Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)

Rating: A (hasn’t been reclassified)

Length: 1Hr 19

Release: 9.12.1954

About: Remnants of a mysterious animal have come to light in a remote jungle, and a group of scientists intends to determine if the find is an anomaly or evidence of an undiscovered beast. To accomplish their goal, the scientists (Antonio Moreno, Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Whit Bissell) must brave the most perilous pieces of land South America has to offer. But the terrain is nothing compared to the danger posed by an otherworldly being that endangers their work and their lives.


The Good

  • How can you not be charmed by this Universal classic? Get past the rather jarring Biblical opening and you’re met with a this incredible set up: a scientific and geological finding that brings together a team. It’s fascinating and almost educational(in a geeky fun way. Like Mr DNA). You feel safe, you’re smiling and maybe you even begin to wonder why this is on a list for Halloween. Plot wise the first half reminds me of Jurassic Park while the second half is King Kong and Jaws.
  • The creature is incredible, on the most part. The person they have in the suit truly brings Gill-Man to life and is able to make moving about in water organic and distinguishable from both David and Mark. I would say in terms of the long shots within the water Gill-Man is as good as modern creature feature man and Starfleet officer, Doug Jones.
  • The musical score provided many of the films cues and impeding ‘scares’. It adds tension and atmosphere to the more chilling parts of the film. It certainly seems to be something that inspired Jaws’ main theme.

The Bad

  • Inconsistency with the character of Mark is a sticking point for me. He’s hell bent on killing, stuffing and mounting the poor creature who’d had his home invaded. Yet within seconds of bludgeoning the bastard, he’s entrusted with taking him to safety. It happens a few too many times, which suggests the characterisations were not the priority. While story is important, I do like a focus on characters.
  • I’m certain it wasn’t the intention, but the one creature hands reaching out for land was repeated a little too often in a short amount of time that it became comical. No… I tell a lie, it was even funny the first time.

The Ugly

  • Now, this is almost unfair. However, I’m finding it hard to put something here that I feel I have to. The creature’s suit was brilliant, almost faultless considering the time and some of the CGI renderings today. However, the only issue I had with it was the eyes. They were so lifeless and fake that they really brought attention to them. Perhaps it might not have been so noticeable had there not been the focus on the movement of the gills which was incredible. Perhaps had they have been painted over with a matt paint they would have worked better.

Final thoughts

A charming film from the vaults that should be spoken about and aired on tv more often. It has clearly inspired a host of modern film makers and I certainly find that fascinating.

Halloween (1978)

Rating: 18

Length: 1Hr 31

Release: 25.1.1979

About: On a cold Halloween night in 1963, six year old Michael Myers brutally murdered his 17-year-old sister, Judith. He was sentenced and locked away for 15 years. But on October 30, 1978, while being transferred for a court date, a 21-year-old Michael Myers steals a car and escapes Smith’s Grove. He returns to his quiet hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, where he looks for his next victims.


The Good

  • The filming is atmospheric: from the voyeuristic Michael Myers’ POV shots to the ones that track Michael, have him placed in shot without showing him fully.
  • The music adds to this with that creepy and chilling score.
  • I love that there’s no running really. It’s all sneak attack, up close and often without them expecting it. Largely that seems to do with the fact that it’s all set around the one day.
  • Donald Pleasance having his own storyline away from the survivor is a refreshing change. Having no one believe him is terrifying.

The Bad

  • Laurie is a little bit dumb. Not once, but twice she discards the knife right next to Michael Myers’ body. Okay, first time I’ll let you off. But you know the bastard is good at playing dead, why the fuck would you hand back the knife?!?!

The Ugly

  • What sort of basketball player worthy cameraman did they use for that opening sequence in which Michael, a six year old Michael at that, is given a camera POV shot? Way too tall and it really pulled me out of the scene.

Halloween (2018)

Rating 18

Length 1Hr 46

Release 19.10.2018

About It’s been 40 years since Laurie Strode survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. Locked up in an institution, Myers manages to escape when his bus transfer goes horribly wrong. Laurie now faces a terrifying showdown when the masked madman returns to Haddonfield, Ill. — but this time, she’s ready for him.


The Good

  • This is a clever continuation of the 1978 film. It nods to the things that made the original the classic that it is, while reworking some tired tropes for not only a modern day audience, but for a Horror fan wishing to see something different.
  • Woohoo! An 18 that doesn’t require the women to die with their breasts out. The theme of chastity being a saving grace has been removed, instead giving us a much more complex and rewarding theme of survivor complex and generational family dynamics.
  • It’s a proper decent script and a great cast. There are two awesome lines within the film and they are supported by two brilliant actors delivering them. There’s a ‘oh Shit’ that feels like one of the most authentic responses I’ve ever seen in a horror movie and there’s a ‘gotcha’ that rings with power that I ended up shouting at the tv.
  • The music and title credits are … well, they’re beautiful. The film opens with the traditional score and a new approach to the visuals. It closes with a modern remix.

The Bad

  • The showdown at the house feels flawed. While it may be seen differently on a repeated viewing, it will spark irritation in some viewers who have been charmed by its smart choices for everything that comes before.

The Ugly

  • While it cuts down, or rather out, the nudity it does not hold back the gore. As a filmic genre Hollywood has moved away from the implied and all but splatters the audience with blood. While it was not something that turns my stomach, I will always find the misdirection of the famous Psycho shower scene much more effective.

Final Thoughts

Fuck me, this is the best of the franchise. However, it won’t truly work in isolation. To really appreciate it as a story, and as a film, you do need to watch the original and, as much as I hate to admit this, watching the 2007 version will also help.

Halloween (2007)

Rating: 18

Length: 1Hr 49

Release: 28.9.2007

About: Nearly two decades after being committed to a mental institution for killing his stepfather and older sister, Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) breaks out, intent on returning to the town of Haddonfield, Ill. He arrives in his hometown on Halloween with the indomitable purpose of hunting down his younger sister, Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton). The only thing standing between Michael and a Halloween night of bloody carnage is psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell).


The Good

  • Certainly the first half has a great attempt at… being its own film. The filming style and story contains a nod to the original, but it’s definitely meant for a different audience.
  • I guess good on ‘em for not being a Hollywood shithouse and providing the cinema goers with a rated 18 movie. I’d say well done for not being a pussy, but as the rating was probably given for that gratuitous full body shot…. yeah…
  • There’s a solid cast and having Malcolm McDowell as Loomis was a good call. While I can’t say he brings all of his menace and authority from De Large days, he doesn’t bring the ham either.

The Bad

  • While I definitely commend the attempt to add a background to Michael Myers and his violent tendencies, it actually detracts from the horror. Going down the psychological exploration for his pathological behaviour makes sense; he had a shit life and exposed to violence from a young age, of course it manifests. However, one of the scariest parts of the original is that there’s no explanation. We always fear the unknown, so explaining it removes the fear.
  • Laurie is no longer the protagonist. She doesn’t appear until halfway. Spending so much time with Michael stops you from engaging with Laurie and her friends. I care very little for her survival. There’s very few changes at this point other than as babysitter’s, both Laurie and Annie suck.
  • Having Laurie be Michael’s sister was something the original franchise attempted, and failed to bring to fruition so I’m unsure why they would expect it to work here. The biggest sticking point being I don’t get how the bastard knows Laurie is his sister?! If you are going to do it, do it well.

The Ugly

  • The running, the screaming, the deaths. It was all just noise. Loud, obnoxious and game play noise. The two kids being looked after are so annoying and whiney, the viewer will be rooting for Myers and hoping he kills them. Slowly. With a rusty spoon.
  • That multiple, fake-out ending is just overkill. I felt as if nothing short of a nuke was going to stop him and I need some realism to my serial killers.
  • There’s an absolutely unnecessary and violent rape scene which I really could have done without as it verged on the torture porn gore that has become rampant in modern day horror.

Final Thoughts

It’s a film for the over stimulated generation and I checked out way before Laurie Strode made her stage left debut. Myer’s gets a back story no one asked for and runs the risk of the audience connecting with him.

Halloween Advent Reviews: Fun Size (2012)

Rating: 12a

Length: 1Hr 23

Release: 29.10.2012

About: Wren (Victoria Justice) is a high-school senior who can’t wait to get away from her dysfunctional family. On Halloween, Wren’s mother decides to go out with her much-younger boyfriend, leaving Wren to look after little brother Albert. When Wren is distracted by an invitation to the party of the year, Albert disappears into a sea of trick-or-treaters. Enlisting the aid of her sassy friend, April (Jane Levy), and two other classmates, Wren sets out on a frantic search for her sibling.


The Good

  • Johnny Knoxville does what Johnny Knoxville does best and it works well in this film even if he does seemingly come out of nowhere. He provides some laughs and gives the film a semblance of a plot for the second half.
  • There’s a wonderful scene between the brother and sister towards the end of the film that I actually wish the film had played on a little more. It provides the film with a nice nod to problems kids their age may face.
  • The little kid, Albert, is a wonderful little shit. Being a selective mute is an interesting choice and while it’s not a fully form plot point, it gives him that ‘baby on the run’ persona seen in Baby’s Day Out. His costume is ace and I love the situations he finds himself in.

The Bad

  • It’s not very festive. Which is strange, because every scene is plastered with pumpkins. It lacks a certain tone that seems to be present in a movie about autumn’s favourite holiday.
  • Thomas Middleditch is his Sillicon Valley ‘Richard’ self in this. So much so his character and story is nauseating. That gut feeling of wanting to reach into the film and punch the fuck out of him feels like a regular thing when I see him on screen, but it doesn’t half distract from the film. I’ll leave that to you to decide if it’s a good or bad thing.

The Ugly

  • Can you really call yourself a ‘family fun’ movie when you have more than four pedophile jokes? Imagine if they made another Paddington movie that employs Jimmy Saville jokes and has a Gary Glitter soundtrack and you’ve got this movie. The pedophile jokes range from the tongue in cheek to the out right wrong “hey, what I’m doing is 100% legal” says the Spider-man clad grandpa trick or treating with the kids.
  • Seriously, the film doesn’t really know who it’s audience is. It could have quite easily been a American Pie or Superbad, but instead it’s Ferris Buller by way of Adventures in Babysitting and Baby’s Day Out with weird sex references.
  • The mature humour clashes with the ‘family’ nature the film claims to be going for. From middle aged widow stopping her daughter from going to a party to bone her 26 year old boyfriend, to Wren’s best friend almost killing a cat because she ‘Naired her ass’ and the fumes put the kitty into a coma. Not to mention an oversized robot chicken that humps the back of the car. It’s all just a little much.

Final Thoughts (trick or treat?)

It says it all that Nickelodeon made the film to go on to ban it from being aired on their own channel. The biggest issue is that in terms of it being a film watched in the build up to Halloween, it does not do its job.

It’s a nasty trick and not something I’ll rush to rewatch.