2021.10 Phantasm 1-5
2020.11 Halloween Movies
2020.10 John Carpenter Movies

2020.10 John Carpenter
Without any spoilers, here’s a brief review of Carpenter’s cinematic films.

Dark Star 1974
First movie Carpenter directed and this is a sci-fi slapstick with a walking alien balloon and a talking bomb in space. Together with the weird soundtrack you won’t forget this one easily.

Assault on Princinct 13 1976
The maintheme sounds like a popular electronic new wave song. The film opens with a 1 minute continious shot and is an advance of what will happen in Carpenter’s later films. Despite some wooden characters and dialogue, sloppy script and slow moving, it’s very entertaining nevertheless.

Halloween 1978
Everything about this one is great. The soundtrack is just amazing and everything gets creepy even the very simple opening credits. The cinematography looks like a 70’s japanese picture and everything is just perfect. It starts off with a 6 minute continious shot in the best Dario Argento tradition. We always played the Halloween soundtrack in the 80’s over some stupid film or series and suddenly it became a whole different viewing experience! This is in my top 10 of alltime favorites.

The Fog 1980
A great atmospheric horrorfilm with very memorable pre-credits. Only for the framing it’s worth watching.

Escape From New York 1981
The president gets kidnapped in a big open air prison in New York and Kurt Russell has to rescue him within 20 hours. A rather silly science fiction movie with alot of bad acting and countless plotholes. Unfortunately there’s not too much of a score but the maintheme is very catchy Tangerine Dream like. Overall, the film is still enjoyable with all those new wave and Mad Max looking characters.

The Thing 1982
Second film with Kurt Russell. The moody music by Ennio Morricone, extraordinary cinematography by Dean Cundey (he also did Halloween and The Fog), great acting and screenplay are just perfect. This sci-fi horror on Antarctica is about paranoia and claustrophobia on an isolated outpost. The opening sequence is one you won’t easily forget and the gory special effects by Rob Bottin is its time far ahead. I like this even better than Halloween. And did I mention that I love snow in movies?

Christine 1983
Decent but silly horror movie based on a novel by Stephen King about a car that kills people in the 50’s. The ending is unfortunately quite ridiculous.

Starman 1984
Sci-Fi with over-the-top sound effects and a very stupid acting Jeff Bridges. Not any of Carpenter’s trademarks are visible in this bad movie.

Big Trouble In Little China 1986
Another Kurt Russell vehicle. This is so awful which makes it quite enjoyable. I believe it’s called Camp. The overacting by Kim Cattrall is horrendous, the severe plotholes and effects, the hilarious dialogues and monsters (the flying blobhead!). It’s all  very Monty Python-esque. What a movie!

Prince of Darkness 1987
I remember seeing this in the cinema at the time and being very disappointed. But actually, seeing it now again it is not too bad. It has some silly dialogues, overacting and a pretty sloppy screenplay but overall this is a decent horrorfilm with some great cinematography and even some slasher moments. Also nice was to see Alice Cooper as a street schizo. The first 7 minutes during the openingcredits are just awesome and the soundtrack really makes this movie.

They Live 1988
This story seems quite relevant today in this new pandemic age. The script is about aliens secretely taking over the world (through consumerism and the media) but derails completely after 40 minutes with silly one-liners and awful dialogues. As long as professional wrestler Roddy Piper keeps his mouth shut, it’s pretty fine but he definitely should have stayed in the wrestling arena. This could have been good and the theme is rather memorable but the acting and plotholes spoil it.

Memoirs Of An Invisible Man 1992
I love the National Lampoon films so I really like this one. It’s Clark Griswold going invisible! A very entertaining comedy.

In The Mouth Of Madness 1995
Impressive horrormovie heavily influenced by H.P. Lovecraft. Great acting by Sam Neill, effective sound and special effects and a very original script makes this an exceptionally good film.

Village Of The Damned 1995
The first 40 minutes of this horrormovie are pretty good but as soon as the evil babies have grown up, this goes downhill and is rather silly and dragging. Although the acting is pretty solid (Mr. Superman Christopher Reeves delivers a fine job) they can’t save this movie from mediocrity.

Escape From L.A. 1996
After an earthquake, L.A. has become an island for folks that aren’t welcome anymore. Kurt Russell returns as Snake to help the government again. After 15 minutes I’ve seen enough. Bad acting, bad script, bad characters, bad effects. The only good thing about this is the catchy maintheme from the original. Worse than Starman.

Vampires 1998
A very entertaining gory horrormovie about a couple of vampirehunters. This was before the vampire hype of the 00’s. Quite refreshing after Escape From L.A.

Ghosts Of Mars 2001
This is a dumb sci-fi movie about a policeteam that has to transport a prisoner from an outpost on Mars but its inhabitants are possessed by martial demons. Almost the entire movie is in one place, the fighting choreography is abominable, the acting is wooden (with Jason Stetham and Natasha Henstridge), the script pretty bad and the use of repeating scenes is very annoying. Pretty much forgettable.

The Ward 2010
It’s a good thing Carpenter stopped directing movies. This is about a ghost in a psychiatric hospital who kills its patients one by one. Plothole extravaganza and the giallo like soundtrack at the beginning plus the twist at the end can’t help this one.

2020.11 Halloween Movies

Halloween – John Carpenter 1978
Everything about this one is great. The soundtrack is just amazing and everything gets creepy even the very simple opening credits. The cinematography looks like a 70’s japanese picture and everything is just perfect. It starts off with a 6 minute continious shot in the best Dario Argento tradition. We always played the Halloween soundtrack in the 80’s over some stupid film or series and suddenly it became a whole different viewing experience! This is in my top 10 of alltime favorites.

Halloween 2 – Rick Rosenthal 1981
This sequel continues where the first one ended. Laurie ends up in a deserted hospital where Michael Myers kills the entire staff (which is only a few). The countless plotholes and continuity errors get on my nerves. The soundtrack is great but very badly mixed in most scenes. This is unfortunately the complete opposite to the original.

Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch – Dakota Miller 1982
No Michael Myers. It seems this is a cheap cashing-in on the franchise. A big factory of Halloween masks with it’s evil owner and robotic murdering goons are trying to take over the world. A really bad horrormovie with comical special effects and a terrible script with countless plotholes and numerous continuity errors. The soundtrack is still the best of the whole thing.

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers – Dakota Miller 1988
Michael Myers and Donald Pleasence miraculously return but there’s just too many ridiculous sound-effects, serious continuity errors, and stupid plotholes. However, nobody cares with inconsistencies in horrorfilms, especially not nowadays with the Netflix generation. But it’s just too hard to identify with any of the actors although the acting is pretty good. All in all a fun movie to watch if you turn off your brain.

Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers – Dominique Othenin-Girard 1989
Starts off one year after 4. Michael survives the shooting and takes revenge. I wonder why I watch this crap. Very annoying overacting, even the often so modest Donald Pleasance does an horrible act. This is a horrorfilm alright. And so many inconsistencies. It’s best to turn off your brain again because that’s the only way of enjoying this.

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers – Joe Chappelle 1995
It’s getting worse. You must see this as a partymovie otherwise you waste another one and a half hour of your life. There is some very good laughs in it like the dead body of Jamie with moving eyes. Yes, that’s the level to expect. Probably he did it for the money but Donald Pleasence is also back and he had plastic surgery (probably the scar makeup was too expensive). Michael Myers now has his own cult and symbol now. Yes, it’s that bad.

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later – Steve Miner 1998
Jamie Lee Curtis literally screams her way into this movie. Good acting, a couple of nice camerashots, and a very bad script with alot of inconsistencies. Zombie Michael Myers keeps returning after multiple gunshots and stabbings. Now he is beheaded so one would think this is definite but there are 4 more parts.

Halloween Resurrection – Rick Rosenthal 2002
Jamie Lee Curtis returns for a brief moment faking to be a psychiatric patient. It appears she beheaded the wrong guy, an ambulance worker who couldn’t speak anymore and was dressed up as Michael. After 15 minutes, Jamie is killed and a bunch of teens leaded by a very annoying LL Cool J, go with camera’s (live on internet) into the Myers house where they get killed one by one. A whole house of kiddies watch it happen and try to help the survivor getting away. It’s funny to see how Michael “dies” this time (first by hanging, then by electrocution and burning). This movie is obviously cashing in on the succesfully Blair Witch Project but fails miserably. Really really bad.

Halloween – Rob Zombie 2007
A remake of the original directed by Rob Zombie. The first 40 minutes are actually pretty good and establish character for Michael Myers. He’s making the Myers monster a person and I’m not sure if that’s so clever. After those 40 minutes we go into really bad teenie slasher again lifting even some scenes from the original including soundtrack and camera movement. Brad Dourif, Malcolm MacDowell and Danny Trejo can’t save this one.

Halloween II – Rob Zombie 2009
This is a sequel of the remake made by Rob Zombie again. Michael Myers grunts during his stabs, Loomis has become self-indulgent and Laura wears Black Flag and Government Issue shirts. The screaming isn’t as irritating as in the 1st Zombie movie but still enough for wishing it to end sooner than later. Oh, and Michael starts to talk…

Halloween – David Gordon Green 2018
Basket case and gun toting Jamie Lee Curtis is back to earn some bucks. This is a variation on the sequel and ofcourse Myers mysteriously escapes again during transport on Halloween night. But it gets worse when his doctor is going to imitate Myers and starts to kill as well. I just saw the pre-credits for Hanzo the Razor from 1972 and it’s way better than all those 10 Halloween films together. I guess that says alot.

Halloween Kills – David Gordon Green 2021
I expected the worst of the worst but actually the first 60 minutes are quite good. It’s a sequel to the 2018 version and ofcouse Meyers survives again and continues his succesful reign of terror. All is well until Jamie Lee Curtis appears. A local vigilante mob hunts Meyers down and kills him. The killings are filmed and edited very well and the soundtrack is a nice version of the original one. With an obvious open ending, there will be yet another one.

Halloween Ends – David Gordon Green 2022
Do you really believe this is the last Halloween movie? Well, it gets as bad as dancing on the Dead Kennedy’s in a discodancing. Oh wait, this actually happens in the movie…! Well, it’s THAT bad.

0 = Forget it
1 = Can it be worse?
2 = Waste of time
3 = Pretty bad
4 = Could be better
5 = Enjoyable and entertaining
6 = OK
7 = Pretty Good
8 = Recommended
9 = Suitable for many more watches
10 = Perfect

2021.11 Phantasm 1-5

Phantasm – Don Coscarelli 1979
Despite the wooden acting and the serious plotholes, this is a pretty good horrorfilm! The start sets the overall mood while the soundtrack could be from Fabio Frizzi or a classic Italian horrorfilm. The story is quite surreal. A tall and very strong man runs a funeral home, often changes into a woman who kills men and he uses the dead to make them into dwarves and sends them to a parallel world. There’s also a killing sphere in the funeral home and a nice twist at the end of the movie. A good and entertaining film! 8

Phantasm 2 – Don Coscarelli 1988
This one starts off where the original ended with footage from the original. The main character ends up in a psychiatric hospital and gets released after 7 years. Next is his succesful hunt for the tall man. Highlights are the soundtrack, the spheres, and another look in the parallel world. Very good horror with yet another twist! 7

Phantasm 3: Lord Of The Dead – Don Coscarelli 1994
The tall man’s succesfully hunting our protagonist, but very soon it gets pretty bad. There’s good and bad spheres and they get literally a life seeing with an eye while others have someone living in them or they live in someone. Comedy is inserted with awful one-liners. The tall man now have zombiehelp and the parallel world is exploited to the limit so you won’t understand anymore what’s going on. Mix this with the irritating plotholes and terrible acting and you get a complete rape of the original. 2

Phantasm 4: Oblivion – Don Coscarelli 1998
This continues where the last part ends. Coscarelli found unused footage from the original and edited it in this version. To make matters more confusion, everybody who’s dead, lives again. Or nobody can die. The portal to the other dimension functions now as an escape route and are all over a desert. But it’s also a time travelling machine. The sphere’s now play an important part in someone’s head. The script is too messed up and doesn’t make any sense. This is a terrible waste of time. 1

Phantasm: Ravager – David Hartman 2016
This is the only one not directed by Coscarelli. Most of the film is shot in 2008 and the spheres have turned into car following objects, kill animals as well and their big brothers have taken over the planet. It’s the last film of the tall man before he dies in real life. In the film, characters that were supposed to be dead, return to life without any explanation. The timeportals are everywhere. Because of the terrible acting, crazy script and the action-comedy, this makes it a very good partyfilm. 1