Halloween Advent 2019 Rankings

Order of liking

    Jaws
    The Thing
    The Terminator
    American Werewolf in London
    Jurassic Park
    Cat’s Eye
    The Craft
    The Frighteners
    The Fly 1958
    Hocus Pocus
    Ghostbuster
    The Lost Boys
    Halloween 2018
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010
    Scream
    Poltergeist (2015)
    Paranorman
    The Creature From the Black Lagoon
    Halloween 1978
    Predator
    The Fly 1986
    The Curse of Frankenstein
    The Horror of Dracula
    Alien
    Monster Squad
    Poltergeist 3
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984
    Halloween 2007
    Poltergeist (1982)
    Howling 3
    Dawn of the Dead
    Poltergeist 2
    The Boy
    It (1990)
    Fun Size
    Silence of the Lambs

Order of fear factor

  1. Poltergeist 2
  2. The Fly 1986
  3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010
  4. The Thing
  5. The Terminator
  6. Halloween 2007
  7. Jaws
  8. Halloween 2018
  9. Halloween 1978
  10. American Werewolf in London
  11. Alien
  12. Cat’s Eye
  13. The Craft
  14. The Frighteners
  15. Predator
  16. The Curse of Frankenstein
  17. The Horror of Dracula
  18. The Creature From the Black Lagoon
  19. A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984
  20. Poltergeist 3
  21. Scream
  22. Ghostbusters
  23. The Lost Boys
  24. IT (1990)
  25. Silence of the Lambs
  26. Paranorman
  27. The Fly 1958
  28. Hocus Pocus
  29. Poltergeist (1982)
  30. Poltergeist (2015)
  31. The Boy
  32. Monster Squad
  33. Howling 3
  34. Dawn of the Dead
  35. Fun Size
  36. Jurassic Park

The Lost Boys (1987)

Rating 15

Length 1Hr 37

Release 31.7.1987 (US release)

About Teenage brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) move with their mother (Dianne Wiest) to a small town in northern California. While the younger Sam meets a pair of kindred spirits in geeky comic-book nerds Edward (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander), the angst-ridden Michael soon falls for Star (Jami Gertz) — who turns out to be in thrall to David (Kiefer Sutherland), leader of a local gang of vampires. Sam and his new friends must save Michael and Star from the undead.


Treat

  • Ed Herrmann is always a joy to see in anything he did. Because of his performance, and his previous roles, I am surprised every time by the reveal. Especially when you play him against Sutherland, who is always good at playing the alpha. This time, because I didn’t remember the dinner sequence, I was convinced it was going to end up being the grandpa as the head vamp.
  • The music to this film is like the 80s equivalent of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. Cry Little Sister, People are Strange and Good Times are iconic to this film.
  • There’s some excellent flying POV shots at the beginning of the film which keep the mystery of who the vampires are. At least that’s I think that was the purpose. It’s hard to tell going into it already knowing the plot.
  • I love the fact that we are presented with a brotherly relationship that is quite harmonious. At least at the start. It allows that change in character for Michael to have more of an impact.
  • The comedy is pitched perfectly to balance out the darkness within the plot. It could have quite easily be taken too far and camp up the film, but as it stands, it enables the film to be more Goonies after puberty hits than a bloated emo fest.

Trick

  • What the hell was with Corey Feldman’s ‘I am Batman’ voice. It really was stupid and quite possibly made this one of very few roles of his I absolutely hated.
  • Why the hell does Corey Haim have a poster of Rob Lowe in his bedroom? I mean if it was something I believed the character would do, fine. But I so didn’t believe it.
  • How many times did the name ‘Michael’ have to be said? Jesus, that bugged the fuck out of me.

Final Thoughts

Yet another film that scared me as a kid but I love now. The only let down is Feldman’s performance.

Cat’s Eye (1985)

Rating 15

Length 1Hr 34

Release 8.11.1985

About Stephen King tales follow a cat into a smokers clinic, onto a penthouse ledge and into a girl’s (Drew Barrymore) bedroom.


Treat

  • This is like an awesome, film version, of the Treehouse of Horror offerings from the Simpsons. Three short tales, with a connection theme running through. In this case it’s an awesome cat that had me hooked. General is like the Groot of this movie.
  • The first tale is fucked up and I took a rather sick delight in it. An update is needed for the vaping age in which its the smoker who is electrocuted. Although, I did think that if my child looked like Deirdre Barlow, using her as leverage wouldn’t do much good.
  • The middle tale is visually brilliant and the concept is something that’s been used recently in the horror movie Truth or Dare. It’s the shortest of the three and is the only one I’m not sure could ever be adapted into its own full movie.
  • The final story is the most frightening and the one that involves General the most. I was petrified throughout most of it. The music and the visuals of the creepy troll that escaped from Labyrinth will most likely keep me awake tonight. It’s amazing how much is fitted into that thirty-odd minute segment.

Trick

  • This is a personal thing that probably would go into the ‘treat’ for others, but fuck Stephen King. Fuck him up his stupid ass. All the self referential bullshit is so up his own arse and exactly why Stephen Spielberg took out all the references to himself in Ready Player One. I’ll admit its possibly because I’ll not well watched or read when it comes to King, but I know enough for it to grate.

Final Thoughts

It’s a fantastic film with two very strong narratives, excellent performances throughout and loved the fake out ending that almost saw General be the breath taker.

I have a sneaking suspicion I’ve seen this film before, for the sole reason that the window and troll are more how I remembered Labyrinth to be back before my rewatch in 1997-ish. Prior to that, I thought Labyrinth was a horror movie.

Poltergeist (2015)

Rating 15

Length 1Hr 34

Release 22.5.2015

About All seems well for Eric Bowen (Sam Rockwell), wife Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) and their three children as they move into their new house in the suburbs of Illinois. Soon, youngest daughter Maddy (Kennedi Clements) begins talking to an imaginary friend, or so the family thinks. It’s not long before sinister spirits wreak havoc in the home, holding Maddy captive and forcing the parents to consult a team of parapsychologists who engage the supernatural entities in a battle for the girl’s freedom.


Treat

  • This is a streamlined plot with a well cast family who you will root for off the bat. The film makes it feel as if its learn from the franchise’s missteps to craft a more coherent story. This starts by you seeing them move in rather than having them well established and making a connection to the paranormal investigators earlier in the film.
  • As reboots go, this is a solid attempt at keeping the good while making it the director’s own. They keep the tree, the moving of items and the false resolution, but the best is the young girl’s delivery of the iconic ‘they’re coming’ / ‘they’re here’. It wasn’t a mimic, but actually a much more subdued vibe.
  • Sam Rockwell holds his own in this film. Not only does he have the leading man persona, but he lifts up some of the children’s performances. Rockwell brings comedy and emotion to his role. His ‘you‘ve got to be brave’ speech being cut short by his freak out over an invading squirrel is tricking genius, but it’s his tears at explaining that his daughter is missing that really makes the character well rounded.
  • The use of technology in this update is also something that really gives it a legitimacy as a reboot. I love how the eldest girl, first of all is much more present than the original, uses her phone to detect the disturbances. Then there’s the addition of the drone that is used to explore the Other Side. Yes, its been done to death in Stargate with the Rovers to ‘check out the other worlds’, but her it feels new and has a purpose not only in terms of plot, but character as well.
  • I love this score. I listened to it so much after I’d seen this film in the cinema. I also love the song, TV Set by Spoon, that’s used for the closing credits.
  • Jared Harris, what a brilliant guy. Not quite ham, but whatever it is, he’s certainly enjoying himself.

Trick

  • So, while I end up loving the story arc of middle child Griffin, I fucking hate the kid at the start. I feel as if his meekness and fear of everything is a tad over acted. He’s a massive pussy and a total cock blocker. Even his mum gives him shit for acting like a baby. However, once his sister has been booted into the Other Side, he really does become a brilliant, non-pussy character.
  • The CGI, in places and particularly at the end is really ropey. Okay, so you’re not really going to make it look as good as the original when they used actual skeletons, but physical effects often trump what computers do. When you are living up to the effects from an original, I think filmmakers really should reconsider what I feel is the easy option.

Final Thoughts

A brilliant vehicle for Sam Rockwell to demonstrate his acting range. It cleans up the plot from the original and gives the audience some excellent character development.

Poltergeist iii (1988)

Rating 15

Length 1Hr 38

Release 23.9.1988

About Psychically attuned youngster Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) is sent to live in Chicago with her Uncle Bruce (Tom Skerritt) and Aunt Pat (Nancy Allen). But that doesn’t mean that she’s escaped the apparitions that have haunted her in the past. When she starts experiencing terrifying visions, her school psychologist believes that they’re figments of her imagination. But this becomes hard to believe when ghostly foes start inhabiting the mirrors in her relatives’ high-rise apartment.


Treat

  • The music is even more sinister than the other two movies. I found that this score fitted the franchise the best outside the reboot.
  • It has a feel of the novel High-Rise from 1975. Okay, so this has it isolated to the one family and minimal connected people, but the same atmosphere is developed.
  • Again, this film does more to retrospectively explain the franchise. While ordinarily this would be a trick, I like how it brings the whole thing together.
  • The use of mirrors is quite incredible and effective. It helps this edition stand out from the others.
  • While I hate the scene, the meat locker scene is undeniably well made and successfully creeped the crap out of me.

Trick

  • While I love Bruce as a character and how he reacts to the situation, does he really have to have such a similar job to Steven.
  • I don’t know how I feel about the fact that the husband, Bruce, shows more defection to Carole Ann that Pat, who is the girl’s aunt. Also, Pat… you clearly never watched Eastenders because there’s no way you’d be bitching about being called Trish.
  • Again with the rapey “He wants Carole Ann now, before she grows up.”
  • This has some of the worst acting out of the trilogy and unfortunately, Zelda’s Tangina is a little too hammed up to enjoy her presence. Well, its that and the fact that she spends most of the time rubbing the vulva necklace for its ‘power’.
  • While I’m on that necklace that Pat almost looses fifty million fucking times. Have you forgotten that you have a perfect fucking place to put it so you can use both fucking hands to fight off Pastor Kane?!
  • Finally, the plot doesn’t make any sense. You’ve lost your daughter to the Other Side on TWO occasions yet you’re going to pack her off to live with someone else. Even though you’ve been told its your love that protects her?! Fuck off!

Final Thoughts

A very interesting concept, but its execution is way off.

Poltergeist ii: The Other Side (1986)

Rating 15

Length 1Hr 31

Release 19.9.1986

About The Freelings have escaped their haunted house, which is now being studied by paranormal investigators, including shaman Taylor (Will Sampson). When Taylor realizes that the Beast, masquerading as the Rev. Kane (Julian Beck), knows where young Carol Anne Freeling (Heather O’Rourke) now lives, he goes to warn the family that their daughter is in danger again. To protect Carol, her father, Steve (Craig T. Nelson), and the rest of the family must plot to take down the Beast.


First Thoughts

I think this was the film that traumatised me as a kid. I was an odd one growing up, in the sense that I love my shows and films about oldies. Cocoon, Batteries Not Included and Dad’s Army were among my must watches. Along with these, I absolutely adored Golden Girls and it just so happened that an episode was on the same tape as, what I can now confirm was, this film.

I think it was the vomit scene that I managed to land on and I was as petrified then as I was watching this film last night.

Treat

  • The sequel has better pacing and narrative flow. There’s even some retrospective explanations that make the franchise a little more coherent.
  • The film attempts to explore the themes of PTSD and grief. There are some sweet scenes, even if its not fully developed.
  • It’s a scary film. From the ghost man, Pastor Kane and his skeleton face to the tequila sperm Gill-Man that Steven gives mouth-birth to. It’s all god damn fucking hide under your duvet scary. Also, if I’d ever seen the braces scene (well crafted too) I would NEVER have spent my childhood wanting braces.
  • The addition of Taylor is really interesting and it adds some Native American ideas to the situation.

Trick

  • Steven is a fucking dick throughout this movie, to the point where I’m not sure the actor is playing the same character. His “say hello to the magic munchkin” in regards to Tangina is downright disrespectful at the best of times, let alone when you consider the woman saved your child’s life.
  • The film is just so rapey! Not in a “Baby it’s Cold Outside’ snowflake way. In a proper ‘this is fucking rapey’ way. First we have Pastor Kane who wants, and needs, Carole Ann. It’s even said ‘he tasted her life force’. Then there’s the husband-but-not-husband attempted rape before he chucks up the tequila sperm Gill-man. It’s nasty and scary, even if Steven was possessed by the tequila sperm. Oh and to bring it full circle, Kane-as-Steven talks about needing Carole Ann while grinding on Diane. As I said; rapey!!!
  • The throwing up tequila sperm foetus was quite possibly the scariest thing I’ve ever seen on tv. I’m curious about something that was mentioned in Grey’s Anatomy last week about muscle memory in regards to trauma and I wonder if the fear of this scene is more to do with how scared I was of it as a kid?!

Final Thoughts

Am I fuck ever watching this film ever again. It’s well made and much better than its predecessor, but nope, nope, nope, nope. This film can go away. Please.

Poltergeist (1982)

Rating 15

Length 1Hr 49

Release 16.9.1982

About Strange and creepy happenings beset an average California family, the Freelings — Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenaged Dana (Dominique Dunne), eight-year-old Robbie (Oliver Robins), and five-year-old Carol Ann (Heather O’Rourke) — when ghosts commune with them through the television set. Initially friendly and playful, the spirits turn unexpectedly menacing, and, when Carol Ann goes missing, Steve and Diane turn to a parapsychologist and eventually an exorcist for help.


Treat

  • The music is what immediately stands out for me. Jerry Goldsmith provides a rather upbeat score for the movie. It’s surprising how unsettling it is as an audience.
  • I really enjoyed how the dog was used to track through the house and introduce us to everyone.
  • Being centred around the tv in the home and its connection to ‘the other side’, I loved the back and forth between the neighbours over the placement of the tv and their remotes.
  • There are plenty of things that visually work and that is largely to do with the use of practical effects. The pyramid of chairs being done in one shot is incredible.
  • Both Beatrice Straight and Zelda Rubinstein steak the show for me. Straight, I was unsurprised to discover was primarily a stage actress. She gave an incredible speech to Diane. Rubinstein was just a great presence and I only wish she’d arrived sooner.

Trick

  • I found I had a massive disconnect with this film. There was nothing about the family that I liked or engaged with. I didn’t find that they gelled well as a ‘family’.
  • There was a lot of scenes that I didn’t find interesting (the dead bird, the parents talking in bed smoking pot) and there was a really odd mid-scene cut about 30 mins that makes the film feel amateurish.
  • It takes way too long to get to the bulk of the movie so it feels really bloated. It happens again at the end when we get a false resolution. We don’t need all that time spent with them packing.
  • So many illogical plot choices. Why on earth would a kid who is petrified of the tree be seen climbing the fucker all the way to the top at the start of the movie?! Who the fuck bought the creepy assed clown for the lad who clearly is petrified of it.
  • The reveal of the graveyard being what the houses are built on comes a little too late and appears a little forced.

Final Thoughts

It’s a solid story, but the pacing and editing is way off kilter for it to be a repeat viewing affair.