Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998) / Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

halloweenh20.jpg picture by sikomike
             It's our favorite time of year again. Time for the things that go bump in the night and for a certain someone with a butcher knife to start slashing his way through more than just Jack o'Lanterns. Yes kids, Michael Myers is back, but not in Haddonfield. Nope. Nope. Nope. He's travelled all the way to California to terrorize a certain blood relative who was believed to be dead for the past twenty years. Oh Laurie dear, HAPPY HALLOWSCREAM!!!
   On Halloween night, 1978 in the small mid-western town of Haddonfield, Illinois, Michael Myers murdered a total of sixteen people.  After that terrifying night, Michael Myers' only living relative, Laurie Strode, was killed in a car accident.  Haddonfield has been peaceful and quiet for twenty years with no sign of Michael Myers.  Now, in October of 1998, Michael Myers returns. He begins by breaking into Marion Chambers Whittington's (Dr. Loomis' nurse from the first two films) house to find out that Laurie Strode is really alive and had faked her death.  Michael kills two high school guys who live next door as well as killing Marion.  It turns out that Laurie Strode is now residing in Northern California with her teenage son John, has changed her name to Keri Tate, and is the head mistress at a private school.  Laurie has been having nightmares of her brother returning to kill her and her son.  John has been taking care of his mother and is sick of her overprotection and paranoia.  So, John, his girlfriend Molly, and friends Charlie and Sarah decide to stick around on campus to have a private Halloween party since mostly everyone else has left on a camping trip . Meanwhile, Michael finds his way back to Laurie and kills anyone who gets in his way.  This leaves John and his friends in grave danger and forces Laurie to face her fear head on by taking on Michael in a shocking finale that would have and should have been a great closing to the HALLOWEEN franchise.
   John Carpenter changed the horror genre forever when he made HALLOWEEN in 1978. The film has gone on to become a horror classic that has been talked about for three decades.  HALLOWEEN was followed by four sequels in the '80s.  In the mid '90s, Miramax had bought the rights to the HALLOWEEN franchise under their Dimension wing.  In 1995, Dimension and HALLOWEEN's executive producer Moustapha Akkad released the franchise's sixth installment titled HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS.  The film disappointed fans and was a confusing mess thanks to serious re-editing to please some snobby fourteen year old kid who thought the producer's cut sucked.  Also, the franchise's main star Donald Pleasence who played Dr. Sam Loomis had passed away shortly after completing additional dialogue for the film.  Since Loomis was originally intended to return for a seventh film, the ending was redone to not feature Loomis, making the film even worse.   The future of the franchise was at a standstill.  Jamie Lee Curtis noticed that it was approaching the twentieth anniversary of the original HALLOWEEN and wanted to make a HALLOWEEN film that would reunite herself, director John Carpenter, and possibly P.J. Soles (Lynda). Both John Carpenter and P.J. Soles turned down the offer. However, executive producer Moustapha Akkad liked the idea of bringing Jamie Lee Curtis back as Laurie Strode for a twentieth anniversary film. 
       The horror genre was resurrected in 1996 with the clever slasher hit SCREAM, which was written by at the time an unknown writer named Kevin Williamson and directed by horror veteran Wes Craven.  SCREAM made horror films hot again. We got slasher hits such as I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and URBAN LEGEND.  Akkad decided that this new HALLOWEEN film should ride on the coattails of the new wave of teen horror hits that SCREAM started.  Kevin Williamson was hired to oversee the script and to produce the new HALLOWEEN film. Williamson said in interviews that the original HALLOWEEN is what made him want to be a screenwriter and was his main influence while writing SCREAM. In fact, there's sequences in SCREAM where John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN is playing in the background on the television.   Jamie Lee Curtis had seen HALLOWEEN 3-6 and hated them, so she wanted this new film to play out like a direct sequel to HALLOWEEN (1978) & HALLOWEEN II (1981).  In the late summer of 1998, HALLOWEEN H20: TWENTY YEARS LATER was released to theaters. With a hot young cast, Laurie Strode, and a surprising shocker of an ending, HALLOWEEN H20 was a pretty decent hit and breathed fresh air into a dead franchise.
    HALLOWEEN H20 was actually the first HALLOWEEN film that I was able to see in theaters and I had a blast.  The audience I was with  seemed to enjoy it too since they were all jumping, screaming, cheering, and laughing.  Now I know there's a group of people out there that hated the mid-late '90s horror trend of self awareness, but most of it didn't bother me that much unless it was the extremely low budget straight to video films or some not so good sequels. I guess the reason they don't bother me is because I grew up with them. To be honest, I was exposed to these types of horror films before I really got into the older and more classic films.  The first actual horror film that made me a fan was the original HALLOWEEN and then SCREAM came out and I got hooked. I didn't really have much knowledge of the genre back then like I do now.
    I do however see the flaws in this film now that I didn't see back in 1998. Before I get into those, I would like to talk about what I enjoyed about HALLOWEEN H20.  The screenplay written by Robert Zappia and Matt Greenberg is pretty good. I happen to love Kevin Williamson as a screenwriter and you can definitely tell that he had a lot to do with this film as well as with the screenplay. One thing that I've always enjoyed about Williamson's writing aside from cool stories is very well written characters.  The man writes teen dialogue well in my opinion. He may throw in a lot of references to films that he loves, but what film geek doesn't? When I wrote HALLOWSCREAM, I named the two teens Fred and Jason and made them BEST FRIENDS as well as combining the titles of the first two horror films that made me a fan of the genre together!  Kevin Williamson was another inspiration for me growing up. He's a great writer in my opinion and I want to be a great writer too.  Anyways, this post isn't about me, it's about my opinion of HALLOWEEN H20.  
     The characters were great.  I liked the direction they took Laurie where she is taking a lot of medication, is a bit of an alcoholic, paranoid as Hell, and vastly overprotective of her son John.  John is tired of being hand cuffed to his mother and just wants to be a regular teenager and spend time with his girlfriend Molly and his two best friends.  I also kinda liked Laurie's boyfriend Will, who's a guidance counselor at the private school.  He just wants to spend time with her, but she won't let him get too close.  The security guard Ronny was also pretty cool.  And I liked the other teen characters. The characterization is the strongest part of HALLOWEEN H20 for me. 
     When the shit hits the fan and Michael begins terrorizing them, Laurie faces her demons and makes the choice to stop running from her Boogeyman and to fight him head on.  I liked that she became a stronger character in this film. 
I also really loved the opening with a small appearance by Marion Chambers from the first two HALLOWEEN films.  The opening credits sequence was cool too except for that silly Donald Pleasence dubbed voice over.
  The kills in this movie are pretty cool for the most part.  My favorites are when Michael kills this teen who is a hockey player by shoving his ice skate blade right between his eyes and when one guy gets his throat cut with a corkscrew.  We also get a really cool decapitation.
    The music by John Ottman is okay. I heard that Ottman wasn't pleased with what they did to his music in the final film.  I did love the "Mr. Sandman" song at the beginning, which was used at the end of HALLOWEEN II (1981).
   The ending fucking rocked. It totally had people gasping in the theater including myself back in 1998. Akkad and Dimension had balls to do that, but then those balls turned blue, green, and dissolved into a raped pussy drizzling blood when HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION was made.
I do have a few issues with the film though. Well, most people don't like that this film was made in the tradition that SCREAM started, but that actually did not bother me.  I didn't like the fact that HALLOWEEN H20 ignores HALLOWEEN 4-6 though. What's the point in watching those when this film just skips over them? The only bit from HALLOWEEN 4 actually mentioned is that Laurie was supposedly in a car accident and was dead. Here, it explains that she had faked her death and changed her name.  Other than that though, no mention of Jamie Lloyd or anything related to HALLOWEEN 4-6.  Now, I can hear some of you saying that FRIDAY THE 13TH: JASON LIVES ignored FRIDAY THE 13TH: A NEW BEGINNING. Well, that was for a very good reason, that film fucking sucked. It didn't skip over three films either, just one terrible film and treated it like a bad dream.   Another issue I have is with the eight different Michael Myers masks. I didn't dig the look of the mask in this film.  I also didn't like that this film takes place mostly in Northern California instead of Haddonfield, Illinois like all of the other HALLOWEEN films did (except for obviously SEASON OF THE WITCH).  And there's a few bits that look kinda campy, especially when Michael stabs Sarah in the back with his butcher knife very slowly.  Aside from those things though, I really liked the film.
The direction by Steve Miner, who also directed FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 & PART 3 was actually really good for the most part. 
The acting was pretty solid in HALLOWEEN H20. Jamie Lee Curtis returned greatly back into the iconic heroine of Laurie Strode and made her a strong woman hellbent on killing her evil brother and protecting her son.  Newcomer at the time Josh Hartnett was great in his first acting role as Laurie's son John (named after John Carpenter).  I could tell back in '98 that this guy was going to be a star and I was right.  Hartnett would later star in the teen sci fi/horror/thriller THE FACULTY that was written by Kevin Williamson.  DAWSON'S CREEK star Michelle Williams was great as Molly, John's girlfriend.  Adam Arkin was decent as Will.  I really liked LL Cool J as the security guard Ronny.  Jodi Lyn O'Keefe was great as Sarah. O' Keefe is probably best known for playing a stuck up and popular high school bitch in films such as SHE'S ALL THAT and WHATEVER IT TAKES. Adam Hann-Byrd was cool as Charlie.  I also loved the return of Nancy Stephens as Marion Chambers from the first two HALLOWEEN films.  There's a great cameo by Jamie Lee Curtis' mother Janet Leigh as a woman named Norma. I love that they gave her the name of Norman Bates' mother from Alfred Hitchcock's classic PSYCHO, which Janet Leigh played Marion Crane who gets stabbed to death in the infamous shower scene.  Chris Durand was alright as Michael Myers. And last, but surely not least, we get a great cameo by a young Joseph Gordon Levitt at the beginning of the film. Levitt has gone on to play in such films as 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU and this past summer's block buster hit INCEPTION. Just to be a Batman fanboy here, I hope that Joseph Gordon Levitt gets a role in BATMAN 3. I will seriously go crazy in excitement if he gets casted as The Riddler. That would be so badass!
Overall, HALLOWEEN H20: TWENTY YEARS LATER is a pretty good sequel in the franchise. It's not as good as HALLOWEEN II (1981) or HALLOWEEN 4, but it's the last good film in the franchise until Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN (2007).
Don't you just love it? Twenty years and he still catches up to her! When they said that everything would come to a head in the end, they really meant it!  HEHEHEHAHAHAHA!
2.5/4 STABS
halloweenresurrection.jpg picture by sikomike
     He was shot six times and fell off a balcony.  He was burned to a crisp. He was shot into a mine shaft by a firing squad. He was beaten with a pipe. He was even decapitated.  Then why the Hell is Michael Myers back this time? To get karate chopped by Busta Rhymes on MTV!
   It's been three years since Michael Myers reunited with his baby sister Laurie Strode. That night, Laurie decapitated Michael. BUT, it turns out that she decapitated the wrong man. See, before the paramedics loaded Michael's "body" into the van, Michael attacked one of the paramedics, crushed his vocal cords, and decided to play dress up by switching costumes.  And so Laurie unaware that it was really a paramedic, chopped the guy's head off. Now, Laurie is locked away in some mental asylum. Michael makes his way to the asylum, kills off two security guards and chases down his sister one last time to the roof where he finally kills her after all of these years.   Meanwhile, a group of annoying as fuck college kids are going on some hack job reality show ran by Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks where they have to spend the night in the old Myers house, which happens to be planted with plastic skeletons to scare the shit out of them. Michael returns to his home only to find these jackasses in his house.  He then proceeds to kill them off one by one. This leaves final girl Sarah and Busta Rhymes left.  Busta goes up against Michael Myers with his karate chops as if he is on DEF JAM and results in the HALLOWEEN franchise being yet again, dead and buried but this time with the dog Jason's extra piss fire for flavor.
 In 1998, the HALLOWEEN franchise was revived with HALLOWEEN H20: TWENTY YEARS LATER. The film did really well at the box office and was mostly approved by fans for the really awesome final ending that could and should have laid the HALLOWEEN franchise to rest with a satisfying conclusion.  Well, when money flows, bullshit shows.  In the summer of 2002, the eighth installment titled HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION was unleashed from horror cinema Hell into theaters everywhere and took possession of our money and our brain cells.   This is definitely not the first time Moustapha Akkad has pussied out of a great ending. HALLOWEEN II (1981) ended with Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis burning to death. HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS ended with Michael's evil legacy being passed on to his niece Jamie Lloyd.  And HALLOWEEN H20 ended with Laurie Strode chopping off Michael's head with an axe.  This would have been a great place to end. The problem is that it never ends and judging by modern Hollywood, I don't think icons will ever truly end.   I remember being really pissed off back in 2002 when I saw the trailers for HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION.  I mean, Michael was definitely dead. I fucking watched his head detach from his body and roll off god fucking dammit!  He's dead! He's dead! To quote Malcolm McDowell from Rob Zombie's H2....
"Let me make things nice and sparkling clear! Michael Myers IS dead! D-E-A-D!!!
Yeah, sure, that film was a big disappointment, but that line certainly goes along with how I feel about the ending to HALLOWEEN H20 and this RESURRECTION bullshit.   With all of that said, how did I feel about HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION aside from it being TOTALLY unnecessary? Well, I fucking hated it.  I do admit that the first like fifteen minutes aren't that bad except for a boring opening credits sequence, a bullshit reason for Michael being still alive, and him actually killing off Laurie.  I liked the look of the asylum, the scene where Michael kills the two security guards, and the one mental patient who is obsessed with serial killer and is wearing a clown mask. 
The direction by Rick Rosenthal who also directed the WAY better HALLOWEEN II (1981) did a decent job directing. The film looked good and was definitely running at a decent pace.
Where HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION really falls to pieces is with the story/script by Larry Brand and Sean Hood. The characters were also pretty fucking annoying and lame.  I have to admit that there are a few parts that I liked though.
   I loved the design of the Myers house and the stuff revealing how fucked up Michael was. There's some coloring books with disturbing stuff drawn in them, a high chair with restraints, creepy dolls, and a room under the house where apparently Michael stays when he isn't killing anyone and eats rats.  I also really dug the look of the mask for the most part. 
    The whole reality show bit was lame though. I've seen movies where it worked a lot better such as WRONG TURN 2: DEAD END. It just didn't belong in a HALLOWEEN film.   The worst part for me though was the characters. I hated just about all of them.  Sarah just didn't do anything for me as the final girl. I mean, sure, she was hot, but that didn't mean she was sympathetic.  Freddie was the most annoying of any of them though. Probably because he was played by rapper Busta Rhymes.  I just hated this character from beginning to end. All he did was try to act all gangsta and badass, but he just looked like a fucking idiot. Karate chopping Michael? FUCK THAT!  What really makes me mad is that it looked like Michael was actually afraid of him. I demand a rematch. Busta Rhymes VS. Tyler Mane. Now, Mane would have mutilated this douchebag and hung him up as a Halloween decoration like he did to Annie's boyfriend Paul.  Most of the annoying lines that came from this guy was stuff like...
" Trick or treat MUTHA FUCKA!"
" Lookin' crispy Mikey. Extra fried MUTHA FUCKA!"
" Hey Mikey, Happy Halloween! MUTHA FUCKA!"
Oh would you shut the fuck up!  I think I would rather listen to  Ronnie White talking shit to Michael's mother or that ambulance driver saying "fuck" about thirty more times. That would be more fun than watching Busta Rhymes trying to act.   The only characters that honestly didn't annoy me really was Rudy and Myles aka Dekkard.  Sarah's friend Jen was annoying. Thomas Ian Nicholas' character was annoying. I don't recall all of these character names and quite frankly I don't care either.  
The acting was pretty bad too. Some are decent actors with a terrible character/script to work with and others are just terrible actors period.  I liked the short appearance of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode at the beginning. Too bad her character died.  Brad Loree was okay as Michael Myers.  Bianca Kajlich was hot, but pretty uninteresting as Sarah.  Sean Patrick Thomas was actually decent as Rudy. Daisy McCrackin was uninteresting as Donna. Katee Sackhoff was annoying as Jen. Luke Kirby was annoying as Jim. Thomas Ian Nicholas from the first three AMERICAN PIE films was annoying as Bill. Ryan Merriman was probably one of the better actors in this film as Myles/Dekkard. Merriman is a decent actor in my opinion and deserves far better work than this movie. I liked him much better in FINAL DESTINATION 3.  Tyra Banks was horrible as Nora. All she did was talk gangsta and shake her booty. She should just stick to modeling. And Busta Rhymes, fuck you! That's all I have to say on the acting.
Another thing I don't like about this film is that all of the other characters that Michael should be after are all dead. Jamie Lloyd is dead. Laurie Strode is dead. Dr. Sam Loomis is dead. So in other words, this film should not exist.  Michael isn't Jason or Leatherface or Freddy. He doesn't just kill anyone. Well, he does, but there is usually a purpose.  Here, there is no purpose other than they are in his home and he apparently doesn't like it.  
Overall, HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION is the worst of the franchise in my opinion. It is the reason we got a remake in the first place.  It's a shame that this film had to be the last HALLOWEEN film that executive producer Moustapha Akkad made. He was killed in 2005  by a terrorist bombing while in Amman, Jordan.  Without him, there probably would have never been a HALLOWEEN franchise.
I would like to take this time to remember some fine people who made the HALLOWEEN franchise what it is today and it truly is a shame that they are no longer around.
Debra Hill, Co-writer/Producer of HALLOWEEN '78
Joseph Wolf, executive producer of HALLOWEEN II & III and did advertizing for HALLOWEEN '78
Moustapha Akkad, executive producer of HALLOWEEN '78-HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION and also the investor on HALLOWEEN '78
It seems that every story must come to an end. But, not an icon of horror! Legends live on, which is why Michael Myers is reborn by rocker Rob Zombie in a more brutal and unique take on horror cinema's greatest Boogeyman! Until the next screaming, have a nice fright! HEHEHEHEHAHAHAHA!!!!
0.5/4 STABS


TheodorePuertoriquez said...

I have to say I don't agree about Friday The 13th 5. That is a great movie and I thought it was cool that they tried something different, kind of like Halloween 3. Part 6 didn't ignore it either. I mean Tommy Jarvis goes nuts at the end of part 5 and at the beginning of part 6 he is supposed to have snuck out of the mental hospital he is in with one of the other patients. He is still kind of crazy at that point since Jason was rotting in his grave and it seemed pointless to dig him up and try to kill him when he was already dead, I mean that was before they had the supernatural aspect of Jason being brought back to life. Part 5 also had some of the best kills and the hottest girls and the overall look of it was just really cool.

Trick or Treat Pete said...

I had the same problem with H20 and it's ignorance of parts 3-6. So are we to forget about Jaime? If it were a continuation, what kind of mom fakes her death and leaves her daughter behind, then later has another kid that she raises. sigh...
H20 is way better than 4-6 combined.
Resurrection....well, at least Jaime Lee was smart enough to take herself out of the equation all together in this one. Smart move if you ask me. The movie sucked. Please no more sequels or disappointing, unnecessary remakes.
Dreaded Dreams
Petunia Scareum