THE FOG. (1980) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

JOHN CARPENTER’S THE FOG. (1980) DIRECTED BY JOHN CARPENTER. WRITTEN BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL. ORIGINAL MUSIC BY JOHN CARPENTER.
STARRING ADRIENNE BARBEAU, JAMIE LEE CURTIS, JANET LEIGH, TOMMY ATKINS, JOHN HOUSEMAN, NANCY LOOMIS AND HAL HOLBROOK.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Who is that…?’

‘Did you see his eyes…?’

‘Blake, I have your gold…!’

‘We’re honouring murderers…’

‘Why not six, Blake? Why not six…?’

‘Something came out of the fog tonight…’
 
The picturesque little Californian seaside town of Antonio Bay is in serious trouble in this fantastic film by horror icon John Carpenter. The inhabitants of the town are all getting ready to celebrate their centenary, with scream queen Janet PSYCHO Leigh roped in to organise the festivities. She plays Kathy Williams, council-woman and wife of a local fisherman, and she looks smashing in her knee-length red leather boots with her blonde coiffure.

She’s being assisted in her worthy endeavours, by the way, by Nancy Loomis, the woman who played Annie, the annoying teenage babysitter from HALLOWEEN. ‘Sandy, you have a way of saying yes, ma’am that sounds exactly like screw you…!’ To which Sandy immediately replies, ‘Yes, ma’am…!’

But, anyway, a strange glowing fog is rolling in from the sea, and it’s no normal fog, as you might have guessed by the word ‘glowing.’ Fog doesn’t normally glow, does it? Darn tootin’ it doesn’t. Something tells us that the centenary celebrations and the glorification of the town’s founding fathers may not pass off without incident…

Even worse than the fog itself, which is quite disturbing enough on its own, is what it contains. The ghosts of long-dead mariners are in it, see? And they’re coming back to Antonio Bay after a hundred years of being deceased to wreak a deadly revenge on the townspeople for wrongs committed against them by the town’s founding fathers. Well, I nevah…!

They’re being reasonable enough in their quest for a terrible vengeance, though, these spectres. They’re not going on a murderous rampage willy-nilly. They’ll only be slaughtering six people, because that’s how many people dissed ’em a hundred years ago tonight. Aw. It’s nice when ghosts can count. It should encourage any young folks watching the film to stick with their math…

Seriously, though, I had a horrible dream recently about a plague ship or a leper ship that desperately tried to reach land, reach some country where there would be people who could help the sick, suffering and dying people on board. But when they did eventually reach what they called ‘civilisation,’ the so-called ‘civilised’ people were so appalled at the thought of being in close proximity to lepers or plague victims that they chose to burn the ship’s still-living inhabitants to death and then scuttle the ship rather than risk their own skins. I woke up frozen in fear.

What does this all have to do with Antonio Bay? Well, I won’t give the whole plot away, but what happened to poor Blake and his men is just horrible. I don’t blame them for wanting revenge, although it’s awfully hard on people like poor Mrs. Kobritz and little Andy Wayne, the three mariners aboard the Sea Grass and the poor old weatherman who are, one would imagine, completely innocent of any wrongdoing themselves.

From the moment the town starts going all MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE at the start of the movie because of the proximity of the mariners, you know you’re going to be watching something special. The atmosphere is positively electric with a terrifying anticipation right from the get-go.

We know that something evil and dangerous is coming and the tension never lets up the whole way through. I think it’s honestly the most fun I’ve ever had being scared in my whole life. I was breathless with excitement while watching it and, even though I was spooked out of my mind, I wouldn’t have turned my face away for anything in the world. Mind you, when I watched it first at about age sixteen, it scared me so much I actually wet my bed that night…!

The cuddly Hal Holbrook, with a fine head of hair on him and a luxuriant moustache to match, does a top job of playing Father Malone. As a direct descendant of one of The Guilty Six, he seems to be the townsperson with the most to fear from the deadly fog. An alcoholic he may be, but he’s grimly determined to make reparations to Blake and his crew if he can at all.

It’s so nice to see Janet Leigh and her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, acting in the same film, even though they don’t have much to do with each other in it. Certainly Ms. Leigh doesn’t put her naughty hitch-hiker of a daughter over her knee and paddle her behind raw for sleeping with a strange guy who gives her a lift in his truck, and the horny pair don’t even ask each others’ names till after all the sex…!

Tsk, tsk. Jamie Lee, you brazen hussy…! A good spanking is most definitely in order, I fear. The strange guy in question, Nick Castle, is played by actor Tom Atkins, and he gets his kit off in HALLOWEEN 3 as well, the big horny stud.
 
The heroine of the film is, of course, the tousle-haired, husky-voiced Adrienne Barbeau, who plays the sultry but feisty disc jockey Stevie Wayne. Up in her lonely lighthouse studio she warns the townspeople about the approach of the fog and keeps ’em up to date as to its whereabouts.

Even though she knows that her own little boy Andy and his babysitter, the elderly Mrs. Kobritz, are directly in the line of fire of the fog, she won’t leave her post in the lighthouse because of the urgent need to warn everyone in town about the killer fog.

It’s kind of hard not to giggle when she’s telling everyone that the fog is heading up this street and down that avenue and up this hill and over that bridge, etc. One can almost imagine the fog stopping at various pedestrian lights and waiting impatiently for the lights to change before continuing on its rampage, like something out of THE SIMPSONS. Anyway, this lady Stevie Wayne has guts and balls to spare, and the town of Antonio Bay has a lot to thank her for. ‘Look for the fog…’

The loud banging on the various doors is terrifying. So too is the scene on the SEA GRASS when the lads look up and see the sails of a boat from a century ago literally towering over them. A ghost story that has its roots in the sea is scarier, in a way, than some land-based ones.

This film has so much atmosphere and authenticity, it puts some of the more modern stuff to shame. And it’s so simple too, in the sense that it’s not complicated by needless side-plots or trickery or other such nonsense. It relies on the story itself and the superb musical score to keep the audience hooked.

The music, written by the legendary horror director himself, is fantastic. When the fog is heading for the showdown in the old church, the pounding soundtrack ratchets up the fear factor something fierce. And at other times, the music is beautifully eerie and reminds us that John Carpenter also wrote the theme music for his other famous horror film, HALLOWEEN.

Of all the horror films I’ve ever seen in my life, I think THE FOG has to be the one that uses music the most effectively to create a feeling of ever-mounting terror and dread. The whole movie gets a ten out of ten in every possible way.

I think it might even be John Carpenter’s best film, but no doubt fans of his other movies like THE THING and the afore-mentioned HALLOWEEN might fight me on that one. One thing I’m sure we’re all agreed on. John Carpenter is the king of horror directing. All hail the King…!     

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 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:

HALLOWEEN. (1978) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

HALLOWEEN. (1978) DIRECTED BY JOHN CARPENTER. PRODUCED BY DEBRA HILL. SCREENPLAY BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL. MUSIC BY JOHN CARPENTER. CINEMATOGRAPHY BY DEAN CUNDEY.
STARRING JAMIE LEE CURTIS, NANCY LOOMIS, PJ SOLES, CHARLES CYPHERS AND DONALD PLEASENCE.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Death has come to your little town, Sheriff.’

‘No man did that.’
‘He’s not a man.’

This is the big one, the film that kicked off one of the most successful franchises in movie history. It tells the story of serial killer Michael Myers, who in this film stylishly and effortlessly joins fellow horror movie icons- some already in existence, some yet to come- Freddie Kreuger, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, Jigsaw and Co. in the ‘Horror Movie Villain Hall Of Fame.’ (I don’t know if such a thing actually exists, by the way. I’m just speaking metaphorically, lol.)

Michael Myers brutally murders his somewhat slutty older sister Judith when he’s still in short pants. He gets banged up in a mental hospital for his trouble. There he stays for fifteen long years. Then, one dark spooky night, he escapes, much to the disgust and horror of his head-shrink, Dr. Loomis, brilliantly played by Donald Pleasence.

Dr. Loomis knows the score, you see. He might be the only character in the film who does. ‘I met this six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes; the devil’s eyes … I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply … evil.’
 
As Dr. Loomis says himself in the film, he spends the first seven years of Michael’s incarceration trying to get through to him, then the next eight attempting to see to it that the boy never gets out of captivity. Michael is pure evil, you see, without logic, reason or remorse. And you can’t kill pure evil, remember that…

Michael makes his way back to the fictional town of Haddonfield, Ohio, where the abandoned old Myers house has fallen into creepy disrepair. He focuses his attention on schoolgirl Laurie Strode, who spends her free time babysitting local kids and hanging out with her boy-crazy friends, Annie and Linda.

Jamie Lee Curtis, the daughter of Janet Leigh of PSYCHO fame, is fantastic as Laurie, the character that made her famous. As she goes about her lawful business with her gorgeous long blondey-brown hair swinging free and a pile of schoolbooks under her arm to indicate to us the studiousness of her nature, she gets the feeling that she’s being watched. She’s right to feel that way, dead right.

She is being watched, by a tall, well-built male wearing a dark-blue boilersuit. Oh, and he also wears a terrifying-looking white mask… Nothing to be worried about there, so…! You’ll see so many iconic scenes of Michael in this stalking part of the film.

Michael standing behind the bushes, with half of him squarely in shot on the street and the other half behind the bush. Michael standing amidst the billowing white sheets in the back garden. Michael watching Laurie from across the street as she sits in class, but when she looks back, of course he’s gone, leaving poor Laurie wondering if she’s imagining things…   

Halloween arrives and Laurie is babysitting the neighbours’ sproglet again. Across the street, the confident, curly-haired Annie Brackett is babysitting too, only she’s not a very good babysitter because she palms her little charge off on Laurie so that she can go and pick up her boyfriend Paul and bring him back to her employers’ empty house to have sex. What a little hussy, eh?

Nancy Loomis as Annie, the weed-smoking daughter of Haddonfield’s sheriff, is just fantastic. She carries a whole portion of the film all by herself as she potters about, chatting away loudly to herself, in the house of the little girl she’s babysitting for, Lindsey Wallace.

The whole time she’s there, taking her kit off after she spills food on herself and so on, she’s being watched by a fascinated Michael. Although she feels a little uneasy at times without knowing why, especially in the darkened laundry room which is down the back of the Wallaces’ garden, the first she hears of any possible threat or danger is when Michael Myers strangles her to death in a chillingly realistic scene.

In Annie’s absence, hers and Laurie’s other friend, Lynda, a flirty, sexy blonde cheerleader, brings her bloke Bob into the Wallaces’ empty house and they immediately rush upstairs to engage in sexual shenanigans. Hmmm, the teens of Haddonfield are clearly over-sexed. Maybe there’s something in the water.

Well, Michael Myers is not called the scourge of the Haddonfield Babysitters’ Club for nothing! I made that bit up, by the way, I mean, no-one actually calls him that besides me, but they should do because he seems determined to put a stop to their fun, their dope-smoking, beer-swilling sexual antics, in the only way he knows how… That’s right, folks, killing!

Anyway, after all the sex, Bob goes downstairs in the darkened house to pick up a couple of post-coital beers and gets himself impaled on Michael Myers’ stabby little friend, his huge trademark knife. My favourite scene in the whole movie is the one that comes next.

Annie is sitting up in bed topless, waiting impatiently for her boyfriend to bring her her beer. Well, well. Slutty and bone-idle. I see. Her boyfriend comes to the bedroom door and stands there motionless, not speaking, draped from head to foot in a white sheet. Or is it her boyfriend…? Well, the figure is wearing Bob’s glasses so it must be Bob, right…? I love that the film has a bit of a naughty, cheeky sense of humour as is illustrated clearly here.

Meanwhile, Laurie is doing her nut waiting for her friend Annie to get in touch about picking up the nipper she’s meant to be minding. Eventually, she tires of waiting, pops across the street to the Wallaces’ house where Annie is supposed to be babysitting Lindsey and discovers some things she’ll see in her nightmares for the rest of her life.

The street is empty. No parents, no neighbours are around to help her. Things go from bad to worse for poor Laurie as she is then chased through the Doyles’ darkened house by the knife-wielding masked man. It’s her turn to be killed now, apparently, and Michael has saved her till last. At one stage, she’s even cornered in a closet while Michael Myers stabs his way through the wood.

She is helped in timely fashion by the overcoated Dr. Loomis, who’s been wandering around Haddonfield all night looking for his escaped mental patient. The good doctor shoots the maniac, sending him flying through an upstairs window and into the garden below. He should be dead after all that, right? Wrong. Dr. Loomis turns his back on the ‘boogeyman’ for a minute and he disappears, leaving the way beautifully clear for a sequel or three…

Laurie: That was the boogeyman.

Dr. Loomis: As a matter of fact, it was…

There’s just so much to love about this ground-breaking film, the ‘Daddy,’ if you will, of the slasher movies. The superbly memorable musical score by John Carpenter. The way that Haddonfield looks so pretty, all decked out in rustic browns and oranges for Halloween. The sheer annoying shrillness and over-confidence of Annie that nearly makes us want to root for the slasher.

The scene in the graveyard with the uprooted headstone… ‘He came home…’ The spot-on performances of Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis. Last but not least, Michael Myers himself. His trademark boilersuit, knife and mask ensemble. The way his chalk-white masked face can suddenly materialise out of the shadows and make you jump.

The unhurried, calculated way in which he hunts down his prey, who can never seem to run as fast as he can walk. The way that you can kill him, or think you’ve killed him, but he won’t stay dead. He’s bloody brilliant. He’s my favourite of all the iconic horror movie baddies. I’m even a little sexually attracted to him, rightly or wrongly. He’s the strong silent type. I like that in a guy…

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