Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Halloween II (1981)
A Huge Disappointment
Compared to most of the other Halloween sequels, the second installment of the Michael Myers saga isn't half bad. However, it is probably the most disappointing of all the Halloween sequels. Much anticipated at the time it premiered in 1981, the movie opens up with a bang. The first ten minutes of the film, partially a reprise of the end of "Halloween", looks and feels almost exactly like the original. It culminates in "the Shape" a.k.a. Michael Myers taking the life of one more young girl in the residential areas of Haddonfield.
After that, the movie takes a steady dive downward. Whereas the original was about suspense and build-up, the sequel is all about body count. The sequel doubles the number of youngsters killed from the original. And most of the stalking and killing takes place in what looks to be the most pathetic excuse for a hospital in the world: Myers lays down his butcher knife in exchange for a scalpel.
By piling up the bodies, suspense is almost nonexistent. Making matters worse, the star of the show, Jamie Lee Curtis, walks around in a daze during most of the time. There are a couple of bright spots in Halloween II though: Alan Howarth's score and Lance Guest's performance as a Laurie Strode-smitten paramedic are among them.
Overall, though, Carpenter and Hill should have made a much better film, given the resources they had available to them. Not until H20, made 20 years after the original, did this series serve up a worthy sequel.
Much Better Film the Genre it Inspired
John Carpenter's Halloween's reputation, unfortunately, will always be somewhat inspired by the less than stellar imitations it inspired, including most of its own sequels.
This is the perfect horror film, with the tension building with every moment of every scene, taking only a brief respite about halfway through for the only moment of comic relief. The plot is simple: escaped madman from the lunatic asylum stalks teenage babysitters, with eerie white masked donned. Only the madmen's psychiatrist truly understands how dangerous and evil He is, and it's a race against time to find him before this force of evil slaughters young innocents.
The main point of the film is simply to scare the audience. In that sense, I believe this may be the most effective movie of all time. Yet, it is not a movie about parading one cardboard character after another across the screen and slaughtering them. First, there is the stalking, which occurs while we get to know the characters. Then, at a time of his choosing, the madman strikes When he does, the audience jumps out of its seat. Actually, there are also several false alarms that also cause the audience to jump in anxiety.
Ratcheting up the level of fear is our lack of knowledge about the killer. We never really know him at all, simply that he committed a heinous act while only a boy. We never hear him speak a word, and only glimpse his face briefly at the very end of the film. In many ways, he is like a ghost gliding among the shadows. Later sequels would try to explain his motives, which made him less scary, in my opinion.
Besides a wonderful script and great directing, Halloween is blessed with a great soundtrack, including musical cues called 'stingers' that increase the level of fear in the audience. And of course, there is the acting performance of Jamie Lee Curtis, in her very first film, that truly makes this a classic.
The unfortunate thing about Halloween is that made many in Hollywood realize they could make an easy buck by following the slasher formula. Just make a film about a madman butchering a bunch of promiscuous teenagers. Some truly awful films were created, somewhat tarnishing the legacy of Halloween. However, the reputation of the director John Carpenter remains intact: he would make other horror films, but never another slasher.
Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)
A Horror Movie with no Gore
"Kingdom of the Spiders" is one of a long line of movies that hit the theaters in the 1970s about man's destruction of the environment coming back to hit him in a horrific way. Like other films of the genre, it has a very bleak outlook on mankind's fate. Many of the movies of this type are simply horrible: "Rattlers", "Dogs" and "Empire of the Ants" to name a few.
"Kingdom of the Spiders" is one of the few of this genre that is actually entertaining and can be watched more than once. A bonus for those who don't like excessive violence is that there is no gore to speak of. The sense of horror is accomplished with the use of live tarantulas (as well as a generous sprinkling of cobwebs), and not with the mutilation of teenagers.
To be sure, much of the acting is on the "made for TV" level and there are more than a fair share of clichés here, including the 'greedy Mayor' archetype that is ripped off straight from "Jaws". Despite its shortcomings though, this B movie is a good little flick and one of the best horror films of the 70s. And it stars Bill Shatner too!
Prom Night (1980)
10 Things to Like about the original "Prom Night"
"Prom Night" may not be a "great movie" (Besides "Halloween" and maybe "Black Christmas", what slasher move is?). But the 1980 "Prom Night" has some very interesting and original elements that sets it apart from its genre and makes it a very interesting watch, even in 2008:
1. Jamie Lee Curtis- Besides "Halloween", this is her best acting role in a slasher movie, and some might argue that her portrayal of Kim Hammond in "Prom Night" even tops her role as Laurie Strode. And her dancing in this movie is just very interesting to watch, whether you are captivated by it or find it laughable.
2. Wendy the "you know what", Jamie Lee's rival- Eddie Benton a.k.a. Anne Marie Martin, Michael Crichton's ex-wife, gives a great performance and is not to be missed in this role.
3. The Music- Yes, it's composed of cheesy ripoffs of real disco hits, but that's its charm. And the quite original "Fade to Black" which ends the film is also excellent.
4. The beheading- To say anymore would spoil too much, but the scene is pulled off masterfully and it is the only gore of any significance in the movie.
5. The killer's phone calls- Very creepy, and they set the mood for the rest of the film.
6. Lou Farmer- The local high school thug is the perfect complement to Wendy. In the end, his scheming with Wendy will create a bizarre twist to the killer's intentions on Prom Night.
7. The Chase Scene- Though most of the killings in Prom Night are just average, the extended chase sequence across campus builds the suspense just right, even though the outcome seems inevitable.
8. The Final Battle on the Dance Foor-Very well choreographed, with the outcome always in doubt until hatchet falls.
9. Unmasking of the Killer- Pulled off in an unusual way. Instead of the mask being lifted, the camera looks at the masked assassin directly for the first time, and we recogignize right away who it is.
10.The Unusual Ending- Some will not like it. They will want Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers jumping out at the screen. Instead, the ending is tearful and reflective.
Kill the Messenger (2006)
This Movie Must Be Seen In America
Admittedly, I have not yet seen this movie. No one has in America, except perhaps for the subject of the film, Sibel Edmonds.
But I do know what is contained in the film and it is explosive. It's a sordid tale of a true American patriot, who, after discovering high-levels of espionage, corruption and bribery of high-level U.S. officials by Turkish nationals, was turned into a pariah by the Bush Administration instead of being congratulated.
It is the story of someone who refused to give up and continues to fight, basically against all odds. Sibel and these other whistle-blowers need our support- so let's make sure this movie is shown in the United States.
La residencia (1970)
One of the Creepiest Movies I Ever Saw
I saw this movie one afternoon on TV after school, probably more than 20 years ago. Considering the number of horror movies I have seen over the years, it is surprising this movie sticks out in my mind. I do remember "The House That Screamed" being slow moving during parts, but the ending is the payoff, although it is quite disturbing. It still gives me the shudders sometimes when I think back on it. I wonder if this is available on DVD.
The mood of the movie is morose and dark, reminding me a little of the Dario Argento, Pieces and a few other foreign made horror films. Lilli Palmer is excellent as the stern headmistress. Why is this film not more well-known and popular among horror fans? The only conclusion I can draw is that the shocking and disturbing subject matter is too hard to handle for most horror fans.