HALLOWEEN II (1981) and HALLOWEEN (2018): A COMPARISON IN HORROR!

MZNJ_new_views

HALLOWEEN II (1981) and HALLOWEEN (2018): A COMPARISON IN HORROR!

MAJOR SPOILER WARNING! In order to properly compare these two films, I have to give DETAILED SPOILERS. If you haven’t seen Halloween II (1981) or Halloween (2018), there are MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW for each film. You have been warned!

**************************************************

Comparison In Horror is back!…and in this installment the comparison is between the two direct sequels to John Carpenter’s original classic Halloween. In 1981, the success of Halloween led to an inevitable sequel, Halloween II. Recently, for Halloween‘s 40th anniversary, a new film, Halloween (2018), was made that went back to the source and erased all the previous sequels, as a direct continuation of Carpenter’s original story. It’s created a unique situation where one classic film now has two direct sequels…remember, Halloween H2O, acknowledges the story elements of Halloween II, so it is not quite a direct sequel to the 1978 classic. Two direct sequels that take place forty years apart, let’s take a look these two films and compare…

(Click on the highlighted movie titles to go to the full length reviews and on the photos to enlarge them!)

**************************************************

THE STORY

Halloween II takes place on the same night of the original, basically picking up right where the first film leaves off. The flick continues with an injured Laurie Strode (Jaime Lee Curtis) being taken to a hospital in Haddonfield, while Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) and the police scour the neighborhood for the still at large Michael Myers (stuntman Dick Warlock). Unbeknownst to them, Michael has discovered Laurie’s whereabouts and heads to the hospital to find her, leaving a trail of bodies along the way. Once there, he begins to decimate the hospital staff, one by one, in search of his prey. It is in this film that it is revealed that Laurie is actually Michael’s other sister and he has come home to finish the job he started 15 years ago.

Halloween (2018) opens forty years later to find Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) living in solitude after some failed marriages and loosing custody of her only daughter Karen (Judy Greer). She’s taught herself to survive and fight and is in a constant state of preparedness for Michael Myers’ (Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney) possible return. As for Michael, he was recaptured after that fateful night and has been re-incarcerated in the Smith’s Grove Asylum ever since. A pair of British journalists (Rhian Rees and Jefferson Hall) visit Michael, on the eve of his transfer to an even more secure institution, and try to evoke a response by presenting him with his old mask. Of course, that night, the transfer bus suffers an accident and Michael escapes, reclaims his mask and heads off to Haddonfield in time for Halloween. Hearing of his escape, Laurie intends to protect her daughter and granddaughter (Andi Matichak) and goes on the hunt to confront Michael once and for all. By ignoring all the sequels, this film eliminates the subplot that Laurie is Michael’s sister and returns her to a random victim.

Except for both films being direct sequels to John Carpenter’s Halloween, the stories are vastly different.

 

**************************************************

MICHAEL MYERS

Obviously the Michael Myers in 1981’s Halloween II is the same as in John Carpenter’s Halloweenas the film picks up minutes after the first movie. He’s about twenty-one years-old and is a brutal killer, murdering anyone he encounters during his pursuit of Laurie. It starts out as random neighbors, as he flees from the police and Loomis, to various hospital staff once he finds Laurie at Haddonfield Hospital. He uses a variety of weapons or his hands to brutally dispatch his victims. His mask is still new, stolen earlier that day from a general store. There are hints that there is something supernatural about him, a pure evil more than human.

Halloween (2018)‘s Michael is a Michael forty years older than when we…or Laurie…last saw him. He’s got grey hair, is balding and covered in scars from his first encounter with Laurie. Once reunited with his mask, it too is showing wear and tear, with cracks and thinning hair much like it’s wearer. Despite being 61 years-old, he is still a strong, brutal and efficient killer murdering any innocents he encounters on his way back to Haddenfield and Laurie. In comparison, he seems a bit more vicious here, using his bare hands more often and otherwise mostly sticking with a simple kitchen knife, ironically obtained in a nice homage to Halloween II. He still prefers gas station coveralls and stalking women home alone or babysitting. The supernatural hints are downplayed here, save for a few lines in a nice homage/vocal cameo by Dr. Loomis.

In neither film does he ever speak and any emotions are marked by a shifting of his head or an intensifying in his movements. While he seems more interested in babysitters than their charges in the 1978 and 1981 films, 2018’s Michael has no qualms killing a young boy with a gun…but will still spare a baby. In the 1981 sequel, he started to appear more invincible and unkillable like his cinematic rival Jason Voorhees. In the 2018 sequel, he is back to being more human and can be hurt or injured.

 

**************************************************

LAURIE STRODE

The Laurie Strodes portrayed in both films are a vast contrast due to the proximity and/or passage of time to the original film’s events.

In Halloween II Laurie is a terrified high school girl who is still traumatized from her encounter with Michael that night. She is basically a damsel in distress, continually on the run from Myers once he reacquires her. She actually seems to have a little less fight in her than she did in her earlier battle with the masked killer, though understandable being wounded and sedated by the hospital staff. Loomis once again comes to her rescue.

In Halloween (2018) we find a Laurie Strode who has been haunted for forty years as a result of the attack by Michael Myers and the murder of her friends. Aside from a few failed marriages and having a daughter from one, Laurie has lived a solitary life where she constantly prepares for Michael’s return…in fact she actually prays for it. The only way Laurie can purge the events of that Halloween night in 1978 from her mind is to kill the man who traumatized her and turned her into the paranoid recluse she now is. When she hears of Michael’s second escape, instead of hiding, Laurie arms herself and the hunter becomes the hunted. Laurie is more Sarah Conner than damsel in David Gordon Green’s film and Jamie Lee Curtis gives one of the best performances of her career.

 

**************************************************

THE SETTINGS

The settings for both of these films is Haddonfield, Illinois and despite taking place forty years apart, not much has changed. In both films Haddonfield is a small suburban midwestern town that seems to celebrate Halloween enthusiastically. Halloween II ‘s town is still mostly unaware there is a killer in their midst and are only starting to hear the news that there has been an escape at Smith’s Grove and murders committed locally. The original Myers murder of his sister Judith, fifteen years earlier, is almost an urban legend at this point, especially to the town’s younger generations. A lot of the action takes place in the local hospital where Laurie has been admitted.

Same goes for Halloween (2018)‘s Haddonfield which has almost forgotten about the murders of forty years ago, save for the reminder of the eccentric woman who lives secluded in the woods. The new generation of teens know very little about Myers and that night and are too busy partying and trick or treating to realize a killer is on his way home again. Much like Halloween II, the Myers story is treated as an urban legend by everyone but for Laurie and a save few, including her daughter and granddaughter. The action takes place first at Smith’s Grove and then moves to Haddonfield with a last act at Laurie’s fortress home.

 

**************************************************

THE OPENING SCENES

Rick Rosenthal’s 1981 sequel opens at Halloween‘s climax with Michael vanished and Loomis pursuing him into the street, much to the chagrin of a next-door neighbor. The opening sets the tone of the movie by quickly recounting the closing moments of the first film and then establishing that the danger is still out there. After a very effective opening credits scene where a pumpkin splits open to reveal a skull, we get Michael’s theft of a knife and first kill to make sure the dread is re-established.

Halloween (2018)  Opens with a pair of British podcasters visiting Michael at the Smith Grove Asylum. Journalist Aaron Korey (Jefferson Hall) uses some connections to borrow Michael’s mask and brazenly shows it to him to no effect. The other inmates react and it is their reaction that gives the opening an unsettling creepiness. After a very effective title sequence with a rotten pumpkin slowly reforming, we then follow Korey and his partner Dana (Rhian Rees) as they visit the reclusive Laurie, thus re-introducing us to her after all these years.

Both openings serve their respective stories well. Though in terms of sheer effectiveness, Halloween II is definitely the more potent opening, when going from Loomis’ classic “You don’t know what death is!” line to the pumpkin/skull credits, in getting us in the mood to be scared. Halloween (2018) only really gets going at a gas station scene which amusingly homages Halloween 4.

 

**************************************************

THE ENDINGS

Both films end in fiery conflagrations with Michael at the receiving end.

In Halloween II, Michael bursts in as Loomis and Laurie are hiding in an operating room. Blinded by some well placed gunshots, Michael is lured into the center of the room as Laurie escapes. A wounded Loomis ignites the oxygen tanks causing a massive explosion. Myers walks out of the fire engulfed in flames before collapsing. Carpenter intended this to be the end of Michael Myers, though he would return for five more sequels before being “re-imagined” by Rob Zombie.

Halloween (2018) has Michael and Laurie engaged in a final(?) showdown at Laurie’s remote fortress house in the woods. She traps Michael in the cellar and then ignites the house which was always fitted to be a trap for the serial killer. Michael stares up at her as the room becomes engulfed in flames around him. Next we see the room, it is completely in flames, yet we see no sign of Michael. As we do hear his trademarked heavy breathing during the end credits, we are led to believe David Gordon Green is not done with the saga of Michael and Laurie quite yet.

 

 

**************************************************

MISC

Halloween II is directed by Rick Rosenthal from a script by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, while Halloween (2018) is directed by David Gordon Green from a script by he, Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley. Both films are scored by Carpenter himself, with collaborations from Alan Howarth on the 1981 film and son Cody and Daniel Davies on the 2018 film. Both films look great with Dean Cundey doing the cinematography on Halloween II and Michael Simmonds on Halloween (2018). Both films feature graphic violence which is well represented by their respective make-up effects departments. As the recipient of such, both flicks have characters that are obviously there just to be Michael fodder. Each film does make good use of spooky Halloween imagery and were both box office hits with Halloween (2018) coming in just under the original film when tickets are adjusted for inflation.*

*as per Box Office Mojo

 

**************************************************

IN CONCLUSION

Both films have their flaws and both have their merits. Both films effectively continue the story, but from completely different points in the timeline. One movie beginning where the first left off and the other continuing the story four decades later. As in all cases such as this, it’s up to the individual to choose a favorite. On a personal level, I’ll go with Halloween II as it’s an 80s slasher after all…my favorite kind…and flaws aside, it’s still the last Michael Myers film to really feel like a Halloween movie with Carpenter scoring and Dean Cundey doing cinematography…and let’s not forget the sadly missed presence of Donald Pleasence as Loomis. Halloween (2018), certainly got a number of things right, and does include a great performance from the queen herself. It also stumbled too, especially with it’s Loomis wannabe Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer) and a failed subplot involving him. The 2018 film does have a strong police presence in Will Patton’s Deputy Hawkins who makes a nice replacement for the original part I and II’s Sheriff Brackett (Charles Cyphers) and Deputy Gary Hunt (Hunter von Leer). Addressing issues such as the long term effects on an attack victim, Green’s film has more substance, though Rosenthal’s sequel is simply more fun. Either way, Michael Myers fans win, as we probably haven’t seen the last of him. 🎃

-MonsterZero NJ

Check out more editions of A Comparison In Horror here!

bars

Advertisements

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES JAN 18-20

MZNJ_New_WBO

Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!

1. “Glass” $40.5 Million

2. “The Upside” $15.6 Million

3. “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” $10.6

4 “Aquaman” $10.3 Million

5. “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” $7.25 Million

6. “A Dog’s Way Home” $7.1 Million

7. “Escape Room” $5.3 Million

8. “Mary Poppins Returns” $5.2 Million

9. “Bumblebee” $4.7 Million

10. “On The Basis of Sex” $4 million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

bars

 

HAPPY 71st BIRTHDAY TO THE LEGENDARY JOHN CARPENTER!

MZNJ_new_views

The_10_best_movie_soundtracks_according_John_Carpenter_photo_by_Kyle_Cassidy_750_501_75_sThe man, the myth, the legend!

Today legendary genre director John Carpenter turns 71 and as he has directed so many classics and is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers, who’s created some of my all-time favorite films, MonsterZero NJ’s Movie Madhouse wishes him a very happy, healthy birthday!

-MonsterZero NJ

bars

BARE BONES: PLEDGE (2019)

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

PLEDGE (2019)

Nerds David (Zack Weiner), Justin (Zachery Byrd) and Ethan (Phillip Andre Botello) are looking to pledge a fraternity and not having any luck. Respect from their campus peers is something they are lacking. They’re invited to a party at a remote social club by pretty Rachel (Erica Boozer) and are offered a chance to join. To be accepted they must go through 48 hours of hazing, which at the deranged hands of those running the club, turns into two days of abusive and increasing violent treatment. Can the trio make it through this brutal initiation alive?

Tale of the horrors of hazing gone extreme is written by star Zack Weiner and directed by Daniel Robbins. As the subject of harsh college initiation practices has made the news more than once in the last few years, Weiner and Robbins have decide to take it to new heights…or should we say, new lows. The film is disturbing as we watch the three tormented continuously with a couple of other young men. After a party of booze, drugs and beautiful girls they are lured into pledging, which turns out to be a blood-soaked mistake. The film gets progressively darker as the ordeals become more sadistic and cruel and just as it starts to hit that torture porn level, it turns into a deadly fight to survive, as our three pledges have had enough. There are some twists and reveals along the way and the cast all do well as villain and victim alike. While we’ve seen stuff like this before, it is done effectively and well here. Pledge can be an unpleasant sit at times, but it shows filmmakers with promise. Overall, a deft mix of social commentary and straight up horror with a chilling finale. Also stars Aaron Dalla Villa, Cameron Cowperthwaite and Jesse Pimentel as the tormenters in question.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES JAN 11-13

MZNJ_New_WBO

Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!

1. “The Upside” $19.6 Million

2. “Aquaman” $17.2 Million

3. “A Dog’s Way Home” $11.3 Million

4. “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” $9 Million

5. “Escape Room” $8.9 Million

6. “Mary Poppins Returns” $7.2 Million

7. “Bumblebee” $6.7 Million

8. “On The Basis of Sex” $6.2 million

9. “The Mule” $5.5 Million

10. “Vice” $3.2 Million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

bars

 

TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: MAUSOLEUM (1983)

MZNJ_New_TON

now playing

bars

MAUSOLEUM (1983)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Early 80s horror finds young Susan (Julie Christy Murray) running from her mother’s funeral and finding her way to a creepy mausoleum. There she becomes possessed by a demon which remains dormant until she becomes an adult. Years later, with Susan (Bobbie Bresee) now grown up and married, the demon emerges when men get aggressive with her and, as a result, are gruesomely murdered, as is anyone who stands in her way. Can her husband Oliver (a somewhat restrained Marjoe Gortner) and her psychiatrist Dr. Andrews (Norman Burton) free her of the demonic curse which has plagued her family for generations?

Gory flick is directed sadly with a very by-the-numbers style by Michael Dugan from a story and script by Katherine Rosenwink, Robert Barich and Robert Madero. Despite all the supernatural hi-jinx, the flick is very slow paced and doesn’t nearly use it’s B-movie premise to the fullest. It is saved somewhat by some cool monster make-up by John Carl Buechler, some very graphic and abundant gore and some generous nudity from the shapely Ms. Bresee, who was a former Playboy Bunny. There are some wonderfully cheesy visual effects to go with the terrible dialogue and entertainingly bad acting and some always welcome added 80s nostalgia. It’s amusing for all the wrong reasons and there is nothing wrong with that. Hard to hate a movie featuring a female demon equipped with two creature heads as boobs.

Not a great movie by any lengths, but it is a fun one. The acting and dialogue is terrible and the directing is disappointingly pedestrian. The flick needed a director, like Jim Wynorski, who could milk the premise more, but it does have a cool monster, a lot of graphic gore and plentiful nudity from it’s beautiful leading lady. Not a classic, but a cult favorite that mixed with your favorite brews can be part of any cheesy 80s horror night.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 and 1/2 Marjoe Gortners (out of 4) in one of his less restrained moments.

 

 

 

 

 

bars

BARE BONES: ASSASSINATION NATION (2018)

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

ASSASSINATION NATION (2018)

High schooler Lily Colson (Odessa Young) lives in the small town of Salem in a modern age where everyone’s deepest and darkest secrets are stored digitally. When someone hacks into the town’s phones and computers and releases those secrets across the internet, the whole of Salem becomes unglued. Worse still, Lily, who is having an affair with a married older man (Joel McHale ), is blamed for the hack. The whole town is now out to kill her…literally! Can Lily and gal pals, Sarah (Suki Waterhouse), Em (Abra) and Bex (Hari Nef) keep their heads with a whole town wanting them dead…or has this town picked the wrong girls to take their anger out on?

Written and directed by Sam Levinson, Assassination Nation can be stylish and edgy fun, though it also tries a little too hard to be hip. It’s the type of film which has become all too common in the wake of Quentin Tarantino, mixing sarcastic humor with graphic violence and “going there” whenever possible. The little town of Salem is host for a new kind of witch hunt as everyone’s secrets from pedophilia, homosexuality and all sorts of sexual hi-jinx are bared for all to see and a young woman is wrongfully blamed for the purge. While it does overdo it a bit with trying to be hyper-stylized and cutting edge, it is also an amusing portrayal of the dangers of today’s society having to document everything they do, especially the naughty stuff. Sometimes secrets should be kept…well, secret. Definitely worth a look, especially for the second half when all hell breaks loose.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars

REVIEW: RUST CREEK (2019)

MZNJ_New_review

now playing

bars

RUST CREEK (2019)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Thriller finds pretty college student Sawyer (Hermione Corfield) ditching her folks at Thanksgiving break to go for a job interview. When her GPS leads her astray, she finds herself on a remote road in the Kentucky backwoods. She crosses paths with troublesome brothers Hollister (Micah Hauptman) and Buck (Daniel R. Hill) who fear she might have seen the no good they were up to. After a violent confrontation, Sawyer injures both men and escapes, though injured herself. Wandering bleeding through the wilderness she happens upon a meth cooker named Lowell (Jay Paulson). Lowell is the cousin and cooker for Hollister and Buck, but decides to hide her from them. As Sawyer tries to remain hidden from her pursuers, she and Lowell form an unusual bond.

Slow paced thriller is directed by Jen McGowan from a script by Julie Lipson and Stu Pollard. It starts out involving with Sawyer meeting up with delinquent rednecks Hollister and Buck and then fighting for her life as their intentions for her are not good. The flick slows down considerably when she is taken in by Lowell and starts to loose it’s grip a bit as Sawyer goes from reluctant hideaway to cooking meth with Lowell side by side. It doesn’t quite click that a girl running for her life and basically behind enemy lines, as the local sheriff (Sean O’Bryan) isn’t exactly one of the good guys either, would become buddy, buddy with a drug dealer to the point of making cozy meth together. The fact that the first act of this movie is basically taken right out of Wrong Turn doesn’t help either. The performances are good and there are some tense scenes at the beginning and end, but it’s the mid section of the film that bogs down and stagnates till the bad guys finally find our heroine. It’s understood that the film is trying to be more of a Winter’s Bone type of thriller and not an action movie, but the whole bonding between Lowell and Sawyer just doesn’t really get that involving and seems a little odd being that the ones who want her harmed are so closely associated with him. She seems to relax far too much for someone with three dangerous men out to kill her. Either way, Rust Creek is not the horror flick or Deliverence-like thriller it’s advertised as. It’s not a bad movie, but not what some might be expecting.

The cast here is very good. Hermione Corfield gives us a strong and able heroine in Sawyer. She’s tough, resilient and can take care of herself for the most part. A very likable lead. Jay Paulson is good as Lowell. He’s not vicious like his cousins. He’s not a good guy, but he’s not cold blooded either. He has his own reasons for helping Sawyer. Micah Hauptman is very effective as the vicious and blood thirsty Hollister. He’s a bit of a stereotype, but works well as the redneck bad guy. Daniel R. Hill is fine as Buck who follows Hollister’s lead and doesn’t have all that much to say on his own. Rounding out is Sean O’Bryan, who is appropriately sleazy as the dirty Sheriff O’Doyle and Jeremy Glazer as the unfortunately naive Deputy Katz who is too inquisitive for his own good.

Overall, this is a well made film, but one that gets bogged down by a midsection that focuses on budding relationship that didn’t quite click…at least not for this viewer. The beginning and end have some tense sequences and the performances are good. The overall story is a bit derivative and reminds one of other flicks, but at least they tried to do something a bit different by having this backwoods thriller turn into a relationship drama, even if it didn’t quite gel.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 and 1/2 meth crystals (out of 4).

 

 

 

 

 

bars

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES JAN 4-6

MZNJ_New_WBO

Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!

1. “Aquaman” $30.7 Million

2. “Escape Room” $18 Million

3. “Mary Poppins Returns” $15.7 Million

4. “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” $13 Million

5. “Bumblebee” $12.7 Million

6. “The Mule” $9 Million

7. “Vice” $5.8 Million

8. “Second Act” $4.9 Million

9. “Ralph Breaks the Internet” $4.6 Million

10. “Holmes and Watson” $3.4 Million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

bars

 

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: AMONG THE LIVING (2014)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

bars

AMONG THE LIVING (Aux yeux des vivants) (2014)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

French horror finds three troublesome youths Victor, Tom and Dan (Théo Fernandez, Zacharie Chasseriaud and Damien Ferdel) playing hooky from school and sneaking onto an abandoned movie lot. There they find a woman bound and gagged in an abandoned car who is sequestered away before they can decide what to do. The police don’t believe them due to their reputations, but the man responsible, deranged war veteran Issac (Francis Renaud) isn’t taking any chances and sends his deformed son Klarence (Fabien Jegoudez) to kill the three boys and their families. 

Flick is written and directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, the duo the brought us Inside, Livide and the recent Leatherface. It combines a youth coming of age story with a Texas Chainsaw Massacre slant as these deranged individuals plan to kidnap women to expand their family…which is introduced to us in the gruesome opening…and murder any witnesses. There is some vicious and brutal violence and some very disturbing moments and the makers aren’t afraid to do more than just put the three boys in harm’s way. The deranged Issac is a war veteran whose been effected by chemical warfare and thus it has led to Klarence being born deformed and being a bit unhinged himself. That being said, this really isn’t anything new. Changing the location from an abandoned slaughter house to an abandoned movie studio isn’t much of a change and innocents being stalked and murdered by deranged and deformed individuals has been a horror standard for decades. It’s effectively done and thus is still disturbing and the cast all play their parts well. It’s an effective thriller even though it combines story elements that have been told time and time again.

In conclusion this is a brutal thriller, though nothing innovative or new. It uses a combination of popular movie tropes and adds some very graphic violence and isn’t afraid to unleash that violence on any of the cast members. It’s easy to see why the duo was chosen for the prequel Leatherface, though that was nothing new as well. An effective if not derivative thriller.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) naughty lads who should have played somewhere else.

 

 

 

 

 

bars