Oct. 31st: Halloween II (1981)

halloween-2-ii-poster-1981Outside of the hugely underrated and insanely Halloweeny Season of the Witch, Halloween II is really the only other Halloween installment I can recommend in good conscience. Plus, it’s the sequel, so we gotta give props to that this season.

I don’t love Halloween II and I rather blame its existence on why the franchise wasn’t able to continue and expand the way John Carpenter wished. If Halloween II was Halloween III, we could have had a different Halloween themed story with every outing for who knows how many years.

Had they simply ended Michael’s tale with part 1, it would have been more haunting, more powerful and had prepped fans straight away that this was not going to be “Michael’s Series.” Who was that masked man murdering teens on Halloween? I dunno, guess he’s just wandering around now. Moving on with some other tales.

As it stands, II continued “the night he came home” and forever sealed the fate of this franchise as “The Michael Myers Story” With each new installment removing more of what made Michael great in the first damn place…ambiguity.

It’s also the film that introduced the whole extended Myers family angle to the story, an aspect in which I couldn’t be less interested. I like the fact the Laurie and her friends were chosen by almost complete chance and that their murders are the random outbursts of some mysterious, masked maniac.

All that being said, Halloween II is still Michael’s best sequel. It still features the original mask (a huge plus when considering the awful, awful resculpts), maintains the general feel of the original and literally picks up right where the first one left off, thus taking place on the same night. You could have ended Michaels story here successfully, no doubt, but fans just wanted more and they were eventually given just that.

It’s pretty Halloweeny and the hospital setting is an interesting location and leads to some unnerving sequences and kills. It also gives an expanded glimpse into Haddonfield as it reels from the previous film’s mayhem. Everyone in town is starting to hear about the horrible things that have happened just a block or two over. It’s neat to see the night just continue.

Poor Ben Tramer gets straight plowed by a police cruiser and goes out in a blaze of Halloween glory, though. Poor Michael gets both of his eyes shot out, which never really seems to pose him too much difficultly on any of his further adventures. And poor Laurie has to find out she’s that guys fucking sister. Samhain bummers all around.

This year was a celebration not just of other Halloween themed movies, but also of the Halloween Sequel. While Halloween II may be cheating just slightly, is a mere shadow of its forebear’s glory, and sets this entire franchise on many of its awful roads, it’s still the greatest Halloween Sequel there is.

Double it up with the original for one extended “night he came home” this year.

I give 2 bloody eyes and a burning Ben Tramer up!

Designation: Treat!

Happy Halloween, weeners. Thanks for joining us through Return of the 31 Days of Halloween Horror 2: Revenge of the Halloween Sequels: Trick or Treat?

Oct. 16th: Mr. Halloween (2006)

mr-halloweenTake a pinch of Carpenter’s Halloween, add a dash of A Bucket of Blood, a quarter cup Hauntedween and then mix that with every movie you’ve seen made by high schoolers for approximately 112 minutes and you’ll get Mr. Halloween.

Wait, hold on. 112 minutes?

Yeah.

While not an unvaliant effort for a couple of kids armed with their family and friends and a budget that might score you a used 2006 Toyota Corolla, Mr. Halloween still well overstays his welcome. You could trim a metric ton of nougat off of this treat and probably have something resembling kind of watchable.

Nothing this low-budget should be anywhere near 2 hours long. 90 minutes is pushing it, but 80’s probably your sweet spot, with a brisk 70-75 giving you just enough time to get in, show your stuff and get out before leaving a bad taste in the audience’s mouth.

I want Mr. Halloween to be that. There’s a lot of good here for some amateur fans making a go at a full length feature. Part of me wants to re-edit Mr. Halloween to be just that.

As it stands though, you have to chew through a lot nonsense to find just a small caramel center. People walking, unnecessary conversations with tedious dialogue, precious seconds of run-time just blown on the empty spaces between things. Spaces where tension could be created with the right kind of editing.

Essentially Bill Loomis is an upstate New York weirdo who runs a local garage haunt, a haunt rumored to use real bodies in its displays. Everyone in town calls this goofball “Mr. Halloween.” So why do so few genuinely suspect this guy for the disappearances of all the local high-school kids? Good question. It’ll take you about 10 minutes to figure it out and about and hour and a half for the movie to confirm your suspicions.

The Wolf brothers are clearly fans of horror and there’s some ideas and scenes here that rise above their surroundings. Particularly the early sequences in the haunt itself, which are pretty fun. I think the movie could have used more of that spirit.

It’s a genuine effort though, totally earnest in its presentation. I applaud these kids for making it and then (even more impressively) getting it picked up by a distribution company and getting it out there. Those are feats unto themselves at all stages.

In my heart I want to recommend Mr. Halloween, but I really can’t. It’s too serious to have much fun with, its shortcomings aren’t of the laughable variety and it’s simply just too long.

This one gets 1 guillotine down but a smiling jack-o-lantern up for effort.

Designation: Trick

Oct. 7th: Killer Eye: Halloween Haunt (2011)

killer-eyeWait, Charley Band made a Halloween movie?!

Well, despite being from 2011, which almost immediately guaranteed it’s awfulness, I decided to give it a shot anyway.

Killer Eye: Halloween Haunt, aka Meta Eye: Revenge of the Full Moon Props in a Witchy Lady’s Shitty Home Haunt, aka Annoying White Chicks Watch The Original Killer Eye Then Experience Various State of Undress is about as awful as all those titles sound and about as Halloweeny as the seasonal aisle at a CVS on November 2nd.

To be fair, there’s some genuine moments of humor when the girls are goofing on the original film, which they’ve decided to watch while “setting up” the “haunted house” of the title which is just the main girl’s mom’s house. It’s not cool, or much of a haunt. It has some newer, cheeseball decorations around and a lot of Full Moon props, but that’s about it.

This all leads to a horny and perverted Eyeball prop coming alive and hypnotizing the girls to take off their clothes and pretend to make-out with each other.

Which is pretty much every 14 year old horror fan’s dream, assuming of course it’s still 1993 and the only way you can see a breast in motion is by staring intently at scrambled Spice feed or happening upon a Skin-a-max Emmaulle Tale. Unfortunately it’s 2011 and I’m not sure who this thing is directed toward. Why make this type of horror movie anymore?

When just about any innocuous Google search has the possibility of returning results that would make a harlot blush, what draw does any of this nonsense have? Beats the hell out of me. It’s certainly not the story (of which there is barely one) or the effects (which are cheap and unimpressive) or the acting (which is serviceable at its utmost best.) So it has to be the nudity, right?

This won’t even amuse lovers of bad cinema the way the original Killer Eye might. It’s too aware for all that. It’s not good, but when the product isn’t in earnest, that trick just doesn’t treat.

With the exception of clips from the original, there aren’t any dudes in this movie, so there’s that. And for what it’s worth, it passes the Bechdel Test several times over. Granted, none of those conversations are worth hearing anyway, but they qualify none the less.

As I mentioned above, this movie isn’t even bringing the Halloween really. No fun atmosphere, not seasonal feel, just some shitty newer decorations scattered about.

I give this 4 tits and a shitty Full Moon prop down.

Designation: Trick!

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Oct. 2nd: Idle Hands (1999)

Jumping in a different direction for night number 2 comes this late 90’s horror-comedy which got (unjustly, I feel) slammed by critics upon it’s initial release.

The story, if you’re unfamiliar, involves a young stoner named Anton, whom’s “idle hands” do the Devil’s work when one hand becomes possessed right before Halloween.

Tragedy ensues when Anton’s hand kills his parents and best pals. So naturally, much like its clear inspiration Evil Dead 2, he lops it off.
Problem solved, right? Naw.

This only makes matters worse, as the marauding hand goes on a rampage all over town leading up to a pretty kick-ass high school Halloween party that could only take place in the fictional confines of Hollywood.

Some great make-up effects, fun supporting characters, and a wonderful physical performance from Devon Sawa make this horror comedy a highly enjoyable watch. With the added touch of ambiance and Halloween, it’s a sure-fire October bet.

So take a few rips tonight and join Anton, his zombie buddies and a disembodied hand for some Halloween havoc.

Audio

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper

Halloween TRACK 26:

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Öyster Cult.

Long before Christopher Walken needed more cowbell, Annie Brackett and Laurie Strode we’re cruisin’ around Haddonfield, smokin’ a J and rockin’ out to some Blue Öyster Cult.

Almost inaudibly and without much ceremony at all, (Don’t Fear) The Reaper is the only piece of music appearing in the film not scored by John Carpenter.

If that wasn’t enough (and it is) the song also finds itself quoted in Stephen King’s original novel The Stand, as well as playing mood setter to it’s TV miniseries counterpart. Though not appearing on the Shindig, honorable mentions go out to the 2 covers featured in The Frighteners and Scream, performed by The Muttonbirds and Gus respectively.

“It’s Halloween,” Sheriff Brackett tells us “I guess everyone’s entitled to one good scare, huh?”