Six Days of Darkness 2012


Yes my friends, it is that time of year again, where pumpkins sprout grinning faces, where little trick or treaters walk around the neighborhood demand candy and adults can indulge their inner sexpot or inner child. Yes, it’s Halloween and we tend to associate that with scares and spooks and movies that celebrate those things.

As you may know from years past I have a soft spot in my heart for such things and each Halloween season for six days leading up to October 31 itself we at Cinema365 publish not only a review of a different horror movie each day but also a short story inspired by the movie reviewed that day.

Usually we try to keep the movies that are being reviewed a surprise but we decided to buck tradition and tell you in advance which ones we’re reviewing. You can find them on the headstones in this year’s banner logo, which will appear on all 6 Days material. There is, however, one exception – a last minute substitution of a film playing down here at the Enzian over the weekend which I thought merited a mention in our 6 Days celebration. That film will replace one of the other six films on the banner – we just won’t tell you which one. That’s this year’s trick.

Hopefully you’ll find the stories and reviews to be treats. The page with the all-time highest number of hits for our site is a 6 Days story – Inner Demons to which you can find a link on the front page at the bottom where the most popular pages are listed. Feel free to check it out along with all of our 6 Days stories.

This is the third year (wow!) that we’ve undertaken this and it is clearly a labor of – if not love, then madness. It literally doubles are workload for a week. But that’s okay – it’s worth it if you love Halloween as much as we do – and we suspect, as much as you do.

As usual around here we’ll be ending the year with a bang. While November is relatively quiet in terms of special features, we have our celebration of Christmas movies, the Holly and the Quill, running from December 21-25 and one of my favorite special features, the Annual Preview which this year of course gives us a look-see into the year in movies for 2013 is currently scheduled for publication on December 31. Our top ten listing for the year in movies 2012 should be out about two weeks after that.

And, of course, the holidays are a time for Hollywood to make one last big rush of some of the most anticipated movies of the year as we head into Awards season. Expect our coverage of major releases to continue as well.  So expect the first installment in this year’s edition of Six Days of Darkness to go up later this afternoon.

As always thanks for reading and Happy Halloween one and all from your spooky cinemaphiles at Cinema365!

Six Days of Darkness


The third annual Halloween event, Six Days of Darkness, commences tomorrow here on Cinema365 and we’re proud to present our annual tribute to scary movies to you. Each day we’ll be presenting a review of a horror movie or thriller for you. So what, you might sneer, every movie blogsite in creation does scary movies this time of year. Ahhh but we also add the bonus of horror fiction inspired by the movie we’re reviewing. It’s no trick and whether or not it’s a treat is totally up to your taste in fiction.

Halloween is the kick-off to the American holiday season, with Thanksgiving following a month later and Christmas a month after that. It signals the beginning of the end of the calendar year. It is a day that we can cast off our own selves for a little while and be what we are not, or what we long to be. We can be sexy little schoolgirls, or hulking barbarians, or seductive vampires or disgusting zombies. All it takes is a little imagination.

So do have fun in whatever way you choose, whether it be handing out candy to children ringing your doorbell, sitting back for a marathon of George A. Romero classics or getting your freak on at a costume party. We hope you spend part of your Halloween season right here with us. Thanks again and Happy Halloween!

Halloween II (2009)


Halloween II
You can’t keep a good supernatural serial killer down.

 

 

(Dimension) Scout Taylor-Compton, Tyler Mane, Malcolm McDowell, Danielle Harris, Brad Dourif, Howard Hesseman, Sheri Moon Zombie, Chase Vanek, Margot Kidder. Directed by Rob Zombie

 

Sequels can be very problematic. They’re almost never as good as the original, and when you throw in that it’s the sequel to the reboot of one of the classic horror series of all time, things get even more dicey.

 

Halloween II picks up where Zombie’s reboot left off, with Laurie Strode (Taylor-Compton) being pulled out of the house in an ambulance, while serial killer Michael Myers (Mane) is being carted off to the morgue, courtesy of a gunshot to the face by Miss Strode. However, you can’t keep a good serial killer horror film franchise down and Myers turns out to be not quite dead yet, escaping the ambulance that is transporting him to the county morgue when the unlucky ambulance hits a cow. Hey, Haddonfield is farm country don’tcha know.

 

He shows up back at the hospital where Laurie is being treated – a hospital that seems unrealistically understaffed – and hacks a few people to death, particularly a nurse whom he seems intent on pounding into hamburger. He corners her in a guard shack and – voila! – She wakes up from a dream. Actually, the sequence was an homage to the original Halloween II which took place entirely in a hospital. Zombie serves notice that this isn’t gonna be your pappy’s Michael Myers.

 

It’s two years after the events of the first film (although, strangely, the theatrical release portrayed it as being one year, but what’s a year between fiends) and Laurie is now living with Sheriff Brackett (Dourif) and his daughter Annie (Harris) who was the only other survivor of the Michael Myer’s previous Halloween rampage.

 

Halloween is approaching once again and Laurie has been beset by strange dreams. She confesses to her therapist (Kidder) that she’s concerned for her sanity, but she has no idea what kind of shellacking her sanity’s in for. That’s because Dr. Loomis (McDowell), Michael’s therapist from the first film, is on yet another book tour and in his new book he reveals that Laurie is actually Michael Myers’ sister (and Darth Vader is their father…but that didn’t make it into the movie). Since Laurie wasn’t aware of it, she goes bonkers and storms out of the Brackett’s happy home which is bad news for Laurie but good news for Michael, who is coming out for a family reunion, egged on by the Gothic ghost of his mom (Zombie) and the specter of his younger self (Vanek, taking over from Doug Faerch who had a growth spurt and became literally too big for the role).

 

All of this means there’s going to be mayhem in Haddonfield on Halloween, complete with strippers getting their face jammed into a mirror numerous times, a bouncer getting his head squashed in by Michael’s brogans, a couple of rednecks finding out the hard way why it is a very bad idea to mount antlers on the front of their pickup and a whole mess o’ carnage too disturbing to get into here.

 

There’s no doubt that Zombie is a visionary director – The Devil’s Rejects proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt as one of the best horror movies of the last decade. However, he seems oddly hamstrung here, which might have been due to the incredibly tight filming schedule (something which he mentions in the commentary track) or perhaps due to his own reluctance to do a sequel which he changed his mind about at the last moment, leading to said tight schedule. Either way, the movie doesn’t live up to most of his other work and has to rank as a disappointment.

 

That’s not to say it’s totally without redeeming qualities. For example, the violence here is excessive and realistic. When Michael Myers plunges the blade into a body, it is with full force, punctuated with an animal grunt. While that might make some queasy, it truly does work within the context of the movie and brings a new dimension of realism to the proceedings.

 

Where the movie doesn’t work is in the endless psychobabble that Zombie sees fit to insert, trying to get at the core of what drives Michael Myers. Now while I’m all for attempting to get inside the head of a serial killer, it gets a little too artsy fartsy for my way of thinking, with his mom showing up as a kind of Goth chick ghost in flowing white robes, accompanied by a white horse. It derails the oeuvre of the movie and takes audience right out of the mood.

 

He goes out of his way to make Laurie Strode shrill and unlikable. While this may be a realistic way of depicting someone who’s been through the kind of ordeal she has, what it also serves to do is alienate the audience from identifying with the heroine and that’s just bad juju. If the audience thinks the heroine is a whiny bitch, they’re not going to care what happens to her and if they don’t care what happens to her, there’s no reason to see the movie other than to watch Michael Myers carve up the citizens of Haddonfield and environs.

 

I also have to comment on the set design which is often incomprehensibly busy. Laurie’s room looks like the inside of a mental hospital cell, with a huge poster of Charlie Manson and spray painted graffiti reading “In Charlie We Trust.” This in the home of a town sheriff  mind you. Apparently Rob’s sense of realism and mine differ by quite a bit, so we’ll just leave it at that. In any case, you wind up with sensory overload in quite a few of the scenes, focusing in on the minutiae of the set design that you almost lose track of what the filmmaker’s trying to get you to notice. It kind of works at odds with Zombie’s vision.

 

I’m a big fan of Rob Zombie and the Halloween franchise both, so it is with a great deal of regret that I have to give this a poor review. I really, really wanted to like this movie and I just flat-out didn’t. While there is a third movie in the rebooted franchise slated for release next year, Zombie won’t be a part of it which may well turn out to be a good thing for both Zombie and the producers of Halloween – Zombie took an enormous amount of crap from the horror film fandom for this movie, much of it undeserved (for example, Michael is unmasked for much of the movie which many fanboys found to be sacrilegious) but some of it justified. I’m hoping his next project blows me away. This one didn’t do the job.

 

WHY RENT THIS: Some very effective scares, and a lot of insight into the background of Michael Myers. The violence is brutal and realistic.

WHY RENT SOMETHING ELSE: The set design is a bit of a mess, often so busy that it distracts from what’s going on onscreen. The plot meanders and gets a little too murky with the symbology.

FAMILY VALUES: The violence here is particularly brutal which works for the movie but may be difficult viewing for sensitive souls. There is also a good deal of crude language, female nudity and much sex. For teens there are scenes of teen drinking and implied drug use. All in all this is not for kids or for most teens.  

TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Tyler Mane becomes only the second actor to play Michael Myers in more than one film (George Wilbur is the other one). 

NOTABLE DVD EXTRAS: There are six music videos from the fictitious band Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures. There are also some standup comedy performances from Jeff Daniel Phillips, a blooper reel and audition tapes.

 BOX OFFICE PERFORMANCE: $39.3M on a $15M production budget; the movie made money.

FINAL RATING: 4/10

TOMORROW: Day Four of the Six Days of Darkness

Six Days of Darkness


Once again, Halloween is right around the corner and that means that not only are ghouls and ghosts abroad in the night, but right here on your computer screen as well. For the second year, Cinema365 is presenting Six Days of Darkness, our very own Halloween tradition. Starting on Tuesday, we will devote each day to a horror film review; some well-known, some not so much – all leading to the review of a horror classic on Halloween itsself.

But that’s not all you get. As well as those reviews, an additional treat – horror fiction inspired by each of the movies. Of course, some of you might think they are tricks rather than treats, but each according to their taste. So stock up on candy, carve yourself a Jack O’Lantern, decorate your porch with cobwebs, glow-in-the-dark skeletons and cackling witches, and prepare for the onslaught of trick or treaters. While you’re at it, put on your scariest – or sexiest – costume, pull up a chair and come spend some time with us. Let Cinema365 haunt you – and maybe scare you – just a little bit. Happy Halloween from Cinema365!

Six Days of Darkness


Halloween is upon us and like many, I love to celebrate the holiday that honors things that go bump in the night. Starting on Monday and continuing all the way to Halloween, Cinema365 will be conducting our own Halloween party. Every day we’ll be reviewing a horror movie and combining each review with some horror fiction inspired by the movie. The horror fiction may contain erotic elements – sex, after all, is intrinsically coupled with fear – so those who are offended by such things are urged to stick to the reviews. In the meantime, put on your scariest costumes, grab some Halloween candy (and tell your dentist to go to Hell) and get ready for some tricks…and maybe some treats. Or vice versa, if you know what we mean. Happy Halloween from Cinema365!!!