Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Halloween (2018)

Halloween 2018 movie posterForget everything one might know about the lore of the Halloween franchise. Forget the events of Halloween II, wherein it is revealed that series icon Laurie Strode is series bad guy Michael Myer’s sister. Forget that Jamie Lloyd, the child protagonist of a number of the sequels, is Laurie Strode’s daughter. Forget that Jamie Lloyd was retconned and Laurie Strode had an entirely different family in Halloween H20. Forget that Laurie Strode was killed off in the next film. And for goodness sake, forget everything about the ‘man in black’ subplots. Then, forget the Rob Zombie remakes. Forget it all, because the people behind the Halloween franchise have thrown everything out but the first film. It’s a retcon on a grand scale, erasing 39 years of bad movies so the original Halloween, John Carpenter’s master slasher flick, could get a proper sequel.

It’s forty years to the day since the tragic events depicted in Halloween. The murders of so many of her friends, and her narrow escape from Michael Myers, has left Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) something of a shattered person. Her adult life has been dominated by a combination of PTSD, paranoia, and doomsday prepping. Somewhere in there she managed to have a daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), who has a daughter of her own, Allyson (Andi Matichak). Karen and Allyson aren’t exactly estranged from Laurie, but there is a lot of tension. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Halloween (2018)”

October Horrorshow: The Green Inferno (2013)

Eli Roth isn’t just a filmmaker. He’s a student of film, with a well-known passion for horror films — Italian horror in particular. One of his favorites happens to be Cannibal Holocaust, which is amongst the most difficult of films to sit through, with its depictions of cannibalism and real animal slaughter. Of course it would only be a matter of time before Roth, the director of two supremely gory and unsettling Hostel movies, would turn his twisted eye to subject matter like that, sans killing animals.

From 2013, and written by Roth and Guillermo Amoedo, The Green Inferno (the title is a nod to Cannibal Holocaust, as ‘The Green Inferno’ was the title of the film-within-a-film that characters were shooting) follows a group of student protesters who travel to the Peruvian jungle to stop a gas company from bulldozing the village of an isolated tribe. As the protesters are heading home, their small plane crashes shortly after takeoff, and the survivors find themselves prisoners of the very tribe they were trying to save. If one has not guessed it by now, the tribe are headhunting cannibals, and waste no time preparing dinner in grisly fashion. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Green Inferno (2013)”

October Horrorshow: Insidious: Chapter 3

Leigh Whannell has had one of the most impressive runs in horror films so far this century. He’s responsible, with James Wan, for the Saw and Insidious franchises, and has even managed to amass over thirty acting credits. Insidious: Chapter 3, from 2015, is his first time in the director’s chair. A prequel to the first two Insidious films, the film doesn’t feature the Lambert family this time around, but Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, and Whannell all reprise the characters they played. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Insidious: Chapter 3″

October Horrorshow: Hush

A film doesn’t have to have a boatload of jump scares or shocking moments to be frightening. I’ve found that jump scares in particular, when overused, to be detrimental to the quality of a horror film. But Hush, the 2016 film co-written and directed by Mike Flanagan, and starring fellow co-writer Kate Siegel, does not rely on quick instances of surprise to juice up its fright with adrenaline. Rather, Flanagan and Siegel place their protagonist in a situation that is naturally horrifying, and use the tension that creates to settle a viewer into deep, feature-length unease. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Hush”

October Horrorshow: Exeter

It is a film like Exeter that makes me question this little film criticism hobby of mine. This movie is a bottom-feeding piece of shit, and no one should need any Johnny Come Lately critic to tell them so. It was released direct-to-video and has a Rotten Tomatoes rating below 30%. What more can I add? Not much, to be frank. But this film has done something meaningful when it comes to the Horrorshow. This will be the last low-budget shitfest that I found on Netflix that I will be reviewing. Netflix is a fine service...for television. But when it comes to film, Netflix is a showcase for the worst films Hollywood and elsewhere has to offer. It’s in Netflix’s interest to keep licensing fees for the movies it carries as low as possible. Producers of top-grossing films, which are still making money in direct sales, have no incentive to move their films onto something like Netflix or Amazon Prime until the money stream slows. That means that quality is subjugated to affordability, and we viewers get shit like Exeter. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Exeter”

October Horrorshow: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

With all the remakes and reboots of horror franchises over the last decade or so, I was expecting 2014’s The Town That Dreaded Sundown to be just another retread starring young pretty people with vapid looks in their eyes reading just as vapid lines. Somewhere out there wayward production companies are on a constant search for properties ripe for further exploitation, and I thought this was one of them. Before I saw this movie, I had only recently heard of the original Town. That’s significant, because I’ve seen a lot of horror movies. There aren’t that many obscure titles that I haven’t heard of. At least, I think there aren’t. I can’t be too sure about my own ignorance, in truth. Anyway, I thought the filmmakers were scraping the bottom of the barrel to find a title whose rights hadn’t already been locked down. Cynical me went into this film, then, with low expectations. But, rather than having to suffer through another Friday the 13th or Fog remake, this newest version of Town is a well-thought-out horror flick. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)”

October Horrorshow: Oculus

Of late I have been becoming more and more worried that stories hold no more surprises for me. Books, film, television shows, video matter the delivery method, at some point during the story everything seems so familiar that it can feel as if plot and dialogue are being sprung from my own mind and brought to mediocre life before me. After decades on this earth, it seems that there is nothing new to behold. Rather, it’s the same stories told over and over again, just with new packaging. In fact, this observation of mine is nothing new. Even the bible has something to say. In the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, there is this: “All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, ‘See this, it is new’? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us.” Man, if a two-thousand year old bible verse laments lack of originality, what hope do I have in watching horror movies? Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Oculus”

October Horrorshow: Insidious: Chapter 2

James Wan has had enough of ghost flicks. Insidious: Chapter 2 is the third ghost flick he directed in as many years, following Insidious and The Conjuring. To prove that a person can get sick of doing anything they love, and trying something new can lead a person to extremes, his next movie is going to be Fast & Furious 7. That’s right. James Wan has had enough of horror and decided that the best way to revitalize his interest in film is to direct Jordana Brewster, a woman who is to acting what Michele Bachmann is to reason and logic. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Insidious: Chapter 2″

October Horrorshow: Insidious

InsidiousAccording to the IMDb page for Insidious, Leigh Whannell kept a list of horror movie clichés handy while he was writing the screenplay. He didn’t want his project to slip into the same predictable traps that mar so much horror cinema. With that list staring him in the face day in and day out, presumably, Insidious would turn out to be a film that was totally fresh, one that even audience members with hundreds of hours invested in the genre would find enjoyable. That is a very laudable goal, and a bit of a risk. Just because a film is formulaic does not mean it is a bad film. In its most basic sense, it just means the film will feel familiar to many people watching it. And as we all know, people like the familiar. As much as we like to pretend humanity is a collection of adventurous people, the opposite is in fact true. That’s why tourists eat at the same restaurants they have back home. It’s why popular music at times can sound like the same song done over and over again by a hundred different groups. And that’s why sequels, remakes, and carbon copies of previous successes make money at the box office. It’s just the way things are. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Insidious”