Sunday, October 17, 2010

Series Killers: Halloween- The Curse of Michael Meyers

A series is only as strong as its last film.  Many of them do very well for years, but it only takes one bad film to kill them.  It's funny that I mention that because that's the theme of this week's reviews (minus Saturday). 
I couldn't think of a much better way to do that than with a film series that survived two films, an un-related sequel and two sub-par follow-ups that ignored the last film.  I don't really need to explain much about Halloween, do I?  Michael Meyers is evil for unclear reasons, except for that one movie with witches setting up explosive Halloween masks for kids to wear while watching a show whose TV signal is the detonator.  Yes, I refuse to let that shit go!  After five films, what is there left to do for Mr. Meyers?  After the third film, he got side-tracked from the whole 'kill my sister' thing and just turned on the rest of his familiy.  As to how he survived all those stabbings and shootings, well...that's a good question.  This film attempts to wrap up all of the elements set up in Halloween IV and Halloween V.  You know, when you write a good movie, you don't have to do that.  I should also mention that 'wrapping up the elements' involves stuff like ignoring the twist ending to Halloween IV.  No, really.  In this film, we learn what makes Meyers tick, even if he still doesn't say a damn thing!  It's also the debut film of a future comic a dramatic role.  Who?  See for yourself.  Get out your Druid symbols for my review of...
The story picks up right where IV and V left off...only without some of the same actors. The heroine from those films has been captured by a weird cult. They're about as non-descript as you could possibly get too. I can just picture the 'brainstorming' session: "Let's make this as vague as possible, so as to draw the least amount of interest possible!" The woman is pregnant and delivers her baby in a room that appears to be connected to the hallway full of pipes from Parts: The Clonus Horror. It's interesting how that actually becomes a bit of unplanned foreshadowing for the film, by the way. With the aid of a reluctant cultist/nurse, our heroine escapes. This leads the group to send Michael Meyers after her, who manages to easily kill the woman who aided in her escape. The chase goes from scary to silly when 'The Shape' chases after her in a truck- which we never really see him drive. Hard to drive with no peripheral vision, huh? She hides out in a train station which has a radio show playing about Michael Meyers. Desperately, she calls in, apparently assuming that the D.J. will call the police for her...I guess. After one of those 'he's going to get her...oh no, he won't' scenes, she escapes to a barn...where she is violently-killed. During this, Dr. Loomis hears it on the radio with his old friend who is either evil or going to die tragically. 
After this, the narrative switches to the remaining bit of the Meyers family (sans his sister) who live in the old house. As we learn later, nobody would buy the place. Look for that plot point to come up again later this week. Anyhow, we also meet a creepy stalker guy (Paul Rudd) who goes to the train station after using his CSI techniques to find her. Following a fresh trail of blood (yes, really), he finds the baby stashed away.  Nobody noticed that or the baby that screams on cue when you enter a public restroom?  In town, Meyers wanders around due to a reason that will become clear later.  In addition, we have a sub-plot involving family strife in the Meyers/Strode household.  It's all pretty much filler designed to make you hate the dad and feel for the mother.  Naturally, the mother meets a violent death at Meyer's cold, undead hands first.  Before that, however, she is told about Meyers from Loomis, who does just about nothing that much in the film.  Mind you, it was because Pleasance was not exactly 'healthy' for the film, but it does make the movie suffer as a whole.
After dealing with another member of the family (the father), Meyers continues his mission.  Thankfully, Rudd has kept the daughter and her son at his place, away from the scene of the crime.  Unfortunately, this doesn't help the other brother, who gets killed mid-coitus alongside his girlfriend.  Oh yeah, the shock jock dies too.  Eventually, the whole thing moves into the cult's headquarters.  Loomis learns that his buddy is one of the leaders of the cult from before.  Who are they?  They're the Cult of Thorn, a Druid group who did some ceremony years ago involving Michael.  They put a curse on him that drives him to kill his entire family and, when he does, the Cult will gain amazing power.  By the sixth film, of course, he has not accomplished this goal- good call, Cult of Thorn!  The Cult tries to do some sort of experiment with the kid born of the dead girl, which leads to Meyers killing all of them.  Again- good job, Cult of Thorn.  Rudd manages to sneak in and save the girl, as Meyers slowly walks down the hallway.  There's a point where slow-walking is dramatic and a point where it makes you look stupid.  Meyers is so slow that Rudd can shatter a lock, remove it, open a door, pull the girl out and run away.  Stupid!  Eventually, they manage to trick Meyers, drug him and beat him with a pipe.  They flee to Loomis (hi, again), who says that he has business to take care of.  As the movie fades to black, he screams, apparently dying at Meyers' hands.  The End.
This movie sucks, although maybe not as much as people make it out to.  Don't get me wrong- it's a stupid movie.  As a whole, it's a series of kills by Meyers that are full of blood, but no real substance.  Like a lot of Fulci films, it makes for an interesting YouTube Highlight Reel, but that's about it.  So many characters are set-up just to be victims and nothing more.  Mr. Strode hits his daughter and berates his wife, so he's got to die.  Of course, they still mess this up by killing the wife first- ugh.  Pleasance is good in his most iconic role, but doesn't do a lot here.  Again- the man was kind of dying at this point, so I don't put the blame on him.  However, I can note that the Director wanted his Cut to be the one that is official.  His Cut sets up Loomis as a major character, despite the actor not having long to live.  I could say that the man's death surprised the man, except it's obvious to everyone watching the film that the man was on his last legs.  I say that with no disrespect, by the way- it's just a fact.  Oh yeah, the Cult of Thorn shit is stupid as hell.  It comes out of nowhere, explains nothing and serves no point.  In addition, it gets invalidated in something that you'll see later.  This film killed the series until someone managed to bring it back a few years later with H2O.  How did it go from there?  Wait and see, folks...
Next up, we take a look at a film that nearly spelled the end for a big '80s franchise.  While it didn't quite die, this jaunt to New York did kill any credibility it had left.  Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment