6WH: Week 4 - Slasher Part Twos

Continuing the Six Weeks of Halloween Horror Movie Marathon, this week I take a look at sequels to slasher films...
  • It's the Gifts That I Hate (Robot Chicken)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (trailer)
  • The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror VI: Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace (Sorry, can't find online vid)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge: Like most sequels, this film is inferior to its predecessor, but I found it much better than I was expecting. What makes the movie work is that it's playing with variations on the theme instead of repeating the same stuff from the original film. In this movie, Freddy doesn't haunt the dreams of a group of teenagers, he focuses on one specific teen. Instead of murdering the teen in his sleep, Freddy possesses the teen and carries out his kills in the real world. This movie extends and twists Freddy's powers while retaining the brilliant inescapable nature of the original film. In that movie, you were afraid to sleep because Freddy might get you. In the sequel, you're afraid to sleep because Freddy might possess you and make you kill your friends. In some ways, this is an even more horrific idea and the film does its best to pull it off, but ultimately it's not as fresh or fun as the original. It has its moments though. The scene where Freddy climbs through our hero's stomach terrified me as a kid and I have to admit that it's still pretty effective. It's a valiant effort, and better than most sequels. **1/2

    Freddy

  • Slumber Party Massacre 2 (NSFW trailer)
  • Scream 2 (trailer)
  • Friday the 13th, Part 2 (trailer)
  • Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers: I was surprisingly taken with the first movie in this series, and in this sequel we find Angela alive and well, and after years of therapy, she returns to camp, this time as a counselor. As usual, the camp is populated with horny, foul-mouthed kids, horny, foul-mouthed counselors, one of the greatest mullets ever captured on film, and, of course, DEATH! This movie ends up being a lot different from its predecessor - it's silly and more self-aware. Most of the character names are taken from members of the Brat Pack and there are even nods to slasher icons Jason, Freddy and Leatherface. Angela is played by Pamela Springsteen (yes, Bruce's sister - no joke), and she plays the role with a campy glee. For a homicidal murderer, she's pretty likeable. In the end, the movie is a lot of fun, but it doesn't really have anywhere to go. The ending pales in comparison with the original film (which has one of the great horror movie endings ever), making this a worthwhile watch, but ultimately not one a great film. **1/2

    Bruce Springsteens Sister
    Bruce Springsteen's Sister (seriously)

  • Halloween II (1981 - Trailer)
  • Horror Movie Big Brother (Robot Chicken)
  • Grindhouse: Don't (fake trailer)
  • Halloween II (2009): (Note, I actually watched this a while ago because for some reason the studios think that the perfect time to release a movie called Halloween is in August (of course!)) I actually liked Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween. The biggest problem I had with it, though, was that it was a remake of Halloween and thus demanded comparison to a film that is nearly perfect. Change a few character names, keep the killer in the mask he had when he left the mental facility, and replace the soundtrack, and you've got a decent throwback slasher movie. Not a classic or anything, but watcheable. Now, Zombie has made a sequel, and he's apparently stopped trying to make any sense at all... and that part of it is actually kinda awesome. This isn't a remake of the 1981 Halloween II (though, ironically, the best scene in Zombie's film takes place in a hospital), so Zombie has freed himself of any necessary structure there (the second half of the first film suffered because it needed to hit all the beats of the original). The iconic Halloween theme is no longer present (though the ending makes use of some other Halloween music). The mask is barely even recognizable anymore. The only thing that remains from the original franchise are the character names, and it's almost easy to pretend that this series isn't even related to the original movies. The problem is with the execution. Zombie seems to have adopted the quick-edit, shaky-cam style... and let's just say that Zombie is no Paul Greengrass. The action in this film is nigh incomprehensible. There's no build up to the kills either - they are all so disconnected and pointless that no tension is ever established. There is some limited success at the beginning of the film at the hospital, but it devolves pretty steadily from there. Storywise, we get a lot of weird shit, and that part I like. Myers is hallucinating a lot, seeing visions of his mother and a white horse (!?) Symbolism is abound. Dr. Loomis makes a few appearances, and boy is he a douchebag. To be honest, I'm not even sure why he's in this movie, as he serves no real purpose (but his scenes, including one that features a funny cameo, are kinda fun to watch). Laurie Strode does find out that she is Myers' sister (this was technically from the original series, but Zombie had sorta established it in his first movie). The town of Haddonfield seems to have changed considerably in that it's a more rural area now, but whatever. So I'm conflicted about this movie. I like some of the ideas (even the kooky ending), but the execution, especially of the action, is way off. It's a hard movie to recommend, but if you like crazy imagery, this movie has a bunch of that. *1/2
Incidentally, why is it so hard to find Simpsons Treehouse of Horror shorts online these days? Get with the program Fox! I have most of them on DVD, but it would be nice to share, right? Anyway, that's all for now. More on Wednesday.