IMDB Entry – Halloween II
I really enjoyed Rob Zombie’s Halloween. He did a nice job of detailing the origin and rampage of Michael Myers. I was hoping the Halloween II would be just as good but I overlooked the fact that Rob had just told the whole story. Typically the solution to this problem is to give the audience the essence of what made the original popular in the first place. In the case of a horror film, that usually means non stop action, plenty of blood and a high body count. Halloween II delivers all that and so much less.
One of the really cool aspects of the original Halloween II is how the story picks up about 30 seconds after the original ended. This time around director Rob Zombie starts out playing homage to the original sequel but then he changes his mind and that was just a dream. Wait, part of it was a dream and part actually happened … in the movie. Then Micheal sees his mother dressed all in white and leading a while horse. No wait that’s just a hallucination. This film is loaded with dream and illusion sequences.
Halloween II suffers from a lack of plot. Micheal Myers isn’t dead and he’s still looking for his sister. Anyone who gets in his way is dead meat to the tune of some big hit single from the 80’s blaring in the background. Meanwhile the lady in a long white gown keeps appearing promising to reunite his family. It’s like Zombie decided to showcase his corny hair band roots in a big budget movie.
The only bright spot about Halloween II is Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Samuel Loomis. He’s the very definition of both obnoxious and pretentious. But don’t worry he gets his … twice. Of course Michael throws him through a wall. However the real delight is when he appears on a talk show to promote his book about the killings and he has to take shit from Weird Al Yankovic … “Excuse me, are we talking about the Mike Myers who played Austin Powers?”
IMDB Entry – I Married a Monster from Outer Space
If I got to pick the greatestest movie title ever, I’d have to strongly consider I Married A Monster From Outer Space. How can you see that title and not want to know the story behind it? It’s the kind of headline you see on those supermarket tabloids at the checkout counter. The one you grab at the last minute because you just had to, only to realize that the story was 90% B.S. Well I Married A Monster From Outer Space is better than that, way better than that in fact.
A guy is out partying with his friends the night before getting married. On the way home he’s abducted by a space alien. The next day he’s late for the wedding but he shows up just in time. Amazingly, the bride is so relieved that he doesn’t even have to use the alien abduction excuse. The wife notices that her husband has suddenly turned into an idiot and tries to tell the police. Unfortunately the aliens have replaced many of the towns key citizens.
The plot probably sounds familiar. No doubt I Married A Monster From Outer Space is a ripoff of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. The twist is that the tale is told from the woman’s point of view and the result is a much more personal story. It’s kind of like a reverse version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Here the aliens end up enjoying being married to earth girls and living the middle class lifestyle.
Donald Trump is probably a big fan of I Married A Monster From Outer Space. It’s set in the good old 50’s and the heroics are by traditional good guys. A Doctor figures out how to identify unaffected men for a posse. Fathers of newborns defend their families by conducting the attack on the Alien space ship. Man’s best friend kills the monsters. The invaders count the number of dog owners on Earth and split. Yeah! After watching I Married A Monster From Outer Space, who needs a wall for protection?
I Married a Monster from Outer Space
IMDB Entry – Prince of Darkness
I forgot to mention that in addition to the Anthology mini festival this years Halloween Film Festival also includes a John Carpenter End of Days mini festival. Prince of Darkness was the second installment, although due to technical difficulties I’m showing it third. It doesn’t matter because the 3 films are not related they just deal with potential end of the world as we know it invasions. In case you haven’t been keeping track; The Thing was a catastrophe narrowly averted but we weren’t so lucky with In The Mouth Of Madness.
I have to say, I’m surprised that Carpenter was able to secure funding to make Prince of Darkness. Sure he was at the top of the game at the time but the “monster” is a gallon of green liquid inside something that seems to be a cross between a lava lamp and a blender. It’s supposed to be the essence of the devil but it could just as easily be the first batch of moonshine. I could see all the guys in the tribe getting wasted and the women declaring the brew the essence of the devil. Maybe that’s what the studio executives thought too.
The plot of Prince of Darkness is a dilly. A priest dies and everyone learns he has been guarding one of the churches deepest secrets. The new priest reads the diary and calls on the local college professor expert on really old stuff. The professor gathers his top students and a technical team to spend the weekend inside an old church studying something or other. When they get there they see the jug of green liquid and hear the story about it being Satan himself. The jug squirts a couple of people turning them into zombies. Meanwhile Alice Cooper has gathered a gang outside the church and the’re looking for trouble.
Despite the silly plot, Prince of Darkness is a pretty good film. Sure it’s a reworking of The Exorcist, but sort of different. Donald Plesence shines as the currently responsible priest. The music by John Carpenter really sets the mood and the pace. The camera work, lighting and editing are top notch. It’s a suspenseful film from beginning to end. Prince of Darkness even has an ending that involves a human sacrifice by a priest and it works. And I do love those 80’s hair and clothing styles.
Prince of Darkness
IMDB Entry – Baskin
It’s been a while since I had a recommendation form my friend The Countess Of Crummy Movies but Baskin was worth the wait. Don’t let her title fool you, it takes a certain amount of skill and dedication to completely pass on every mainstream movie in order to track down these obscure gems. Thank you Countess. Baskin is a recent delight from Turkey. From what I was able to gather, much of Baskin was filmed guerrilla style, that is without permits. Sometimes that type of “hurry up and shoot before the man arrives” leads to crappy movies but in this instance the tension felt by the film crew carried over into the film itself.
Make no mistake, Baskin is a weird movie. On the weirdness scale, it probably comes in at about a 7. Anything over a 7 is typically too bizarre to make any sense of. There is something of a circular plot and a couple of dream sequences. The director throws in a little upside down photography and a pair of giant hands just so you get the idea. By far the weirdest aspect to Baskin is the lead villain, Father. The guy is a dead ringer for the old comic strip character Henry … on steroids. If you don’t believe me, then check this out.
Five Turkish police officers are drinking in an out of the way restaurant. One of them decides to beat the crap out of the waiter just for something to do. The others think it’s funny. They leave when they get called to a crime scene nearby. While driving to the crime scene they apparently take a left turn and end up in … The Twilight Zone. Strange things start happening and the next thing you know, they’ve been captured by the strangest looking cult I’ve ever scene. Father Henry explains that they are in Hell or at least that’s what I think he said.
On the plus side, I could follow the plot of Baskin. Also the movie presented some naturally unusual looking characters like the guy at the campfire with the long sagging face and his pinhead friend. Father’s assistant, the tall, effeminate guy in blanket was entertaining without even speaking a word. On the negative side, Baskin is one gross movie. The cult consisted of a bunch of naked people with plastic bags over their faces , covered in blood, mud or something else having group sex at all times. This is not a picture for the squeamish, but then again the Countess never recommends easy movies.
IMDB Entry – The Beast with Five Fingers
What’s that? You say I haven’t shown a good crawling hand movie in a while. Well how about The Beast With Five Fingers. It’s one of the best horror films from the 1940’s and it’s from Warner Brothers Studios not Universal. In typical 1940’s fashion, the film makers almost ruin the movie by providing a “logical” explanation. Then they follow it up with a little bit of comic relief before running the credits. But up until the final 5 minutes The Beast With Five Fingers is a gripping tale.
Peter Lorre steals the film as the obvious villain. Lorre had an interesting career that features many highlights in mainstream movies like The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and My Favorite Brunette. He also occasionally crossed over into horror in films like M, Mad Love and of course The Beast With Five Fingers. He kept busy in the 60’s appearing on TV shows like Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea and Rawhide. Eventually he hooked up with Vincent Price and Roger Corman to appear in The Raven, Tales of Terror and A Comedy of Terrors. In The Beast With Five Fingers as in just about all of his roles, he plays a creep.
The Beast With Five Fingers is the story of a one handed piano player. The guy is rich and famous and in poor health. His best friend is a con artist. The sick due has a nurse and he changes his will to leave everything to her. The con artist has been putting the moves on the nurse. Peter Lorre is the faithful secretary who wants to inherit a library of rare books. The one armed piano player has an accident and dies. His heirs show up and dispute the new will. Then a hand shows up and starts choking people.
The Beast With Five Fingers is the best of the “crawling hand” movies and it deserves it’s place in the Hand Movie Hall Of Fame. There’s something about a disembodied hand finger walking around killing people that makes those movies sound way better than they actually all. I guess the hand on a rampage is good for a couple of minutes and then the ridiculousness of the situation takes over. After all you’d have pretty much have to lie on the floor and offer your neck in order to be killed by a malicious mitt. Even so The Beast With Five Fingers deserves a high five!
The Beast with Five Fingers