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My Obligatory “Best of 2015” List!

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to look back and share what I thought were the standout films of the year. The criteria for making the list was simple — I had to give it 3.5 stars or more on my Letterboxd account. Oh by the way: I have a Letterboxd account where I keep track of every movie I watch; there were many films I watched in 2015 that didn’t make the list, and you can find them (and all the others) over on my Letterboxd account. Did I mention I have a Letterboxd account yet? Continue reading My Obligatory “Best of 2015” List!

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“Dude Bro Party Massacre III” (2015) REVIEW

There is so much — and yet, somehow, so little — to say about Dude Bro Party Massacre III, so I’ll offer up both a short and lengthy review.

Short review: the movie, sadly, is a mess – both tonally and stylistically – and that’s a real bummer because the trailer looked promising, and my hopes were high. Whether intentional or not, the movie ended up being confusing, distracting, and (unfortunately) just plain unfunny. I kept checking to see how much longer until it was over, and that’s not a great reaction to have when watching a movie.

There, that’s the succinct review and I already feel like a jerk. If you’re interested in the details, read on.

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Perhaps the biggest sign that Dude Bro Party Massacre III was doomed from the start is the fact that it was made by the people at 5-Second Films. Now, I have nothing against 5-Seconds Films; I love their stuff. In fact, if you aren’t familiar with their work, do yourself a favor and go check them out right now — their videos are hilarious, bizarre, and creative (this one is my personal fave of their shorts.) However, the micro format is clearly their strong suit, and attempting to stretch that out into a full length film unfortunately just doesn’t work. It makes this 90 minute movie feel like you’re actually watching 1,080 of their shorts back to back; a very exhausting feeling. Another unfortunate side-effect of cramming a joke in every 5 seconds is that almost of all of them fall painfully flat.

The central plot is fairly straightforward: a college kid joins a frat that his dead brother was once a member of in order to solve/avenge said dead brother’s mysterious murder. There is a bizarre (and completely unnecessary) subplot involving a couple of bumbling cops (and a cult leader? And oranges?), but their involvement in the basic story is too confusing to explain. Interstitial bits and pieces of bad tracking, blunt cuts, and fake commercials are thrown in the mix, making even the most basic storyline that much more impossible to follow.

That’s another issue I have with the movie: it tries to cash in on the current very popular trend of making something look like it was shot on VHS tape. Films, Youtube videos, TV shows — they all want to achieve this ‘look’ without adhering to the restrictions that would actually result in an analog recording being shot on magnetic tape. (One of the greatest offenders of this rule is V/H/S, a horror anthology which inexplicably dedicates an entire segment to computer video chats [a digital medium], not to mention several other anachronisms such as a pair of glasses outfitted with a hidden camera [yet another digital medium.]) Let’s put it this way: if the movie Super 8 featured a kid lugging one of these RCA shoulder-mounted consumer camcorders around instead, people would cry foul. Dude Bro Party Massacre III commits similar bothersome acts.

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Animated words pop up onscreen, goofy sound effects occur, weird out of place transitions and obvious green screen effects abound. None of it makes sense in the context of things. The recently released Kung Fury — another VHS-style throwback — also commits these same acts, but the difference is that Kung Fury so obviously takes place within its own imaginary landscape, one that feels more videogame than actual movie, that it’s pretty much able to do whatever it wants and get away with it. DBPM3 wants you to feel like you’re watching an 80s horror movie taped off TV (it even tells you so with an opening crawl), but yet it doesn’t want to play by its own rules. (It also helped that Kung Fury was only 30 minutes long.)

Lastly, one final impediment: contradictory as it may sound, Dude Bro includes far too many references which end up hurting it doubly. The movie is loaded with 80s cliches, silly commercials, cheesy gore (the best part of the movie, actually) vapid characters, etc. DBPM3 is its own worst enemy because it fails to find a balance. Had it been played perhaps a little more straight-forward (and cut out about 2/3 of the jokes), it might have played a little better.

There is a crossroads — a junction where satire, homage, parody, and pastiche all intersect — that, if handled carelessly, can create confusion, blur the point, and distract the viewer. Ultimately, that’s what happens in Dude Bro Party Massacre III.

There are a few things that almost work — a montage where the bros clean up a dirty frat house to a dorky 80s song (ala Revenge of the Nerds) and a brief scene where a guy (Greg Sestero!) gets freaked out by several gardening implements in a tool shed (shot in a very Raimi way) — but those moments are quickly buried as the film eagerly jumps to the next weird joke/setting/character/edit/effect.

It has a great premise, a great title, and I do love the worn out videotape look, but there’s just too much going on. If you want a film that does a good job of spoofing a specific era, look no further than Wet Hot American Summer (a film I feel greatly inspired this one.) Or hell, just rent an actual shot-on-video horror movie like Woodchipper Massacre, Cannibal Campout, or Video Violence. Those movies are just as cheesy and silly as DBPM3, but are far less likely to induce seizures. If a 90-minute Tim and Eric sketch on speed is what you’re looking for, you will love this film. Otherwise, you may find yourself feeling a bit let down.

“Spring” (2014) & “Maggie” (2015) REVIEWS

I wasn’t going to review these movies together for any deep reason — I simply watched them back-to-back and thought I’d kill two birds with one review. After all, these were two very different films — tonally and stylistically — and I really liked one and kinda hated the other one. Pretty different flicks altogether.

But the more I thought about it, the more I drew parallels between the two films: both were fairly under-the-radar VOD films about having to accept the fate bestowed upon a loved one while helplessly watching them turn into some awful thing. So maybe reviewing them together does make sense in some loose way.

I knew very little about each film prior to watching them, but I’d seen nothing but praise and warmth for both films circulating online. I’d watched a trailer for Maggie and knew Arnold Schwarzenegger was putting in a dramatic performance as a farmer who watches his young daughter slowly succumb to a zombie bite. As for Spring, I’d only seen its poster and the head-scratching Rastafarian color scheme. I also had a friend who’d seen Spring and said he enjoyed it, but that the writing was “very college”, and it was a bit sappy. And I knew from reading a brief synopsis on iTunes that a guy goes on a roadtrip to Italy, falls in love, blah blah blah. At this point, I was totally on board for Maggie and couldn’t care less about Spring.

Oh, how wrong I ended up being.

I watched Maggie first, as I was more interested in it than Spring. It starts out promising, if not completely trite: muted color palette, desolate fields with arbitrary fires burning, governmental warnings being delivered in fuzzy bursts through an old truck radio as it ambles down a lone, vacant highway — the apocalypse, baby!

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But boy it loses steam, and quick. It took me three tries before I was able to make it all the way through this 95 minute movie. It is rough. It’s fairly void of any dialogue, and the lines we are gifted are so brutally hackneyed. An incredibly miscast Arnold Schwarzenegger (playing a painfully earnest farmer) gives his daughter the old “you remind me so much of your mother” speech while he works on his truck; they laugh, they bond; it’s technically a ‘scene’. And when the film isn’t being incredibly cliche, it’s being incredibly oversentimental. Laughably, shockingly oversentimental. I almost want to spoil the ending because of how downright ridiculously saccharin it is, but where’s the fun in that? And then there are several ‘slo-mo traipsing through a field’-style shots from the Terrence Malick handbook which just end up feeling more like an anti-depressant commercial. There are so many of these shots, too many, that it feels as though they were included simply to pad out the runtime versus any real artistic or stylistic reasons. Also, when is this movie set? Their clothes, their house — they look like they’re from the 1800s. Yet everyone and everything else — Maggie’s teenaged friends, the local police — are modern. I mean, sure, I get it, “they’re farmers! Haha! Farmers always look that way, right?” It just furthers the uninspired laziness of the film. Also, this film apparently cost $8M to make when all was said and done, yet nothing happens at all. No explosions, no elaborate choreography or big set pieces. There is some (and I stress some) zombie make-up and very little CGI. Other than that, it’s all handheld camerawork on a farm. That’s it. Where ever that money went, it did not end up on the screen.

And for the people commending Schwarzenegger’s dramatic acting, c’mon, give me a break. I got more chills from the scene in Terminator 2 when he gives the thumbs up as he’s being lowered into molten metal than I did from his whole performance in Maggie. And I know that sounds funny and snarky, but I’m being serious. I’ve seen Arnold play the ill-fated lead quite effectively before, but that is not the case with this film.

So after the incredibly disappointing Maggie I was fairly hesitant to watch a film I had no real interest in watching to begin with. But I turned on Spring and holy shit I was blown away! Beautiful and competent cinematography, gorgeous locations, believable and engaging leads, effective and well done practical and CGI effects. Not to mention a smart script and original premise. I really, really enjoyed it.

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I immediately got a Before Sunrise meets The Thing type vibe from it, and upon doing a little research have since found people calling it “Richard Linklater meets H.P. Lovecraft” — so my initial reaction was pretty on point. I won’t spoil it, but basically a burnt out American runs away to Italy where he meets and falls for a girl with a pretty heavy duty secret.

One of the many things I enjoyed about the film was that it didn’t let me down. Maybe that sounds silly and obvious to say, “I liked it because it was good!”, but horror movies these days so often find a way to ruin all the momentum they’d been building by tacking on a copout of an ending, or they blow it by throwing some unnecessary curveball in the middle that immediately evaporates the movie’s credibility. Not so with Spring. That’s not to say I wasn’t waiting for it at every turn, with every advancement; I was. But no, it keep moving along, sensibly and fluidly. And I just kept liking what was happening more and more. It’s great.

There is one, single scene early on which features a rapey dudebro type that feels forced. It only stands out because everything else is done so flawlessly. But thankfully that single scene is quite fleeting — seconds long, really — so it doesn’t distract too much.

At just shy of 2 hours, Spring is a long horror-ish flick, but it never feels long — and that’s a sign of skillful filmmaking.

Spring and Maggie may be similar films, but it’s the reasons they’re dissimilar that make all the difference.

“We Are Still Here” (2015) REVIEW

There’s a strange trend I’ve noticed lately in independent horror: directors are seemingly desperate to prove to us, the audience, that they are worthy horror directors simply because they have a vast knowledge of horror movies from the past. And how do they prove that they know their horror history? Well, they just take a bunch of familiar fan favorite horror flicks, mash them up, and turn them in as a supposed new product. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Does this actually make for a worthy horror director? Does merely stoking the embers of nostalgia equal competent, compelling storytelling? Who knows, man. Why does Quentin Tarantino get to blatantly steal his ideas and characters from 70s exploitation films and win Oscars for it? Why does Led Zeppelin get to steal every riff they never wrote and still be hoisted up to an untouchable, God-like status? I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.

Now sure, there will be repeated tropes that I bet are near-impossible to avoid. Horror films have been around for 120 years; there are gonna be a lot of commonalities among films. But the modern thing I’m talking about is more than that. Adam Wingard’s The Guest (which I like) is a mash-up he describes as “The Terminator meets Halloween“, after he supposedly watched them back to back. Starry Eyes (which I loathe) is just Rosemary’s Baby meets The Fly (1986), until the last few minutes when it unfortunately dissolves into standard slasher stuff. Irish ghost flick The Canal (which I love) covers a whole range of movies, from Jacob’s Ladder to Pet Sematary. Sometimes the references are more subtle and play out as homage. The artistic influences of movies like It Follows or The Babadook reek of John Carpenter and Roman Polanski, respectively, but they don’t feel like they were simply pieced together from old classics; they took familiar sensations and made them new again. Like I said, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

The point of all of this is We Are Still Here, the haunted house/ghost/occult/possession/revenge flick from director Ted Geoghegan is such a mish-mash of references and themes that it fails to gain any footing and therefore elicits few scares.

ghostSet during an ambiguous decade, presumably the 1970s, a middle-aged couple (played by Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) decide the best way to cope with the recent death of their son is to move out of the city and head for a house in the sticks. Almost immediately after moving in, Crampton tells her husband that she “feels” their sons presence in the new home. Shortly after that, an electrician is attacked by a mysterious entity in their basement. Soon after that, they receive a strange visit from their nearest neighbors (which is apparently pretty far, considering how remote this new home is), who inform the couple of a tragic history surrounding their new woodland residence: it used to be a funeral parlor at the turn of the century, run by the Dagmar family. Turns out, the family was also selling the bodies and doing other types of desecratory things that caused an angry mob to dole out a bit of street justice and murder them all. After telling this story, the neighbors abruptly leave, and the house goes back to creaking and thudding.

Crampton and Sensenig invite their hippy-dippy spiritualist friends, played by Larry Fessenden and Lisa Marie, out for the weekend to help them get to the bottom of these disturbances. Soon after this, things go from bad to worse. And before you know it the credits are rolling. There’s stuff I’m not telling you as to not spoil some of the twists and turns, but that’s pretty much it.

So what works and what doesn’t? Well there are some promising creepouts in the beginning of the film. I won’t give away anything, but within the first 10 minutes of the movie I was totally onboard, ready to have the bejesus scared out of me. But as the movie progresses, the scares become less scary and the plot less coherent. By the time the final act rolls around, it feels like they were trying to play catch up with all the time they squandered during the first two thirds of the movie.

Director Ted Geoghegan – like Wingard before him – openly admits the influences of his film, going so far as to name the evil characters after one of the actresses from Lucio Fulci’s classic supernatural Video Nasty, The House by the Cemetery. But there are other influences to be found: Evil Dead, The Exorcist, PoltergeistChildren of the CornThe Shining, hell even Straw Dogs! But references do not a good horror movie make.

I love Barbara Crampton. Love. Besides the fact that she’s a genre staple and an always welcome face, she’s actually a really good horror actress. In fact, I’d go as far as to say she carries this film. Everyone else is pretty wooden, with exception for contemporary iconic horror figure Larry Fessenden, who does a better 70s-era Jack Nicholson in this movie than Nicholson could do himself — the hair, the arched eyebrows, the sloven-yet-charming air about him — Fessenden is the warm, likable comedic relief to Crampton’s distant and numb mother-in-mourning. I also love that the protagonists of the film are middle-aged parents. It’s a small detail, but one that actually makes a world of difference. And let me say one last time how much I love Barbara Crampton.

While this review may come across as generally negative, I assure you it’s not. The feeling I was left with after watching We Are Still Here was actually one of indifference. Feeling like I’d seen it before and I didn’t care. The mashing up of every ghost/witch/haunting trope, combined with the overwhelming praise I’ve seen (mainly from horror sites with a large following to maintain and reputation to uphold, which makes me question the earnestness of their reviews), left me even more confused and unenthused.

Independent horror has always been vital to the scene, but especially nowadays when the only horror that seems to be getting wide-releases are sequels and remakes. Independent horror should be an untamed landscape, a fertile ground to generate new, weird ideas. Films like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Shivers, Repulsion, and Sisters are all great examples of independent horror from the past, from directors who had clear, original visions. Unfortunately, We Are Still Here chooses not to be part of that camp, and instead falls into familiar beats and patterns, ones I have no doubt we could see on the big screen in Insidious: Chapter 3, Ouija, Paranormal Activity 5, Rings, Poltergiest (2015), et al.

In a time when horror fans seemingly have only two options to get their fix, forced to decide between referential, homagey shoulder-shruggers and borderline-offensive, slapdash remakes and reboots, I’ll gladly choose the former. But only because it’s the lesser of the two evils.

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Drive-In Double Feature: The Fog & Sleepaway Camp!

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Jason and I have known each other since 2008. We’ve been co-workers at two different jobs, bummed around New York Comic Con one frozen weekend in February, and somehow have never so much as once shared a single common word about horror flicks between ourselves. How we avoided the topic so long, I don’t know. But when I saw him write this review of It Follows recently, I knew he’d be a perfect contributor for the Drive-In Double Feature. Without further ado… 

SPOILERS ABOUND!

The drive-in was already outdated by the time I was old enough to go to the movies without parental supervision but they came with the air of nostalgia that seems to complement each new generation as they come to age. The first thought that came to mind when I was trying to come up with a good drive-in double feature was horror movies. Horror encompassed a large part of the viewing habits in my youth and still does today.

The challenge of what to watch didn’t come as easily. After wracking my brain trying to come up with two flicks, I came up with four requirements I wanted to follow:

  1. The film wasn’t a super obvious choice.
  2. The film wasn’t ‘so bad it’s good’.
  3. The film wasn’t something I had seen multiple times in the past five years.

There isn’t anything wrong with picking any films that might fall into the above criteria, it’s just what I wanted to follow (my fourth requirement will come into play a little later).

After many moons (or maybe a few hours), I finally settled on the 1980 version of The Fog and the 1983 classic Sleepaway Camp. ‘Now, wait a minute!’ horror aficionados around the globe scream in agony. Yes, The Fog was directed by John Carpenter, one of the most famous horror directors around and Sleepaway Camp is infamous in its own right.

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The reason I picked The Fog as an opener was mainly because while the director and cast are famous in horror, not a lot of people I know have actually seen it. I thought it might ring familiar with folks who knew Carpenter and his work but never got around the watching this one. It’s not as iconic as They Live, Halloween, Escape From New York, and a bevy of others but I think it still holds up as pretty damn creepy, especially by today’s standards. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Adrienne Barbeau (along with horror favorites Tom Atkins and Janet Leigh), it sets up with the classic horror trope of a large anniversary celebration in a quaint town. The pacing, music (a classic Carpenter score intercut with the usually wonderful plot device of a radio DJ broadcasting songs), and even the ghost sailors that show up at the end effectively make this 35-year old tribute to the ungraspable horror a solid choice that everyone should see.

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For similar reasons, I thought Sleepaway Camp was pretty well-known but not many have watched it. Sleepaway Camp begins as a normal summer camp horror with kids slowly getting picked off but there are strange flashbacks and an undertone that tells you something weird is coming. It’s the best of both worlds in terms of horror movie plots. Simple, classic set-up with a ‘twist’ of an ending. I won’t spoil it here but I hesitate to call it a twist as it bears no weight on the previous actions of the film after it is revealed. Shock value was a common theme in a lot of 80’s horror and this one might be the most famous. The film also leaves you with more questions than any kind of resolution and doesn’t exactly scream for a sequel (though there are several).

I believe the masterful Carpenter execution of his lesser known work in The Fog and the ‘camp’ of the summer shocker Sleepaway Camp easily make for a fun double feature. Both films complement each other in interesting ways with lots left to talk about after viewing.

My last and fourth requirement for choosing the right double feature was that you should be able to have fun while watching it. Going to the drive-in or watching movies on a friend’s roof with a projector usually means a lot of people. People that you want to hang out with, have drinks with, and not have to worry about missing any crucial plot points. The Fog and Sleepaway Camp accomplish this by not being very complicated yet still entertaining. Drive-ins are a great place to catch a classic movie and double features make it more fun. Even if it’s mostly people getting murdered.

Jason Fabeck is a writer living in Chicago. He enjoys camping, cooking, and never putting away his laundry. He sometimes writes about movies and TV for The Addison Recorder

GUILTY PLEASURES – “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers”

With “Guilty Pleasures”, I revisit some horror flicks that fans have almost unanimously derided and labeled “unlikeable”, but are ones that I actually get a kick out of. This time around, it’s Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.

mike2 The Halloween series – like all of the memorable horror franchises – has carried on long past its expiration date. It’s had 7 sequels, 2 remakes, and even tried completely omitting Michael Myers at one point early on. Since its inception, the series has never gone more than 6 years without a sequel or remake of some sort so, as we approach the 6 year anniversary of Rob Zombie’s embarrassing and confusing take on the series, it should come as no surprise that there has been talk of yet another film to add to the anthology – apparently currently in the works. And it’s this laughable-yet-strangely-admirable refusal to stay dead that has time and time again forced dunderheaded writers and money-hungry producers to make awful, knee-jerk decisions which tarnished the legacy and caused puritanical fans to overturn tables. Sure, they tried the whole ‘telepathic niece‘ angle. And, believe it or not, they even had a CGI mask at one point (I’m never forgivin’ ’em for that one.) But for all the series’s trip-ups and missteps, no entry was harder to get on the screen in one piece than Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (aka Halloween 6, aka Halloween 666: The Origin of Michael Myers.) They had a hell of a time finding a director: at one point or another, Peter Jackson, Scott Spiegel, Jeff Burr, and Fred Walton were all attached to direct the film – and Quentin Tarantino was even attached to produce. Take a minute to wrap your head around that. And there was also last minute script switcheroos and onset bickering between the crew, leading most involved to disown the movie and swear to never be involved in another Halloween flick again. It was that bad. I mean, hell – even ol’ Jamie Lee starred in four of ’em (including the worst in the series) so you know making Halloween 6 had to be rough. It’s unfortunate that arguments, re-writes, and re-shoots caused what could have been (according to original screenwriter Daniel Farrands) a potentially dark and revitalizing entry into a hacked-up head-scratcher (The Man in Black? The Mark of Thorn? Cults, sacrifice, druids? I mean, we’re still talking about that guy from the Illinois suburbs who killed his sis when he was a kid, right?) But dang it all. I like it! I can’t help myself! I saw this in theaters the day it came out. I was 12 years old and I went with my buddy Arnold – I had my parents buy our tickets. I had just read issue #147 of Fangoria and I was pumped, baby! And for whatever reason – despite its numerous and obvious flaws – I still enjoy it. It pays homage to the original quite a bit, which is why I think I like it so much. I’ll try to help illustrate why Halloween 6 is, sadly, the last good entry in the series. (Don’t get me started on the infuriating Halloween H20, aka Halloween Water. That’s a separate article all-together.) rudd Starring and introducing Paul (Stephen) Rudd. Not only is it Rudd’s debut, but it was the first time in the series that a male had become the protagonist hunted by Myers. And he plays Tommy Doyle, a character in the original 1978 film, now a full grown man obsessivly watching over the Strode house from across the street – totally great idea! loomis A retired Dr. Sam Loomis, hidden safely away in a cabin deep in the woods, writing his memoirs. After years of battling Myers, this is how you wanna see old Loomis living out his remaining days. (Sadly, actor Donald Pleasance would pass away before the movie’s release.) mike1 Michael’s mask. Sure, he kinda has this Rawhead Rex thing goin’ on with his hair. But the mask is the closest thing to the original since, well, the original. haddonfield Atmosphere. Haddonfield looks dreary, empty and damp, like a town forever scarred by the memories associated with this autumnal holiday. It’s a look Halloween 4 helped to established and one I’m glad this entry reignited. Just ignore those pesky Illinois mountains in the background. tumblr_mwd70gpA3a1t0megjo1_500 Michael is actually spooky in this! Shot mostly in shadow and under the cover of night, he definitely gives off some eerie vibes in this one. doc Dr. Loomis gives one final “pure evil” speech, and though it is brief, it’s still poetry:

This force, this thing that lived inside of him came from a source too violent, too deadly for you to imagine. It grew inside him, contaminating his soul. It was pure evil. This house is sacred to him. He has all of his memories here, his rage! Mrs. Strode…I beg of you, don’t let your family suffer the same fate that Laurie and her daughter suffered.

pumpkin Smashed pumpkin reference. Tommy Doyle (Rudd) causes a boy to drop his pumpkin, much like how Doyle fell on and smashed his own pumpkin in the original. bakcyardAnother nice homage, using Michael’s presence in the backyard, alongside billowing white sheets on a clothesline. woman This creepy old woman gives a speech about Halloween that rivals Loomis’s ‘pure evil’ speech. It ends up being a bit exposition-y and injects a little too much unnecessary backstory, but damn if it don’t start strong! But extra points for her referring to him as ‘little Mikey Myers’. (Plus, Mike in the background!) guy This world class a-hole who you just know is gonna get it good. The original Halloween had a cast of bubbly teens you didn’t wanna see get killed, but every sequel from there on threw that idea out the window and made sure to have some jerk you just wanted to see get theirs (Bud in Part 2; Kelly Meeker in Part 4; pretty much everyone in Part 5, especially that little kid with the stutter.) 1 There’s a brief scene set at a live radio show on campus. There are people partying in costumes, barrel fires, twinkling bokehs – all being ominously narrated while we follow Rudd in slow-motion. It’s a fleeting set piece but one I really liked and wanted to see used more! 2 Radio host Barry Simms gets killed in his car – an homage to Annie’s demise in Halloween? I think so! Also, I’d like to point out that earlier in the film Barry makes a joke about “Michael Myers being sent to space”. Just six years later, Jason Voorhees would make that joke an awful reality. 3 “It’s raining, mommy. It’s raining red. It’s warm.” 4 In yet another homage, the damsel in distress runs to the neighbor’s house, banging on the door pleading for help – all while we see Michael slowly making his way across the street to her. Now that I mention it, maybe this article shoulda just been how Halloween 6 is one long homage to the original! 5 So it’s around this time that the movie kinda flies off the rails. The climax is set in a hospital (Halloween II, anyone?), and basically it’s just one long scene where Michael murders a boatload of doctors while strobe lights are going off – no, really. However, it’s a notable scene for one specific reason: it’s the first time since the original that you see Michael run! It’s brief – and I do mean brief – but if you look closely, Michael picks up the pace a little when chasing a doctor down some underground corridor. Michael hasn’t moved that fast since he scaled Loomis’s station wagon and escaped from Smith’s Grove! 6 The movie does its best to end with a ‘bang’, but goes out with more of a muted ‘poof’. The final scene sees Rudd thinking he’s beaten Michael to death with a pipe. He really wails on ol’ Mike for awhile with that thing. But after he and the other survivors leave the hospital, Dr. Loomis stays behind – only to be murdered (you can tell by his screams offscreen) by the still living Myers. It’s an entry not without its flaws, and major ones at that. But I truly feel it does a better job of honoring the original in many subtle ways than the glossy and pandering H2O does. In a way, this film was ahead of its time – maybe too ahead of its time. After all, it was written by a fan – and who better to do a horror franchise justice than its obsessive fanbase. Perhaps if the producers had just left the original script alone – and not beaten it to death with a lead pipe – we’d be singing its praises instead of cursing it. 7