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Thread: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

  1. #41

    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Day: 12
    Title: Strip Nude for Your Killer
    Country: Italy
    Year: 1975
    Director: Andrea Bianchi

    After a model is found dead after a botched abortion, the modeling agency she works for began experiencing a series of murders.

    As we’re nearing the end of Fright Fest, the main positive I’ve taken away from this series has been my focus to check out different eras or types of popular horror. Early on, it was the Universal Monsters, there was a lot of Norwegian horror, some Hammer, and lastly there’s my attempt at trying to expand my giallo knowledge beyond just watching some Dario Argento. The giallo that I discovered through Fright Fest that stands out the most to me was What Have You Done to Solange? When looking through my collection of unwatched giallos to figure out which I wanted to watch for today’s Fright Fest, the plot connection between Strip Nude for Your Killer and What Have You Done to Solange? was enough for me to go with Strip Nude.

    Without intentionally trying to be political, Roe Vs. Wade and abortion rights have been a hot topic in American politics in 2021. That’s not to say that they haven’t been a major discussing piece in past years, but with the idea of Roe Vs. Wade possibly being overturned in the future, it seems all the more significant. Now, I’m bringing up Roe Vs. Wade because that was the court case that made abortion legal in America in the 1970s. Italy also made abortion legal in the 70s, but that came late in the decade making it easy to forget that the horrific abortion sub-plot in both Strip Nude and What Have You Done as being examples of illegal abortion. When I think about the possibility of abortion being made illegal again, my mind goes back to What Have You Done and now Strip Nude. In the case of the latter, Strip Nude for Your Killer literally opens with an abortion scene resulting in the young woman dying and a cover-up occurring to ensure that the doctor would not be prosecuted for committed the crime of aborting a fetus (And I suppose the little matter of a dead woman too). Right from this opening scene, the viewer can immediately guess that the killer will be revealed as someone upset over the abortion.

    But here’s the thing, while the abortion scene stands out a lot due to starting the movie in such a dramatic fashion, that’s not the lasting impact of the movie. The lasting impact is just how sleezy the entire film was. If the movie is able to show off some nudity, best believe they’re going to show nudity. Obviously, there’s plenty of sex scenes, but other times it’s so forced such as showing a woman undressing only to then cut to her leaving her apartment without the undressing needing to be there. There’s even one attempted sex scene involving the fat husband of the owner of the modeling agency, Maurizio, that started as attempted rape, became attempted coercion sex (I suppose still sorta rap, but the mood did change), and then when he couldn’t get it up, he literally cried for his mommy. Naturally, there’s only one thing to do after your body refuses to allow you to get laid - wait for the girl to leave so you can pull out your blow-up doll since that’s the only way you can “Be successful”.

    Somehow, the attempted rapist is presented as the most scummy man in the movie, but I honestly don’t think he is. Sure, being the husband of the owner of the modeling agency, he’s trying to lure women into sleeping with him with promises of finding success modeling and there was that attempted rape nonsense, but then there’s our hero of the movie - Carlo. From the first moment we see Carlo on the screen, he’s so skeevy as he follows Lucia around, photographing her ass, and refusing to leave her alone. I know that as a society, we’re only just now accepting that when a woman says no to a man’s advance, the man should just leave it alone, but Carlo’s advancements felt inappropriate even for the 70s. Worse yet, Carlo kept pushing, luring Lucia into the steam room where he could essentially force himself on her. It may not be presented as rape like the scene with Maurizio, but consent is clearly not present. For the rest of the movie, Carlo is presented as a hot head, willing to physically abuse anyone who dares to expose his history with Lucia after she’s found dead, fearing that if the police would learn of his relationship with her, that he’d become a top suspect. Jumping all the way to the end, Carlo basically forcefully sodomizes a woman and it’s played up as a gag to inspire laughs! Maurizio may not be a good person, but if I were to use one word to describe him, it’d be “Pathetic”. Carlo, on the other hand, is presented as the hero while being the biggest scumbag of the entire film.

    Kill wise, I found Strip Nude for Your Killer to be a bit disappointing. This disappointment mostly stems from the fact that it seems like the original idea was far more gnarly than was explained or shown on screen. Since so many of the victims are men, we got to see multiple male victims and it looked as if some may have been assaulted anally in some capacity. The idea of someone wanting to punish the men involved in the failed abortion by basically jamming a weapon up men’s asses while killing them actually sounds so batshit crazy that I love it. Another male victim looked as if he may have had his penis cut off. Despite this, the police never bring up this fact that the killer is clearly trying to send a message with their kills. In addition, while the killer does target the higher ups at the modeling agency since the killer believes they’re to blame for the cover-up of the abortion death, it doesn’t explain why someone like Lucia was killed. Lucia didn’t even technically work for the modeling agency and at best, was only being considered for a modeling role because she briefly held Carlo’s interest before he moved on to another woman. On top of the killer’s flawed motivation, the kills appeared to be a bit edited, rarely showing the full gory goodness of the bloody deaths.

    I do believe Strip Nude for Your Killer had potential though. Considering the basic premise of giallo movies is that a black leather glove killer viciously slaughters women, Strip Nude alters a bit first by having the killer wear an entire black leather motorcycle outfit and ultimately men seemed to be more of the targets than the women. Instead of focusing more on the story to really nail down the motivations of the killer or even attempt to have a likable lead, the sole focus was to create a murder mystery built around nudity and sex. I don’t have any problem with movies loaded with nudity, but ultimately, it’s not exactly difficult to find tits in a giallo movie, so oftentimes a giallo needs to offer more than just T&A.

    Overall, Strip Nude for Your Killer fits in the same group of giallo as previous Fright Fest films Pieces and Torso. The sort of giallo that is so absurd that it can be entertaining due to how outlandish the movie could be. The lead character was extremely problematic, but that’s also what makes the movie notable. I found myself laughing at the portrayal of this character as it’s impossible to even slightly like him. Strip Nude features tons of nudity and kills, but while the movie doesn’t hold back on showing off the T&A, the kills will leave you wishing that you could see more. There’s plenty of giallo that are worth watching before Strip Nude for Your Killer, but if you choose to watch this movie, you certainly won’t be left bored.

    Grade: C

    Fright in Motion:


    Coming up next, evil dies tonight. Well, last night.

  2. #42

    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Day: 13
    Title: Halloween Kill
    Country: United States/United Kingdom
    Year: 2021
    Director: David Gordon Green

    After being left for dead in Laurie’s fiery basement trap, Michael Myers is free to once again go on a killing spree in Haddonfield, only this time the residents, including familiar faces, are ready for him.

    Prior to starting this review, I decided to go back and re-read my original review of Halloween 2018. It proved to be a wise decision because I had forgotten a lot of those initial thoughts including being hesitant about being excited for the film, unimpressed that Jamie Lee Curtis was returning again, and generally feeling torn. It's odd reading over those early opinions of negativity because since then Halloween 2018 has become a bit of a comfort movie. At least according to Letterbox, I've watched it seven times. This time around, I went into Halloween Kills with as much of a neutral opinion as possible. While it was impossible to avoid all spoilers, I managed to resist watching every trailer or TV spot. Due to my love for the Halloween franchise, I'll always go into a new Halloween movie hoping that I'll love it, but Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 taught me to prepare for the worst. When October 14th came and those early screenings officially began running, I was there at the cinema, ready for a new Michael Myers adventure. However, this is not a review of that first watch. Thanks to the fact that Halloween Kills debuted at the theater the same day that it would premiere on Peacock, I could sit back, absorb how I felt about that first viewing, and then re-watch the movie on Peacock on Halloween day to hopefully accurately sort out my feelings.

    Immediately after first seeing Halloween Kills and being asked what I thought about it, I gave an honest answer, “Ask me again in a few years.” Although going into Halloween Kills, we all knew that it would be the middle film of a trilogy, it’s truly the middle portion of a trilogy. Worse yet, it’s the middle portion of a trilogy when the other two films (I presume) will have proper endings. Laurie’s plot in Halloween 2018, to trap Michael in her basement and cause him to burn alive ultimately may have not been successful, but we came away from the movie under the assumption that it had been. I can’t imagine a world where Halloween Ends will be the final ever movie with Michael Myers, but I’m willing to bet that it features an ending where Michael is killed and thus this trilogy ( Halloween 1978) can conclude. One word I’ve seen to describe Halloween Kills is that of “Filler”. That seems a bit too harsh since it was good filler, but yeah, the movie does feel like one of side quests while the main mission (Laurie vs Michael) was paused until Halloween Ends.

    In an unexpected move, while watching Halloween Kills, I was reminded of another movie - the 2000s awful rom-com - He’s Just Not That Into You. That movie title nicely sums up Michael and Laurie’s relationship in this trilogy. While Laurie and eventually her daughter, Karen, are convinced that Michael’s ultimate quest is to kill Laurie, Michael genuinely doesn’t care about her. Frankly, I’m not even entirely sure if Michael fully remembers Laurie or if he just gathers this sudden recollection of, “Oh yeah, this is the gal who managed to escape me years ago, ha, small world”. By now, at least Laurie’s granddaughter, Allyson, recognizes the truth and when interviewed by the police, stresses the fact that Michael didn’t come for Laurie in Halloween 2018, but it was is doctor, Sartain, who was responsible for leading Michael back into Laurie’s life all while Laurie spent her entire adult life waiting for Michael’s return.

    Now, it’s this ultimately incorrect belief of Laurie’s that Michael has to be after her that we see our biggest nod to a past Halloween film. One of the more fun aspects of Halloween 2018 was trying to spot all of the nods and homages to the other Halloween movies. Most of the connections were geared towards the original 1978 film. This time around, a lot of the connections are towards the initial sequel, 1981’s Halloween II. In both films, Laurie is essentially written out of the movie by spending the majority of the time in and out of consciousness in a hospital bed. Again, because in this timeline, Mikey just isn’t into her, he’s not actually going to come after her at the hospital regardless of what she may think. Elsewhere, a trio of up to no good pranking kids terrify the new homeowners of the old Myers house - Big John and Little John, by claiming that one of the kids bite into an apple and now a razor blade is stuck in their mouth, similar to the child that is rushed into the hospital by his mother in Halloween II. After escaping Laurie’s burning compound (And slaughtering a bunch of firemen in a bad ass scene), Michael then shows up at the house of a couple of older people in order to pick up a new weapon, comparable to when he popped into the Elrod’s house in Halloween II, only this time Michael didn’t just grab a knife and then bailed. Instead, he brutally murdered both people with the poor wife’s final moments alive spent having to watch Michael stabbing her dead husband in the back with her kitchen knives until he found one that he liked. A minor note on that scene, when first watching that scene, I saw that as Michael using that dead husband as a pin cushion as a way to regain his mojo after basically being left for dead by the Strode women in Halloween 2018 and having to psych himself up to battle the firemen at the start of Halloween Kills. Since then, I’ve heard alternative ideas for the purpose of the scene including Michael creating a tableau (Thank-you Dexter series for introducing that term to me) and Michael going through each knife to find a suitable one, but rather than throwing away the ones he dislikes, Michael “Disposes” of the knives into the back of the husband. Personally, I now believe Michael is literally just testing out each knife as every time he picks up a new one, he’s looking at it some, turning it around in his hand, and just generally going for a “Test drive”. Wait! “Test stab”. He took it for a “Test stab”.

    Outside of Halloween II, the rest of the connections to the other movies can be a bit minor and few and far between. Obviously, the Halloween III masks returning (Worn by those awful kids playing the razor blade prank), got a good amount of press. At the end of the film, Allyson was thrown down the stairs and hurt her leg, similarly to her grandmother in the original movie. Lindsay Wallace is decked out like Laurie in Halloween 1. When Lonnie, Cameron, and Allyson arrived at the Myers house, it reminded me of Lynda and Bob’s van arrival at the Wallace house in the original. Cameron’s failed gun death while his girlfriend looked on was comparable to Brady in Halloween 4. I suppose the Myers house finally being lived in again can be a nod to Halloween 6. Speaking of which, Laurie comes very close to uttering that movie title, “The Curse of Michael Myers”, but instead stops after Michael. I made a note of this in my Halloween 2018 review, but at times I’m reminded a lot of the Rob Zombie movies with the introduction of characters only meant to be quick victims, but unlike in the Zombie movies, David Gordon Green manages to make the viewer care about each and every minor character. Perhaps we didn’t spent a ton of time with Big John and Little John, nor did their existence actually matter to the plot, but my god did I completely love those characters especially when one John only wants to celebrate the night of Halloween with a bit of pot, dancing, and some spooky music while the other John was the actor who played Staurt on Mad TV. Sadly, we never get that John telling Michael “Don’t”.

    Thanks to avoiding the trailers, I was able to avoid a lot of big things. Now, I knew that characters from Halloween 1978 - Tommy, Lindsay, and Lonnie would all be returning, but I had no idea about Marion Chambers. Likewise, I was completely taken aback by what became my favorite scene of the entire movie - the flashback scene. At the start of the film, just as a downtrodden Cameron stumbles upon a barely alive Sheriff Hawkins (He’s still alive!), the viewers are taken back to 1978 to view how the police apprehended Michael in this new timeline. Back in Halloween 2018, all we knew was that Hawkins, as a rookie police officer, had been involved. This scene is wonderful. The entire movie could have been this one scene and I would have left a happy man. The creators of the film nailed that 1978 look and it was a treat seeing OG Michael once again. The best part though was the sudden re-emergence of Dr. Loomis, in an appearance I absolutely wouldn’t have ever expected. When I first saw Halloween Kills, I wasn’t sure if it was a new actor or if it was CGI like in the newer Star Wars movies, but apparently Halloween Kills just found a crew member that sorta resembled Donald Pleasence and decided to throw him in the make-up chair and give him a couple of lines. Technically, Pleasence wasn’t in this movie, but Halloween Kills gave us an unofficial cameo for a character so much more important to the franchise than even I realize. Forget Laurie Strode, Loomis is what makes a Halloween movie, Halloween. The fact that the flashback scene concludes with Michael standing outside of his childhood home, just as he stood emotionless after killing Judith all those years ago made for an eerie scene.

    Seeing as the movie has been out for a couple of weeks, this part of the review may be irrelevant, but while the viewer can probably get away with having seen Halloween 1978 before, you really need to have Halloween 2018 fresh in your mind before beginning Halloween Kills. This is a movie that picks up right where the last one left and just automatically assumes that everyone knows what’s going on, opting to bypass introductions or explanations. We do briefly get introductions for returning characters from Halloween 1978, but it’s completely up to you to remember what someone like Cameron was up to when we last saw him in Halloween 2018. Personally, I liked this. Since this will be part of a trilogy, I imagine that at some point in the future, I will be watching Halloween 2018, Halloween Kills, and Halloween Ends in a binge session, so the last thing I’d want is a lot of bloat where recaps occur. I know some have complained about this, but I think much like something like The Lord of the Rings, it’s going to flow better without recaps.

    An odd thing I liked about Halloween Kills is that it seemed to look at Halloween 2018 and decide to let you know what everyone was up to after the movie ended. Obviously, that included the Strodes, but it also included Cameron, the black police officer with the cowboy hat, and even characters you didn’t realize you needed to learn more about such as the black couple dressed as a doctor and nurse that were nearly victims of Michael in Halloween 2018, but they were oblivious as they drove away while Michael instead invaded the home of Julian (Who also makes a brief cameo). This couple, we learn, are actually Vanessa and Marcus. It’s clear that they don’t truly matter, but Green knows how to create meaningless characters that you can actually care about. It’s a small touch, but I like that they’re dressed as each other’s occupations as Vanessa is the doctor while Marcus is a nurse. For most of his scenes, Marcus is a bit of a pathetic coward, unable to stand up for himself against a rowdy bar crowd or Michael Myers possibly in his backseat of his car. Yet, when it really mattered, Marcus managed to muster the courage to go on the offense and attack Michael before quickly being killed. RIP Marcus, you may have died, but you managed to die while growing as a character.

    Up to this point, I’ve been really positive about Halloween Kills. Mind you, I’m a fan of the movie. I literally have a framed poster of the two-sheet poster on my wall and I recently bought the novelization after seeing it in the store. However, it is ultimately a filler movie and at times it feels as if there’s filler scenes in this filler movie. I found this most glaring near the end, just before the action began again at the old Myers house as everything seemed to die down. Although it’s nice seeing the likes of Tommy and Lonnie again, they’re ultimately there to be re-introduced and then killed by the end of the movie. I also feel conflicted about the very end of the movie as Michael is seemingly beaten again (Like in every damn Halloween movie), while Karen decides to head up into Judith’s old room and stare out her window just as Michael used to do as a boy (Be prepared to hear that story A LOT) as I couldn’t sort of the reasoning behind her doing such a thing. Then, Michael appears behind her to stab her to death in a surprise kill, but it’s also a little weird in terms of how did Michael commit that absolute bad ass massacre of Tommy, the former sheriff Brackett, and others (One of the three best scenes of the movie, and one that reminded me of Darth Vader at the end of Rogue One) without anyone on Lampkin Lane (Road that the Myers’ house is located) hearing any of it? I know that some people are bothered by the fact that Tommy Doyle spent all this time riling the citizens of Haddonfield together, only to then split into small groups, but how are you ever supposed to find one man if everyone remains in a group? There’s also some cheesiness of Marion shouting “This is for Dr. Loomis!” before her failure of a shot at Michael, but screw it. This is a movie where we actually got to see the “Real” Dr. Loomis in a new Halloween movie for the first time in over twenty-five years. It may have been a cheesy line, but it’s in respect of Dr. Loomis, which I can never fault. Another criticism I’ve seen of the film was the handling of the mob of the Haddonfield residents. Both in terms of disliking the chant of “Evil dies tonight!”, how it may remind some of Trumpers, how Tommy spent so much time riling the troops together only to then split into smaller groups, and just in general how the focus on the residents was meant to pad out the running time. Of those, the only one I can fully agree on is the filler. The whole side plot with the other escaped convict didn’t do much for me beyond showing what terrible luck the people of Haddonfield have when they were most determined to band together and…they went after the wrong man. I don’t have any issue with Tommy splitting the residents into smaller groups because how are you supposed to find one man in a town at night if everyone is just together?

    Overall, at this point in time, without having seen Halloween Ends, Halloween Kills feels mostly…pointless. Mind you, there’s a lot of fun in that, and there’s at least three absolutely killer scenes. Even with this second watch, I still feel a little conflicted about giving a concrete opinion of the movie until I see Halloween Ends, but I had an absolute blast watching it on a big screen and it still managed to be fun while streaming it through Peacock. It’s not as good as Halloween 2018 (Or obviously Halloween 1978), but it manages to avoid that Halloween tradition of having a lousy movie immediately after a good one.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:


    Coming up next, Halloween may now be over, but EVIL HAS A DESTINY.

  3. #43

    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Day: 14
    Title: Halloween
    Country: United States
    Year: 2007
    Director: Rob Zombie

    Rob Zombie's interpretation of Michael Myers, now detailing what made a child become one of the most notorious killers in slasher history.

    Since becoming a Halloween fan (and by extension, a horror movie fan), I think back and realize that Rob Zombie’s Halloween was my favorite lead-up to a new Halloween in the theater. Part of it may be that despite being nearly fifteen years old, I distinctly remember being online for the build-up to its eventual release. Unlike with Halloween Resurrection, I was not only online, but I knew which sites to get information from, I was aware of Fangoria magazine for additional information, I was at the peak of my piracy days (I think I still own a burned DVD of the Halloween 2007 workprint somewhere), and thanks to Anchor Bay’s recent DVD releases of the special edition releases of Halloween 4 + 5 and Halloween 25 Years of Terror including a FREE movie ticket to see this latest release, I was able to see Rob Zombie’s interpretation of Carpenter’s classic multiple times on the big screen.

    When it comes to directors, particularly in horror, I don’t think I have a more controversial, back and forth, relationship with than the director of 2007’s remake of Halloween - Rob Zombie. When I was younger, I LOVED his first theatrical release of House of 1,000 Corpses. I still think that his sophomore effort, The Devil’s Rejects, is pure perfection. I was a big fan of both White Zombie and his solo music. My connection between Zombie and the Halloween franchise dates back long before he helmed his first Halloween film. As I first experienced John Carpenter’s Halloween, I was too terrified to keep watching, so I flipped the channel to MTV, only to see Rob Zombie on the screen. With this first Zombie Halloween, I saw it as another hit on Zombie’s resume, but starting with his follow-up, RZ’s H2, I began to actively detest Zombie’s movies to the point that I can’t even be bothered watching all of his movies because I just know what to expect and it’s nothing good.

    I suppose the best way to sum up Zombie’s attempt at Halloween is that it’s Haddonfield set in Zombie’s world. The film can be easily broken down into two halves. The first half is about Michael as a young child and then as an inmate at Smith’s Grove and the second half features innocent Laurie forced to confront her past with Michael escaping the asylum and coming home to Haddonfield. In previous watches, I always preferred the first half of Zombie’s Halloween. Sure, it’s loaded with vulgarity for vulgarity sake, but at last this is Zombie’s chance to tell a story that even longtime fans of Halloween never saw much of. Up until the cult of the Thorn nonsense, the belief is that Michael Myers never had a reason for all of his killings. He was just this…entity, a shape of a man, that brutally killed people. In Zombie’s Halloween, we now learn that nurture played a big role in his development as a young Michael isn’t living his best life. His biological dad is dead, his mom’s new boyfriend is a scumbag, he doesn’t have a good relationship with his older sister Judith, and he has to deal with bullies. Bullies that frequently use the fact that Michael’s mother is a stripper against him. The idea is that Michael is already a little unhinged, as seen with his killing of animals, but once he fully snaps, he’s now fully capable to go on a little murdering streak starting with his school bully before also offing his mom’s boyfriend, Judith’s boyfriend, and finally Judith. I could have lived without the need to explain why Michael became evil, but what helps this opening half is William Forsythe as his mother’s boyfriend, Ronnie. Ronnie is a complete lowlife who every time he opens his mouth, says something scummy, but my god is he entertaining. Forsythe has personality and charisma to make such a despicable character enjoyable to watch.

    In past views, it’s the second half, where we pick up after Laurie is re-introduced, now as a grown teenager, that I felt was the low point of the movie. It’s not so much that this half was bad, but it does not gel well whenever we encounter vulgarity in this half when this is the half that is a straight up remake of Carpenter’s original. Over time though, it seems as if I’ve warmed up to this half with this latest view causing me to recognize that I actually prefer it to the first half. Not only is the vulgarity lowered some, but Zombie actually displayed…heart? A lot of the appeal came in the form of Laurie’s adopted parents (The mother even played by Dee Wallace!) There’s such a grim contrast between Michael’s home life as a child to Laurie’s life with the Strodes. The Strodes are admittedly a bit dorky, but they seem like such a lovely couple and parents. Likewise, the connection between Laurie and Annie allows for Laurie’s despair upon stumbling upon Annie’s nearly lifeless body to have some stake to it. I found myself actually caring about most of the characters in the second half and even though, yeah, Zombie is more in his element with the first half, the second half connects better for me.

    Strengths wise, I liked Zombie’s take on Myers as an adult. To this day, I’m still comfortable with calling Tyler Mane’s performance as adult Michael Myers the most scary Myers has ever been in the entire franchise. This time around, Michael is a large, hulking individual. He isn’t a very thick person, but he’s got the size you’ve never seen Michael have before, allowing Myers to be an imposing figure. Kid wise, I love both Tommy Doyle (Who the subtitles on the Blu-Ray think is “Tommy Doyal”) and Lindsey Wallace (Who after watching these Halloween movies for over twenty years, only just now learned that it’s “Lindsey” and not “Lindsay”). They’re both annoying, but they’re annoying at that acceptable level where it only makes them more believable as children. Tommy’s interactions with Laurie are the highlights of the film as far as Laurie is concerned. Meanwhile, while her role may be really miniscule, Lindsey is THE scream queen (Scream Princess?) of RZ’s Halloween. This may be a controversial opinion, but I prefer 2007’s Tommy and Lindsey to even 1978’s Tommy and Lindsey. The soundtrack is also quite hip and happening. I remember literally buying the CD for the soundtrack back in the day (I presume one of the very last CDs I’ve ever bought…hell it may be THE final physical CD I’ve ever purchased) because I liked the music so much. While we do get some new takes on Carpenter’s original score, Halloween 2007’s soundtrack features the likes of Rush, Kiss, and of course Blue Öyster Cult. Zombie may have a lot of negatives as a director, he does clearly love horror and its past. As a result, he loads up his cast with a bunch of horror legends. Halloween 2007 featured the likes of Dee Wallace, Udo Kier, Bill Moseley, Clint Howard, Ken Foree, Sid Haig, and Brad Douriff. Then there’s the beefier roles of Malcolm McDowell as the new Dr. Loomis (That’s actual new Dr. Loomis, not “The New Dr. Loomis” aka Dr. Sartan) and Danielle Harris returning to the Halloween franchise, this time as Annie Brackett, the teenage friend of Laurie, her mother in another timeline. If you watch the director’s cut of the film, the now most commonly accessible version, Loomis is presented as a far more decent person, not quite as arrogant or an asshat as he’d become in RZ’s H2, allowing for this new Loomis to not feel like such a slap in the face to the brilliance that Donald Pleasence brought to the role all those years ago.

    Violence is the biggest strength of Zombie’s interpretation of Halloween though. Michael is just completely and utterly ruthless. The very first kill of the movie, with the original theme is playing, features a young Michael killing his bully (Played by the kid from Spy Kids) and it can be tough to watch. Although we have no reason to like the bully, he’s still a kid himself and to watch him brutally hit over and over with a tree limb while he’s begging for his life is difficult. Not long later, Michael is stalking his older sister, Judith, while she helplessly tries to escape him while he effortlessly slashes at her back. The realization that this is his own sister and he’s practically taking his time to toy with her while killing her is disturbing. At one point in time, Danny Trejo was one of the biggest bad asses around before becoming everyone’s favorite grandpa, and is featured in the most heartbreaking of kills. With Michael in the middle of his escape from Smith’s Grove, after being locked up for nearly seventeen years, he comes head to head with the one security guard that actually treated him like a person. In that moment, Michael just has to ruthlessly attack Trejo’s character, drowning him in water while the victim is not only pleading for his life, but trying to remind Michael that he always treated him well. It sucks watching Trejo die on screen, but it really establishes the fact that Michael is so far gone that nothing will stop him. I also like the fact that the only people that truly mattered to Michael was his mother and his baby sister - “Boo”. This allowed for a scene near the end when Michael forcefully carries Laurie back to their childhood home - the old Myers home, and removes his mask in a call back to Halloween 5’s vulnerable spot. In that moment, you realize that Laurie is in an odd predicament, Michael’s absolutely not going to harm her but…she’s sorta stuck with him? So when Laurie spots the knife and sees that as her chance to stab her attacker, without knowing yet that it’s her big brother, that’s the moment when Laurie stops being “Boo” to Michael and instead becomes another target.

    When it comes to my dislike of the movie, my biggest issue is the vulgarity. The scene that stands out the most has to be Michaels’s escape in the Director’s Cut. At one point, there were three definitive cuts of the movie - theatrical, director’s, and the workprint. Nowadays, it’s just the director’s cut and if you look hard enough, you may still find some theatrical cut versions. In the theatrical cut, it’s a bit cliché as Michael is set to be transferred, only for him to overpower the guards, killing them, and thus freeing himself. In the director’s cut, one guard decides to enlist the help of his buddy to bring a new female inmate into Michael’s cell in order to rape her before eventually prompting Michael to go on the offense after they dare to touch his homemade masks. I hate this scene so much. It’s not so much that I’m against all rape scenes in general, as sometimes they can be an easy way to elicit the intended emotional reaction, but this time around it felt so unnecessary and ultimately forced. I’m sorry, but why should anyone be subjected to a scene of rape especially when it doesn’t make a lot of sense? Then there’s Lynda. The new Lynda sucks. The actress cast in the role doesn’t have any personality and when she’s tasked with the lofty task of having to incorporate “Totally” into her vocabulary, it feels really forced rather than the bubbly naturalness that PJ Soles delivered.

    Overall, while it’s initially scary hearing that a legitimate horror classic will be remade, Rob Zombie’s Halloween ended up being a quality film. It’s obviously not as good as Carpenter’s original nor is it as much of a standout as other early 2000s remakes such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes, but I’d still consider it as being the third best Halloween movie. The shortcomings are Zombie’s insistence in making all of his language so crude (I’m sorry, but I don’t need to see Laurie Strode finger bang a bagel while talking about a would be pedo) and just the question of whether or not we ever needed to learn Michael’s backstory for what transformed him into a killer. Still, you have a slasher tale that has some heart, a lot of rocking music, brutal deaths, and a pair of likable child actors.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:


    Coming up next, a recent horror featuring The Best in the World.

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