MOVIE BUFF-ET: Halloween (2018) turns the table on Michael, horror fans

Universal Pictures

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is a raw and flawed masterpiece that spawned some odious sequels over the last 40 years and scores of imitators.

It’s a seminal film that still holds up today, and it’s hard to imagine that the slasher film would have developed into its own sub-genre without it.

Director David Gordon Green along with his co-writers Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley pay homage to Carpenter and the original film with this sequel that pretends none of the other sequels happened and that mad killer Michael Myers’ lone surviving victim of his 1978 rampage, Laurie Strode, played once again by Jamie Lee Curtis, has been preparing for his return all these years to exact her pound of flesh for the trauma Myers has caused her. Laurie is no longer the hunted, but the hunter.

New In Local Theaters

  • Halloween (2018) (R) 1 hr. 46 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Rogers Towne, Malco Springdale, Malco Pinnacle Hills, Bentonville Skylight)
    » Watch trailer
  • The Hate You Give (PG-13) 2 hr. 14 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Pinnacle Hills)
    » Watch trailer
  • The Sisters Brothers (R) 2 hr. 1 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback)
    » Watch trailer
  • The Old Man & the Gun (PG-13) 1 hr. 33 min.
    (Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle Hills)
    » Watch trailer

Curtis’ Strode is treated as a crazy woman by the denizens of Haddonfield, Ill., including her estranged daughter Karen (Judy Greer), whom Laurie trained to defend herself before Karen was taken from the alcoholic Laurie’s custody. Now, Karen has a teen daughter Allyson (Andi Manichak) who dismisses her grandmother’s warnings as the ravings of a loon, but will soon find out her grandmother might be crazy but she’s certainly not wrong.

All the while circumstances are falling into place for Michael’s return to Haddonfield for another killing spree and showdown with Laurie when a British podcaster and his partner basically taunt the killer with his own mask. Telling much more would spoil the fun.

The film’s themes of post-traumatic stress syndrome disorder (PTSD) and the disbelief and dismissal some female victims of crimes face gives the film some depth that even the original lacked without taking away from the conventions that make slasher films popular to many horror fans.

The film has fun with the genre and boasts humorous bits that I enjoyed, but that no doubt some will find bothersome for breaking the tension.

A new character Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer) is introduced as Michael’s psychiatrist, who took over his care from Dr. Loomis from the original film.

The movie features a twist in the third act that will work for some, but could take away from the film’s effectiveness for others.

I’m not a fan of slasher films in general, but for what it is, I did enjoy this movie. It was particularly good to see Curtis play the Laurie Strode character once again and to get an answer to what would happen to the surviving victim of one of these killers.

Green stylishly shot the film that becomes more gory and brutal as the movie goes along. The film is slicker than the original, but not quite as powerful because of it.

(R) 1 hr. 46 min.
Grade: B

Classic Corner

200 Years of Frankenstein

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

The word “classic” is thrown around rather loosely. I’ll admit I’m as guilty as anyone at slapping the “classic” label on a piece of entertainment a bit too conveniently.

So, how does a concept actually earn the term “classic?”

It not only has to stand the test of time, but also must remain relevant and influential. The concept of Frankenstein, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, certainly fits the description.

The novel sprang from the mind of 18-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley when she and others were challenged to plot ghost stories by Lord Byron as a parlor game while summering in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1816 with her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, Byron’s lover Clair Claremont, and friend John Polidori.

While the Frankenstein’s monster has been played for laughs since the the late 1940s with the debut of the hilarious movie “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein,” which airs at 7 p.m. (CT) Saturday on MeTV, Shelley’s cautionary tale of stretching the bounds of science into questionable moral territory is as relevant today and perhaps even more so than when the novel was first published in 1818.

Though the novel is a difficult read, most everyone is familiar with the basic story of how Dr. Frankenstein attempted to play God by creating new life by stitching together body parts of the dead and re-animating them.

Perhaps the best movie featuring Frankenstein and his murderous creature “The Bride of Frankenstein” by Universal Studios from 1935 airs at 4:43 p.m. (CT) Sunday on Encore Classic. It features Boris Karloff’s second and still masterful performance as the Frankenstein’s monster.

Turner Classic Movies celebrates the world’s most famous mad scientist and his creature on Monday with the debut of a new documentary “The Strange Life of Dr. Frankenstein” that looks at how the character has been portrayed over the years on film beginning with Thomas Edison’s first adaptation in 1910 through modern versions such as 2015’s “Victor Frankenstein,” which can be viewed as a prequel to the classic 1931 Universal Studios version which also starred Karloff.

Along with the documentary, TCM will screen four frightful films featuring the doctor and his creation, including 1939 “Son of Frankenstein,” featuring Karloff’s third and final film as the creature at 8 p.m.

Hammer Productions’ “The Curse of Frankenstein” (1957), “Frankenstein Created Woman” (1967), and “Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed” (1969) air at 11 p.m., 12:30 a.m., 2:15 a.m. (CT) respectively. Hammer’s films are all in color, and while they lack the pathos of the best Universal efforts, they are scarier and more lurid.

Twilight 10th Anniversary

(PG-13) 2 hr. 25 min.

The film “Twilight” celebrates its 10th anniversary this week, and the Malco Razorback Cinema Grill will hold two special showings of the movie that captured the imagination of a generation of young girls by converting vampires from creepy un-dead beings to be feared into sparkly, mopey misunderstood dream boats to be adored.

While the “Twilight” movies didn’t really feature the type of vampires and werewolves that I find entertaining, there’s room for many versions of the monsters on the silver screen. “Twilight” screens at 2 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Tuesday.

If you like “Twilight,” but crave something a bit stronger, you might check out director Richard Donner’s “Lost Boys.” The 1987 film taps a similar vein, and no doubt had some influence on “Twilight” author Stephanie Meyer when she was developing the concept for her vampire series.

Night of the Living Dead 50th Anniversary

(PG-13) 1 hr. 50 min.

The Malco Razorback Cinema and Grill continues its pre-Halloween salute to horror films with two showings of director George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” at 7 and 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Zombies aren’t really my jam, but “Night of the Living Dead,” which recently turned 50 years old, is a true classic of the genre made on a shoestring budget. The film known for its gore and mayhem re-set film-goers expectations for horror movies in the late 1960s.

While the zombie craze of recent years is beginning to wane, if you are a horror fan and have never seen this seminal film on the big screen, these two showings are a great opportunity to rectify that situation.