HALLOWEEN 6: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS. (1995) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

HALLOWEEN 6: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS. (1995) BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL. DIRECTED BY JOE CHAPPELLE.
STARRING GEORGE P. WILBUR, J.C. BRANDY, PAUL RUDD, MARIANNE HAGAN, MITCH RYAN AND DONALD PLEASENCE.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘He hears the voice, you know. Just like the other little boy who lived in that house.’

I decided that Halloween this year would be for me a celebration of all things HALLOWEEN, as in John Carpenter’s ground-breaking 1978 horror movie that’s now one of the biggest movie franchises in the world. I don’t do anything by halves, me, so I threw myself into it whole-heartedly. Here’s what I’ve done so far…

So, I re-watched and re-reviewed HALLOWEENs 1, 2 & 3 (the controversial but excellent non-Michael-Myers one), and then 4 & 5, which go together. Then HALLOWEEN H20: TWENTY YEARS LATER and HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION, which throws Michael in at the deep end of the then blossoming reality television industry. Now, nearly two full decades later, I bet he’d still want to brutally bludgeon anyone he met who was involved in reality telly…!

I went to see HALLOWEEN KILLS in the cinema a couple of weeks ago and loved it, although I might have found it less confusing had I re-watched the film that came just before it, HALLOWEEN: 2018. When HALLOWEEN KILLS comes out on DVD, I’ll watch ‘em both together and they’ll make more sense, lol. Still, why do they even need to make sense? Michael shows up, kills a bunch of people, roll end credits, bada bing, bada boom…

The franchise is supposedly ending next Halloween with the heartbreakingly named HALLOWEEN ENDS. Will it really all end with this film? A lot of the original characters are old now, some even sadly deceased, like Donald Pleasence who was unforgettable as Dr. Samuel Loomis, Michael’s psychiatrist and possibly the only person in the whole of Illinois who knows and comprehends fully the depth of evil in Michael’s murder-blackened soul.

I read the pretty cool novelization of HALLOWEEN: 2018 then by the writer John Passarella. It has a gorgeous black cover with a broody pic of Michael’s mask on it. It’s a nifty little addition to my collection of HALLOWEEN stuff, which, admittedly, comprises mainly the film DVDs and my adorable pop figure of a tiny Michael in bloodied overalls holding a knife. Aw, bless him, he thinks he’s people…!

I did kind of a mad thing then. I wrote my first ever piece of HALLOWEEN fan fiction, based on the 1978 movie. It wasn’t a continuation of the murder story, however, but rather a naughty story in which the babysitters of Haddonfield get their come-uppance for being very bad at their babysitting jobs and being very wicked girls, generally; smoking weed, boozing it up, having sex with their boyfriends even though they’re still at school, being disrespectful to their elders and caring more for their social lives than they do about their studies or the kids they’re being paid to watch.

I was going to publish this delightful oeuvre on my blog but decided against it, as the general consensus amongst my online friends is that all fan fiction is, essentially, stealing, and I’ve no wish to be sued off the face of the earth for my little spanking story. Still, I really enjoyed writing it and I’d certainly continue it if there was any way to publish it safely and without massive repercussions from the angry Carpenter-Hill faction, haha.

Anyway, the final thing I did to honour this excellent film franchise was to go out and buy a physical copy of HALLOWEEN 6: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS, the only film in the canon I hadn’t seen. On first viewing, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and I was told that there’s a version of the film known as THE PRODUCERS’ CUT that would answer some of my questions, but I haven’t as yet been able to find this version.

However, I’ve watched HALLOWEEN 6 a few times now, and I think I’m ready to do justice to a review of it at last, or at least describe its events in some sort of cohesive order. Do you remember that, at the end of HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS, Michael and his niece, little Jamie Lloyd, are spirited away to safety during the explosion by a mysterious Man in Black? HALLOWEEN 6 picks up the story from there…

It’s a few years later, and the teenaged Jamie Lloyd, daughter of Laurie Strode, has just given birth to a baby- Michael’s baby?- in the midst of a weird cult, who want to take her baby away from her for some reason.

HALLOWEENs 4, 5 and 6 are part of what’s known as ‘the Thorn Trilogy,’ in which ancient runes and pre-destined ancient evils are blamed for Michael’s gnarly ways. There’s definitely an element of that in this film. Michael is supposed to be infected by an ancient Druidic curse known as ‘the curse of Thorn.’ People thus affected are inspired to murder their next of kin in gruesome fashion. Well, that’s what Mikey does all right…!

The baby boy ends up in the unlikely hands of a very young Paul Rudd, who plays Phoebe Buffay’s boyfriend Mike Hannigan in ‘90s hit sitcom, FRIENDS. Here, he plays Tommy Doyle, the little boy who was being baby-sitted (or is it baby-sat?) by Laurie Strode in the original 1978 movie. Tommy has grown up to be a very paranoid young man, but not without reason…

Instead of moving away from Haddonfield, Tommy has chosen to live in a boarding house right across the street from the old Myers’ place, no longer abandoned but inhabited now by relatives of Laurie’s, and they’re also known as the Strodes. Why are these new Strodes living in the old Myers’ place? I’m still not sure. It seems a bit confusing, but how-and-ever, on we go…

Tommy is convinced that Michael will come back to haunt Haddonfield this Halloween, which is, um, now. He also thinks that Michael will murder the baby, whom he’s named Stephen, in a ritual sacrifice as part of this curse of Thorn thing. Tommy is a smart kid. He’s spent years studying up on runes and Michael Myers and stuff, so I think we can trust him.

Without any difficulty whatsoever, Tommy persuades the beautiful Kara Strode, college student and single mother of Danny, to leave her home and come and live with him and the baby and his landlady across the street for safety reasons. Well, shure, why not? It’s not like she has anything better to do or anything…

While they’re all holed up across the street, Michael has fun despatching the remaining relatives of Laurie’s adopted family, the Strodes: abusive dad John, dumpy, frumpy mum Debra (John and Debra, geddit?), Kara’s brother Tim-Nice-But, Christ, is he dim!- and Tim’s sexy girlfriend, Beth.

At least Michael lets ‘em finish having sex before he gets all stabby. And he’s so neat and considerate, isn’t he, Michael? He always hangs his kills up, all nice and tidy, when he’s finished with ‘em, and sometimes he even provides his own hooks…

We’re not told, at least not in this cut, why Kara’s father actively detests her or who Danny’s father is, or why Kara left the bosom of her loving family for five years and came back with an unexplained son, so I don’t know whether these things are important or not. Maybe Kara’s back story isn’t important to the plot.

However, her young son Danny, who looks just like I imagine a six-year-old Eminem might look- spirited but kinda sad ‘cause he has problems at home- has been hearing the same voices in his head that Michael Myers heard in his head when he was a young ‘un, and we all know how that panned out, don’t we?

We get this nugget of information from Tommy’s landlady, Mrs. Blankenship, the woman who was baby-sitting little Michael Myers on the very night Michael picked up a carving knife and ‘stabbed his sister in the tits,’ as it’s irreverently referred to in HALLOWEEN KILLS.

Well, Mrs. B. clearly wasn’t doing her job too well, was she? She was probably nattering away nineteen-to-the-dozen on the party line with Irma or Myrna about Mabel, who hasn’t washed her front room curtains all year but who always has the time- and money- for the beauty parlour, if you can believe that, harrumph…!

Or maybe Mrs. B. was watching her stories and DAYS OF OUR LIVES or THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS or GENERAL HOSPITAL was just too gripping that evening, and she was getting all hot under the collar fantasising about having a middle-aged, silver-haired doctor pay her a house call and having horny old people sex with her…

She wouldn’t have gotten a pay-check from me, anyway, I’ll tell you that for nothing, come home and find my first-born child stabbed in the tits and the place in a shocking state, grumble, grumble. You just can’t get the staff these days…

Anyway, Tommy, Kara, Baby Steven and dear old Dr. Loomis, on his last ever Michael-Myers-tracking-down-and-killing-except-you-can’t-kill-the-unkillable jaunt, end up in the place where it all began, in Smith’s Grove grossly under-staffed Sanitarium in Warren County.

Michael is there, all ready to rock and roll, and so is the Man in Black in his true guise. I think he might also be the source of the ‘voices’ that Michael and little Danny have been hearing. The film is not too clear on this.

The Man in Black wants Michael to sacrifice Baby Steven to satisfy the prophecy of the cult of Thorn, but Tommy, Kara, Dr. Loomis and even little Danny are all standing in his way. The Man in Black is teamed with Michael, though. Who will win…?

And Happy Halloween to y’all, by the way. This is the absolute mostest I’ve ever celebrated a horror film franchise and I did it all for you guys. M’wah, m’wah, see you all again in November. If Michael doesn’t find us first…

 AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
 
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
https://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Stops-Sandra-Harris-ebook/dp/B089DJMH64
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
 https://www.amazon.com/dp/1781994234

HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION. (2002) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION. (2002) BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL. DIRECTED BY RICK ROSENTHAL. STARRING JAMIE LEE CURTIS, BRAD LOREE, BUSTA RHYMES AND TYRA BANKS.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This film is great craic, as we say here in Ireland. (That means fun, by the way, not hard drugs…!) It’s the eighth instalment in the superb series of HALLOWEEN horror films, and this one was directed by the chap who directed HALLOWEEN 2 back in 1981, which I think is kind of cool. And I know cool when I see it, haha. Ask anyone who knows me…

It’s got a very ‘Nineties feel to it, and it’s kind of like two films in one, really. The first segment of the film sees Jamie Lee Curtis, once more playing Laurie Strode, facing off against her deranged brother Michael Myers again.

This time around, the setting is the psychiatric hospital in which Laurie has been incarcerated since she decapitated a paramedic three years ago, mistakenly believing him to be her brother. It’s an easy mistake to make. Shure, I remember one time when I… On the other hand, no-one really needs to hear that story now. On with the review…

Does pure evil prevail when the siblings come face-to-mask once more? I can’t tell you, even if you try to tickle it out of me, because that would be a pretty big spoiler, and I don’t roll that way. I can, however, tell you that this bit is excellent, even though the overall film itself got poor reviews, and is easily as good, as tense and as dramatic as any of the other Laurie-Michael bits throughout the rest of the franchise.

During the part of the film that follows, you’d almost be forgiven for thinking that you’d tuned into a different movie. It’s still good, though. This time around, we’re back in the old Myers house in Michael’s and Laurie’s home town of Haddonfield, Illinois.

The house is in a terrible state of disrepair by now, which makes it the perfect location for an Internet reality show in which six young people hole up inside it over Halloween and try to figure out what drove Michael Myers to kill. Well, okay, if they think that they can succeed where the police and the psychiatrists failed, who are we to argue? Let ’em knock themselves out, that’s what I say.

The students are so uniformly horrible and annoying that I doubt if any of the viewers are too upset when Michael Myers, star of the show once more, shows up and starts to murder them one by one in increasingly imaginative ways. One of these ways is so unpleasant that it gives me the willies to even think about it, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t write about it here.

Busta Rhymes is a good laugh as Freddie Harris, the mastermind behind the reality show. And the language out of him! ‘Tis shocking altogether. It’s mother-effing this and mother-effing that. You’ve never heard the like of it. He needs his mouth washed out with soap, that’s what he needs.

He’s great fun, though, and totally kick-ass when his back is to the wall. Also, Michael better beware ‘cause Freddie knows kung fu. Supermodel Tyra Banks (AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL) doesn’t contribute a whole lot, unless you count getting herself killed off fairly early on as a contribution.

I love the bit in the underground part of the old Myers’ house where it transpires that Michael has been living for the last three years, since the time that Laurie thought she’d killed him but it turned out that she killed a paramedic due to Michael’s sneaky sleight-of-hand. He’s been eating rats and probably drinking the water that drips off the walls, no doubt dreaming of the day when he can go after Laurie again with his trusty old kitchen knife.

One of the three girls is a Brittany Murphy look-alike, one’s a dead ringer for actress Julianne Moore and the lead girl is actually pretty mopey, until being pursued by a murder-minded Michael Myers forces her to show a bit of spunk/chutzpah/true grit for once. The three blokes are pretty much uniformly awful. Michael’s welcome to ‘em.

An interesting twist is that the show taking place in Michael Myers’ old house is being streamed live on the Internet, and so, when the murders start happening, people in the online world think it’s all part of the act. This makes them slow to reach for the phone and call 911. Luckily, however, there’s still one little girl out there who still believes in Santa Claus. Wait, wrong movie, but right sentiment. Carry on killing, dear Michael. Carry on killing…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

HALLOWEEN H20: TWENTY YEARS LATER. (1998) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

HALLOWEEN H20… TWENTY YEARS LATER. (1998) DIRECTED BY STEVE MINER. THEME TUNE BY JOHN CARPENTER. STARRING JAMIE LEE CURTIS, JANET LEIGH, LL COOL J, ADAM ARKIN, MICHELLE WILLIAMS, NANCY STEPHENS, CHRIS DURAND AND JOSH HARTNETT.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I love this film. It’s one of my favourite movies in the HALLOWEEN franchise, started in 1978 and based on characters created by Debra Hill and the legendary John Carpenter. Serial killer Michael Myers, he of the white William Shatner mask, sensible boiler suit and work boots ensemble and distinctly stabby tendencies, is back and guess what…? He’s totally up to his old tricks again.

Once again, we see him chasing after his sister Laurie Strode, brilliantly played by Jamie Lee Curtis. This time around, however, Laurie is no longer the fearless teenage babysitter she once was. She’s all grown-up and neurotic now, possibly an alcoholic as well, albeit a functioning one. She’s the headmistress of a posh private boarding school in a charming little town where, one presumes, nothing really bad ever happens. Till now…

Laurie’s teenage son, played by heart-throb in the making Josh Hartnett, is a pupil at the school. Mom is having a hard time loosening the apron strings because she’s still very much hung-up on the whole being-nearly-killed-by-her-psychopathic-brother thing. She’s even faked her own death and changed her name to Keri Tate since HALLOWEEN 2. That’s how scared she is of Michael returning, and how much she wants to be prepared for it if he ever does return.

The events of HALLOWEENs 4, 5 and 6, known collectively as The Thorn Trilogy, have been set aside completely for this film. I believe the proper word is retconned, people, they’ve been retconned, although, between retcons, reboots and remakes, my poor head is completely fried. Anyway, this film is supposed to be a continuation of HALLOWEENs 1 and 2 only, and leaves out the storyline concerning Danielle Harris as Jamie Lloyd, Michael’s niece and Laurie’s daughter.

Laurie still has nightmares about Michael and her alcoholism is a condition that ably demonstrates her very human frailty and inability to come to terms with the worst thing that’s ever happened to her. Well, it’s the worst thing that can happen to anyone really, isn’t it? Not all of us have a psychotic murderer in the family, thankfully.

Laurie’s/Keri’s teenage son John is driven mad trying to convince Mom to loosen up a little and put the past behind her. She sure picks an ill-advised time to do just that. It’s Halloween (naturally!) and Michael Myers arrives at the nearly empty school- most of the students and teachers are away on a school trip to Yosemite- all ready to create his own particular brand of stabby, head-crushing havoc.

Laurie has reluctantly given John permish to go on the trip, but, unbeknownst to her, he and his girlfriend Molly and two of their friends are actually all secretly planning to stay behind. Oh, not to study or anything productive like that, but to booze it up and make out with each other in typically irresponsible horny teen fashion.

Laurie and her teacher boyfriend, Will Brennan, are planning something similar while the kids are away. Sexy hi-jinks ahoy, lol. But their presence, and the presence of the four teens, in the empty school merely makes it easier for Michael Myers to pick them off one-by-one, like  the proverbial fish in a barrel…

The unhurried, impassive-faced but undoubtedly lethal serial killer cuts a murderous swathe through the remaining staff and students in an effort to get to Laurie. When an opportunity for escape presents itself, however, does Laurie grab it with both hands or does she decide to finally make a stand and face down the man who’s haunted her dreams since forever…? I think I’ve probably given the game away with that last bit so just try to look surprised when it happens, haha.

The gorgeous browns and oranges of America in the Fall give the film a lovely warm cosy feel, despite the fact that it’s a slasher movie. The Americans really know how to do Halloween, as we know from THE SIMPSONS and MODERN FAMILY and the HALLOWEEN franchise itself. That’s certainly reflected in their beautiful scenery, foliage and unerring ability to decorate their homes and gardens to absolute perfection during the spooky season.

Michael Myers is, as always, amazing in everything he does: getting up every time he’s been hit even when you think it’s impossible, dropping one-handed down from the ceiling and walking calmly and unhurriedly after his scattering, scrambling prey without ever breaking a sweat. He’s cooler than a swig of ice-cold lemonade on a melting hot day, and just as welcome.

LL Cool J as the school security guard who wants to write torrid romances while being berated down the phone by his gobby wife is great fun too. Also, the late great Donald Pleasence, who played the now-legendary Dr. Loomis, Michael’s psychiatrist, in some of the earlier films, is affectionately acknowledged here in photograph form, which is sweet. Nancy Stephens as Nurse Marion Chambers, is here again too, and, boy, is she kick-ass…!

My favourite thing about about this film is the presence in it of Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee’s still-beautiful mammy and undisputed horror movie royalty. Thirty-eight years before this film was made, she starred as the heroine of Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO, still considered to be one of the scariest movies ever made.

It’s a personal favourite of John Carpenter’s, if not his absolute fave horror flick of all time. He refers to it as ‘the Grand-Daddy of all the slasher horror movies ever made’ in an extra feature on the DVD I have of HALLOWEEN H20.

HALLOWEEN H20 gives a couple of much-appreciated little nods to the earlier film, such as subtly playing the famous theme tune when Leigh’s character Norma (Norma…? Geddit…?), the school secretary, is walking away from the school to her car. Which, by the way, was the car she drove in PSYCHO as she was running away from her old life with a stolen forty grand in her handbag, only to come a terrible cropper at the Bates Motel.

Also, Marion the nurse is named after Leigh’s character Marion Crane in PSYCHO. One certainly gets the impression that this is one film that John Carpenter wishes he himself had made. I’m so glad Janet Leigh doesn’t get killed in HALLOWEEN H20. She’s been through enough, God bless her. Shee-it. That was a spoiler too, wasn’t it…? Dagnammit…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

HALLOWEEN 4 (1988) AND HALLOWEEN 5 (1989). A DOUBLE REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

HALLOWEEN 4 AND HALLOWEEN 5: A DOUBLE DOSE OF SLASHER-HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS. (1988) BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL.
DIRECTED BY DWIGHT H. LITTLE.
STARRING DONALD PLEASENCE, DANIELLE HARRIS, GEORGE P. WILBUR, BEAU STARR AND ELLIE CORNELL.

HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS. (1989) BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL.
DIRECTED BY DOMINIQUE OTHENIN-GIRARD.
STARRING DONALD PLEASENCE, DANIELLE HARRIS, ELLIE CORNELL, BEAU STARR, WENDY KAPLAN, TAMARA GLYNN, MATTHEW WALKER AND DON SHANKS.

Ooooooh, I do love a nice bit of HALLOWEEN at Halloween, or in fact on any night of the year. Pure undiluted slasher-horror cinema was surely born in the ‘Seventies and ‘Eighties, with marvellous franchises like this one and FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET kicking and screaming their way into our world through the tight but surprisingly accommodating birth canal of VHS and Beta-Max, lol.

I’ve chosen to review these two films together because HALLOWEEN 5 is a direct continuation of its predecessor. You might remember that the superb horror series took a break from the silent but deadly serial murderer Michael Myers in HALLOWEEN 3 (an excellent horror film in its own right if you can stop bemoaning the absence of Mikey for five f***ing minutes…!), but Michael is back with a bang in instalments 4 and 5 and, trust me, he’s literally never been deadlier…

Michael escapes from state custody while he’s en route to another sanatorium and, as usual, where does he make a beeline for? Why, Haddonfield, Illinois, of course, the place where, in 1963 when he was only six years old, he brutally murdered his older sister Judith by ‘stabbing her in the tits,’ which is how they refer to it in the latest film in the franchise, HALLOWEEN KILLS (2021).

It’s also a mere ten years since he slaughtered a bunch of people, namely innocent babysitters and horny teens just trying to ‘get some,’ in that same unfortunate hometown of his, and created a role for himself (in perpetuity, mind you) as that town’s very own boogeyman.

As in: ‘If’n y’all don’t eat yo’ vegetables, Michael Myers gonna git y’all and carve y’all up into little pieces…!’ Or words to that effect, anyway. A killer who wears a white mask, never speaks a single solitary word but possesses the strength to kill other grown men with his bare hands in a variety of colourful and unusual ways is surely a mighty effective boogeyman and enough of a horror to scare manners into the brattiest of bratty kids, you must admit.

Anyway, this time Michael’s off to Haddonfield to kill his niece Jamie Lloyd, beautifully played by Danielle Harris. She’s the daughter of Michael’s (apparently) deceased sister Laurie Strode, aka the wonderful Jamie Lee Curtis from HALLOWEENs 1 and 2, making her Mikey’s niece.

And why does he want to kill his adorably sweet and pretty little niece? Well, for no reason other than that she’s family, and Michael always seems to make a point of murdering his kith-and-kin. Silly Michael.

He just can’t seem to work out the connection between having a family and being happy. Still, if he could, he wouldn’t be our stabby boy, would he, the murderous little dickens…? Aw, bless his expressionless white mask and natty boiler suit. He’s our boy for sure.

There are certain things standing between the impassive-faced Michael and his murderous goal, though. In HALLOWEEN 4, the pretty blonde Rachel Carruthers is Jamie’s doting new step-sister and she ain’t gonna let no non-talking, knife-wielding serial killer hurt her precious little sis.

Well, not unless that serial killer kills Rachel, that is, which would appear to be his aim, but Rachel and Jamie have the protection of the town sheriff and his slutty daughter Kelly, whose pert backside the sheriff should surely have paddled when he so nearly caught her making out with Rachel’s faithless boyfriend Brady. If ever a young lady needed a good spanking, the practically pantsless blonde bombshell Kelly Meeker surely fits that bill…!

In HALLOWEEN 5, which by the way ends with a wicked twist, as does the fourth film, Jamie is protected by Rachel’s best friend Tina, a super-annoying young lady who actually shares a car journey with the masked serial killer without knowing it.

He’s wearing a really freaky borrowed Halloween mask and looks utterly terrifying, but Tina just starts laying into him straightaway about ‘his’ (she thinks he’s her boyfriend Mike, aka ‘the Fonz…!’) supposed shortcomings as a significant other.

It’s actually really surprising that Michael doesn’t twist her curly, fluffy little head right off her shoulders for bitching at him non-stop about nothing. Dressed like Cyndi Lauper in the ‘GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN’ music video, she’s bubbly, full of life and chat and as irritating as a rash in your private area, but her heart’s in the right place. As long as Michael doesn’t get his gigantic, organ-crushing paws on it, that is…

(I was re-watching this film recently with my adult daughter, and, after watching this scene between Michael and Tina, in which Tina nags him into stopping the car at a store so that she can buy cigarettes, my daughter turns to me and says thoughtfully: ‘So, Michael is just as susceptible as ordinary men to being nagged to death by women…!’

Darling Dr. Loomis is in both films too, with the lovely cuddly old Donald Pleasence reprising his role as Michael’s psychiatrist from the earlier movies, possibly the one man who realises the full extent of Michael’s terrible capability for doing harm to people.

All burned in the face and hands from a previous confrontation with the Silent One, Dr. Loomis bends over backwards to try to save the folks of Haddonfield, and in particular little Jamie, from another deadly encounter with Michael.

Of course, he meets with the usual resistance, scepticism and even incompetence along the way but, once the body count starts climbing, people suddenly all start singing from the same hymn-sheet.

By this time, however, Dr. Loomis has pretty much nearly lost his mind after all the years of Michael-induced terror, and he starts to forget that little Jamie is just a child, instead bullying her into helping him to find and manipulate the serial killer.

The poor doc’s fairly well battered and exhausted, and his lovely old trademark ‘COLUMBO-‘ style overcoat in shocking need of dry-cleaning, by the time the story rolls to a close in the very place where it began, the old Myers place which has gone to rack and ruin in a few short years. The town obviously didn’t take the best care of its very own murder-house…

The violence is extreme and frequent in both films and the character of Michael Myers has great craic killing people in ever-more gruesome and grisly ways. Both these movies are terrific fun and I wouldn’t consider them inferior to the earlier ones at all, although it would have been nice if Jamie Lee Curtis had been in them too, then we would have had a full complement of HALLOWEEN past pupils, as it were. Still, we have Michael and dear old Gloomy Loomy, and that’s good enough for me.

I’ll just end by boasting (I mean casually remarking) that I saw John Carpenter and his band perform his famous movie soundtracks live in Dublin’s Vicar Street in October of 2017, I think it was. He was one sexy mutha, all dressed in black with his silver hair tied back in a ponytail, and when he played the theme tune to HALLOWEEN, the whole place went wild. Best night of my life so far. Long live HALLOWEEN, John Carpenter and Michael Myers, a magnificent triple threat by anyone’s standards.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

CANDYMAN. (1992) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©


CANDYMAN. (1992) DIRECTED BY BERNARD ROSE. SCREENPLAY BY BERNARD ROSE. BASED ON ‘THE FORBIDDEN,’ A SHORT STORY BY CLIVE BARKER. MUSIC BY PHILIP GLASS.
STARRING VIRGINIA MADSEN, TONY TODD, XANDER BERKELEY AND KASI LEMMONS.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Remove your underwear…’

‘It was always you, Helen…’

I was confused but also intrigued by this rather strange and iconic horror film. The main thing I loved about it was that, every time something happens in the film that’s so gruesome or awful you just automatically assume that the character is having a nightmare, they’re actually not, and the awful or gruesome thing was perfectly real and did happen. It’s an extremely gory film and not, as they say, for the faint-hearted, so don’t stick the kids in front of it while you nip to Tesco for a loaf of bread, lol.

Anyway, the beautiful Virginia Madsen, sister of actor Michael Madsen, plays the main character, Helen Lyle, in this supernatural slasher movie. She is a graduate student living in Chicago with her cheating and rather weedy-looking university professor husband, Trevor. Helen is studying urban legends and local folklore for her thesis, which she is co-writing with her friend Bernadette.

They decide to focus their thesis on the legends surrounding the Candyman, the evil spirit of a black man called Daniel Robitaille who was born the son of a slave in the late 1800s. He was killed in horrific circumstances by white men after becoming a painter of some repute and impregnating a white woman with whom he was in love.

The ghost has a hook for a hand (I know what you did last summer, by the way!) and a great big hulking chip on his shoulder. If you say his name in the mirror five times, the ghost, now known as the Candyman for some reason that’s not explained, is supposed to appear to you. No-one tells you what’s supposed to happen once he appears, but one would imagine it’s something fairly negative, as he’s a vengeful ghost and not, say, Father Christmas…

Instead of revenging himself on white men, as you might imagine, so far the spectre seems to have killed mainly black people living in notoriously poor housing projects. Helen and Bernadette, armed with cameras and notebooks, head straight to Cabrini Green, one such housing project, where the Candyman is supposed to have murdered a black woman after gaining access to her apartment through the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

Cabrini Green is a terrifying place, even without the lurking presence of the Candyman, whose name seems to be on everyone’s lips. The apartment blocks are disgracefully neglected by whichever local authority authorised their construction. They are filthy, probably overcrowded, daubed in graffiti and faeces, patrolled by gangs of aggressive black males and the lifts don’t work.

Sounds delightful, right? But Helen, our intrepid investigator, can’t seem to stay away from the bloody place, or from the mystery of the Candyman, even after she gets a terrible hiding from some of the local males who don’t take too kindly to posh ‘whites’ like Helen sniffing around their patch. Incidentally, did you see the state of those public toilets…?

But Helen is personally involved now, after a meeting she’s definitely not expecting in a deserted underground car-park. (This dame just can’t stop courting trouble, right? All she needs now is to hang round the tunnel under the old disused bridge at midnight on a bloody full moon…!)

Her discovery that the Candyman is all too real is just the beginning of a nightmare ride for the pretty graduate student with the lying, cheating bastard of a husband. She finds herself accused of the bloodiest, most horrific murders, murders that we know she didn’t commit. Her life changes out of all proportion, if by ‘changes’ you mean ‘fucked up beyond all recognition,’ or even FUBAR, lol.  

But the Candyman, a suave and decidedly sexy, sharp-dressing black ghost with a deep, delicious voice, refuses to relinquish his stranglehold on Helen. Might her resemblance to a woman in a certain portrait possibly hold the key to his obsession…?

The murders are gory and grim and the special effects excellent, but you might not sleep easy for a while after viewing this supernatural slasher flick, especially if, like me, you have a medicine cabinet in your bathroom…!

I loved the social commentary in the film. You could make a whole other film just about Cabrini Green and the people who live there, or in other forgotten housing projects like it. I especially liked the character of Anne-Marie McCoy, the young black single mum who works to take care of her baby, Anthony, whom she obviously adores.

It’s not all drugs and gangs, she tells Helen defensively. It’s not all like you whites read in the newspapers. Some good decent folks live here too. That is undoubtedly true. It must be very hard to live there as a woman on her own, trying to raise a little boy who, as he’s growing up, is going to see crime and gang activity everywhere he looks.

That’s the real horror of CANDYMAN, if you ask me, but, hey, there’s a pretty darned good murderous ghost in the mix too, so enjoy your film. There are two sequels: CANDYMAN 2: FAREWELL TO THE FLESH (1995) and CANDYMAN 3: DAY OF THE DEAD (1999). And watch out for the 2021 direct sequel, CANDYMAN, in your local cinema right about now. Now, all together: Candyman! Candyman! Candyman! Candyman! I just can’t say it a fifth time, lol. Too scared the legend might be true…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

FRIGHT. (1971) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.©

fright

FRIGHT. (1971) A BRITISH LION FILM. WRITTEN BY TUDOR GATES. DIRECTED BY PETER COLLINSON. STARRING SUSAN GEORGE, HONOR BLACKMAN, GEORGE COLE, DENNIS WATERMAN, JOHN GREGSON, TARA COLLINSON AND IAN BANNEN.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is a terrific horror-thriller movie in the sub-genre of what we would call ‘babysitter horror.’ Remember the original version of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (Carol Kane), the first twenty minutes of which are pure unadulterated perfect horror? Damn right. ‘Have you checked the children?’

There’s also HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (Jocelin Donahue), in which a young American college student desperate for rent money is lured out into the sticks on the pretext of a babysitting job, but when she gets to the creepy old house in the country, she discovers two things. One, the baby she’s been called out to sit for isn’t a baby at all, but an elderly lady; and two, that the entire family are up to their tits in a devil cult. Lol. Dontcha just hate it when that happens?

And then, of course, there’s the original babysitter horror itself, HALLOWEEN, with Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode doing duty as the babysitter and the masked escaped criminal Michael Myers providing the chuckles, I mean, the murders.

FRIGHT stars the delectable Susan STRAW DOGS George as Amanda, the young babysitter and child welfare student who comes to the isolated house of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd to watch their son Tara, while they go out to the Plover Inn in the village a few miles away and celebrate ‘a sort of anniversary.’

The real star of the film is Susan George’s infinitely expressive, mobile face, with the huge eyes, the lush trembling lips and the slightly gammy but still charming teeth. This woman can really show fear in her face. Her long blonde hair and perfect, petite little body all go to complete the package.

The camera loves her, and her face can be shot endlessly in close-ups and you’d never get tired of it. Also, she’s rather smashing at portraying women who are being pushed around and abused by men. You can see this here, and also in STRAW DOGS which she made later in the year for Sam Peckinpah.

Anyway, as Amanda, she shows up at the Lloyds’ house in her fab little woolly pinky-purple mini-dress with the kinky black knee-boots, all set to babysit their little blond cherub of a son, Tara. By the way, in Ireland, Tara is a girl’s name. Just sayin.’

The Lloyds are played by George Cole (MINDER, THE VAMPIRE LOVERS) as Jim and the super-posh and classy Honor Blackman (GOLDFINGER, THE AVENGERS, TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER) as Helen. They are an uneasy pair.

Helen is obviously on edge, and doesn’t really want to leave the house, or her baby son, at all, but she’s going to go out to dinner for her husband’s sake and for the sake of living life as normal. Even though they clearly have a secret, one that might possibly place Amanda and the baby in danger if things pan out the way Helen clearly fears they’re going to.

The Lloyd house is big and old and creaky. Amanda gets a few scares initially that turn out to be no more than taps dripping or washing-lines tapping off the branches of trees. But when she sees a distorted man’s face through a ground floor window-pane, she can’t pass this off as a mere commonplace event.

She gets really scared and is glad when her male friend Chris (Dennis Waterman; MINDER, THE SCARS OF DRACULA) pops round to try and get in her knickers. She resists him at first, then gives in part of the way, then throws him out on his ear. Women, eh? Talk about moody and inconsistent. Men are like children. They need consistency in a woman. No means no and all that. Chris leaves, angry, confused and in a danger he’s unaware of…

In the meantime, there’s someone in the Lloyd house who shouldn’t be there and poor little Amanda, in her skimpy mini-dress that opens at the front to show her brassière and her perfect little boobies, is about to be subjected to a nightmare that will only be topped when Susan George films STRAW DOGS later in the year for Sam Peckinpah, the Daddy of Movie Violence. Will Amanda make it out alive? Will Tara? And what is the secret that’s eating Helen Lloyd up from the inside out…?

I love the shots of Helen and Jim boogey-ing on the dance floor in the Plover Inn, and also the fact that Amanda is watching Hammer’s PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES on the Lloyds’ ancient telly. FRIGHT could so easily pass for a Hammer film itself. 

I also love the confident, ginger-moustached cop who’s clearly in charge of the station’s one gun, and the way the desk sergeant won’t tell the Inspector a single solitary dicky-bird until he’s painstakingly made out a handwritten report.

‘Oh, you’ve been shot in the ‘ead there, ‘ave you, sir? Well, just hang on out here, sir, will you, while I go and fetch a pen and paper and write all this down for the Inspector, sir. Now where did I put that darned pen? It were ‘ere a minute or two ago. ‘Ere, you, Davies, ‘ave you had me pen? Blue it is, with a chewed cap where I chewed it myself. Oh, you’ve given up and died, ‘ave you, sir? Right on the floor down there? Fair enough, sir, I can’t say I blame you, but just hang on a minute, will you, while I make a note of it for the Inspector? Oh yes, that’s right, I’ve lost me pen, ‘aven’t I…?’

Cracking stuff. Watch FRIGHT. It’s a good atmospheric watch with loads of shocks and scares along the way. Out now from STUDIOCANAL, it features interviews with Susan George (she’s still alive and looking very well) and good-humoured cinema critic and snappy dresser Kim Newman. I saw him give a talk once, but unfortunately didn’t get close enough to him afterwards to ask for an autograph. You snooze, you lose.

But please don’t snooze while you’re on your own in a strange house, with their telly and your refrigerator privileges. That could be the very chance a boogeyman needs to gain access. And, once he’s in, he can be very hard to get rid of…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

HALLOWEEN. (2018) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

halloween 2018 stabby

HALLOWEEN. (2018) BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL. MUSIC BY JOHN CARPENTER, CODY CARPENTER AND DANIEL DAVIES. DIRECTED BY DAVID GORDON GREEN.

STARRING JAMIE LEE CURTIS, JAMES JUDE COURTNEY, NICK CASTLE (the original Michael Myers), JUDY GREER, TOBY HUSS, ANDI MATICHAK, WILL PATTON AND VIRGINIA GARDNER.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I bloody loved this brilliant fortieth anniversary edition of John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher horror classic. It’s got our beloved Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Janet PSYCHO Leigh, reprising her role as Laurie Strode, the woman terrorised by deranged serial killer Michael Myers one fateful Halloween night forty years ago when she was babysitting while studying for her exams.

Michael’s murderous nature has lost none of its sick inventiveness and tendency towards the most shocking violence. The theme tune we love is there, the music overall is great and we get to see the blocky orangey credits from the first film again.

Dear old Dr. Samuel Loomis, played by an over-coated Donald Pleasence in the original films, gets a couple of mentions and the respect and love the cast and crew show towards the original movies is all we could wish for and more as fans of the franchise.

There are a ton of lovely recognisable nods and tributes to the original franchise of movies in this film, which a friend aptly described as ‘a love letter to the original Halloween.’ Aw, isn’t that sweet?

Anyone who doesn’t love this movie and deem it ‘rackworthy,’ as Comic Book Guy from THE SIMPSONS might say, is a snobby nit-picker, there I’ve said it, lol. (Or maybe a nobby snit-picker, depending how well you’re able to get your tongue round the tongue-twister.)

So anyway, it’s been forty years since attractive brunette high school student Laurie Strode was pursued and attacked by Michael Myers for the first time. What’s she been up to all this time? I think it’s safe to say that she’s been living in fear ever since.

I don’t know what she’s been doing for a living but she’s turned her isolated woodside home into a fortress that she hopes is Michael Myers-proof, just in case he ever decides to come back. Which you know he will.

And the place hasn’t yet been built that’s one hundred percent Michael Myers-proof, as our dear old Laurie should know by now. Still, I totally understand that she’s got to at least try, in order to make herself feel better and even safe. If Laurie Strode can ever feel totally safe again after what Michael put her through, which I doubt.

Her house has a locked high gate where you have to state your business into an intercom and be buzzed in by Laurie herself. The woods around her house serve as an eerie mannequins’ graveyard for all the tailors’ dummies she’s personally murdered over the years during her target practice. I don’t really see Michael ever being killed by a bullet from a gun, though, do you?

Laurie’s become something of a crack shot by now and she keeps a veritable arsenal of weapons in her basement. The basement is accessible only by activating a switch that moves the kitchen island to one side and reveals a staircase leading downwards into what Laurie’s grown-up daughter Karen calls her ‘childhood.’ This basement is Laurie’s ‘panic room.’ It’s filled with enough guns and food supplies and other sundries to satisfy even the strictest, most panicky survivalist.

It’s good to be prepared, but it doesn’t look like poor Laurie has had much of a life since Michael Myers came into it and blighted it. Has anyone been helping her with her obvious PTSD?

Unfortunately, her obsession with what happened forty years ago has cost her two marriages and her relationship with her daughter. This last I wouldn’t shed any tears about because the daughter Karen is a whingy bitch.

I wanted to slap her upside the head and yell at her to show some respect to her mother and have some sympathy with Laurie’s plight. ‘How dare you be so rude to Jamie Lee Curtis, you bitch?’

But Karen is a proper Moaning Minnie who was removed from Laurie’s care when she was a child because of the way that Laurie’s fears had taken over both their lives. I would have washed my hands of her and gone back to concentrating properly on living in fear, lol.

Karen herself has a daughter called Alysson now, a teenager for whose romantic future I tremble. There don’t seem to be any male people in her school who have any intention of growing up into what we used to recognise as men. I’ll say no more in case I’m accused of some new and horrible kind of discrimination but seriously, what’s happened to all the men in the world of cinema…?

Alysson has a better relationship with her grandmother Laurie than Karen has with her mother. Alysson also seems to be more tolerant of Laurie’s PTSD than Karen, and more inclined to believe her grandmother when she tries to explain that Michael Myers will always constitute a threat to the Strode family as long as he’s alive somewhere.

This is good because right now, we’re on a full-on red warning as Michael, a big strong burly man now in his early sixties and with his beloved old mask firmly in place, has escaped from the bus conveying him from one insane asylum to another.

Slowly but inexorably, and leaving a terrible trail of savagery and murder behind him, he’s making his way home to the little town of Haddonfield where, when he was a mere tot of six years old, he suddenly stabbed his older sister Judith to death with a massive kitchen knife one Halloween night.

And of course it was on another Halloween night in Haddonfield that he murdered a slew of Laurie Strode’s incredibly slutty high school friends and tried to murder Laurie herself too. Laurie was a good studious girl who put studying ahead of sex. Was it a mere coincidence that she alone survived Michael’s rampage? Maybe, maybe not.

Either way, just like whenever horny teens try to have sex in the vicinity of Camp Crystal Lake, there will Jason Voorhees be to throw buckets of cold water on their ardour (‘Ardour, ardour, do it ardour!’), so will Michael Myers be on hand wherever the babysitters of Haddonfield are trying to get some. They should really set up a picket line, shouldn’t they?

Haddonfield is tricked out beautifully for Halloween, as it is every time we go back there. It really captures the feel of the original movie. Kids are going about trick-or-treating in full Halloween costume and there are pumpkins galore.

I love that people get slaughtered in this that you actually assumed were going to make it till the end of the movie (it really confounds your expectations and turns ’em on their head!), and I also loved it that Michael chose not to kill that crying baby. Michael Myers is a killer of stupid people, of annoying, disrespectful journalists and horny teens. He is no baby-killer.

It’s funny as well the way that you get so protective of Michael after all these years. Even though we know he’s a demented serial killer who kills people in dreadfully painful ways, he’s our beloved serial killer and we don’t want any harm to come to him or for anyone to be annoying him.

When that awful podcaster couple were harassing him in the exercise yard of the asylum in the beginning, I wanted to scream at them to leave him alone, he’s our Michael Myers and how bloody dared they pester him like that? Let’s just say that I didn’t shed too many tears over what later happened in that grubby little gas station bathroom…

If this turns out to be our last HALLOWEEN movie ever, I’d consider us to be well off. If there are ever any more sequels, especially ones with Jamie Lee Curtis in ’em, that’ll just be a lovely big bonus. There is a sequel to this one planned, so we’ll see.

HALLOWEEN (2018), whether you view it as a stand-alone movie or the first part of a two-part film series, is more than worthy of being added to this terrific franchise. I’ll fight anyone who says differently. What, fisticuffs? Yes, fisticuffs, lol.

Have fun, by the way, counting all the cute little nods to the original movie, there are at least ten of ’em. And remember this little fun fact the next time Michael Myers comes a-calling. No matter how fast you run, he can walk faster…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

THE DARK (2018) and WHISPERS (2015): A PAIR OF GRISLY HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

whispers catherine

THE DARK (2018) and WHISPERS (2015): A DOUBLE BILL OF GRISLY HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I watched these two modern horror movies back-to-back yesterday and, while I enjoyed the break and found them both entertaining enough, they’ve got a few flaws as well that kept me from enjoying ’em wholeheartedly.

THE DARK would have been better called ‘THE DEVIL’S DEN,’ as that’s the part of the forest in America where the action all takes place. That’s not really a flaw though, just a matter of opinion, lol.

A lot of horror movies today have such generic, similar-sounding titles that it actually makes them hard to find when you go to look for them online. That’s one major grouse I have with the horror films of today.

Like, how many movies are called THE WOODS, INTO THE WOODS, BEHIND THE WOODS, WHAT’S IN THE WOODS?, DON’T GO IN THE WOODS, STAY OUTTA THE WOODS, I TOLD YOU NOT TO GO NEAR THE WOODS, THE DARK WOODS, IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS TODAY, THE HAUNTED WOODS, CABIN IN THE WOODS, CABIN IN THE HAUNTED WOODS and so on. Makes ’em very difficult to Wikipedia. Film-makers, take note…!

Anyway, THE DARK is the story of a kidnapper called Josef, who takes an abducted boy called Alex into the woods that locals say is cursed by the vengeful ghost of a girl who died near there years before.

The kidnapper expertly locates an old abandoned house in the woods with which he seems to have a connection, but we never find out what that is, disappointingly. Instead, he gets himself bumped off straightaway by the so-called ‘entity’ that haunts the woods.

A bond forms between the kidnapped boy Alex and the teenage girl who’s been living in the grotty old abandoned house, the girl that locals say is the ‘ghost.’ She’s been living rough in the house, eating whatever scraps of food she can scrounge and drawing dozens of pictures of scary faces, for which she’d need to have an endless supply of art stuff, but let’s gloss over how come she’s so well-equipped in the artistic department, shall we, when she hasn’t got two cents to rub together…?

Both kids have been horrifically physically abused by the grown-ups in their lives, to the point where their ruined faces are actually hard to look at for too long. We never find out why Josef the Kidnapper has done what he’s done to poor Alex, which is a huge swizz. And what exactly was he intending to do with him when he got him alone in the cabin? Maybe it doesn’t exactly bear thinking about.

Mina’s back-story- that’s the wild girl- is shown in graphic detail in flashback and it’s truly terrible. Terrible what’s been done to her, that is. The film seems to have many plotholes, though, that do detract from your enjoyment of it, and the ending leaves you with more unanswered questions than one of Ireland’s many tribunals. Yes, yes, that money was only resting in your account, I’m sure, lol. I believe you, thousands wouldn’t. Verdict on THE DARK? Unsatisfactory and hard to stomach.

WHISPERS is gorgeous to look at because the film-makers have had the use of the most magnificent country house and grounds to film in. The plot, however, is all over the place. It’s supposed to be the story of a young couple, called Catherine and Harvey Caldwell, who’ve lost their daughter and who’ve come to the countryside to grieve and work on their failing marriage.

All that makes perfect sense, or would if the film-makers hadn’t put in this mad bit in the beginning from when the woman of the couple was supposedly a child. She has a ‘painted harlot’ for a mother and an eccentric madwoman for a granny. (You’ve heard of LOVE IN AN ELEVATOR? Now meet GRAN IN AN (unexplained) ELEVATOR…!)

The child appears to be evil, or to have an evil doll. Either way, a small boy is murdered in his bath, and only the little girl and her decidedly odd, affection-shunning Granny attend the funeral. Who is this boy and why- and by whom- was he killed? It’s never explained.

Now Catherine (played by former Page 3 stunna Keeley Hazell), the little girl, is all grown up and married to Harvey, who looks like he might be Danny O’Donohue from The Script’s slightly uglier brother.

In the magnificent country house where they’re meant to be recuperating from the death of their daughter, Catherine keeps hearing her child’s voice and one of the rooms keeps turning into a nursery, complete with lavish crib, whenever she walks into it.

The husband wants them to get over their grief together and make their marriage work, but Catherine’s too far gone down the road of paranoia and despair. A Little Grudge Girl- a girl in a white shift with long black hair covering her face- is everywhere in the house, locking Catherine in the wine cellar and generally being menacing. Who the bloody hell is she? Is she the evil spirit of Catherine’s ratty, tatty childhood doll that got destroyed? Damned if I know.

When, oh when, will film-makers stop bringing the Little Grudge Girl into every single horror film they make? I’m so sick and tired of seeing these Girls trudge silently, head-down, lank hair trailing like the hems of their white nighties, between the rooms of a house and looking out of windows. As a horror movie trope, it’s well worn out by now. It doesn’t even really work any more.

And when, by the way, will it be possible once more to watch a horror film that doesn’t have kids in it? It seems like there are kids in every single bloody horror film that comes out nowadays.

The girls are all cute and over-sexualised, with long brownish-blonde hair and red rosebud mouths and the boys aren’t much different. They all have long floppy hair too and full, over-emphasised lips, just like the girls. Lay off the kids, will ya, guys, and give the horror genre back to the adults who are old enough to stay up after the watershed to watch the damn films…? 

Simon and Sasha, friends of Catherine’s husband’s, come to stay at the house for a bit. Which is odd, because weren’t the Caldwell couple supposed to be recovering from their grief together, alone and in peace? Why the feck would you invite friends to stay at a time like that? Especially such high-maintenance friends as Simon and his sexy supermodel of a significant other.

Simon has an hilarious spiv moustache and his foreign totty girlfriend Sasha, played by Barbara Nedeljakova from HOSTEL, is an absolute knockout. She has huge lovely boobies and the director, a woman if I’m not mistaken, gets lots of great shots of her in the pool in her bikini.

There are loads of lovely shots in the film, of the two women who are undoubtedly stunning-looking wearing different lovely dresses, and also of the house and the fabulous grounds that surround it. There’s a lot more style than there is substance in the film, not to mention plotholes through which you could drive a whole convoy of trucks.

Still, the film’s got the house and the grounds, a smashing end twist, a psychiatrist with an accent you’ll have great fun trying to decipher and, above all, it’s got Sasha’s Glorious Titties. He who is tired of Sasha’s Glorious Titties is tired of life, and is furthermore a man I should not care to know. Sasha’s Glorious Titties, we totally salute you. Over and out.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor