HALLOWEEN ENDS GETS A TEASER TRAILER!

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HALLOWEEN ENDS GETS A TEASER TRAILER!

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From the official Universal Pictures Youtube page synopsis…

“This is Laurie Strode’s last stand.

After 45 years, the most acclaimed, revered horror franchise in film history reaches its epic, terrifying conclusion as Laurie Strode faces off for the last time against the embodiment of evil, Michael Myers, in a final confrontation unlike any captured on-screen before. Only one of them will survive.

Icon Jamie Lee Curtis returns for the last time as Laurie Strode, horror’s first “final girl” and the role that launched Curtis’ career. Curtis has portrayed Laurie for more than four decades now, one of the longest actor-character pairings in cinema history. When the franchise relaunched in 2018, Halloween shattered box office records, becoming the franchise’s highest-grossing chapter and set a new record for the biggest opening weekend for a horror film starring a woman.

Four years after the events of last year’s Halloween Kills, Laurie is living with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) and is finishing writing her memoir. Michael Myers hasn’t been seen since. Laurie, after allowing the specter of Michael to determine and drive her reality for decades, has decided to liberate herself from fear and rage and embrace life. But when a young man, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell; The Hardy Boys, Virgin River), is accused of killing a boy he was babysitting, it ignites a cascade of violence and terror that will force Laurie to finally confront the evil she can’t control, once and for all.

Halloween Ends co-stars returning cast Will Patton as Officer Frank Hawkins, Kyle Richards as Lindsey Wallace and James Jude Courtney as The Shape.

From the creative team that relaunched the franchise with 2018’s Halloween and Halloween Kills, the film is directed by David Gordon Green from a screenplay by Paul Brad Logan (Manglehorn), Chris Bernier (The Driver series), Danny McBride and David Gordon Green, based on characters created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Halloween Ends is produced by Malek Akkad, Jason Blum and Bill Block. The executive producers are John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, Ryan Freimann, Ryan Turek, Andrew Golov, Thom Zadra and Christopher H. Warner.

Universal Pictures, Miramax and Blumhouse present a Malek Akkad production, in association with Rough House Pictures.”

Much anticipated final chapter in the Halloween franchise opens 10/14/22.

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source/photos: Universal Pictures

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and THE ROAD WARRIOR

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This edition of MZNJ’s Saturday Night Double Feature has an apocalyptic theme, with two of MZNJ’s all-time favorite apocalyptic features!…

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ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981)

Escape From New York is one of my all-time favorite B movies and a bonafide film classic. I instantly fell in love with this film upon seeing it opening night at the legendary Oritani Theater in Hackensack, N.J. and John Carpenter solidified himself as one of my favorite directors.

An outrageously original idea has New York City in a war torn, crime filled, future turned into a maximum-security prison, and legendary director Carpenter makes it work by taking his subject matter just seriously enough to make the audience buy it. Add to that a colorful cast of characters, including one of the greatest, and sadly underused, film anti-heros of all time, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), and you have the recipe for a B movie classic.

The story is simple, war hero turned outlaw, Snake Plissken has been captured and is about to be sentenced to life imprisonment in New York City Penitentiary. Fate intervenes and the President’s (Donald Pleasence) plane is hijacked on the way to a crucial peace summit and crashed inside the city. Former special forces soldier Plissken is the only man skilled enough to sneak in quietly and get him out alive, and Snake now has a chance at a full pardon for all his crimes if he takes the job. A vicious gang leader called The Duke Of New York (Isaac Hayes) has other ideas for both The President and Snake, who has less then 24 hours to complete his mission, or the world goes back to war and the micro explosives implanted in his neck to keep him compliant, will go off.

Director and co-writer (with Nick Castle) Carpenter creates some nice tension and suspense, and his visual eye is great at creating a gloomy hellhole out of the world’s greatest city. Dean Cundey’s cinematography is absolutely beautiful as it captures the world inside New York, which is very effectively portrayed on a small budget. Carpenter moves the film along well, although not as fast paced as today’s audience are used to, and there is plenty of action and chases to keep one entertained. Despite being released in 1981, this film may be the last film to have a real 70s feel to it before the Lethal Weapons and Die Hards changed action films forever. Another film that inspired many and was imitated many times and another great Carpenter film score to add to the atmosphere.

As for the cast… Kurt Russell does his best Clint Eastwood as Snake and it’s only natural then to pair him up with Eastwood co-star Lee Van Cleef as Police Commissioner, Bob Hauk. Rounding out the cast is Halloween vet Donald Pleasence as the President, Harry Dean Stanton as Brain, Carpenter’s then wife, Adrienne Barbeau as Maggie, Ernest Borgnine as Cabbie and legendary soul man Isaac Hayes as The Duke of New York. Not to forget, there is also genre favorite Tom Atkins as Hauk’s right-hand man, Rehme and frequent Carpenter collaborator Charles Cyphers as the Secretary of State. A simply classic B-movie sci-fi/action flick and one of my all-time favorites!

MONSTERZERO NJ EXTRA TRIVIA:  The studio wanted Charles Bronson as Snake, but Carpenter fought for his choice of former Disney child actor, Russell and the rest is history. Also, the SPFX were done in part by a then unknown James Cameron, who went on to direct Terminator and Titanic. And despite its setting, most of the film was lensed in St. Louis and L.A. with only one-night actual shooting in NYC at the Statue of Liberty.

One of the greatest B-movies of all time!

Rated a classic 4 (out of 4) Snakes

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THE ROAD WARRIOR aka MAD MAX 2 (1981)

Road Warrior is simply an action classic and one of my all-time favorite movies. It still holds up today even after over 40 years and is still better than most of the CGI filled action flicks that get churned out today. I was stunned upon leaving the theater after first seeing it at the Stanley Warner in Paramus, N.J. in 1981 and the film still has its magic when I watch it all these years later.

The film is set years after the events of 1979’s Mad Max and takes place after an apocalyptic collapse of society triggered by the drying up of fuel sources and the resulting panic. It follows ex-cop Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), who we last saw avenging the murder of his wife and child against a savage biker gang, and now wanders the wasteland fighting to survive amidst the scavengers, a once loving family man transformed into a ruthless survivor who looks out only for himself. Max stumbles across a small desert community that is manufacturing fuel but is also battling a large gang of thugs who want to take the gas and slaughter all those inside. Max’s need for fuel leads him to align himself with the embattled village but is it something more that makes him risk his life as the villagers make a desperate attempt to escape the ‘vermin on machines’ and find a better place to start a new life.

The Road Warrior is simply a great movie. One of the greatest action films ever made, the film that turned Gibson into a star and launched dozens of cheap imitations and still inspires filmmakers today (I recommend Neil Marshall’s outrageously fun homage Doomsday). George Miller creates a world that is an apocalyptic Sergio Leone western in S & M gear and features some of the most furious action/chase scenes ever committed to film. He populates this world with a cast of eccentric characters from the bizarre and whimsical Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence) to the equally surreal gang leader Lord Humungus (Kjell Nilsson) and his mohawked henchman Wes (Vernon Wells). Beneath all the leather and carnage, the film also has a heart and a soul and that’s what sets it apart. Ultimately it is about clinging to and regaining one’s humanity in the face of adversity. Not only is Max rediscovering he has a heart underneath the bodies of all those he has killed and all that he has lost but civilization as well is struggling to regain what’s been lost against those who would take advantage of its ruin. Amidst the bone-crushing action and blood-spattering violence there is a message of hope and that is really what makes this film so special and gives it so much substance. Director Miller mixes in his message perfectly with the action, offsetting the brutality with a quirky sense of humor, so the bleak nature of the film never wears you down. A perfect blend of elements if there ever was one. Miller also gives the film a look that would make Leone and Kurosawa proud and Dean Selmer’s cinematography brings it to life along with Norma Moriceau’s inventive costume design and, of course, all the amazing stunt work and action choreography. Wrap that up in Brian May’s pulse pounding score and you have a cinematic experience that is just as effective today as it was over 40 years ago. Miller co-wrote the script with Terry Hayes and Brian Hannant and the film was produced by Miller’s friend and Mad Max producer Byron Kennedy, who would tragically be killed 2 years later in a helicopter crash.

The cast really are perfect, especially for bringing such colorful and strange characters to life. Gibson is both samurai and gunslinger as the iconic Max, portraying a man who is deadly, cunning but still has a heart buried deep down that enables him to become a hero when there are those in need. His actions may seem selfish at first, but the cop and family man are still in there needing a good reason to re-emerge. Bruce Spence is a delight as the goofy Gyro Captain, a bizarre individual who flies a gyro copter over the vicious inhabitants of the wasteland and survives by his wits and the help of his pet snakes. A truly endearing and memorable character. Nilsson and Wells create formidable villains becoming the signature template for all the bad guys in practically every post-apocalyptic action rip-off that arose after this became a sensation. They are both oddballs and nut jobs but very lethal characters with Wells’ Wes practically stealing the show as the loose cannon, psychotic henchman. We also have Michael Preston who is a noble leader as the in-over-his-head Pappagallo, a man who believes civilization is not lost and plans to start again. Young Emil Minty is a hoot as the Feral Child, a stray dog of a little boy who communicates in growls and is quite resourceful and scrappy in a fight, and Virginia Hey is noble and strong as the simply named Warrior Woman, who fights just as hard as any man. There are many other supporting players and they all do well in establishing personalities for their offbeat characters. An almost perfect cast for a film masterpiece.

What else can I say. This film is a masterpiece of action and storytelling and is one of the most influential films of its time. It is one of my all-time favorites and a film that is just as effective today as it was in 1981. It is a clear example that action movies can have a story and a soul and still deliver mind blowing sequences without a lick of CGI. Often imitated but never equaled. A classic in every sense of the word.

Rated 4 (out of 4) warriors of the wasteland!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)

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Big Trouble!

As it is the anniversary of its release, a look back at this now classic action fantasy…
Once again director John Carpenter was ahead of his time with this spin on the type of SPFX filled supernatural/martial arts flicks that were being made as part of the revisionist Hong Kong cinema of the 80s and 90s like Zu: Warriors From The Magic Mountain (1983). Unfortunately, like his masterpiece The ThingBig Trouble failed at the box office and would only years later be recognized and loved for the classic it is. As an avid fan of Carpenter, I was there opening night in 1986 and my friends and I loved it and immediately started quoting characters and making references, years before it got the attention it deserved. I’m proud to have championed this flick from the beginning. I had yet to see Zu, but heard enough and saw enough from the film, to know what Carpenter was doing. The Hong Kong cinema wouldn’t catch on here in the US till the early 90s and sadly it was only then when movie fans realized that Carpenter nailed the spirit and frantic fun of those movies perfectly with this deliriously entertaining flick!

 

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Don’t mess with Jack Burton!

 

Photos: 20th Century Fox

-MonsterZero NJ

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BREAKING NEWS: FATHOM EVENTS TO FIX ASPECT RATIO FOR CARPENTER’S THE THING!

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BREAKING NEWS: FATHOM EVENTS TO FIX ASPECT RATIO FOR CARPENTER’S THE THING!

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After fan anger and disappointment was unleased online, led by filmmaker and horror expert Mick Garris, due to Fathom Events’ sub-par print of John Carpenter’s The Thing that was screened Sunday night, Fathom has responded! As stated in an article appearing on Variety’s website last night, Fathom Events will replace the shoddy print with a print in the film’s original theatrical aspect ratio for Wednesday’s scheduled screenings!
 
Fathom’s statement as per the Variety article…

 

“Your patronage and trust are of utmost importance to us. We know you come to theaters expecting the very best experience possible and we pride ourselves in being the provider of that experience,” the statement reads. “We are aware that the recent showing of ‘The Thing; wasn’t shown in its original aspect ratio and the disappointment it caused. Wednesday’s scheduled event will be shown in the proper aspect ratio, so you can see the film in theaters, as it was meant to be seen.”

Nothing was said about refunding or appeasing those, like myself, that saw it Sunday with the inferior print, but at least those seeing it at the Wednesday showings will get to see it as John Carpenter intended! Thank you, Mick Garris!

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: Variety and Mick Garris’ Instagram

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S MOVIE MEMORIES: HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING (1982)!

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING (1982)!

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The ill-fated crew of U.S. outpost #31 from John Carpenter’s The Thing!

John Carpenter’s production of The Thing turns 40 years old on 6/25/22 and I was fortunate to see it at a preview screening a week earlier at the long-gone Totowa Cinema in Totowa, N.J. At this point I was already a John Carpenter fan and The Thing from Another World, which is the first film adaptation John W. Campbell Jr’s Who Goes There?, was one of my childhood favorites. I was very excited and as there was no internet to spoil things, I didn’t know what to expect apart from a few stills posted in Starlog and a cast and crew with some familiar faces and names. I was wowed to say the least by this groundbreaking adaptation with some of the most amazing make-up FX I’d ever seen! There was no traditional monster such as in Alien, but a creature that changed shape and form every time you saw it and right before you eyes. I loved the flick and was actually mad when it opened officially a week later to bad reviews and even worse box office. I saw it at least twice more in a theater before it’s sadly brief theatrical run came to an end. now, after four decades I can be happy that the film is finally recognized and regarded as the classic that it is!

 

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Something not of this world has been unleashed from it’s icy tomb!

Last night John Carpenter’s flick, now rightfully recognized as the masterpiece it is, returned to theaters to commemorate it’s 40th anniversary thanks to AMC and Fathom Events. It was a bittersweet return as, sadly, it was an inferior print that was not only faded and sometimes a bit blurry but cropped from the film’s original 2:35 aspect ratio to something more resembling 1:85! WTF!? This totally betrayed Carpenter’s impeccable visual style and Dean Cundey’s masterful cinematography. On that level it was very disappointing. However, the heart and soul of this science fiction/horror was still intact, and it was still a blast and a good time to see Kurt Russell and co-stars up on the big screen once more battling Rob Bottin’s shape-shifting alien monstrosity. It brought back a lot of memories from my first screening in 1982 and proved this flick has lost none of its potency four decades later. It will always remain one of my all-time favorites and if you truly want to see it as intended, pick up Scream Factory’s collector’s edition. The print is a beautifully restored high definition transfer that presents this masterpiece of alien terror in all it’s gory glory!

 

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A last stand against the alien invader!

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-MonsterZero NJ

Photos: Universal Pictures

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BARE BONES: FIRESTARTER (2022)

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FIRESTARTER (2022)

Blumhouse/Universal flick is a remake of the 1984 thriller, which in turn, was an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. The story is the same. A young couple Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) undergo drug experiments that give them special abilities. More troublesome, is their daughter Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) is born with the power to set fires with her mind. Now the shady organization that created them is hunting them down to take control of Charlie’s incendiary skills.

Update is lamely directed by Keith Thomas from a weak script by Scott Teems that fixes none of the problems with the original film’s screenplay. There is no suspense, the film is extremely by-the-numbers and dull, the villains are boring and the performances stale. Only young Ryan Kiera Armstrong gives her underwritten role a little life. There has been little or no publicity for this release and now it’s obvious why. Aside from being completely forgettable, the film even looks cheap. The only redeeming thing about the flick is the score by legendary filmmaker/composer John Carpenter, his son Cody and Daniel A. Davies. The delightful irony here is that Carpenter was originally set to direct the 1984 version before being fired after the lackluster box office performance of The Thing. Now his contribution is the only memorable part of this pointless remake. Film is currently available in theaters and streaming on Peacock.

-MonsterZero NJ

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HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN!

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We are officially halfway to Halloween! As you may know by now it’s my favorite time of year! So, to herald the halfway point, I think a film festival is in order! Which flicks will you watch!?

(Just click on the movies posters to go to our look at these classics!)

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   source: MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: STUDIO 666 (2022)

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STUDIO 666 (2022)

Foo Fighters horror/comedy opens in 1993 with a pretty and very wounded girl (Jenna Ortega) crawling across a floor and meeting a gruesome fate. We then cut to modern day as the Foo Fighters are under pressure to deliver their 10th album and move into an ominous mansion to record it…a mansion where a band gruesomely met their deaths decades earlier. Soon the guys are embroiled in a blood-spattered tale of spooky specters, evil books, demonic possession and flying body parts.
Flick is directed by BJ McDonnell from a script by Jeff Buhler and Rebeca Hughes from a story by Dave Grohl, himself. As such it is an hour and forty-one minutes of silliness, spookiness, gore and mildly amusing jokes. One probably has to be a big fan of Grohl and the band to truly find these proceedings entertaining, though the effort has it’s torn-out heart in the right place. There is abundant gore once things get going, a lot of classic horror tropes and clichés are poked fun of, there’s a little rock n’ roll, and there are some legitimately spooky and amusing bits amongst the ones that fall flat. The flick is about ten to fifteen minutes too long, though, and could have used a much snappier pace. The Foo Fighters obviously play themselves, with Grohl taking center stage, and do get the tone of the material. The band members are also surrounded by guest appearances from Will Forte and Lionel Richie, not to mention horror queen on the rise Jenna Ortega, as a member of the ill-fated 1993 band Dream Widow. The flick is made with an obvious love of horror movies, and it does show, as it uses elements from its influences brazenly. Even if it’s not totally successful at what it sets out to do, and is a bit overlong and self-indulgent at times, there are far worse ways to spend 100 minutes.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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RANDOM NONSENSE: ULTIMATE MICHAEL MYERS & DR LOOMIS 2-PACK FROM NECA!

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ULTIMATE MICHAEL MYERS & DR LOOMIS 2-PACK FROM NECA!

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Good things came in the mail today! NECA has been hitting it out of the park with some of their recent figures and there was no way I was passing up a chance to have a Dr. Loomis action figure in the collection! My Ultimate Michael Myers & Dr Loomis 2-Pack arrived today, and it is awesome!

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REVIEW: IN SEARCH OF TOMORROW (2022)

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IN SEARCH OF TOMORROW (2022)

In Search of Darkness and its sequel were four-hour documentaries about 80s horror films from producer/creator Robin Block and writer/director David A. Weiner. Now the duo are back with a nearly five-hour documentary about 80s science fiction films called In Search of Tomorrow! The 80s was a great time for science fiction flicks and filmmaker David A. Weiner presents a host of movie footage and interviewees for in-depth coverage of some of the all-time classics, while also focusing on some of the decade’s more obscure films.

New documentary follows the format of the others, covering each year of the decade and some of the films made during that that year. It’s Weiner’s best yet as this flick really holds one’s interest firmly, delivering a fun and informative look back, that keeps the audience engaged for almost five hours! It’s a true love letter to 80s science fiction cinema!

Weiner rolls out a multitude of guests discussing classics, cult classics and some well-intended bombs, from a decade that cranked out sci-fi at a fever pitch! We get scenes from a great number of films, including classics like The Thing, The Terminator, Robocop and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and cult films like Buckaroo Banzai, Galaxy of Terror and Earth Girls Are Easy. We also get interview subjects such as Peter Weller, Nicholas Meyer, Clancy Brown and John Carpenter, to name just a scant few, and we also get some new perspectives like those of journalist Angélique Roché and podcaster Dr. Andrea Letamendi. Actors, directors, FX legends, production designers, along with contemporary journalists and 80s experts, all provide their own point of view and share dozens of personal on-set anecdotes. It makes for a nice variety of perspectives. It’s a wonderful retrospective that really does not feel as long as it is and is delightfully uncensored in both scenes shown and commentary made by its multitude of entertaining guests.

As with the In Search of Darkness documentaries, this one has an extensive running time at four hours and fifty minutes.  It sounds like a long-haul but goes by very quickly and if you are a fan of 80s sci-fi flicks, or even better, old enough to have been there at the time, then watching this is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon, or a Saturday evening on the couch. In Search of Tomorrow is available for pre-order starting today and running till 3/27 at www.80sscifidoc.com. There were a lot of films not covered, so bring on In Search of Tomorrow part II!

MZNJ PERSONAL NOTE: As I said with the last documentaries…Being old enough to have been in a theater for a lot of these flicks, not only did this documentary take me back to my favorite era of movies, but actually brought to my attention a couple of flicks I missed. Bravo again, Robin Block and David A. Weiner!

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 4 (out of 4) terminators.

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