Entries Tagged 'halloween' ↓

Day 31 – "It’s Halloween. Everyone’s entitled to one good scare."

Here we are, at the end of all things SHOCKtober 2023! My, how time flies when you're having horror movies. It's been a terrific time for me, giving a few films a second chance, revisiting some old faves, and watching many more that were entirely new to me--a couple of which have become new faves. But what to choose for the last movie of the month? After much consideration and poring over the list of your favorites until my eyes fell out (it's 951 movies, after all), I said you know what, let me put on some Uggs™, take a sip of my pumpkin spice coffee (my supply is dwindling, by the way), and be a basic bitch: It's time for la raison de la saison. It's time for Halloween (1978).

I actually don't make it mandatory viewing every year, opting instead for anything that feels atmospherically-appropriate because I've seen Halloween so many goddamn times that I could probably do a 99% accurate one-woman show of the entire thing, music cues included. But something about this year, it just felt right. It felt...not fresh, exactly, because that's impossible. It's not as if it would hold any surprises for me, but I was excited all the same. It's like I was the third kid trailing behind Laurie in the pumpkin parade, going "ooooOOOOoooooo."

In the 2010 and 2017 lists of readers' favorite horror films, Halloween ranked #1. In 2020, it dropped to #4, with Suspiria (2018) taking the top spot. I'd be surprised if Suspiria held the top spot next time around--yes, I think that's a perfect film and it certainly ranks as one of my favorites, but it's possible there was some recency bias (or perhaps Gaylords of Darkness listener bias) happening. I could be wrong! We shall see. But I'd be equally surprised to see Halloween regain the top spot. Do the kids jive with it anymore? It feels like no.

Of course, I am generalizing, and there are always going to be those who like to put the stab-stab to horror's sacred cows, calling them "boring" or "not scary" or "not actually that good" or whatever. Scream, it seems, has taken over as the slasher top dog. It's got a healthy, vocal contingent that came of horror age with it, and the newer installations bring back legacy characters while still centering a young demographic. Essentially, Scream keeps on Screamin' in a way that brings together multiple generations of horror fans. It works in a way that Halloween does not and never has, with its offshoots, multiple reboots, explanations, and timelines. 

Even though I take a year off from it here and there, though, I'll always love this movie with my whole heart. It's too ingrained. It terrified me too much during the entirety of my youth: That shot of Michael sitting up and turning to look at Laurie was (and honestly, still sort of is) the stuff of nightmares. For a long time of my horror-loving life, I could not envision anything scarier than Michael Myers. Except maybe Pazuzu. 

As for Laurie Strode, I think I've been too hard on her in recent years and the fact that it's ultimately Dr Loomis who saves the day, even if the respite is only temporary. I can't help but be dazzled by more proactive gals like your Chris Higgins, or the gals who really fucking went through it like Sally Hardesty. But really, every Final Girl really fucking went through it, yeah? Why am I making this some kind of Final Girl Oppression and Going Through It Olympics? 

Girl Scout Laurie goes from watching a monster movies with the two kids in her charge to finding the dead bodies of literally all of her friends in the blink of an eye. She's relentlessly pursued by a maniac--a smooth-walking maniac, but a maniac nonetheless. She runs, she fends him off and fights back on more than one occasion, and she still has the wherewithal to take care of those kids. She's fucking great, and I take back every single moment I cared that Loomis SHOT HIM SIX TIMES.

Speaking of Loomis, I know--I KNOW!--that he's essential for making Michael Myers something more than a mere weirdo. Without Loomis, there is no Shape. But my gawd, Loomis. His diagnosis of Michael, which is that the man is an "it" who is "evil," is based on ~*~vibes~*~. Yes, Michael stabbed his sister to death. There's clearly something going on! But otherwise, we are told that he simply stares at walls. He doesn't hurt anyone in the hospital. He doesn't say a word or make a threatening gensture. But Doctor (DOCTOR!!!) Loomis looks in his eyes and knows he is evil. What fucking Sally Struthers correspondence course did he take to earn his degree certificate? 

That said, of course he was right, so thank goodness he didn't opt for Air Conditioner Repair or TV/VCR Repair, amirite?

I had such a great time revisiting this movie. The music still hits. Nick Castle's physicality is oddly underrated when we're talking about great horror performances. I still adore the girls (Annie is forever my sarcastic queen). It's still crazy how quick the sex is between Judith Myers and her boyfriend. I still wonder who was going to look at the Myers house? Like, who was the prospective buyer for whom Laurie Strode had to drop off keys?

So I don't know, if you're anything like me in that you've seen Halloween so many times that you love it but you also you've wrung every last possible drop of in-the-moment enjoyment from it...maybe you haven't. Maybe you'll find yourself wishing you had it all alone...just the two of you. What I'm really talking about here is FATE.

I guess that's a wrap on it! Thanks to everyone who's been reading and commenting and the such, it's been a hoot indeed. If you want to keep up with Final Girl updates (I'VE GOT PLANS), you can sign up over at Avenue X (it's free!) and get Final Girl posts and whatever other writing I do over there right in the ol' email inbox. Or you can keep checking here, that's your business. I've also been guesting a lot recently on the Evolution of Horror podcast--many of my episodes are on the Patreon, but there are free ones, too. I also still have my column in every issue of Rue Morgue magazine--I've usually got a few reviews in there as well, and the occasional feature. Just throwing that all out there.

So I'll be around a few places and back here soon. Until then, as always, make every tober a SHOCKtober

SHOCKtober Day 30

Now that SHOCKtober 2022 has begun gurgling its death rattle, for today's favorite character I say it's time to pay respect to one of the reasons for the season: Mr. The Shape himself, Michael Margaret Myers. But not just any old iteration of le booeyman, no! I'm talking about the one and only...


It's an iconic lewk, to be sure. But it's also...really effing weird. We hear so much about how Michael Myers is sooo evil but we don't hear a lick about him being sooo strange. Laying out Annie's body on the bed with his sister Judith's headstone, we could chalk that up to ooh, spooky and macabre. On one level, Michael standing there under that sheet and breathin' real heavy is also ooh, spooky and macabre. But also, Michael went through a lot of trouble to...play a prank? I can't decide if that makes him more terrifying or less, to be honest.

While Lynda waited upstairs for her post-coital beer, Michael killed Bob and took his glasses. Then he rummaged around in drawers or closets to find a white sheet, figured out where the eye holes should go, cut 'em just right, then got himself all garbed up for Lynda's big surprise. I just imagine him thinking--and maybe uttering, who knows--a few "hee hee hee"s while he's putting this all together.

Side note, I also imagine him thinking--and maybe uttering, who knows--a few "Where the fuck is it?"s while walking around the cemetery in search of Judith's grave, since he would have no idea where she was buried.

That Michael, what a prankster! What would Dr. Loomis make of all this? (Probably something about the devil's jokes and evil, no doubt.)

Every Other Day Is Halloween (2010)

Review by Sarah “Fatally Yours” Jahier In C.W. Prather’s documentary Every Other Day is Halloween, viewers are taken on a nostalgic and whimsical trip back in time to the golden age of television horror hosts, a time when local TV’s witching hour was ruled by ghouls and boils introducing old black and white movies for a [...]

awesome movie poster friday – the JOHN CARPENTER edition!

Top o' the Friday to you all. If I may be so bold:
  • John Carpenter made some of my favoritest horror movies during the late 70s and early 80s. Looking at posters from The Thing, I think "Holy fucking shit, I love The Thing." Then I see posters for The Fog and I think, "Holy fucking shit, I love The Fog." Then I see...meh, you get the idea.
  • The poster for The Fog which portrays the giant woman made out of fog staring at your junk will never get old.
  • If you want more Halloween posters, check out the AMPF Halloween edition.
  • Damn you, Alamo Drafthouse and your amazing posters! I want them all.
  • Though I did not add a relevant poster to the mix, I feel like telling you that a friend of mine once called Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness...Mouthful of Madness.

ride the white horse

When I posted on my Facebook page that I had to watch Rob Zombie's Halloween II, I got little but warnings and advanced condolences. Everyone told me I'd be really sorry if I indulged; you know: it was two hours of my life I'd never get back, I could never un-see it, I'd be better off lighting babies and/or myself on fire...okay, maybe not that last one. But still, the collective "Do not do!"s from my fake cyber-friends made me feel that watching H2 would be akin to marching off to war without a gun or body armor or even a face: I'd get my body and soul crushed in what would inevitably be a losing battle. To put it mildly, undertaking a viewing seemed to be a foolish endeavor, but it had to be done. And yes, like a soldier headed off to war (or a nogoodnik heading off to the Big House), I spent my last 24 hours of freedom in a drunken stupor, cavorting with hookers and eating cake. Isn't that how they do things?

Anyway, given these warnings and my unabashed dislike of Zombie's Halloween, I was positively dreading the experience. DREADING IT I SAY. And? Well, I made it through. I'm still here. Maybe it's the booze or the prosties or the cake talking, but...it wasn't quite as bad as I'd anticipated.

Whoa whoa whoa! Put away your torches and pitch forks and hot oil treatments (the bad, not-for-hair kind) and everything else in your Angry Mob Emergency Kit- I didn't say I liked it. I didn't even say I didn't hate it. It's just that I anticipated a Hallocaust of epic proportions and when all was said and done, I've seen much worse. I've seen much worse recently, in fact (hey The Unborn, you can still go fuck yourself).

Halloween II opens with a placard explaining the symbolic meaning of a white horse. From this, we can infer two things: 1) Rob Zombie bought a dream dictionary, and 2) Rob Zombie thinks his audience is stupid. Why else would he feel the need to blatantly and literally define his metaphor? Can't we figure it out on our own? Why, some of horror's greatest films and directors know it's better to show than to tell. It's not as if Stanley Kubrick needed to expound on what mazes are all about before The Shining began; likewise, viewers are left to their own devices in deciphering the deeper meaning behind all the steering wheels and throttles in Shark Attack 3: Megalodon. But this is Halloween II, and as such it needs Sheri Moon Zombie...and as such it needs a dubious reason for her inclusion.

Before she becomes the Ghost and Mrs. Muir of Mrs. Myers, there's a flashback to young Michael's sanitarium days- I guess to remind us that the boy had a healthy relationship with his mother, that he was in control of his faculties, and that this version of Michael is not the abstract embodiment of "pure evil" as he was in John Carpenter's original film. Oh well. When Michael tells mom about his dreams of a white horse (I WONDER WHAT IT MEANS), she tells him to "Cheer up- no more gloom!" He doesn't listen to her, and I guess that's why a lot of people end up dead...dun dun dunnnn...15 years later.

We jump through time to the moments after the climactic events of Halloween; Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) is battered and bloody and en route to Haddonfield Memorial, while Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) is carted off to the coroner's office by two Characters in a Rob Zombie Film. You know the kind: they're that variety of trash Mr. Zombie seems so enamored with. They talk about corpse-fucking and they're oh so funny! Except they're not funny. Or maybe you think they are, in which case...I'd rather not know. I just want to travel back to the moment Zombie began typing their dialogue so I can slap his hand with a newspaper and cry "No! Bad Zombie! No trashy characters! You write real people! Real. People." Seriously, I hate Characters in a Rob Zombie Film. I hate that they use the word "fuck" the way the Smurfs use the word "smurf". I hate everything about them.

These guys aren't around for long, thanks to a Deus Ex Cow in the Road. They hit it, Michael gets out of the van (despite being in a serious accident and, oh, getting shot in the face at the end of Halloween), cuts the surviving paramedic's head off with a piece of glass (which could totally happen), and splits. Halloween II then becomes a truncated version of Carpenter's Halloween II as Laurie awakens in the mysteriously empty hospital, only to find Myers once more in pursuit. He butchers his way through the scant staff members on duty...and when I say "butchers", I mean...BUTCHERS. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I can't believe it's not butter. I've also said this before and I will also say this again: Rob Zombie does not shy away from brutal violence. Anyone bitching about the lack of energy in modern American horror needs only watch this incarnation of Myers go to town with a knife. It's cringe-worthy.

The hospital is where we also get our first taste of "Nights in White Satin" by The Moody Blues- I WONDER WHAT IT MEANS. This serves to remind me of the time I went barhopping with some friends many a moon ago. We ended the night at Norm's Country Lounge (don't ask) and I was well and truly tanked. So well and so truly, in fact, that upon spotting the blue satin shirt our bartendress (new word) was sporting, I asked her name (Trish) and proceeded to regale her with "Trish in Blue Satin". She was not amused, but I'm sure it was unbearably charming.

Before Michael can get his grubby mitts on Laurie...she wakes up. She wakes up. SHE WAKES UP because the first half hour of the film was a DREAM. Does this feel like some sort of cheat? Does this crap on your neck? If you're trying to invest yourself in Halloween II, then yes...yes, it does. It's not so much that it's a dream sequence, it's that it feels more like a do-over, as if Zombie got 2 weeks into filming, didn't like the way it was going, and decided to have Laurie wake up screaming in bed rather than try to write himself out of the corner he wrote himself into.

But yes, it's a fucking dream and actually it's two years, not two minutes, past the events of Halloween. Laurie lives with fellow survivor Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) and her dad, Sheriff (Brad Dourif). Yes, that is his name (no it's not). Annie and Laurie deal with their mental and physical scars very differently: Annie is quieter than she used to be and sticks close to home, while Laurie is sullen, unwashed-looking, and all ten kinds of sweary. She visits a psychiatrist (Margot fucking Kidder) and downs pills in mass quantities to cope with her anxiety and those pesky half-hour dreams that alienate audiences. Laurie eventually reveals that she's come to resent Annie, that seeing her daily means Laurie can't ever forget about her trauma. I think this is actually an interesting development, and that Laurie's PTSD is worth examining; in the end, it amounts to little more than a few yelling matches. After all, who wants to delve into Laurie Strode when you can delve into Michael Myers? That sounds hot, by the way.

Yes, Michael really did survive getting shot in the face. Where has he been for two years? We don't know. His body disappeared from the crime scene (I guess) and he's been living off the grid à la baghead Jason Voorhees (I guess). Myers has gone all mountain man, growing an indigent crazy-style Bigfoot beard. He spends most of the film walking to Haddonfield in search of Laurie, killing strippers and other Characters in a Rob Zombie Film along the way, rendering Halloween II into Cold Mountain II: The Knife-ening. As he walks, he has visions of a white-wigged mom telling him that he needs to kill kill kill so they can all be a family again- you know, just like she did when she was alive.

Time out: Aarrrrrgh I wish all the stupid metaphor bullshit wasn't in the film. It doesn't work. It doesn't work (and if you listened to Episode 2 of The Scare-ening, you know that it wasn't always in the script). I try not not think about it, because it hurts me in my brain place. While it was happening, my body rejected it like a bad organ transplant! I tuned it out and went to my happy place, the place with the hookers and the cake. I dreamed a dream of a metaphor-less Halloween II, where Laurie and Annie and the others lived up to that glimmer of hope in a throwaway line, where Michael was scary and unknown and he was The Boogeyman. It was a nice dream. I liked it.

Time in: Remember Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell)? He's here, too! He's turned into a total money- and fame-grabbing douchebag, capitalizing on the horrors perpetrated by his old patient Michael Myers. He also serves as the voice of Rob Zombie, particularly when he says things like "Did you just mention 'journalists', 'cool', and 'positive' all in the same sentence? Without throwing up? That's an oxymoron." Touché, Mr. Zombie! Way to show people who criticize your work. Much better than, oh, simply ignoring it all, or perhaps ruminating on the fact that sometimes they're right. High road shmigh road, I always say!

Once Laurie reads a copy of Loomis's explosive tell-all, she's understandably dismayed to learn that she's Michael's long-lost sister. She decides to go nuts and booze it up with some new friends at the town's Halloween party, a rather massive affair that gleefully ignores the series of murders that took place the same night two years prior. As Laurie parties it up, ol' stick-in-the-mud Annie stays home. Michael kills the police officer that Sheriff Dad posted outside the house. He gets inside...and I'm not gonna lie: I thought the entire sequence was really well done. To Annie's horror, Michael is suddenly there, looming in the doorway behind her.

Zombie makes an effective use of slow-mo, and then wisely cuts to black before the violence starts. We hear it all, and that's enough- later, when Laurie comes home and finds Annie dying on the floor, the blood and destruction everywhere tells us everything we need to know. I was surprised to find myself a bit upset that Annie died- yes, I actually cared the tiniest bit about the character. I know, right? Weird. Much of this owes to Danielle Harris and Brad Dourif working a bit of magic with the very little they were given. Annie's death is the best sequence in the film- and I don't mean it's the best of the worst...I mean it's actually good.

Unfortunately, then it's back to Happy Myers Family Fuckery as mom urges Michael to kill Laurie so they can all be together. I guess she expects Michael to kill himself afterward to complete the plan...? It doesn't make much sense.

Michael takes Laurie to some abandoned cabin place, and the cops and Loomis (who totally had, like, a change of heart) show up to put a stop to it. They do so as Michael is shot down in one of those blazes of glory Rob Zombie seems to enjoy so much. Unfortunately for the whole wide world, Laurie has also fallen under the crazy spell of Ghost Mom! She's a bona fide Loomis-killing, dirty-haired Myers nutso. She ends up in a metaphorical hospital room...err, corridor, where she spies Ghost Mom and a white horse. I don't know what it means, so don't ask!

What a mess. Halloween II was destined to be a mess, I think, when you consider Zombie's claims that he told all the story he needed to tell in Halloween and he didn't plan for a sequel. The finished product feels like he made it up as he went along, with its numerous disjointed scenes that lead nowhere and that damn metaphor. The Director's Cut, which is the version I watched, clocks in at a whopping 2 hours- and the DVD includes 23 deleted/alternate scenes. Twenty-three! Doesn't anyone tell Zombie when ideas don't work, when they should be excised? When they shouldn't be shot? I don't think so- and that's exactly what he needs, if only to stop the colossal waste of money. More imporantly, the ideas that do work need to be developed rather than glossed-over or buried. And please please please, no more Characters in a Rob Zombie Movie.

I said earlier that Zombie gives good violence, but I suppose I should add a...when you can see it to that. Too often I couldn't tell what was going on because...well, because:

Can you tell what's going on there? Hint: someone's getting killed. See, there's shadow and atmosphere, and then there's plain ol' bad lighting. Halloween II is almost exclusively the latter. Atmosphere, in fact, is sorely lacking. The movie just isn't scary, which is a shame. Michael Myers is one of horror's greatest characters, and when given the proper treatment he's still absolutely terrifying. There are more chills in the end credits' use of a modified version of John Carpenter's original Halloween score than there are in the rest of Halloween II, a sad reminder of what was and what isn't.

Sorry if that doesn't make sense. I may have made it through Halloween II, but it wasn't an easy tour of duty. I'm still a bit shell-shocked...I think this calls for some cake. And hookers!

23:45 – Halloween (1978)


23:45 – Halloween 2 (1981)


A Field Guide to Horror Movie Jerks

I've talked alot about jerks here at Final Girl. Usually I'm referring to people who disagree with my opinions or don't like the things I like or something- you know, Paul Reiser fans and the such. After all, this is The Internet, and therefore anyone who doesn't think exactly as I do is a jerk.

Today, however, I want to focus on horror movie jerks. I've talked about those in the past as well, but never have I written...

A Field Guide to Horror Movie Jerks!

Yes, my friends, there are many varieties. I'd like to get a few guidelines out of the way first: first and foremost, I'm talking about the jerks who are essentially a part of the protagonist's posse. It goes without saying that the bad guys are jerks- I mean, they kill people; and sometimes the villains have lackeys who definitely cross from expected bad guy jerkiness into wicked bad guy jerkiness- Mr. Straker, I'm looking at you. In the interests of this guide, however, the discussion is relegated to secondary characters who are purportedly on the side of "good". There, glad that's settled.

#1: The Jerk You Can't Help But Like

I love Annie from John Carpenter's Halloween. Perhaps it was a steady diet of "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" when I was young, I don't know...but whatever the reason, I generally love a smart and/or sassy mouth, especially when the person wielding said mouth is cranky (see also: Barbeau, Adrienne - Ed.). Mayhaps it's all rebellion against my 5th grade Social Studies teacher, Mrs. Nickerson, who told me that "Nobody likes sarcasm!" as I was getting in trouble for...well, for having a smart mouth borne of a steady diet of "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions". I beg to differ, Mrs. Nickerson! I love sarcasm and I love Annie Brackett, even though she's kind of a jerk to her friends and the children she babysits...although I Lindsay kind of deserved it. Wait, what was I talking about again? Ah yes, the jerk you're smiling at despite the jerkiness, and you're kind of bummed when they die.

#2: The Jerk Who Turns Out Not To Be A Jerk

Friends, this variety of jerk is perhaps the most rare. Moments within their walking onscreen, you can generally tell into which category a horror movie character will fall: The Joker, The Slut, The Final Girl, etc (this is doubly true for slasher flicks). Unless there's a total a-hole making an appearance, The Joker is usually The Jerk. You'd think this was the case with Ted in Friday the 13th, Part 2...but then somehow, the goofy guy ends up not as goofy as you thought he'd be, you realize he's not a jerk at all, and guess what? He lives until the end of the movie. Coincidence? You decide! (the answer is no. - Ed.)

#3: The Jerk Who May Have A Point

Oh lawd, how I loathe that Harry Cooper! He and Ben bicker throughout Night of the Living Dead- each trying to be Alpha Dog, each has wildly diverging ideas on how the group of survivors should deal with the oncoming zombies. Thing is, Ben is all cool and level-headed while Harry is all sweaty and yell-y and mean to his wife....in other words, he's a jerk. However, his plan- that they barricade themselves in the basement and wait for help- wasn't so bad. In fact, the group's numbers whittle down until it's just Ben left alive, at which time he implements Harry's plan and survives the night (and then the posse of jerks kills him anyway, so who are the monsters? - Ed.). Maybe if Mr. Cooper had been a bit nicer about expressing his ideas, none of them would have become zombie chow. That wouldn't have solved The Problem With Karen, but still.

#4: The Jerks Who Are Extremely Irritating

Like the white trash gross family in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, this variety of jerk is incessantly annoying. They're loud, or they look like they smell, or they're stupid (or they're some combination of all three), and from the moment they appear you simply cannot wait for them to die so they will just shut the eff up and you will no longer have to look at them. (I like how the teeth of the F13-5 family are only rotten at the gumline. - Ed.)

#5: The Jerk You Feel Bad For Disliking

I think it would probably be misery to hang around with Shelly from Friday the 13th Part 3. Come on- those "practical jokes" would be old before they even start. He's dull and kind of whiny and he's awkward, but I feel bad labeling him a jerk (even though truly, he is one) because he doesn't fit in and he just wants some friends and who's never felt that way at some point in his or her life? (not me, certainly...how dare you insinuate, madame! - Ed.) However, as I start to feel sorry for Shelly, he goes and calls Vera a bitch because she doesn't want to sleep with him, but she was really nice about it and didn't deserve it. Jerk!

#6: The Jerk Who Is A Power-Mad Bully

Oh my, yes. These are the jerks with the guns, or the key to the truck, or something else that gives them the tiniest edge in the fight against whatever horror movie villain everyone's facing. (see also: the security guard in the Dawn of the Dead remake - Ed.) He uses his advantage as a last grasp at power in the face of the coming chaos, torturing and threatening everyone else along the way...sometimes even calling them names! Obsessed with maintaining control, this jerk will often put himself and everyone else in jeopardy with foolhardy actions just because they all said he shouldn't and HE'S THE BOSS. Captain Rhodes of Day of the Dead is such a power-mad jerk that he even tries bossing the zombies around, commanding them to choke on his legs as they eat him.

#7: The Cowardly Jerk Who Dicks Everyone Over

This douchebag jerk will do anything for a promotion or money. When push comes to shove, they'll push and/or shove you out of the way to get to the lifeboat. Resorting to inhumane behavior to save their own skin, they use allies as human shields (see also: Dr. Crews in Friday the 13th Part VII - Ed.), shut doors in people's faces, refuse to open doors no matter how much the person on the other side screams...they'll do anything to survive. They're the slimy snakes of the world of the horror movie jerk, and I CAN'T BELIEVE I PUT A PICTURE OF PAUL REISER ON FINAL GIRL but Burke is a shining example of Jerk #7, so there you go. (I can't believe you put a picture of Paul Reiser on Final Girl. - Ed.) I hate him with the white-hot intensity of a thousand sunburns like the one I got when I went to volleyball camp in 10th grade. (You went to volleyball camp? - Ed.)

#8: Franklin

Franklin, Franklin, Franklin. The king of all horror movie jerks- he certainly qualifies as several varieties, no? He's extremely irritating, yet for a few moments here and there you feel bad for hating him: the dude is in a wheelchair, clearly envious of the bipedariffic frolicking of his sister and her friends. ("bipedariffic" is a scientific term. - Ed.) He has a miserable life, but then he chooses to make the lives of everyone else around him- including the audience- miserable as well. Plus, he's sweaty and he clearly smells like sausage.

There you go, a little primer on Horror Movie Jerks. What did we learn today, friendos?
  • If you have need of a good horror movie jerk, watch any George Romero or Friday the 13th movie. Jerks abound!
  • Jerks always get what's coming to them. So much time is spent making the viewer side against this person that they're practically filled with bloodlust by the time the jerk gets killed. Seriously, when people are rooting for the mass murderer instead of you, you may want to rethink how you interact with your fellow human beings.
  • Don't be a jerk!

Trick ‘r Treat

Anna Paquin stars on one of the hottest shows on cable TV, which happens to feature vampires as well other supernatural creatures, so her involvement in a Halloween-themed horror flick exec produced by X-Men's Bryan Singer sounds like a no-brainer for a theater near you, right? BZZZT! Nope. Trick 'r Treat's straight to DVD release is downright puzzling. Some might find a scene or two objectionable, but it's a mostly solid collection of tales about the spirit of Halloween:

a) Respect the symbols of Halloween.

b) Burying secrets.

c) A prank goes horribly wrong.

d) The spirit of Halloween pays a grumpy old man a visit.

e) A naive young woman in search of a date.

The film feels a lot like an updated Tales From The Darkside. Makes the most of its rumored 12 million dollar budget. The move to bypass theaters must be a result of behind the scenes machinations that we're not privy to, someone won/lost a power play? I mean, even the subpar Blood:The Last Vampire got a limited release. Regardless, this should do well on DVD...

Day 31: “Always check your candy.”

I know some people who flip out over Christmas- people who get excited when the radio stations switch over to holiday music, when it's time to dig the decorations out of the attic, when Rankin-Bass takes over the TV. I get it. Christmas is cool...but come on, let's not pretend for even one minute that Halloween isn't the best. I get jazzed when TV stations show nothin' but the scary stuff, when haunted houses are open for business, when my grocery store has glow-in-the-dark skeletons for sale, and for that one night a year when everyone is a horror movie fan. Mind you, it doesn't feel the same as it did when I was eight- I mean, that's a big doy doy if I've ever written one- but still, once September turns to October, there's a vibe in the air that I adore...and once October turns to November, I get a little bummed. If there's ever been a movie that's captured that feeling, that air of macabre fun I associated with Halloween, it's Trick 'r Treat.

The film is an anthology of sorts, relaying four stories set on Halloween night in the small town of Warren Valley, Ohio- a place that pulls out all the stops when celebrating the holiday. Writer/director Michael Dougherty tells the tales in a fashion more akin to Pulp Fiction than to Creepshow; that is, the stories are interwoven into one narrative that jumps back and forth through time, rather than presented as separate segments. History and some familiar urban legends are explored, from razor blades in the candy to the roots of Samhain- and the film that results is the biggest celebration of October 31st since It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Trick 'r Treat is destined to become an annual viewing tradition, much like A Christmas Story is 'round December.

As a pure horror film, it's a bit uneven. It's not entirely scary and there are a few missteps (the climax of the 'party girls' storyline was a let down), but overall there's an exceptionally dark EC Comics tone that's fun and mean. The legend of the children who died on the schoolbus is a highlight, both horrifying and heartbreaking- man, the chubby kid in the bunny suit really got to me. Then there's Sam, the burlap sackheaded boy/monster who ties it all together...he could become a bonafide holiday icon, but I wish in the end we'd seen a little less of him.

The production design is amazing- despite the many instances of child murder, I sort of wish Warren Valley were a real place. It's my Halloween dream town. While it's not the scariest thing you'll see, Trick 'r Treat is perhaps a dream Halloween movie...undoubtedly it's a perfect way to bring SHOCKTOBER to a close.

Ugh, "to a close"! It's over already. I suppose by tomorrow afternoon, stores will take down the masks and put up the wreaths, and all the candy will be wrapped in red and green instead of orange and black. Guess that means I'll just have to stay inside, where the fake gravestones are always out, the wigs are always close at hand, and there are always horror movies playing ad nauseum.

Feel like makin’ lists…

Feel like makin' lists for READERS!

(You're supposed to say that to the tune of that Bad Company song, but it probably didn't translate well. Eh. Whose fault is that?)

Anydingle, Real Simple Magazine wanted me to recommend 10 Halloween movies for their online readership. Now, there are some catches. First, without just listing ALL of the Halloween sequels, coming up with 10 movies based around the holiday is a wee difficult. Second, Real Simple's readership is not...Rue Morgue's readership, dig? I couldn't select anything gory- sorry, Night of the Demons, though Halloween movie you may be, the lipstick stunt would cause the ladies to blanch and take to their fainting couches. Soooo, I made it a list of good horror movies to watch on the 'ween for people who don't normally watch that sort of thing. It was a fun challenge and I was psyched they asked me.

Read it here, and mouth off about what YOU would have put on the list.


You heard me- get out and head over to AMC, where this week I've cooked up a little guide to some of my favorite haunted houses (for haunted hotels, get in your Wayback Machine). I do so enjoy a haunted house movie. It's one of my favorite subgenres.

Okay, so they're pretty much ALL my favorite subgenres because I fucking love horror movies! I do. You may not have known that up until this point, but it's true. I really dig horror movies, and they make me quite happy (except when they don't, but even then they kinda do). Hey horror movies- you're the best! *Slaps horror movies on the ass*

Anyway, That's not all I've got cooking at AMC this week, oh my stars no. I've also cooked up a couple of quizzes to test your horror trivia mettle. Answer correctly...and quickly, for if the timer runs out on either quiz, your computer will explode in your face. That's right- I'm like the bastard lovechild of Jigsaw and Alex Trebek!


Anyway again, there's a short, easy, breezy, and beautiful quiz about slasher movie quotes, and there's the Halloween ultimate fan quiz. Halloween nerds will likely kick butt, but I tried to throw in some obscurities.

Report back with your results...unless you went and got yourself exploded.

T-Shirt Armageddon!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for this very special announcement. I received a very urgent missive from Threadless, the online t-shirt company that sells designs created by the public. They’re throwing a 24-hour Halloween sale, with a number of their creepiest t-shirts knocked down to just $10, perfect for the recession and the strong [...]

awesome movie poster friday – the HALLOWEEN edition!

I can't believe it's taken me so long to give a shout out to Halloween I-III. No remakes need apply!

shape showdown!

Way over yonder by The Old Horror Blips Place, there's a Carpenter flavored Michael Myers vs Zombie flavored Michael Myers smackdown taking place. Well, I suppose it's not really a smackdown as much as it is a few horror bloggers weighing in with their opinions about which incarnation of the Shatner-faced boogeyman is the scariest. Click and read to find out what I think...and what, among others, B-Sol of The Vault of Horror and BC of Horror Movie a Day think. The results aren't terribly surprising, but still.

In related news, between "B-Sol", "BC", and "BJ-C" of Day of the Woman, I feel that "Stacie Ponder" simply isn't snazzy enough. Mayhaps "S-Po"? That kind of rolls off the tongue. Anyway, enough of my identity problems. Let's get on with...THE POLLENING.

Which Myers do YOU prefer? Yes, you.




Your mom-flavored

Sorry, I've never actually seen a picture of your mom...I'm just making assumptions here.