Category Archives: Films

My Thoughts on: Moonfall (2022)

*note: this review was originally published on Patreon for my subscribers

In a nutshell: Moonfall is 100% pure dumb fun, but in a really good way.

I knew going in that the plot was going to be batsh*t crazy. I mean, it wasn’t enough to have the moon crashing into the Earth, it’s ALSO secretly an alien spaceship? I just had to see how all of this could possibly fit into a single film and, if you ignore basic physics, it actually tells a pretty decent story. The way I see it, Emmerich came up with the core premise first (the Moon is secretly an alien spaceship) and then spent the rest of his time devising a plot that led up to this reveal because he was so determined to put the idea on the screen. 

This movie managed to stuff every disaster movie cliche into it. And the cheesy dialogue, oh my goodness…the cheesiness is almost unbearable at times, but God help me I loved it. With the world continuing to be a messed up place, sometimes you need a cheesy disaster movie with relatively good special effects to take you out of your head for a little while. And in that regard, Moonfall absolutely succeeds. Yes, the dialogue is pretty spotty, and as I said before, I’m almost certain they ignored the basic principles of physics throughout the film, but it is still enjoyable, despite all that.

One of my favorite parts was the completely unexpected chemistry between Patrick Wilson and John Bradley. There’s almost an “Odd Couple” level of chemistry between them that, once it gets established, works really well.for the remainder of the film. I didn’t expect it at all, but I totally loved it.

The disaster scenes play out pretty much like you’d expect them to, though there actually wasn’t as much as I thought there’d be given that the entire planet is being damaged. The space scenes were pretty well done, though there’s one scene late in the movie that gave me flashbacks to Mission to Mars (2000), and in fact it wouldn’t surprise me to find out this scene was in fact an homage to that film.

All of this is to say that if you want to spend a little time with a dumb fun popcorn movie, go see Moonfall. It’s far from the greatest movie ever made, but I enjoyed it, and really in the end isn’t that all that matters? Beneath all the cliches and cheesiness is a decent story that surprisingly leaves a small door open for a sequel. And you know what? I almost wouldn’t mind seeing a followup to this movie, if only to see what they do next.

Those are my thoughts on Moonfall, let me know if you enjoyed watching the movie or if you watch it at all.

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Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Death on the Nile (2022)

*note: this review was originally published on Patreon last month

After several years of delays (this movie was originally scheduled for 2019), I’ve finally gotten to see Death on the Nile, the second movie featuring detective Hercule Poirot from director and star Kenneth Branagh. As with the first film, Murder on the Orient Express, this film features an all star cast set, as the title implies, in Egypt. In fact most of the action takes place along the Nile River, and what a story it is!

Let me start off by saying that Death on the Nile was absolutely worth the wait. As with Murder on the Orient Express, I was almost immediately pulled in by the gorgeous cinematography that permeates Death on the Nile. I don’t know if this is part of Branagh’s style or something that’s just unique to the two Poirot films he’s made, but there’s an almost unique look and feel to these two films that I’ve seen nowhere else and it completely mesmerizes me. 

You really do feel like you’ve been plopped down into Egypt circa 1937 (a much different place than the Egypt of today) and I can’t overstate how much I love this film’s attention to the little details. You can feel all the textures of the fabric, you can almost smell the food, and the colors just pop out everywhere. 

And what’s even better is that the story is completely deserving of this rich and colorful backdrop. If you enjoy a good mystery, then Death on the Nile will keep you guessing for most of the film. There is one sub-plot that feels slightly shoehorned in (and I subsequently learned it’s original and not part of Agatha Christie’s novel, so that might explain that), but it’s not bad by any means. I have no complaints with the main plot. The solution to the mystery (if you haven’t read the source novel) might seem like a complete surprise, but the way the story is put together, it all seems super obvious in hindsight. I like how little clues are seeded throughout the story, little things that seem meaningless until Poirot calls attention to them. I feel like that will give a lot of rewatch appeal to the movie, because you’ll want to watch it over and over to see if you can see what Poirot does.

On top of all of this, Patrick Doyle puts in a magnificent score that perfectly suits the film’s Egyptian setting. At some point I hope to do a proper score review on my blog, but for now suffice to say the music of Death on the Nile alone is worth checking out. I love how the blues was integrated into the film’s score. I haven’t heard this much diegetic music in a film in a long time and I lord every bit of it!

Ok, now to address the elephant in the room: I know a lot of people are probably going to avoid this film because of everything that happened with Armie Hammer. I get that, I do, but if you ignore this film because of one part of the performance then you are seriously missing out. This film is so good, don’t let one bad apple (so to speak) keep you away from what is otherwise a great film.

I’ll say it again, do not sleep on Death on the Nile, it’s really good.

Let me know what you think about Death on the Nile in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Belle (2021)

*note: this review was originally published on Patreon in January

*warning: Minor spoilers about Belle will be discussed below. If you don’t want to know, I highly suggest watching the movie first.

In January I went to see Belle in theaters. This is a movie I’ve wanted to see since last year. In fact, Belle is the reason why I applied to cover the New York Film Festival (though sadly I didn’t get accepted that time).

First, some basic details about the movie before I get into why I absolutely loved it. Belle premiered on July 15, 2021 at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was directed by Mamoru Hosoda whose past films include (but are not limited to): Mirai, Wolf Children, and Summer Wars. The film is loosely based on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and, I would somewhat argue, also takes inspiration from Disney’s 1991 adaptation of the fairy tale also.

I’ve rarely found an anime film I didn’t like, but I didn’t expect Belle to completely sweep me off my feet like it did. The animation throughout the film is beautiful, but everything set inside the digital world “U” is drop-dead gorgeous and stunning. I swear the colors pop much more vibrantly during these portions of the story, so much so that when you return to “reality” it feels almost drab in comparison.

And then there’s the story of Belle, my god this story….if I could give all of you one word of warning, do NOT let the fact that this film is loosely (I emphasize LOOSELY) based on Beauty and the Beast temper your expectations about what this film is going to be like. The Beauty and the Beast parallels are only one portion of the overall story, which goes far deeper than I ever dreamed it would. I can’t discuss it in any more detail than that because I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say some serious issues are brought up. You should definitely be prepared to cry before the film is over.

Even more than the animation, I think the music of Belle might be the best thing about it. Now, I should note that my first watch through of Belle was with the English dub, so I haven’t heard the original Japanese yet, but the English dub songs are heartbreakingly beautiful. I wasn’t sure how I would react to this film essentially being a musical (Belle the character has several musical numbers throughout the film) but each song is so beautiful I had no trouble getting lost in the music. The songs are just so beautiful, I’ll have to do a soundtrack review for my blog at some point.

One last thought before my conclusions: I am convinced there are parallels between this film and the 1991 Beauty and the Beast film. Look at the interior of the Castle and the dancing sequence and try to tell me the animators did not take inspiration from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. And I don’t mean that in a bad way either, Disney’s adaptation is iconic, it’s flattering that Belle would include an homage or two to that film.

In conclusion, Belle is a masterpiece of animation and could easily be the best film I see this year. I know we’re only just over two weeks into 2022 but I stand by this statement: the bar has been set so high for best film of the year, it’s going to take a while for anything to surpass Belle in my mind.

Let me know what you think about Belle in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Animated Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Horror of Dracula (1958)

As it was Peter Cushing who drew me into Hammer horror films in the first place, I suppose it was only a matter of time until I got to Horror of Dracula (also released as “Dracula” but I’m going by the title on my copy), the first of Hammer’s Dracula films and the first to feature Christopher Lee as the notorious vampire.

Considering I grew up knowing Christopher Lee primarily for his role as Saruman in The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit and as Count Dooku in Star Wars, discovering Lee’s horror roles has been eye-opening to say the very least. Oh, to be sure I knew that Christopher Lee had a lengthy history in horror, but it’s one thing to read about it and quite another to watch it on the screen. And one thing I’d heard for several years now is that his portrayal of Count Dracula was must-see.

And is it ever! While I was astonished to learn that Lee is on screen as Dracula in this movie for less than ten minutes, you’d never know it from the way he dominates the screen. I got a cold chill when he appeared for the first time as this looming figure at the top of the stairs. I love how Lee’s Dracula just oozes charm during his introduction. This is how I’ve always imagined Dracula to be: just this overwhelmingly charismatic figure that anyone would find irresistible if you didn’t know he was actually a centuries-old vampire. Also, I love the cape that Lee wears throughout the film, this is definitely what a vampire’s cape should look like.

Now, Lee’s appearance in the film aside, the story of this film did bother me just a little. Unfortunately for this film, I’m quite familiar with Bram Stoker’s original novel and my brain couldn’t help but point out differences between book and film throughout the story. This despite the fact that I know a Dracula movie isn’t beholden to copy Stoker’s novel to the letter. It’s just..this story is in some respects so close to the book and yet so different. I mean, we still have Mina and Lucy, and Dr. Van Helsing of course, but that’s where the similarities pretty much end and I don’t know why but the differences bothered me just a little.

Speaking of Van Helsing, I think I like Peter Cushing in this role just as much as I like him playing Baron Frankenstein. He projects such an air of authority that you have no trouble believing that this is an expert vampire hunter who will stop at nothing to see all vampires eradicated from the face of the earth. In fact, he plays the part so well that I found it legitimately frustrating when certain characters found ways to circumvent his instructions (I felt a similar way while watching The Brides of Dracula).

As for the horror elements in this movie, I was sufficiently scared throughout the movie. Believe it or not there’s at least one jump scare in this movie that had me almost jumping out of my skin. Most of the scares have to do with Christopher Lee and that gorgeous score that accompanies the film. Even before Lee makes his appearances as Dracula, you just know he’s coming from the music alone, which makes the moment he appears so much more terrifying.

There’s so much more I could say about Horror of Dracula but it all essentially boils down to the same thing: this is a great entry in the list of Hammer horror films and one I greatly enjoyed watching. The only way it could’ve improved was with more screen time from Christopher Lee’s Dracula, but I take comfort knowing that Lee returns as the titular vampire in Dracula: Prince of Darkness (a film I hope to review later this year).

Let me know what you think about Horror of Dracula in the comments below and have a great day!

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Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Ever since I saw Frankenstein Created Woman and The Evil of Frankenstein last year, I was obsessed with getting to the very beginning of Hammer’s Frankenstein saga by hunting down The Curse of Frankenstein. Well, the recent holidays finally gave me the chance to acquire this film and I finally got the chance to see Peter Cushing’s introduction to the story of Frankenstein.

I’ve had quite a bit of time to turn this story over in my brain and I’ve reached some interesting conclusions about it. While the original 1931 Frankenstein is unquestionably superior, there are some good things to be found in Hammer’s interpretation of the story. Most notably, the best thing about The Curse of Frankenstein is Peter Cushing as the titular character. I’ve liked every iteration of Cushing as Baron Frankenstein so far, but this version, obviously the youngest (20 years before Star Wars for context) might just be my favorite. It’s here in The Curse of Frankenstein that we see how Frankenstein’s obsession with creating life got started.

And what’s really interesting about Frankenstein’s obsession is how it grows by degrees. He doesn’t start out immediately wanting to create life in a new body, it all starts as an innocent interest in science and higher learning. When he finds a brilliant tutor to teach him, the pair spend years delving deep into science and medicine until finally they’ve seemingly unlocked the secret of life and death, a huge medical discovery, but it’s at this point that Frankenstein’s devious mind begins to make itself known. Rather than share this discovery with the world, Frankenstein wants to keep it to himself and use it to breach the ultimate boundary: making a body and giving it life, effectively playing God. In this film as in the 1931 Universal film, this is presented as the greatest offense one could possibly commit against nature. It’s made abundantly clear that what Frankenstein is doing is completely immoral, the only one who can’t see that is Frankenstein himself.

It’s rather frightening how Cushing plays Frankenstein. As the story progresses and Frankenstein is pushed again and again to give up his experiments, his obsession with creating a body and proving that he’s right (never mind the question of whether he should to begin with) grows until it dominates every facet of his life. And the most unnerving part is that Frankenstein seemingly can’t see how he’s coming across to those around him. He’s robbing graves, picking up body parts from seedy charnel houses, he spends hours in his laboratory covered in blood putting a body together and he has no idea of how insane this makes him look. In fact, he’s driven so far that he, at one point, commits cold-blooded murder without so much as flinching in the brutal aftermath. A chilling performance indeed.

In fact, the story is so particularly insane that I have a theory. You see, the story of The Curse of Frankenstein is bookended by Frankenstein being in jail about to be executed for a crime he alleges he didn’t commit. The bulk of the film is a long flashback where he explains his side of the story. At the end of his recollection, his former tutor and alleged partner in the bulk of the experiment comes to visit him and Frankenstein begs him to tell the authorities that it’s all true. The tutor coldly denies everything, condemning Frankenstein to the guillotine with his omission and it seems that the tutor has gained the ultimate vengeance by keeping silent and leaving Frankenstein to his fate. However…it’s occurred to me that there’s another solution.

See….back when I was in grad school I learned about this thing in storytelling called unreliable narrators. Now, 99% of the time, when a story is being narrated to us, be it in a book, TV or film, you trust that you, the reader/viewer, are being told the absolute truth. But sometimes, and Game of Thrones (the books, not the show) is a noteworthy example, you get a story where you can NOT trust that the narrator is telling you the truth. And as I watched the closing minutes of The Curse of Frankenstein play out, it occurred to me that Baron Frankenstein might just be an unreliable narrator. Think about it, suppose this entire story of creating a monster is just the ravings of a man gone incurably insane? It’s frighteningly plausible and it really makes you rethink the story as it’s been told to you.

I also really enjoyed Hazel Court’s performance as Elizabeth. I instantly recognized her from her role in The Masque of the Red Death and was delighted to discover that she was in this film opposite Cushing for a decent chunk of the story. Interestingly, those beautiful dresses she wears throughout the film are vintage pieces from the Victorian era. Part of me wants to find it hard to believe that Elizabeth could stay ignorant for as long as she did about what Frankenstein was doing, but then I remember that Cushing’s Baron Frankenstein is such a charmer that it would be quite easy to be distracted from what’s going on.

Finally, I’m still not sure how I feel about Christopher Lee as Frankenstein’s monster. It doesn’t help that I’ve seen all of the Karloff Frankenstein films first and I’m pretty sure that’s colored my reception of Lee in the role. Oh, he certainly does the best he can with the role, it just…it just doesn’t compare to Karloff’s Monster.

If you haven’t seen any of Hammer’s Frankenstein films, I highly recommend starting with The Curse of Frankenstein. I enjoyed it thoroughly and I’m looking forward to watching more Hammer films in the future.

Let me know what you think about The Curse of Frankenstein in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)

My Thoughts on: Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

After unexpectedly enjoying Resident Evil, I pushed on and continued with the sequel Resident Evil: Apocalypse. This movie picks up almost immediately after the first film leaves off, with Alice waking up in an abandoned hospital and the T-virus raging throughout Raccoon City as the zombie apocalypse begins.

I think this film surprised me even more than the first Resident Evil movie, because it was my understanding that the films decreased in quality as time went on. But that decline clearly hasn’t started yet because Resident Evil: Apocalypse, dare I say it, is a superior film to the original Resident Evil (the lack of questionable CGI is a big mark in its favor). With the first film almost completely contained in the Hive, the sequel moving the action to Raccoon City makes perfect sense.

I really like how the film actually goes back and shows how the T-virus got loose in the city to begin with, with the meddling Umbrella executives making the situation worse by forcing the Hive open, allowing the surviving zombies (and the virus) to get loose. The montage that shows the early moments of the zombie apocalypse actually has a moment that had me laughing out loud. Remember when i reviewed the first movie and I wondered aloud if this was a universe where zombie films didn’t exist? Well, I think this movie confirms that zombie movies aren’t a thing in the world of Resident Evil because there’s a funny scene where the Raccoon City PD are hauling in handcuffed zombies in the police station and treating them like regular criminals. It’s so ridiculous, I couldn’t help but laugh.

Regarding Jill Valentine…I could see in her first five minutes onscreen why people took issue with her appearance and I completely agree with all the criticisms. Here’s the thing, when you adapt a story from video games, you are not necessarily obligated to duplicate the costumes in exact detail and I think the creators of this movie forgot that. That being said, Jill is such an absolute badass in this film that I’m willing to partially overlook it. The same goes with Alice. She was already a major badass in the first film, but she took things to a whole different level in this movie. I really loved the stunts she did with the motorcycle.

One thing that I wasn’t expecting at all was to see Oded Fehr in this movie (aka Ardeth Bey in the Mummy movies). I’ve been a fan of his for years and if I’d known he was in Resident Evil movies I probably would’ve started watching them years ago.

The biggest issue I have with this movie is Nemesis. I have a hard time believing that this…monstrosity…is supposed to be that one character from the first movie. Yes, I get that the ending of the first film was heavily implying that this character was mutating…but honestly, did that much time pass between the first and second movies for him to mutate that much? Not only that, but the makeup for Nemesis is just…I don’t like it. It’s a significant improvement over the bad CGI Licker from the first movie, but it still falls short and could’ve been better.

I admit, I honestly thought the sub-plot of rescuing the daughter in exchange for escaping Raccoon City was going to work out for our heroes. That moment, when we find out the villain has been aware the whole time…man that hurt. If you’re going to do a twist like that, that’s how you do it. At least the villain got his comeuppance and then some, it was very satisfying when he tried to take the easy way out and I heard the empty gun go *click*.

While Resident Evil: Apocalypse does have its fair share of problems, it is a marked improvement over the first film with a healthy dose of “Oh BLEEP” moments scattered throughout.

Let me know what you think about Resident Evil: Apocalypse in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Resident Evil (2002)

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Resident Evil (2002)

So one of my goals in 2021 was to continue to expand my knowledge of horror films after finally admitting to myself that I do in fact enjoy the horror genre, albeit selectively. It seemed a no brainer to include the Resident Evil movies, starting with the first film in that series: Resident Evil.

Before I talk about the movie itself, I should make it perfectly clear that I have never, ever, played a single Resident Evil game (nor do I intend to) and aside from knowing about some of the more nasty monsters (like Lickers), I really don’t know anything about how the games work or how they connect, if at all, to the Milla Jovovich series of movies (I’m aware the 2021 reboot is a more direct adaptation).

All that being said…I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying Resident Evil for the most part. The initial set up with the Red Queen and the Hive is pretty scary, and I felt particularly bad for the scientists caught in the flooding lab. I also like how the film takes its time in revealing the big threat of the film, i.e. the zombies. Though speaking of the zombies…I have to wonder if Resident Evil takes place in a world where zombie movies don’t exist. Because, thinking back, it takes the group an awful long time to realize that there’s something really, REALLY wrong with the first zombies they encounter.

Once the zombies *are* introduced to the story and recognized as the threat they are, well, that’s when things get really interesting. There’s so many jump scares with those zombies I lost count. I wasn’t sure I would make it, to be honest, because zombie movies really do scare me, but thankfully the story kept the action moving enough that I didn’t have too much time to think about it.

Two of my favorite actors in this movie were Milla Jovovich as Alice and Michelle Rodriguez as Rain. I really liked how the story gave Alice amnesia so that she starts the movie knowing nothing about the situation, thus putting her in the exact same position as the audience. As Alice learns about the situation, so do we, so we have something in common with her.

I’m also a really big fan of the Red Queen, the malevolent AI Alice and company find themselves up against for most of the movie. This movie is further proof that artificial intelligence will someday be humanity’s doom (in fact I almost included this movie in my dissertation because of the Red Queen) and I love the role she plays in the latter half of the film.

That’s not to say that Resident Evil isn’t without significant flaws, because oh my God are there some glaring flaws in this movie. The most notable of which is the godawful CGI for the Licker. Oh my lord, I CRINGED when this creature first emerged and I cringed every time it appeared thereafter. I can’t even give the year as an excuse for how bad the CGI looks, because the early 90s CGI in Jurassic Park looked better than this travesty. It’s almost like the animators were 2/3 of the way done with the Licker and just decided to stop. Even the “mutated dogs” looked better than that monstrosity. I also take issue with the reveal of how the T-virus was let loose in the first place. If you’re trying to escape with a sample of the virus…why are you letting a sample go? I’m probably overthinking it but I thought it was pretty stupid of that character to set the T-virus loose like that.

Flaws aside, I did enjoy Resident Evil, enough in fact to continue watching the series (though that is a story for another day). It’s flawed, sure, but few movies are perfect.

Let me know what you think about Resident Evil in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

After making my way through the misfit Halloween III: Season of the Witch, I was more than ready to get back to the story of Michael Myers with the aptly named Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and I was not disappointed. Released six years after Halloween III, Halloween 4 moves the focus to Jamie (Danielle Harris), the young daughter of Laurie Strode (and by extension Michael’s niece) who is struggling to live with her foster family, as she suffers from constant nightmares of Michael, though she doesn’t realize it’s him as yet.

Michael conveniently escapes the day before Halloween and makes his way back to Haddonfield once he learns that he has a niece. Pursuing him along the way is Dr. Loomis, now badly scarred after suffering burns due to the conclusion of Halloween II (a nice continuity touch). There’s a noticeable difference to Loomis in this film, compared to his appearances in Halloween and Halloween II. While he was always obsessed with Michael to a certain degree, starting with this film Loomis becomes noticeably vengeful too. This is no longer a case of a doctor wanting to save the world from his incurably evil patient, now Loomis is distinctly obsessed with killing Michael to remove his evil from the world. That, combined with the scars, makes Loomis a little frightening in his own right.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the focus of Halloween moving to Jamie, a young girl. But Danielle Harris’ performance in this film is quite good, not least because she reacts to Michael exactly the way you’d expect a little kid too: with fear, terror and a lot of screaming. Speaking of, those screams practically broke my heart. It also left me completely unprepared for how the film would end (more on that in a little while).

I’ve read multiple times that people don’t like Michael’s mask in Halloween 4, but I confess I don’t see the problem with it. It’s clearly established that this is a different mask from the one he had before (he stole it from that store Jamie was in), so naturally it’s going to have a different look. It was certainly scary enough for me, I had no problem believing that was Michael Myers.

Then there’s the ending of the film and THAT final scene with Jamie. Considering it’s been over a year since I saw the original Halloween, I’d forgotten the significance of Jamie wearing a clown costume for trick or treating as young Michael wore something similar when he killed his older sister. If you make the connection back to the original film, it provides a frightening bit of foreshadowing for the horror that will come in the film’s closing moments. I particularly liked how Halloween 4 pays homage to the first film’s opening scene by giving us a POV through mask holes. And that last image of Jamie….that will remain burned in my brain for years to come, and I KNEW the scene existed! Being easily frightened, I review a summary of each Halloween film before I watch it so I’m not overwhelmed by the kills or jump scares, so I knew exactly how Halloween 4 ends. But even though I knew, it didn’t stop the ending from giving me an emotional gut punch that left me sitting stunned through the credits. That is the sign of a good film, when you know how it ends but it still gets to you anyway.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) Directed by Dwight H. Little Shown: George P. Wilbur

The original Halloween is still the best in the series, but dare I say it, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is not far behind. This is definitely one of my favorite films in the series and it left me eager to move on to Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (though in hindsight I shouldn’t have been that eager).

Let me know what you think about Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Halloween (1978)

My Thoughts on: Halloween II (1981)

My Thoughts on: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

My Thoughts on: Halloween (2018)

My Thoughts on: Halloween Kills (2021)

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

I’ll admit to being more than a little leery about watching Halloween III: Season of the Witch. This film’s reputation precedes it, and I’ve known for years that this is considered the “weird one” of the franchise, not least because it’s the only Halloween film to not feature Michael Myers. This is because John Carpenter had it in mind to turn Halloween in to an anthology series, with each film covering something different, but still connected to Halloween. Well that backfired because by then Michael Myers had become such a popular villain that audiences rejected a Halloween film without him in it, though it has since gained a cult following.

With that in mind, I was fully prepared to be disappointed by Halloween III: Season of the Witch, but it turns out it’s not all that bad.

Halloween III, unlike the previous entries, takes place in California. The whole story revolves around a mysterious toy company, the Silver Shamrock company, a set of popular Halloween masks they’re selling, and a vast conspiracy revolving around a “big giveaway” the company is promoting for Halloween night. Dr. Challis (Tom Atkins) gets mixed up in everything when one of his patients is mysteriously killed and soon finds himself in over his head as Halloween night ticks ever closer.

It is so hard to think of this movie as a Halloween movie because Michael isn’t present. The iconic Halloween theme isn’t there either, which makes it really hard to think of this film as belonging to the franchise. The story itself is also really strange: it doesn’t quite know if it’s fantasy horror or sci-fi horror and it really tries to be both, which doesn’t work at all. That being said, Conal Cochran makes for a satisfying villain, one with truly nefarious intentions once the story begins to unfold.

Cochran’s plot may be weird, with multiple references to the supernatural, but once it’s demonstrated exactly what Cochran wants to DO, that’s when the true horror kicked in for me. Yeah, I’m talking about THAT scene with Buddy and his family. I wasn’t truly horrified until that moment happened, and I already knew the scene existed (I never go into a Halloween film blind, I’m too chicken). What really gets me is that this is children Cochran wants to do this too, and in a sense that makes him somewhat worse than Michael. Because sure, Michael goes after teenagers, but Cochran is targeting young children, something Michael (to that point) hadn’t really done in the previous two films (I know this changes in Halloween 4 and 5 but at this point those movies hadn’t happened yet).

I will say that the ending of Halloween III bothers me. Not that the ending is left ambiguous, I get why that was done. I just don’t buy the TV stations removing the commercial from the air simply because Dr. Challis begged them to. There’s no reason for the stations to listen to Challis, who by this point is raving to the point of insanity (with good reason given everything that’s happened). Also, I find it a little hard to believe that he wouldn’t call home and at least get his own children to take their Silver Shamrock masks off before time ran out.

One other plot point I don’t understand is what happens to Ellie. Maybe I’m missing the point but what purpose does her horrible fate serve? Oh sure, it’s a terrifying reveal, but why do it at all? Unless…well I do have a theory about that. Cochran did admit earlier in the story that he “loves a good joke.” And wouldn’t it be the biggest joke of all for Challis to think he’d managed to “save/get the girl” only to find out it was all for naught? That’s the only possible explanation I can think of, because otherwise the moment doesn’t really work for me (I also feel it went on several beats too long).

I’m glad I made it through Halloween III, but I will admit to being more than ready to getting back to the story of Michael Myers starting with Halloween 4.

Let me know what you think about Halloween III: Season of the Witch in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Halloween (1978)

My Thoughts on: Halloween II (1981)

My Thoughts on: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

My Thoughts on: Halloween (2018)

My Thoughts on: Halloween Kills (2021)

Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

My Thoughts on: Halloween II (1981)

After gingerly making my way through Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills (2021), I decided I might as well go for it and make my way through the rest of the Halloween movies. And as I’ve already seen the original Halloween (albeit last year), that meant my starting point would be Halloween II, the no-longer-canon sequel to the original Halloween film. Halloween II picks up immediately where the original film left off, and finds a traumatized Laurie Strode still pursued by Michael Myers, with the action now moved to Haddonfield’s local hospital.

Given how terrified I was by the first Halloween film, I was a little nervous going in to Halloween II. But I shouldn’t have worried, as there is a noticeable drop in terror between the first Halloween film and Halloween II. Which isn’t to say that Halloween II isn’t scary, it definitely is, but it’s not as scary as the first film, which so far bears out what others have told me about this franchise, namely that the first film is the best and it all went downhill from there.

Although as I said, Halloween II does have it’s fair share of scary moments, it just takes a while….a LONG while….for things to get interesting. Everything that happens before Michael shows up at the hospital is, well, to be honest it’s a little dull. In fact, up until a certain point, I was fully prepared to state that I was completely bored by this movie. But then Michael showed up at the hospital and things got interesting in a hurry.

The kills and scares once Michael gets to the hospital are more than a little gruesome, especially THAT scene with the therapeutic hot tub. The one big disappointment I have with the kills though is that we don’t see how the one head nurse meets her demise. Oh sure, we see the bloody aftermath, and it looks gruesome, but I want to see how she got into that position to begin with. Because of all the kills I’ve seen Michael do, that one doesn’t feel like something he would do. It’s too slow, if that makes sense. Michael, as far as I can tell, goes in for a relatively quick kill: stabbing, strangling, scalding to death. All excruciating ways to die, but it’s still relatively quick. Death by bleeding out (unless Michael tapped an artery) is going to take a while. Maybe that’s why the movie doesn’t show that part, because it wouldn’t fit with what we usually see Michael doing when he kills.

I do find it more than a little funny that Michael was able to move throughout the hospital for so long without anyone getting wise to him being there. But then again, this IS a horror movie, and it IS established to be the dead of night, so I won’t nitpick too hard on this point (but it IS funny if you think about it). Oddly enough, I think I liked Donald Pleasance’s performance in the first film better than in this one. Somehow, he just didn’t come across as good this time around.

I know it’s been long since retconned, but I do like the plot point of Laurie being revealed as Michael’s long-lost younger sister. Suddenly Michael’s ongoing obsession with killing Laurie in particular makes total sense. After all, this all started with Michael killing his older sister, it stands to reason he would want to kill his younger sister for the same twisted reasons. Even though it’s no longer canon, I like how the film drops that little bombshell into the mix, and I can only imagine that it got a big gasp out of the audience when it first hit theaters.

One other detail that interested me comes late in the film. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but knowing what I know about the plots about Halloween 4, 5, and 6…is it possible that Michael scrawling “Samhain” on the chalkboard is a tiny bit of foreshadowing for the weird Thorn plot that makes up the plot of 4-6? I don’t know if that’s even possible given the time gap between Halloween II and Halloween 4 but I feel like it could be interpreted that way.

While it’s nowhere near as good as the first film, I did enjoy Halloween II, and I can totally see how it was intended to be the definitive end for Michael’s story (though of course history had other ideas). Onward to Halloween III: Season of the Witch (aka “the weird one” in this franchise)!

Let me know what you think about Halloween II in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Halloween (1978)

My Thoughts on: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

My Thoughts on: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

My Thoughts on: Halloween (2018)

My Thoughts on: Halloween Kills (2021)

Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook