A scary thing happened on the way to the Movie Forums - Horrorcrammers

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It mustíve been the old RT I was on when H2 came out. People were OBSESSED with it.
I remember a lot of people thinking it was terrible at the time. Don't think the tide really started to turn until a few years after the fact. I think it was on Slant's best horror movies of the 2000s list or something when it seemed like overall opinions of the movie had shifted.



Man, I know DaMU got chewed out for thinking Season of the Witch kind of sucks, but I'm with him 100%. I should love that movie, but there's something a little too slack about the whole package that it falls apart for me.


After the original, Rick Rosenthal's Halloween II is definitely my second favourite. The second act is a bit generic, but I love the dynamic in the first and third acts, and the visual style is on point. (I don't know much about the production history, but wouldn't be surprised if Carpenter ghost-directed parts.)

Even putting aside the regular complaint of Season of the Witch (which is pretty irrelevant unless you were not aware going into it that there is no Michael Myers), I get people still not liking it. While I think it has some amount of style, it mostly looks like some kind of garbage TV special that might show up one Halloween and never be seen again. But regardless of this, I think if you stick with it, the movie wins you over. Once you get on board, it is both a cheesy 80's after thought, but also legitimately eerie and disturbing. There is a nihilism about it that is weirdly incongruent with how you want to absorb it, which is as something disposable. Something that has something to do with Tom Atkins moustache. But I think it is significantly better than that. While I don't think it is a necessarily great film, I think it is an original, and definitely effective enough to be considered 80's horror cannon.


Halloween 2 doesn't work for me. I don't think it is technically bad. It's more than competent . But there is something studied about it that reminds me of my issues with The Conjuring. It really knows what a Halloween movie looks like. It just about nails it. Except it doesn't have any soul. Instead ,while keeping itself busy trying to fool us into thinking it's a Carpenter film, it forgot to matter. It's watchable. I even kind of like it (it would be probably next best of the list, before that list turns into completely hateable ****). But it leaves me emotionally dead inside.



Current Halloween ranking:

Halloween
Halloween (2018)
H2
Halloween H20
Halloween 3
Halloween 2
Halloween 4
Halloween (remake)
Halloween 6
Halloween 5
Halloween Resurrection

Anything outside the top 3 is subject to change upon rewatches.



Current Halloween ranking:

Halloween
Halloween (2018)
H2
Halloween H20
Halloween 3
Halloween 2
Halloween 4
Halloween (remake)
Halloween 6
Halloween 5
Halloween Resurrection

Anything outside the top 3 is subject to change upon rewatches.

My takeaway from this is you watch too many ****ing Halloween movies.



My takeaway from this is you watch too many ****ing Halloween movies.
*eagerly anticipates adding Halloween Kills to the list this October*



Let me give this a shot....

Halloween (1978)
Halloween II (1981)
Halloween (2018)
H2 (2009)
H20 (1998)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Halloween (2007)

Opinions on most of the above are pretty self-explanatory. I appreciate what H20 is trying to do, but the execution is marred by its generic 90s slickness. Haven't seen 4, 5, 6 or Resurrection.





Lords of Salem, 2012

Radio DJ Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) receives a strange record in the mail from a band she's never heard of called Lords of Salem. On playing the record, Heidi begins to experience strange visions and sensations. When the radio broadcasts the song, other women in Salem are impacted. Meanwhile, a local historian (Bruce Davison) is shaken by the band and the music and looks into where the record came from.

Okay, good call, Horrcrammers.

There were two things that I really dug about the film.

The first was just the slow-burn nature of it. On one hand, this is the kind of film that I think of as a misery spiral. Like, ten minutes into this film you're like, "Oh, okay, this main character is going to give birth to the antrichrist by the end of the run time." But the development of the main character's experience and the way that it was conveyed visually was really neat.

Related is the second thing I liked, which is the way that the film crafts its own witch mythology. Witches can be tricky. As we have discussed many times before, presenting a reality in which witches are real has the troubling effect of essentially justifying the torture and murder of many women whose only crime was being a little weird or unmarried landowners. Witches are villains in this film, but they have a clear point of view and a somewhat coherent internal logic. The story and the images make sense together, and that elevates both of them.

I also was a fan of the music---the general soundtrack and also the "witch track". The idea of a song "activating" the women of Salem could have come off like some sort of dumb Satanic panic element, and it's to the credit of the film that it comes off as fun and spooky.

On the downside, well, I did find the story a bit predictable. Films with that "dark" vibe sometimes have the effect of feeling too obvious, and that's how I felt here. I knew the ending of the film after the first ten minutes. It takes away some of the stakes to feel as if everything is predestined.

My only real complaint was the character of the historian. At one point, he just turns into an exposition machine. I couldn't tell if this character was meant to be a parody of this type of character, but it didn't matter. The character of his wife was great, and I really liked their scenes. But the scene where he's researching on the internet was painful. And he's also talking to himself?! Like we watch him google "family tree" and then he says out loud "Let's see who you're related to." Dude, WE KNOW WHAT THIS MAN IS DOING ON A WEBSITE CALLED FAMILYTREE.COM! I did feel like this character was meant to be meta commentary, but he mostly felt like a huge waste of runtime.

Generally speaking I thought that this was a neat little flick. I dug the imagery and I liked the mythology it built around witches, even if it wasn't entirely complete.

Well, I'm mostly happy about this.



Very happy you didnít hate it!

My memory has likely been kinder to the film that it deserves as I donít even remember the Historian character.

What I do remember, is how strong visually the film is. Zombie makes his influences abundantly clear, riffing on Kubrick, Polanski, Jodorowsky and Russell, but it amounts to something distinctly his own.

The closest film in his filmography to this one is the unfairly maligned Halloween 2
, which bears a strong resemblance to this one in its implementation of psychedelic imagery to depict a fracturing mind. He uses it to explore both Michael and Laurie, which results in some really great stuff.

Unfortunately, youíd have to watch his Halloween (avoid the directorís cut if you ever do. For some reason he replaces a great sequence that brings in the Devilís Rejects crew in favor of a rape scene and itís terrible) and while I donít hate that film, it has most of his weaknesses and few of his strengths.

I do think H2 can almost be viewed as a sequel to LoS though.
Wow, we are truly of one mind on this.



Is Zombieís Halloween 2 unfairly maligned? Most horror fans in the previous forums defended that movie to death and would rank it as their second favorite Halloween movie.
Yeah, I was one of them. I thought the Loomis character was mishandled but otherwise I kinda loved it, despite Zombie's intense, visceral depiction of violence.



Did anyone other than me see 31 and did anyone other than me like it?



minds his own damn business
I thought Halloween (2018) was garbage, myself. Cheap in just about every way - plot, dialogue, humor, kills. Hey, at least Zombie took some chances.
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Was the historian the Bruce Davison character? I remember him being my favourite part, haha. But pretty sure that was entirely the strength of his performance.
I liked the sequences between him and his wife, who
WARNING: spoilers below
had so much presence and personality that I was sure she was going to end up being a part of the overall conspiracy


But the parts where it was just him, a dude, saying exposition things out loud I lost interest.



I thought Halloween (2018) was garbage, myself. Cheap in just about every way - plot, dialogue, humor, kills. Hey, at least Zombie took some chances.
Itís got wonky bits but itís the only one that respects Carpenters original concept and characterizations. Outside of Carpenter, Green is the most formally accomplished director to touch the series and it shows from the first scene (and especially horror sequences like the long take kill and the yard light).

Plus, Carpenterís score really showed off how much heís grown as a musical artist given his newfound focus, while still having his finger on the pulse of what made the original score so effective.

I donít see how anyone can approach a slasher film, especially in this franchise, in good faith and walk away saying ďgarbage.Ē



I had a Sutton Roley marathon this weekend (said no one ever):


Sweet Sweet Rachel (1971)
This made-for-TV movie was the basis for the later Sixth Sense series, although there's really no resemblance between the two other than the ESP-related shenanigans. This is sort of a proto-Scanners, where the baddies use mind control to compel others to commit murder, etc. Not very remarkable, but it does have a nightmarish vibe throughout and lots of visual flair that one does not associate with TV movies of the era. Recommended to those of you with a high tolerance for low-budget PG rated 70s fare.


The Loners (1972) -NOT A HORROR MOVIE-
Dean Stockwell plays a half-Navajo badass who rides around on a motorcycle performing various acts of badassery along with his dim-witted but well-meaning mechanic. Along the way they pick up a pretty blonde with a taste for law-breaking. The fact that this was made in 1972 is your first clue that things will not be all fun and games. The second clue is the films mentioned on the poster. This is not a lost classic by any means, but worth a watch if you're into this sort of thing. Available on Prime in a beat-up but watchable print.




Chosen Survivors (1974)
So this is an odd one. Ten people are abducted and taken to an underground bunker where they learn that they have been chosen to ride out the nuclear holocaust that's about to happen, and to reestablish society in the aftermath. So for the first half of the film, our cast of characters explores their new retro-futuristic digs and grapples with the various dilemmas that arise from their predicament. How does the wealthy corporate guy deal with the fact that he no longer has any power, for example. But then about midway, some vampire bats find their way into the supposedly-secure building and start causing mayhem. So for the remainder of the film, we jettison all the nuclear holocaust stuff for a man vs nature horror film a la The Birds or Day of the Animals. Which leads me to wonder why we bothered with the fallout shelter premise at all? Couldn't it have just been spelunkers trapped in a cave?
Regardless, it's still a pretty good film that I would recommend just because it's the only one of its kind. However, I'd wait until a decent print becomes available. The only copy I could find was almost unwatchable.




Satan's Triangle (1975)
The Coast Guard responds to an SOS call and finds a derelict vessel with a dead man on the deck, a dead priest hanging from the mast, and another dead dude below deck that is floating in mid-air. The only survivor is Kim Novak, who then tells the story of what happened in a flashback. Loved this one to pieces. I would've been all over this one had I seen it back in the day. Available in a decent print on Prime and highly recommended to fans of vintage TV horror.
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Captain's Log
My Collection





The Stepfather 2, 1989

Following on the heels of the first film, Jerry (Terry O'Quinn) is incarcerated in a mental-health facility. After a laughably easy escape, Jerry goes back on the prowl, quickly setting his sights on Carol (Meg Foster) and her son, Todd (Jonathan Brandis). But will Jerry find the perfect family without bloodshed this time? Of course not.

First, thumbs up for watching two films in a row that feature Meg Foster.

I was really pleasantly surprised by the first Stepfather film, largely due to O'Quinn's performance. His performance in this film is still pretty good and anchors the whole thing, but the script for this one chooses to lean a lot more into comedy. This does land at times (such as a baffled Jerry viewing a VHS dating-by-mail tape), but I can't help feeling that the movie would have been much stronger if it had put some of that energy into developing the relationships.

The most dynamic aspect of the film is the contentious relationship between Jerry (who is going by the stolen identity of a man named Gene) and Carol's best friend, Matty (Caroline Williams). Matty becomes suspicious of "Gene" very early on, and the only real suspense in the film comes from her investigations into him. With one exception, Matty's behavior feels most realistic. We know, of course, that Jerry is a murderer, but from Matty's point of view, he's at worst someone faking his identity. She knows he's a creep, but she has no idea the extent or danger.

By contrast, Carol and Todd are disappointingly one-dimensional. There is very little chemistry between Carol and "Gene", and while he is nice to her son, it doesn't feel right that she jumps into a relationship (and marriage!) so quickly. She is the character who most seems to make choices because the script demands it, and as a result it feels very hollow. Todd is also mainly used as a plot device, which stands in contrast to the much more active and emotional role of the daughter in the first film.

This one was . . . fine. The thing I liked most about the first movie--Jerry slowly going really insane as he tried to balance his multiple identities--isn't at all a part of this one. Not that I wanted an exact repeat, but the central focus on Carol and Todd just doesn't generate much energy. Still, for a horror sequel not too bad!




minds his own damn business
I donít see how anyone can approach a slasher film, especially in this franchise, in good faith and walk away saying ďgarbage.Ē
I don't see how people walk away from most Halloween films, in the best faith musterable, without saying "garbage". It's a cynical franchise, so I don't see how good faith applies. Slashers, as a formula, are not my favorite sub-genre of horror films anyway, I'll admit. And I understand that after Halloween (1978), there's a pretty steep drop off before you get to #2 on any ranking. I'm still surprised to see (2018) so high on these rankings.

And in that cynicism, after a round of several sequels or quasi-sequels, they'll roll out either a reboot (ala Zombie) or one of these resets. It's practically the same as H20. "We're going to erase all of these awful cash-grabs that we've been able to fool enough people into watching and, honest to god folks, this one is gonna be the real sequel, the Halloween film that will restore that Carpenter integrity." (As if Carpenter has had any integrity for 25 years now.) And so we get fooled again. No one talks about H20 any more, and I think that once the new corpse smell fades this new Halloween will also be tepidly submersed in the next decade of Halloween product. But speaking of cynicism, the one thing that both of these films had in common was the indeed very cynical horror film equivalent of Lucy's football:
WARNING: spoilers below
Promising Laurie the catharisis of being an actual final girl, only to implausibly let Michael off the hook once again because you suckers will buy tickets for generations!

The latter case is more grating because it does so by cynically exploiting the #metoo era.



Dracula: Prince of Darkness -


Drac's back in another very entertaining entry in the Hammer Dracula series that sort of plays out like a colonialism cautionary tale. Two British couples, while touring the Carpathians, rest in a tavern where local priest Father Sandor (Andrew Keir) warns them not to visit Dracula's castle, so what do they do? Take a wild guess. As much as I enjoyed this movie's Lee-free predecessor, it was nice to see him again, especially since he is terrifying as ever. While it's a dialogue-free performance, I see no reason to criticize the lack thereof because dialogue isn't really necessary in any of his scenes. On the other hand, I missed seeing Peter Cushing, but Keir makes up for it with his endearingly gruff performance as the local vampire expert. Thorley Walters is no slouch either as the Renfield-adjacent Ludwig. This also may be the best-looking and most atmospheric entry so far, especially for the scenes in the woods, which manage to be pastoral and foreboding at the same time. In short, it's an all-around fun vampire movie that, if anything, proves that when the locals tell you not to do a thing, you should not do that thing. Oh, and there are few things are more satisfying than warming your backside in front of an open fire while enjoying a glass of claret.
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Last Great Movie Seen
Silent Running (Trumbull, 1972)



I don't see how people walk away from most Halloween films, in the best faith musterable, without saying "garbage". It's a cynical franchise, so I don't see how good faith applies. Slashers, as a formula, are not my favorite sub-genre of horror films anyway, I'll admit. And I understand that after Halloween (1978), there's a pretty steep drop off before you get to #2 on any ranking. I'm still surprised to see (2018) so high on these rankings.

And in that cynicism, after a round of several sequels or quasi-sequels, they'll roll out either a reboot (ala Zombie) or one of these resets. It's practically the same as H20. "We're going to erase all of these awful cash-grabs that we've been able to fool enough people into watching and, honest to god folks, this one is gonna be the real sequel, the Halloween film that will restore that Carpenter integrity." (As if Carpenter has had any integrity for 25 years now.) And so we get fooled again. No one talks about H20 any more, and I think that once the new corpse smell fades this new Halloween will also be tepidly submersed in the next decade of Halloween product. But speaking of cynicism, the one thing that both of these films had in common was the indeed very cynical horror film equivalent of Lucy's football:
WARNING: spoilers below
Promising Laurie the catharisis of being an actual final girl, only to implausibly let Michael off the hook once again because you suckers will buy tickets for generations!

The latter case is more grating because it does so by cynically exploiting the #metoo era.
Youíre complaining about cynicism in one of your most cynical pontificating rambles.

The only point you bring up against the actual film itself is at the end. It rings hollow because*

1) Itís a franchise. No one should be entering the next Mission Impossible film expecting Ethan Hunt to die and fail, even 6 films deep.

2) If the film hadnít been successful, this ending was created to do exactly that. Blame audiences for gobbling it up because itís actually a very good sequel.

3) The original plan presented to Jason Blum was to do a trilogy but Blum is a shrewd businessman and essentially said ďmake the first one a success and weíll do the others.Ē So they did and now theyíre getting to actually make their original plan, even going so far as to call ďlastĒ one Halloween Ends.

It, the franchise, and the subgenre are fun. This one among the highest quality in the franchise and subgenre.

You can thumb your nose at them but it doesnít give you any particular insight or value when all youíre offering is hyperbolic slams, even on Carpenter, as if he hasnít done anything of merit recent years.



minds his own damn business
Youíre complaining about cynicism in one of your most cynical pontificating rambles.
"Cynicism" doesn't mean not liking something you do.


1) Itís a franchise. No one should be entering the next Mission Impossible film expecting Ethan Hunt to die and fail, even 6 films deep.
Interesting comparison. Because Hunt's the hero. The cynical ploy was to make people think that Laurie might actually get to be the Ethan Hunt here.


Jason Blum is a shrewd businessman
Bww. As many dollars as he can suck dry, Blumhouse remains the most emptyheaded enterprise currently in studio operation. For every decent feature they stumble upon, they release a dozen that make quadruple the budget on opening weekend. Good for him.



even on Carpenter, as if he hasnít done anything of merit recent years.
Filmwise? He clearly has not. I don't consider his selling off his film rights to enable a ton of crappy remakes to be "of merit". His LP was cool though.