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: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Lovable losers are always great fodder for an angsty teen horror flick. The outcasts, the weirdos, the ones who can’t find friends, even the ones who don’t want to find friends. Nonconformists who find comfort in conforming to nonconformity. As Frank Zappa once said during a show, “Everybody in this room is wearing a uniform and don’t kid yourself.”

The uniform for the outcasts in There’s Someone Inside Your House, the new adaptation of the novel by Stephanie Perkins, is wokeness. The film takes place in a small town in rural Nebraska, and the small band of teenage protagonists seem to be the only folks in town who are on the right side of social justice. It’s something that hangs heavily over the film, even in the moments where it drifts away from commentary and just tells a story. If there’s one thing we love here at Missile Test, it’s being lectured to by a movie. Just kidding. We don’t like that. We do like slasher flicks, though! Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: There’s Someone Inside Your House”

October Horrorshow: Motel Hell

Motel Hell, the 1980 horror flick from director Kevin Connor and screenwriters Robert and Steven-Charles Jaffe, is one of the creepier flicks I’ve watched for this year’s Horrorshow. Nothing is going to beat The Green Inferno for gore, or Color Out of Space for dread, but this low-budget, half-satirical take on slashers and cannibalism has some dark stuff going on underneath.

Rory Calhoun and Nancy Parsons star as Vincent and Ida Smith, sibling (I think) roadside motel owners in rural California (location work was done at the late Sable Ranch, which has 96 IMDb credits to its name). Vincent is a local fixture. Besides owning the motel, he is also the proprietor of Farmer Vincent’s Smoked Meats, serving a 100-mile radius for the past thirty years. Folks come from far and wide for Farmer Vincent’s products. The local sheriff, Vincent’s younger brother by many, many years, Bruce (Paul Linke), attests to its qualities, saying he was practically raised on the stuff. Vincent and Ida have been deceitful, however. The secret ingredient that makes Farmer Vincent’s meats so delish is, of course, human flesh. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Motel Hell”

October Horrorshow: Hell Night

I wasn’t expecting much out of Hell Night. At first glance, it appears to be just another anonymous 1980s slasher flick, featuring a star who had lost her grip on A-list roles years earlier. On top of that, whatever old print had been transferred to digital had not been cared for, with many scenes featuring vertical scratch lines. This film has seen a partial restoration from Scream Factory, released on Blu-Ray, so someone thought this flick was worth preserving for the future. And they were right. Hell Night is low rent and clichéd, but it is also a good horror film. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Hell Night”

October Horrorshow: Willy’s Wonderland

Nicolas Cage is, without reservation or reflection, my favorite living actor. His days of high-brow or blockbuster Hollywood cinema are over, and this seems to be his intention. Well before he aged out of A-list roles he embraced the absurd, the strange, and the underfunded. Best of all, he always gives his all in every role he’s in. Sometimes that doesn’t work, but rarely have I ever enjoyed such consistent overacting. He’s a treasure.

This year saw the release of Willy’s Wonderland, which fits in well with Cage’s embrace of the outlandish. According to the internet, so it must be true, Cage was so enamored with the script that he chose to be one of the film’s producers, so he could have authority to prevent the story from being changed too much. As for that story… Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Willy’s Wonderland”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 4: In Space

This is the shameless, absurd piece of shit movie that I have been waiting for this series to produce. With Leprechaun 4: In Space, the filmmakers finally said, “fuck it,” and jettisoned everything that hindered this substandard horror franchise. By that, I mean Earth. The first three flicks were somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but they never lived up, or down, to their potential. This film is the turning point.

Like its predecessor, Leprechaun 4 went straight to video. That was a wise decision. The opening shot — in SPACE! — has some of the worst CGI a viewer is likely to see anywhere, and it sets the tone for the rest of the film. Realism was not within the grasp of the budget, and the result would not have been acceptable for a theatrical release. That also means director Brian Trenchard-Smith was freed from the shackles of even middling expectations. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 4: In Space”

October Horrorshow: Bloody Pit of Horror, aka Il boia scarlatto

Bloody Pit of Horror movie posterWhat a wonderful pile of cheese. And what a wonderful title. Bloody Pit of Horror. It just rolls off the tongue. Of course, there have been countless bad horror flicks with great titles. What makes this less disappointing than so many others is a certain lightheartedness — a feeling that one is watching a funhouse flick. At no point is any of this film meant to be taken seriously. It’s not a black comedy, but neither is it a downer. Rather, it’s as if everyone’s favorite gang of youths in the neighborhood got together to make a backyard play for all the parents to see, maybe to raise some money for Billy’s operation. Aw, gee whiz, it sure is neat. It’s also Italian, which means it is shameless schlock.

From way back in 1965, Bloody Pit of Horror stars legendary sword-and-sandal actor Mickey Hargitay as Travis Anderson, a former sword-and-sandal actor who has taken up residence in an abandoned castle and surrounded himself with some of the Joker’s henchmen. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Bloody Pit of Horror, aka Il boia scarlatto”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 3

Most horror franchises have a seminal first film, one that grabs the attention of horror fans, and then the franchise limps its way to irrelevancy. Sequels descend in quality to the point the filmmakers are clearly in it for the cash and nothing else. The Leprechaun franchise is different from, say, the Halloween franchise or the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, because it has been shit from day one. The first flick was bad, the second flick was worse, and Leprechaun 3 feels like a last gasp before everyone went home and pretended none of this ever happened. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 3″

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 2

I am baffled, flabbergasted, dumbfounded, astonished, nonplussed. I am deep into the thesaurus when it comes to how I regard Leprechaun 2, the 1994 sequel to filmmaker Mark Jones’ magnum opus. The first flick stank. It only made a little over eight and a half million bucks at the box office, yet it spawned a film franchise that has now spanned a quarter century. I admire the fact that everyone involved keeps making these shitty flicks despite an unending wave of negative criticism. It’s just that in a country known for such ruthless capitalism, I’m surprised these turds keep finding financial backing. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 2″

October Horrorshow: Leprechaun

There are some bad horror franchises out there. Some are intentionally bad (I’m looking at you, Sharknado). Some, like Amityville, are victim to the fact that trademarking the name of a town is tricky, so anyone with a camera and fifty bucks can make an entry. Some, like the Leprechaun franchise, were sprung from a substandard horror flick that somehow made enough money to justify sequels.

From way back in 1993, Leprechaun was sprung from the mind of writer/director Mark Jones, and follows the tale of a murderous leprechaun (Warwick Davis) who is on the trail of his stolen gold. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Leprechaun”