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Halloween 2018 Random Reviews

Halloween

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#1 Virgil Vox

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 08:03 PM

I thought I would create a thread where we could review Halloween (or just scary) movies, TV shows, books, etc. Halloween is my favorite holiday and every year I try to watch as many Halloween related movies and TV episodes as I can.

The Simpsons – Treehouse of Horror

This is the episode that started a great Halloween tradition. Watching this again I was hit with major nostalgia vibes.

There are three stories here, plus a wrap-around segment, something that later installments would abandon. The wrap-around here sees Bart and Lisa telling each other scary stories in the treehouse while Homer listens in, getting more scared with every new story.

The first segment, “Bad Dream House” sees the Simpsons move in to a new house that is haunted because it was built over an Indian burial ground, a fact that Homer was made aware of repeatedly but kept forgetting.

The second segment, “Hungry are the Damned” introduces Kodos and Kang as the aliens abduct the Simpson clan with promises of living in paradise. Lisa, however, believes that the aliens have a more sinister motive.

The final segment, “The Raven” is a parody of the Edgar Allen Poe story with Homer as the man being tormented, Bart as the raven, and James Earl Jones as the narrator.

This was a strong episode. None of the segments are weak. I’d say “Bad Dream House” is my favorite, partly because it involves a haunted house. It also has some actual scary moments along with some good jokes. The ending, where the house kills itself rather than live with the Simpsons, is simply great.

“Hungry are the Damned” is a good segment and has some funny moments but it is one I never really warmed up to. Still, it introduces Kang and Kodos who will be in every Treehouse of Horror episode, even if it is only a cameo.

“The Raven” was a bold segment, and it pays off. The combination of the classic poem with the Simpsons brand of humor makes for a pretty entertaining 7 or 8 minutes.

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this episode around Halloween.

Boy Meets World – And Then There Was Shawn

This isn’t a Halloween episode. In fact, this season (the fifth) already had a Halloween episode featuring witches wanting to sacrifice Shawn and Jack. Still, this episode is a good one to watch around the holiday.

I was shocked when watching this episode when it first aired. It has more violence than I thought Boy Meets World could get away with and is a pretty big departure from the regular episodes.

The plot revolves around the characters (Cory, Topanga, Shawn, Angela, and Kenny) getting detention from Mr. Feeny. Eric and Jack show up later because they wanted to play basketball in the gym. Things go wrong pretty quickly as the gang realizes that they are trapped in a school with a psycho killer.

The episode is extremely meta, referencing horror movies and TV shows, as well as making up their own in a fun running gag. Shawn acts as the horror movie guide, explaining the rules and the likely order people are going to die in.

There is even a quick discussion about virginity, since Shawn says virgins usually live. Cory and Topanga are glad to be virgins, while Eric and Jack say they are dead. Shawn has apparently done everything but have sex so he isn’t sure if he is safe or not.

The first death is pretty shocking. A random student named Kenny (and yes, they do a “They killed Kenny” joke) gets stabbed in the head with a pencil. We actually see the pencil in his head as he slides down the wall, leaving a line behind. Mr. Feeny even gets killed, stabbed in the back with a pair of scissors.

That is part of what makes this episode so great. It is hilarious yet they don’t skimp on the horror.

Jennifer Love Hewitt guest stars as Jennifer Love Fefferman, a new student also trapped in the school. She has no problem making fun of herself. In one of my favorite moments she and Angela basically have a scream-off. Angela had been the screamer all episode, and when Jennifer shows up she screams loudly when she sees a dead body. Angela gets mad and screams, telling Jennifer that she is the scream queen here.

The episode of course ends up being a dream of Shawn’s. Cory and Topanga had just broken up, and Shawn was struggling with accepting that their relationship was over. The one thing he thought he could count on was Cory and Topanga’s love, and even that ended. It has rocked his world, and so he dreamed up a situation where he killed off everything he saw as an impediment to their love.

Seriously, if you have never seen this episode give it a watch. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
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#2 FarscapeOne

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 09:31 PM

Halloween is my favorite holiday and season, too.  It's just such a fun time.

My wife has these decorations, and I have been naming them.

There is one called 'Napoleon Blown-apart', but his real name is Yorick.  (I usually name the items.)  He is a skull with ribcage, heart, and hands that glows.

The pillow pumpkin is named Jack.

I have a whole list of them.

#3 RJDiogenes

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 04:32 PM

Halloween is my favorite season, too.  I have to decide what DVDs and books I will get for my Marathon.  I've been collecting the Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella archives, so I'll get the next volumes of those, but I haven't decided about anything else. I'm thinking about a movie called Freaks of Nature, which looks like a nice Horror homage. And, of course, there will be TCM.
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#4 Mary Rose

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 08:17 PM

What do you guys think about remaking classic horror flicks, aka Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street Friday the Thirteenth?  Me, personally, there is no Freddy but Robert Englund.  I think I spelled that right and some things should just stand for all generations.  They don't have to remake everything, do they?
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#5 FarscapeOne

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 09:51 PM

I agree that some things should be left alone, not remade.

The FRIDAY THE 13TH remake was horrible for one reason... Jason does NOT take prisoners.

I never saw the new NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake, but I heard it made it more sympathetic toward Freddy.  That just ruins it for me, because of the Unholy Trinity, Freddy Krueger was the most sadistic because he really ENJOYED killing all those people.  Jason did it just to do it, and Michael Myers was mission driven... he didn't kill anyone unless you were the target or you got in the way.

#6 Virgil Vox

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 06:29 AM

I don't mind remaking old horror movies. The problem is that most of them turn out bad. Rob Zombie's two Halloween movies were terrible. The new Friday the 13th was just boring, and as FarscapeOne said, Jason doesn't take prisoners.

The new Nightmare on Elm Street wasn't terrible but it didn't have the same punch as the original. I wouldn't say that the new Freddy was made sympathetic. If anything, they made him more repulsive by playing up the child rapist angle.

I do think the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre was good. Granted, I haven't seen it in years but I think it turned out really well.
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-- Harry S. Truman

#7 RJDiogenes

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 05:19 PM

I am always against remakes, reboots, and re-imaginings.  Continuations and expansions are good, remakes, reboots, and re-imaginings are bad.

I forgot to mention something else that I'll probably get for Halloween:  A TV series called Ultra Q, which is somehow connected to Ultraman. I've seen it compared online to The Outer Limits-- of course, it's probably not that good, but it does look like it has some really cool monsters.
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#8 G-man

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 05:29 AM

I would describe Ultra Q as the Japanese version of the Twilight Zone, but with a core cast of characters.  It served as an experimental platform for Effects Master Tsuburaya where they discovered that the most favored episodes were those that featured giant monsters.

The next series Tsuburaya produced (this time in color) was Ultraman, which, in turn was followed by Ultra 7.

I recommend all of these series.

/s/

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#9 RJDiogenes

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Posted Yesterday, 02:16 PM

That sounds pretty good. I used to watch Ultraman all the time on a local station back in the 60s.  The stills I've seen from Ultra Q look really nice, so I'm almost certainly going to get it for Halloween.  I'll look into Ultra 7, too.
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#10 Virgil Vox

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Posted Today, 05:54 PM

Hell Fest

Hell Fest was a surprisingly good slasher movie. Not great, mind you, but a fun hour and a half at the movies.

Hell Fest has a similar premise to Blood Fest (another movie I plan to review). Several friends go to a horror themed amusement park on Halloween only to get stalked by a masked killer. Unfortunately, they can’t get anyone to believe them because they are in a horror themed amusement park and because the killer is wearing a costume similar to several employees.

I think setting a horror movie in a horror amusement park is a good idea and Hell Fest uses its setting well. The park is definitely creepy and the mazes the characters go through are pretty terrifying.

The characters themselves are okay. There’s not a lot of meat on the bones, so to speak. Natalie is the main character. She has become estranged from her old friends since she moved away but is back hoping to make up for lost time. Her best friend is Brooke who wants to help Natalie get laid. Taylor is Brooke’s new roommate and doesn’t get along with Natalie. Gavin is an adorkable guy who Natalie is into. Quinn and Asher are dating Brooke and Taylor and are pretty interchangeable.

The actors do a good job of trying to make the characters likeable but there just isn’t much to them. Still, I liked them enough to feel bad when they started dying off.

The killer, known as the Other, is good but I doubt he will ever be iconic like Michael, Jason, Freddy, or Ghostface. I’ve seen some reviews say they didn’t like the fact that we are never given a reason as to why the Other is killing people at an amusement park but that didn’t bother me.

The kills are pretty good, with one involving an eye that freaked me out. I don’t like anything having to do with eyes getting impaled. There isn’t a big body count here but that was fine with me.

The characters do usually make smart decisions, which isn’t always the case in slasher films. The only truly dumb decision is towards the end when the surviving characters run into what is clearly another maze thinking it is an exit. My friend and I were rolling our eyes at the screen.

Hell Fest doesn’t re-invent the slasher genre but it is a nice addition. It has a likeable cast that does their best with thin characters, a great setting, a decent killer, and some good death scenes. I’m sure the new Halloween will blow this one out of the water but I’d still give this movie a try if you are jonesing for new horror movies.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman



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