Horror, Horror, Horror- Halloween Ends & Other Mini-Movie Reviews

SPOILER ALERT- This film is crap AND there are spoilers below.

Michael Myers is back, and he has a tag team partner.

And his new buddy thinks he’s Death Wish’s Paul Kersey.

Yes, you read that right. Michael’s got a teammate.

Adding to the absolute lack of credibility, when Grandma Laurie finally goes one on one with Michael in the blow-off to their 40-plus year feud, she quickly overpowers the monstrous killer.

But of course.

Halloween Ends is brutal, mean-spirited, illogical, unbelievably far-fetched, the narration is overwrought, the characters are underwritten to the point of being cartoonish, and not a word or action rings true. It may be one of the most disappointing movie “events” of all time.

Some of the characters are so obnoxious and stereotypical, including the teen bully sporting the team jacket that you’ve seen in every bad movie EVER made, you almost root for Michael and his fellow tag champ to off them. It kind of defeats the purpose of it all.

A pimple on the ass of the brilliant and frightening classic 1978 original, not a single kill or moment is frightening, surprising, or scary.

The best way to describe it is numbing. Stultifying actually.

It’s all a big money grab, and I’m sure it’ll make a zillion dollars. Don’t waste yours.

Oh, and there’s that hint that evil doesn’t actually die. “It just changes shape.” Yawn. More cash to be made down the road, I guess.

In short, Halloween Ends feel endless. This was nearly two hours of my life I’ll never get back. With the exception of John Carpenter’s score, there’s NOTHING I can recommend in this film.

I only wish Halloween would end.

Smile (2022)-
Smile is a film about a curse and a mysterious “entity” that takes on a grotesque smile. It is well made and acted and a deserved box office success.
Yet an hour and fifty-five minutes of grim and gory suicides, murders, and tormented characters with PTSD is pretty horrifying and sometimes for the wrong reasons.
And despite frequent jump cuts, ultimately, the film is more psychological thriller than scary.
While I’d recommend it, it doesn’t touch Pearl and is more on par quality-wise with the recent release, Barbarian, also featuring a strong female lead in peril.
I respect that Smile avoided the usual pat happy ending and hint at a sequel; it’s a better-than-average horror film heads and tails above the typical slasher fare.
But you won’t leave the film smiling- that’s for sure.

The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)- Any film that opens with a crying werewolf during the credits is alright with me.
Movies need more crying werewolves.
Hammer Horror’s classic take on The Wolfman has a lot going for it, from the great atmosphere to nasty noblemen, drunken commoners doing their best Foster Brooks imitations, miles of cleavage, and then there’s the village Priest who nonchalantly states that little Leon is indeed a werewolf, but some TLC should keep him at bay through those tough teenage lycanthrope years.
And then there’s a full-grown Oliver Reed as the tormented star chewing up the scenery, pardon the pun.
While today’s young horror fans probably wouldn’t appreciate the slow build, the 92-minute package leads to a dramatic, poignant, and inevitable conclusion.
I love Hammer Films, and this is one of their superior entries.

The Survivalist (2017)- Think The Walking Dead minus the zombies but with full frontal nudity. This no-budget lean, taut, well-acted post-Apocalyptic thriller stars Martin McCann, Olwen Fouéré, and the great Mia Goth of X and Pearl fame as a surrogate family trying to survive on a small farm in Ireland. Like The Walking Dead, every intruder is a threat, and the suspense is palpable. While the film is relentlessly grim, it’s nonetheless masterfully done and well worth a watch. Director Stephen Fingleton’s debut work impresses.

Firestarter (2022)- While it has an interesting and complicated Henry Silva-looking heel character in Rainbird portrayed by Michael Greyeyes, the film itself has mostly wooden acting and cheesy CGI, it all feels kind of flat and is ultimately lesser Stephen King. It really didn’t need a remake, as the original was no masterpiece either. I would have liked the lead to light up some of the school bullies, ala Carrie, but they didn’t have the guts to go there with the younger kiddies. At 94 minutes, it’s far from the worst watch I’ve ever had, but it’s just overall lacking. A John Carpenter Halloween-like synth soundtrack is one of the few saving graces. For King completists only.

Barbarian (2022)- Yes, very creepy things are going on in this house. And yes, the film, performances, and scares are all effective and entertaining. But although it’s a far better-than-average horror flick, it pretty much jumps the shark towards the end, where you need a whole lot of suspension of disbelief to keep your interest in it all. In short, I enjoyed it far more than the last Halloween and Candyman films and far, far less than Pearl. But not a bad film at all. Give it a try.

Evan Ginzburg is the Senior Editor for Pro Wrestling Stories (www.prowrestlingstories.com) and a contributing writer since 2017. He’s a published author and was an Associate Producer on the Oscar-nominated movie “The Wrestler” and acclaimed wrestling documentary “350 Days.” In addition, he is a 30-plus-year film, radio, and TV veteran and a voice-over actor on the radio drama Kings of the Ring. He can be reached on Twitter @evan_ginzburg or by e-mail at [email protected].

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