With the release of a new Halloween movie that’s getting everyone reinvested in the franchise, it seems like the right time for me to really dive into something I’ve always been curious about but never found much information on; namely the Halloween Novels! Yes, there were three books written about Michael Meyers that weren’t adaptations of the movies, and what’s probably the most interesting thing about them is that, outside of co-creator Debra Hill, they are the only official Halloween media I can find that was created by a woman. Now I don’t this to come off as diminishing Debra Hill’s SIGNIFICANT contributions to the franchise (not to mention Jamie Lee Curtis as well as Danielle Harris who played Jamie Lloyd) but the director’s chair as well as writing duties outside of the first two films have ALL been held by men, so it feels at least SOMEWHAT significant that between 1997 and 1998 Kelly O’Rourke was tapped to write The Scream Factory, The Old Myers Place, and The Mad House; all three starring the one and only original slasher villain and all three are EXTREMELY hard to find! No seriously, if you want to read these you’re gonna have to drop some serious cash as listings go in the hundreds and none of them are available in any digital format.
Sadly this means that actually READING them is pretty much a no go, but we at can gleam a few details from a few sources out there with the best I’ve managed to find being Lair of Horror which has a really good amount of information about each of the books, so let’s look at them one by one!
Hunter Killer and all the images you see in this review are owned by Summit Entertainment
Directed by Donovan Marsh
Ugh… you know what’s worse than being sick for two weeks? Being sick for two weeks and then getting better JUST IN TIME to see Hunter Killer. I didn’t get to catch Can You Ever Forgive Me while it was at the nearby theater! Oh no, I have to drive out of town to see it now if I’m lucky, but the latest Gerard Butler vehicle? Why that’s just a hop skip and a jump away! I’m sure I’ll be cursing my recent good heath by the time this is over, but I guess you never know until you see the movie itself, do you!? I mean sure it LOOKS like a generic submarine thriller starring America’s Fifth Favorite Action Figure, but… I guess it could be a FUN version of that! Let’s find out!!
As the movie begins we see an American sub is following a Russian sub before getting blown away by a third sub, and so The Pentagon needs to send a second sub of their own to find out what happened. Not just anyone can pull this mission off however! Oh no, they need a PROFESSIONAL hard ass with a heart of gold and a bladder of titanium! They need… JOE GLASS (Gerard Butler)! Joe takes the USS Arkansas along with a crew of very professional character actors to see if they can find the original US sub, and after a rather intense skirmish with a Russian sub (presumably the one that shot down the first American sub), they manage to find our sub… as well as their sub. Yes, it seems that the original Russian sub had been sunk somehow and JOE GLASS needs some answers! While all this is going on, Admieral Donnegan (Gary Oldman), Rear Admiral Fisk (Common), and NSA analyst Norquist (Linda Cardellini) are coordinating an effort to get a squad of US soliders on Russian soil to find out if President Zakarin (Alexander Diachenko) is up to no good! Said team is led by Lieutenant Beaman (Toby Stephens) along with the rookie Martinelli (Zane Holtz) and two other guys who find that things may not be as simple as we initially thought and that Zarkarin might be in danger himself. Will JOE GLASS find the answers he’s looking for on that mysteriously sunk submarine? What can Lieutenant Beaman and his crew do now that they know that something is up and they are the only ones in position to do anything about it? With so much danger under the sea, will this sub sink faster than Gerard Butler’s career!?
In my effort to try and get back into the swing of things before Live Free or NekoCon, I’ve pulled out this post I started on over a year ago and am presenting it here; mostly so that the absurd amount of money I spent on this crap didn’t go entirely to waste. The reason why this one didn’t go up despite me finishing most of it is that I always set these up to be the last one of my convention recaps but I always write them first. When I get back, it’s just easier for me to get the table ready, get the lights, and go through all this stuff right then and there instead of postponing it and hoping I’ll ever be in a better mood to get it done. Also, I do want to point out that one of the manga I bought has a hate symbol on it that I have “tastefully” edited out, so just be aware of that before we go any further. And with that, everything going forward (excluding a brief wrap up at the end) was more or less written a year ago, so enjoy!
We are just a week away from the start of NekoCon 21 which is my fourth NekoCon and will therefore be referred to as Live Free or NekoCon; and if I go next year it will be A Good Day to NekoCon. It’s the one convention I go to every year to recap for the site, except… I didn’t write anything about last year’s con, i.e. NekoCon with a Vengeance. It’s not like I didn’t have any material as I had two notebooks full of details (they’re around here somewhere!) and I even got a few quotes from some of the panelists that go a bit more in depth with the topic that they were discussing! So what happened? Where are these BRILLIANT pieces that should have been written!? Well… nothing really happened. Despite how much effort I expended taking those notes and getting information (I even had an hour long meltdown when I lost the damn notebooks), I just couldn’t bring myself to put it all together and post it to the site. I guess there are a few reasons for that. I had already been there twice and despite the panels being different and a few improvements here and there, it still felt very much the same the third time around. Maybe people want a certain sense of continuity from year to year or maybe me being a socially awkward SOB in a sea of strangers meant I couldn’t truly appreciate what was there, but in the end it felt very much like a trip to a mall or something along those lines that I’ve been to before rather than a yearly celebration with like-minded people. Maybe to a certain extent I’ve just drifted away from “fandom” in general; especially when it comes to anime which is the primary subculture on display there. Aside from nostalgia bait like Dragon Ball Super or Sailor Moon Crystal, nothing has caught my eye or felt like an evolution away from the worst aspects of the genre; i.e. more video game adaptations, more shows with increasingly esoteric naming schemes and comic book levels of confusing continuity, and an adherence to gendered stereotypes that have been set in the hardest stone imaginable. Heck, the last non-nineties anime I fell in love with was Princess Jellyfish and that was eight years ago! I’m sure stuff like One Punch Man and Little Witch Academia are just fine (not Fate though, which is terrible), but I just find that my interests have drifted elsewhere whether it’s western animation (have you seen that Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse show!?) or just movies over twelve episode story arcs. At some point I should probably just stump up the money to go to one of those fancy film festivals, and I’m certainly gonna try looking at other fan conventions in 2019, but for now I’m still committed to NekoCon as well as to my DUTY as it were to cover the convention to the best of my abilities. Will it be better this year? Well it certainly helps that I’m AWARE of my ambivalence now instead of being blindsided by utter apathy once the dang thing is over and I can also now be more proactive in finding ways to report on the convention that will hold my interest all the way through. However, there are other factors specific to this year that are undercutting my efforts to stay optimistic. On a personal level, I’ve had a few setbacks this month as well as a nasty cold that’s persisted for about two weeks now; neither of which are really things are all that serious but have still drained me a fair bit and are leaving me not in the best headspace with just one week left to go. On top of that, the convention itself has made some decisions this year that have left me less than enthused with the programming compared to previous years. One of the things that I look forward to each year (and seems to be a major draw for many others) is THE GAME ROOM where they have consoles set up on side and an assortment of arcade machines on the other. This year however, they’ve announced that the arcade section was going to be replaced by… pachinko and slot machines.
See No Evil and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate Films and WWE Studios
Directed by Gregory Dark
We’re back with another SPOOKY movie that only exists because of Vince McMahon’s absurd little empire, and in this case the connection is much more direct than with DOOM. See, even though DOOM starred Dwayne “We’re still only crediting him as The Rock” Johnson it TECHNICALLY wasn’t a WWE film as that particular offshoot of the brand had barely come into existence at the time having only been second or third tier production house on bigger studio’s films and Big Boy Vince didn’t even have a hand in producing it. DOOM was a Hollywood movie through and through, but the landscape was about to change as the very next year WWE Studios (then known as WWE Films) were set to release their first three feature films under their banner with this being one of them. Seems like a simple enough premise to be sure, stick one of your monster men in a slasher film, and they certainly knew what the hell they were doing when they made The Marine the same year which is one of the most gloriously over the top action films ever made, so will this be an underrated gem in the genre or are we in for the cinematic equivalent of Halloween Havoc 1998; i.e. one long string of mediocrity followed by a jaw dropping botched shit show at the end!? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with a prologue where two cops enter a rundown house presumably on some sort of tip or a report of a disturbance. Needless to say that what they find inside is more than just a mere disturbance as the place has clearly been modeled after the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and they find a woman who is still alive, but has had her eyeballs plucked out. The mother plucker by the way is in the other room and manages to take out one of the cops but can only manage to take an arm off the cop who kind of looks like Aaron Eckhart. Like Chris Hemseworth, our rather inefficient slasher learns that you should REALLY go for the head as the cop manages to pop off a shot at HIS head with his good arm.
Halloween and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by David Gordon Green
It’s finally judgement day for the movie that certainly has a lot of hype behind it, but has left me rather skeptical. I mean look, I love the franchise but the last three movies were two wild as heck romps through the mind of Rob Zombie and a karate match with Busta Rhymes, so even if this isn’t all that great it still has a PRETTY low bar to clear as far as making a faithful return to the original formual. That’s not what we want though, right? That’s not what’s been promised to us! John Carpenter is producing, Jamie Lee Curtis is back, and they even managed to get one of the original Michael Myers actors to return to the role! This isn’t just A Halloween sequel, this is going to be THE Halloween sequel; even more so than the one Carpenter and Debra Hill wrote! The expectations surrounding this movie is absurdly high which means we’re either gonna see something just as great as everyone promised it would be… or we’ll have another Texas Chainsaw 3D situation where it was all hype and zero payoff. Can Jamie Lee Curtis and company give this franchise the proper sendoff it deserves, or were we better off just letting H20 be the final entry in her story and just pretending that Resurrection didn’t exist? Let’s find out!!
Nearly forty years after that fateful Halloween night where Michael Myers (Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney) escaped and murdered five teenagers, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is still dealing with the scars that Michael left and has spent her whole life preparing for his return. She got a place out in the woods to turn into a survivalist fortress, learned how to use all sorts of weapons, and just sat there waiting which she proceeded to do for four decades. Admittedly a good idea if we want to see a badass battle to the death, but not so much when it comes to her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) who spent a good chunk of her childhood with Alternate Sarah Connor and just like John she got her ass hauled off by the state to be left with parents who will help her with her homework instead of teaching her thirty ways to sever a juggler. All that’s in the past though, right? Well Karen is certainly STILL in Haddonfield, but despite living within a short commute of her mother she still refuses to get involved with her, and now her own daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) is in high school… just like Laurie was when Michael Myers came to town! Well that CAN’T just be a coincidence, now can it!? Sure enough, Michael escapes from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium just like he did in the first one and it just so happens to be Halloween night. You’d think that if they were gonna transport him to another sanitarium that they wouldn’t do it on the anniversary of his TWO murder sprees (remember, he killed his sister on Halloween night when he was just a little boy), but I guess that wouldn’t fit in with their schedule and there was no room in the budget for another trip! Now with Michael out in the streets of Haddonfield one more time, Laurie is determined to see him put in the ground once and for all and can finally rid herself of this nightmare that has plagued her for the last forty years! Will Laurie be able to survive one more night against the silent killer in a goofy mask? Was all this preparation worth the effort, or has she already lost more trying to protect everyone than she may lose tonight? How many bad ass one liners do you think she came up with while training for this night?
DOOM and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak
Welcome one and all to this most SPOOKY time of the year! For this Halloween, I’ll be reviewing horror movies as I’ve been known to do on occasion, only this time we’ll be doing something a LITTLE bit different! With my recent fascination in the WWE and wrestling in general, I thought it’d be interesting to check out a few horror movies from some of the company’s most iconic stars, starting with the often maligned DOOM movie from 2005! DOOM was one of the biggest attempts to bring a video game to the big screen but ended up bombing at the box office which kind of put the whole idea of adaptation these properties on hold for a while there; leaving the genre to be dominated by Resident Evil sequels and Uwe Boll until around 2016 when studios started getting confident once again and movies OTHER than Resident Evil could start making money. Is it as bad people say it is, or is this Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson vehicle just a diamond in the rough looking for the right critic to give it the polish it needs? Let’s find out!!
Before the opening credits we get a bit of narration which tells us that humans discovered a portal on Earth that led to Mars, and now that I think about it… isn’t that the plot of John Carter of Mars? Why haven’t they run with that yet!? Maybe that’s the surprise twist in DOOM: Eternal. Now obviously with this being a DOOM movie, nothing can go well once you get your ass to Mars which these unlucky scientists are currently learning as the prologue picks up right as things are going to hell; literally I’m sure. They are RUNNING their asses off to try and get away from some unseen (presumably demonic) threat, and the situation is SO critical that the fastest sprinter locks the sliding doors behind him; leaving the slower ones to die in very gory fashion!
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Ari Sandel
Was anyone asking for this!? Look, we got off pretty easy with the first one, but the prospect of sitting through one of these WITHOUT Jack Black sounds just utterly miserable; especially since they’re still calling this a “sequel” and slapping that number two at the end of it. You’d think that at the VERY least they’d try to distance themselves the tiniest bit from the movie they can’t even properly be a continuation of, but then I guess I’m not a Sony executive looking for something to fill an empty spot in October without spending more than a weekend allowance on it. BUT WHO KNOWS!? Maybe axing your most bankable star and replacing them with… nothing, is SOMEHOW a winning strategy! Yeah… probably not, but let’s find out!!
After the events of the first film but in no way connected to them, some kids in some other city, Sonny and Sam (Jeremy Ray Taylor and Caleel Harris), are middle school students who run a trash collection service hoping to find “good junk” that they can… I don’t know, sell? I mean it’s not the WORST idea I’ve heard of as it’s more direct and a lot cheaper than combing through flea markets, but this also runs the risk of going into a haunted house and finding a demonic book that will awaken an evil dummy that will try to destroy you and the town, BUT WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF THAT HAPPENING!? Well sure enough, they get a mysterious call (the movie NEVER explains who called them by the way) to clean out an abandoned house that JUST SO HAPPENED to be owned by RL Stine many years ago which just so happens to contain his VERY FIRST STORY in a hidden compartment behind the fireplace. They open it up, say some magic words from it, and good ol’ Slappy (Mick Wingert) pops into existence and wants to be a part of the family! I don’t know about you, but an evil puppet with telekinetic powers is a PRETTY good card to have in your back pocket when the bully comes by (Peyton Wich), but I guess they way too Lawful Good to strike a bargain with him and so the two of them along with Sonny’s older sister Sarah (Madison Iseman) dispose of the dummy. Of course they didn’t use FIRE to do it or something as equally lethal for a little wooden boy (I’d have gone with a metal crate full of termites) so NOW he’s gonna have to destroy the whole town and kidnap their mother (Wendi McLendon-Covey) just to teach them a lesson! With Tesla’s Giant MacGuffin, Slappy uses his magic to bring all the Halloween decorations to life (i.e. NOT monsters from the Goosebumps books) and so the trio have to go to Tesla’s Giant MacGuffin to stop him; all the while fighting Styrofoam skeletons, balloon animals, and gummy bears. Can these three youngsters do what the cops and rescue services CAN’T do by stopping a puppet with a bad attitude? What is Slappy TRULY after, and can this all be resolved with a big discussion of each other’s feelings instead of total annihilation? What the heck are we even doing here!? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING!?
Bad Times at the El Royale and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Drew Goddard
Oh hey! I know this guy! Yeah, didn’t he do that movie that everyone else liked but I was pretty nonplussed about? Okay, probably have to be more specific there. This is the guy who made The Cabin in the Woods (no not that guy, the guy who ACTUALLY directed it) which was an interesting idea but for me it suffered from a somewhat oblivious tone and an ending that soured me from ever really enjoying the film again. Well after a few years doing quite a bit of writing, he’s back in the director’s chair with this film that looks to be a mishmash of noir tropes as opposed to horror ones, though he managed to keep Chris Hemsworth around. Will this be the movie that sells me on the brilliance of this director after a somewhat disappointing opening salvo, or is this another guy who I’m just not gonna get and be a sourpuss about while everyone else is enjoying themselves? Let’s find out!!
The El Royale is a hotel on the border between Nevada and California, once a hotbed of celebrity debauchery but now a shell of its former self; handing out cheap rooms to unscrupulous and impoverished characters who aren’t really here for the ambiance. On the fateful day that this movie starts, there JUST SO HAPPENS to be quite a few people there who may or may not have nefarious schemes in mind, including the vacuum salesman Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm), the kindly Father Flynn (Jeff Bridges), the singer Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo), and the mystery woman who signs the guestbook with an obscenity (Dakota Johnson). Now normally they would just go their separate ways and not bother one another no matter what bad stuff they’re into, but what the concierge Miles (Lewis Pullman) isn’t telling them is that this place isn’t simply a rundown hotel; rather it’s a rundown hotel WITH A SPYING ROOM! As each one of them goes about their business, things start to unravel as some discover this place and see what the others are up to which inevitably causes their stories to intertwine in ways that will either lead to fair and equitable compromises or an utter bloodbath; especially with the Mystery Woman having some serious baggage in the form of another mystery woman with her (Cailee Spaeny) and some dude who just might be looking for them (Chris Hemsworth). Will these lovely guests manage to finish what they came here to do with all their limbs still attached? What is each one of them hiding, and how important will it be to the other people there? How the heck did hotel stay open this long!? They’ve got ONE guy running the darn place!!