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Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. So, since 2011, I have spent the entire month of October every year reviewing a horror movie each day. I've changed formats many times over the years, and in the past few years, I've even been joined by my wife Solee, as well as the occasional guest. We've got text, drawings, video reviews, audio reviews... we got it all! Wanna check out our reviews? Look below, or use the menu to the left to dig deeper!
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Nameless 12:08 PM -- Sun October 30, 2011  

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A girl's body is found after she has been missing for a while. Her parents are sad. They split up, then years later, her mom gets a phone call from the supposedly dead daughter. She begins to investigate what that means. Weird jump cuts ensue.

Scariness Type: There is some nasty torture in this movie. Most of it is just people walking around and talking, but just a few times in the movie, very very horrible torture is performed on people.

Rating: 2/5 Leg Braces.

Good Stuff: This is one of those movies where the heroes are following a trail of clues, solving more and more of a puzzle. So that's interesting.

Bad Stuff: But in the end, you don't really know anything until the last 3 minutes (literally) of the movie, during which everything is revealed and it concludes, and does so in a way I don't really like, including one villain that looks like Jim Carrey doing his Maskiest mugging. It felt kind of like I just wasted two hours if that's how it's gonna turn out. It's sort of like when a movie ends with "it was all a dream!" That's not the case here, but it feels like the same kind of slap in your face, Nelson Ha-Ha, you wasted your time watching this. A lack of arc, perhaps? A lack of redemption? I don't know exactly. It's quite the horror trope to have a movie end in some variation of "failure", and usually that's okay with me, but here it didn't feel right.

To contradict what I said in an earlier review, this also shows the trouble with adapting from a more complex source (a novel). The movie sort of skips along to somewhat random events, just to squeeze in a lot of different stuff and subplots into a movie length. There are characters that just appear and start being a part of the story out of the blue. In the end, all these things tie together (and it's all pretty simple too, which isn't really a plus), but I felt really off-kilter along the way, always wondering why this or that new thing was happening.

One last bad thing: When transitioning between scenes, for no reason at all, it will flash in random shots of things to be creepy. Like there's a girl (presumably the daughter) stuttering back and forth like broken film. Or in one scene, it's less random - a badguy is talking about how they've caught somebody in their web of deception and it keeps cutting to quarter-second-long shots of a spider crawling on a web. Yeah, on the nose again. It doesn't add anything, and it's quite obnoxious.

Classic Rules of Film: If you say your husband has disappeared in Act 1, he's probably going to turn up sometime in Act 3.

My Take: Simply put, not worth watching. I thought it was going somewhere pretty interesting as it went along, and then it failed me at the end. Man, after all that build-up of the movie not being able to play all month, and this is what I end up with?

Artistic Nonsense: Guys, it's not artistic to insert random jump cuts between scenes. It's just stupid.

Our second to last movie is next! The Last Lovecraft: Relic Of Cthulhu is a comedy. Let's hope it's a funny one!

And just to get you in the Halloween mood and all prepped for Halloween night, I'm going to tell you what our Halloween movie is to watch on Halloween, so on Halloween you should put it in and watch Halloween: H2O with me for a Halloween treat, so we can have a Halloween discussion about it! How could I resist that option? I've actually never seen an entire Halloween movie, except for Season of the Witch (Halloween 3?), twice, which was hilarious and didn't include Michael Myers at all. Or any witches. I'm assuming this will be really stupid as well. I'd probably rather have watched an old one, like perhaps the original, but they only had this one and the sequel to it on Netflix. I'm sure I'll miss all the clever references to the old movies, but oh well. Streamers can't be choosers.
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu 01:31 PM -- Mon October 31, 2011  

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A dangerous relic of Cthulhu is uncovered by the Cult of Cthulhu, so the Council of Cthulhu (no relation) has to send their other half of the relic into hiding, by giving it to the last remaining descendant of H.P. Lovecraft, so that the two halves won't be put together. He is of course a slacker guy, and thus, as he is hunted by Deep Ones and Starspawn, hijinks theoretically ensue.

Scariness Type: It's a comedy, with no hints at horror. There is some gore.

Rating: 2/5 Comic Books.

Awarded: Least Painful Broken Arms Ever. You just gonna let those swing around? Maybe a sling at least?

Good Stuff: There are funny bits here and there. It's also sort of interesting how heavily this movie, despite being silly, relies on the actual Lovecraft mythos. There's a cameo by Martin Starr which is really funny and nicely demonstrates how badly the rest of the movie misses the mark. It's like a ray of sunshine that illuminates the garbage heap. Oh, there are also moments early on that feel like an episode of Buffy, especially the monster costumes, so that's pretty good.

Bad Stuff: It's got some really big exposition (including one rather enjoyable animated sequence in which Cthulhu uses a severed triceratops head to stab shoggoths). There's a problem that happens when comedy tries to tell a fairly involved story, or even just make sense, rather than be silly. It drags it down and kills the fun. It can definitely be done, but it takes a very deft hand. Which is not present here. They manage to stay light-hearted all the way through, but that's not the same as entertaining.

Another big problem lies in some combination of the editing and direction. It's something you'll notice in low-budget movies, where they don't cut between things fast enough, or at the right time, making something that's theoretically very exciting actually end up looking awkward. The thing that exemplifies this is when the sea captain throws a spear at Starspawn, and he grabs it and throws it back. If you watch the equivalent scene (with a throwing knife) in Big Trouble in Little China, it's just awesome - whip-zang-whap-POW. In this movie, it's laborious and slow. These actors weren't any less agile than the ones in the other movie, it's all down to the editing and direction. And of course, if they can't keep the action flowing nicely, they're not keeping the comedy popping either. It's all about timing.

Classic Rules of Film: If you show an ancient relic that can cause the world to end in Act 1, you can't just stop the relic before it does that. It has to at least get started on it in Act 3.

My Take: Pretty lame. But it's comedy, so that's even more subjective than it would be otherwise. It may tickle your funnybone just right, but for me, it fell pretty flat. It wasn't totally stupid, and there were jokes I laughed at, but overall, not a winner for me.

Artistic Nonsense: There's something I've seen in other movies (Paul comes to mind immediately, but I know of some others... Chasing Amy is one, I think?), where a character is a struggling writer/artist/filmmaker who is totally unknown, then they go on this wild adventure (or regular old relationship issues, in Chasing Amy), and they make a book/comic/movie about that adventure which makes them famous because of course it's so interesting that everybody is enthralled. There's a fundamental hole in this premise that goes completely ignored: we just watched that movie, and it was not that amazing. It's like the movie's writers are trying to say "The story we just told is so awesome that everybody will be flocking to see it! Look, here's what that will look like!" And it's inherently ridiculous because of course tons of stories are about aliens or Cthulhu or relationships. Just because in the context of the movie, the characters actually lived this incredible adventure (which, yes, would be absolutely mind-blowing if it really happened) doesn't mean that anybody reading about it would believe that or care. They would treat it like all other fiction of that sort. I just watched Last Lovecraft - it was not amazing, and since I never heard of it before searching through the Netflix archives, I can assume it wasn't terribly popular either.

This is it! Our final movie for Halloween is Halloween: H2O! That's the spirit! Join in!
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Halloween H2O 11:17 PM -- Mon October 31, 2011  

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: 20 years after his supposed death, Michael Myers (a mass murderer, if you didn't know) has come back, to hunt down his sister who herself is supposed to be dead, but apparently faked it. Smells like retcon to me. Stabbings ensue.

Scariness Type: So many jump scares that they play organ stings when regular people step in from out of frame. Also a bunch of gore.

Rating: 3/5 Dumbwaiters.

Fun Fact: It turns out that supernatural killer invincibility is actually a genetic trait, as Michael's sister seems to share it.

Good Stuff: Not what I expected to see! This movie is full of real characters, like with motivations and feelings. Really strange and surprising. I was also surprised to see how Michael, except for being utterly indestructible, is really just a regular murderer. It's not only that average people can knock him down with rocks and such, but also in terms of what he is capable of. Instead of being a mindless zombie like Jason, he's out there driving cars, fiddling with door keys, and just generally manipulating his environment like a real live person. So talented.

One other really enjoyable thing was seeing the slasher story kind of played with a bit - the main victim in this movie was completely aware of "the rules". Truly a smart victim, who didn't trust his dead body to be dead. That felt really fun, and it worked both as a wink to slasher movies and in the context of the story - this woman was a traumatized survivor, she knew how it worked.

Bad Stuff: Two contradictory bad things. On the one hand, my wife was yelling at the screen "Just kill somebody already!" after about an hour, and this is a very short movie! It's almost entirely setup, with just a little bit of payoff at the end. But on the other hand, let me reiterate the good thing about the characters being well-written - the fact that they all existed just to be fodder for a silly monster felt like a big letdown. Everybody brings up real issues, all these problems come to a head, and then... everybody runs around and screams for twenty minutes.

And lastly, nothing too interesting about a guy walking around slowly and cutting people up with a kitchen knife. Once again, I defer to Freddy Kruegger and his way of making murder interesting and exciting for everybody involved.

Classic Rules of Film: You know what was fun? Seeing this after recently seeing Behind The Mask. All the classic rules Leslie Vernon discussed were on full display. I loved watching Michael walk slowly after people yet still get ahead of them.

My Take: Surprisingly good really, for what it is. Or rather, in spite of what it is - I don't think this is good at all as a slasher movie. There are very few kills, and most of the movie is just family issues rather than running around trying not to die. But it's an interesting movie and sort of high quality in a strange way. It's not great or anything, it's just a little unexpected. I'm a bit curious what other Halloween movies are like now!

Wow, that's it! A month of movies. I think it came out to 30 movies instead of 31 due to issues, but I enjoyed it all the way. I hope you had a lovely Best Halloween Ever yourself, so good night, and good luck.
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