CLUELESS. (1995) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

CLUELESS. (1995) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY AMY HECKERLING. LOOSELY BASED ON JANE AUSTEN’S NOVEL, ‘EMMA.’

STARRING ALICIA SILVERSTONE, STACEY DASH, BRITTANY MURPHY, PAUL RUDD, DAN HEDAYA, WALLACE SHAWN AND TWINK CAPLAN.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Daddy: ‘What did you do in school today, honey?’

Cher: ‘Well, I broke in my purple clogs.’

I have a bit of a girl crush on Alicia Silverstone, so I tend to think well of every film she makes. She’s just so watchable, with that fabulous mop of blonde hair and the wonderfully expressive mouth/face. In CLUELESS, she’s also very likeable, and not at all the raging bitch she could so easily be, with her glorious looks and charismatic personality. Well, I said I had a girl crush, lol.

She still looks amazing at forty-five, hardly much different to the girl who got famous in THE CRUSH (1993) with Cary Elwes, and also by starring in a couple of iconic videos for the rock band Aerosmith, alongside lead singer Steve Tyler’s daughter, the no less stunning Liv Tyler.

I’ve always found Liv Tyler, of LORD OF THE RINGS fame, to be rather blank-faced and kind of flat when it comes to performing, though, in contrast to Alicia Silverstone’s infinitely watchable and animated personas. No offence meant, Livvy love…!

Anyway, in CLUELESS, the romantic high school comedy with its own cult following, spin-off television series and series of Young Adult books, Alicia Silverstone plays the likeable but ultimately ‘clueless’ Cher Horowitz.

Cher is a rich, popular and beautiful student, who attends Bronson Alcott High School in Beverley Hills while living with her father Melvin, a temperamental rich lawyer. Cher’s mum died years ago from a liposuction treatment that went tits-up, if you’ll excuse the pun.

Cher is well liked at school, despite her obvious advantages, which should really make her the butt of terrible jealousy. Her best friend is Dionne, who is dating Murray, who says things like, ‘Woman, lend me some money!’

Cher and Dionne live for fashion, and for going to the mall and shopping till they drop, to the point where Cher’s socially conscious ex-stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd) teases her about it. He says Cher is shallow and superficial and only cares about clothes and what she looks like on the outside, and this really rankles with Cher.

She wants to feel like there’s more to her than just being a clothes horse, and anyway, she’s given away tons of expensive Italian clothes to their European maid, Lucy, so what is Josh even talking about, anyway, the sap?

A matchmaking exercise on Cher’s part to bring together two rather goofy teachers, Mr. Hall (played by Wallace Shawn, who was Vizzini in THE PRINCESS BRIDE) and Ms. Geist, goes extremely well and Cher is pleased with the nice happy feelings it gives her, even though she only did it in the first place out of self-interest, namely, in order to get one of her poor grades ‘re-negotiated.’

Still, that nice, do-good-for-others feeling sticks with her and, when an utterly ‘clueless’ new girl joins the school- Tai Frasier, played by the late Brittany Murphy- Cher decides that it would be an act of charity on her part to take the gammy ugly duckling under her wing and turn her into a swan. Or a clone of herself and Dionne and the other cool girls at Bronson Alcott High School, more like.

The project has mixed results. Cher goes on to fancy a guy who turns out to be gay, then the guy she has earmarked for Tai only has eyes for her, Cher. Cher fails her driving test and, in an unrelated incident, gets mugged at knife-point, while she’s wearing an Alaia dress, if you can believe her bad luck and the terrible timing. To be mugged when you’re wearing Alaia? Unthinkable…

Then she finally realises that the man of her own dreams has been right in front of her all along, only now, someone else has expressed an interest in snagging this particular guy’s attention… the newly popular and fabulised Tai Frasier, who owes both her newfound popularity and her equally newborn fabulousness to Cher. Oh, the delicious irony of it all! Who will win the love of this guy? Cher… or her creation, Tai…?

There’s not much else to say about the movie, except that it was loosely based on Jane Austen’s light comedy EMMA, and several of the characters in CLUELESS correspond with characters in the novel.

Alicia Silverstone looks incredible through the film and is a great little comic actress too. I love her in straight or even nasty roles, for example, she played a very dangerous liar in THE CRUSH, but she has a gift for comedy too, and a delightfully expressive and mobile mouth and face to help her with that. Talk about blessed.

If you want to join the Alicia Silverstone Fan Club, just bung me a few quid here at my home address and I’ll see gets it, honest I will. We’re actually dead good mates on social media, me and her. At least, I think it’s her, could be one of those fan accounts, but anyway, watch the film if you haven’t already seen it.

It’s a good laugh, very of its time- the baggy pants, skateboarding ‘Nineties- and you might even pick up a few fashion tips, lol. Or find out how to get your teacher to change a grade you’re not happy with. I mean, you don’t want to be clueless, do you…?

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 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