“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

The Shape of Evil: confronting darkness through the ‘Halloween’ series

Friday, October 26th, 2018

A new publication called Drugstore Culture recruited me to write some stuff for them, so over the past month or so I rewatched the entire HALLOWEEN series (including the two Rob Zombie ones) and wrote about it as a whole.

This is pretty different from my usual approach. I tried to dig non-judgmentally into the symbols of each chapter (even RESURRECTION!) to find deeper meaning we can apply to our current world or to things I’ve been going through in my life. I was surprised how much I found in III and 6, actually. It’s kind of a weird piece I think but perhaps obsessive in an unusual way, and hopefully some of you will like it.

By the way, I filed this before seeing the new one, so the bad news is I should’ve added a few lines about it, the good news is there are no spoilers for that particular one. Just ten other movies.

READ “THE SHAPE OF EVIL: CONFRONTING DARKNESS THROUGH THE ‘HALLOWEEN’ SERIES” ON DRUG STORE CULTURE

 

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Pet Sematary II

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Many horror movies, maybe even most, teach us that no matter what life throws at us, we can get through it. We can survive. Some of us. Hopefully. Most of the time.

But the practice of sequelizing in horror has taught us the more pessimistic lesson that in the long run shit really doesn’t get better. Maybe for a minute it does after the bad things happen and then the evil leaves for a while. But a couple years later maybe some new people come along and the evil comes back and does the bad things to them. And usually not as cool as the first time. The shriveling circle of death.

And so it is with PET SEMATARY II*. Released in 1992, three years after the first one, it’s once again directed by Mary Lambert (MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID), with new screenwriter Richard Outten (JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, uncredited rewrites on GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH) and no Stephen King book to base it on.

*VERY IMPORTANT TITLE NOTE: The posters and other advertising materials spelled it out as PET SEMATARY TWO, a rare practice that I’m a big fan of. However, I try to follow the rule of using the title shown on screen in the actual movie, which in this case uses the Roman numeral II.

The good news, though: Look at this fucking logo! The movie itself is fun but the logo is the best thing in it!

(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Hell Fest

Monday, October 8th, 2018

HELL FEST is a mainstream horror movie released on 2,297 screens by Lionsgate, but I never saw a trailer for it and only heard of it because Brian Collins recommended it on Twitter (he also interviewed the director). So I guess social media can still work for good old fashioned word of mouth, not just Russian disinformation campaigns.

For people who like horror but get bored of formula and cliche, this is probly nothing special. But for horror fans like me who enjoy variations on tradition, it’s a surprise treat: a slick, well-made straight-ahead slasher movie with some cool ideas, production value, a solid cast, even likable characters. I honestly thought they couldn’t make movies like this anymore – it seems straight from the post-SCREAM slasher revival, except without any meta stuff (other than we’re having fun being scared while the characters are having fun being scared). Also, no big names in the cast. The only face I recognized besides cameo-ing Tony Todd was Bex Taylor-Klaus from Scream: The TV Series. (But maybe others would be known to me if I was younger.) (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Ghostwatch

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

tn_ghostwatchsummer2016originsGHOSTWATCH is a famous 1992 BBC Halloween special which, like THE CONJURING 2, is based on the alleged ghosting incident known as “The Enfield Poltergeist.” A mom and her two young daughters claimed to have a ghost they could hear knocking on the walls and bending their spoons and stuff. And there really was no way to disprove that this was a ghost, other than that they caught the kids faking it. Still, other than that, 100% for sure it was real ghosts and worthy of multiple true story movies and books.

While THE CONJURING goes through the motions of pretending to be based on a true story, GHOSTWATCH goes the extra mile and pretends to be a documentary. It takes the form of a live broadcast with an in-studio host (Michael Parkinson as himself), on a corny set decorated with skulls and crystal balls, interviewing a doctor (Gillian Bevan) who’s supposed to have investigated the case. They have a bunch of screens to go via satellite to the house, where a reporter (Sarah Greene as herself) and camera crew are with the family talking about their story and hoping to document ghost activity. Also Red Dwarf‘s Craig Charles (playing himself) is the wacky comic relief reporter on the scene outside the house. And in the studio they also have a phone bank and take calls about people’s ghost stories and stuff. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Kenny & Company

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

tn_kennyBefore he did PHANTASM, a 22 year old Don Coscarelli wasn’t even looking to be a horror director. He got together the people he knew and filmed in his neighborhood and made this sweet coming-of-age type comedy about growing up in the California suburbs of the ’70s. Kenny (Dan McCann) is a kid about 12 or 13, his company is Doug (PHANTASM star A. Michael Baldwin) and Sherman (Jeff Roth), a goofy younger kid from across the street who they pick on but start becoming real friends with when they see him getting beat up by Johnny Hoffman (Willy Masterson), the same neighborhood bully they live in terror of.
(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Trick ‘r Treat

Friday, October 8th, 2010

tn_trickrtreatTRICK ‘R TREAT got a little bit of the ol’ internet hype when it came out last Halloween. It’s a Halloween-time horror anthology written and directed by Michael Dougherty (co-writer of X2, SUPERMAN RETURNS and URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY). It was made for a 2007 theatrical release but then it got bumped and fell behind the shelf and got misplaced for a while. I believe it got shown at one of the doll collecting conventions or something so some of the internet websights got behind it, but ultimately it got released DTV. But it’s “Warner Premiere,” kind of a respectable DTV outlet, actually. According to their websight they “develop and produce quality, direct-to-consumer content including feature-length entertainment for the rapidly growing direct-to-DVD market,” which is press release talk for “sequels to THE LOST BOYS.” But they’re pretty respected for not having done any movies starring Cuba Gooding Jr. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Friday, October 16th, 2009

tn_halloweeniiiHALLOWEEN III isn’t the worst HALLOWEEN sequel, but it’s probly the most hated because it’s a new story unrelated to Michael Myers. Producer John Carpenter had this knuckleheaded idea that it was better to treat it like an anthology series, each one a new story having something to do with the holiday. What he didn’t consider seriously enough, maybe because he’s too modest, is that the first HALLOWEEN is a masterpiece and not a whole lot of stories or concepts feel worthy of being in the same series. Maybe if he’d done HALLOWEEN III: THE THING people would’ve gone for it, but not this.

I do know a cult of horror fans who swear by SEASON OF THE WITCH. Their numbers are smaller than the Thorn Cult from parts 5 and 6, and they’re probly just overcompensating for the people who hate the movie just for being a different story and not on its actual quality. And these cultists had me going a bit, I was starting to remember it as being kind of good. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

House of 1000 Corpses

Saturday, April 19th, 2003

Well this is the long delayed horror movie from first time writer-director Robert Zombie. Let’s face it, that’s probaly not the dude’s real name. But I like it better than “McG.” Apparently Mr. Zombie is some sort of rock and/or roller who directs his own videos and draws his own album covers, and my guess is that he’s better at the artistical stuff than at the actual rock n roll.

Everything I know about Rob Zombie I know from this movie. I know that he likes brutal ’70s horror movies, in particular THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE but also probaly THE HILLS HAVE EYES. I know that he is fascinated by gaudy roadside attractions, tasteless t-shirt slogans, phoney sideshow curiosities, serial killer legends, spookhouse rides, scary rednecks, Bela Lugosi movies, Zacherly-style TV horror hosts, iconic Halloween decorations, oversized paper mache masks, gimmicky cereal boxes, old video footage faded to the point of abstraction, violent satanic rituals. He also has great taste in b-movie actors judging by the cast which includes Sid Haig (SPIDER BABY), Bill Moseley (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART 2), Tom Towles (HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER) and Karen Black (everything). If you cram all of those motifs and influences so that they barely fit into one movie, this is what you get. Or to put it another way, you take the first two texas chain saw movies, and you put an episode of Pee Wee’s playhouse in between em, then you smoosh it together like a peanut butter sandwich and keep it in your pocket for a while. like that imaginary sandwich the movie is kind of sticky and messy and doesn’t really work but it’s got a lot of good shit in there. I’m not sure why the hell you would put a sandwich in your pocket though, that’s kind of a weird analogy. what the hell man. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Halloween: Resurrection

Monday, July 1st, 2002

A couple years back you’ll remember that I reviewed the whole HALLOWEEN series. And I mean the WHOLE series. The first one, the middle ones, the last one. The very last one. The one where they got the original stars back, they got a halfway decent script, they brought everything full circle, they chopped that fucker’s head off and they cut to the credits. The end, forever. Never again. Against all odds, they came up with a decent wrapup to an endless series of bad sequels.

Well sadly what they went and did, they talked poor Michael Meyers into doing ANOTHER one, one that nobody in the world wanted, one more in the tradition of parts 4, 5 and 6, but even worse. I guess I can’t blame Mike, with a mug like that how you gonna get leading man roles. He’s a character actor at best unless he’s in HALLOWEEN, then he’s the star. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Halloween

Friday, October 29th, 1999

Okay guys I know its not monday yet but i have a new column for you – a special halloween treat for all you motherfuckers that like all the spooky shit.

what i decided to do is rent every movie i could find with the word halloween in it. This is what i got:

Halloween
Halloween 2
Halloween 3: Season of the Witch
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Meyers
Halloween 5
H20 Halloween

Now, as my regular readers know old vern has been out of the picture for a while. This is my first halloween in many years so it is a special treat. i cannot remember the last time i watched a scary movie for halloween, let alone 6 in a row. I think i have seen the first halloween movie before but this is the first time i have been able to watch the whole trilogy. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.