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Halloween: Resurrection - Movies so Bad, they HAD to Reboot the Series
IntroductionSome movies are bad. Others are so bad, their sequels pretend they never happened. But these films retroactively taint the entire franchise; they travel back in time and murder their own grandfather; they're so bad, the only option is to reboot the series.
The Original Movies
John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) is one of the most influential horror films of all time. Michael Myers inspired an army of copycat killers, from Friday the 13th's Jason Vorhees to Scream's Ghostface. After a string of meandering sequels, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) brought the series to a satisfying close. Michael Myers was finally reunited with Laurie Strode (Jaime Lee Curtis), who was so happy to see her brother that she chopped off his head. It was the perfect end not only to their epic battle, but to Michael Myers' whole twisted story.
H20 was directed by Steve Miner, who knows how to make a scary movie fun: House, Warlock, Lake Placid, and of course, Friday the 13th Part 2 and 3. Halloween: Resurrection was directed by Rick Rosenthal, last seen at the helm of Halloween II (1981) and The Birds II (1994). In other words, if a horror movie is well received and you want to dash everyone's hopes with a slipshod sequel, Rosenthal is your man. Which brings us to...
The Sequel that Killed the Series
Plot twists can make or break a movie. Halloween: Resurrection opens with twist so stupid, it broke the franchise. It turns out Laurie actually decapitated some poor paramedic that Michael Myers dressed in his trademark costume. The jumpsuit must be made from the same elastic as the Hulk's shorts, as it seemingly shrank to fit a man half his size.
Not sure why Myers bothered. Even without the mask, the guy's face is a dead ringer.
The shock is enough to send Laurie Strode to a mental institution, frumpy and broken. She still has enough wits to lure Michael Myers into a rooftop trap, but before she can kill him, he pretends to struggle with his mask, making her doubt it's really him. Yes, this movie turns Michael Myers from a mindless force of evil into a cartoon mastermind who can pantomime his way out of any situation. Michael's silly plan works and Laurie Strode falls to her undignified death.
If you look closely at the screen, you can see Michael Myers flipping off the audience. It's a perfect symbol for the giant F-U known as Halloween: Resurrection.
Live, on the Internet! Six college students will search the childhood home of Michael Myers, looking for clues that might explain why Michael Myers went bad. Yes, this movie combines two of my favorite things: reality television and horror sequels that delve into the bad guy's childhood and explain why he should no longer be feared or respected as a villain.
Our new heroine is Sara Moyer (played by Bianca Kajlich, an actress seemingly named after someone's bad D&D campaign.) While Jaime Lee Curtis was the de facto Scream Queen, Kajlich actually had to be dubbed over because of her inability to scream. That's not like Zachary Quinto needing to tape his fingers together because he's unable to make Spock's "Live Long and Prosper" sign; it's like Zachary Quinto needing his lines dubbed over because he's incapable of logic and reason.
Sara is "not like the others." In other words, she's the same brainy, boring brunette who has reached the end of a thousand horror movies before her. It's hard to feel sorry for Sara, especially considering she's friends with Jen Danzing (Katee Sackhoff, Battlestar Galactica), a ditzy blonde, and Rudy Grimes (Sean Patrick Thomas), a black guy. She might as well befriend a couple of really slow kids during bear season and secretly fill their pockets with jerky.
The students will compete for a scholarship, which is something I thought people did before becoming students, but I'm no academic.
The three remaining contestants are Bill Woodlake (Thomas Ian Nicholas, American Pie), bland as always; Donna Chang (Daisy McCrackin, Angel), a dour redhead with a Psych 101 education, and Jim Morgan (Luke Kirby), a punk in a black leather jacket who believes Mysers is "the little voice who whispers to us to strange the little old lady behind the checkout counter."
The Dangertainment reality webcast is hosted by Freddie Harris (played by professional Coolio-lookalike Busta Rhymes), and Nora Winston (Tyra Banks, who was one of Time Magazine's most influential people in the world, and doesn't even get an on-screen death scene). As the cameraman rigs cameras around the decrepit Myers residence, Nora Winston yells at him from the comfort of her tool shed control room. "Look," he snaps. "Low angles, scary. High angles, scary. Medium angles, boring." Then we cut to a shot of Tyra Bank's ass (also scary). Michael Myers shows up and stabs the cameraman with his own tripod, thereby killing the only person involved in the making of this film who knew anything about shooting effective horror scenes.
"No, please, this shot is right out of Peeping Tom! You don't know what you're doing! Tell John Carpenter I'm sorrRRRRUGH!"
As the contestants ready their gear, Freddy addresses a crowd of reporters who presumably have nothing better to do. Freddy hypes the show with quotes from Winston Churchill, and promises that everything is real, no part of the house has been tampered with, and that no one will be allowed to leave until the contest is over.
The students enter the house, which looks like it's been abandoned since the Myers family was killed in 1963. But what's this? While rifling through the spice cabinet, Rudy discovers that the 40-year-old fennel smells fresh. That means... Michael Myers stocks fresh oregano, just like Rachael Ray! OMG, both my favorite people have so much in common. I could just die. In a pantry, Sara discovers padlocked high chair with leather restrains. The group begin to wonder if there's more to Myers childhood than suspected. Jinkies! They split up in search of clues.
Every film about exploitative entertainment needs an audience. In Halloween: Resurrection, the audience is high school kid Myles Barton (Ryan Merriman, Final Destination 3), who poses as "Deckard," a graduate student, and befriends Sara over the internet. Myles writes anonymous messages from the friend zone, comparing his creeper antics with that of a knight would spend his entire life courting ladies he would never touch. The noble creeper sneaks off from a Halloween party to watch the live webcast.
As is usually the case with Halloween parties, everyone stops drinking and dancing to gather around the computer.
Jen and Bill explore the room of Myers' very first victim, his older sister. Bill urges Jen to get naked and she leads him on, with Myers watches them through the doorway. Perceptive viewers might note his kitchen knife is bloodied, although no one's been stabbed yet. Jen reminds me a lot of Britney Murphy: the blonde hair, dark eyebrows, wide smiles. Down in the basement, Donna theorizes Myers had impulse control problems while Jim urges her to think with her body. Rudy has his own theory: It's all in the food, just look at that guy who was on trial who ate nothing but twinkies. "Rudy, do you ever think about anything other than food?" Sara asks. (For those keeping score, the men of Halloween: Resurrection consist of a sleazebag reality television host, two perverts, a guy who only thinks about food and a cyberstalker. And, of course, Michael Myers.) Don't you love these characters? It's like getting to know a group of swell new friends.
It's like my favorite scene in Clue, only with that d-bag from American Pie instead of Christopher Lloyd.
Bill is the first to die when Michael Myers leaps through a mirror and stabs a knife through the top of his skull. It's the kind of killing blow usually reserved for zombies, as the walking dead's diet of human flesh leave them brittle-boned and calcium deficient. Maybe Bill suffered from teenage Osteoporosis. If so, then his friends must suffer teenage hearing loss, as his screams for help seemingly fall on deaf ears.
Back in the basement, Donna and Jim randomly switch personalities. The psych student is suddenly desperate for sex, but the leather-clad slacker is too busy unraveling mysteries that lead them down into a hidden subbasement. Just when Donna gets Jim right where she wants him, a wall caves in, dumping skeletal remains on the would-be lovebirds. Watching all this from Dangertainment's toolshed H.Q., Freddy and Nora laugh and exchange high fives. They're ready to declare this phony house of horrors a success, oblivious to how easy it would be to expose their chicanery over the live stream -- especially considering they forgot to remove the "Made in Taiwan" sticker from the fake body parts -- or that a real killer walks the house.
I have no caption, I just like this shot.
The previous film belonged to Laurie Strode. Myers wasn't terribly frightening; his mask looked weird and you saw too much of his eyes. But it sort of made sense. The movie was originally titled The Revenge of Laurie Strode. It was like the second half of a revenge flick that started way back in the the original Halloween.
The middle of Halloween: Resurrection attempts to build Michael Myers back up. His mask looks great, or at least as good as anything based on a spray-painted William Shatner mask from the 70s can be. He does a lot of lurking through the shadows. If you ignore the fact that this movie probably shouldn't exist, you might actually start to enjoy yourself. But if the first fifteen minutes marked the end of Laurie Strode, then the last thirty are spent ruining Michael Myers.
It would have been great if there was no explanation for this shot. Rumors would have spread that the second Myers is actually the ghost of little boy who died on set. But no, it's Busta Rhymes, who tragically survived the shooting of this film.
Freddy dresses up like Michael Myers to scare the contestants. He runs into the real killer, mistakes him for an underling and proceeds to tear into him. "I ain't paying you to be Michael Myers, I'm Michael Myers, goddammit. What the hell is wrong with you? I said, what the hell you looking at me like that for, huh?" And then Freddy pokes Michael Myers in the forehead.
"You don't get it? Your s**t ain't working there or something? You need to take your a** back in the garage with Nora, that's your job. Get the hell out of here! Scoot! Scattle! Get the f*** out of Dodge! Goddamn, what the hell somebody got to do to get some decent help up in this m*****f*****?" — Freddy.
Instead of carving Freddy a new one, Michael Myers follows his orders.
Okay. I think what they were going for is that classic urban legend vibe where someone unknowingly has a brush with death. The Licked Hand, that sort of thing. But really, it's just a has-been rapper verbally abusing the movie monster, and said monster turning tail and running like a little bitch.
Much like you can watch the decay spread by a zombie bite, this scene causes the movie to visibly unravel. Rudy, sniffer of spice racks, loses all interest in finding clues. He plops down on a bed with Jen and produces a red bong. "I hope there's no cameras up here," he says. "We're wearing cameras!" giggles Jen. But Sara is not like the others. She'd rather page through dusty books, looking for information. Personally, I'd try and find out why this nice suburban home is more soundproof than an LA recording studio.
For reasons that are never explained, three kids sneak up to the Myers house and decorate it with a Jack-o-Lantern. Offscreen, a producer can be heard muttering, "That's what kids do, right?"
Donna finds a concealed door in the secret room of the hidden subbasement. Man, this house has more levels than Inception. What appears to be another staged room filled with cheap props (a picture of Laurie Strode, a dolly) turns out to be a real, when it's reveal Michael Myers has been snacking on half-dead rodents. Yum. Never one to share his grub, Michael Myers shows up and impales Donna on a big spike. The partygoers watching Dangertainment's webcast think it's hilariously fake, but Deckard thinks it's real.
Hoping this will be another one of Freddy's fake props? Sorry, he's also shocked to find the room. There's no way around it. Michael Myers has a dolly.
Still dressed as Michael Myers, Freddy tries to drag off Sara. He's immediately jumped from behind by Jim, who wields the Made-in-Taiwan arm like a gem-socketed Wirt's Leg. Freddy starts whining, "Turn off your cameras!" and cops a huge attitude, as if defrauding an audience, dressing like a killer and attacking college girls makes him the good guy, yo. What's everyone's problem up in here? "Besides, nobody wants to see none of ya'll running around an empty house, possibly coming up with nothing." Ha! I guess he hasn't heard of Syfy's #1 show eight years running. He offers to bribe them if they play along, then dons the Halloween mask and runs off to scare their friends. Sara and Rudy aren't going for it. But before they can leave, Jen runs screaming into the real Michael Myers, who chops off her head with one swoop.
Better remove that silly looking Jen mask just to make sure it's really... Wait, what do you mean "it's not a mask"?
Michael Myers corners the remaining students at the entrance. The doors are locked, windows boarded. Jim tries to buy them time with a camera attack, but Michael Myers sets down his knife and crushes his head. Maybe Jim should have kept Wirt's Arm.
Damn, Michael, what do you have against heads?
It's the usual scream-filled chase from here on out. Rudy draws aggro and saves Sara by provoking Michael Myers. "You should try a little less protein in your diet." Then he hits Michael Myers with a rolling pin, raids the spice rack and throws spice in his eyes. I'm not making that up. Kitchen full of knives, Rudy goes for the spice rack. Only then does he arm himself with knives, and yet more food-related insults. It goes about as well for him as you can expect.
Sara finds a wall-mounted camera and begs the internet for help. The internet instantly responds: "Tits or GTFO." Deckard watches the feed in horror, trying to vain to convince his fellow viewers, or the 911 operator, that it isn't a hoax. He realizes he can text Sara's phone, guiding her away from Michael Myers, sort of like Morpheus only more 90s.
Deckard: DONT SCREAM
* Sara screams
Deckard: TRY THE WINDOW
* Sara scrambles onto the balcony
*** Joins: MichaelM
* MichaelM pokes his head out the window
MichaelM: Can I have ops?
*** MichaelM has been kicked by Sara (right in the face!)
Hey, who runs this place?
The chase goes on, as many chases do, well past the point of caring. Only Sara and Freddy remain, and if you're watching in hopes of seeing Freddy's sleazy reality show face punched in, get used to disappointment. Freddy won't get his ass handed to him by Michael Myers. Quite the opposite.
"So you wanna be on Dangertainment? Let's see what you got." And then Freddy busts out a spinning jump kick the likes of which Ryu can only dream of. Seeing Busta Rhymes pull off Jean Claude-Van Damme's finishing move out of nowhere is nothing compared to watching said rapper follow it up by making Bruce Lee sounds and bicycle kicking Michael Myers out the window.
It makes sense, because early on, they established he watches kung-fu movies.
While Laurie's beatdown at the end of H20 was a huge emotional payoff, the end result of a twenty year feud between blood relatives, this is a downright travesty.
Remember at the beginning of the film, how Laurie Strode botched her attempt to string up Myers? Here, Freddy accomplishes it by accident, as a power cord wrapped around Michael Myers neck catches the ledge, creating a makeshift noose.But wait! They're not done ruining the franchise yet! A text from Deckard warns Sara that Michael Myers cut himself free and is back in the house. The Shape stabs Freddy (woohoo!) and chases after Sara. More running, more finding dead friends, more (dubbed) screams. It's the kind of last act where you notice you're at 1:18 of 1:29 and find yourself hoping the credits are just abnormally long.
And then Sara busts out a cabinet with chainsaw. A chainsaw that she presumably found in the toolshed of a suburban home that has been abandoned for forty years. A chainsaw that inexplicably works.
It's like they don't even know what franchise this is. Why not have the puppet from Saw trike out wearing a Freddy Krueger glove and ask Michael Myers what his favorite scary movie is?
During the fight, a fire breaks out. Sara's hobbled, because the one thing flimsier than this movie's plot is its heroine's legs. Then Freddy bursts through the window and utters a demonic phrase ripped from the flesh-bound pages of the Necronomicon ex Mortis, a curse so vile and deadly that no sequel could could possibly spawn from this accursed ground:
I believe it was T.S. Elliot who said, "This is the way the world ends / This is the way the world ends / This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a rapper."
After that, I tend to black out. According to my notes, Freddy grabs a sparking wire and zaps Michael Myers in the balls...? That has to be a joke. It has to be. All I know for sure is that Michael Myers is simultaneously immolated and electrocuted, while Freddy busts out one Halloween-themed catch phrase after another. "Happy f***ing Halloween!" At one point Sara thanks Deckard via live reports from the crime scene. Then Freddy the scumbag reality webcast producer leans over the body of Michael Myers and says, "Looking a little crispy over there Mikey. Like some crispy-fried motherf***er. May he never, ever rest in peace."
Q: How can you follow that up?
A: You can't.
Much has been said about Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007) reboot delving into Michael Myers childhood, most of it negative. Instead of trying to recapture the shock of the opening twist -- an impossible task -- Zombie spent some time with young Michael, and in doing so he fundamentally changed it from a story that could happen to anyone (a seemingly good kid inexplicably murders his family) to a story that could only happen to horrible, incestuous, abusive white trash. It was probably a mistake. No one wants to see their favorite villains as children. But look past the first act and enjoy the fascinating middle, which covers Michael Myers' inexorable descent into madness, and the horrifying end, which is brutal and mercifully free of kung-fu one-liners.
Rob Zombie may have shat on Michael Myers' childhood, but Rick Rosenthal pissed on his grave.
— Zeus (Email the Bucket Bros)
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