbors who looked out their window but really, thats it? Again its just very odd and not really realistic to me for that particular night. She eventually gets back in the house and thats when the fun starts. We are treated to the extremley iconic closet scene where Laurie fights to stay alive and elude Myers and after stabbing him all seems safe but this is Michael Myers we are talking about so that is obviously not the case. After reaching the kids she tells them to leave and in the background after they leave we see Myers rise from ground and the infectious sound effects start up yet again. As Laurie was fighting off Myers Loomis came upstairs and right after Laurie had grabbed his mask and pulled it off and Myers was putting it back on Loomis shot him several times, the last which drove him off the 2nd story balcony to the ground below. After Laurie asked if that was the boogeyman and Loomis confirmed he looked outside and Myers was gone and that ever so classic Halloween them began to play for the final time as this film came to an end. There's not much else to say than this. This was a perfect horror movie and my favorite horror film of all time so to know surprise I give this an A+!
The 4th movie I watched this week was Rob Zombie's Halloween 2 aka H2 the sequel to his 2007 smash hit Halloween. I too saw this one in the theaters by myself and I was equally impressed with this as its predecessor but only in certain facets of the films. Overall I thought it fell short of the original (Zombie version that is) as a whole but there were definitely some scenes that were much darker and forceful than the original. I enjoyed this movie very much. Below is my detailed review.
The cast for this film was basically the same as the original sans the people who got killed obviously with a couple of minor alterations. Deborah Myers (Sheri Moon Zombie), Michael's Mom was in this one as a ghost and young Michael was played by a different character since the original Michael had a growth spurt and could not be used for this one. That was a big let down but luckily there weren't an abundance of scenes with young Michael but yet enough to notice. The original young Michael was by far the best. Like I said before though besides a few new characters like Laurie's co-workers and friends and a few others this movie generally has the same main characters in it and that's a good thing.
Focusing again on the main three features I enjoyed so much from the original (ie: kill scenes, settings, and music) Ill start in reverse this time with the music and move backwards from my order on the original film. I thought the music in this film was actually better than the original. My basis for that is based on three scenes in particular. The opening sequence where Laurie is having surgery is incredibly dark and morbid beyond description. The surgical tools carefully removing her fingernails was detailed ever so grossly as was the entire surgical procedure and what made it even more creepy was the classical music in the background. Another genius but odd choice of music for a dark scene that Zombie is so brilliantly known for.
Another example of this yet not as great as the first was the scene where Sheriff Brackett see's Annie dead in her bathroom as what can only be explained as "Enya" type music blasts in the background. Again, creeeeeepy! Last but not least in any way was the final scene with Laurie sitting in all white room with a slow version of Love Hurts blasting. This was a great scene as she even gave a very convincing Norman Bates impression and all with her smirk she gave. Cool ending and great music!
The setting's for this film were even better than the original in my opinion and there were certain ones I thoroughly enjoyed. First the cornfield setting was great. Just the thought of a giant killer like Michael Myers being out there roaming around is terrifying in itself but actually running into such a monster, whoa! I thought the Halloween party with the crazy host and all the topless women dancing was very Zombieish and very vintage type wild Halloween fun. Fit so well in this movie. The Red Rabbit was a great ode to the original Halloween as well because if you remember Loomis picks some matches up that state Red Rabbit on them in the first movie when searching around the truck on his way to Haddonfield. Last but not least the vacant barn in the empty field yields yet another dark and mysterious setting for this film and a perfect location for the final sequence to take place. Not many more things scarier than an old abandoned barn out in the middle of nowhere on Halloween night.
Lets talk kill scenes for a second. This second film upped the ante big time! More brutal - check. More devastating - check. More gruesome - check. More everything - check, check, check. Yes the kill scenes in this film were much more graphic than the original and it almost seemed as though Michael Myers was much more angry in this film, like really really angry. It felt as though all of his kills were more personal and there was much more passion and hatred behind them even when most of them were strangers and people he did not even know. They were just vicious and fierce and felt much more hardcore than the original film's kill scene. Below is a list of some of the worst of the worst kills that took place in this film.
Ill start with a scene that didn't necessarily start out as a kill scene but ended with it. I'm speaking of the scene where the coroner's van crashed into a cow. Let me first say this. This scene looked extremely realistic from the crash to the aftermath to the reaction by the guy in the passengers seat. It all felt and looked real. Very creepy looking. What was even worse was when Michael Myers walked over and grabbed a shard of glass from the windshield and beheads the guy. Yeah remember what I said, more everything!! It started right at the beginning! The brutality only continues and the sheer force in Myers stabbing as he kills the nurse is quite graphic without being graphic if you get what I'm saying.
The killing in the corn fields weren't quite as bad as others but I loved the atmospheric element in that sequence. I just like the whole corn fields at night theme. Reminds me of Signs or Children of the Corn. One thing I didn't care for and that I thought was irrelevant to the film was the scene with Michael eating a dog. The most brutal kill scene in the entire film took place in the parking lot of the Red Rabbit. If you've seen the movie you know what I'm talking about. Lets just say Michael Myers literally crushed and smashed a guys face into blithering. It was awful in so many ways but for horror fans alike it was a scene like no other. Beheadings, limb removals, and stabbing scenes can be contagious in horror films but not too often have we seen the brutal horrific extent that this scene took. For such a quick short scene it was monumental to the film, in my mind that is. Not only did it remind us that Michael Myers was neither human nor sane it really made you think, "could that really happen"? I wonder that myself?
Besides the kill scene of Annie in her bedroom and the seemingly ludicrous amount of bloodshed left after wards there weren't many other big kill scenes in this film. One thing worth mentioning was that in the directors cut of this film Myers shows his face by taking off his mask and screaming "die" at Loomis before he stabs him. When I think back I actually think we saw more of Michael without his mask than we did with it in this film. I think we were desensitized to it because he had such a large beard throughout the film but when I think back that was kind of odd. Overall I felt this film was good but not quite as good as the original. I would have liked to have seen more mask in this film but the jolt from the kill scenes in this film were really quite visible and I did like that. I would give this one an A-!
The 3rd movie I decided to watch this week was the 2007 remake version of Halloween. Now I say remake however this was in a sense a whole different movie than the original. This version directed by Rob Zombie was a whole new bold and fresh look at Michael Myers and gave us a more detailed account of Michael when he was younger. I remember being so excited to see this movie that I went to a midnight showing by myself to see if and took the next day off at work. That's what happens when Halloween is your favorite horror movie of all time and you loved Rob Zombies previous films.
This film included a great cast which was perfectly ensemble together for this film. Malcolm McDowell played the role of Dr. Sam Loomis and was easily the lead character besides Michael Myers. Speaking of Michael Myers this role went to Tyler Mane as the adult Michael. Mane was so incredibly large and his stature and presence made for a great Michael Myers. He was perfect. The young Michael was performed by Daeg Faerch. Since this movie focused a lot of the early Michael Myers it was important for this character to be really really good and he was exceptional! Rounding out the cast was Scout Taylor Compton as Laurie Strode, Dannielle Harris (from Halloween 4 & 5) as Annie, Kristina Klebe as Lynda, Sheri Moon Zombie as Deborah Myers, William Forsythe as Ronnie White, Hanna Hall as Judith Myers, and Danny Trejo as Ismael Cruz. There are other notable actors throughout in cameo's and small parts and all the casting for this film was excellent as noted above.
Right from the start of this film you could tell it was a Rob Zombie flick. In his previous two movies "House of 1000 Corpses" and "The Devils Rejects" they were heavy on the language and this was noticeable right from the start. Forsythe was a perfect actor for the role of the foul mouthed boyfriend of Deborah Myers. The cussing back and fourth at the beginning of the film was true Zombie dialogue for his films and although very different from the original it fit well within the realms of this film. You have to know going in this is a Rob Zombie version of Halloween so even though there will be moments that mirror the original in all reality it is Rob's vision for this film and that is going to include a lot of new elements to the film. Language being the first and most noticeable.
There are three things I will focus on in this review. The kill scenes. The settings and backgrounds for this movie. The music. All of these elements made this film in my mind because the mystique of Michael Myers in general and the Halloween franchise in itself is a classic and favorite among many horror fans around the world. I think what so many people were looking forward to with Rob's version was that it would be a more modern, horrific tale of the classic. In this day and age with over usage of CGI special effects and dramatic unrealistic kill scenes in horror movie after horror movie it is refreshing when you have a director who can come with something fresh and new yet not over the top. Yes I admit House of 1000 Corpses was a bit over the top but this one was not, this one was excellent and much much more realistic.
This is a horror movie so lets start with the kill scenes. There was a body count of 17 in this film but lets highlight the main ones. The first one was the bully at Michael's school. This was just plain old fashioned brutal and it really gave the audience a sample of what was to come and showed how truly messed up Michael was from an early age. His rage was on full affect during this scene and yes anyone would have wanted to beat the crap out of that kid but what he got was much worse. A brutal first kill for young Michael. The next to go were Ronnie, Michael's sister Judith, and her boyfriend. Having a fear of knives and being stabbed is not ideal when you are a horror fan however I'm starting to wonder if my dilemma and fear has come from watching horror movies from a young age? Hmmmm? Lets move on.
Ronnie's death was difficult to watch for me. Sliced at the throat would be a brutal way to die. Just thinking of it creeps me out. As bad as that was it got worse. Judith's boyfriends death was malicious beyond words. A total beat down with a baseball bat with a shot of the wet bloody bashed in scalp at the end. Ouch! Very graphic! The killing of his sister Judith was not quite as brutal but it was eerie in the sense that we see the young Michael put on the mask that would become to be known as pretty much the most famous Horror mask of all time. Watching a young child wear that adult mask while stabbing his sister to death with the new updated Halloween track blasting was brilliant! My cat Topanga even jumped at a couple of these scenes poor thing. The final kill scene that we see from "young" Michael is when he is at the mental hospital and he kills a nurse. The scene itself with the blasting music, sirens going off, and slow motion picture frame was a scene of chaos and pure pandemonium. It was wonderfully done and a great last kill scene for the young Michael.
As the older Michael we obviously see more killings and it starts with the prison guards. The first 2 deserved what they got but I was surprised to see that he killed Ismael Cruz (Trejo) was had become like a friend to Michael. I later found out that originally this was not to be the case but they ended up keeping the scene to show Michael's pure brutality and danger. He goes on to kill a truck driver in a bathroom stall at a truck stop in one of the more less exciting kill scenes. They pick up after this. I thought the kill scene of Lynda and her boyfriend was decent but the one I thought was really good was Laurie's foster parents. The scene where he comes out of nowhere and grabs her Dad and pulls him in the house gave me quite a jump when seeing it in the theaters. His brutal force was on full display in this killing scene. Next up was Annie and her boyfriend on the couch. Typical kill scene for her boyfriend here but somehow she lived which wouldn't really have happened, right? Her failed escape attempt at the front door was pretty cool when Michael grabbed her and swung her back in. This was actually the final kill scene in the film.
The settings and backgrounds for this film were great as well. I thought they were fit into the story and gave the same type of atmosphere as the original. That was important. I thought the scene in his jail cell with all the masks was amazing. One of the masks looked like a Captain Spaulding mask to me but who knows. All of the masks were so incredibly creepy and eerie and the jail cell was a perfect environment for a killer like Michael Myers. The scenes that take place in the neighborhood are also good and I love films where people try to run and hide in residential homes to get away from killers. Its a perfect cat and mouse type scenario and in this film I thought the residential neighborhood including the Myers house was done extremely well in and in accordance with the original atmosphere.
The music was good throughout as well and I especially loved the new Tyler Bates version of the main title song, Halloween. In classic Zombie style there was some old rocker songs and an oldie or two as well. The Love Hurts song on Halloween night was interesting as clips of young Michael sat in front of his house while shots of his Mom at the strip club came in and out. I had to laugh when I heard a Christmas tune while Michael's Mom walked across a snow filled lot on her way to visit him in the winter. Odd 10 seconds of this film if you ask me. Mr. Sandman is played when Michael's Mom is watching old family films at her house before she killed herself. I had forgotten this song was played in the original Halloween II as well. Overall the music was what I would have expected for a Rob Zombie film and again it all corresponded well with the original yet had that classic Zombie style to it.
Overall I thought this remake of the original Halloween was very good. The option to go with a story that focused more on the young Michael than the older Michael was excellent in my mind. One thing I thought was pretty cool was how Zombie made the young Michael actually more vicious and brutal than the old Michael. If you look back and look at the kill scenes and compare them the younger Michael did way more damage in a deviant evil way than the older Michael. Don't worry though in the sequel the older Michael makes up for it. All in all a good movie! I would give this a firm A!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The 2nd film I chose to watch this week was the 1988 film Lady in White. I saw this one when I was much younger, probably around 13 or 14 and it was pretty creepy back then and just as much now. I have not seen this film for about a good 10 years or so therefore I was very excited to watch it again not having seen it for so long. Below is my detailed review.
This movie was not loaded with tons of famous actors and actresses but the individuals who were in this film were great. The lead was Lukas Haas who played Frankie Scarlatti. This had to be one of his first films and to this day no matter what movie I see him in I will always remember him from this film as the little kid in the closet. His father Angelo is played by Alex Rocco who was amazing and the villain or should I say murderer, Phil Terragarossa, was played by Len Cariou. The other notable actor in this film was Jason Presson who played Frankie's older brother Geno. This kid looked like he just fell out of an episode of Leave it to Beaver and he was very good as well. The entire cast like I said was great.
This movie was much different than the rest of the ones that I watched this week. Yes it took place on Halloween therefore it was one of my choices for this week however it was different because it was more serious and much much more controversial. Yes the original Halloween caused quite a stir when it came out but this film had some things in it that surprised me seeing it the 2nd time that I didn't notice when I originally saw it and that was probably because I was so young. The story itself was very disturbing but I didn't care at all for the some of the language that was used in reference to African American's, I didn't need to hear the word "nigger" in this film but I understand why they felt it was important to the film. Still I didn't like it. Even though this was more of a serious drama it did have its moments of a care freeness in the beginning of the film that reminds me more of a fall film around Halloween time.
Now as much as this film was different than the others I'm watching this week there was one part in particular was strikingly similar to at least one film, The Midnight Hour, almost identical in fact. I am speaking of the beginning of the film. Both films included the following. A newspaper boy on his bike driving around in a small, quaint town. There is a milk man and a scene where a store owner opens his door and sweeps the storefront sidewalk. There is a vision of a barber shop as well. These scenes were so incredibly similar I had to remind myself I was watching a different movie than the one I just saw. It was weird but for that short time this film fit right into place with the other. Not for long though.
This film had a very powerful story and was well written. There were a lot of different elements in this film that made it very good. Ill start with the setting and scenery used as a backdrop for this film. It was gorgeous. I don't know if it was sets or actual locations where they shot this film but some of the scenes were visually very scenic. The forest scenes were quite awesome and man would I love to have had a bike ride like Frankie and Geno had when I was younger. Fact is I really never even rode my bike to school but if I had I would have loved the ride they had. That same forest area was the backdrop for the final chase sequence in the film as well and was quite creepy at this point in the film. The cliff scenes were pretty cool as well but probably, scratch that, definitely had more special effects placed in them than real backgrounds. Still overall the scenic scenes in this film were pretty cool, even the flyover out of body experience Frankie had in this film. It was kind of odd too see but for this film it kind of fit.
There were some quite eerie scenes in this film. One of the more notable scenes was when Frankie was locked in the closet. Just seeing the ghost of the girl then the killer looking for his ring was creepy. Who can forget the scene where the old lady ghost in the house with the red hair (I think she was the Mom in Who's the Boss?) came flying down the stairs and scared the crap out of the kids. Her face was so incredibly creepy looking. The entire final sequence of this film was more intense than creepy and definitely had a lot of action to it. A chase through the woods, a fire in the house, and a struggle at cliffside all led to the climax of this film. Prior to that though there were some other scenes that I found quite shocking and just downright creepy in this film.
First I found it quite odd that the supposed 1st girl who was murdered was named Melissa Ann Montgomery. Ok that's just creepy. My wife's name is Jennifer Ann Montgomery. I thought Frankie's Dad's sympathy and compassion was quite endearing to the janitor's wife after the whole church debacle with one of the murdered boys Mom. The way he comforted her and drove her home was very sweet and caring and I found it very nice to see especially since her husband was completely innocent. What I did not like and what totally shocked me was when after being released from jail that Janitor was shot and killed by that same woman from the church. This scene was just downright surprising to me and I totally did not see it come. Just so damn creepy the way she walks up and then pulls the gun after her apology. I personally thought the most intense and scary scene of the film was when Frankie realized that Phil was the killer when he was humming the song "did you ever see a dream walking" and then when Phil absolutely freaks out and tries to get into the car to get Frankie. The whole scene was quite scary. Overall I thought this was a very good film and would easily give it a B+!
The 1st movie I chose to watch this week for my "Halloween" week was the 1985 made for TV movie The Midnight Hour. I remember watching this when it was televised when back in 1985 when I was just 9 years old. I loved this movie back then and I love this movie now. It will be one of those movies that will always remind me of Halloween time when I was a kid and I like that, actually no, I love that! Below is my detailed review.
Like I mentioned above this was a made for TV movie so there were not any big household movie stars in this film but that didn't matter. The actors in this film were good but then again this was a made for TV movie so I wasn't looking for the acting skills when watching this but more so for the fun, entertainment value. The most notable actor in this film was probably Captain Warren Jensen who was played by That 70's Show Dad Kurtwood Smith. The rest of the cast was good like I said and I enjoyed them all. There weren't really any standout performances by one single individual but Lee Montgomery who played Phil Grenville was easily the main lead in this film.
The music in this movie was phenomenal and several of the songs I heard I will always relate to this movie in particular. I am referring to the Midnight Hour track and the Bad Moon Rising track. Both of these songs will forever be embedded in my brain as "Halloween time" songs and they are two songs that I most frequently play around this time of the year. I love both of these songs! I thought the incorporation of the Midnight Hour track into the scene where they were all driving to the cemetery was very cool. This track played once again fittingly at the party later on in the film. The Bad Moon Rising song was near the beginning of the film as well and was played when the kids (they were high school students after all) were all getting ready. I can see Vinnie now reaching into the refrigerator for that ketchup to add some spice to his costume.
Another song that was creepy in this film was the "Little Red Riding Hood" song which I immediately relate to the Bruce Willis flick Striking Distance. If you've seen the film you know what I'm talking about and if you haven't too bad. haha. Go rent it. There was an oldie in there too when Phil and Sandy danced and drove around in his convertible but I cant recall the name of that tune. Last but definitely not least is the track that was played during the dance scene at the party. I don't know the official name of the song but the chorus was quite catchy "I'm dead, your dying, everybody should try and get Dead"! Nothing like I bunch of dead people dancing and singing to add some life to the party, wait that doesn't sound right?
In addition to the music there were some pretty narly looking monsters and ghouls some of which when I think back to this being a made for TV movie make me think to myself, they had some damn scary looking monsters in this movie? There was the extra large and in charge serial killer who obviously had a grudge with the town judge, he was massive. Then you had one the ever reckless wolf man creature who was one of the more violent ones. There were also some funny monsters like the one Phil hit with his card and later enjoyed his popcorn at the party. I can still hear him saying, "popcorn, gooooood"! Another funny dude was the midget monster with his square shaped noggin he looked like a mini Frankenstein. I loved his entrance to the party and when he put on the shades while sitting next to Phil on the staircase.
There were some monsters who really you could call zombies who you wouldn't know were dead at all. Obviously Sandy was one of them and was as harmless as a turtle and yes I said turtle. Everyone says fly but flies can be more harmless than turtles, think about it. Another one would have been Lucinda and she was creepy as hell. Her soft spoken voice and glaring glances were just downright spooky. One of the best scenes of the entire movie was in the wine cellar when she attacked her great great great great grand daughter Melissa. This scene had that slow motion effect that I love for added dramatics and had a very creepy background music to assist it. The vision of red wine spilling all over the place while Lucinda attacked and bit Melissa was crazy good!
Other personal favorite scenes of mine are listed below. Obviously we will start with the monsters rising in the cemetery after the group awakens the dead. This was pretty cool looking and quite realistic (yet how can that be, how would we really know?) for a made for TV movie. The special effects were much better than I expected in this film. I thought the scene where the massive serial killer kills the judge was quite frightening as was the attack by the Wolf man on the tobacco chewing dog owner outside the barber shop.
He didn't stop there either and went after Phil and Sandy in the car and ruined their make out session, how dare him! Seeing Phil's Dad the dentist as a zombie was quite scary as was the drive that Phil and Sandy made through town square. What made that drive even more nerve racking was the freakishly scary opera type singing by a guy which provided a real dark soundtrack for that whole sequence. All of this led up to a dramatic conclusion which followed Phil and Sandy back to the party house which looked incredibly haunting (loved it) and then back to the cemetery where Phil eventually successfully reversed the curse. After doing so he saw Sandy's tombstone where she had imprinted with her lipstick SM+PG, how cute! haha. After a final dedication from Sandy that Phil hears on the radio while driving home then film ends.
All in all this was a great film. Had this been a major motion picture to hit the theaters I would have easily gone and seen it or at that time begged my parents to take me. It was just a fun, entertaining, spooky, Halloween time movie that was sure to please on many levels. There was a great story, scary monsters, and funny moments as well so it was a cant miss film in my book. This one gets top honors in my book so that means an A+!
The 7th and final movie I decided to watch closing out my Romantic Comedy week was one of my favorites of the week, 13 Going on 30! I really really enjoyed this movie and did so even more this time that I watched it. I have seen it several times before and enjoyed certain scenes here or there but this time I really thought it was funny and quite endearing and enjoyed it overall more than I had ever before. Below is my detailed review.
The cast for this film was great! I thought Jennifer Garner was amazing in this movie and absolutely adorable and convincing as a teenager in a 30 year old's body. Well technically more like a 20 year olds body to be honest with you but she was playing a 30 year old. Gwyneth Paltrow, Hilary Swank, and Renee Zellweger were all considered for Garner's role of Jenna Rink but I'm so glad they were not the lead in this film. None of them would have compared to Garner and I don't believe any of them would have been as convincing or cute as Garner. I think she was a perfect choice for this film!
The rest of the cast was great too like I said before. I especially like Mark Ruffalo and have for awhile now. He is one of my favorite actors and I was happy to see him as the character Matt in this film. He was great as usual and he is just one of the really nice guys that you like to see in films. Judy Greer starred as Jenna's nemesis/friend/nemesis Lucy and she is a staple in romantic comedy movies. Sam Ball was hilarious in his role as Jenna's grown up hockey star boyfriend and Andy Serkis was hilarious as Jenna's grown up boss Richard Kneeland. The film really revolved around these 5 individuals and they were all great and that made this movie very fun to watch!
There is so much I liked about this movie. The music, the dancing, the love story, the fairytale ending, etc. There were so many great qualities of this film that made it so enjoyable so lets start with the music and dancing. They were a very integral part of the film and made up some of the most enjoyable scenes. This film had a very strong 80's musical them because after all that was the time frame that Jenna was a teenager at the beginning of the film. Songs that were played throughout this film were Jessie's Girl, Thriller, Burning Down the House, Crazy for you, I wanna Dance with somebody, Ice Ice Baby (90's), and Love is a Battlefield. I always love seeing old 80's music in films! Lets talk more about Michael Jackson's Thriller though!
There are several dance scenes in this film but none bigger than the Thriller dance scene at Jenna's work party. This scene was classic and is easily one of my favorite dance scenes in a movie of all time and I have a lot of favorites so that's really saying something. What I loved so much about it was Jenna's innocence at the beginning of the dance and her complete disregard for embarrassing herself or thinking about how it would affect her and more so her company. She just went in and went for it and then it got better when she pulled Matt in and got him out there. Slowly one by one then group by group more and more joined in for the infamous dance sequence for this video and at the end Jenna's boss capped it off with his perfectly stepped moves and moonwalk finishing touch. It was just a fun memorable scene and probably my favorite of the entire film.
There were other scenes that were downright hilarious and one of them Sam Ball was personally responsible for. He played Alex Carlson the famous NY Ranger Hockey player who just happened to be Jenna's boyfriend. The scene where they are back in his apartment and he does a striptease dance to Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby that is downright comical! The dance moves, the swoosh hockey shot move, and the tighty whities! Just funny, funny, and funnier!! Truly a great scene. Another more PG rated scene that was funny was when Jenna was at her neighbor's house for a slumber party and they all danced around in their pajamas singing the song, "Love is a Battlefield". This scene in particular is a scene where we are reminded how perfect Garner was for this part.
I thought the sequence where Jenna asked for Matt's help in shooting high school type photos with dances and graduations was very cool. I loved the idea behind it and thought it was a unique touch for her magazine and the film and it eventually led to a kiss with the engaged Matt after a short swing on a swing set in the park. You could tell these two were meant for each other at that very moment. Although I'm never a big promoter of someone stealing someone else's fiancée this is a movie so its ok, right? haha. In order for this film to come to its conclusion this just had to be the case and it was done in a way that Jenna actually traveled back to her age of 13 and confessed her love to Matt and then all of a sudden we see them on their wedding day so in the end there really was no fiancée so all ends well for this film and it had the romantic ending we all long for in these type of films.
Considering the great throwback 80's music, the hilarious dance scenes, and the very endearing and adorable character of Jenna Rink this film was really a treat to watch. Add in Mark Ruffalo, a very funny boss, and an incredibly cheerful and comical boyfriend this movie really hit on all the marks and is one heck of a great romantic comedy! The story was very original as well and I liked that. This easily gets an A!