800 Posts! Thank you!

Hey everyone,

for those of you that have been readers for awhile, you’ll know I like to celebrate the little moments, and I had one a few days ago when I published my review for Hobbs & Shaw. That review ended up being the 800th post for this site! It’s rather fitting because many of the Fast & Furious reviews I have written have been among the most popular reviews on the site!

I cannot thank you faithful and maybe first-time readers for tuning in, reading and contributing to the discussion. This has morphed from a hobby to a passion to a daily requirement for sanity, and it’s because of the kind words of so many of you that have helped with that.

All that being said, I’m going to leave a list of the most popular reviews and posts on the site since it started. Feel free to peruse and gander at your choosing.

 

  1. Turbo Charged Prelude (2003)
  2. Poltergeist (1982)
  3. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
  4. Frankenstein (1994)
  5. Leprechaun (1993)
  6. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
  7. The Thing (1982)
  8. Zootopia (2016)
  9. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
  10. The Fly (1986)

Here’s hoping Hobbs & Shaw ends up on this this. Three of the Fast & Furious films have ended up on the most-read list, including a short film prequel to the second film. It always strikes me at how many people have looked at the Leprechaun posts I have done. It seems year-round that that post gets views and I don’t understand it, to be perfectly honest.

So there you have it. Thanks again for reading, even if only once. I truly appreciate all of you readers and I only ask that you help like, comment, subscribe and share to keep independent content creators like myself going. All film is truly subjective, so if you’ve never interacted on the site, I urge you to do so. If you loved a movie I hated, let me know your opinion, and if you hated something I really love, I want to know why. That’s part of what makes this part of movie fandom so special. Thanks again!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[31 Days of Horror Part V: A New Beginning] Day 31 – Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard

Cast: Donald Pleasance, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr, Wendy Kaplan, Tamara Glynn

Screenplay: Michael Jacobs, Dominique Othenin-Girard, Shem Bitterman

96 mins. Rated R.

 

After being essentially rebooted (before it was a thing) in 1988, the Halloween franchise appeared to be going strong again. So it’s a strange happening that, in 1989, the series died again, only to be bought up six years later. So what happened? Why did Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers effectively rekill the franchise? How did this happen? Let’s take a look.

After a horrific encounter one year ago, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, Victor Crowley) is now mute and living in a children’s hospital. Michael Myers, however, has escaped after falling down a mine shaft and falling into a coma, where a homeless man finds him and fixes him up. When Michael awakens, though, he again goes on a murderous rampage, all the while looking for niece Jamie.

There are a lot of reasons that Halloween 5 is responsible for rekilling the franchise. First and foremost, this fifth installment is the worst one of the five thus far. There are so many mistakes made, some large, some small, and the film just stumbles through these bad decisions.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room: the addition of the Man in Black. Throughout the film, we get glimpses of a mysterious man walking through Haddonfield, searching for Michael. We never get a real answer to what he is (until the sequel was forced to), and Don Shanks, who played Michael, also did a lot of work as the Man in Black. Here’s the thing: he was told that there was a possibility that the Man in Black was a relative to Michael, but as it turns out, the producers had no idea who the Man in Black really was! Was the intention to just figure out this major plot point later? Seriously? This was something that inevitably had to fixed in the sequel (and that explanation turned a lot of fans away and rekilled the rekilled franchise again), but even for this film, having this awkward character introduction and his eventual play into the main film’s story lead to an unsatisfying ending.

The look of Michael is really odd as well. A new version of the mask was created to fit Don Shanks’s head, and it really doesn’t look good at all. In fact, it’s flat-out awful looking and cheap at that. His look was further muddled by an accident in filming where Donald Pleasance (The Great Escape, Fatal Frames) hit Don Shanks with a 2×4 and broke his nose. The mask needed to be fixed to fit over a nose bandage. This made the thing look downright ridiculous and it’s pretty noticeable throughout the finished film.

As far as the actual film goes, most of the potential victims are downright unlikable, from Tina (Wendy Kaplan, Summer Dreams: The Story of the Beach Boys, The Labyrinth), teenage friend to Jamie, to Tina’s friend Samantha (Tamara Glynn, Daddy and Them, Life on the Flipside). You kind of want them dead.

The film is directed towards these attractive teenage potential victims instead of to Loomis, Jamie, and Rachel like it should. These characters are the heart of the story and they are where the interest lies. This ridiculous subplot about a mute Jamie doesn’t work, it just kind of annoys, which I don’t blame on Danielle Harris. She just isn’t given anything to do until the very end and it doesn’t amount of much of a character arc.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers takes all the good will of the previous installment and shatters it. It is universally disliked as a sequel by franchise fans, and it is partly responsible for the weird direction the series had to take to justify it. This is one I don’t usually pay much mind to, and I don’t think its a place for casual viewers to go.

 

1.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of John Carpenter’s Halloween, click here.

For my review of Rick Rosenthal’s Halloween II, click here.

For my review of Tommy Lee Wallace’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch, click here.

For my review of Dwight H. Little’s Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, click here.

[31 Days of Horror Part V: A New Beginning] Day 30 – The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011)

Director: Tom Six

Cast: Ashlynn Yennie, Laurence R. Harvey, Maddi Black

Screenplay: Tom Six

91 mins. Not Rated.

 

It’s been a few years since I checked out a Human Centipede film. The first one was enjoyable for it’s totally campy and crazy premise. I thought it was about time to revisit this series for the sequel, and here’s the thing: it’s terrible.

Martin (Laurence R. Harvey, Frankenstein Created Bikers, Adult Babies) is addicted to the film The Human Centipede. He loves it so much that he thinks he can do it himself. He’s studied the film for a long time. Now, he has kidnapped a dozen people and plans to use them to make a better centipede…a full sequence.

So The Human Centipede II…is shit. It’s the worst kind of shit. It also contains scenes of shitting. So shit all around. An interesting idea to start quickly turned into a failure of a sequel. What I liked about the original film was that it felt very akin to a Tales from the Crypt story. The sequel is almost shockingly bad, but then again, I knew it wouldn’t be good.

Director Tom Six (The Onania Club, I Love Dries) actually attempted social commentary here with a look at rabid fandom but he drops the ball in just about every single way. He missed the point by pushing the gore past a comfortable way to a flat-out disgusting place. This comes from a guy that doesn’t mind gore and actively enjoyed gory movies. I was sickened by the film because its gore doesn’t serve a purpose in the story or the experience.

What’s worse than his failure to make an enjoyable follow-up is that Six spends a bulk of the film jerking his ego by putting the original film on a pedestal. There are lines of dialogue where characters talk as though the first film is a masterpiece. Here’s the ticket: it isn’t. Six’s one takeaway as a filmmaker is that he believes he can capably employ disgust in place of story.

There are no characters in the movie. We learn nothing about the victims. We know virtually nothing about Martin. He is a smug, disgusting monster of a man who I wouldn’t want to spend any amount of time with, let alone 90 minutes. He doesn’t grow as a character is one of the worst leads in film history. Again, at least with the first film, we have two likable, or at least not unlikable, leads. Even the doctor, who isn’t likable, is at least somewhat interesting.

Tom Six said that The Human Centipede II would make the first film look like My Little Pony. He was wrong. The sequel actually makes the first film look like Citizen Kane comparatively. This isn’t a film to be seen. It’s more like a badge you wear as a horror fan, but this badge doesn’t make you look good in front of your friends. It makes you feel bad. And maybe it should.

 

1/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Tom Six’s The Human Centipede, click here.

[31 Days of Horror Part V: A New Beginning] Day 29 – The Void (2016)

 

Director: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski

Cast: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers, Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Wong, Evan Stern, Trish Rainone, Mik Byskov

Screenplay: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski

90 mins. Not Rated.

 

My favorite thing about watching 31 horror films in a month is coming across a true gem. Oftentimes, I get a chance to catch a few brand new movies in all this, and thankfully, The Void is an absolute delight.

When Deputy Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole, This Beautiful City, Mary Goes Round) comes across an injured man on the side of the road, he immediately brings him to the local hospital, which has been mostly abandoned. The only remaining staff are Dr. Richard Powell (Kenneth Welsh, The Day After Tomorrow, Awakening the Zodiac), nurse and Daniel’s estranged wife Allison (Kathleen Munroe, A Family Man, TV’s Patriot), intern Kim (Ellen Wong, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, TV’s GLOW), and nurse Beverly. When the hospital becomes surrounded by cloaked and hooded figures with weapons, it becomes quite that the remaining members of the hospital staff are being targeted for a specific purpose, but they could never know how sinister their night is about to become.

I really liked The Void. It is both a callback to the practical effects and creature features of the 1980s as well as a gruesome and brutal horror film that is unique and all its own. Directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski treat their material with the utmost respect and care, treating each twist and turn with unexpected tenacity.

The performers, particularly Poole, Munroe, and Welsh, are quite well-cast and played. I don’t have much experience with Poole, but I found him to be very accessible as the Deputy out of his element. Munroe and Welsh have previous experience from Survival of the Dead, and their chemistry is still solid.

Where the film falters is in its run time. Even at 90 minutes, some scenes feel very overstretched. I feel like The Void belongs in the 80-minute range and could have been better served with a little more chopping in the editing room.

Overall, The Void is a fun and frightening film with some of the more unique scares and effects I’ve seen recently. It’s combination of Lovecraftian Horror and visual flair make for a great viewing experience. This is a good one to check out for Halloween. Grab your Netflix account and jump into The Void.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of the anthology film ABCs of Death 2, click here.

[31 Days of Horror Part V: A New Beginning] Day 28 – Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

Director: Alexander Witt

Cast: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Jared Harris, Mike Epps

Screenplay: Paul W.S. Anderson

94 mins. Rated R for non-stop violence, language and some nudity.

 

The Resident Evil games are beloved the world over. The movies, not so much. Especially the second film in the series, Apocalypse, which I feel gets a lot of negative attention. I just recently revisited the sequel, and I have a hot take: it’s the best one in the series.

Raccoon City is overrun with the undead. S.T.A.R.S. member Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory, Love Actually, TV’s Fortitude) attempts to find a way out of the city, and she comes across Alice (Milla Jovovich, The Fifth Element, Zoolander 2), last survivor of the Hive, a hidden facility owned and operated by the Umbrella Corporation, the company responsible for the T-Virus which is reanimating the dead. Together, they join Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr, The Mummy Returns, Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants) and others in an attempt to rescue the daughter of Umbrella researcher Dr. Charles Ashford (Jared Harris, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, TV’s The Terror), who claims he can get them out of the city before the Umbrella Corporation puts their quarantine into place.

Apocalypse looks very cheap. That’s the major criticism of the first two films in this series. They just feel very cheap at times. The aging CG has not helped. They’ve become akin to Syfy Original Movies in a lot of ways. The acting from a lot of the supporting cast isn’t up to par here. There’s also the necessity to fall back on video game references that lingers throughout the entire franchise. That being said, Resident Evil: Apocalypse is probably the closest to the feeling of the games that I’ve gotten without forcing it.

First of all, this one takes place during the time frame of the games. Whereas the first film was planned as kind of a prequel to the games and the third film onward kind of forge their own path, Apocalypse is in the meat of the games. Utilizing what I think is the best creature/villain of the franchise in Nemesis helps here, and taking the well-received lickers and zombie dogs from the first film really add to the enjoyment of the film. Apocalypse feels like a Resident Evil game.

There’s also some nice marketing that works as an in-film meta short commercial for an Umbrella product called Regenerate. The commercial was helmed by Marcus Nispel of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th fame. Watching the trailer all these years later still brings me back to the joy I felt in the theater watching it for the first time.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse is a B-horror movie, but it knows that it is. Much in the same way as The Fast and the Furious franchise, Apocalypse has learned not to take itself overly serious. The goal here is to have fun, just like the video games intend. Jovovich and Guillory are standouts here along with the incredible creature design for Nemesis. This is a simpler film in the franchise that expands the mythology to make way for the crazier shit we’ll see in future installments. I had so much fun watching this again, and I hope you do too.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil, click here.

[31 Days of Horror Part V: A New Beginning] Day 27 – The Greasy Strangler (2016)

 

Director: Jim Hosking

Cast: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo, Gil Gex, Abdoulaye NGom, Holand MacFallister

Screenplay: Toby Harvard, Jim Hosking

93 mins. Not Rated.

 

I mean, I had to see this coming, right?

Big Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels, Alex & Emma, Freshwater) and son Brayden (Sky Elobar, Don Verdean, I Do…Until I Don’t) have a strained relationship. Ronnie runs a Disco tour which Brayden helps with, and Brayden serves Ronnie overly-greased foods, though Ronnie keeps exclaiming he is not The Greasy Strangler, a killer who murders people while covered in grease from head to toe. Ronnie and Brayden are further torn apart by Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo, The 33, Lemon), a woman who takes the Disco tour and begins dating Brayden. Stuff happens.

The Greasy Strangler is one of the most unique experiences I’ve had watching a movie recently. That doesn’t necessarily make it good. Yet again this month, there are no likable characters in the film. I mean, they start out interesting, but then they get real boring real quick. I didn’t like the and I didn’t want to keep watching them.

Jim Hosking (ABCs of Death 2, Privado) keeps claiming that he wants unique characters, and they are indeed unique. I just hate them. They aren’t written well.. The script, from Hosking and Toby Harvard, is so poorly written and unstructured. I feel like I get what Hosking and Harvard were trying to do, but it absolutely doesn’t work.

Overall, The Greasy Strangler is just another upsetting film this month. I’m seeing how rough this can be some days. I hate The Greasy Strangler and I would never watch it again.

 

1/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For the anthology film ABCs of Death 2, click here.

[31 Days of Horror Part V: A New Beginning] Day 26 [Happy 15th Birthday!] Open Water (2003)

Director: Chris Kentis

Cast: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, Saul Stein

Screenplay: Chris Kentis

79 mins. Rated R for language and some nudity.

 

Open Water is based on true events, but that doesn’t really make it good.

Daniel (Daniel Travis, Thank You For Smoking, Last Time Forever) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan, Beerfest, Good Bones) are a couple looking to get away from the stress of daily life. While scuba-diving deep in the open water, they are accidentally left behind. Now, they are forced to fend for themselves in the dangerous ocean water, fending off infection, exhaustion, and sharks.

Open Water is, I’m sorry to say, one of the most boring exercises in film. I can understand the idea of a bottle episode in the middle of the open ocean, but neither of our lead characters is compelling enough to carry the film. The inciting incident is derivative, the characters are given no obstacles to overcome, and they have nothing to do but complain and scream. The film comes to an abrupt end without any real catharsis and really, no ending worth talking about.

Open Water doesn’t work. The film isn’t exciting nor fun. It doesn’t feature anything of real merit. It’s just bad. Real bad.

 

1/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[31 Days of Horror Part V: A New Beginning] Day 25 – Minutes Past Midnight (2016)

Director: Robert Boocheck, Lee Cronin, Francisco Sonic Kim, Ryan Lightbourn, Marc Martinez Jordan, Kevin McTurk, James Moran, Christian Rivers, Sid Zanforlin

Cast: Jason Flemyng, Barbara Steele, Mika Boorem

Screenplay: Chris Bavota, Robert Boocheck, Lee Cronin, Collin George, Ryan Lightbourn, Marc Martinez Jordan, Guy McDouall, James Moran, Ryan Murphy, Sid Zanforlin

98 mins. Not Rated.

 

Minutes Past Midnight is another horror anthology (seriously, they are poppin’ up like weeds) released in 2016. This collection takes several popular short film from previous years and works them together into an interesting and odd group of short stories.

Horrific is the story of a Texas goat rancher fighting off a well-known predator from his home. Ghost Train is the tale of two brothers who make a yearly trip to the abandoned fairground where their friend went missing years earlier. Awake is the story of a son’s mysterious illness and the parents struggling to understand. Roid Rage is an exploitation look at the mystery surrounding the deaths of hookers all over town and the FBI agents who discover a shocking culprit. Timothy is the tale of a little boy’s obsession with a children’s TV character. The Mill at Calder’s End is an animated tale in the style of classic Hammer horror and H.P. Lovecraft. Crazy for You is a love story with a murderous twist. Feeder is a parable about artistic passion and the things we are willing to sacrifice for our craft. Never Tear Us Apart is a yarn about two friends who meet some less-than-reputable characters in the woods. Together, these macabre tales form the spine to this spine-tingling horror anthology, Minutes Past Midnight.

Minutes Past Midnight suffers from the same problem that so many anthologies have, the central issue with frustrated tone. Some of the stories in the collection are brutal, some are strange, some are comedic, some are intense, some are horrific, and sadly, very few are memorable. I think of Ghost Train as a particularly engaging tale, but even it feels out of place in this story collection. The Mill at Calder’s End is quite good for completely different reasons. And I think that sums up the central issue of Minutes Past Midnight: many, if not all, of these shorts were not crafted for the anthology framework, and they feel hodge-podged together in a very strange and uncomfortable way. Some of the shorts flat-out do not work, particularly Roid Rage, and the film feels jammed together, because frankly, they are.

This is a collection that would feel better to the viewer if they spaced it out. I’m talking like watch a story, then clean your cat’s litterbox, then watch one, then maybe get a load of dishes going, then Hey! watch one, and finally clean out the garage. Minutes Past Midnight is more of a interesting selection of finds as opposed to an altogether cohesive experience.

This horror anthology is frustrating in its confusing conjunction. It works best when it ceases to be a horror anthology. Some of these shorts work, but not in this format. It’s fun, but because of its failure in creating a mixtape quality of cohesiveness, it never becomes truly memorable. This is one to caution yourself with.

 

2/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of the anthology film ABCs of Death 2, click here.

[31 Days of Horror Part V: A New Beginning] Day 24 – The Fly II (1989)

Director: Chris Walas

Cast: Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson, Frank Turner, John Getz, Harley Cross

Screenplay: Mick Garris, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat, Frank Darabont

105 mins. Rated R.

 

As some of you are aware, David Cronenberg’s The Fly is one of my all-time favorite horror films. The sequel, The Fly II, has a steep ladder to climb, an impossible feat. But the question is whether or not The Fly II can be capable enough to stand on its own, and I think that, as a sequel, it actual is passable enough.

When Veronica Quaife dies giving birth to her child with Seth Brundle, the child, a victim of his father’s experiment, is taken in by Anton Bartok (Lee Richardson, Network, Prizzi’s Honor) and his company. The boy grows at an accelerated rated. and celebrating his fifth birthday, Martin Brundle (Eric Stoltz, Pulp Fiction, Class Rank) is a fully-grown man with extreme intelligence and a need to learn. Martin searches for a cure to his mutation. At the same time, Bartok is searching for the missing piece in Seth Brundle’s telepod experiment. When Martin discovers that Bartok is not interested in helping him, he must venture for his answers with only the help of fellow Bartok employee Beth Logan (Daphne Zuniga, Spaceballs, Those Left Behind).

The Fly II is nowhere near as strong a film as its predecessor. First-time director Chris Walas (The Vagrant), who worked on the creature effects for the original film, stepped behind the camera this time around. For a first film, The Fly II could have been so much worse. The faults here come with pacing, performance, and the ending.

The Fly II has some real pacing issues. It feels like a three-hour movie at times. I feel like the lack of a throughline direction from Walas is a big reason why this sequel suffers. It feels very unfocused at times, meandering about in search of meaning.

The performances from Stoltz and Zuniga are very underwhelming. Stoltz seems childlike, as he is still, but he is just uninteresting. Zuniga, though, is just dull. Richardson’s Bartok isn’t an interesting villain, but he is evil enough to suffice. I just missed the characters from the first. I feel like having more of a presence of Seth and Ronnie, or hell, even Stathis (John Getz, The Social Network, Trumbo), who appears in the sequel in a cameo.

The ending is pretty amazing, except that it half-sucks. There’s an ending for our main characters that is extremely underwhelming, Then, there’s a super-dark stinger before the credits that I loved. The entire third act goes insane, a larger-scale version of the original, and I liked where it was heading, but it just didn’t go far enough.

But there are some really cool moments of the film. The Fly II is at its best when it forges a new path rather than retreading its far superior parent. Walas kills it again with the incredible makeup effects. The attempts made at adding to the mythology are mostly successful, and I have to say, I did enjoy most of the film.

The Fly II is an inferior sequel, but it gets about as good as it was ever going to get after losing Cronenberg. It’s a fun 1980s camp horror sequel that does try to reach the stars even if it misses often enough.

 

2.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of David Cronenberg’s The Fly, click here.

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