Saturday, October 31, 2015
The "Halloween" franchise may be the only slasher franchise where every sequel got progressively worse with each installment...except for "Halloween III: Season of the Witch".
That's right, I said it.
"Halloween III" is the best sequel in the franchise without a doubt. Yes I know, "but it doesn't have Michael Myers in it, it's horrible", blah blah blah. Well you know what? The fact that it doesn't have Myers in it makes it the best sequel in the franchise by default...once again, that's right, I said it.
See when John Carpenter unleashed the original classic "Halloween", it became a surprise super smash hit. Naturally a sequel was in order, and that's how we got "Halloween II". While Carpenter didn't direct it (though he did film some of the added gore scenes), he was still calling the shots, and intended for this film to be the end of the Michael Myers saga. That's why Michael and Dr. Loomis get blown up to a crisp at the end of the film and Laurie Strode finally gets away. Carpenter had wanted the franchise to be an anthology-style series where each movie would be its own self-contained story, hence why "Halloween III" has no Michael Myers, etc. and instead told its own story instead.
And what a story it is. An evil Halloween-mask making corporation that seeks to rid the world of those that don't appreciate the true roots of the holiday? Kids getting slaughtered by their own masks? Killer robots and shit??? Yeah, "Halloween III" has all of that (and Tom Atkins) and more, as well as probably the most catchy jingle of a song in the history of ever (Silver Shamrock!). Despite all that, the film has been reviled by audiences since its release, and still is today. Mostly because it was called "Halloween III" and had no Michael Myers. Had this film been called anything else, it still wouldn't have been a hit, but it probably would have garnered a lot more love as time went on that it has otherwise.
Now I'm not saying "Halloween III" is a masterpiece or anything, but come the fuck on, it's without a doubt the best sequel in the whole series. Don't believe me? Here's every film in the franchise broken down for you:
"Halloween" - The original John Carpenter classic.
"Halloween II" - The somewhat disappointing sequel to Carpenter's classic that wraps up everything.
"Halloween III: Season of the Witch" - The standalone movie that tells an original story with new characters that everyone hates.
"Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers" - As the title implies, Michael returns to kill his niece. This movie actually made less money than "Halloween III"
"Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers" - Michael still tries to kill his niece. Made even less money than III and IV.
"Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers" - Michael knocks up his niece (yes you read that right), is part of a stupid cult, and features Paul Rudd.
"Halloween H20" - Pretends IV, V, and VI never happened. Brings Laurie back.
"Halloween: Resurrection" - Michael kills Laurie, and gets beat up by Busta Rhymes.
"Rob Zombie's Halloween" - An unbelievably shit remake.
"Rob Zombie's Halloween II" - An unbelievably shitty sequel that at least tried to do some different things with the series as a whole...and failed miserably.
So yeah...after "Halloween III" failed critically and commercially and fans cried out for more Michael Myers, John Carpenter said "no thanks" and sold off his stake of the rights. Myers returned, the series kept going, and kept getting worse and worse. We're actually supposed to get another film sometime soon that is a sequel to the original "Halloween II"...which means everything after that never happened...which is fine because half of that didn't happen as it is right? What?
Go watch "Halloween III". It's not a perfect movie, but it deserves much more adulation than it's ever gotten...and yeah, it's still the best sequel in the franchise.
Saturday, October 24, 2015
30 years ago, Nintendo unleashed the original NES on the American populace...and things were never the same again for any of us. In the wake of the video game crash that came in the years before the release of the NES, no one wanted to touch video games. Did you know that Nintendo actually approached a still-reeling Atari in an effort to partner with so they would have an American distributor, since this was a relatively unfamiliar market for the Japanese giant. Could you imagine how different things would have been in the years to come if Atari and Nintendo would have teamed up?
Anyway, the NES was the first video game console I ever owned. Like I did before with the PS1, I've come up with a list of games here that are on the console that have meant the most to me as a kid, and still mean the most to me to this very day. Only difference is I'm just going to make a straightforward list of the 30 games that mean the most to me, instead of talking about each and every one of them. All I will say is that this is the console that introduced me (and all of us) to Mario, Castlevania, Zelda, Contra, Metal Gear, and more besides. This list is in no particular order in terms of what is the best or anything like that, so don't get all shitty if it's not in the order you prefer it to be.
So, here we go...
1. Super Mario Bros (1 & 3, not 2)
4. Blades of Steel
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game
6. Baseball Stars
7. Legend of Zelda
8. Double Dragon II
10. Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode
11. Ninja Gaiden
14. River City Ransom
15. Bubble Bobble
17. Duck Tales
19. Tiny Toon Adventures
20. RC Pro Am
22. Mighty Final Fight
23. Mega Man 2
24. Life Force
25. Smash TV
26. Bucky O'Hare
27. Kid Icarus
29. Kirby's Adventure
30. Blaster Master
So that's that, anything you guys think I missed? Anything you wanna lynch me over? Well kiss my ass, I'm old.
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Holy fucking hell there's going to be a new "Friday the 13th" game coming out? And you get to play as Jason fucking Voorhees? And you get to hunt down horny camp counselors? And it's loaded with blood, guts, and nudity? And it's officially sanctioned by original film director Sean Cunningham?
This is too good to be true.
Well, the game isn't quite created yet. It's actually on a Kickstarter campaign at the moment that is gaining some steam. The game itself is a multiplayer-style affair, as one player plays as Jason and seven other players take on the roles of his would-be victims as they try to hide from our favorite hockey mask-wearing, machete-wielding mass murderer. Yes, you read all that right.
This has all the recipes to be something awesome.
Then again, this also has all the recipes to be a disaster.
Considering this is a Kickstarter game, who knows if it will ever see the light of day. It just might (I honestly think it will, albeit not as soon as many would hope), but that possibility is there in the forefront given the history of video games trying to get going via Kickstarter. That being said, considering it has the OK from Sean Cunningham, and all the press it has gotten so far, this could be the game that makes us forget about that NES abortion from the late 80s...you know, that game that is probably one of the worst video games ever made?
No I'm not fucking exaggerating, that NES "Friday the 13th" game fucked me in the head so much as a kid that whenever I throw stones or rocks, I automatically make them curve upwards over their intended targets. Don't get that reference? You're lucky and I'm happy for you. You do get that reference? Then we know each other's pain.
Anyway, I truly hope this game sees the light of day, and I hope it's what we all are yearning for it to be. Either way, I can't wait to play it.
Oh shit wait, I said I'd never buy a next-gen console...and it's only going to be on PS4 and XBox One...
Saturday, October 10, 2015
Once upon a time, superhero movies were two things: rare, and rarely good. You'd never know that today though. It feels like there's a new one coming out every month or so. Most of them are pretty high quality too in terms of budget and production, which is a far cry from how shit used to be back in the day. The Marvel movies in particular always seem to have super production values and are wonderfully polished, etc. That's why they make a shitload of cash in theaters after all...because they're pretty, they're from Marvel, and they're the cool thing for now...
...and they have bored the hell out of me lately.
There used to be a time when I ate this shit up like it was fucking opium-flavored cereal, but that time is long gone. Case in point: I watched "Avengers: Age of Ultron" last night and I was bored to tears. I'm not saying it's a bad movie or anything, because it certainly isn't. There's nothing bad about it in all honesty, it's just that I was flat out bored. How could I be bored about all the action and mayhem happening on screen? Well, it's the same problem that most, if not all, of the Marvel movies have: the stakes never seem all that high. Even though the climax of every single Marvel movie is a goddamn massive battle of some sort, it never feels like there's some massive shit happening that's going to have massive ramifications.
Now to explain another point, look at "Man of Steel", and no, I'm not saying DC movies are better than Marvel, so don't get your fanboy panties in a bunch. Anyway, despite its flaws, "Man of Steel" felt like the stakes were extremely high, with half of a city being obliterated and thousands of people meeting their end as two superhumans battled each other. In real life, if such beings existed and duked it out, this is what it would be like (granted if this works for being a Superman story is another entry for another day, but I digress). We feel invested because this is some major world-shattering shit happening that will end up having major ramifications down the road. With the Marvel movies, we all know they're gearing towards Thanos and all that, which is all well and good and I'm excited to see that, because finally it'll be a Marvel movie with some major stakes on the line.
And speaking of Thanos, maybe the reason it never feels like there are major stakes is because we know he is where all the Marvel flicks lead, so nothing else will come close to matching him? Or, maybe it's because every time Marvel looks like they're going to kill off a character (Fury, Coulson), they bring them back in a dumb ass way (they're not really dead). I mean that's not a surprise since that's been Marvel's calling card in comics for decades (anyone who dies isn't really dead), whereas in DC when they off a character, they are deader than shit and actually get resurrected.
Regardless, it all boils down to personal preference I guess. I just wish this shit didn't bore me so much nowadays. There was a time when I loved everything about superheroes and comic books, etc. Maybe I finally grew up in my 30s?
Nah, growing up is for pussies.
As you're reading this, I'm literally sitting in my recliner typing this, eating Count Chocula and watching "Rocco's Modern Life". Fuck the world.
Saturday, October 3, 2015
Hype can be a terrible thing, especially when something in the horror genre receives mainstream praise.
Case in point are two very recent films that seemed to do similar things when they got hyped up by pretty much everyone. "The Babadook" and "It Follows". Both films are supernatural in nature, with "The Babadook" revolving around a mentally fragile mother and her physically draining you son contending with a monster, while "It Follows" finds a young girl haunted by a demonic entity that gets transmitted like an STD. While both films have plenty of subtext and underlying themes, etc.; both of them also received a shitload of acclaim from the mainstream press.
For hardcore horror fans, mainstream recognition and acclaim is usually the kiss of death to the rest of us.
Now amongst many of MY ilk (i.e., people that don't consider "The Ring" the greatest thing ever), we tend to not like either movie, but it seems like "The Babadook" gets a more positive reaction to "It Follows". From my own personal view, I surprisingly enjoyed "It Follows" quite a bit, and I totally fucking hated "The Babadook". In fact, I consider "The Babadook" the most overrated horror film that I can remember of this decade. I can understand why many didn't seem to enjoy "It Follows", but I really enjoyed it.
Anyway, personal tastes aside, when a horror movie gets any type of mainstream press or positivity, it's usually because something about it is designed to appeal to a mainstream audience in the first place. Horror movies can range from being truly scary to just plain sick and shocking for the sake of being sick and shocking. For those of us who have pretty much seen everything the genre has to offer, it usually takes a hell of a fucking lot to impress us. For a mainstream audience that doesn't usually go for this type of thing, it takes a hell of a lot less to impress them.
That is why with horror, and pretty much everything else, when you hear the hype train coming with everyone hopping on it, you should probably ignore it until you see the product for yourself to decide if it's worthwhile or not.
Also whatever you do, don't watch "The Babadook". You'll want to rip your own eyeballs out and shove knives in your ears. If you've had the displeasure of seeing it, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't seen it...don't. Just fucking don't.