[31 Days of Horror: Resurrection] Day 17 – Halloween Ends (2022)

Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Will Patton, Rohan Campbell, Kyle Richards
Screenplay: Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green
111 mins. Rated R for bloody horror violence and gore, language throughout and some sexual references.

It’s been 44 years since the world has been introduced to Michael Myers. In that time, we’ve had multiple timelines, retcons, and various mythologies, and in 2018, that was wiped clean (in a move I don’t generally agree with) when director David Gordon Green (Stronger, Our Brand Is Crisis) entered with a new take, a direct sequel to the 1978 original, bringing back a new iteration of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, True Lies, Trading Places) and streamlining the narrative for general audiences and the uninitiated viewer. Now, the final film in Green’s trilogy has arrived, Halloween Ends. For this lifelong Halloween fan, the expectations were high, and can Green’s finale stick the landing?

Four years after Michael Myers rampaged through Haddonfield, leaving numerous bodies in his wake, including Laurie Strode’s own daughter, the town has never truly recovered. Laurie has believed that, while Michael has not been seen since, his presence has poisoned the town, leading to murder, suicide, and a Haddonfield that is slowly consuming itself with hatred. Laurie has done everything in her power to get over the anger of the past, purchasing a new home for her and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak, Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List, Son), and trying out normalcy for once. When she sees another young man, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell, The Professor, Operation Christmas Drop), struggling to live life in a town that sees him as another damaged soul, she takes a liking, introducing him to her granddaughter and trying to get him on the right path. It seems like Haddonfield might just heal, but unknown to its residents, Michael Myers is still in the town, just biding his time, ready to return.

As always, Jamie Lee Curtis is incredible in the role of Laurie Strode. She’s officially been in more installments of this franchise than Donald Pleasance, and with this newest trilogy, she’s truly gotten the spotlight to shine. This is as much, probably more, her story as it is Michael’s. This final chapter spends more time seeing her struggle to get right in her own mind than it does watching Myers hack-and-slashing. I particularly liked seeing her having fun, or trying, as Laurie, joking with Lindsay Wallace (Kyle Richards, Eaten Alive, The Car) or flirting with Frank Hawkins (Will Patton, Minari, After Hours). She’s a fully fleshed-out character in Green’s films.

The town of Haddonfield continues to be presented as a town in grief, stuck in trauma, but a fully-realized home to many captivating characters. When I talked about Halloween Kills, I discussed how real the town had felt, as Green had several background characters in Halloween 2018 return in Kills and fill out the town. That’s something that has lacked in just about any of the other sequels in this franchise. That continues, to a smaller extent, in Halloween Ends. That includes the rather inspired turns by Patton and Richards, who both continued to shine in this installment.

As a fan of Opening Credits, I have to celebrate the absolute perfection of this entire trilogy’s credit sequences. Having the 2018 Halloween showing a rotten pumpkin reforming, Green is telling us that we’re going all the way back to the beginning. In Halloween Kills, we get a number of Jack-o-Lanterns flying at us, symbolizing the mob mentality of Haddonfield, and with Halloween Ends (using a Blue Halloween III font), we get a series of Jack-o-Lanterns bursting through each other, as Green shows up how evil begets evil in this town, a theme for the finale.

Halloween Ends succeeds at looking back at the iconography of the entire series and playing it, sometimes as an expectation, other times like a subversion meant to showcase how far we’ve come on this journey, and how, while some things change, some things remain the same. The use of cues like “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and certain visuals from the original film, like Michael’s sitting up behind Laurie, are excellently pursued and make their mark. The same can be said of the opening scene, one that plays to its subversions while also pushing the narrative forward. Even the marketing (I only watched the first teaser) subverts expectations in a clever way.

Green and his co-writers, Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, and Danny McBride, certainly swing for the fences with this final installment. It could have been an easy assignment, getting Laurie and Michael back together for one more throwdown, but they elected to take a different path, for better and worse. I’ll give credit where it’s due, Green and his team accomplish two tasks that most of the other sequels were too afraid to go for (I can’t get into either story point in a non-spoiler review), and that’s impressive. There’re two paths that the narrative takes, one of them the obvious continuance of the Laurie and Michael thread. That plot is disregarded for a while in favor of the new story path. I’m fine with that, but by the time it gets back around to this main path, so much time has been afforded to the alternate path and so little is focused on the Laurie and Michael story, leaving it as a bit of an afterthought. I really admire the new path, but I wish we’d had a more interesting story for Michael’s return to the narrative.

James Jude Courtney (Far and Away, When a Man Loves a Woman) again knocks it out of the park as The Shape/Michael Myers, and my hope is that he continues on with the role in the next reboot, but I feel that the film under-utilizes Myers. Going back to my earlier statement, I actually really like the other direction they go in, but I wish that Michael was more of a physical presence running concurrently to it. It’s interesting how light on violence the end product is, most of it cutting away outside of one or two really grisly moments, and I think that The Shape could have done more outside the inevitable.

I’m happy that a film called Halloween Ends has an actual ending to the saga of Laurie and Michael with a definitive closure, though I won’t go into any detail on that. The Ends in Halloween Ends is conclusive, and I’m happy that each of Green’s films have a cohesiveness but end up being very different films. I think a lot of us viewers tend to review films based on our expectations, critiquing based on the film we wanted and not the film we got (though if you hate the movie, I can understand). On rewatch my opinion hasn’t changed on the positives or the negatives, but here’s hoping the rumors of an extended cut are true, because I’d love more time in this world. This final (until the inevitable reboot) chapter won’t work for some, but I rather liked it, flaws and all.

3.5/5
-Kyle A. Goethe

For my review of John Carpenter’s Halloween, click here.
For my review of David Gordon Green’s Pineapple Express, click here.
For my review of David Gordon Green’s Your Highness, click here.

[31 Days of Horror Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan] Day 31 – Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Director: Rick Rosenthal
Cast: Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Ryan Merriman, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tyra Banks, Jamie Lee Curtis, Brad Loree
Screenplay: Larry Brand, Sean Hood
94 mins. Rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality and brief drug use.

Well, here we are again. It’s the end of the 31 Days of Horror, and I’m not sure what we can talk about. We finished the Halloween franchise last year with H20, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, True Lies, Freaky Friday) cut Michael Myers’s head off, and everything is fine now, so we have nothing to talk about because the story is over…wait, what? It’s not? Oh God…no.

It’s been three years since H20, and Laurie Strode made an awful mistake when she beheaded her brother, Michael Myers (Brad Loree). Turns out, she killed the wrong man, and now, institutionalized, she awaits his return. Meanwhile, Freddie Harris (Busta Rhymes, Narc, Breaking Point), a reality television creator, has gathered a bunch of attractive young people for a Halloween tour of Michael’s childhood home. He’s recruited Sara Moyer (Bianca Kajlich, Bring It On, 10 Things I Hate About You) and her two college friends for this internet experiment, but Michael is on the way home, and this welcome party is not ready for his rage.

Every franchise will inevitably have a low point, and Halloween: Resurrection is that low point for Michael Myers. Let’s start off with the opening, the reason for this film’s existence: the retcon of H20. I actually don’t hate this idea (thought I wish there were more foreshadowing in the previous film), but it’s the execution of this reveal that didn’t work that well. I don’t hate Michael’s return here, but if you are going to pull this twist off, you need to have a better movie following this opening or it’ll feel like you should’ve let Michael stay dead. In this case, considering the franchise got rebooted again right after Resurrection, they maybe should’ve not made this movie at all.

Let’s talk about the performance of Brad Loree as Michael Myers. This is Loree’s first and only time as Michael, and I just don’t think he had an understanding of Michael Myers. Part of it is the screenplay as well as the directing of Rick Rosenthal (Bad Boys, Drones) in his second Halloween helming, but Loree’s Myers does not work at all. He’s more in line with a portrayal of Jason Voorhees in this film (Kane Hodder was reportedly the stunt double for Loree, so this may not be too far off base, and Loree had reportedly tried out for Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs Jason). He walks into doors like a confused Roomba, eventually crashing through them at 5mph. He doesn’t seem to react to anything the way that this famous killer would. He gets smack-talk from Busta Rhymes and just takes it! He even gets electrocuted in the dick at one point.

Resurrection seems to set up Sara to be the next main girl of the series, but Kajlich is given very little to do in the movie. Not only is she incapable of screaming (a must if you wish to take over as a scream queen). It’s not that she’s unlikable, but she isn’t captivating.

The rest of the cast is given little of value to do, but the most disappointing of the cast is Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks (Coyote Ugly, Tropic Thunder) as Freddie and Nora, the leaders of this expedition into Myers’s home. Busta Rhymes feels so out of place, he’s unlikable, and his performance is more self-parody than anything serious or exciting. You’d be hard-pressed to even remember that Tyra Banks is in the finished film except that she’s on the poster. These two are just heavy reminders that Rosenthal’s production just isn’t taking Halloween seriously. Nothing is scary, nothing is tense, nothing is tonally acceptable.

Something else I wouldn’t mind is this found-footage angle, ahead of its time but ultimately underutilized in the film. Nothing much happens for the first hour and I didn’t much care by the time the ending came around. I was one of the excited people when the discussion of a found-footage Friday the 13th was hotly discussed, and, had it been done right, I would’ve been all for it here, but again, there’s a lack of care.

I won’t dive too much into it, but the ending is also a loss. If you’re going to have the kickass ending of H20, and you decide to retcon it, you better have a DAMN good ending to follow it up, and this movie, like this timeline of the franchise, goes out with, not a BANG, but a whimper.

Jamie Lee Curtis later admitted that she considered this movie to be a joke, and series creator John Carpenter cringed at the thought of it (but he did get paid), but Halloween: Resurrection exists. Thankfully, those that hate this installment can very easily not watch it, as it doesn’t have much bearing on the previous installments, and H20 is an ultimately better ending for everyone involved. As it stands, this is the worst in the franchise and a very disappointing installment, essentially neutering every character arc and sending the franchise into a death spiral. Diehard fans should try it, but all others need not apply. You can skip Resurrection. I sometimes wish I had.

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.
  • For my review of Dominique Othenin-Girard’s Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, click here.
  • For my review of Joe Chappelle’s Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, click here.
  • For my review of Steve Miner’s Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, click here.

[31 Days of Horror Part VII: The New Blood] Day 31 – Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Director: Steve Miner

Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Adam Arkin, Michelle Williams, Adam Hann-Byrd, Jodi Lynn O’Keefe, John Hartnett, L.L. Cool J, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Janet Leigh

Screenplay: Robert Zappia, Matt Greenberg

86 mins. Rated R for terror violence/gore and language.

 

I grew up on Halloween. To this day, it’s still my favorite horror film of all time. There’s a lot of emotional connection for me, as Halloween is also one of my mother’s favorite scary movies and we would jump in and watch it every time we’d come across it on TV. It was a staple in our home year round, but most specifically during October. We also were fans of the rest of the sequels as well, but there was something special about the 1998 film Halloween H20. We were finally going to see a return to the franchise for Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies, Knives Out) as Laurie Strode, something that we didn’t expect to see every again after the character was unceremoniously killed offscreen between Halloween 2 and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. All of a sudden, there was an excited fervor for me and my mother as we patiently awaited the new film. I think she deemed me too young to see it in the theater, but we caught it as soon as we could on home video, with our excitement at a fever pitch. The only question at that point would be whether or not the film would be worth the wait.

It’s been 20 years since Laurie Strode (Curtis) faced off against her brother Michael Myers on that fateful Halloween night. In that time, Strode has tried to move on with her life. She’s gone into hiding, adopted a new name and job (Keri Tate, the headmistress of Hillcrest Academy, a private boarding school), and aims to raise her son John (Josh Hartnett, Lucky Number Slevin, TV’s Die Hart) to be ready for the dangers of the world. John sees it a different way. He sees an overbearing mother living in the past unable to cope with the real world. John wants a normal life, and when he sees an opportunity to celebrate Halloween for the first time with his friends, he takes it. What neither Laurie nor John know is that Michael is still out there, and he’s finally found his sister. This Halloween night, he and Laurie are headed for a reunion and a confrontation that will test Strode to her very core.

There was and still is a lot of confusion surrounding the Halloween franchise, starting with the return of Laurie Strode in this film. Within the story of the franchise to this point, Laurie Strode died in a car crash sometime before the The Return of Michael Myers in 1988, and that story surrounded her daughter Jamie Lloyd. When we meet Laurie Strode in this film, there’s no mention of that daughter and we are instead introduced a son. Apparently, the reaction to The Curse of Michael Myers (the sixth film) and the introduction of a supernatural cult as a backstory for Michael Myers didn’t go over so well, and the idea of doing a straight sequel was trashed in favor of ignoring it altogether and refocusing on Laurie’s return to the franchise. An early draft of this film gave a secondary plot to Sarah (Jodi Lynn O’Keefe, She’s All That, TV’s Hit the Floor) who is fascinated by Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, digging into the history, learning of Jamie Lloyd and the previous events of the franchise, unaware that her school headmistress is Strode. This idea was deemed too convoluted and, I feel, also painted Laurie in a bad light considering the events that take place surrounding her daughter in the previous three films. We ended up with a film that neither retcons the previous entries nor references them outright, serving as a direct sequel to Halloween II. This would happen again to a larger degree with Halloween 2018.

H20 was definitely influenced by Scream and Dimension wanted to play off the success of a new franchise with Michael Myers, going so far as to throw out John Ottman’s score for the film and use chunks of Marco Beltrami’s Scream and Scream 2 score in H20. The result does lose a little bit of the tone that the Halloween franchise had cultivated to that point, but the direction from Steve Miner (Warlock, Private Valentine: Blonde & Dangerous), who at that point had already helmed two installments of the Friday the 13th franchise, and the story shepherding by Kevin Williamson help to bring Halloween into the modern realm of horror. The film feels fresh, biting, and dark without losing any steam, and the tight run time (the shortest of any Halloween film in the franchise) keeps the adrenaline pumping while covering a lot of ground. H20 also contains one of the most shocking finales of the franchise.

I also want to make a point of applauding Jamie Lee Curtis on her performance. Curtis created this character back in 1978, made it her own, and yet, she feels right at home slipping back into the role of Laurie. You can say that the character is essentially just Jamie because of how early in her career she first played the teenage babysitter, and you wouldn’t be wrong in that way. I see a lot of Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa as well. Jamie Lee Curtis and Laurie Strode are synonymous with each other in the same way that Harrison Ford is with both Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Still, there’s something really feral about the way Curtis plays Strode here, a woman who has been living in fear up to this point who elects not to take it anymore. She’s decides to stop running, stop hiding, and face her enemy on her own terms. It’s an excellent performance.

The rest of the cast does quite nicely here as well. I really like Adam Arkin (A Serious Man, TV’s Chicago Hope) as Will Brennan, Laurie’s love interest. Hartnett holds his own here as well in an early role, playing nicely off of Curtis. We also get early work from Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine, TV’s Fosse/Verdon) and a nice cameo appearance from Curtis’s mother, Janet Leigh (Psycho, The Manchurian Candidate). Hell, even L.L. Cool J (Deep Blue Sea, TV’s NCIS: Los Angeles) isn’t terrible as Ronny, the school’s security guard with a dream of being a writer.

Yeah, that’s great and everything, but is the film scary? Is it entertaining? Is it fun? I would say absolutely. Not to appear like I’m trying to be macho, I’m not usually scared much in movies anymore, but I find this installment of the Halloween franchise to be thrilling, exciting, unnerving (I specifically remember being terrified as child by something in the first ten minutes of the movie), and entertaining. That’s all this movie is aiming for, and I feel it succeeds.

I wish movies would stop ignoring their mythology. I hate seeing retcons and requels and all that, but when it is done well, I can certainly appreciate it. I don’t like that Halloween H20 decided to ignore several sequels, but hands down the film is entertaining, aided by the triumphant return of Jamie Lee Curtis to the role she made famous 20 years earlier, and directed finely by Steve Miner, who just doesn’t get the credit he deserves as a filmmaker (though he did make Soul Man, so maybe that’s on him). H20 was, simply put, the best film in the franchise since the original, and though I’m not sure it still is, I can commend it on being a thoroughly enjoyable little horror movie. This one is still worth your time.

Happy Halloween, everyone.

 

4/5

-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.
  • For my review of Dominique Othenin-Girard’s Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, click here.
  • For my review of Joe Chappelle’s Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, click here.
  • For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part 2, click here.
  • For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part III, click here.
  • For my review of Steve Miner’s House, click here.

[#2020oscardeathrace] Knives Out (2019)

Director: Rian Johnson

Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer

Screenplay: Rian Johnson

131 mins. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including brief violence, some strong language, sexual references, and drug material.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Original Screenplay [PENDING]

 

When it was announced that writer/director Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) would be making a murder mystery before returning to helm a trilogy of Star Wars films (I’m still convinced this will happen, but maybe it’s just my wanting), I was shocked but rather interested. After all, the subgenre of Agatha Christie-inspired murder mysteries had kind of dried in recent years outside of adaptations of her work like Murder on the Orient Express. Rian Johnson, who had dealt in the mystery genre several years earlier with Brick, seemed like the perfect choice to restart this once beloved subgenre, and I was all for it.

Famous crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer, Beginners, The Last Full Measure) is dead. The death has been ruled a suicide, but someone unknown has hired the last great sleuth, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig, Casino Royale, Logan Lucky) to investigate. It would seem that Harlan had no true friends within his family, and each of them has a motive strong enough to be a suspect, but just who did it? As lies are created and truths are uncovered, the family is turns on one another, and it’s up to Blanc to find the donut hole, the missing piece of the story.

Where to begin with this film? First off, we have to address Johnson’s tone for the film. It’s fun, sarcastic, stylish, and engaging. He sets most of the action in one location, Harlan’s mansion, a gorgeously-designed set that I just wanted to spend more time in. There are homages all throughout the mansion designed to invoke that classic mystery theme. Plus, it’s just a damn creepy house. Beyond that, the house and the characters residing in it feel real within the universe Johnson has constructed. The house feels lived-in. The characters feel like they have long lists of experiences to pull from. Everything fits, like puzzle pieces expertly placed to give a  clearer image and a staggering conclusion.

Daniel Craig leads the cast as Blanc with a truly molasses-mouth scene-chewing take on his character that is set to become iconic in years to come. His mannerisms, speech patterns, and physicality make Benoit Blanc a treat to be with, and that’s much like the mansion. I wanted to spend time with these characters. Not in the way that they are friendly, but in the way that they are fun to watch.

Each of the members of Thrombey’s extended family is like a slightly-damaged, partially-fractured chess piece arranged on a board, and Johnson is playing against himself. I was primarily taken with Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049, The Informer) as Marta, Harlan’s nurse, who feels alienated within the family even though they all claim that she’s a part of it. Then there is Harlan’s daughter Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis, True Lies, Halloween) and her husband Richard (Vault, TV’s Miami Vice), who play very well on their own but have a dynamite chemistry when put together.

In fact, the cast is pitch-perfect, and there’s no real time to talk about all of them, but I have to give a shout to Chris Evans (The Avengers, The Read Sea Diving Resort) as Ransom, Harlan’s grandson, the loud-mouthed privileged youth who obviously has no friends within the family. Evans plays against-type when compared to his decade as Captain America with Ransom, and it’s a welcome return to the smarmy roles he was once more well-known for.

If there’s a flaw in the film, and I do believe there is one for me, it’s that certain reveals in the film happen far earlier than I would have liked, and I think the mystery would have been stronger if we were kept wondering for longer. That, and I personally was able to see where it was going a little earlier than I would’ve liked. Perhaps I was just good at guessing, as I’ve spoken to others who did not see the end coming. My suggestion would be not to try and unravel the mystery, but instead, enjoy the journey, because it’s a damn good one.

Knives Out is an elegantly-constructed Whodunnit with incredible performances, great production design, and a director at the helm who really understands story and tone. This was enjoyable as hell and I cannot wait to see it again. Rian Johnson’s Knives Out comes highly recommended.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, click here.

[31 Days of Horror Part VI: Jason Lives] Day 25 – The Fog (1980)

Director: John Carpenter

Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Houseman, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook, Tom Atkins, Nancy Loomis

Screenplay: John Carpenter, Debra Hill

89 mins. Rated R.

 

This one does for fog what Jaws did for the water.

There’s a fog rolling into Antonio Bay on the eve of its 100th anniversary, and as soon as the clock strikes midnight, people start seeing strange things in it. Father Malone (Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild, Blackway) discovers an old journal in his church that tells him a terrible secret from the town’s inception, one that involves an old ship called the Elizabeth Dane and its captain, Blake. Now, the Elizabeth Dane has rolled into town on the fog, and its captain is out for vengeance. Radio DJ and lighthouse keeper Stevie Wayne (Adrienne Barbeau, Argo, Creepshow) is the only one who can warn the residents of Antonio Bay that danger is coming; she just hopes they’re listening.

The Fog is proof that director John Carpenter (Escape from New York, The Ward) can just about do anything. He has guys in costumes in a foggy atmosphere with glowing eyes, essentially just tall Jawas, and he makes them scarier than any current CGI could do (and we’re looking at you, 2005 remake to The Fog). It’s because he’s a smart filmmaker who solves problems. He knows that he is making a low-budget, possibly cheesy horror film, and so he chooses to shoot it in anamorphic widescreen Panavision in order to add to the grandeur of the gothically beautiful Antonio Bay layered in fog.

I like how separate Carpenter keeps things in this film. For the most part, Stevie Wayne barely shares the screen with anyone else. She gets her own slice of the story. Then, there’s the story of the hitchhiker Elizabeth (Jamie Lee Curtis, True Lies, Halloween) and Nick (Tom Atkins, Night of the Creeps, Drive Angry) as they try to uncover the mystery in the fog. Then, there’s the Father Malone sequences and the centennial sequences with Kathy (Janet Leigh, Psycho, The Manchurian Candidate) trying to keep the celebration together amidst the lingering danger. The film is filled with great characters in an insane situation. These individual “pocket stories” on their own would be great, but together they weave an eerie and creepy tapestry.

The Fog is truly brilliant. I can see why this is often called a Carpenter favorite. It’s a truly incredible little horror story that makes the ghosts (guys in costumes with glowing eyes) more terrifying than most other films could do with a bigger budget. John Carpenter is a horror maestro, and The Fog is just another master stroke.

 

5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

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

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

For my review of John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper’s Body Bags, click here.

For my review of John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness, click here.

For my review of John Carpenter’s Village of the Damned, click here.

David Gordon Green is Done with Halloween After Next Two Sequels

The Halloween franchise has survived more potential deaths than most of its cast of characters, most recently being resurrected by David Gordon Green and writing partner Danny McBride for Halloween 2018 last year, but with the announcement last week of two more sequels with Green at the helm, the director spoke to Collider about finishing the story he began between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode.

The two sequels, Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, are set to release in 2020 and 2021, and will be a continuation of his Halloween 2018 reboot, which ignored all previous sequels to the 1978 original film.

Green told Collider, “They’re never done telling the Frankenstein story, and at this point, Michael Myers is a classic movie monster. But our Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode/Michael Myers saga will be done. The fun of it is also seeing it end, and knowing that it can. If you just keep trying to elongate it and milk it for all of the money, then that’s boring.”

Further on in the discussion, he discussed Halloween Ends as being his last contribution to the franchise, promising that the film will end in a satisfying finale.

Danny McBride recently spoke about their intent to do three films which tell a singular story following the original Halloween, so this is in line with what Green has stated.

For me, I happen to agree with this idea. I was never big on retconning the previous incarnations of Halloween in favor of a new timeline, but that’s the way it went, and I think if that’s the plan, make it a singular story that has an ending. The title Halloween Ends seems to confirm that, but what I will say is that if Green wants to ensure that his film is an ending, he had to do something none of the other Halloween films have ever been able to accomplish, which is a tall order going into these sequels.

What do you think? Is having a true ending the right way to go here, and do you think it can actually ever be a true ending without another sequel? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Knives Out Slices Into Theaters November 2019

Deadline is reporting that Knives Out, the new original film from director Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi), is slated for release on November 27, 2019. Lionsgate has popped the film right into Thanksgiving season in a nice, awards-friendly place.

The film was also written by Johnson and the cast is incredible, featuring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Lakeith Stanfield, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, and Don Johnson among others.

Craig’s joining the principal cast was made possible by the Bond 25 switcheroo when Danny Boyle left the project and Cary Fukunaga stepped in.

For me, this news is incredible. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of Johnson’s Looper, I admire the original story and the captivating structure. I also love The Last Jedi, and you can hate on it all you want, but he made a damn good Star Wars film. That’s what excites me here. Johnson gets to play in the sandbox with some very talented performers. I know very little about Knives Out but I really don’t feel like I need to.

So what do you think? Are you interested in a new mystery movie from Rian Johnson? What’s your favorite Rian Johnson film? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For more Almighty Goatman,

January 2015 Preview

 

Welcome to 2015! January is usually equal parts wide-release Oscar nominees and bad horror releases, so let’s take a look at January’s releases.

As before, this is a look and my predictions are based on my abilities as a film reviewer. I’m pretty good at reading into these things and so here they are in all their glory.

Don’t sue me.

 

thewomaninblack2angelofdeath2015a

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

I wasn’t all that keen on The Woman in Black. I was slightly disappointed by how normal it was. There was nothing to make it stand out as a horror film apart from a pretty good performance from Daniel Radcliffe. It just wasn’t all that original. The sequel looks to be the same fodder. I am curious as to exactly how this film will tie in with the original, so in that way, I’d like to see it, but this feel was clearly dumped in January.

 

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Taken 3

I really liked Taken starring Liam Neeson. I found Taken 2 to be less worthy of the awesomeness of the first film, but at the same time, I thought it was pretty action packed while not being a complete carbon copy of the first. Taken 3 is going in a different direction again, so I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble Bryan Mills has in store for him as he is framed for a crime he didn’t commit.

 

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Blackhat

A Hemsworth in a cyber-crime thriller? No, it isn’t Paranoia, its Blackhat from director Michael Mann. Mann is hit-or-miss for me. I liked Heat. I didn’t like Collateral. I liked TV’s Miami Vice. I didn’t like Miami Vice (the film). I saw the trailer last week and I gotta say, I’m not all that impressed here. On the bubble definitely.

 

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The Wedding Ringer

I know Kevin Hart isn’t the leading man of, how do I put it best, “good” movies. The Wedding Ringer actually sounds pretty funny. Hart plays the owner of a business that places best men in weddings for socially awkward grooms who don’t have the adequate friends to put together a wedding party of his own. I’m not saying good, I’m saying possibly good.

 

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Spare Parts

Spare Parts is the true story of four undocumented immigrants who enter into a national robotics challenge with $800 bucks and borrowed robotic parts and end up facing off against M.I.T. students. It stars George Lopez and Jamie Lee Curtis. The poster looks good, and the story seems pretty engaging, but it also has George Lopez. Yikes.

 

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The Boy Next Door

Hey look, another guy is stalking Jennifer Lopez. After a sexual encounter with a younger man living next door, she discovers that he has taken an uncomfortable obsession to her. I’m just not interested anymore.

 

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Mortdecai

Mortdecai is based on a book and stars Johnny Depp as a charismatic (yeah, again) rogue art dealer hunting down a stolen painting that could lead to Nazi gold. This film is star studded and directed by David Koepp who worked with Depp on Secret Window back in 2004. I loved Secret Window and I still believe in Depp’s abilities. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish here.

 

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Strange Magic

Now, the word stoked needs to get tossed around more for Strange Magic, an eclectic new animated fairy tale from Lucasfilm. Still not a ton is known about this film, except that George Lucas wanted to create another film with the love and affection that Labyrinth has. It also contains new versions of pop songs that were strung into the film’s story. I love it when films like this actually work, so I am excited.

 

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Project Almanac

I actually discussed this movie last February before it was postponed. At that time, it was called Welcome to Yesterday. My thoughts haven’t changed much.

 

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Wild Card

Wild Card is a remake of the 1986 film Heat starring Burt Reynolds. Jason Statham is Burt Reynolds here, a recovering gambler who becomes security-for-hire to fuel his addiction. January Statham is a bad idea. Skip.

 

So there you have it. One more time:

Best Bets: Taken 3, Mortdecai, Strange Magic

On the Bubble: Blackhat, The Wedding Ringer, Spare Parts

Likely Misses: The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, The Boy Next Door, Project Almanac, Wild Card

 

Look forward to my first list of best films this year coming soon and we will see you for another preview in February.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

31 Days of Horror: Day 31 – Halloween (1978)

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Director: John Carpenter

Cast: Donald Pleasance, Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis

Screenplay: John Carpenter, Debra Hill

91 mins. Rated R.

 

Well, here it is. I promised you would make it to Halloween with me, and you did. Congrats!

 

I think I knew that this would be the movie for today. I didn’t plan for it until I got down to the last couple days. It just so happens that John Carpenter’s Halloween is my favorite horror film, and I am excited to share it with you today. Enjoy and then go have some tricks and treats, whatever they may be, and thank you for a great month.

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Halloween opens with an absolutely amazing shot (okay, it looks like a single shot but is actually three, I think) of Halloween night some years ago. Young Michael Myers is supposed to be watched by his older sister Judith but instead she chooses to have her boyfriend over and she ignores Michael as her and her fella proceed to have sex upstairs before he leaves for the night. Michael, in a seemingly unbelievable act, grabs a kitchen knife and his clown costume, goes upstairs and kills his older sister in a gruesome and merciless way. He then goes downstairs to greet his parents as they come home and discover his grisly act. Flash forward several years to modern day 1978 Haddonfield. Michael Myers has escaped from Smith’s Grove Penitentiary and made his way home, now stalking several teenagers on Halloween night.

The film might seem very simple for younger audiences, but it was one of the very first slasher films of its time, and certainly the odd that created all the elements that would later be overused into mediocrity. The plot, though, isn’t about the normal stalker chasing down woman. This isn’t just Michael Myers we are talking about. The credits perhaps say it best, calling him The Shape. He is being pursued by the incredible versatile Donald Pleasance (The Great Escape, Escape from New York) as Dr. Sam Loomis (see the Psycho reference?). Pleasance is at the top of his game here, and it equally matched by the commanding performance of then-newcomer Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies, Veronica Mars) as Laurie Strode, a normal girl who just wants to finish her babysitting gig and get home alone, a task not always as simple as she would assume. Laurie is a girl plagued by real-world big problems like the question of whether or not Ben Tramer like-likes her. Her fellow friends Lynda (P.J. Soles, Carrie, The Devil’s Rejects) and Annie (Nancy Loomis, The Fog, Assault on Precinct 13) are also on The Shape’s radar tonight, and both are ably performed characters that do nothing special but also do not deter us from our fears.

It is difficult to talk about the cinematography of a low-budget horror film. Many contain nothing of merit. Halloween is not one of these regulars. John Carpenter (Escape from L.A., The Ward) has always been known for his handling of the camera. His shots are sweeping and focused and always purposeful. When the camera doesn’t move, it haunts. From there, the film is perfectly plotted and edited into a tight package of fear.

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There are times when I try to come up with something bad about this movie as a fun little game, and I usually lose. I find John Carpenter’s Halloween to be a perfect film in every way. There isn’t a single thing I would change about it. I have been watching it since I was four years old and I will keep watching it multiple times throughout the October holiday. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I advise it. Not only is it a working film school of guerilla movie-making, but it is still scary today. Enjoy it. It is Halloween after all, and everyone is entitled to one good scare.

 

5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For the rest of the 31 Days of Horror, click here.

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