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Better than waiting to drip dry (Source: nme.com)

SPOILERS! “Halloween Kills” is the direct sequel to the 2018 movie that is a direct sequel of the original. The previous movie was surprisingly brutal yet faithful to the original 1978 classic. This movie is reminiscent of the 1981 sequel beginning right after the event of the prior movie. The movie is just as violent as the last (more so in other places) and is not a bad addition to the mythos. But, it comes across as more of a bridge between the 2018 movie and next year’s “Halloween Ends”.

Something familiar, yet different

Similar to the 1981 sequel to the original, this movie picks up mere seconds after the end of the last movie. Laurie’s house is in flaming shambles. Michael Myers is trapped in the bunker…or is he? Fire trucks scream to the Strode compound at the behest of the trio of surviving women passing them on the way to the hospital. Rushing in there to be a hero, one of the firemen falls through a hole into the bunker, where Michael Myers was waiting and begins an impressive, and brutal sequence when he takes out every firefighter with everything on fire with the hoses also rating water down. Well done sequence.

One of the strengths of this movie that really is a nice touch is what they did with characters from the 1978 movie. They were able to bring back a few of them to be played by their original actors. Kyle Richards, Nancy Stephens, and were brought back to play Lindsay, Marion Chambers, and Leigh Brackett respectively. Also in a nice piece of continuity, some actors who had parts in the 2018 version are back to play the same roles. A nice way for it to be new and still get you invested.

One other major like I had was how they updated the Michael Myers mask. Anything after the second film from 1981were known for their horrible masks. The film in 2018 had a fantastic mask that seemed old and weathered, but still scary. the Michael Myers mask in Halloween Kills actually made it better. It actually showed battle damage after escaping the fire. The severe damage on the left side of the face made him that much more terrifying.

Good and Bad are but opposite sides of the same coin.

Just as there was plenty about this movie I liked, there was some stuff I did not. For instance, Michael nor Laurie were the main characters. One could say that neither Karen nor Allyson was. In my opinion, the main character was Tommy, played by Anthony Michael Hall. Nothing against him, he did well with what was given. A big part of this movie was not only Laurie fighting against Michael after what happened in the prior film, but the residents of Haddonfield were going to rise up. This seemed like a mix of Halloween 2 and 4.

However, they seemed to forget to put Laurie in that equation as she spends the majority of the movie in a hospital bed. But at least she had a roommate. Deputy Hawkins, play by Will Patton, seemingly survived his neck wound from the last movie. They do spend a few scenes together talking about what happened in the past and it was handled well, but it would have been nice to see more of them in the run time.

Another thing that seemed to not come across as well was the mob that became of the town once the movie got started. While Tommy did have good intentions in mind, they quickly outgrew what he could handle and practically shut down the hospital after they all assumed Michael would be there, but caused the death of an innocent man.

So brutal, it even took me aback

One thing I can praise more is the sheer brutality and some of the ingenuity of the kills in this. The first one was able to do this without delving into the grindhouse feel of the two Rob Zombie movies. This one amped up the blood factor and was able to find just this side of the grindhouse. With that said, it seemed as if the body count was padded. Characters were introduced just purely to have them slaughtered and disposed of.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Michael McDonald in this as I am a huge fan of his work in MadTV (I still quote Stuart more than a grown man should). However, when we see that he and his character’s husband/boyfriend/SO(?) was living in the actual Myers House, you knew he was not long for the world. And since the climax of the movie took place as the said house, you would be right.

In fact, this was where one of the deaths surprised me as right at the end of the movie, REDACTED was repeatedly stabbed by Michael, seemingly to death. Now with Deputy Hawkins having survived the last movie, could we see REDACTED come back? Sure. But this movie seemed to be a bridge setting up the inevitable showdown between Laurie and Michael in the next.

Middle of a long road with many paths

Overall, was this a bad movie? Not at all, I rather enjoyed it. Was it as good as the 2018 movie? No, this was lacking in parts. Am I still excited for Halloween Dies next year? Absolutely. Overall, in my personal ranking of the franchise, this falls somewhere in the middle. In fact, I will leave you with my personal ranking of the movies in the franchise. (Note: Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 is not on here as I have not seen it as of this writing)

  1. Halloween (1978)
  2. Halloween III: Season of the Witch
  3. Halloween (2018)
  4. Halloween H20
  5. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
  6. Halloween Kills
  7. Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  8. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
  9. Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers
  10. Halloween:Resurection

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. David Davis

    October 16, 2021 at 1:33 am

    I enjoyed it quite a bit, but it most certainly had the feeling of place-setting for the inevitable third film. It was a lot of backstories and contextualizing this new vision of what Michael is, and while I appreciate it, I think it tried to set up too many pieces and ultimately won’t deliver any of them until Halloween Kills.

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Movies n TV

Dahmer, Lionel

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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

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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

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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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