It’s that time of year again for ghosts and ghouls to roam the streets (which you shouldn’t be doing this year) and for us to get reacquainted with some old friends like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, and Michael Myers! There are no shortage of movies we could be talking about starring these icons of horror, but we’re going to take things in a slightly different direction here and familiarize ourselves with the oft overlooked subgenre of horror comics! All three of these characters have had their share of funny books based off their exploits, so why not find out which one has the best stories to tell and are the most fun to read? And no, we won’t be going into the Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash comics as they are their own separate thing from either franchise’s main books. Next year perhaps!? Well let’s get through this first before we start planning ahead!
In Last Place for Bad Taste – Friday The 13th
Starting this list with the most heartbreaking of them all, my beloved Jason Voorhees has had undoubtedly the WORST comics on this list. Why? Well with this series you basically get two kinds of stories; blatantly fetishistic gore porn and philosophical musings from pompous edge lords. It’s a blatantly cynical misunderstanding of the character and the franchise as the stories seem to think that Jason is supposed to be the protagonist. You may have goes to the movie to SEE Jason Voorhees, but the stars of those movies were Alice Hardy, Tommy Jarvis, Tina Shepard, and so on. For almost every single one of these books there’s hardly a character worth rooting for or a victim who’s death is anything short of gleefully excessive because the writers want you to side with Jason as some sort of agent of chaos here to destroy THE MAN. Corrupt cops, evil corporations, and at its absolute most revolting point gay people, are all lined up for Jason to take his brutal bloody revenge out on to the cheers of the audience; either because you WANT those people to die or because your tickled by the rendering of blood and viscera on the page. The tackiest ones are where they try to justify their wanton bloodlust and by making Jason some sort of avenging spirit of Native American Genocide, like the supped up version of prefacing all MRA bullshit with WHITE women to try and pretend you’re not just an angry at all women, and this is something they try TWICE; once in the 2008 series and again in the Bad Land 2 parter. Out of all of these books, the only three that stand out as anything other than dreck are Jason Goes to Hell, Jason Vs. Leatherface, and Pamela’s Tale. Jason Vs. Leatherface is bad for a lot of the same reasons as the other books are BUT it has enough tongue in cheek humor to dull its more obnoxious moments, and the artwork has a grotesque EC Comics by way of Alfred E Newman look that lightens the mood considerably. Pamela’s Tale, while rather unnecessary as it’s just a prequel that doesn’t do all that much interesting with the characters, at least is driven by something other than gore and titillation as we see how she came to have Jason and how she ended up working at the camp. It’s far too happy to throw out allusions to future aspects of the franchise when it could have done its own thing, but I found it an entertaining enough read and one that didn’t make me repeatedly wince like so many of the other books. Jason Goes to Hell is the definite standout as it’s just a retelling of the ninth movie, but that film is pretty underrated as is and I think the more fantastical elements are better suited for a comic book; not to mention that the script for that movie is FAR superior to the original scripts they wrote for the other comic books as it focuses on characters instead of just watching a lumbering monster be directed at whatever gripes the writer has with the world. Aside from those three there’s not really anything to recommend as even the ones that pull back on the overt gore have garbage themes and characters, so I’d avoid almost every single one of these like the plague.
The Good: Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993); Friday the 13th: Pamela’s Tale (2007)
The Meh: Jason Vs. Leatherface (1995)
The Ugly: Friday the 13th: Bloodbath (2005), Friday the 13th Special (2005); Jason X Special (2005); Jason Vs. Jason X (2006); Friday the 13th: Fearbook (2006); Friday the 13th: How I Spent My Summer Vacation (2007); Friday the 13th (2007); Friday the 13th: Bad Land (2008); Friday the 13th: Abuser and the Abused (2008)
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!
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?
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!?
Halloween is owned by Universal Pictures and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners
Directed by David Gordon Green
So it’s no surprise that we were gonna get another Halloween movie at some point. In fact, last time I heard at least, it was going to be a sequel with Michael in jail on the day of his execution and running wild in the prison which would have been an INTERESTING idea I guess, it was eventually scrapped once Dimension lost the rights to the franchise in 2015. Instead, we’re going back to basics with one last tale of Michael and Laurie resolving their differences with extreme acts of violence, and they even got Jamie Lee Curtis to take up the mantle one last time. So now that we have a trailer, what do I think of it? I guess I LIKE it, but I’m not in love with it. Jamie Lee Curtis is always great, and David Gordon Green is an… interesting choice for director (this is the dude who did the stoner trifecta of Pineapple Express, Your Highness, and The Sitter), and yet it doesn’t seems suspiciously safe for a movie about a guy who commits vicious knife murders.
The images you see in this editorial are the property of their respective owners
Halloween is the season of frights, monsters, cheap movies, and a hedonistic approach to eating candy, but while I do enjoy all of that stuff immensely, I’m feeling a bit mellower this time around and am not in the mood to get fully immersed in the seasonal excesses. Maybe it’s the never ending horror show of a year we’ve been having so far, or maybe it’s because I’m already seeing scary movies on a regular basis for review purposes, but the thrill of hunting down the most obscure and blood drenched VHS horror camp isn’t doing it much for me right. Not all is doom and gloom however for those that aren’t feeling the frightful mood as I’ve compiled a list of a few Halloween themed TV specials that you can easily chillax to that will hopefully get you back into the festive mood! Oh, and obviously Treehouse of Horror episodes are great choices for a list like this, but neither the prospect of narrowing them down or filling up the entire list with them seems like a worthwhile endeavor; especially considering how well known they are at this point. Anyway, let’s get started!!
3rd Rock from the Sun – Scaredy Dick (S3 E5)
Dick Solomon, the high commander of a team of aliens in human disguises trying to learn about humanity, is now faced with a new emotion that he’ll have to find a way to deal with; IRRATIONAL FEAR! To keep his job as a university professor he’ll need to take a physical, but for some reason he becomes extremely terrified whenever he goes into the doctor’s office. Not helping matters is that this problem JUST SO HAPPENS to crop up right around Halloween and since he can’t deal with his ACTUAL fears, he starts being afraid of everything around him; including what appears to be a ghost haunting the apartment.
This show is one of the best sitcoms ever made and while SOME of the episodes don’t hold up (the family reunion episode has some VERY off-putting and creepy moments), the ingenious premise that allows the phenomenal cast to explore all the messy facets of humanity feels like the benchmark of what sitcoms SHOULD be striving for. The Halloween episode is another great example of that as Dick Solomon who is played by John Lithgow is acting like a child with how fearful he becomes of everything which is hilarious to watch but also has a degree of poignancy to it with how our internalized fears and shortcomings can bleed into other aspects of our lives. This storyline also has the benefit of focusing on Harry Solomon who is played by French Stewart (another member of the alien crew) and the way that he and John Lithgow complement each other’s vaudevillian comedy chops. I’m not all that thrilled about the subplot with Sally and Tommy played by Kristen Johnston and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the two remaining crew members) where they’re house sitting for a coworker of Dick’s (Dr Mary Albright played by Jane Curtain) which is… FUNNY I guess, but it feels a bit too lightweight when compared to what Dick and Harry are up to at the apartment; especially when we get to the reveal of what’s ACTUALLY been haunting them. Last time I checked the show is no longer on Netflix, but the box sets of these are INCREDIBLY cheap at this point and I’m pretty sure you can find the whole series for a measly twenty bucks, so do yourself a favor and watch ALL of the episodes, but make sure squeeze this in on the big night!