It’s here!!! October! Halloween season! And, of course, the 2008 edition of The Metal Misfit’s Halloween Scream! I couldn’t ask for a better day for it all to start either– it’s a cloudy, breezy 52 degrees outside. Real Fall is finally is here and to quote Kramer, “I’m LOVIN’ every minute of it”!!!
Theoretically, I plan on doing a Halloween-themed post every other day, running from the 1st up to the 31st, but you see how dry LAST October’s Halloween Scream was, so who knows. In addition, a big shout out goes to my other blog, Metal Excess (that’s the music one, folks),where I’ll be reviewing the dark & evil albums in my collection all month long.
On with the first Halloween Scream article of 2008…
RATING THE HALLOWEEN MOVIES
Now Halloween ain’t just a holiday. It’s one of the most popular horror film franchises around and with good reason, it’s the home to one of the greatest horror films ever. Michael Myers is as much of a horror icon as Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolf Man.
But what about the other NINE films? The good, the bad and the ugly? Well, let’s take a look at them all…
Halloween (1978, Compass International Pictures)
Rating: * * * * *
Obviously, the first is the best. Halloween II comes close, but this is the greatest slasher movie of all time and one of greatest horror movies of all time as well. It’s all in the suspense, weirdo Captain Kirk mask, and creepy music composed by director John Carpenter. This one of my favorite movies across all genres and it’s one of the few that can suck me in and make me wanna watch if I see it on TV while channel flipping.
Halloween II (1981, Universal Pictures)
Rating: * * * * 1/2
This is the other classic of the franchise and I don’t feel it gets enough recognition as being such. How great is that hot tub scene? So was this a shameless cash-in? Maybe, but it too, much like Judas Priest, was deliverin’ the goods.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982, Universal Pictures)
Rating: * *
The first famous misstep in the franchise’s history is actually a decent, if not particularly special, creepy little movie (intended to turn the franchise into an anthology series). Of course, no one could see that at the time, they just wanted more Michael and more Laurie. A good b-grade horror movie that receives a lot more flack than it should just because it has the Halloween name attached to it.
You have to admit, those Silver Shamrock masks are pretty flippin’ sweet and that jingle is as well. Just don’t ask me why that demonic creature at the top of the poster has Guile’s hair from Street Fighter II.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988, Galaxy International Releasing)
Rating: * * *
Oops! I guess Michael wasn’t finished after all (though I think that has more to do with III failing at the box office)! Michael comes back to take a stab at the family tree yet again, this time going after his niece, Jamie. I thought it was a pretty fun ride, taking cues from the genre it helped build. The ending brings things about full circle.
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989, Galaxy International Releasing)
Rating: * * *
4 & 5 definitely did not have the feel of the first two movies, they were more in line with the slasher movies of the day, but it was still a compelling story with Michael trying to destroy his bloodline once and for all. At least the Halloween movies followed a loose storyline with recurring characters, whereas other franchises usually had the same killer but new victims for each movie.
Anyway, this was another enjoyable installment of the “Jamie era”. Both 4 & 5 can bee seen about a million times on AMC in October (usually airing back to back) and I think both are pretty equal in terms of quality.
Halloween: The Curse of Michaels Myers (1995, Dimension Films)
Rating: * * 1/2
Okay, things get REALLY confusing in this one as the hunt is on for Jamie’s baby (impregnated by a Druid cult that has apparently been watching over Michael since he was incarcerated at the sanitarium). Yeah… Man in Black, the Cult of Thorns, tattoos… It’s all a bit odd and wonky, if you ask me, but supposedly the bootleg “Producer’s Cut” floating around is a lot better than the theatrical release and helps to make a bit more sense of things and features a completely different ending (which was changed in the theatrical release to accommodate for Donald Pleasance’s passing).
Not a *bad* movie, just kinda all over the place, due to Pleasance’s death requiring a different cut.
My favorite movie poster from the series.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998, Dimension Films)
Rating: * * *
The title has always annoyed me. ‘Halloween H20: 20 Years Later’. Halloween Water: 20 Years Later? What does that even mean? I get it, Halloween + 20 years = H20. So why bother sticking ‘Halloween’ or ’20 Years Later’ in the title? Why not just call it ‘H20’ if you’re gonna get all cute and molecular? It all seems a bit redundant. Of course, you may pronounce it as H-twenty or H-two-zero and not H-two-oh, but then you could still make the same arguments. Why not just call it ‘Halloween: 20 Years Later’? Doesn’t that sound good? And they couldn’t call it ‘Halloween 7: The End of Michael Myers’ or anything referencing the last few movies because in this movie, those previous events don’t exist!
Just as Halloween 4 & 5 were inspired by the slasher movies that the original Halloween inspired, this one took it’s inspiration from Scream and became self-aware and nabbed a hot young cast to come across as hip and modern. Just take a look at that poster, is that not every horror movie poster from 1996-2001 with the head shots and stunt casting (LL Cool J)?
The movie’s not bad, it tries to get back to the original’s roots with an emphasis on suspense instead of gore. It was also the first Halloween movie to not even be released in the fall (August 7th, to be exact)… what a ripoff!
By the way… Halloween 4, 5 and Curse? Never happened according to this movie.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002, Dimension Films)
This movie is so bad. I remember being excited for it, but it’s such a bore and was obviously straining to seem modern with the whole web show theme. Michael returns AGAIN, thanks to a retcon. You see, Laurie didn’t kill him at all last time, that was just some paramedic he swapped clothes with. Just bad all around and the Michael/Laurie issue is finally resolved in a disappointing manner. A truly tragic way to end the original series’ run.
EASILY the worst of’em all.
Halloween (2007, Dimension Films/MGM)
Rating: * *
Nothing horrible, but nothing special. It’s a Zombie film, so the violence is predictably over the top, which was never really the style (or point) of any of the previous movies. The movie also features your typical Zombie movie soundtrack and of course… his hot wife Sherrie Moon.
So it doesn’t capture the feel of the original at all, but keep in mind this was a “reimagining” (NOT a remake, as Rob has pointed out) designed to turn a profit with today’s gore hound teenagers in mind. A huge disappointment in my eyes, though it was neat to see a little more focus put on Michael Myers before he became MICHAEL MYERS!!!.
Your Horror Movie Recommendation of Day (other than tracking some of the above movies down):
Gremlins‘ Zach Galligan battles a wax museum come to life full of famous monsters in this horror/comedy. Good B-movie fun!