Rapid Review: Halloween II (1981)

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“He was my patient for fifteen years. He became an obsession with me until I realized that there was nothing within him, neither conscious nor reason that was… even remotely human.”
– Dr Sam Loomis

SYNOPSIS: While Sheriff Brackett and Dr. Loomis hunt for Michael Myers, a traumatized Laurie is rushed to hospital, and the serial killer is not far behind her. – via IMDB

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GRADE 7.5The first sequel to Halloween is not bad. In fact, it is a darn solid entry, if you ask me. It takes place on the same night as its predecessor, and pretty much entirely goes down at the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, and that’s great. Initially when watching this, I thought the sheriff was awfully calm about his daughter Annie being killed, only to find out he had not been informed of this development, and then he did his nut, which was far more realistic. The iconic score is back and kicking, and cuckoo-katchoo Michael Myers is back on the hunt for Laurie. When Laurie woke in the hospital with Jimmy stroking her hand, I was like “wtf”, because let me tell you, if I woke up in hospital with some random stranger stroking my hand, there would be hell to pay. No kidding. No touchy, man! The direct continuation from the last movie is interesting, and makes it nice to watch back to back with the initial film as a marathon. It doesn’t bring anything super new to the table, and the plot progression barrels along. I don’t feel that the characters got as much development here as they did in the last movie, but they were still really fun to watch. Myers was way more aggressive in this one. The deaths improved here, too, which just goes to show what a little bit of extra budget can do. Loomis and Laurie were both excellent characters, and Pleasence and Curtis were brilliant picks to play them. Anyway, the atmosphere was maybe not as creepy as the last, but Halloween II is a solid movie that is well worth a watch, and complements the original every step of the way. Check it out!

Rapid Review: Halloween (1978)

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“You’ve got to believe me, Officer, he is coming to Haddonfield… Because I know him! I’m his doctor! You must be ready for him… If you don’t, it’s your funeral.”
– Dr Sam Loomis

SYNOPSIS: On Halloween night of 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers stabbed his sister to death. After sitting in a mental hospital for 15 years, Myers escapes and returns to Haddonfield to kill. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8I have been itching for the longest time to rewatch these movies, it has been a good long while since I have! Finally, I decided screw it, it’s time. Watching Halloween made me super nostalgic for old school horror… this is just how horror is supposed to be. Halloween is a prime example of a fantastic horror, and features the introduction of so many things we take for granted in horror movies nowadays (the final girl, sex = death, etc). I absolutely love the iconic intro tune and score for this movie – people just know what this is, and that’s fantastic! Let’s not forget the simple plot that was given to us to introduce Michael Myers, and his subsequent murder binge. It didn’t want bells and whistles, it was all about the horror, and it shows. The movie is shot well and is very atmospheric, which drives in the creep factor. The movie is also quite a slow burn, which is actually a really good thing (though it makes the movie feel a little longer than it is) – it takes time getting into the meat of the movie, and that is okay. It takes time to unnerve the audience, and then Halloween gets right down to the slash and kill factor. The progression is good, never loses the viewer, and it isn’t over the top, and is accompanied by solid performances and an exceptionally memorable score. This movie is a prime example of how less is most certainly more, more often than not. A million people have sung the praises of this film before me, and probably better than I can. Just know that it is a brilliant old school horror that is well worth the watch!

Review: In The Mouth Of Madness (1994)

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“A reality is just what we tell each other it is.”
– Linda Styles

SYNOPSIS: An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer’s books have on his fans is more than inspirational. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8I absolutely love this movie, I am a big fan of it. The first time I saw it a few years ago, it just ticked all the boxes of things I love in a movie. It was just awesome, and it doesn’t get old after repeat viewings. This is one of those tremendous and beloved old horrors that I just can’t get enough of. I adored the concept of this film – that a writer and his work could drive the world cuckoo crazy and insane. It was all about the writing, the lack of faith, the investigation into a missing author, the gruesome discoveries that Trent makes along the way, and the way Styles is convinced that Cane’s work is real… there is just way too much to love here! The monsters were nasty and Cane was delusional, Sam Neill delivered a fantastic performance, and there was an abundance of creepy and weird going on at any given moment in the film. You never really get a handle on what is going on, and there is a dash of cheese to this,  but in t hat totally acceptable kind of way. I was hooked from the get-go, and my other half had a grand time with this, too, so I am not totally biased 😉 Carpenter was the horror king, and gave us many grand films to watch over the years, and I will always enjoy that. I thoroughly enjoyed the effects and the camera work, and the score worked wonderfully with it all, too. I know I am gushing, but there was so much to like in this one. This Apocalypse Trilogy, though, was just one of those super special ones, and I can see myself watching these quite a few more times, though the final entry remains my favourite of the lot. Solid acting, some goofy events, some creepy moments, insane monsters, pretty amusing dialogue, and a journey that is just different, In The Mouth of Madness offers it all to its viewers. I feel that this is a seriously under-appreciated film, and wish that more people had seen it.

Rapid Review: Prince of Darkness (1987)

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“Hello… Hello… I’ve got a message for you… and you’re not going to like it.”
– Wyndham

SYNOPSIS: A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world. – via IMDB

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GRADE 7Continuing with John Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy, next in line was Prince of Darkness. I thoroughly enjoyed The Thing last week, and you will all hear about In The Mouth of Madness next week, but what did I think of this one? Well, I watched this movie with Chop Eric because he is so partial to it (as in five top hats partial), and as much as I enjoyed this, I definitely didn’t appreciate it on the same level as he did. However, I did have an absolute blast watching it with someone who adored it. Now, it cannot be argued that John Carpenter is a phenomenally awesome horror director, I just wanted more from this. The cast did well with their material (except that I wanted to even out Jameson Parker’s porn ‘stache – it was too long on one side, and it gave my eye an OCD tic every time I saw him), and the score worked, too, and provided me with giggles at times because it could be pretty cheesy. Typical of a horror, not too much logic going into things sometimes, but it definitely had more thought go into it than your average film in the genre. I absolutely loved the concept they explored (Jesus was an alien?! When did this happen?!) and how it came to be that Satan was locked in a box and what not, and I enjoyed the effects of the trippy green water dripping upwards. Purdy! Also, there was some Alice Cooper in here with spans of face powder but no eye makeup for a change, but still as douchey as ever. There were some great scenes in here (particularly looking at the dove that was crucified at the bottom of the staircase – disgusting as it sounds, I know), and the bugs were nasty. Prince of Darkness was a slow burn movie, and that isn’t something I have an issue with, as I am sure you all know. Sometimes the pace was a little all over the show, and (though it most likely wasn’t the case when it came out), there were some pretty predictable places. I had a good laugh more often than not, because there was some sharp humour from time to time, and I was sure I was looking at Mr Miagi until the Chop rained all over my parade there. Oh well, what must we do? There is a lot of seriously 80s stuff going on in this movie, too, but it works for it. The effects, again, were excellent for the time, and the film looks good and is shot well. I could definitely recommend checking this out, especially if you are into horror flicks!

Rapid Review: The Thing (1982)

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“I dunno what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is.”
– Clark

SYNOPSIS: An American scientific expedition to the frozen wastes of the Antarctic is interrupted by a group of seemingly mad Norwegians pursuing and shooting a dog. The helicopter pursuing the dog explodes, eventually leaving no explanation for the chase. During the night, the dog mutates and attacks other dogs in the cage and members of the team that investigate. The team soon realizes that an alien life-form with the ability to take over other bodies is on the loose and they don’t know who may already have been taken over. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8So I decided to check this out, never really being sure if I watched this as a kid or not (the VHS was always lying around – I watched so much old horror as a kid). Needless to say, I had not, which was great news for me. Some fresh, new, old school horror. Just my cup of tea. I used to watch so much more of this genre, but over the years much less because there isn’t anything original anymore, and the movies don’t work on atmosphere. It’s all been done before. Now, Carpenter’s The Thing was fascinating from the off. It starts really slow, and you can feel the slow burn thing. No jumping right into the middle of something crazy here, no sirree… let’s just build it all and work to it. Boy, let me tell you, when it finally caught I was like “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew” when I got my first real look at this Thing. Yuck! I loved it! Not to mention the very traditionalist score that accompanied it, and the cast that worked really well here. Kurt Russell played his part very well, and you know from the off that you are supposed to identify and support and follow him from the off. However, then there is that unknown mystery fear that comes in when it is known that these Things can replicate the appearance and demeanour of anyone. Is anyone one of these Things? How are they going to figure that out? The film’s progression was just fine too, not experiencing too much unnecessary lull anywhere throughout. The effects were pretty cool, too, not drowning in too much overdone CGI and stuff. The Thing progresses deliberately and smoothly, and the lack of character growth is unimportant due to the focus lying on the story itself, and not the people so much – though they are tasked with getting us involved with what is going on. Not a film that wants you thinking about life, it is there purely for enjoyment and entertainment, and on that front it wins hands down. Gotta say, definitely a classic for a reason, and mandatory October viewing for sure!