Movie Review – Halloween Kills

Halloween Kills

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Happy Halloween internet people! It’s me Slick Dungeon and you know what one of the most fun things to do on Halloween is? Watching the latest Halloween movie. I decided to do just that and here is my take on it.

Before I get too far into the review I should warn you there are spoilers for several of the films in the Halloween franchise so if you haven’t seen them do that first. You’ve been warned.

Halloween Kills is the latest in the ongoing saga of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. To truly appreciate this movie you have to have seen the original Halloween film as well as Halloween Returns from 2018.

In a small town in Illinois a six year old boy killed his sister in her room. Several years later that same boy breaks out of the mental institution he is in and kills several people and attacks many more. Most of the people he targets are teenage girls who are around the age his sister was. One of those teenage girls was Laurie Strode. That night she was babysitting a little boy named Tommy Doyle and despite the true evil of Michael, Laurie survived and saved Tommy’s life.

In 2018 Michael escaped again and went straight for Laurie. But this time Laurie was prepared for him. She’d booby trapped her house, knowing this day would come. Halloween Returns covers those events but let’s just say at the end of that movie it looked like Michael might have been done for in the badass house Laurie had devised.

But you can’t keep evil down for long. That’s where Halloween Kills comes in. There were several survivors of the original incident and Michael hasn’t forgotten about them. Tommy is all grown up and has been preparing himself and the other survivors for Michael’s return.

A lot of the movie is predictable. Michael is a killing machine once again who seems utterly unstoppable. But the tension in this film is enormous. Haddonfield, the town the movie takes place in, is a near powder keg as the police have not protected the citizens and people are dying.

Much of the film is reminiscent of Halloween II in that for most of the movie Laurie is in the hospital. But unlike in that film, in this one everyone is waiting for Michael to show up. But they may be jumping at their own shadows and hunting the wrong people.

I don’t want to give too much more away other than to say if you think someone is behind you, you are right.

I won’t say this is my favorite Halloween film because I think that will always be the original but this is a really close second. The filmmakers did an excellent job of connecting the dots not just from the original movie but from the most recent one as well. I think you could even watch Halloween the original film, jump to Halloween Returns and them watch Halloween Kills and you wouldn’t miss anything from the other movies. So if you need a little Halloween movie marathon recommendation tonight, that’s mine.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Movie Review – The Evil Dead

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hey horror fanatics, it’s me Slick Dungeon. Happy October and I hope you are having lots of fun frights this month. Today I decided to give a watch to a movie I have never seen but had heard a lot about.

The Evil Dead is an independent horror film that kicked off the careers of both Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi. There are a few reasons I had never watched this before. First, a lot of people have told me how great it was and I was afraid it might be a bit overhyped. Second, because it has an NC-17 rating it used to be harder to find. With streaming services abounding, the second issue is not such a problem but I do think the movie gets a bit more credit than it deserves. It’s still a good watch, it’s just not as legendarily frightening as some people may lead you to believe.

If you haven’t seen this and want to give it a try before any spoilers, stop reading here and watch first, then come back and read away. In other words, there will be spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

A group of five friends head out to a cabin in the woods for a little rest and relaxation. When they get there they discover the place is rundown, there are chains everywhere, and they promptly discover an old book and some recordings that claim demons can be summoned from Hell and the only way to stop them is, “bodily dismemberment.”

As you might imagine, they have a terrible night and are definitely not going to recommend this Air BnB to anyone else. People get possessed, friends have to kill friends, ancient books are tossed into the fire to stop the whole thing and the end leaves you guessing as to whether or not there will be a sequel. Spoiler: there will be.

For the time, I think the makeup and special effects might have been pretty good. When compared to what we can do today, a lot of it seems a little silly. Even so, I can’t hold that against the film. I think it’s a solid first film to set up a franchise on, however there are some things that didn’t make sense and I have a few questions here.

  1. The characters start out driving along a lonely highway and have to cross a rickety bridge to get where they are going. The car breaks through a part of the bridge but they are able to get over it in the end. At this point, I think it would be reasonable to say, hey how about we go back and spend the night in town instead? Why didn’t they do that?
  2. Scott, the guy who apparently rented the place, or knows about it or whatever, says he had never been there and that it might be run down. They arrive and everyone but Scott just stands there looking at the cabin as Scott unlocks it. Why didn’t anyone either help to unload bags at that point or go into the cabin with Scott? Also, they are staring at the place like they are afraid of it. Why didn’t they leave?
  3. Once they are inside the cabin it seems the motif is animal heads, animal skulls, and rusty chains. Umm… who decorates like that? This interior designer should really be fired.
  4. Fine, they cross the bridge, they make it to the cabin, they go inside the cabin and they plan on staying. Not long after that, one of the characters goes down into the cellar and they discover a shotgun, an old burnt up book that seems to have depictions of demons and a recording of a professor who basically says he summoned these demons into the woods. Hello? Time to leave! Anyone? Anyone?
  5. Next a woman goes out into the woods because she hears voices calling to her. I don’t want to reveal too many spoilers but once she is in the woods, unspeakable things happen to her, and it’s by far the most uncomfortable part of the film. She arrives back to the cabin bloody and scratched up, clearly injured and understandably upset. She demands to go home but everyone seems to think she is the unreasonable one. What the heck people? Even if you don’t believe the trees came alive and attacked her, she’s clearly injured. Can these people really not take a hint? At the very least deliver some first aid!
  6. Of course when they do decide to try to leave they are unable to as we all expected would happen. I think this would have made sense a lot earlier in the movie. The whole thing would seem more sensible if once they first crossed the bridge they tried to go back and the way was blocked at that point. Why didn’t Sam Raimi have that happen instead of these ridiculous choices first??

As much as those things mentioned above bugged me, I still overall liked the movie and I’ll check out the sequels, especially since I believe they become more comedic as time goes by.

For now I will just leave you with this. If your friends ask you to go to a cabin in the woods for the weekend, ask to see pictures of the place before you go. If the pictures include rusty chains, skeletons of any kind, broken bridges or anything demon related, tell them to have a nice weekend on their own because you need to spend that time re-reading through the terms and conditions of every app you have on your phone.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Halloween III: Season of the Witch – #MovieReview

I guess Michael MYers was Busy This year?

You’ve made two smash hit horror thrillers for dirt cheap money and made a fortune. These films feature an extremely relentless killer that infuses true horror on the screen. Also, these films feature a scream queen who sells the horror with every reaction she makes. What on earth should you do next? Should you make another film with those two characters? You know the ones everyone wants to see more of? Naaaaaaaaah. Who wants to do that? Instead make a film where the villains are, oddly silent androids, Stonehenge, a digital pumpkin and Halloween masks with shamrocks on them. Sold!

Happy Halloween everyone! I will say it’s just as dark here in my dungeon on Halloween as it is on any other day. Slick Dungeon back with a doozy of a bad film for ya.

I love Halloween and the Halloween film franchise is one of my favorites to dive into on this day. But you know what? They have a few stinkers in this series. For my money though, the worst of them is the one that has the least to do with the rest of them. Halloween III was almost never made because John Carpenter and Deborah Hill were tired of the films after making two of them. The only thing that really sold them on it was that this film would not star the original characters and they would be producing without too much more involvement than that.

The idea was to make this franchise into a sort of anthology series always centered around the day of Halloween. This might have made sense if they had made this film before making Halloween II but it was a bit weird for audiences to go expecting to see horror and watching this sort of science fiction, witchcraft mashup that had nothing to do with the first two films.

I think no one really went back to the idea of a good ol’ horror anthology series until the television show American Horror Story came around and pretty much did it brilliantly (not counting the season with the witches – coincidence?)

Anyway, this film stars a random doctor named Dan Challis who is disturbed by a death he witnesses outside of the hospital he works at. See there are these seriously not scary looking guys, wearing suits, who seem to be strong enough to rip heads off people’s bodies, jab their fingers deep into eye sockets and just generally look kind of menacing. Although, I guess a lot of the time, there is nothing more menacing than some old white guy in a suit, tbh. But not in fiction.

Dr. Dan, is divorced and has a couple of kids and all they want is these masks made by a particular mask company. The Shamrock novelty company masks have become all the rage, despite not looking like Mike Myers at all.

Strange things are happening though as at least one dude has been murdered while holding one of these masks. Then the guy who did the murdering went out of the hospital, sat in a car, poured gasoline all over himself and lit a match. Dr. Dan was troubled by that, especially because, the guy holding the mask told him that, “They’re gonna kill us all.”

Well, Dr. Dan being a single guy in search of a sexual harassment lawsuit, flirts around with the nurses a bit and with one of the assistants at the morgue. So naturally when the daughter of the guy who had the mask in his hand when he died shows up, Dr. Dan is all in for trying to figure out what is going on.

Ellie, the daughter, and Dan go to a small town called Santa Mira. Yes, Saint Look for anyone who is translating. So this town is famous for producing toys and novelties. The Shamrock novelty company runs the place and they have their biggest success yet with these Halloween masks. Why? They’ve been airing a relentlessly annoying but admittedly catchy Halloween commercial to try to get kids to buy these suckers. And it has worked big time. For some reason, this year, all the kids in California want one of only three masks, a pumpkin, a skeleton or a witch. No other Halloween creativity allowed! No princesses or vampires or pair of twins dressed as Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee or anything. Kids only want 3 masks and no other costumes for Halloween, this is proven scientific research!

Anyway, Ellie and Dan are there because basically a series of clues tells them that Ellie’s father was last spotted in this town. Not only that but he has sold some of these masks and should have had a supply in his car but his car seems to be missing.

Right away after the good Doc and Ellie get to town, the owner of the Shamrock Novelty company shows up and acts seriously suspicious. I mean we all know he’s the bad guy right? Spoiler he is.

Most of the folks in Santa Mira (St. Look) are employed by this guy, enamored of him, or deathly afraid of him. At night a bum who spoke with Dan for a few minutes gets his head straight up ripped off his neck because he said bad things about ol’ Mr. Cochran.

There’s another family visiting who sold a bunch of these masks and is super excited to see this factory. Well, Dan and Ellie don’t want to look suspicious so they say that they are married. This gives them a great excuse to hook up in the hotel room later. Despite being warned that people are watching and listening everywhere, Dan makes a phone call to the morgue worker from earlier and finds out that in the car fire, there have been no human remains found which is pretty odd.

This Cochran guy gives everyone a tour of his creepy factory, which is waaaaay less creepy than the Willie Wonka Chocolate Factory tour and incidentally has fewer deaths than ol’ Willie served up.

Still, Cochran captures Dan as well as Ellie, but I guess Cochran is kinda sexist because he takes Ellie away and gives Dan the grand tour. Dan gets to see a big room with, uh, Stonehenge? (Checks notes: yes Stonehenge.) Stonehenge in it. Plus a whole bunch of computers. Dan is in for a demonstration! Lucky guy. He watches as the kid from that overly excited family puts on his mask, watches another of those annoying commercials and then the kid’s face melts and he turns into snakes, spiders and other creepy crawly things. Yeah, I don’t know how that works either.

That whole family gets toasted but Cochran is not the kind of guy to follow through with stuff, so he lets Dan live for, reasons. After he explains that he imported Stonehenge (Checks notes: yes still Stonehenge) to a small town in California without anyone noticing and that he is going to kill all the kids because, “The planets are in alignment.” Yeah, good a reason as any I guess?

Of course, Dan gets free, gets Ellie, breaks out of this factory after messing up a bunch of the computers that do, uh stuff. Oh, and figures out that those dudes in suits are robots. (Checks notes: yes robots) Robots that are definitely not programmed with the three laws of robotics. Dan puts it together that he has got to stop this commercial from airing or there’s gonna be a lot less kids and a lot more spiders and stuff because, Cochran is doing, uh, witchcraft. I guess that’s why this is the “season of the witch”?

But we’re all waiting for the twist here because ever since Dan got Ellie back she has not said a word. Instead she waits until he is driving and then tries to kill him. She’s a robot now! Or there is a robot that looks like her now? Or there is a witchcraft powered robot of her now? Err, Ellie is bad now, but not smart enough to kill Dan before he got in the car when he could cause a crash and stop her.

Dan does manage to get to a phone (see how useful cell phones can be?) and dials the networks to try to get them to stop this commercial from airing. If they get to the last screen of the digital pumpkin, we are all doomed because, uh, Stonehenge, robots, witchcraft, computers, and digital pumpkins. (Checks notes: yes, Stonehenge, robots witchcraft, computers, and digital pumpkins) For the first two channels, the commercials go off the air but the third station (imagine only three freaking television stations! What would we all do with our time?!) is slow to act and we see the last bit of the digital pumpkin…

I assume all kids in California are snakes and spiders now. Or maybe Stonehenge witchcraft robots. Whatever, this Halloween some jerk will probably just put a full sized candy bar on top of their inflatable Minions costume anyway so it’s all the same right?

A couple things baffle me about this film that I want to point out.

  • Why would this guy need to freaking move Stonehenge for his stuff to work? Also, if the planets are aligning for this, doesn’t Stonehenge need to be in the right place for it to work?
  • Like I said before, why would kids only want 3 kinds of masks for Halloween. No chance man. Kids are much more creative than that.
  • These androids have been going around killing people for months and no one has noticed until a week before Halloween? Really?
  • Dr. Dan seems to be a terrible husband, doctor, and father. Do we have to like this guy? I guess so because he doesn’t want all the dead kids and a bunch of other people are cool with that.
  • In this movie there are some indications that Halloween is fiction. We see a commercial for it, and there’s a mask in the background. So uh, what exact place is this? Is this real? Let me check and see if Stonehenge is still there or not.
  • It’s still there, we’re good.
  • Also, and I cannot stress this enough, bring back Michael Myers and Laurie Strode!!!!!
  • Oh, wait, okay, Halloween III: Season of the Witch did poorly at the box office and John Carpenter and Debra Hill want more money? Phew, we’re good.

In conclusion, Happy Halloween everyone. Stay safe out there. Avoid all masks with Shamrock logos on them, all old white guys in suits who seem like androids, all old guy factory owners who talk about,”Planets in alignment”, and all annoying commercials ending with digital pumpkins.

Next week I will be back with another bad movie review that has nothing to do with horror at all. Barely Lethal here I come!

Halloweenishly yours,

Slick Dungeon

31 Days of Horror – Day 20

We’ve made it to the 20th day of October. The frights are sure to keep coming with intensity for the rest of the month.

Speaking of the number 20, for more than 20 years people have been trying, and failing, to kill the nameless void that is Michael Myers. The first Halloween movie is still one of the few slasher films that has a bit of class to it.

How do you make a successful horror franchise? Take a small budget, have a relentless killer and have that killer spend the entire night trying to kill teenagers. That recipe never fails.

Today you get Slasher horror!

What horror waits to jump at you from the shadows tomorrow? I am not going to tell you but I hope your home insurance is paid up.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

31 Days of Horror – Day 6

Slick Dungeon here again. It’s October and we are celebrating everything horror related. Today we pay homage to the best of the best scream queens. And no I do not mean the television show. I’m talking about the originals, Janet Leigh who broke it open with the most famous shower scene in all of film history and her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis who absolutely perfected screaming on screen with the classiest of the slashiest films Halloween.

Today you get screaming horror!

What horrors are coming your way tomorrow? I can’t say but it will be freakish!

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon