Monday, October 31, 2011

More of The Night he came Home: Halloween II (1981)

Halloween Special review:

Welcome, welcome all, for the day is here. 
Come on, come on and let's all hear!
The Shape is back, and he's still alive
 In this Halloween night, who will survive?!

Halloween II (1981)
Rating: ****1/2
Starring:  Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence and Charles Cyphers

Recapping the last time we've seen Michael Myers terrorize a hapless babysitter and the two children she's looking after, he was shot six times by his own Psychiatrist-turned-witch hunter Dr. Loomis before plunging out of the window. But when Loomis looked out, he saw no body, thus showing Michael Myers is still alive, evil on two legs running amuck on that Halloween night...

With the whole neighborhood alarmed of the murders, the once quiet town of Haddonfield is now littered with cops searching for the masked madman responsible and likely still out for blood. Stealing a new knife and killing a few who got in his way, Myers roams the town until he finds out that his surviving victim, Laurie Strode, was taken to a nearby hospital. Intending to finish what he started, Michael proceeds to the place and depopulates it one staff at a time, all the while Loomis continues his hunt for the maniac.

Now, fun fact, this is actually the very first Halloween movie I saw and the very first slasher film I caught a glimpse at; I was just a toddler when I saw the burning climax of this film and I was at grade school when I first watched this as a whole. This said, it's no surprise that Halloween II has a special place for me, even more when puberty hits and an older sense of appreciation kicked in.

While Rick Rosenthal directed the film, John Carpenter shot a few "gore scenes" to keep the film up with the splatter-happy audiences of the 80s as such movies like Anthropophagus (1980) or The Driller Killer (1979) were exciting young movie goers with gore, the tamed kills of the original might not be as successful as it was back then. True enough, the murders are bloodier than the original but, in turn, lost so many of the creepiness of the first and seems a little exploited seeing some of the nastier and longer killings were done to female victims. Add the fact that Laurie spent most of the time confide to her bed and Loomis going around town looking for clues to Myer's current whereabouts, leaving Michael more screentime makes me wonder if they were trying to market The Shape as an iconic slasher as early as then.

Then again, if you are to see this without thinking about its context that much, Halloween II is not all bad. As a slasher, it definitely delivered some good kills which are quite plentiful including an impacted hammer claw to the head, a victim drained of blood, and a nurse impaled and lifted with a scalpel. (once again showing how non-human Myers is) Some intended closure was also included here to supposedly explain why exactly Michael went back to town, albeit not a very good one; apparently, Laurie Strode is Michael's younger sister and seeing he did murdered his eldest before being taken away to be (unsuccessfully) treated, the movie tries to settle in the fact that he's simply coming back to finish the job. This, unfortunately, didn't answer why exactly was he killing them to begin with or how he figured out that who she was since he never even saw her grew up with him.

The reason for this closure was that John Carpenter planned to conclude Myers' reign here, with a fiery end of all ends as both the Shape and Loomis would supposedly burn to their deaths. This was to allow him start another Halloween movie but with a different plot, as seen in Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982). Unfortunately, the idea flopped for that time and fans of the slasher hit will have to wait until the latter half of the 80s before the other Michael Myers sequels happened.

Until then, we bid Myers a warm...er, blazing goodbye for the night, so thus ending the first of many sequels to be made. As far as slasher seconds go, this is very acceptable, just as acceptable as Jason's first feature in Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) and of Leatherface's louder rampage in Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986). Flawed or not, Michael had truly given more of the night he came home...

Bodycount :
1 female had her throat stabbed with a knife
1 male accidentally crushed in a car collision, immolated
1 male gets a hammer claw to the head
1 male strangled with a cord
1 female had her head repeatedly dunked and scalded into boiling water
1 male found with a syringe to his eye
1 female gets a syringe full of air to temple
1 female bled to death (offscreen)
1 female stabbed and lifted with a scalpel to the back
1 male had his throat sliced with a scalpel
Total: 10

Felicia says HAPPY HALLOWEEN~!

We wish you all a Happy Halloween here from Sticky Red~
Wear a costume. Give out treats. Lit a Jack-o-Lantern.
And always check your candy...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Four Tales of Terror: Trick R' Treat (2007)

Care to venture down a sleepy town for Halloween,
And blend in with all the ghouls?
Dare to keep the lantern lit
 and obey the Halloween rules?
Twas the night of the old, where the lines blur
between the living and the dead, and the impossible occur
The 31st of Fall had awaken thee
Old lord Samhain out for a spree
of mischief at night and death in between
of nightmares better left unseen...

Trick R' Treat (2007)
rating: ****1/2
starring:  Anna Paquin, Brian Cox and Dylan Baker

No one is safe for Halloween unless they follow the rules; always wear a costume, always give out treats, never let the light of a Jack-o-lantern go out and always check the candy. Fail to do any of this and it might be their life...

Five tales of terror (including the prologue) are interwoven into one Halloween night at a small Ohio town where Halloween gets the same treatment as Christmas and all of the lores and myths are taken seriously. But all's not well behind the crowded parades and the trick'r treaters as a young married woman, going home late at night with her hubby from a Halloween party, learns the consequences of blowing out a jack-o-lantern before midnight; a principal moonlights as a serial child-killer with hilarious mishaps; a gang of young trick'r' treaters visits a rock quarry and gets more than what they expected; a college virgin tries to find a date for a traditional gathering only to be stalked by a masked killer, and a cranky old hermit gets a visit from a mysterious (and very adorable) masked boy with a few bones to pick.

Is it safe to say i got a fetish for girls dressed up
as Little red riding hood?...
I can say this without choking on a vomit but Trick'R Treat really became my number one contender with John Carpenter's Halloween as the best Halloween horror flick...no...best Halloween movie I've seen in years. While Halloween (1978) was more of an original slasher story with an added touch of the holiday atmosphere, Trick R' Treat based everything on the myths and lores surrounding that one magical night where everything terrifying and nightmarish comes to life and gave it the heart of every element that would make it a great horror flick.

if I had a son, this'll be our pastime...
The first segment started the movie off with a delicious slasher taste as a young hot wife who hates the holiday (in contrast to her Hallowen obsessed hubby) gets a friendly reminder with the tip of a sharpened candy why it's wrong to blow out the Jack-o-lantern. It's a little quick and simple, but provides the needed jolt to start up the entire movie.

The second story goes to more comical elements as a School principal who murders children shows the cons of handling murders at a surburban household, which includes his naive son and other random encounters getting in the way. This segment goes a little intense in the end but thankfully finishes with a macabre heartwarming finale.

The third and fourth segments often coincides, with the third story concerning a group of young pre-teens visiting an abandoned rock quarry, the resting place of eight mentally challenged children who were plotted to be killed thirty years ago by their own parents and successfully did so with the help of a paid bus driver. (An effectively suspenseful and depressing scenario portrayed pretty well in a moody flashback. Kudos to Richard Harmon as the vampire Kid, who's whimpering pleas really got to me). It's a no-brainer that ghosts and/or zombies might be involved with this one, but the fun of the story is anticipating when exactly will these creatures come out and who will make out alive.

Moody, creepy and scary. Nice masks kids!
The Fourth segment is the longest, if not the most drawn out as  it covers nearly all of the other segments, revolving around Laurie, a sweet and gentle virgin who joins her sister and friends to a meadow in the woods for an annual gathering. She is determined to find a someone to take back and the entire story pretty much covers her searching for the "right one" until a man in a black mask fixes his eyes on her and the stalking starts. The only twist, she's not what she appears to be and so do her friends. Now, what really impressed me here, despite being the weakest story in the bunch, is its special effects. Let's just say it's about time I see some non-CG transformation that doesn't suck.

The fifth and the last tale is my second favorite; in a sort of demented twist on the A Christmas Carol plot, we follow an old hermit with a searing hate for Halloween visited by not three ghosts frightening him to change his ways, but by Sam, a little boy in a burlap sack mask and orange pajamas, who is willing to do more than scaring to make sure he respects the holiday. This segment reminds me a lot of Trilogy of Terror's segment "Amelia" or the All Through the House episode of Tales from the Crypt; the similarities are uncanny: lone victim, knife-wielding demon, supernatural home invasion, they even had a false-safety ending that goes to an unusual twist.

I just wished he had a better nickname...
With a large cast of well-talented actors and actresses, it's a wonder why on Earth this film was put under the shelves for so long?! The production value shows that a good amount of money, talent and skills were put to good use to nearly everything, from nicely made CGI, practical special effects, and creature effects, to elaborate costumes, brilliant editing and beautiful cinematography. Everything here is just so fantastic and, let's face the light here, we never really got a Halloween horror flick this energetic and actually have the actual Halloween spirit to it? (I mean, again, John Carpenter's Halloween has it. But the sequels, not so much...)

I guess with all the child murders and the murdering children, some scenes may have been a little too daring or over the top for the public to be shown theatrically, but know this: genuine classic or cult classic, Trick'R Treat earned it's reputation and deserved it's recognition. This is what a true Halloween movie is all about:

Happy Halloween and Season's greetings~
That's just adorable~
1 female had her neck cut with sharpened candy, dismembered
1 boy ingests laced candy, later beheaded
A number of dead children seen in sacks
1 child bludgeoned with shovel
1 female bitten to death
8 children drowned inside a bus plunged to a rock quarry
1 girl caught by zombie children, eaten
2 boys and 1 girl devoured by zombie children, mostly offscreen
1 male seen with slashed throat
1 male seen disemboweled
1 male seen with throat slash
1 male head seen
A number of males seen killed
1 male ravaged by werewolf
1 dog killed offscreen
1 male devoured by zombie children
total: 23+

Everybody DIES! :Murder Party (2007)

Halloween's just around the corner and for me, it's gonna be a big deal. Since no one in my country (Philippines) takes Halloween seriously ('cept the little kiddies) all I could do is watch horror flicks, but I kinda do that everyday. So I might as just know a thing or two that's "Halloween" Appropriate. And not to mention that I do have this blog now means I can share some random useless stuff that you guys probably already know.

With days away, I guess I could review some very essential "Halloween" Slashers out there. So let's see today's meat!

Murder Party (2007)
rating: ****
starring: Chris Sharp, Kate Porterfield and Tess Porterfield Lovell

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this movie. It's original, funny, and for the first time I can relate to it as an artist. At a certain degree.

A nerdy and lonely security guard goes home for Halloween night with his cat and a couple of rented tapes for company. On his way home, he picked up a random invitation he found on the pavement, to a "Murder Party"; though minding the fact that he might be gatecrashing to a party where he doesn't know anyone, he eventually gave in, baked a pumpkin pie for them and put on a home-made costume made out of cardboard boxes.

Honestly, this guy needed this.
When he got there, he didn't expect that the party will take place in a ware house with very little guests, all of them desperate artists who are hoping their piece will win them the recognition of an Art Impresario as well as prize money. The catch: They must murder him in a very artistic fashion.

The first half of the film is your usual one-hour marker, where we get to know the folks and their plans as we watch them do the funniest and clever comebacks at each other. We also get trashed with random set-pieces such as the most loneliest Halloween gathering, Truth or dare with pizza and drugs, and some back-talking concerning each other's love-life and art pieces. The bloody fun starts at the second half and this is when all things starts to go to the usual territories with a slightly comical twist. With people getting shot, dismembered, hacked, burned and even mauled by a "speed-fed" dog, it's not too long before our hapless, well-meaning yet very scared civil servant must face a rather threatening little psycho (and to add to my glee, he's dressed up as a "Baseball Fury" from my favorite Action-Thriller film "The Warriors").
Cat in the bag? or in the fridge?

I see very little downside to this film as it's imaginative, well written, and directed but I can see one or two people getting lost with the conversation they're having as the talk of art might misplace for a some normies. For all honestly though, I don't think it's gonna matter since there's very little of it and they spend more time arguing and doing unusual things that are not art-related. Add the fact that it's more of a satire for art and those who critic art. there's more pros than cons here so I can't help it if I might oversee some flaws.

If there's anything else I could say to this film, other than it's interesting characters and it's original plot, awesome (and very bloody. Not gory, Bloody) kills and one of the best and funniest chases scenes ever with added "what the heck did he do that for" moments, it's that, for a tight budget debut film and a straight-to-DVD marketing, it's too well made; whoever this Jeremy Saulnier is, I can't wait for his next horror flick!
This is why I don't smoke.
Feeling lonely or just wanna laugh out at the most unusual situations? Then I suggest you track this rare gem and give it a try. I highly recommend this.

1 female lands head-first to an axe
1 male repeatedly shot on the head
1 female shot on the head
1 male had a leg sawed off with chainsaw, bled to death
1 female axed on the head
1 male had his mouth mauled off by dog, bludgeoned with mallet
1 dog hacked to death with axe
2 males and 4 females hacked to death with axe
1 male falls off a building
1 male gets a chainsaw to the face
total: 15

Friday, October 28, 2011

Master, what do we do now?: Satan's Little helper (2004)

Halloween's just around the corner and for me, it's gonna be a big deal. Since no one in my country (Philippines) takes Halloween seriously ('cept the little kiddies) all I could do is watch horror flicks, but I kinda do that everyday. So I might as just know a thing or two that's "Halloween" Appropriate. And not to mention that I do have this blog now means I can share some random useless stuff that you guys probably already know.

With days away, I guess I could review some very essential "Halloween" Slashers out there. So let's see today's meat!

Satan's Little Helper (2004)
starring: Alexander Brickel, Katheryn Winnick and Stephen Graham

I imagine the Angry Videogame Nerd
pissing on this game...
All young boy named Dougie wanted was to spend Halloween with his mum, his big sister, and "Satan". ore precisely, a video game version of Satan which he grew fond of. But when neighborhood bullies start picking on him and his sister brought home a boyfriend, Dougie's would be best-Halloween is starting to fall into ruins.

Or so until "Satan" came along; a serial killer in disguise, Dougie mistook the man as his idol and together, they start a mischievous (and murderous) journey as Halloween night becomes their oyster. But how long will the charade run before things go out of hand and by then, will it be too late to stop "Satan"?

I guess every religious figure needs a holiday.
Perhaps a better effort of merging dark comedy and slasher theatrics altogether, Satan's Little Helper makes fun of us by giving us a barrage of dumb-butt characters who have zero IQs and a gullibility that's beyond believable, and pokes fun on political correctness and tackled a lot of taboos, such as poisoning children, endangering pregnant women, some home invasion (though, in here, he was more "invited" than invading), some death to elderly folks and even religious imagery.

At times, the funny works and the mayhem is shocking as ever despite it's low budget. They even provide us a cleverly devilish and simple psycho who's as mysterious and silent as Micheal Myers and as playful as Chucky. For short, Satan's Little Helper deserved it's Cult status, but not without it's own set of faults.

No, kid, when you grow up, you'll
understand the complexities of  incest...
While the first half concentrates on the "adventures" Dougie had with "Satan", the second half starts when "Satan" over do his murdering spree and killed Dougie's dad, right in front of the whole family; it was then they knew he's a maniac on the loose and they try everything to corner him and stop him. While it does feature some funny moments, the second part's not as lively as the first when the jokes rarely work and the whole mood kinda changed. Still, Satan's little helper's not a bad film, just a little guilty of script issues, one-sided characters (especially the kid, whose constant dumb glee irritates me to the very day), some plot holes (Like the unusual feat that one ordinary man managed to kill off every law enforcers in town), and the budget blocks it from being any better. Plus the ending felt like a cheat, but somewhat acceptable in the sense that you'll take anything just to end it. (but honestly, they could had done better...)

Who want's the side of dad's gut?!
As a black comedy, Satan's Little Helper has the heart and joy of Halloween, making it a good impression as a holiday movie. It starts to lose this black comic touch slightly by the end but the overall results? One worthy Halloween flick

1 female seen with throat slit
1 male seen with a knife stabbed to his chest
1 cat crushed to a wooden board
1 male knifed on the gut
1 elderly female hanged
1 female had her head bashed repeatedly to the wall
1 male disemboweled with knife
1 male seen bagged on the head and strangled with phone cord
1 male seen bagged on the head
2 male found with bagged heads
2 males and 1 female poisoned
1 male shot repeatedly
1 male stabbed to death
total: 16

Oh, hey J.C.! Listen, it's not like I don't like Christmas anymore,
it's just that I prefer something less commercial...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nightmares and Satans: House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Halloween's just around the corner and for me, it's gonna be a big deal. Since no one in my country (Philippines) takes Halloween seriously ('cept the little kiddies), all I could do is watch horror flicks but I kinda do that everyday. So I might as just know a thing or two that's "Halloween" Appropriate. And not to mention that I do have this blog now means I can share some random useless stuff that you guys probably already know.

With days away, I guess I could review some very essential "Halloween" Slashers out there. So let's see today's meat!

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Starring: Sid Haig, Karen Black and Bill Moseley

I remember all the horrors this film did to my young psyche: scalped victims, dismembered folks turned into sideshow displays, daughters forced to touch the skinned faces of their fathers; all of these were too much for a tender 11 to 12 year old me, but then I decided to see it again years later as an adult of sorts. Now I see the “art” that is Rob Zombie's debut film.

Never give Ill to a clown
The film opens with a duo of local thugs robbing a gas stop-slash-sideshow attraction; the stop’s proprietor, a dirty old hoot who calls himself “Captain Spaulding”, bravely taunts the men with their attempt to rob them until he finally got a nerve stroked when one of the robbers mentioned he dislikes clowns. All of the sudden, a masked maniac broke in, axe at hand, and hacks one robber while Spaulding shot the other on the head. The maniac laughs at the fallen survivor until Spaulding walks to him and shoots him dead on the face. (Messing up his clown suit)

This is why Bill Moseley is God
We then jump to two teen couples out in the open road during Halloween night, looking for unheard attractions and tourist traps for their book. On their journey, they ran low on gas and stop at Spaulding’s place, where the clown gives the kids a tour of his attraction, particularly that of a local legend called “Dr. Satan”, a serial killer who murdered many for his diabolical experiments and whose supposedly empty grave is claimed to be be found nearby. Hoping to add the the doctor's grave to their book, they asked Spaulding for directions and drive away.

Personally, I go for younger girls...
As they rode off, they picked up a hitchhiker named “Baby” and gets a flat tire soon after. Baby’s family picks them up and shelters them for the night, giving the kids a peek on their bizarre Halloween rituals only to end with a minor fight. This escalates to a wilder and seemingly inescapable series of torture, murder and occult as “The Firefly Clan” shows them why it is not wise cross their family and those who enter their home rarely make out alive…

While I do agree with some calling this a mindless, plotless, jumbled piece of violence, profanity and forbidden sensibilities, House of 1000 Corpses is still an entertainingly dark little devil that lives up to its name and provided some good throwbacks to the 70s exploitation and over-the-top grindhouse shock.

This is just sad...
It’s definitely made for horror fans who enjoy grit and grue as gory murders, sadistic torment lined with supernatural forces, and rock and roll aesthetic line every horror scenes in this movie, a harsh yet somewhat workable practice that may not be everybody’s tea, thus dividing viewers to either hardcore cult fans or sensible haters. Knowing this as Rob’s debut film, I personally cut this piece some slab for the dozen plot contrivances and overly frequent use of vulgarities as script, simply looking at what this film delivered instead.

"Doctor! You've done it!"
With plot and characterization obviously absent, the film makes up for it with shocking and disturbing imagery done in an early 90s music video-esque editing and camera work, all focusing on the horrifying themes of shock and suffering, as well as looking into the macabre fascinations of a disturbed family in a less than structured narrative and more of a cartoonish and overtly-sadistic underground horror piece.

Of course, there’ll always gonna be superior titles who did the shlockfest throwback better, one of them being this film’s own sequel “The Devil’s Rejects”, but as a cult-hit I do warmly embrace this stabby-little backstabber. It’s one of the weirdest, most unique display of horror tropes that would disturb, shock and cringe millions, thus it’s a horror film by horror fans for horror fans.

1 male shot in the head
1 male axed, shot repeatedly on the face
1 female seen killed
1 male mutilated and taxidermied into a mannequin
1 female seen with letters carved into her side
3 females found with throat slits, carvings and beating
1 male shot on the neck
1 male shot twice through the back, later skinned alive
1 male shot on the head
1 female stabbed to death
1 male scalped, later found mutilated in an operating table
1 female killed
total: 14

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Week of Halloween: What I Learn With Sam

Halloween's just around the corner and for me, it's gonna be a big deal. Since no one in my country takes Halloween seriously, 'cept the little kiddies, I guess all I could do is watch horror flicks, but I kinda do that everyday so I might as just know a thing or two that's "Halloween" Appropriate. And not to mention that I do have this blog now means I can share some random useless stuff that you guys probably knows now.

While John Carpenter's Halloween holds the title for creepiness i slasher films, Trick R Treat went for old-school mindless fun that goes for the lore of Halloween. Since there's barely any celebrant in my country, here's what I learn from watching Trick R Treat that I believe will come in handy one day...

a. Jack-O-Lanterns ward off evil spirits, except the Spirit of Halloween himself, very effectively.

b. cheap masks never looked so good

c. Little Red Riding Hood will always be hot no matter who's under the hood
...cept', gramma...

d. You can be a loving dad AND  be a serial killer.

e. Murder is a wonderful Father and Son past time

f. Werewolves transform by ripping off their skins

g. Halloween is serious order in other countries (and I'm envious)

h. Halloween is great for murdering people, cuz no one can tell 

i. Razor-bladed candies. They're the best kind of weapon there is.

j. Sam is the Spirit of Halloween, and it should be made official.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Week of Halloween: 31 Titles

Halloween's just around the corner and for me, it's gonna be a big deal. Since no one in my country takes Halloween seriously, 'cept the little kiddies, I guess all I could do is watch horror flicks, but I kinda do that everyday so I might as just know a thing or two that's "Halloween" Appropriate. And not to mention that I do have this blog now means I can share some random useless stuff that you guys probably knows now.

So to start "A Week Of Halloween", I like to share one thing I usually do:  a list!

Yeah, I like to list shit from grocery shoppings, to the people I plan to murder, to my favorite episode of Adventure Time and, of course, the miserable deaths of many in all the slasher films I watch. But now, let's stray away (a little) from slashers and go mainstream horror, here are 31 Titles that are guaranteed Halloween Appropriate whether to watch alone, with yer friends, with yer friends and a keg of beer...you know where I'm going here.

(note: These are just suggestions. Don't let THE MAN tell you what you could and could not do.)

31. House of 1000 Corpse (beware for haters)

30. Satan's Little Helper (for "experimental purposes", if it bores your friends, eject it as soon as possible.)

29. The Sixth Sense (for those who love a good mystery)

28. Phantasm (avoid part 4. Part 3's a gamble so I'll resort it to you...)

27. Zombi 2 (remember to bring barf bags... Avoid "sequels")

26. A Nightmare on Elm Street (unless you're planning a marathon, avoid all sequels except part 3 and the remake)

25. 1408 (for Tedious viewers only...there's that word again...)

24. The Ring (marathon is optional)

23. The House By The Cemetery (For those who like to laugh and for gore hounds)

22. Fright Night (avoid sequel)

21. Killer Klowns from Outer Space

20. Return of the Living Dead (avoid part 2, and 4)

19. Amityville Horror (avoid sequels and remake)

18. Paranormal Activity (better let go of the sequel first, unless asked...)

17. Night of the Living Dead (rid the remakes, except the 90s directed by Tom Savini)

16. IT (if your friends are into Stephen King, then add this to your list)

15. Haute Tension (watch out for the squeamish)

14. The Exorcist (For those who liked to be creeped. avoid all sequels and remakes...spoofs i dunno...)

13. An America werewolf in London (unless asked, avoid sequel)

12. Silence of the Lambs (For FBI enthusiasts)

11. REC. (for quick thrills)

10. The Thing (a must)

9. Suspiria (Argento's masterpiece is certified Halloween material)

8. The Blob (1989 remake. unless you're throwing a party for pure horror fanatics, then sure go throw in the original, too.)

7. Creepshow (avoid third movie)

6. In The Mouth of Madness (for John Carpenter fans and to try something different)

5. The Shining (recommended for hardcore fans only)

4. Evil Dead Trilogy (for a room-full of guests)

3. Hellraiser (avoid part 5,6 and 7 to prevent boredom)

2. Trick'R Treat (Second Halloween masterpiece)

1. Halloween (The God of Halloween films. please avoid part 5 at all cost)

Happy Viewing!