Tag Archives: john carpenter

13 Days of Sequels: HALLOWEEN II

With 13 Days of Sequels I’ll be reviewing horror sequels every weekday for the last two weeks of October. You can view all entries HERE.

Sequels are historically hard to pull off – especially when it’s that first one out of the gate (meaning Part 2), and especially if the first film was an incredible success. (I clarify this, because at one time films actually had to be successful in order to warrant a sequel.)

Following the original film, that first sequel is under major scrutiny: the pressure to not only replicate the success of the first film but exceed it in every way possible isn’t just expected, it’s really expected. Part 2 has to be bigger, faster, and smarter, upping the ante in every conceivable way. Continue reading 13 Days of Sequels: HALLOWEEN II

HORROR NERD OF THE MONTH: Arnie!

When we ‘re first introduced to our bespectacled bore, Arnie Cunningham, he’s frantically running from his house hurrying to catch his ride to school. In the process, he rips open the bag of trash he’s taking out – spilling it all over the driveway and his mother’s feet. She shoos him on, and he waddles off – arms akimbo, glasses sliding off his face – to his friend’s car. It’s the quintessential “Yes, this character is a nerd with a capital N” introduction, something that I’ve covered here before. Continue reading HORROR NERD OF THE MONTH: Arnie!

5 Things I Want from the New HALLOWEEN!

As you’ve probably heard by now, Blumhouse announced yesterday that they’ll be producing the newest Halloween film, the first since Rob Zombie’s 2009 debacle, Halloween II. What makes this particular bit of news so exciting is confirmation that John Carpenter will executive produce, and could also possibly (maybe? hopefully?) score the film. Add to that the involvement of franchise producer Malek Akkad, Miramax Pictures, and bastions-from-the-start Compass International/Trancas International Films, and suddenly the tired and aimless franchise looks to have gotten a much needed shot in the arm.

Of course, the recognizable names mean nothing to the final product; a lot of variables could result in a boring, unmemorable film, namely the two most important puzzle pieces – the script and its director – which are, as of this typing, non-existent. But none of that stuff really matters right now because, as with every entry before this one, the announcement of a new Halloween film ushers in waves of excitement and possibilities that will keep me coasting and daydreaming until I see it in the theater.

The film has a projected release date of sometime in 2017, which means I’ve got a lot of time on my hands to fantasize about my dream production, so here are 5 things I’d really like to see in the new Halloween. Continue reading 5 Things I Want from the New HALLOWEEN!

5 Things I Love About HALLOWEEN!

For obvious reasons, Halloween is the quintessential October horror film. Come this time of year, sites will be flooded with articles and lists praising the film and its enduring legacy, and some will even promise to tell you 15 things you never knew about the movie. They’ll be wrong, of course, but hey.

As a horror fan and horror-website-runner-person myself, it is my duty to contribute a Halloween-related listicle during the month of October lest I want my gorehound card revoked. But instead of pointing out things everyone knows already (we get it, it’s a William Shatner mask) or attempting to write a thesis on the ‘sin equals death’ puritanical aspects of the movie, I thought I’d simply point out a few things I dig about it. Feelings that you the reader may also share. No need to over-analyze this sucker!

In the end, when it comes down to it, there’s not much to say about John Carpenter’s Halloween that hasn’t already been said a thousand times already, but here are a few moments I personally enjoy from the movie. Continue reading 5 Things I Love About HALLOWEEN!

“Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers – The Producer’s Cut” REVIEW (2015)

As you may already know by now (especially if you read my other piece on the subject): I love Halloween 6. Buried under the muddled origin story and weird druid stuff is not only a solid Halloween sequel, but a really great slasher film. It is, in my opinion, the last time Michael Myers was actually scary onscreen. Unfortunately, multiple reshoots, continual edits, and tensions on set resulted in a film that didn’t feel very cohesive and left the audience with more questions than it did answers.

It was probably a decade after the movie came out that I started hearing rumblings on the internet about lost footage from the film. I don’t know if it was being designated “the Producer’s Cut” at first, but that’s the official title it took on over time. There were rumors and speculation popping up on message boards, people claiming they’d seen the footage and that it was an entirely different movie. Needless to say, I was extremely excited thinking there was the possibility of an alternate cut out there. It wasn’t too long after that, people started posting actual scenes that had been cut from the film, albeit terrible quality. But it confirmed what had been pure hearsay up until then: alternate footage — and possibly an alternate version — did exist. Continue reading “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers – The Producer’s Cut” REVIEW (2015)

Drive-In Double Feature: THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY & OFFERINGS

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I met Barry when I was in high school. He lived in a town about 45 minutes away from mine. Though we weren’t close, we did share a group of friends so we would occasionally hang out together in a group setting, and sometimes we’d bump into each other at the mall. Eventually, we fell out of touch. Hell, everyone fell out of touch. Flash forward a decade, and somehow through the magic of the Internet we found each other on Facebook and started talking again. I discovered he was a huge gorehound, and his knowledge of the esoteric horrorstuffs put mine to shame. And whenever he’d post pics from his house, it always looked full of great art and good kitschy collectibles. I couldn’t believe it – someone from high school who I didn’t mind reuniting with! We’ve stayed in contact ever since. When I put this thing together I knew Barry had to contribute a piece, and I’m happy to say he did not disappoint. So without further ado, Barry’s Drive-In Double Feature!

There’s a fine line between homage and down right thievery.  The horror genre is notorious for squeezing every last penny out of a good idea and running respectable film franchises into the ground.  Some filmmakers find inspiration in mediocre ideas and expand them into a complex narrative, while other, less creative filmmakers see a good idea and change just enough to avoid a lawsuit.  No film in the horror genre has “inspired” filmmakers more than John Carpenter’s classic, Halloween.  In turn, we can argue that Halloween borrowed many elements from earlier films like Black Christmas and Peeping Tom, but it was Halloween that thrust the slasher genre into the mainstream.  The mold was cast and like an in demand bootleg, the copies of the copies of the copies kept coming.  With each new copy, the films got progressively worse.  This ultimately killed the slasher genre as audiences grew tired of the regurgitated plots and uninspired characters.  By the late 80’s/early 90’s, the slasher film was dying a slow painful death.  Many of the films released at this time were of the straight-to-video variety and offered little hope that the genre would survive.  While some of the films from this era have become rediscovered classics, many remain in obscurity.  The films I have chosen will NEVER be considered classics but somehow they managed to make a lasting impression on me.

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The Last Slumber Party is an underdog of a movie.  For all its faults and shortcomings (trust me, there are many), it’s the type of film that is almost too good to be true, and by that I mean absolutely dreadful.  This 1988 straight-to-video release from director Stephen Tyler (no, not that Steven Tyler) tells the story of a group of girls who throw a slumber party on the first night of summer vacation.  Wouldn’t you know it, a killer dressed as a scalpel-wielding surgeon has escaped from a nearby mental institution and is hacking his way to the party.  From the very beginning, it’s apparent that we are in low budget hell.  The whole film is a glorious catastrophe that would make Ed Wood proud.  The camera angles are awkward, the acting is ridiculous, the heavy metal soundtrack credited to Firstryke is laughable, and the special effects are non-existent, but for some reason all of these elements make me love The Last Slumber Party.

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Top, the girls from HALLOWEEN. Bottom, the girls from THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY.

Yes, it’s a shameless rip-off of Halloween and Slumber Party Massacre but you can’t ignore the earnest “let’s make a movie” attitude that Stephen Tyler and his crew must have felt.  They put themselves out there and tried to deliver a kick ass horror film, unfortunately they were 10 years late and $100,000 dollars short.

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The second film is not much better but must be seen to be believed.  If The Last Slumber Party “borrowed” bits and pieces from other films, then 1989’s Offerings is guilty of highway robbery.  The movie is shameless in its attempt to steal everything it can from Halloween right down to John Carpenter’s iconic theme.  In fact, I was so shocked by how similar it was, that I really wondered why John Carpenter never filed a lawsuit.  Offerings tells the story of mute killer named John Radley who escapes from a mental hospital (he literally walks out the front door and scales a fence) and returns to his hometown to murder a bunch of teenagers.   John Radley has all the characteristics of Michael Meyers; he’s mute, he’s omnipresent, he slowly chases his victims, he turns his head when he is confused, he possesses super human strength, and he lurks in the shadows.   In fact the only thing that sets them apart are their faces.  While Michael sports his Captain Kirk mask, John walks around showing off his disfigured face.  One by one, John kills his childhood tormentors and stalks his old friend Gretchen Peters (who sports an awesome pair of acid washed mom jeans and a wicked Oklahoma accent). Many death scenes resemble the deaths of the characters in Halloween.

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Top, Annie’s car murder in HALLOWEEN. Bottom, a similar car murder from OFFERINGS.

John Radley even has his own Dr. Loomis and Sheriff Bracket that are one step behind his carnage.  Just like Michael Meyers, John Radley steals a headstone, eats a wild animal (a duck instead of a dog), and sleeps in his vacant childhood home.  The only original element to the film is the explanation of the title.  To show is love for Gretchen, John Radley leaves random body parts on her doorstep as offerings.  This is the ONLY original thing in the movie and honestly, it doesn’t make much sense.  The last ten minutes of the film are so similar to Halloween that I really expected Gretchen to ask if he was the boogeyman.  The last line of the movie was so stupid and ridiculous I laughed out loud for 5 minutes.  Trust me, Offerings is the type of movie that should reward you with a badge of honor if you make it to the final credits.

Barry is a horror fanatic and collector of autographs.