Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Heroes Have Always Been Monsters Part 24

The time line may be off a bit, but as I remember it I was eleven or twelve and it was mid-October. Halloween was looming and there was no shortage of horror movies on TV. I was expressly forbidden to watch anything worse than The Great Pumpkin, but as I've noted in previous posts, there was a distinct lack of supervision to go along with all those restrictions. One channel continually advertised that they'd be playing Halloween 1 and 2 back to back, and even though the commercials alone scared the crap out of me I was bound and determined to see those damn movies.
What I wound up doing was agreeing to watch whatever the hell the family was watching in the living room and secretly slipping off to watch Halloween on the little black and white set down the hall. That wound up being a big night for me as a film fan and Halloween, to this day, remains my favorite horror movie of all time.
Out of all the slasher films I've watched Halloween is still the only one that inspires dread in me and Michael Myers is the only killer that's still scary. I don't think many horror fans would disagree with me, but when you start talking about the sequels fans become far more divided.
The thing that had me so anxious to see these films that night was Fangoria's coverage of the release of Halloween 4; The Return of Michael Myers. My parents would never buy me such a disgusting magazine, but I was able to read nearly the entire issue in the drug store while they shopped next door at the grocery store.
I was up the entire night-not too scared to sleep (although I was freaked out and wouldn't have slept if I'd tried) I stayed up brainstorming super villains for the comic books I made with my friends. Halloween 1 and 2 rocked my world and I couldn't wait to see the next two.
As luck would have it I saw part 3; Season of the Witch the next week. I bemoaned the fact there was no Myers, but I loved the film anyway. People piss and moan about Season of the Witch, but only because it's called Halloween. Call it anything else and a lot of people would shut the hell up and they should anyway. The last thing the world needs is another slasher film and Part 3 gives us a different kind of horror; a halloween mask company has sinister plans for millions of children and our heroes are racing against the clock to uncover their plot and stop them. I don't want to give too much away for those who haven't seen it yet. There are plenty of twists and turns and scares, just keep telling yourself, "It's not a Halloween movie, it's not a Halloween movie"...

So, back to Part 4; The Return of Michael Myers...Scared the crap out of me and kicked off a trilogy within the series. 4-6 focus, at least in part, on Myers' niece Jamie, a young girl who's night of trick or treating becomes a night of hell ten years after Part 2 (Return...). Next time (Part5; Revenge of Michael Myers) it's a year later and Jamie is living in a mental institution when Uncle Mike resurfaces and a mysterious man in black arrives in town shortly after. In 6 (The Curse of...) Jamie is six years older, with a baby and on the run from dear old uncle. We learn the identity of the man in black and get treated to a broader conspiracy and hey look! There's a young Paul Rudd as the grown up Tommy Doyle from Part 1.
It's not often I hear anyone praise 5 and 6 and complaints I've heard usually center on the conspiracy, which I won't be giving any details about. But I think the filmmakers deserve a lot of credit for trying to build up the original film and tell a broader story rather than just cashing in and killing one group of dumb teenagers after another. I give 4-6 high marks for what they set out to do and how much fun they were. Of course all three films are tossed in the trash and Stalin-ized with the true cash in films of the series Halloween H20 and Resurrection.
Yes it was wonderful having Jamie Lee Curtis back, but the writers should have been held to a higher standard for H20 and Resurrection is an abomination.  In fact, Resurrection was so bad that it absolutely justifies a remake, almost makes a remake necessary, to redeem the franchise.
Rob Zombie's Halloween films will get an essay of their own later and I'm going to end this here with a bloodbath from Part 6. Happy Halloween!
Keep watching the sky, nerds! And the bushes. And...everything.

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