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…


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:


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

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





There’s something a bit off about this year, a bit odd. Haha, very good, I heard it too. No, I don’t mean the dreaded ‘rona, the coronavirus, COVID-19, the plague that’s a bit like the ‘flu only much worse that can kill you if you’re over a certain age and have an underlying health condition.

Thanks to COVID, 2020 might just have been the worst year in the history of mankind, and it’s still got two-and-a-half months left to go. God alone knows what torments are still in store for us.

But no, I was actually referring to something else, the lack of which this year only adds to the ever-growing misery. Normally, by this stage of the year, by mid-October, myself and my kids would be a good six or even seven weeks into watching a little televisual feast known to its millions of fans as The X Factor.

Our Saturday nights since the show’s inception in the early 2000s had all been blissful and without a shadow of a doubt the best night of every week, bar none. None, I tells ya. What wasn’t to love?

A takeaway in front of probably the most popular reality television show of all time, and all the good, bad and downright terrible singing you could ever ask for. Dermot O’Leary, for a long time the show’s polished presenter, even said it himself every time he came out on stage: ‘Your Saturday night starts here…!’ Dermot, it did indeed.

How would I describe the show to a space alien who’d never seen it? Well, thousands upon thousands of contestants queued up to audition for a place in Britain’s most high profile singing competition and reality television show, ‘reality’ meaning that it featured regular folks off the street, and not celebrities.

They’d come in their droves, the good, the bad, the bizarre, the weird, the wonderful, the sexy, the glamorous and the downright insane. Some of them could even sing. Some would come from halfway across the world, just for a chance at their five minutes (or more, but usually much less) of fame.

They’d gradually be whittled down to a few hundred who would then appear on the show as they went through auditions in front of the celebrity judges, then boot camp, which separated the men from the boys (we’re not allowed to say that any more as it’s politically incorrect, and quite rightly so. I mean, where are the women referenced?), and then Judges’ Houses and the live shows themselves, in front of a huge theatre audience.

I had such a huge crush on Simon Cowell, the show’s billionaire creator and head judge, back in the day. I loved everything about him, from his unnaturally white teeth, visibly hairy chest and perma-tanned skin to his high-waisted trousers and black, blocky, squared-off-at-the-top hairstyle.

What I probably loved most about him was the confidence and the sexy aura of power he exuded. I mean, he could decide to give a pretty girl a second chance even if she wasn’t a great singer and kept forgetting her words, or he could just put up his hand in the middle of someone’s audition and shake his head and say that the song was all wrong and could the person kindly sing something else?

In time, we grew to recognise the show’s ‘tropes,’ just like we’ve grown familiar with them in horror movies. When Simon did this, the contestant’s second song would be a big sad slow ballad and the audience would go wild for it. Then Simon would sit, looking smug, while the accolades poured in from all sides. It was magical.

A good sob story as your back-story served you just as well on the show, if not better than, your singing voice. If anyone belonging to you had recently passed away (grampy, your goldfish, bezzie mate), your chances of success sky-rocketed.

Sad music would accompany your relating of the back story, and the female judges might even be seen to carefully wipe away a smidgeon of a tear, which an unseen make-up artist would have placed there artistically with a plant spray a second earlier. It was top-notch fun, watching the show deliberately yanking on the viewers’ heartstrings like that.

Irish music mogul Louis Walsh was Simon’s sidekick for a long time. He became legendary for saying inane, generic things to the contestants like: ‘You look like a pop star, you sound like a pop star, you danced like a pop star, that was just great!’ and never giving any decent criticism that the acts could actually use.

Louis normally got to mentor ‘the groups,’ and if you got Louis as your mentor, you knew you were only going to ‘Oireland’ for your Judges’ Houses experience, and not to Simon’s beach house in the Bahamas or wherever. Getting Louis was a bit like drawing the short straw.

Simon often got ‘the girls,’ and didn’t he revel in it, lol. I loved when Cheryl Cole and Sharon Osbourne were judges. Sharon famously would have a little tipple before going on- or sometimes during!- the show, and she was gas craic.

Cheryl, who rose to fame with Girls Aloud on a reality television show called Popstars: The Rivals, was just so beautiful to look at. Her dresses and hairstyles gave us plenty to talk about week after week.

Of course, we always preferred watching the bad singers over the talented ones, especially the cocky ones who thought they were the new Elvis or David Bowie but in reality their croaking made the judges’ ears bleed.

We especially loved the ones who gave cheek or backtalk to the judges’ and queried the judges’ decisions. Sometimes their effrontery paid off, but more often than not, they’d be packed offstage with their tails between their legs.

We loved cringing at Jedward, cheering on Little Mix and One Direction and laughing at the hysterical antics of one Rylan Clark, when he was told by Nicole Sherzinger that he was going to be a ‘Sherzy Boy.’ Nicole was great to look at but a total fruit loop. Naturally, we put it down to her being American and larger-than-life, no offence to our transatlantic cousins, lol.

But then, of course, plummeting viewing figures caused Simon and the show’s bosses to mess with the X Factor’s golden format, with disastrous results. It was a terrible mistake to encourage contestants to sing their own material, for one thing.

We, the viewers, didn’t want to hear contestants’ own material, that we weren’t familiar with. We wanted to hear them murdering old favourites like Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing and anything from ABBA. The quality of the content kept dipping and dipping. The quality of the content kept dipping and dipping. It bears repeating because it’s so true.

2019’s X Factor was a travesty, with so-called ‘celebrities’ who had already, for the most part, carved out showbiz niches for themselves competing against each other. X Factor had always, up to then, been about the common man. Or woman. (Boy, did they have some common women on the show!) It bombed, big-time. Sunk like the Titanic, without a trace.

And now the show’s been scrapped and all we have are our memories. Unless the show makes a comeback, never again will we see Simon Cowell’s hairy hand go up majestically in the middle of a contestant’s bad first song choice, only for the nervous auditionee to hit the spot with a deliberately chosen better second song choice. Oh well. At least there’s still Strictly Come Dancing. Anton du Beke, prepare to be fantasised about…!


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

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