Seven more days till… Halloween 4 : The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

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“Apocalypse, End of the World, Armageddon. It’s always got a face and a name. I’ve been huntin’ the bastard for 30 years, give or take. Come close a time or two. Too damn close! You can’t kill damnation, Mister. It don’t die like a man dies.”

- Jack Sayer, while sharing a drink with Sam Loomis.

After the bold box office failure that was Halloween III : Season of the Witch, the producers of the series scrambled to get their golden goose back on track. While the idea of a Myers-less Halloween had seemed like a brave idea, the films’ financial and critical disappointment was a hard pill to swallow.
One thing was for sure : audiences wanted more Michael Myers!

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Rushed to release to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the now-classic original, Halloween 4 continued the trend of many behind the scenes voices guiding the direction of the films. John Carpenter and Debra Hill were initially brought on to return the film to its roots, with Carpenter as writer/director and Hill once again as producer. Carpenter teamed up with horror author Dennis Etchison to pen a script, and the wheels were in motion for Michael’s murderous return to his hometown.

According to Etchison, the story would have followed a more “supernatural” storyline, which seems in line with Carpenter’s original plans for the series. In an interview, Etchison says, “Halloween was banned in Haddonfield and I think that the basic idea was that if you tried to suppress something, it would only rear its head more strongly. By the very attempt of trying to erase the memory of Michael Myers, the teenagers were going to ironically bring him back into existence.”

Making a name for himself under the psuedonym Jack Martin, Etchison had already penned the novelizations for Halloween 2 and 3.  Teaming with Carpenter for a new vision of The Shape seemed to be an excellent idea, but something went very wrong behind the scenes. The producers quickly rejected the script for being “too cerebral”, and this rejection led to Carpenter and Hill leaving the project (and ultimately the series), selling their interest in Halloween for good.

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With producer Moustapha Akkad finally taking ownership of the rights and complete control over the direction of the series, he set about constructing his ideal sequel, bringing in director Dwight H Little and screenwriter Alan B. McElroy. With a writer’s strike looming, the script was completed in just eleven days, and ultimately gave us what Akkad refers to as “the most successful” of the Halloween films.

While it might have been the most successful financially, the film itself is not without it’s problems. For one thing, scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis is nowhere to be seen (other than a few keepsakes and photos), and the focus is suddenly shifted to her orphaned daughter when we learn that Laurie died in a tragic car accident years before.

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Her daughter Jamie Lloyd, played by fresh-faced future scream queen Danielle Harris, is living with an adopted family, blissfully unaware of her murderous uncle. In an exposition-heavy opening scene, we see Michael Myers making his move for freedom during an ill-advised patient transfer in the middle of a rainy night on the eve of Halloween.

Donald Pleasence is back in pursuit, with some minor burn scars from being exploded way back in part 2, more frantic than ever as he makes his way back to Haddonfield. Loomis knows that Michael is “evil on two legs”, and goes above and beyond the call of duty to stop him.

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The problem is that everything feels so rushed and contrived, and we as an audience are asked to just accept some odd connections and motivations. The family connections never sat well with me in the first place, as I always preferred the original version of Myers as an unstoppable unexplainable killing machine. The afterthought addition first introduced in part 2 connecting Laurie and Michael always seemed forced to begin with, and the rushed explanation of Laurie’s death in this sequel are jarring and honestly kind of offensive. So, we are supposed to believe that our sweet “final girl” immediately got knocked up after getting out of the hospital, then died unceremoniously in a random car accident?

But, if you can let all of that go, there are some fun thrills and kills to be had in this sequel, as Michael rampages his way back home, and a group of hicks, teenagers and cops team up with ol’ Doc Loomis to fight him off. The late 80s teenager characters are charming and it is fun to watch them get murdered. Danielle Harris is great as little Jamie, and Pleasence rants and raves with the best of them. The climactic scenes are fantastic, as Jamie and her adopted sister scramble to escape Michael on a rooftop, then lead him to his dramatic death, shot to bits by rednecks and lost down a mine shaft.
The final scenes are also excellent and one of the only unique ideas in the whole film, as somehow Michael transfers his evil to his niece, and we see her murder her adoptive mother with a pair of scissors in a nice first person homage to the original. Also, Loomis’ reaction here is priceless, as he instantly draws his gun and breaks down with frustration just before the credits roll.
It is unfortunate that this story thread was unceremoniously abandoned in the next film, as it could have made for an interesting new take on the mythology.

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Overall, Halloween 4 is a fun watch with a really good cast. While the tone is inconsistent at times and some shots are jarringly strange (how did no one notice the Myers mask had blonde hair in that school scene?), it definitely gives those who were clamoring for more Michael after part 3 what they wanted. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel or do anything revolutionary, but is a solid slasher sequel that cemented Michael Myers as a true icon of modern horror.

This new edition collected in the box set unfortunately contains no special features, and has a strange audio sync issue about halfway through the film. Anchor Bay has offered up replacement discs to those who bought the set early and have since promised the discs will be corrected.
Although this disc is the sparsest, not even offering any feature commentaries, the new set does come with a bonus disc which contains two documentaries about the making of the fourth film. (FYI the bonus disc is packaged with Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2, so purists might not even be aware where to find it!)


Eight more days till… Halloween III : Season of the Witch (1982)

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“It’s time. It’s time. Time for the big giveaway. Halloween has come. All you lucky kids with Silver Shamrock masks, gather ’round your TV set, put on your masks and watch. All witches, all skeletons, all Jack-O-Lanterns, gather ’round and watch. Watch the magic pumpkin. Watch…”

- Commercial announcer, Halloween III

Categorized as either a huge failure or a bold experiment, depending on individual points of view, the second sequel in the Halloween franchise quickly followed just a year after part 2.
For all intents and purposes, Michael Myers was dead for good, his eyes shot out and his body burned to death along with Dr. Loomis in the finale of the second film.
The filmmakers were done with Myers as well, and this sequel proposed an ambitious new plan to make the “Halloween franchise” into a yearly anthology series of films focusing on a new storyline involving the holiday and new characters in each incarnation.
In fact, John Carpenter and Debra Hill are credited only as producers this time around, although their fingerprints and ideas are all over the finished film. Director Tommy Lee Wallace credits Hill with the original idea of “pod people”, even though he is solely credited as the writer of the film. In truth, Wallace was merely one of many who had his hand in this script, beginning with reknowned science fiction novelist Nigel Kneale. After the producers rejected Kneale’s script for unspecified reasons, Carpenter and Hill jumped in, and Wallace did a final polish before taking on the reigns of director.

Of course the biggest black mark against Halloween 3 is that our favorite masked madman Michael Myers is nowhere to be seen (unless you count the cameo he makes on the TV screen in the bar, meta before meta was cool). But, as the creators contended, Myers was dead, his story was told, and the time had come to move on to something fresh and different. If Carpenter had gotten his way, every year would have brought us a new Halloween-centric film with a new plot and new characters, and we would be celebrating over thirty years of innovative film-making right now.
But sadly, it was not to be.
Halloween 3 was a huge disappointment to fans of Michael Myers, and they were in the vocal majority at the time of the release, ultimately killing this experimental film in its opening weekend.

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Halloween 3 starts off a week before the titular holiday, where after an awe-inspiring (for the early 80s) digitized pumpkin shows off the credits, we witness the horrible untimely death of shop owner Harry Grimbridge. Grimbridge mutters “They’re going to kill us all” while clutching a children’s Halloween mask as he is being admitted to the hospital, and later is murdered in his hospital bed by a mysterious man.

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His doctor Daniel Challis (played with manly gusto by Tom Atkins) is drawn into the mysterious death, partly due to the arrival of the dead man’s attractive young daughter, Ellie (cutie Stacey Nelkin). The pair’s investigation leads them to a small company village in northern California called Santa Mira (named after the town in Invasion of the Body Snatchers), and they start to realize something big is going down right in time for the horrific holiday.

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A sci-fi throwback with a cruel streak a mile long, it is easy to see why audiences didn’t immediately connect with this material, especially when they were expecting a “knife movie” and got a weird little “pod movie”. As the mystery is revealed slowly and deliberately, the bad guy (played with relish by Dan O’Herlihy) lays out his sinister plan for world domination via party masks in long monologues like an overconfident Bond villain.

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The bleak ending is unique for its time, and for any film really. Although in a later interview, star Tom Atkins says that he thinks his character finally accomplished his mission and stopped the insidious commercial from infecting the minds of masked children everywhere. This overly hopeful outlook is not the way most audiences see it however, as the ambiguous ending suggests that the bad guys actually won and turned the heads of all the children of the world into mushy nests of insects and snakes.

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As always, when looking back at these older films, it is important to keep in mind the huge changes in the world over the intervening thirty years or so. At the time, all of the major horror franchises that we now consider classics were just in the beginning stages. Satanic panics and rumors of teenage cult memberships were considered realistic threats to society. Halloween, the holiday, was at its peak in popularity and trick-or-treaters were everywhere, despite the underlying strangeness of the customs. Technology was new and scary. All of these elements make their way into the film, and work in varying degrees then and now.

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The Silver Shamrock theme song deserves mention here, as it finds a way to burrow into the viewers head like the best of ear-worms, and lends credence to the mind control/subliminal message plot that is in motion. Set to the tune of the handily public domain song “London Bridge is Falling Down”, it takes only the briefest snatch of the song to take hold somewhere deep in the pysche of the viewer, and does not fail to make the viewers uncomfortable.

One of the coolest additions to this release is the documentary Stand Alone, featuring recent interviews with earnest director Tommy Lee Wallace. After over thirty years of criticism and being forced to defend his film, it is nice to see the cult following it developed and Wallace to finally get his props for some unbelievably bold film-making.

Ultimately, Halloween 3 inhabits a strange kind of bizarro place in the canon of the series. The red-headed stepchild of the series, abused for years, that finally reveals itself to be better and more useful than anyone ever realized. If only the minds of horror fans in the early 80s had been open to new and unique concepts, we would have been spared years of repetitive sequels in favor of something new and different to look forward to each year.
More on that tomorrow, but in the meantime…

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Nine more days till… Halloween II (1981)

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I will say that what got me through writing that script was… Budweiser. Six pack of beer a night, sitting in front of the typewriter saying, “What in the hell can I put down?” I had no idea. We’re remaking the same film, only not as good.

- John Carpenter, on writing the script for Halloween II

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Three years after the original Halloween had become the biggest grossing independent film of all time and inspired dozens of cheap imitations, a follow-up appeared in theaters continuing the struggle of good vs. evil. Although the first film is obviously a complete work of art, the audience and especially the producers who had profited so greatly were clamoring for more.
Picking up just minutes after the end of the first film, Halloween II suffers from the simple fact that sometimes “more” is just too much. After retooling the original for television with new sequences that hint at the connections between The Shape and his “Final Girl”, this sequel introduces the idea that the two are in fact related, and gives the unkillable stalker a vague motive, for the first time letting on that Michael’s ultimate goal (for some still unknown reason) is to kill his whole family.
This new development is the first (of many) wrong steps that filmmakers made in demystifying the character of “The Shape”. Although as time and the subsequent sequels will prove, this film adds that plot point while planting more seeds of mystery to the origin and story of Michael Myers. The script drops hints that will get picked up and retooled later in the series, but here they are more misdirection and an attempt to recapture that unknowable feeling of an unstoppable killing machine at the same time they are humanizing him. It doesn’t really work, nor does it fail as miserably as some of the later entries.

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After her horrifying ordeal, we meet up with Laurie that night at the hospital (three years older and wearing a wig to make her look the teenage part), as she goes in and out of a comatose state. Apparently, Jamie Lee Curtis was not exactly thrilled to reprise the role that had made her into the first of a new generation of “scream queens”, but came back out of loyalty to John Carpenter.
Carpenter, however, seemed to be taking the film less seriously and his interviews looking back on his work for the film are pretty amusing. It is easy to forget that he was not a household horror name at the time, and had many promising projects in the works at the time. For example, in between the time of the first and second Halloween films, Carpenter had directed The Fog and Escape From New York, and he was prepping to shoot what many consider his greatest achievement, The Thing. So it is hard to blame him for passing on the director job for the highly anticipated sequel, and pretty funny to think of him drinking beer and trying to come up with someone for Michael Myers to murder. As he puts it in an interview, “Hey I’m a capitalist. If they want to pay me, I will do the work.”

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Another familiar face back to rant for his paycheck, Donald Pleasance returns to the role of Dr. Loomis once again, and attempts to track his charge and scare the shit out of everyone with his cryptic ramblings. A freak accident (that no one seems too concerned about) concerning a speeding police car slamming into an innocent trick or treater, leads Loomis and the police to believe Michael is dead. But the determined Loomis knows better, and follows the trail, finding clues that vaguely connect his charge to occult business.

While Laurie whines and flirts with the orderly in the hospital, the real Michael is coming at her with the same conviction as ever. Although this time around, The Shape is played by stunt coordinator Dick Warlock (best name ever), he is as unstoppable as before, tracking his victim (who Loomis and the audience finally learns is Michael’s sister) all the way to the hospital.

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Although Carpenter turned down the directing job, he hand picked director Rick Rosenthal for the job. Rosenthal treats the material respectfully, and tries his best to mimic Carpenter’s style from the original, but as the writer himself concedes, this is lesser material. Carpenter claims he was pressured to add more gore and grue to the film in post production, saying that the rough cut he saw was “about as scary as Quincy”. Carpenter actually was brought in during post-production and oversaw some new inserts into Rosenthal’s cut, adding a scene where Michael knifes a girl before heading to the hospital, along with some amped-up blood during the kills. Rosenthal, on the other hand, didn’t care for the changes, and contends that the post-shoot meddling “ruined his carefully paced film”.

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Overall, Halloween II is a good continuation of a story that didn’t necessarily need continuing. This is a sequel from a time when sequels were not what we now know them to be, but this one set another precedent that has been aped for years now. If John Carpenter would have had his way, the story of Michael Myers would have ended here, in fire, and we would have had new Halloween-themed original films for the past 35 years or so. The decision to end it once and for all was Carpenter’s, as his script called for Michael’s eyes to get shot out and he is burned to death along with his pursuer in the climactic sequence. In a 1982 interview, Carpenter said matter-of-factly, “The Shape is dead. Pleasence’s character is dead, too, unfortunately.”

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This new Blu-ray edition contains both the theatrical version of the film and a television edit for NBC, which removes much of the added gore and cuts in more expository scenes, one which shows The Shape cutting the power to the facility, and also boasts an alternate “happy” ending, if anybody wondered what happened to Jimmy the orderly in the original cut. My only gripe is that there is not an option to watch the added scenes outside of the TV cut, but it is nice to have everything included here. Deleted scenes, new commentaries, a return to the original shooting locations and an extensive making of featurette round out this release.


Ten more days till… Halloween (1978)

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“I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply…evil.”

- - Dr. Sam Loomis (Halloween 1978)

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In order to celebrate every horror fans favorite time of year along with last month’s long awaited release of the entire collection of Halloween films on Blu-ray, we have decided to take a look back at each of these iconic films as the titular holiday draws closer.
The new box set is available here, and includes every film in the series (yes, even the Rob Zombie ones…) and a huge collection of special features, interviews and documentaries, and is a great addition to any collection.

Called several times the “Gone With The Wind” of modern horror films, John Carpenter’s 1978 original is a true genre classic. Ushering in the new wave of slasher and horror films of the early 1980s, the original Halloween is a perfect storm of creativity, simplicity and ingenuity that has yet to be replicated by any of the copycats or subsequent sequels.
A true passion project for the young filmmaker, Carpenter and his then-girlfriend Debra Hill were aiming to make the scariest film since “The Exorcist” and arguably succeeded.
After making some waves overseas with “Assault on Precinct 13“, their passion and determination for the project caught the eye of producer Moustapha Akkad, and he called John Carpenter’s bluff and agreed to finance the film for the amount of $320,000.

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With the only imperative from the producers being to make the lead characters babysitters for the sake of relatability, Carpenter and Hill wrote the script in three weeks. Hill claims to have shaped the personalities and friendships of the lead trio of girls, while Carpenter’s writing covered the excitable rants of Dr. Loomis, the “Ahab” character played by veteran actor Donald Pleasence. An interesting casting note is that Carpenter initially wanted both Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee for the Loomis role, but gladly accepted the acting chops that Pleasence brought to the table for what would become his 105th film appearance and a recurring role for the next two decades. Lee claims one of his biggest regrets to be turning down the role of Loomis.

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In one of the older featurettes included on this release, John Carpenter talks about how incredibly intimidating it was to recruit Donald Pleasence, and directing him as this admittedly melodramatic character. He recounts the story of Pleasence “testing” the young director constantly, questioning the motivations of the good doctor. Ultimately, Pleasence fully embraced the role, and despite the giddy geek feelings a horror fan might get picturing Christopher Lee as Loomis, he completely owns it. Donald Pleasence was once quoted as saying he was going to keep making Halloween films up to 22, when asked why he keeps reprising the role.

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Another key to what makes the film work so well is the perfect casting of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, in her first ever lead film role. Despite being the famous progeny of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh (of Psycho fame), Jamie had only had a single acting job up to this point, the short-lived TV adaptation of Petticoat Junction, where she starred alongside Jim Varney, who would go on to annoy the world as Ernest P. Worrell. Her innocence and relatable characteristics go a long way toward making the story work, and she lives and breathes the realistic and timely dialogue penned by Debra Hill.  Her sweet demeanor and tenacity when confronted with violence have since become the prototype for the virginal “final girl”, a now omnipresent part of the legacy of horror in film.

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While the script has no shortage of loving tributes to the horror films of the past, his role as director of the film is where Carpenter has the chance to shine as an artist, shaping his influences into something new that would go on to influence countless future filmmakers.
From the opening scene, largely borrowed from Bob Clark’s Black Christmas from the year before, the first person point of view throws audiences off guard, and the slow building tension becomes unbearable as the film builds to the inevitable climax. Interestingly, in one of the special features documentaries, Carpenter says that the film didn’t work at all without the now unforgettable music. He claims to have scored the entire film in three days, and it is hard to argue the severe tension the minimalist score brings to the final film.

Of course, Carpenter was wise enough to know that atmosphere and tension were just as important as the kills, and the film gets it right by leaving a lot to the imagination, a principle that was steadily forgotten (and arguably rebelled against) by the films that followed. The original concept of “The Shape” was a force of nature, a mysterious and unstoppable killing machine. The fact that in the original the killer had no clear motivation was much scarier than the over-explained versions of the same character which came later. Originally, Michael Myers was a shark in a latex mask, and that was what made this film work so well. Laurie and her friends (and the audience) didn’t even have a chance to wonder why, they simply had to accept his existence and deal with it.

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An interesting addition to this release is the presence of the TV version of the original film. When NBC bought the rights to the film, several scenes of nudity had to be trimmed and the studio needed an additional few minutes added to the run time. New scenes were added to the telefilm, which premiered the same day the sequel arrived in theaters, October 30, 1981. The scenes show some further bonding between Laurie and Lynda,  and include an intriguing scene between Loomis and young catatonic Michael. Even all those years before, Loomis was arguing for tighter security! Also notable is an added scene where Loomis investigates Michael’s room after his escape to see the word “sister” scrawled on the door. This was intended to plant the seeds of the newly revealed familial connections introduced in the sequel.

Other special features on the disc include a recent revisit to the original shooting locations in Pasadena California, new audio commentaries with director of photography Dean Cundey, producer Tommy Lee Wallace and the first portrayer of “The Shape”, Nick Castle.
Also included is a longish documentary from HorrorHound from 2012, featuring Jamie Lee Curtis in her first and last convention appearance, signing Halloween memorabilia and generously mingling with horror fans for charity.

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Overall, Halloween remains not only a horror classic, but simply a great film, and it looks fantastic on Blu-ray. Check back in tomorrow when we take a look at the 1981 sequel from director Rick Rosenthal!


Help Dario Argento and Iggy Pop bring us The Sandman!

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The master of Italian horror Dario Argento is teaming up with one of the world’s most energetic punk icons Iggy Pop in an attempt to darken the holidays with horror. In an effort to keep his next film as pure as possible (maybe due to studio intrusion on his previous effort, the lackluster Dracula 3D) Mr. Argento has started a crowd-funding campaign for this new project.
According to the pitch, this crowd-funded film will be a tribute to the films of Argento and his entire career, a chance to put a juicy horrific cherry on top of a long and storied career. Casting Iggy Pop in the lead role is just the chocolate sauce on top of the cherry.
The Sandman is based on a German short story dating back to 1816, originally told by author E.T.A. Hoffman. According to this legend, The Sandman was someone who stole the eyes of any children that wouldn’t just close them and go to sleep, then he’d go feed them to his hungry children on the moon.
It sounds like a great role for Iggy Pop, running around snatching out the eyeballs of children. Bring in the passionate direction of Dario Argento, and it begins to shape up as a film any horror fan definitely would like to see. The director says he is “tired of Christmas movies showing goodness. Beauty, snowflakes, sleds pulled by reindeer. I’m tired of these things. I’d rather have a Christmas movie where there is also strength, violence, horror, and this is what I am going to do.”

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Check out the indiegogo campaign for the film here for some great perks including T-shirts, posters, signed Iggy Pop action figures (!), all the way up to a spot as an extra on the film and much more.
In fact even the smallest contribution of 5$ will get everyone a subscription to the unique new streaming service Fandor.com, which features thousands of horror classics, including several Argento films.
And if you need more convincing, check out the video below and try not to get hypnotized by the words of Mr. Pop, who is destined to play The Sandman in this future holiday classic.



Happy Halloween, a new short film from Adam Green!

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To help kick off the season of the witch, director Adam Green and ArieScope Pictures have delivered a brand new creepy short film for our enjoyment!
For the past 16 years, ArieScope has released a new short film in time for Halloween, with the same rule of “one night, no budget, no stress”. They are a fun horror-loving company that has created tons of passionate and funny shorts, many of which you can see archived here.
My personal favorite is 2012’s “Driving Lessons”, where we finally learn who taught Michael Myers to drive a car while he was locked up for all those years…

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From a company who knows horror and a director who definitely loves the genre, please enjoy the newest short from ArieScope, “Happy Halloween”!



20 horrific recipes for your Halloween party!

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With Autumn and the Halloween season rapidly approaching, we decided it was high time at Horror Homework to bring you a list of unique recipes and decorations for you to darken your dinner parties this year. Check out the following list of creative ideas to scare aware all of your guests this season!

Adam’s Ribs.This is as simple as it gets. Two barbecued racks of ribs and a heart made from a red bell pepper. For a super creepy added touch grill some sausage links and cover in bbq sauce — instant entrails!!
Recipe here.

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Another take on this, a meat feast where you get to crack open his delicious ribs and devour everything from his face to his entrails!
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 A meat hand. Delicious meat loaf covered in cheese, using slivers of onions for bones and fingernails.
Just add ketchup for that super gruesome detail.
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Spider cookies. Nothing more frightening than thinking you have just bitten into a huge chunk of spider. Just take a toothpick and drag out the melting chocolate chips into legs while the cookies are cooling.
More here.
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Meatloaf zombies/ mummies.
Who doesn’t love the flesh of a cow ground into bits covered in the fleshy fatty goodness of it’s friend the delicious pig, all molded into the face of the undead?
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Necronomicon pizza. We must try this because it is so damn cool!
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Intestines for dessert made with puff pastry and cherry pie filling. She has some good ideas about savory substitutions as well with sloppy joe’s or taco meat, even shredded pork in bbq sauce would do the trick.
Learn how to make your very own edible entrails here.
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Do it yourself vampire blood lollipops. You could get creative and add candy bugs to them or edible fondant body parts.
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Black “poisoned” candy apples.
Found here.
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Any dried cured meats would serve as flesh for a great meat and cheese tray, prosciutto being the best of course. Cranberry horseradish spread would not only taste great but make really good curdled blood for spreading on crackers with meat.
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Severed children’s fingers. You can also use a vegetable peeler and skin them to make it look like the nail bed has been ripped off.
Found here.
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Marinated mozzarella eyeballs. It would also be great to add to an antipasto salad, the meat would look like chunks of flesh.
Seen here.
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The Halloween human torso appetizer is pretty cool idea using an assortment of veggies and cheeses.
Find out how to make one here.
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Medusa ice face and hands punch. For an extra creepy touch make the hands and face with cranberry juice cocktail or cherry/fruit punch. I recommend peach vodka & crown royal and cranberry! It’s called a Royal Flush.

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Carrie cake.
Pretty simple idea : just bake cake, add barbie, then cover in edible blood.
Spied here.

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Bat wings. Just add black food coloring to your normal wing sauce. Looks creepy.
Spotted here.

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Pork dumplings look a lot like brains! Just saying.
Recipe here.
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The Bloody Brain Hemorrhage shooter. Looks cool but doesn’t sound like it would taste great.
Seen here.
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Do it yourself pumpkin keg!
Find out how here.
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Just a simple carved mushroom but great for a Halloween veggie tray.
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Jello blood worms. Add liquor and slurp up delicious worms till your drunk!
Jell-O-Blood-Worms



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Help support independent horror with Bad Medicine!

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If there is one trend in horror films I would love to see replace the current glut of remakes, prequels and re-imaginings, it would be more anthology films!
Although most attempts at this type of film are generally uneven, they still tend to entertain most of the time. The shorter lengths help the cause, and if you didn’t care for one story or style, maybe the next one will prove more to your liking. In most cases, even if every short isn’t a home run it is usually possible to find something to enjoy.
Personally, I would love to see more films like this, where a collection of different writers and directors get to play in a loosely-shared world. There are so many short films out there waiting to be seen, and much of the time they get lost in the shuffle at film festivals and buried on Youtube channels. Bringing them to the big screen is a fine idea, and a trend to get behind!
In fact, this coming year will bring us several new attempts at the horror anthology, including The ABC’s Of Death 2 and XX, the first ever anthology directed exclusively by women.
With any luck (and some generous donations), we will also see Bad Medicine, a new anthology from Venomous Little Man Productions, creators of “Ascension”.
The crew of VLM seem to have their heads in the right place regarding practical effects and their intention is to bring true horror to the screen!

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According to the press release :

Bad Medicine is a feature length, psychological horror film. It takes place in a mental health ward during a therapy session, where the participants tell their individual stories of the horrific and shocking events that led them to be where they are now. The film is a horror portmanteau featuring five short films bound together by a wrap -around story.
With filming scheduled to start in December 2014 in and around Birmingham, “Bad Medicine” was written by Amazon #1 bestselling horror author DAVE JEFFERY, and is the follow-up to the highly successful “Ascension”, which scooped the “Best Director” gong at the 2013 Bram Stoker Film Festival for JAMES HART.
It is no coincidence that some of the actors who worked on VLM’s previous film have not hesitated to sign up again for this next thrilling project. Based on the praise that “Ascension” received, they have all jumped at the chance to be part of what promises to be another “scarily-good” film.
Both Jeffery and Hart have enlisted a seasoned, stellar cast for “Bad Medicine”, which includes BARBIE WILDE (HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II, GRIZZLY II), DEREK MELLING, (ASCENSION, INBRED, THE ELECTRICIAN), LAURENCE SAUNDERS (ASCENSION, DEADTIME, THE SEASONING HOUSE, THE VILLAGE, EASTENDERS, DOCTORS), MARK RATHBONE (ASCENSION, INBRED, CRADLE OF FEAR) and TIM DRY (XTRO, RETURN OF THE JEDI).
“Bad Medicine” will be edited by Richard O’Connor. As the prime editor on award-winning “Ascension”, O’Connor has extensive experience in lighting and stage design and an impressive history of theatre.

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For more information, you can find their indiegogo campaign here, currently underway until October 30th. They can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Check out Venomous Little Man and help support independent horror!




Extreme Pinocchio comes to the Diabolique Film Festival!

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French filmmaker Pascal Chind is a madman. Let’s just get that out of the way.
Need proof? Here is the synopsis for his new short film, Extreme Pinocchio :

Patrick, a dwarf junkie (and father-to-be) wants to clean up his act. But his dealers (the Cat and the Fox) have something else in mind: Patrick has to dress up as Pinocchio to steal money from a pedaphilic, schizophrenic, psychopath who thinks he’s Geppetto… 

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The film is a berserk and stylish re-interpretation of the classic story, told in an undeniably endearing way. The look of the film is unique with its oddball diesel-punk aesthetic, something Chind used to great effect in his previous film Short Cut, which has gone on to become one of the most broadcast shorts on French television.
You can see his debut film below:

About Extreme Pinocchio, the director says :

Fairy-tales are often violent, and for me Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio is one of the most brutal. There have been several film adaptions of the story (the most famous being Disney’s 1940s cartoon, of course), but I wanted to create my own, modern version, and play on the fears of today’s society.

My Extreme Pinocchio is deliberately politically incorrect. It takes the story out of its original context, and drops it smack bang into the unsavoury suburban slums of a faceless, modern city, where Gepetto is a pervert, Jiminy is a 10cm-tall rapper and the Blue Fairy is a transvestite. Patrick becomes a real-life ‘puppet’ when he agrees to steal money for his dealers and thus condemn himself to a lifetime of physical enslavement at the hands of Gepetto.

The themes of childhood and fatherhood run through the original book. I’ve made this the starting point for my film’s dark comedy: In Extreme Pinocchio’s upside-down world, loving, fatherly Gepetto is a psychopathic ogre of questionable repute, who lives in a world of toys and thinks that Pinocchio (because he is small) is a child.

And Patrick/Pinocchio (a little adult man) is about to become a father yet gets mistaken for a boy.The characters in my film live in a modern society, peppered with the relics of days gone by. I love mixing eras, fashions and technology to create new worlds that both surprise audiences and give them enough material to identify with. I like entertaining people by unsettling them and plunging them into dark, comical, retro-futuristic atmospheres.
This is what I hope to do with Extreme Pinocchio.

EXTREME PINOCCHIO (Pinocchio's return) ACTORS CHRISTOPHE FLUDER AND BRICE FOURNIER © Alcibal Productions

Extreme Pinocchio is currently touring the film festivals, and will be showing at the Diabolique Festival in Bloomington, Indiana on Saturday, September 20th.
For more info about the Diabolique International Film Festival, see here.
For more screening chances and options to see Extreme Pinocchio for yourself, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.
Check out the trailer for the film below.



Doomsday is coming. What are you going to wear?

 

Artist Alex Pardee illustrates the monsters of Cabin In The Woods!

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Opening today September 5th 2014 at Gallery 1988 West is an art tribute show to film-maker Joss Whedon. Similar to the gallery’s previous shows paying respect to Edgar Wright and J.J. Abrams, a wide variety of artists from around the world have been given the freedom to create their art based on the world Joss Whedon has built over the course of his career. So, anything from Buffy to Firefly is on the table (excluding The Avengers, as they already had an Avengers-specific showing a few years ago) and many awesome artists have created some pretty amazing pieces.
One of my favorite artists, Alex Pardee, has taken his inspiration from the long list of monsters and creatures that were on display in the ground-breaking 2012 flick Cabin In The Woods, which was written and produced by Whedon. Collected below are Mr. Pardee’s contributions to the unique art show which opens today and will remain on display until September 27th.

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The 1988 West Gallery is located at 7308 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles CA.
More information about the show can be found at the Gallery 1988 website, and much more from Alex Pardee can be found here.

Please enjoy the “Zoology Department” series by Alex Pardee below :

Wraith :
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Dismemberment Goblins :

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Vampire :

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Zombie Redneck Torture Family :

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Sexy Witch :

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Alien Beast :

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The Twins :

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Giant :

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The Doll :

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The Bride :

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Angry Molesting Tree :

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Zombie :

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Demon :

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Dragon Bat :

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Witch :

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Clown :

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Giant Snake :

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Hell Lord :

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The Scarecrow Folk:

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Sugarplum Fairy :

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Snowman :

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Deadite :

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The Doctor :

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Sasquatch :

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Reptilius :

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Mummy :

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The Reanimated :

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The Huron :

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Unicorn :

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Doomsday is coming. What are you going to wear?

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