This past week I finally went to the Myers House in South Pasadena (the actual house used for filming) and it got me thinking about the next Halloween film which was supposed to film in July of 2015, but then got postponed. Imagine my fucking shock when it was announced in late December that not only was the film canceled, but that Dimension Films lost the god damn rights.
The Halloween series has been under the control of Miramax/Dimension, for over 20 years at this point and released 5 films during that time:
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Halloween: 20 Years Later
Halloween II (2009)
Out of these flicks, 2 of them are any good, and even then I’ll piss someone off with the second choice. Shit, Curse became legendary for being fucked with during test screenings. Not even Universal Studios fucked with the franchise as much as Dimension has.
It always bugged me that H20 retconned Halloween 4-6 out of continuity. And as much as I love that movie, and its ending, it felt like such a slap to the face of fans that invested in Jamie Lloyd, and the further adventures of Dr. Loomis. But then the next film just kept digging that grave further into shittiness.
And along came Rob Zombie.
As much as I don’t despise his Halloween remake, it really wasn’t necessary to put it mildly. To paraphrase Patton Oswalt, “I don’t give a fuck where the things I love come from, I just love the things I love.” Seriously, that shit is true. Halloween II is reason enough to revoke the rights to the franchise.
To be upfront, I’m the kind of fan that’ll watch any new Halloween movie that comes out. It’s part nostalgia, part blood lust, its like a comfort food. Its been, as of this writing, 6 and a half years since the last movie, and every year I start to think about where the franchise is headed. Well, now the fucker’s dead.
I can’t predict if another studio will pick up the right, since slasher flicks are a passè sub-genre. Its sad that I think its future is brighter without a studio than with Dimension. Maybe it’ll get bold for once (Don’t fucking laugh, it can be good again). Either way, I’ll be right there at the cinema, first in line. And Dimension Films can go fuck itself for depriving me of a new Halloween film for almost 7 years! Fucking cock knockers.
I’ve always loved gothic horror. Everything from Frankenstein to Dracula have always had this bizarre calming effect on me. When I heard that director Guillermo Del Toro was going to do a film in this style, I was giddy as fuck. As anyone who has seen Pan’s Labyrinth can attest, the man can conjure up so gorgeous horror visuals.
When the movie was released back in October, the reaction was mixed to put it mildly. The most common thing I heard was that it wasn’t the horror movie that the trailers made it out to be.
As much as this criticism irks me (you’re going to fault a movie based on some asshole in marketing?) it got me excited because this is going to be new…ish.
As soon as the film started I noticed the immediate Hammer Horror influence on the picture, with the not so subtle reference of having the main characters last name be Cushing, named after Hammer alum Peter Cushing. It was a nice little touch, not much love these days for Hammer.
Then I started to notice something interesting. The film starts out in America, the colors being a bit drab; quite a bit of murky browns, and that brought to mind Edgar Allan Poe, and yes, Mary Shelley who is also referenced. So this brought to mind that Del Toro has mixed similar horror troupes, but from different cultures.
Once the characters reach the titular Crimson Peak, which is in England, Del Toro goes for an Italian horror feel, witg strong vibrant colors that evoke Mario Bava, or even Dario Argento. These two filmmakers, while having dealt with serial killers in their stories, also dealt with the supernatural in different ways (Bava dealing with folklore, while Argento dealt with gods).
And now to the part of the story that pissed a lot of people off, and that was the handling of the ghosts in this movie. Referring back to the marketing of the picture, people thought they were going to see a ghost movie like The Haunting or even The Shining.
Nothing could have been further from the actual intent of Del Toro.
The last fascinating cultural horror mix that was crafted here by Del Toro was the ghosts in this story very much steamed from Latin American culture. While in North America, Japan, and other parts of the world, ghosts are seen as deadly apparitions, in Latin America on the other hand they’re seen as friendly guardians who look out for us.
In Crimson Peak the monsters weren’t the ghosts, but the very human beings that we befriend, and put our trust in.
As a sucker for throwbacks to the films of yore, I ate this shit up like a pig at a breakfast buffet. Say what you will about Guillermo Del Toro, and his past works, but at least this guy is trying to put some effort in making horror fascinating again. The guy doesn’t half ass it here, and I’m very disappointed that the picture didn’t find more of an audience in its initial release, hopefully that will change once Halloween rolls around.
Deadpool is a flick that could have gone very, terribly wrong. We already know what happened to the character in his last incarnation, and shit, do the filmmakers know it. They beat themselves up about it quite a bit, and its fucking deserved. But they find the right tone, and you’ll be laughing a whole fucking lot.
There’s no Origin bullshit here.
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a smart ass gun for hire who falls in love. Awwww. Then he gets cancer, gets experimented on, develops a healing factor, and is out for vengeance. That’s the story in a nutshell. No one gives a shit about the story. You want to know if the movie is any good or not. Let’s not kid ourselves here.
The movie is everything a fan could have hoped for. That means its fucking awesome.
From the opening credits, you know that this isn’t going to be your typical “superhero” movie. The humor is painstakingly meta, breaks the fourth wall constantly to the point that Deadpool knows he’s in a fucking movie. That alone shows that, holy fuck, the filmmakers know the god damn material. I would feel like a total douche if I were to even remotely hint at the gags and jokes the movie has in store.
Not going to do it. Let’s move on.
The movie does have a section that does drag the picture down. It involves mostly the new origin of the character (for the cinema at least), and that’s just the fact that I’m fucking fatigued with origin stories. It does give the character some weight, and I know you need to explain who he is, but the humor is really fucking lacking at this part. I got antsy and wanted fun, murderous Deadpool, not trying to find purpose Deadpool.
The great thing is that once that shit is over, we’re back to subversive fun that had me laughing all the way to then end credits (and beyond. Hint). Look, I’ve been getting a bit burned out by the glaut of superhero movies lately, and Deadpool manages to poke a ton of holes in the genre, and formula on the whole. This is the superhero movie I had been waiting for, the superhero movie that we all need right now.
A Coen Brothers film can be a hell of a unique experience. Aside from the fact that each one of their pictures is vastly different from the last, even the stories they have within that particular genre is different in style, mood, and tone from the other. Hail Caesar! carries on with this tradition, and depending on who you are, that’s either a great, or terrible thing.
The film really does have an episodic feel, all connected by the character of Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) as the Hollywood fixer who covers up scandals and settles disputes among the talent, like a director (Ralph Fiennes) who can’t deal with an actor, or the starlet (Scarlett Johansson) who is having a child out of wedlock, or hell, the big name star (George Clooney) who somehow managed to get himself kidnapped. A day in the life I suppose.
As a fan of anything remotely dealing with old Hollywood, this movie was a fucking delight. The subplots are numerous, and really come out of leftfield. Look, the movie is weird. Its absurdity at its finest. There were so many times where I wondered, “The fuck am I watching?” and I mean that as the highest compliment I can bestow upon the picture.
The Coens are strange fimmakers. I’ve tried to think of an entry in their filmography to compare it to, and I’ve failed. Its not like The Big Lebowski, O’ Brother Where Art Thou? And it sure as fuck isn’t like Raising Arizona.
Hail Caesar! is just this odd mash up of genre styles that dominated Hollywood back in the 1950s. There’s even a fucking musical number that breaks out, for Christ’s sake. And as absurd as the movie gets at times, the story stays true to the politics of the good old days.
If there is one complaint I do have, is that it tries to have a resolution. Yes, a movie should resolve itself, but here it felt forced and the only studio note that felt that came through. Now that I think about it, that may be their master stroke.