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8>10 = varying degrees of excellent
7 = good movie that I like
6 = ok movie that I like
5 = bad movie with some good elements
4>2 = varying degrees of awful
1= Little/no redeeming features whatsoever
What is your favorite word? Pluviophile
What is your least favorite word? Butcher/slaughter
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Altruism
What turns you off? Stupidity
What is your favorite curse word? Bollocks
What sound or noise do you love? Rain
What sound or noise do you hate? Alarm clock when you're in a deep sleep
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Meteorologist or Forensic scientist
What profession would you not like to do? Politics
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Would you like a glass of wine?
Halloween II (2009)
Hey, world! Guess what. I'm Michael Myers' sister! I'm so f*****
So, Rob Zombie's Halloween II starts out much the same as the sequel to the original in that it picks up on the same night as the previous movie, with Laurie Strode wandering the streets in a state of shock after having attacked and been attacked by her long lost sibling, serial killer Michael Myers.
She is promptly whisked to hospital, along with best friend Annie, who also survived her attack, and stitched backed together again.
In the meantime, as Michael's seemingly dead body is taken away to the morgue the vehicle crashes and he awakens. He tracks Laurie to the hospital and proceeds to slash his way through the hospital staff in a bid to get to her.
Just as Michael zeros in on Laurie and it seems as though he will succeed in killing her, the movie then abruptly cuts to two years later, where Michael's body is missing and Laurie, struggling to cope with what has happened to her, awakens from a nightmare.
And that's where the similarity with the 1981 movie begins and ends. Which is fine - it's not like the sequel to the original Halloween is some untouchable classic - and we see that Laurie has basically turned into what she would have become had she grown up in her original family; foul-mouthed, greasy, grungy, unpleasant, whiny, bitter and angry.
Her anguish is understandable of course, but when she is even angry and mean towards Annie and father, who take her in and let her live with them after Laurie's adoptive parents were slaughtered in the first movie, and raging at her therapist she is a very exhausting character to root for and sympathise with; and one of the strengths of the original movie (and even the sequels) was the likability of it's heroine(s) - even poor, tragic Jamie Lloyd who was stalked by Michael Myers from the age of eight, abducted into a cult at age nine and gave birth to her uncle's baby showed more resilience and less self-pity than Zombie's Laurie Strode.
During the course of the movie, thanks to Dr. Loomis (now a selfish, fame chasing, money hungry pseudo-celebrity) who wrote a book on Michael Myers, she learns of her true identity as Angel Myers - Michael's estranged baby sister. She breaks down at the revelation and in an effort to escape her pain, she goes out and parties the night away on Halloween night, with disastrous consequences for her and her friends, as unbeknown to them, Michael is very much alive and eager to finish what he started.
To give credit where it's due, this does present a very interesting premise; is it possible to change your fate? Can you escape who you were always destined to be? Is tragedy rooted in your DNA?
Unfortunately, all of this is COMPLETELY OVERSHADOWED by Zombie's reliance on extreme gore, violence, mean-spiritedness, insistence on making every other word an 'F' bomb and completely bizarre and odd plot choices.
For instance, were the first twenty four minutes of the movie real? A dream? And if it was real, how did Laurie escape? Who knows? The movie never explains.
What was the point of Michael's 'white horse' visions of his mother? Was there a point? Or was it just an extremely forced way of giving Zombie's wife, Sherie Moon, a role in the movie?
What was the point of showing Michael traipsing across the countryside as an unmasked, hairy, dishevelled hobo? Most of the murders he commits during these scenes are completely unnecessary and gratuitous, it lessens the impact when he finally shows up on Halloween night knowing he's just been trawling through fields eating dogs and killing rednecks (imagine how terrifying and impactful it would have been if he had just appeared without any warning or explanation!) and his physical appearance just looks like a lame attempt from Zombie to insert his own image into Michael.
And don't even get me started on Loomis, who in the original movies and sequels was always a worthy adversary to Michael - the 'woodcutter' to Michael's 'big, bad wolf' if you will - is now just a narcissistic, selfish jerk.
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
I had to search the bowels of Hell, but I found someone; someone who'll make 'em remember
Twelve years after the events of Freddy's Dead and the population of Springwood have all but forgotten serial dream killer Freddy Krueger, rendering him powerless and resulting in many years of sweet, murder-free dreams for the town.
Furious at having been forgotten by the very town he once single-handedly terrorised he enlists the help of Jason Voorhees, the hockey-masked serial killer of Camp Crystal Lake, to invoke fear back into Springwood's residents so that he can feed off that fear and reign supreme once again.
Jason is summoned to 1428 Elm Street, the original home of Freddy's first and most enduring adversary, Nancy Thompson. Only now it is inhabited by pouty lipped Lori Campbell and her father. When her father is away one night her friends come over for drinks and teenage shenanigans.
After Jason murders the boyfriend of one of Lori's friends, the police - who have tried to ensure that the current teenage population of Springwood know nothing about Freddy Krueger and his brutal crimes - inadvertently plant the seed in Lori's head, and soon she is freaking out and having nightmares.
Though fear continues to spread as the body count mounts up, it takes a while before Freddy is strong enough to kill again and is reliant on Jason to hack through more victims to ensure the fear grows.
However, just as Freddy is about to kill his first victim in over a decade, Jason swoops in and takes the glory away from him and Freddy realises that Jason isn't his minion but a serious threat to his title of Springwood's most notorious serial killer and the two must go head-to-head in battle for the ultimate victory.
Though there are a few cool moments in the movie, such as making the town of Springwood and Camp Crystal Lake part of the same universe, the appearance of Westin Hills, the psychiatric hospital from 'Dream Warriors', as well as nods to other horror movies - 'Lori' a nod towards the character of Laurie Strode in 'Halloween' and 'Campbell' a possible nod towards Neve Campbell who played Sidney Prescott in 'Scream', and the character of Gibb being almost entirely based on PJ Soles' character from 'Carrie' - I mostly find FvJ uninspired, boring, clichéd and not nearly as epic as it could have and should have been.
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
The only way you're gonna survive is to do what you think is right, not what they keep trying to jam you into
There are some movies that are referenced, parodied and talked about so much that when you finally get round to watching them, you go into them feeling like you've already seen them. Saturday Night Fever was one of those movies for me.
After watching all of the pop-culture defining musical movies of the late seventies and eighties (Grease, Fame, Flashdance, Footloose, Dirty Dancing etc.) I went into Saturday Night Fever thinking I knew exactly what I was going to get.
Imagine my surprise when far from being a lighthearted musical about the late seventies disco scene in the vein of 'Flashdance', it was a story about struggle, despair and desperation that was very dark and sometimes outright depressing - scenes of gang violence, a rape, an attempted rape, an accidental suicide and plenty of racist language - all set against a backdrop of disco music including the now iconic soundtrack by the BeeGees.
I think when I first watched Saturday Night Fever I felt I was in a similar dissatisfied place and situation in my life as the movie's main character, Tony Manero (played with just the right amount of swagger and charm by John Travolta), a Brooklynite in his late teens who plods along in his day job at a paint store and lives for the weekends when he can let loose with his friends on a Saturday night at the local nightclub, where thanks to his good looks and dance talent, he is something of a local celebrity.
Unlike his friends though, who seem to have no aspirations beyond going out, getting drunk and laid at the weekends, he knows that his lifestyle has a shelf-life and by his own admission dancing at the disco is one of only a few times and places he feels appreciated and worthy; even within his family he lives in the shadow of his older brother, Frank Jr., whom his family idolises due to his vocational choice to become a priest.
When the opportunity to enter a dance competition at the nightclub arises he is convinced to enter with his friend, Annette, even though he is reluctant because he knows Annette is in love with him and he doesn't feel the same way for her.
Then Tony meets Stephanie.
On the surface, Stephanie seems to have it all together with a good job in Manhattan and a nice apartment but Tony soon realises that not all is as it seems with her.
And unfortunately for Annette, Tony doesn't hesitate to trade Annette in for her as his dance partner, in the hopes of getting to know her better.
While Stephanie's aloof and haughty manner makes it hard for a true romance to blossom between them, there is a definite chemistry and connection between when they dance. The more they get to know one another they realise they have similar goals and aspirations to rise above their humble surroundings and move on to better things.
I watched this movie with a completely different set of eyes than the vast majority of IMDb it seems, as I don't see the relationships between the main characters the same way most view them at all. While most people seem to think that because Annette was objectively more attractive and adored Tony, that it was wrong of Tony to ditch her in favour of Stephanie, who acted like she was better than him, at least in the beginning.
It's fairly obvious to me why Tony doesn't like being around Annette; she represents everything he hates about his current life and Stephanie represents where he wants to go.
The relationship and friendship between Tony and Stephanie and especially the first scene of them dancing in the studio together, is one of the highlights of the movie for me. I think people take Stephanie's haughtiness too personally anyway.
Taiyô no ko Esteban (1982)
They dream of following the path of the setting sun that leads to El Dorado and The Mysterious Cities of Gold
I probably watched all of about two or three episodes in total of this French-Japanese animation as a child but thanks to the beautiful animation, stunning visuals and the beyond epic theme song it has stayed permanently embedded in my psyche ever since.
Now as I have the chance to watch every episode from the beginning, there are two things that stand out to me; (1) I was shocked to learn that it originally aired in it's entirety before I was even born and (2) I am only about eight episodes in and already I can see why this resonated so deeply with many eighties kids, like myself; not only is the animation beautiful, but the story, which centres around Spanish exploration of the Americas in the 16th century, is very mature and the characters incredibly engaging and complex for a children's show.
While the adult characters are driven by very 'adult' motivations of seeking fortune and notoriety in finding 'The Mysterious Cities of Gold', the children are driven by much 'purer' motivations; Esteban, a young Spanish boy who lived his whole life believing he was an orphan learns from a man named Mendosa that he is a 'Child of the Sun' and that he was rescued at sea by Mendosa himself and his real father may still be alive, somewhere in The New World, close to where he was rescued.
Zia, a young Incan girl, who was taken from her family and captured against her will by Spanish explorers, wants to reunite with her people but is conflicted because in doing so she will lead her captors straight to them.
And lastly, Tao, who joins the story a little later, is the last remaining member of a technologically advanced race who believes he will discover the secrets of his people in the Mysterious Cities of Gold.
If I had to nitpick anything, it would be that while Esteban, Zia and Tao are all implied to be around the same age, in the English dub, Esteban sounds notably younger than Zia and Tao, who both sound like the preteens they're supposed to be. Esteban sounds like he's about eight years old. But that's a really tiny nitpick.
I wish I could could say it's my age making me say 'they don't make them like this anymore', but they really don't.
The darkest souls are not those which choose to exist within the hell of the abyss, but those which choose to move silently among us
In the 1978 movie, Michael Myers starts out as an angelic looking blonde haired little boy who stabs his older sister to death for no explainable reason on Halloween night.
In the 2007 movie, Michael Myers is a grungy, greasy product of white-trash who tortures animals and stabs his older sister to death on Halloween night because she wanted to have sex with her boyfriend instead of taking him treat or treating.
He also kills her boyfriend - presumably because he is the reason she wouldn't take him trick or treating-, and his mother's boyfriend because he's an unemployed deadbeat who bullies him.
In fact, the only people who Michael likes, and therefore escapes his rage, in his family are his mother, Deborah, who was working (as a stripper) at the time of the murders, and his baby sister, 'Angel' who is subsequently adopted into another family after Deborah commits suicide due to the stress of having a psychopath for a son.
The two remaining siblings grow up leading very different lives; Michael is committed to a life inside a mental institution while Angel is renamed Laurie and grows up in a nice neighbourhood with two loving parents.
Several years later, on the night before Halloween, two hospital employees decide to get their kicks by raping a vulnerable young female mental patient inside Michael's cell and it's then that the now adult Michael breaks out of the hospital and makes his way back to his home town of Haddonfield in search of his now teenage sibling, leaving a bloody trail wherever he goes.
The rest of the movie is then an almost scene for scene remake of the 1978 movie with Michael tracking down Laurie as she babysits alongside her friends on Halloween night.
Some people like to give props to Rob Zombie for trying something different but as someone who is neither very familiar with Zombie's other work, nor a fan of what I have seen, I can't say that excuse sits well with me. It's not that I'm opposed to seeing a different interpretation of the story or even giving Michael a backstory it's just that the 'bad childhood' angle is so dull, predictable and lazy. Seeing an angelic Michael's descent into murder and rage would have been far more compelling.
I'm also not a fan of how Zombie has a tendency to create all of the male characters in his own image and the constant (constant!) dropping of f-bombs.
With that said, there are a couple of aspects that I do like - for instance the ambiguous time period setting of the first half of the movie; it's vaguely seventies-esque, but never explicitly established which makes for interesting visuals.
Malcolm McDowell does a decent job of Michael's psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis but doesn't hold a candle to Donald Pleasance.
Danielle Harris, who played Laurie's daughter in Halloween IV and V, makes an appearance, this time as Annie, Laurie's sarcastic, snarky best friend from the original movie.
I also like how the sibling story arc flows with more ease, though considering this aspect wasn't added until later in the original series, that can be put down to hindsight.
New Nightmare (1994)
When the time comes, you're gonna have to make a choice; whether or not you're willing to play Nancy one last time...
In 1984, acclaimed horror director Wes Craven breathed new life into the slasher genre with 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' and then again in the mid-nineties with 'Scream', a cool, edgy (for the time) meta-horror. But before there was 'Scream', Craven had already ventured into meta territory with 'New Nightmare.'
The actress who played Nancy, Freddy's adversary from the first and third 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' movies, Heather Langenkamp plays a fictionalised version of herself raising a son, Dylan with her special effects technician husband, Chase.
Heather begins to experience nightmares, including one where Chase is attacked and killed on the set of a new 'Nightmare' movie by a Freddy glove come to life. She is also dealing with a real-life stalker who likes to mimic Freddy's mannerisms and struggling to shield Dylan from her work as a horror movie actress.
Whilst doing publicity for the tenth anniversary of 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' she learns that there is indeed another movie in the works and Chase has already been working on special effects for it without her knowledge. The production company want her to star in the movie but she is reluctant.
However, when Chase is killed in a car accident and his body is found with deep claw marks in his chest and Dylan's behaviour becomes increasingly unstable, including becoming convinced that a man is trying to come up from the foot of the bed while he sleeps to attempting suicide in the playground, Heather turns to her 'Nightmare' co-workers for help and support.
From Wes she learns that the script he's writing is eerily similar to the current events in her life, but is real-life inspiring the script or is the script dictating real-life?
After 'Freddy's Dead' gave Freddy a damp squib of a send-off, 'New Nightmare' was a welcome entry to the series. And even though the ending is still somewhat anti-climatic and Robert Englund is very underused (there should have been more interaction between him and the 'new' Freddy - what a missed opportunity!) this is still the vastly superior 'final' movie that is both enjoyable and original.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Let the Dangertainment begin!
In Halloween: H20, Michael successfully tracks down his biggest adversary and opponent, his own sister Laurie Strode and the two go head to head in a battle of wits resulting in Laurie walking away the victor when she faces the fear of her brother and kills him with a swift axe blow to the head, decapitating him; a fitting and epic ending for an iconic horror villain and beloved horror heroine.
So then, how is it that Halloween: Resurrection exists?
Well, it turns out none of the above actually happened.
No, it turns out that Michael switched places with a paramedic at the scene of his murderous rampage, crushed his larynx so the man couldn't speak and walked away undetected.
Overcome with guilt at murdering an innocent man, Laurie is subsequently committed to a mental institution where she patiently waits for Michael to find her again, which he inevitably does.
Laurie manages to trap Michael on the roof of the institution but terrified of killing the wrong person again, she falters at dealing the final blow and Michael is able to exploit her moment of vulnerability to stab and throw her off the roof to her death; a feeble ending to her character in stark contrast to the triumphant ending at the conclusion of the last movie.
With Laurie finally dead, Michael is free to return to Haddonfield, where he lives under the foundations of his old, abandoned childhood home - presumably to live the rest of his life in peace.
Unfortunately for Michael, a reality TV producer (Busta Rhymes) has commissioned a live internet broadcast to take place on Halloween night inside the Myers house, where a group of college students agree to be filmed spending the night at the scene of Michael's first murder as a child, completely unaware that the man himself still lives there.
Cue a new murder spree, broadcast live on the internet to an unsuspecting audience not realising that they are witnessing real - as opposed to scripted - deaths.
This film is entirely pointless, and yet I can completely understand why it exists. Made in 2002, reality TV and the internet were still relatively new and innovative commodities that hadn't been used a lot in horror movies at that point. In fact, one of my favourite (and arguably, best) parts of the movie is where the main heroine, Sara, receives instructions of Michael's whereabouts in the house on her palm pilot via her friend watching the broadcast on the outside world.
I feel as though the script would've fared better as an individual horror movie, not as part of the Halloween series. The retconning of the events of the previous movie and opening sequence with Laurie feels forced and Michael could've been replaced with a new horror villain and serial killer.
After all, no-one wants to see their favourite horror icon karate chopped through a window by Busta Rhymes. Yes, really.
You've never seen it miss this house, and miss that house, and come after you!
Bill Paxton plays Bill Harding, a former storm chaser who travels to the heart of tornado alley with his fiancée, Melissa, during an unusually high outbreak of storms to retrieve divorce papers from his storm chasing, soon-to-be ex wife, Jo (Helen Hunt).
Jo, who still has feelings for her estranged husband, reveals that she has brought Bill's design for an internal tornado reading device, 'Dorothy', to fruition.
Lured by the chance to see Dorothy in action for the first time, Bill agrees to join Jo and the team one final time.
Unfortunately, an inept but arrogant rival team of storm chasers have copied Bill's design and developed a tornado reading device of their own called 'D.O.T.', and Bill and Jo must get Dorothy into the air before they have a chance.
The rest of the movie that follows is basically Bill and Jo realising their true feelings for one another interspersed with scenes of tornadoes that appear and disappear conveniently according to the plot.
This movie is a huge guilty pleasure of mine. Going by my own personal rating system this movie should be a '5', which is an essentially 'bad' movie with good elements that make it worth a watch, but I bumped it up to '6' for two reasons; as an avid sky watcher (seriously, I should have just gone into meteorology for the amount of time I spend looking upwards) there is a real dearth of good extreme weather movies out there and as long as you aren't concerned with complex characters or plot then Twister delivers in that respect. Yes, the science is implausible and downright silly at times, but it's still the best extreme weather movie to date.
The second reason is for the end credit sequence featuring Van Halen's instrumental piece, 'Respect the Wind'. I've bumped up many a mediocre movie before due to their soundtracks and I feel 'Respect the Wind' captures the wild, majestic, unbridled nature of planet Earth's skies perfectly and beautifully.
Every town has an Elm Street!
I put off writing this review for a long time as it is arguably the worst entry into the series (except for maybe Freddy vs. Jason and the atrocious remake - but more on that later) and by far my least favourite, as everybody's favourite dream killer hacks his way through yet another batch of sleep deprived teenagers to get to his daughter, a social worker for said teenagers, in order to make his way out of Springwood (whose population of children he has successfully slaughtered) and into the consciousness of a new town to terrorise.
Yes, they waited until the 'final' instalment of the franchise to reveal that before (or whilst) he became a serial child killer, Freddy was a family man with a wife and child; a set-up which simply falls flat, firstly because it was always heavily implied that Freddy had been forced to lurk in boiler rooms due to his social outcast role in the community - so this revelation just comes out of nowhere - and secondly, because although I feel the series had already become somewhat lacklustre before this movie, the characters in Freddy's Dead are so unbelievably dull, which equates to a very anti-climactic 'send-off' for this horror icon.
I can't help but feel that the movie would've packed more of a punch if they'd found a way to bring back characters from previous movies in the series to defeat Freddy for a 'final' time.
I've always been fairly generous when judging the Elm Street series as even after the movies themselves stopped being 'scary' I've always given props to the creativity of the visuals and ideas (i.e. the idea of the teenagers having dream powers and abilities suited to their personalities), but all of that is just gone in this movie; none of the characters have any interesting traits, powers or abilities and after having watched Freddy's Dead again recently, for the purpose of writing this review, I did enjoy the sequences where the John Doe character keeps finding himself in situations where he is falling through the sky but this is completely overridden by the cringe worthy video game/power glove sequence.
Oh, and the movie attempts to explain the origins of Freddy's powers which is not only incredibly lame but unnecessary.
(You've probably noticed that I've written the word 'final' in quotation marks; that's because I like to think Freddy's REAL send-off came out just three short years after this movie's release...)
Michael Myers... Yeah, right!
As the title of the movie suggests, H20 takes place twenty years after the events of the original movie and is a direct sequel to the first two movies ignoring the 4th, 5th and 6th instalments of the franchise.
Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode, who unable to cope with the memories of her ordeal on Halloween 1978, faked her death, changed her name to Keri Tate and became the headmistress of a private Northern Californian school.
As Halloween approaches she becomes increasingly anxious which affects her relationships with new love interest and counsellor at her school, Will Brennan and her seventeen year old son, John (Josh Hartnett).
John is tired of his mother's stifling, overprotective ways so when she forbids him from going on a camping trip with his friends, they instead decide to stay behind and have a private party of their own inside the school on Halloween night.
The people around Keri are quick to dismiss her fears and write them off as paranoia, but little do they know that Michael Myers has come out of hiding, found out Laurie's new identity and is making his way from Illinois to California to finish what he started twenty years earlier...
H20 came out post 'Scream' which was the movie attributed to the revival of the 'slasher' style horror movie, after it's decline in popularity in the early nineties and the influence is definitely there. From the opening scene that throws you into the heart of the action, it's willingness defy/revamp horror clichés and it's vaguely meta/self-aware approach.