Tag Archives: film

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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Soundtrack News: Milan Records to release ‘Belle’ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on January 14th

Milan Records has announced the January 14th release of BELLE (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK – ENGLISH EDITION), an English language version of the Original Soundtrack to Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda’s latest feature. Featuring both score and vocal tracks written by a team of composers led by Taisei Iwasaki and including Ludvig Forssell and Yuta Bandoh, the album includes English versions of vocal tracks originally performed in Japanese, newly recorded in English by Kylie McNeill, who voices ‘Belle’ in the English dubbed version of the film. The album follows the massive success of the original Japanese Edition of the soundtrack, which has garnered over 20 million streams globally since its July 2021 debut.

Belle follows shy, everyday high school student Suzu as she escapes into a virtual world, becoming a globally-beloved popstar named Belle and setting out on an emotional and epic quest to find herself.

Ranging from anthemic pop ballads to emotionally-laden instrumentals, the soundtrack includes original vocal songs written and arranged by Taisei Iwasaki, Ludvig Forssell and Yuta Bandoh as performed in the film by both Suzu and her virtual persona Belle, as well as original score music also written by the trio and Grammy-nominated composer Miho Hazama. The film’s main theme and album opener “U” was written and performed by groundbreaking Japanese act millennium parade led by Daiki Tsuneta, and two of the vocal tracks and recurring themes throughout the film, “Lend Me Your Voice” and “A Million Miles Away” also feature lyrics co-written by Mamoru Hosoda. The English album was produced by Taisei Iwasaki and supervised by Taka Chiyo alongside the team of composers and in collaboration with GKIDS and NYAV Post.


BELLE (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK – ENGLISH EDITION)

TRACKLISTING –

  1. U – millennium parade, Belle* 
  2. Whispers – Kylie McNeill* 
  3. Slingshot – Miho Hazama, Taisei Iwasaki
  4. Memories of a Sound – Taisei Iwasaki
  5. Blunt Words – ermhoi
  6. Gales of Song – Belle* 
  7. Fleeting Days – Ludvig Forssell
  8. Swarms of Song – Belle*
  9. Alle Psallite Cum Luya – Ryoko Moriyama, Sachiyo Nakao, Fuyumi Sakamoto, Yoshimi Iwasaki, Michiko Shimizu, Kaho Nakamura
  10. Fama Destinata – Belle*
  11. Dragon – Yuta Bandoh
  12. Justin – Yuta Bandoh
  13. Unveil – Yuta Bandoh
  14. Digital Ripples – Ludvig Forssell
  15. Dragon’s Lair – Yuta Bandoh
  16. Lend Me Your Voice (draft) – Kylie McNeill* 
  17. Social Warfare – Ludvig Forssell
  18. Assault – Yuta Bandoh
  19. Lend Me Your Voice – Belle*
  20. #UnveilTheBeast – Ludvig Forssell
  21. Authority and Arrogance – Ludvig Forssell
  22. Scorching the Façade – Yuta Bandoh
  23. The Truth Obscured – Ludvig Forssell
  24. Lend Me Your Voice (humming) – Bentley Griffin
  25. Distrust – Ludvig Forssell
  26. A Million Miles Away – Belle*
  27. Pieces of the Puzzle – Ludvig Forssell
  28. Faces in the Rain – Kylie McNeill* 
  29. Skies of Song – Ludvig Forssell, Kylie McNeill*
  30. A Million Miles Away (reprise) – Belle*

*Denotes vocal track

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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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Soundtrack News: Lamb’ Soundtrack Available Now from Milan Records

Milan Records has released LAMB (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) an album of music composed by Icelandic composer and guitarist TÓTI GUÐNASON for A24’s newest folk thriller. Available everywhere now, the album features score music written by Guðnason for the terrifying debut feature from writer-director Valdimar Jóhannsson set in the Icelandic wilds.

Having worked alongside his sister Hildur Guðnadóttir on her Oscar®-winning original score for Joker and with Ólafur Arnalds on his BAFTA-winning soundtrack to Broadchurch, Tóti Guðnason makes his debut as lead composer with Lamb. A dark and unnatural folktale for the ages, Lamb is available in theaters now from A24.

Lamb was initially intended to be completely without a score, and I feel that is a humbling starting point for a composer,” says Tóti Guðnason of his work on the film. “Growing up in the north of Iceland I’m very familiar with the feeling of rural silence. That feeling is extraordinarily well portrayed by Valdimar Jóhannsson in Lamb and I did my best to play into it while respecting it. My responsibility was to create something more fitting than silence, and silence can be the greatest of sounds.” 

LAMB (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK)

TRACKLISTING –

  1. Prelude
  2. The Lambing
  3. Searching for Ada
  4. Return Home 
  5. Mothers
  6. Reflection
  7. Hrútur
  8. Uncle Pétur
  9. Herding
  10. Ada
  11. Hrútmenni
  12. DÝRIÐ

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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

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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)

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My Thoughts on: The Last Duel (2021)

I was so excited by the idea of The Last Duel. It’s directed by Ridley Scott (he who gave us Gladiator and Alien just to name two), it was based on a true story, and its all-star cast included Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Adam Driver. The 2 1/2 hour run time made me a little antsy, but I’ve sat through long movies before (Avengers: Endgame being the most recent example that I can think of), so I hoped it wouldn’t be an issue. The story, for those not familiar, is based on the true story of when Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris fought a duel to the death after Carrouges’ wife Marguerite accused Le Gris of raping her. It should be a completely compelling story.

Then I actually went to the movie theater and watched The Last Duel and I left disappointed.

It’s not all bad. At its heart, The Last Duel contains a very important message about rape and being held accountable for one’s actions, even if all the world says you shouldn’t say such things. I can’t fault the film in that regard. I should also say that Jodie Comer and Adam Driver both turn in magnificent performances and the titular duel itself is a thing of beauty to behold. If you make it all the way through the movie to the duel, you will not be dissatisfied.

No, my big issue is with how the film is put together. The story elements are good, they really are, but the way they’re put together…a big chunk of the film comes across like a disjointed mess. One scene will cut to another and it’ll take you a few minutes to realize that years have passed between these two scenes. It’s just not how I would’ve imagined a story like this being told. I thought it would be one big epic like Gladiator and that’s not what we get.

The large scale format of how The Last Duel is told is interesting, I’ll give it that. The story is essentially divided into three perspectives, with each retelling of the story emphasizing (or glossing over) certain story elements based on whose perspective is being shared. It’s the classic Rashomon effect, where we see the same story from multiple perspectives, except that instead of the true outcome being left completely up to the audience to decide, it is subtly hinted that one of the viewpoints is actually the true one.

I think part of my problem is that I misunderstood what this story would be about. The trailers led me to believe that the issue at question was whether or not the rape took place. It sounded like this was going to be strictly a case of “he said/she said” with the truth ultimately left unrevealed.Maybe I should’ve known better given what I read of the real life story before going to see the movie…but that’s what I get for misreading the trailer I suppose.

I can’t in good conscience recommend The Last Duel, but I am curious to see what all of you thought about the film. Let me know in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

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My Thoughts on: Halloween Kills (2021)

I have finally done two things I never thought I would do: I have finally gone to see a Halloween film in theaters and I did it at NIGHT. In all seriousness, I had to watch the original Halloween and 2018 Halloween in the daytime because of how freaked out I can get from watching horror movies. I knew I was taking a risk by seeing Halloween Kills at night, but in the end I think it paid off because…I not only survived, I liked it!

For what it’s worth, I enjoyed Halloween Kills and thought it told a good story, though I temper that statement by reminding you all that I have only seen three Halloween films to date: the original, the 2018 continuation, and this film, which is the sequel to the 2018 film. The early reviews hinted that this film was far more brutal than past iterations and they weren’t kidding. There are several moments in Halloween Kills that made my skin crawl, but I can’t say that I was surprised by the uptick in violence. Keep in mind, the 2018 film ends with Michael trapped and left to die in a burning house. You have to imagine he’d be beyond enraged once he escapes, with that increased violence being the major indicator, because otherwise Michael acts the same as always: quiet and aloof right until he goes in for the kill.

And boy does Michael kill in this one. I thought the 2018 film would’ve prepared me for what was to come in Halloween Kills, and while it somewhat helped, I found myself overwhelmed at times by the sheer amount of violence. I could be wrong, but I think Halloween Kills has the highest total body count for a film in this franchise (please correct me if that’s inaccurate). Despite all of the best laid plans (more on that in a moment), people just kept dying and by the end of the film I was more than a little unnerved by the fact that Michael just kept killing. And maybe that’s because, even though I know there’s Halloween Ends to come next year, I really thought that Haddonfield banding together to hunt down Michael would lead to something more conclusive happening. I should’ve known better given what I’ve learned about the Halloween films, but it seemed like a sure thing when the trailers hinted at the town forming a mob for the sole purpose of getting Michael. Surely that would lead to something good, right?

Well…..not exactly. In a moment I wasn’t expecting at all, Halloween Kills has a rather pointed take on the dangers of mob mentality and it leads to the saddest moment in the film in my opinion. The problem with a mob is that, once you get one started, it becomes almost impossible to control, especially if your target isn’t where you think it is. It would’ve been awesome if the mob had gotten to Michael as I thought they would, but I can understand why the film didn’t go that route, it kept things realistic.

If I have one big complaint about Halloween Kills, it’s that we don’t get enough of Laurie Strode. I loved Jamie Lee Curtis in 2018 Halloween, and while she does turn in an excellent performance in Halloween Kills as well, she’s hardly present, though to be fair she IS in the hospital due to the injuries she sustained fighting Michael in the previous film. Based on how the film ends, I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to see a LOT of Laurie in Halloween Ends, but that’s only a guess on my part. I am also now a big fan of Andi Matichak as Allyson, Laurie’s granddaughter. I liked her in the previous film, but she has this great scene with Michael late in the film that solidified her as a favorite for me.

There were a number of scenes I liked in this film, particularly the scenes that paid homage to moments from the original Halloween film. Those worked particularly well because they serve as great easter eggs for those who know the original film, but they also work on their own even if you’d never seen the old films before. I admit to being briefly irritated by the flashbacks to 1978, but looking back I understand the purpose they served in setting up several plot points in the film.

Speaking of those flashbacks, there’s something I noticed in them that I wanted to discuss. As the story flashed back to 1978, I noticed that the film quality changed. The scene literally LOOKS like it was filmed back in the late 1970s. It was a great attention to detail that I really liked. I mean if you’re going to do a flashback, you might as well do it properly, right? There’s one other detail in the 1978 flashbacks that I liked very much but I won’t name what it is because I don’t want to spoil it. All I’ll say is this was a GENIUS way to further tie in Halloween Kills to the original movie and I can’t wait for the making of featurettes so I can find out how they did it.

All of that being said, while I did like Halloween Kills, I can’t help but wonder what the ending means for next year’s Halloween Ends. Because everyone got together to do the one thing that I thought would work to get rid of Michael….and it didn’t work (obviously it didn’t or there wouldn’t be a sequel next year). Which raises a terrifying question in my mind: what if this is a story that doesn’t have a happy ending? What if there truly is no way to get rid of Michael and we learn as much in Halloween Ends? I suppose we’ll have to wait until next year to find out.

I’m so proud of myself for making it through Halloween Kills in theaters and I’m really excited to see what happens next year with Halloween Ends.

Let me know what you think about Halloween Kills 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 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

My Thoughts on: Halloween (2018)

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