MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: TRICK ‘R TREAT FINALLY GETS A THEATRICAL RELEASE!

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TRICK ‘R TREAT FINALLY GETS A THEATRICAL RELEASE!

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After 15 years, cult classic Trick ‘r Treat finally gets a theatrical release in time for Halloween!

Trick ‘r Treat was released direct to home media by Warner Bros in 2009 after first showing at a Texas film festival two years earlier and then some sporadic festival showings over the next two years. Like everyone else, I discovered this great Halloween movie on DVD. Since then, it’s become a beloved holiday classic. Now fifteen years after its festival only showings, Michael Dougherty’s cult favorite has finally gotten a theatrical release at AMC theaters right in time for All Hallows Eve. One of my favorite spooky season flicks, I took in a showing tonight and it was magical seeing it on the big screen for the first time…even though I have watched it dozens of times by now.

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Ticket was only five dollars to start! It was a good print with vibrant colors and great sound bringing the lush Halloween visuals and spooky screams to vivid life as never before. Don’t care how boss your home theater system is, there is nothing like seeing it on the big screen with an appreciative audience. Everyone was quite during the showing, save for the appropriate laughs or gasps, depending on the goings on. Seeing Sam and company larger than life was a great experience tonight and one I am so thankful that the folks at AMC provided. Better late than never! A great Halloween movie now getting its proper due! Was like seeing the film for the first time and I’m so glad I went! 

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-MonsterZero NJ

Photos: Warner Bros/Legendary

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982)

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982)

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The controversial sequel turns 40 today!!

Halloween III: Season of the Witch was released 40 years ago today and it has brought back memories, as I was there opening night with friends at the now long-gone Cinema 35 in Paramus, NJ. Fans were cautious as this would be a Halloween film without Michael Myers…something that some audience members did not know upon hearing angry and disappointed post-show comments. Carpenter considered Myers’ story over and thus was planning to turn the franchise into an anthology series, with a new and different story each year. This chapter was directed by long-time Carpenter friend and collaborator Tommy Lee Wallace. I really enjoyed this flick and was fully onboard for what Carpenter was planning. My friends whom I attended the showing with weren’t so happy with it and there was much discussion on the way home. Me championing the film all the way while they were highly critical and disappointed. Box office numbers were ultimately disappointing, and Carpenter’s anthology never went any further. Myers returned in a series of lackluster sequels six years later.

 

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 I have been a fan of this sequel ever since and it’s watched every Halloween, along with Halloween and Halloween II as part of the “Big Three.” Personally, I am not a fan of the sequels that followed after Carpenter left the franchise and would have loved to have seen his annual Halloween anthology plans come to pass, with word that Halloween IV would have been a haunted house movie. I am very happy to see this flick finally find it’s fanbase and get the love it deserves. It’s a twisted Halloween tale and possibly embraces the spirit of the holiday even better than its two Michael Myers based predecessors. That’s just my opinion and am glad to celebrate this delightfully gruesome Halloween story with a twisted sense of humor that embraces the term trick or treat!

 

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One of my favorite moments in the film is when asked “why” by hero Dr. Dan Challis (Tom Atkins), bad guy Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy) delivers one of the greatest villain monologues of all time in Halloween III: Season of the Witch!…
“Do I need a reason? Mr. Kupfer was right, you know. I do love a good joke, and this is the best ever: a joke on the children. But there’s a better reason. You don’t really know much about Halloween. You thought no further than the strange custom of having your children wear masks and go out begging for candy.
It was the start of the year in our old Celtic lands, and we’d be waiting in our houses of wattles and clay. The barriers would be down, you see, between the real and the unreal, and the dead might be looking in to sit by our fires of turf.
Halloween… the festival of Samhain! The last great one took place three thousand years ago, when the hills ran red with the blood of animals and children.”
Gives me chills just transcribing it here, and I can hear the late, great Dan O’Herlihy’s deep voice echo in my head as I do!

 

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Much maligned for decades, Halloween IIl: Season of the Witch has now earned some well-deserved love and taken its place as classic franchise canon!

HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH!

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-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S HORROR FLICKS THAT ACTUALLY TAKE PLACE ON HALLOWEEN 2022!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S HORROR FLICKS THAT ACTUALLY TAKE PLACE ON HALLOWEEN 2022!

During the spooky season it might be fun to watch flicks that actually take place on All Hallow’s Eve… so here is a revised list of some horror flicks that actually occur on, or near, our favorite Holiday! 🎃

(To get to the reviews of the titles below that were covered here at the Movie Madhouse, just type the title in the search engine to find the corresponding critique!)

-MonsterZero NJ

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: HALLOWEEN ENDS (2022)

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HALLOWEEN ENDS (2022)

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

Sequel to Halloween 2018 and Halloween Kills picks up a year later with the specter of the now vanished Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) still hovering over Haddonfield. An unfortunate series of events on Halloween night leads to a babysitter named Cory (Rohan Campbell) being involved in the death of the little boy he is watching. The film then jumps three years later with Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) now having bought a house, writing a book and trying to move on. Granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) lives with her now and works at Haddonfield Hospital. Allyson meets and becomes involved with the emotionally troubled Cory, while Cory’s increasing inner turmoil catches the attention of a certain someone who has been lurking in Haddonfield’s sewer system waiting to make his return. Somehow this convoluted mess leads to Michael and Laurie having their final showdown.

Halloween Ends is again directed by David Gordon Green from a nonsensical script by he along with Paul Brad Logan, Danny McBride and Chris Bernier. It is a mess that basically makes Michael Myers an extended guest appearance in his own franchise finale, as the film chooses to focus on Allyson and Cory, who appears to be willing to take the torch. Laurie, meanwhile, sees his serial killer potential and tries to warn Allyson who refuses to listen. Cory is so creepy and weird it’s hard to understand why it seems like love at first sight with Allyson, and all this melodrama turns the whole Laurie vs Michael round three into almost an afterthought. When Myers does resurface, he is seen sporadically and even seems to accept Cory as an equal or protégée. If the math is correct, Cory even has the bigger body count here. WTF? The flick doesn’t even feel like it’s part of the last two movies and seems like ninety minutes of filler till all this psycho love story drama finally brings Laurie and Michael together for their last match. That’s itself is over far too quickly and how it resolves will piss off a lot of fans. There are a few good kills…again, most of them Cory’s…and Carpenter provides this trilogy’s best score along with son Cody and Daniel Davies. Otherwise there really is little to recommend with this vastly disappointing “final” meeting of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers that will have you scratching your head at some of the awful dialogue, more than anything else.

The cast are a bit disappointing too. Curtis seems like she’s phoning it in this time and it’s sad to see the character go out in such a disappointing manner. Matichak seems to be playing a different person here. The death of Allyson’s parents has affected her, true, but it’s simply not written well. Rohan Campbell is actually good as Cory. The actor makes him sympathetic at first, as someone the town reviles, and then very creepy as he spirals to the dark side and gives in to his inner rage. Returning is Omar J Dorsey as Sheriff Barker, Will Patton as Hawkins, Kyle Richards returning in a do-nothing part as Lindsey and James Jude Courtney is once again imposing as Michael Myers, in what little screen time he has.

Overall, this is a really disappointing finale to one of the most celebrated and long running horror franchises. It has iconic serial killer Michael Myers take a back seat to a newcomer in a film that should have focused on him more than ever. The whole Laurie/Michael final confrontation build-up seems to be more of a subplot and the plot contrivances that bring them together in the last act barely work or make sense. The film focuses on the relationship between Allyson and Cory, and once Cory goes off the rails and starts racking up a body count, it’s almost laughable that Allyson is so oblivious to what he is turning into. A messy, bewildering and basically heartbreaking end to one of the greatest horror franchises of all-time and its iconic characters.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 (out of 4) carving knives. Happy Halloween 🎃!

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HALLOWEEN HORROR ANTHOLOGY “TALES FROM THE OTHER SIDE” GETS A POSTER AND TRAILER!

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HALLOWEEN HORROR ANTHOLOGY “TALES FROM THE OTHER SIDE” GETS A POSTER AND TRAILER!

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“Do You Dare Watch Them All?”
 
From the official synopsis…

“Uncork’d Entertainment has acquired horror anthology TALES FROM THE OTHER SIDE featuring genre staples James Duval (Go, The Doom Generation) and Vernon Wells (The Road Warrior, Weird Science). The film, which plays off of the popular theme of kids seeking danger and biting off more than they can chew, was written by Gordon Bressack, James Cullen Bressack and Zack Ward.

TALES FROM THE OTHER SIDE will be released on digital and DVD in June.

Three kids want to have the most legendary Halloween night ever. Their trick-or-treat adventure brings them to the home of the local town legend “Scary Mary”. Is she as terrible as the legends say? One thing is for certain, she knows just the right tales to give these three kids the scare of their life. Sharing six unique stories that lead the children down a mysterious path to the unexpected.

Pablo Macho Maysonet IV, Jamaal Burden, Scotty Baker, Jacob Cooney, Lucas Heyne, Kern Saxton, and Frank Merle direct the segments which are written by likes of James Cullen Bressack, Zack Ward, and the late Gordon Bressack.

Ros Gentle, Michael Broderick, Rafael Delgado Jr., Chelsea Vale, Anna Harr, Hunter Johnson, and Andreas Rodriguez join Duval and Wells on the cast list.”

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: Uncork’d Entertainment

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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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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: HALLOWEEN KILLS (2021)

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HALLOWEEN KILLS (2021)

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

Sequel to Halloween 2018 starts out with a pre-credits flashback to 1978 and after the fiery jack-o-lantern filled credits sequence, picks up were the last flick left off. While the citizens of sleepy Haddonfield have yet to realize who’s back and a wounded Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) heads to the hospital with Karen (Judy Greer) and Allyson (Andi Matichak), an ill-fated group of firemen unleash Myers (James Jude Courtney) from his burning prison. Now, as an angry Michael starts carving up the town, locals, including 1978 survivors Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) and Lonnie Elam (Robert Longstreet), decide it’s time to hunt him down and put an end to his reign of terror.

Halloween Kills is again directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) who co-wrote with Danny McBride and Scott Teems. The result is an incredibly polarized mixed bag with some really great scenes and scenes that borderline suck. The good stuff is anything involving Michael. The opening flashback to his capture in 1978 is one of the best Halloween sequences outside of the 1978 original and has a really shocking surprise cameo. The scene of Michael decimating his first responder rescue team is not only already controversial, but quite intense and bloody. The Michael Myers here is angry and his stalk and kill scenes are intense, very graphically violent and sometimes outright scary. They have impact and we see one of the most vicious portrayals of Michael Myers since Rob Zombie’s flicks. Unfortunately, the scenes featuring Tommy Doyle and his mob of frenzied townies at the hospital are downright terrible. The dialogue spoken by Doyle and the hospital security chief, former sheriff Brackett (Charles Cyphers), is awful and hearing an angry mob shouting “Evil dies tonight!” in the hospital lobby is almost laughable, if one wasn’t busy cringing. Add in the silly mob pursuit of another escaped mental patient mistaken for Michael and hilarity not intensity ensues. How could Green nail the scenes with Michael so well and completely bungle everything else? Laurie is sidelined for pretty much the entire movie, with Karen and Allyson taking up the mantle of Myers hunters and their confrontation with him at the old Myers house is thankfully one of the things Green gets right. The gore is plentiful and quite gruesome and the violence is quite brutal, but it’s sadly the stuff that should have given this dramatic weight that fails so badly here. At least Carpenter, his son Cody and Daniel Davies provide a really good score and David Gordon Green still has a good eye for visuals. The film looks great and the score really punches up the kill scenes. Everything else just induces a lot of intense eye rolling and mumblings of “WTF” were they thinking.

The cast are a mixed bag, too. Curtis does the best with what little she has to work with and it’s Greer and Matichak that shine here, as they go on the offensive with mom Laurie in the hospital. Anthony Michael Hall just doesn’t click as Tommy Doyle, who, for some reason, is given the Dr. Loomis role here. It doesn’t work and his Loomis-esque dialogue is terrible. Dylan Arnold is good again as Cameron and Robert Longstreet is fine as his dad Lonnie. Rounding out the original character returns is Kyle Richards returning to her original role as Lindsey, Cyphers as Brackett and Nancy Stephens returning as Nurse Marion. Nice to see these original faces, but they could have been better used. Also returning is Omar J Dorsey as Sheriff Barker and Will Patton as Hawkins. James Jude Courtney is once again imposing as Michael Myers.

What can one say. After a fantastic opening sequence and an intense and brutal escape by Michael Myers, the film turns into a silly pitchfork and torch mob movie—and yes, there is actually a pitchfork at one point—with some scenes that feature awful dialogue and completely misfire, killing any intensity the Myers stalk and kill scenes have. With those at least, the film lives up to it’s promise with David Gordon Green really nailing these scenes and giving us the vicious, brutal and scary Michael Myers that we came to see. We can only hope Halloween Ends is exactly that and this incarnation of  Myers can finally rest in peace.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated a generous 3 (out of 4) carving knives, because the Michael scenes rocked. Happy Halloween 🎃!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 31 HORROR FLICKS FOR THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN 2021!

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While I watch dozens of horror films during the month of October…these are a mix of classic favorites and recent horrors that I feel are especially perfect to watch during the Halloween season!

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(Click on the titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews!)

 

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haunt 06Harper (Katie Stevens) and friends visit the wrong Halloween haunt on Halloween night!

-MonsterZero NJ

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RANDOM NONSENSE: VINTAGE HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS!

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VINTAGE HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS!

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Ordered these fun vintage style wall decorations from Ryan Dowell Art! Halloween 🎃 is on the horizon and it’s time to start planning the decorations! Ryan is a talented artist with some really spooky cool Halloween decorations of his own design for sale on his website! His prices are reasonable and he often runs sales, so check it out at the link below!

Here’s a better look from Ryan’s web store!

Check out all of Ryan’s holiday art decorations at https://ryandowellart.myshopify.com/

…or you can skip straight to his Halloween 🎃 stuff through this link here…

https://ryandowellart.myshopify.com/collections/horror-movies

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MonsterZero NJ

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