MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN II (1981)

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN II (1981)

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The classic sequel turns 40 today!!

Halloween II was released 40 years ago today and it has brought back memories, as I was there opening night with friends. Fans of the original were both excited and cautious as Carpenter’s original was already considered a classic at this point. There was no internet to spoil any extensive details or story surprises. All we knew was it took place on the same night, Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence were back and Carpenter handed the reigns over to a promising young filmmaker named Rick Rosenthal. I was particularly excited, as I hadn’t seen the original Halloween in a theater. I recall getting to the now long gone Cinema 35 in Paramus, NJ early and waiting about an hour to buy tickets and go in. Remember, online ticket sales in the 80s meant getting on a line to buy tickets! If you got there late, you risked the show being sold out! We stood in line discussing the possibilities of what we were about to see, until the box office opened and we could go in. When the ticket booth opened and the line started moving, it brought the excitement to a boil! The opening credits of the film instantly chilled with a spooky pumpkin slowly splitting open to reveal a scary skull, while Carpenter’s classic theme pulsed from the theater speakers! It set the tone for the rest of night! After the show, we mutually decided we loved it, though based on passing comments, not all the theater goers felt the same way. I have been a fan of this sequel ever since and it’s watched every Halloween, along with the first flick and Season of the Witch, as part of the “Big Three.” Personally, I am not a fan of what followed after Carpenter left the franchise and would have loved to have seen his annual Halloween anthology plans come to pass.

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As the tagline proclaims…more of the night he came home!

Halloween II was not the best received sequel both critically and by many fans of the original, though it made money. Folks were unhappy with it being more of an 80s style slasher, with the emphasis being on higher body count and gory deaths more than scares or suspense. It also shocked fans by revealing that Laurie Strode was actually Michael Myers’ sister. That took away the scary randomness of the original and gave Michael’s pursuit of her a purpose. This would remain an important story element till Halloween 2018 reset the timeline and erased all sequels and remakes. Forty years later the film is now recognized as one of the better 80s slashers and one of the better Halloween sequels. It just shows, much like with Season of the Witch, that time heals all wounds. The film still carries some controversy, as Carpenter was unhappy with what Rosenthal delivered and made changes, conducting his own reshoots. In turn Rick Rosenthal was unhappy that Carpenter made changes to his film. Rosenthal’s version has not seen the light of day, so we will never know if Carpenter saved or sullied the sequel. Either way, Halloween II is now given it’s proper due and a place in horror film history and it has stood the test of time these last four decades. HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN II!

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Not the best received sequel, Halloween II has now taken it’s place as classic franchise canon!

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: THE EVIL DEAD (1981)

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: THE EVIL DEAD (1981)

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That infamous cabin!

Tonight I went to see the fortieth anniversary screening of Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead and it took me back almost four decades, to when I first saw it with friends in a theater during it’s major release in 1982. It was wonderful seeing it onscreen again, complete with a fun and very funny opening introduction from the legend himself, Bruce Campbell. Most of all, it returned me to a moment in time when I was first introduced to this now classic horror…

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A group of ill-fated friends about to experience a nightmare!

The Evil Dead is one of the most revered horror flicks in the genre and in my humble opinion, it’s one of the greatest horror flicks of all-time and certainly one of my top favorites. I saw it when it opened and have loved it ever since. I had no idea what to expect—there was no internet to spoil things in the 80s—save that Stephen King himself called it “ferociously original” and there was a bloodied-up guy with a chainsaw on one of the posters. Friends and I went on what I believe was a Saturday afternoon and what we saw blew us away. Up till then horror flicks were patterning themselves after Halloween and Friday the 13th with moderate paces and increasing blood and body counts, inspired by the latter. This flick was batshit crazy. It began atmospherically with a creepy old cabin and a bunch of friends finding an ominous tape recording and a very spooky book. Once it got going, it was paced like an action movie and the blood, gore and bonkers set-pieces came fast and furious. I’d never seen anything like it. The guy in the theater who kept calling out “dismember” in a sinister voice, didn’t hurt the experience either. It instantly became of of my favorite horror films and changed the horror genre moving forward, not to mention it introduced us to horror icon Ash Williams and his now legendary portrayer, Bruce Campbell. Raimi’s classic is a shining example of innovation and effectiveness on a small budget and he is still one of my favorite filmmakers and The Evil Dead, a movie memory I will never forget!

 

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Future horror icon Ash Williams as played by future horror legend Bruce Campbell!

-MonsterZero NJ

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