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Steve Miner’s Halloween H20 seems like it was destined to generate mixed feelings. For starters, the man who played Dr. Loomis, Donald Pleasence had died, so he obviously wouldn’t appear in the movie. Fortunately, they didn’t cast someone else to play him, aside from a brief voice impersonation by Tom Kane, and they did not egregiously try to resurrect him through CG animation. These were wise decisions.

However, what might disappoint some fans is that Halloween H20 does abandon the whole “Thorn Trilogy” story arc. Some had been invested in that storyline, and it appeared to be casually tossed away, or sidestepped, if not nuked from orbit. While not everyone appreciates Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, some did and wanted a follow-up, or they were just thrown off by the abandonment of that story.

Then again, there are always some who wish the story had evolved with Michael Myers’ niece, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), as the new killer, or maybe as a strange protégé (admittedly, either story idea might have ended up terrible, but the potential was there). On the bright side, Halloween H20 did make a few bold ideas come to life, and we’ll look at those first.

Halloween H20: Strengths?

When looking at horror films, one of the go-to topics will be “the kills.” Halloween H20 actually has a few decent ones. It also pays to remember that, for the most part, the original Halloween featured what might be considered “meat and potato” type kills. It’s mostly just him swiping at people with knives or, in the case of Annie Brackett (Nancy Kyes), a combination of choking and slicing. Steve Miner’s film is not the goriest in the Halloween franchise, but the death of the character Sarah Wainthrope (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) is particularly memorable (or painful to watch).

As another possible strength, this film doesn’t abandon the premise that Michael (Chris Durand) and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) are brother and sister — unlike 2018’s Halloween (which sidesteps that, as well as scrapping both the “Thorn Trilogy” story and practically all unique elements from this film, aside from the “Laurie’s revenge” motif).

Personally, I never had a problem with them being related, as I think it adds some depth to the characters. Sure, it humanizes Michael a bit, but less so than similar examples, such as the relationship between Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) and his brother, Brian (Christian Camargo), on the series Dexter. It complicates their dynamic rather than subtracting from it.

I also like how Laurie has largely moved on from the traumatic events of Halloween 1 & 2. In fact, she even has a boyfriend (Adam Arkin), even though they seem awkward and timid with each other. She has moved away from the Myers’ house and is the headmistress at a boarding school. Also, when Michael arrives and the shit predictably hits the fan, there’s never an expectation that she’d attempt to alert Dr. Loomis, even if he was alive. At the same time, this perhaps helps shatter the illusion that Michael could easily kill them all.

Halloween H20: Weaknesses?

Yes, I feel I need to discuss this film’s weaknesses a bit, too, and one of the weaknesses is actually Laurie’s strength. Yes, I know, you might be saying “That’s sexist!” but hear me out. Back when Myers was in his house in Haddonfield, he had what might be called “home-field advantage.” He was basically in his element, where he would stay for a time. Take him out of that and what do you have? Well, it’s a bit like taking Freddy out of Elm Street. Sure, you could do it and maybe it can work, but that certainly doesn’t mean it will work as well.

Add that to the growing perception that Laurie is ready, willing, and able to kick Michael’s ass and a lot of the tension is gone. Now, honestly, I was never that afraid of Michael Myers or most slasher villains, so to lose the fear factor, even more, doesn’t really do this movie favors.

Yes, we might look at the example of someone like Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), who ended up kicking some alien ass in “Aliens.” However, that was in outer space and more obviously an action movie. While I’m glad they didn’t put Michael in space (as they did with Jason, the Leprechaun, and even Pinhead!), I’m not sure they put him in a compelling place in Halloween H20. It seems like the boarding school environment didn’t add much and, frankly, the matchup between Michael and Laurie also seems to end a little too quickly.

The Big Critique

Plenty of horror movies fail to fully explore their dynamics. Others perhaps benefit from not doing so. At the end of the day, it can be hard to walk that fine line between revealing too little or too much. I can imagine writing Michael Myers is tricky for that reason. In contrast, in some characters, you fully expect them to get cheesier and to have more quirky details revealed. For example, one might expect Chucky (Brad Dourif) to delve deeper into the whole voodoo doll thing, especially when the character actually is a frickin’ doll. Similarly, everyone would expect The Evil Dead franchise to summon some crazy demons.

However, just like you wouldn’t expect a whoopie cushion scene in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, you probably don’t want Michael to become less mysterious, less threatening than in previous films. In this case, Michael Myers doesn’t really come across as supernatural, or like an evil, mysterious force. He’s a bit more like just some random guy in a Halloween mask. He might still be dangerous, but he doesn’t seem as much like Michael Myers.

I have heard others make this critique, and I’m not trying to rip them off here. It’s just something I definitely agree with. I would contrast it with “Part 4,” in fact. Yes, that movie has some detectable flaws, too, but when Michael Myers falls into a mineshaft, it somehow still feels like it’s him. In fact, to prove I’m not screwing around here and playing favorites with this critique, I’d even say the Michael Myers from the much-hated Halloween: Resurrection is more like the old school Michael than the one from Halloween H20.

Final Thoughts

On the surface, it probably seems like I hate this movie, or like this is a hit piece. I actually don’t hate it, but just think it should’ve been beefed up a bit more, and some things could’ve been better. Yes, Michael’s abandoned house remains freakier than the boarding school environment, and the film lacks the flair of Dr. Loomis (for obvious reasons). Still, this movie ends on a respectable note with a bold decision regarding the main villain’s fate. That alone might be respectable, in some way. And, holy shit, I need to stop typing now…

What are your thoughts on Halloween Water…oops, I mean Halloween H20?! Let us know in the comments! (Just don’t pin us to a tree with a vehicle and lop off our heads over this article)

Movies n TV

Dahmer, Lionel



Most true crime content includes a dramatic courtroom scene. Two dashing lawyers face off, defending their clients no matter how gruesome their crimes were.

While there was a courtroom scene, it wasn’t exactly what I expected. It’s something that, again, I don’t think I’ve seen before. 

Let’s discuss. 

As the title would suggest, most of this episode was from Lionel Dahmer’s point of view. And Lionel, it should go without saying, is not in a great place right now. His son, who he loves, is in a hell of a lot of trouble. And Lionel is doing his best to make this whole mess not his fault.

Richard Jenkins and Molly Ringwald in Dahmer.

The fault, as far as he’s concerned, lies with Joyce. It should be no surprise to anyone that Joyce doesn’t agree. She’s been doing her best to distance herself as much as possible from her oldest son and former husband as possible. 

This doesn’t work, as reporters find and hound her just the same. 

With Jeff in jail, an angry population doesn’t have anyone to turn their anger on, except Jeff’s family. And they are all getting harassed. Jeff’s grandma, suffering from dementia, is having her home raided by the police. People are coming forward, claiming to be Jeff’s friends from childhood. We know that’s a like, Jeff didn’t have any friends. Accusations are flying against Lionel, that he sexually abused Jeff when he was a little boy. 

All in all, it’s hard to not feel bad for the Dahmers. Yeah, they were bad parents. They made some pretty serious mistakes. But honestly, no more than lots of parents. And most people don’t go on cannibalistic murder sprees. 

Now, to the court scene. Honestly, this was so hard to watch. 

Dahmer’s attorney tried to convince him that he can plead insanity like Ed Gein. On the off chance you don’t know who Ed Gein is, he’s the notorious serial killer who inspired both Norman Bates and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He killed women who resembled his mother, cut them up, and did stuff to them. And yes, just like it says in this episode when he was caught he sold himself out for an apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese on top.

Gein spent the rest of his life in a mental ward, and Lionel would like to see the same for Jeff. It’s hard to argue with him.

But that argument fails. And before sentencing, the families of the victims are allowed to speak.

They have a lot to say. 

This is what I meant when I said the courtroom scenes were unusual. We saw non of the actual trial, it was hopped right over. This is normally a dramatic moment in true crime shows. Instead, we see the impact that these murders had. Dahmer’s actions destroyed his family. He destroyed the families of the people he killed. 

DAvid Barrera, Matthew Alan and Scott Michael Morgan in Dahmer.

There is so much collateral damage when a life is lost. And that, I think, is what this episode is truly about. The extensive, heartbreaking collateral damage of Jeff Dahmer. 

With Dahmer sentenced to fifteen life sentences, I’m honestly not sure how we still have two episodes to go. One I could understand, but two seems a bit much. I’m hoping that the creators have some additional chapters of the story that we haven’t yet explored. 

I guess we’ll have to see. 

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

“The Menu” Gives Us A Bloody Good Time



Writers Seth Reiss and Will Tracy have outdone themselves with the plot of “The Menu.” Spoilers ahead!

The Plot

Yes, chef!

Tyler and Margot are attending a high-class restaurant located on a remote island for the meal of a lifetime. This meal comes at a steep cost: thousands of dollars ($1,250 a plate to be exact) as well as possibly your life. Those who attend the dinner at Hawthorne are the type who frequently ask: “Do you know who I am?”

Chef Julian does not care who you are, and after years of serving the privileged elite, he has had enough. Julian commands his chefs and the room with a loud clap, his chefs answering him in tandem with a bone-chilling “yes, chef.” Ralph Fiennes as Julian gives a shiveringly scary performance. Julian commands the space as well as everyone in it and Ralph Fiennes is dastardly, dark, and daunting.

Chef Julian’s sidekick is creepy herself, doing his bidding just as the other chefs do. Female subservience is addressed through this side character as well as sous chef Catherine, who created one of the courses that is served to the guests.

This course is introduced by Catherine telling the story of how Chef Julian tried to have sexual relations with her. When she denied him, he refused to look at her in the eye anymore. Before Catherine serves her dish, she stabs Julian with scissors in the thigh, getting revenge for his behavior. Julian acts none the wiser, pulling the scissors from his thigh before serving the diners the hunk of meat with the same kind of scissors plunged into it.

Everyone obeys Chef Julian except for Margot. Women and men in the room accept that this is their last night alive, not protesting too hard or trying to escape. Margot is the only fighter. Perhaps this is why she escapes.

The Verdict

In a world where we have seen a rise in slasher films, The Menu lives in a place between darkly satirical horror and a slasher film.

The Menu is whip smart, remarking on our class system, displaying those who can afford a $1,250 a plate meal on a remote island against the thought of the character of Margot. Margot is revealed halfway through the film to have been a sex worker, hired by Tyler to attend the dinner. His girlfriend, the original intended guest, had broken up with him and Tyler knew that there was never a table for one at Hawthorne.

Tyler knew everyone would die at the meal, yet still involved Margot, an innocent bystander who turns out to be the only one that makes it out alive. Chef Julian does this as it is clear he believes Tyler tainted his final menu experience by not bringing the guest who RSVP’d.

Tyler gets what is coming to him in the end. He comments on each course in mostly negative ways and snaps photos (which was expressly forbidden). Chef Julian asks Tyler to make him a meal since he knows so much more than anyone about cuisine. When Tyler’s meal doesn’t live up to Chef’s expectations, he is killed.

Margot is juxtaposed with the famous and rich at the dinner who can afford such an experience while she is being paid to attend. The film remarks on the lavish actions of the rich in the movie versus those who may not know where their next meal will come from.

Final Thoughts

The food that the film shows is gorgeous and conceptual, Chef Julian giving backstory to each dish. The film is the darkest version of Hell’s Kitchen I’ve ever seen. As a foodie and a horror lover, this film touched on all my favorite genres. It was deep, had something to say, and screamed it at the top of its lungs.

I respect the filmmakers and writers of this movie as it was compelling, engrossing, and kept me guessing, all while remarking on important social themes.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Dahmer, Cassandra



Episode seven of Netflix’s Dahmer brings the spotlight, finally, to the hero of our story. Glenda Cleveland. 

Glenda was Jeff’s neighbor. And honestly, I can’t think of a worse neighbor. A horrific stench is always coming from his apartment. He has people over, and they make a lot of noise. 

While they’re dying. 

Niecy Nash in Dahmer

If you’ll recall episode one of Dahmer ended with all of his neighbors, including Glenda, being forced to leave their homes. The whole building was declared a crime scene. They’re not given any place to go, of course. 

Everyone’s got a few thousand dollars socked away for an unexpected motel stay, right? 

Fortunately, Glenda was able to get a motel room. And that’s where she is when Reverend Jesse Jackson finds her. 

Glenda pours out her story to Reverend Jackson. The rest of the episode consists of her dark and troubling encounters with Dahmer. 

The most compelling scene, I think, is when Dahmer brings Glenda a sandwich. He’s being evicted, and he knows it’s because she’s been complaining about the smells coming out of his apartment. 

He tries to pour on his little boy charm. He tells her that he got his apartment cleaned, just for her. He brings her a pulled meat sandwich as a present. 

Notice I don’t say pulled pork, because I’m fairly sure it was human meat. Or, it was just drugged.

Or both. 

This episode just hummed with tension and rage. I was so happy to see Reverend Jackson tear into the police in the most polite way possible. I hated seeing what Glenda went through. And even though I know she lives through this horrific encounter, I held my breath the entire time she was alone with Jeff. 

Dahmer is certainly not afraid to jump back and forth between the past and present. But they are careful to never do it in such a way that I felt lost. And I honestly think this was the best way to do it. 

The reason for this is that it adds a level of suspense that Dahmer might have lacked without it. Suspense is something that true crime stories can lack. Especially well-known ones. We have heard this story before. We know how it ends. But in presenting the tale this way, first from one point of view and then another, it reveals sides of it that we may not have seen before. 

Glenda Cleveland, from the trial of Jeff Dahmer.

I loved seeing the story from Glenda’s point of view. She was brave, determined, and selfless. She had every right to be furious at the way the police dismissed her concerns for years. And yet she continued to handle everything professionally. She never stopped trying to help people, even when no one else seemed to care. And for that, she is a true hero. 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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