Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Netflix Showcase: Halloween Resurrection

Happy Halloween, everyone! To commemorate the occasion and really get in the spirit, I decided to do something special today. You see, I love the Halloween movies - except for Halloween III, which doesn't really have anything to do with the others and doesn't count. I even love Halloween 5, where the little girl had psychic powers for reasons nobody felt like ever explaining. But there will always be that one movie that just... that just makes me angry. It makes me really, really angry. Everything about it makes me want to scream and start punching things. 

This is Halloween: Resurrection.

Halloween Resurrection came along a few years after it's predecessor, Halloween H20. Aside from sounding embarrassingly stupid, the title was a reference to the big twentieth anniversary of the original film's release. To commemorate, Jamie Lee Curtis, who starred in the first two movies and actually had her first big break in the original, came on board for a plot line which promised to reunite her character, Laurie Strode, with her brother, the evil Michael Myers, for the first time and last time since his original killing spree all those years ago. Some people died, there was a showdown, and Jamie Lee Curtis CUT OFF MICHAEL'S FUCKING HEAD WITH AN AXE.

A lot of people don't care for H20 much. I'm willing to admit, to this day I still have a place in my heart for it. It was great to see Jamie Lee as Laurie Strode again, awesome to see her go after Michael and finally kick his ass, and it was actually a decent way to wrap up the series. Even if you didn't like it, you had to give them credit for at least trying to let the series bow out with some dignity. Then, somebody somewhere went, "Fuck dignity!" And we got this.

The movie wastes no time telling you how much it just doesn't give a fuck. The opening credits start to roll, and at first they try to give you the impression that this is totally just like the original Halloween, completely and for real-reals. There's the orange credits, imposed over a black background, while the familiar, sinister theme music plays. Then about two seconds in, we see who has first billing. 

Remember when it use to say "Donald Pleasence" there?

Oh, fuck me. I know that didn't just happen. 

Nope, yeah. Jamie Lee is now just kind of an added bonus. Busta Rhymes is the real star of the show. Finally, Halloween can stop sucking so much. Still, that doesn't stop her from being the first one with lines in this little picture. The movie starts with this monologue by Laurie, telling us that when we die, we see a door and go to heaven or hell, and how this door is what leads to hell. I guess by that she means the movie (Ba-dum-cha). 

It turns out Laurie is in a mental institution now, and two little exposition fairies dressed like nurses come along to explain why. Actually, I'm curious about that, too. I mean, Michael got BEHEADED in the last movie. I'd love to see what clever way they wrote themselves out of that corner. Because, I mean, getting shot a bunch of times and surviving? That I buy. Getting blown up and surviving? Alright, sure. Shot up with god-only-knows and beaten savagely by Paul Rudd with a lead pipe? Okay, fine. But getting your head chopped off and walking away from it? Don't be silly. 

It turns out, the whole thing was just a clever trick by Michael all along. See, when nobody was watching, he actually knocked out a paramedic, crushed the guy's larynx, and swapped clothes with him. Of course! What a brilliant way to - oh, wait, brilliant? No, the other thing. Fucking absurd. Seriously, guys? Michael uses the same techniques to confuse his enemies as the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion? This is really the direction you want to talk right out the gate? 

It is and they will, for you see, from there Michael simply strolled away from the crime scene. Leisurely, even. He just kind of walked right through the crowd, unnoticed, and sauntered off into the woods, undetected by one of the dozens of cops hanging around close enough for him to hug. Despite the fact that he was also clutching a fucking butcher knife at the time, and most likely looked anything but normal, what with having been set on fire once before. No, yeah. I'm totally sure nobody would ever notice a guy like that. Or, so the movie has decided, anyway. Basically right on front street the writers are shrugging at us and just kind of going, "Meh?"

So now that we've gotten that pesky continuity out of the way, the one nurse explains to the other that Laurie is always just kind of catatonic. Except for at night, when she escapes from her room and goes up to the roof. It's great how security is apparently so lax, when Laurie is believed to have chopped off an innocent man's head. Makes you feel safe sleeping with your door unlocked. The nurses think so, because after giving Laurie her daily dose, they make tracks, giving her the time to spit the pills back up. She looks out her window, where she sees...

Uh, gee, where could Michael possibly be? I guess around here he doesn't really need to be very stealthy. After all, axe crazy Laurie Strode is allowed to take midnight strolls from her room, so I'm sure nobody would either notice or care that a notorious mass-murderer comes to hang out on the front lawn sometimes. 

Meanwhile, a security guard on duty is making his rounds, when he is suddenly startled by a jump scare in the form of a random mental patient wearing a clown mask. I guess all the patients just wander around this place freely. I'm sure it's nothing to be worried about, though. He's probably just something harmless, like a silly old child molester or something. No reason to keep close watch on him. The guard just laughs it off and takes him back to his room. 

Later, the other guard on duty thinks he sees the same patient back out and about again. You would think it's a big deal that these people keep getting out, but it isn't. The super cops go to investigate, but along the way, one of them stops for a snack. Because, you know, security guards - they're all fat and stupid, and totally bumbling right? There's no reason anybody would put a responsible person in charge of night watch for the criminally insane. While fatty stuffs his face, his partner gets killed, and when he goes to investigate, he finds that Michael has gone through the trouble of stuffing the guys head in a washing machine. He fails to notice the decapitated body laying two feet away, gushing blood everywhere, until he literally stumbles over it. Whatever, the Michael kills that guy, too. 

So with that out of the way, Michael goes after Jamie Lee Curtis. It's no wonder she can get out of her room so easily, because Michael walks right through the door like it's made of plywood. Jeez, what a shitty hospital. Now the chase is on, and Michael corners Jamie Lee up on the roof. Or so he thinks anyway, for - ah-ha - Jamie has set a trap for him you see! That's right, Jamie Lee had time to set up a trap. In fact, she sets up one of those rope snares, where you snag the person by the ankle and flip them upside down. So not only did she have time to set a trap, she knew the exact spot Michael's foot would fall in. Now that is crafty. 

Confronting each other once again, Jamie Lee means to finish the job she tried to end last time around. She goes to work chopping at the rope, meaning to let Michael fall to his death, all the way down a three story plunge. Burning him may not have worked, shooting him may not have worked, but oh, this plan is completely flawless. Good thinking, Laurie. But wait! What if Michael pulled the old switcheroo on her again? What if it's just another innocent paramedic acting like a homicidal maniac? Laurie decides there's only one way to find out. She decides to take off his mask just to make sure, and she gets a belly full of stabbed for the trouble. 

Then THIS happens... 

Following which, Laurie utters her final line, a truly memorable piece of writing the likes of which not even Donald Pleasance could have compared to in his finest monologues: "I'll see you in hell."


Now that the memory of the original film has officially been shit on, Michael finds that rascally patient from earlier hanging outside his room yet again. Michael hands over his bloodied knife, meaning to use the poor schmuck as a patsy. I guess even he knows that the writing in this movie isn't good enough for the investigation following this ordeal to be any more in depth than, "Oh, that guy did it!" So with his mission accomplished, Michael takes off into the night and..... goes home. No seriously, he just goes home. 

Forget Laurie Strode, though - now we get to meet our NEW Laurie Strode! Her name is, uh.... I can't really remember. Let's just call her Sara, I think that was it. Yeah, Sara. So, anyway, we meet Sara and her crazy blond best friend, as well as their token black friend. The three of them have been picked to be on some super awesome, Internet reality show, where they will spend Halloween night in the Myers old home, be recorded, and played via a live feed for all to see. I cannot see this plan backfiring in any way, and neither can they.

Elsewhere, this teenager sits a computer with his own wacky friend. It would seem that he has been in contact with Sara, and the two have been kind of, sort of Internet dating. While his friend thinks this is strange, lover boy - he calls himself Deckard for reasons unknown, but I refuse to do that - feels it is in some way romantic. He likens it to knights(?), and claims they would court women for years that they never met. Basically, he dresses it up to sound much more chivalrous and romantic than it really is. This was back before Skype and Facebook, or anything else to help facilitate a relationship between two people who had never met, mind you. So while this kid seems to think he's talking to some super hot college chick, in reality, he's probably sending pictures of his dick to this guy:

Enough of that, though. It's time for the real star of the show, Busta mutha fuckin' Rhymes! Busta, you see, is the director, or producer, or something like that, for the reality show. His personality consists of basically just being a cool black guy, because that shit sells tickets, yo. Along with him, we get to meet the rest of our murder victims who will be on this reality show with Sara and her friends. I would introduce them, but honestly, do you even care? There's one in a leather jacket, some redheaded chick, the kid from American Pie (the one who dated Tara Reid). They all suck, and they will all be murdered equally, so let's move on. 

Oh yeah, Tyra Banks is there, too. I don't know why either. 

Later that night, we see that in his spare time, Busta Rhymes enjoys spending his free time watching kung-fu movies, and imitating them much the same way a child does when they watch a movie. This seems like a minor moment, but trust me, it isn't - so help me Jesus, it isn't. His karate lesson is interrupted, however, when Sara comes to his door. She's nervous or something about the show. I don't fucking know, I tuned the whole exchange out. Busta ignores her with some bullshit about fear being good, and making you feel primal, and the movie pretends it has a theme for a moment, before he shoos her off. 

We then cut to the super best friends from before. Lover Boy explains that Sara really wants him to watch her on the fancy internet show, while his best friend - whom I will henceforth be calling Gary - chastises him for being, as he calls it, "pussy whipped". Yeah, because from the looks of this kid, you know he's totally  a playa, no joke. Kid must be like, waste deep in women, while he drinks sangria in his hot tub filled with money. I'll bet. You know, I really hate Gary. Actually, come to think of it, I really hate them both.

It's the afternoon before the big show, and Busta's little crew of minions are busy setting up for the event. Some random cameraman, who will totally not die I'm sure, is busy setting up cameras inside the Myers' house, while Tyra sits on her ass in the garage, drinking moccachinos and harping at him for taking too long. The cameraman expresses a passion for his job, but Tyra could give a fuck about good or bad work, which I have a feeling is exactly the conversation that went on when this movie was made. She decides it's a better use of her time to randomly start dancing. While she's hard at work with that, Michael decides he wants to help the cameraman set up, and does so by stabbing him - with the end of a tripod. No seriously, he stabs the guy with a fucking tripod leg. Tyra, for her part, doesn't even notice this happen on one of her many monitors, because she's too busy dancing and acting like an asshole. 

The stars of our show arrive at the house later that night - I guess nobody was worried about the missing camera guy - where a whole crew of reporters and photographers are waiting for them. Busta decides to stroke himself for a moment, before releasing the children into the spooky old house to engage in what shenanigans they will. Right off the bat, something is off here, namely that the entire house is still furnished. No, really - not like, a few random bags of crap, or a hobo in the corner. I mean, like a parlor set and everything. The reality show kids don't find this the least bit strange, so neither should we, I guess. Sure, the house has been abandoned for decades, but I'm sure nobody thought to go in there until now. Totally, dude.

Meanwhile, Lover Boy and Gary are at a totally kick ass Halloween party. They even went dressed as a Pulp Fiction theme together, which is so adorable. While Gary seems to be enjoying himself, all Lover Boy can do is bitch and wonder why they are there. Seriously, the kid is at this awesome party, and he just questions why they even went. To rectify this grave mistake, Lover Boy sneaks off to find a computer. I'd like to think it was to watch Sara, but something tells me he's just addicted to filthy internet porn. 

The Real World rejects continue to bomb around the old Myers' house in the meantime. We see that American Pie Kid has a total hard-on for Sara's blond friend, but Blondie is having none of it. She teases that she's gonna flash him for a second there, and even Michael seems excited about it, because he peers around the corner, looking less like the embodiment of pure evil, and more like some creepy pervert that would sooner sit in your bushes and jerk off while he have sex. Oh yeah, Michael is just kind of hanging out in the house, by the way. It's not that big and there are cameras everywhere, but nobody notices. Makes sense. 

So, after he gets burned, American Pie wanders off to go cry somewhere alone, when he is killed by Michael. His death goes unnoticed by the others and is completely inconsequential. The only reason I mention it is because while it's happening, Busta and Tyra, who are too busy congratulating themselves and sipping champagne, don't even see it on the monitor. This, to me, raises the question of why in the hell they even need a whole fucking batcave of screens in front of them, if they aren't ever going to pay attention to a single one.

Alright, whatever. So meanwhile, two of the other Real World rejects - the redhead and the guy in the leather coat - are off exploring the basement. Unlike Blondie, Red certainly wants to fuck Leather Jacket's brains out, and makes no effort to hide it. When they aren't doing that, their dialogue is overflowing with pretentious bullshit written to make them sound smart and deep, but it doesn't. It just makes me want them to die fast and more painfully. However, before we can get to that, the writers realize they need some obligatory T&A to please all of the kids in the audience who came for Busta. So, Red takes her tits out, and the two go to town for a second, before the wall beside them breaks open, spilling onto them a bunch of skeletons. Oh, but wait a second - "Made in Taiwan" it says on one of them? Why would Taiwanese people be buried in the Myers' house? Something is amiss!

Upstairs, Busta sneaks into the house, dressed like Michael Myers. He stalks through the living room, prepared to scare the shit out of the kids, not realizing that the real Michael Myers is actually following right behind him, ready to spring and slit his throat at any moment. Wait, my mistake. Michael isn't going to kill Busta, he's top billing! No, instead, when Busta turns and notices Michael there, he simply thinks it's the camera guy from earlier, also playing a clever little trick. Busta screams at Michael and orders him to go away, and... Michael does just that. Really, he just fucking walks away? WHY? Why would Michael stand there and take that shit, and then just WALK AWAY? Because Busta Rhymes fucking told him to? What sense does that make? 

Wait, this is symbolism, isn't it? No, it totally is. First this movie decided to unceremoniously dump Laurie Strode five minutes in, after making it look like she had always secretly been in love with her evil, psychotic brother, and now, Busta Rhymes is standing there DRESSED like Michael Myers, while telling the REAL Michael Myers to fuck off, which Michael then promptly DOES. I was wrong about this writing, it isn't bad, it's genius! It was written by some evil, spiteful, brilliant bastard, who wanted to well and truly ruin this franchise for good. I'm on to you, you son of a bitch!

Okay, where was I? Sorry, this movie just upsets me. I'll try to control myself long enough to finish this...

Alright, so Red makes an interesting discovery. In a sewer system under the house, she stumbles on what seems to be somebodies living quarters, and no, it doesn't belong to the ninja turtles. See, Michael, I guess, lives under the house when he isn't off celebrating his favorite holiday, or doing anything else that makes him a cool and imposing horror movie villain. In fact, he's got a respectable little pad set up for himself over the years. Oh yeah, there's a nice little mattress and a blankie, where he's posted some newspaper cutouts about his antics, and even a cute little makeshift kitchen area, where we see the decomposing bodies of dead rats he has made an attempt to cook on his... on his hot plate. 

Oh, for the love of - alright, let me explain something, seeing as how the people behind the helm here seem to be so fucking confused. What makes Michael Myers an enduring horror movie icon, is the fact that he is, simply put, pure evil. There is no sense of empathy, no basic human understanding of others suffering, only anger and hate. I think it was described best by Dr. Loomis way back in the first movie, when he said that Michael had "no reason, no conscience, no understanding of even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong". He is terrifying to audiences because he is, for all intents and purposes, just a man, and yet by being so truly and purely evil, he has transcended that status and become more of an unstoppable force of nature. That being the case, why in the fuck would you people think that, by making Michael appear MORE human, he would somehow be would more intimidating? It didn't work when he cried in Halloween 5, did it? Yes, basic logic dictates that I'm sure Michael has to eat and occasionally sleep, but what this movie is telling us, in no minced terms, is that at some point during his day, Michael takes a break from all the mayhem of murder to slave over his fucking hot plate and cook rats, then afterwords likes to snuggle up under his blanket for beddy-bye time. I'm sure he takes a shit sometimes, too - that doesn't mean I need to see a little bucket filled with his excrement to fucking VERIFY IT.


Okay, okay, I'm sorry. Really I am. I promise, that will be the last outburst. Let's - god help me - proceed, shall we? Oh, by the way, Michael finds Red and kills her. Like it matters. I guess he really doesn't like people going in his room. 

Upstairs, Busta continues his Michael Myers charade, only to be attacked by Leather Jacket. Busta makes with the WTF's, as if he assumed dressing up like a fucking psychopath out for blood, in this house of all places, would warrant no such display of self defense. It is at this point Leather drops a bomb on the rest of his fellow MTV castaways: not all reality television is entirely 'reality'. He shows them the fake skeleton arm from earlier, and Busta is like, "fucking duh, bro", but the rest of the kids are upset. When they signed on for a reality TV show set in the home of one of the country's most notorious and feared serial killers, they expected a little class and integrity, damn it. 

Unfortunately, the kids have no more time to argue the semantics of what is and isn't cool to make up for the sake of entertainment, as Michael finally gets off his ass and kills some people. Like, everybody - seriously, he just mows each of them down one by one in the span of about five minutes. I'm glad we spent a whole movie with these obnoxious jerks just for the writer to be like, "oh yeah, people gotta DIE in a horror movie!" Anyway, Michael bumps them all off. BUT DON'T WORRY EVERYONE! YOUR HERO BUSTA IS STILL AROUND TO MAKE HIS WITTY FUCKING QUIPS! Oh, and Sara's there, too.

I'm not going to lie, what's coming next is going to be the hardest moment of the movie for me to talk about. I know I've given this movie a lot of shit, like a ton, but none of it compares to the sheer fucking stupidity of this part. 

Busta Rhymes decides to fight Michael Myers with kung-fu. 

... Let that sink in a little. Busta Rhymes, the rapper, fights Michael Myers, the very definition of evil in these movies, with kung-fu, which he learned from watching god damned old movies in his hotel room. There is no prior indication that Busta actually KNOWS or was, you know, TRAINED in martial arts. He just decides, "Oh, I'll fight the evil mass murderer with kung-fu!" This is the moment when I become certain that the people behind this film well and truly did not give a flying fuck about anything. Thankfully, Busta only manages a kick or two, before Michael sends his ass packing and stabs him in the shoulder. He's totally dead. After all, every stab to the collar bone has been known to be immediately fatal. That's just science. 

Now it's just Sara and Michael. They play a little game of cat and mouse for a bit, while Sara desperately sends texts to Lover Boy pleading for his help, rather than just, you know, getting the fuck out of the house. I know I haven't mentioned Lover Boy and Gary in a while, but that's because all they've been doing is watching the feed with the rest of the people at the party. Seriously, you could take them out of the movie and it would not change anything, nor would it erase the kung-fu scene. 

Sara eventually does make her way to the shed, though. Oh, and do you remember how Tyra Banks is in this movie? Yeah, she's dead. I didn't forget to include that part, we didn't see it. She existed for absolutely no purpose. I have to say though, I'm happy her role was kept minimal. Well done, movie. Anyway, Sara fights off Michael for a moment, wielding a chainsaw in fact, which isn't nearly as cool as it sounds, seeing as it has no teeth on it. Before long, sparks are set off, and a fire erupts around them, engulfing the entire garage. Things seem bleak, folks. Michael has the upper-hand, and Sara can only lay there helplessly. That is, until Busta Rhymes SHOCKS US by revealing he is in fact alive, and spent those few minutes thinking up some new one-liners to perfect his grand entrance. First amongst them: "Trick or treat, mother fucker!" Must I really explain how much that pisses me off? Let's just finish this shit already.

Busta rescues Sara just in time, and just to REALLY give us one final FU, his method of defeating Michael is by shocking him in the fucking balls. Yeah, that's right. That's how Michael goes out this time, people - with what basically amounts to a football in the groin joke. God, fuck this movie so hard. Thankfully it's basically over now. The garage burns down with Michael inside it, and the cops finally decide to arrive. Hours later, the press is swarming the place, and have decided to dub Sara a hero for some reason. I guess because she heroically didn't die? Michael, meanwhile, is taken to the morgue, so that the cause of his death can officially be announced as "severe trauma to the balls". 

SPOILER: Michael isn't dead! But this film series sure as fuck is. It took over two decades, numerous sequels, druid curses, psychic children, and an entry which had nothing to even do with the others, but this movie finally did what no other could: it killed the original Halloween continuity for good. After this, Rob Zombie gave it his spin, and while everyone hated his take, I kind of dug it, if for no other reason than the fact that anything was a step above this shit. 

So that's Halloween Resurrection, and if you've made it this far, then by now I'm sure you've gathered that I don't entirely care for it. I love Halloween, and I'll take any weak entry in the series, but this crap was just... well, it was crap. Shallow, poorly written, poorly executed crap. I mean, at least with the other sequels, you feel like they were TRYING to stay true to the spirit of the series. They may have failed in some cases, but there was effort. This one, meanwhile, feels like nothing but a thinly veiled cash-grab, what with the needless addition of Tyra Banks and Busta Rhymes. Even that would be one thing, but this movie seems to actually take steps to destroy everything the movies before it had established. I guess they called it Resurrection because it was meant to be a fresh start, but ironically, all it did was finally kill Michael Myers. Now all we've got is Rob Zombie, and genius lines such as, "I will crawl over there and skull-fuck the shit out of you!"

Thanks a lot, assholes. 

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