Watched Journal: October 2022

I rewatched the two late 80's Halloween sequels, 'Halloween 4: The Revenge of Michael Myers' and 'Halloween 5: The Return of Michael Myers', for the first time since seeing them on VHS. 

Shout Factory's 4K UHD presentation of both is pristine, with excellent sound and picture quality. These are finely crafted films that could never live up to the first three films produced by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. But they are arguably just as good as the David Gordon Green Blumhouse films, with an original story about Michael Myers hunting down the late Laurie Strode's daughter with Dr. Sam Loomis on the case. 

I didn't get around to watching Green's latest, 'Halloween Ends' (does it though?), as it sits on my streaming cue. From what I've heard, 'Ends' attempts something different with the franchise, polarizing the diehard fans. This reminds me of the much maligned 'Halloween III: Season of the Witch', the second Halloween sequel and only film to not feature The Shape (aside from a very meta clip of the original film being shown on TV in one scene). After directing the original classic, Carpenter stepped into a writing and producing role for the first two sequels; films that he didn't want to make - but the money was too good to pass up. 

After a direct sequel with 'Halloween II' in 1981, Carpenter and Hill did a 180 with the third installment; a sci-fi horror noir set in California about a cultish toy company, Silver Shamrock, producing Halloween masks designed to kill people on October 31st. Released in 1982, 'Season of the Witch' appreciates with each viewing and as with H4 and H5, Shout Factory's 4K UHD presentation is top notch, further elevating the film. 'Season of the Witch', with its Shamrock android assassins, predates 'The Terminator' in making the boogeyman a robot. It would introduce the Samhain narrative explored in 'The Thorn Trilogy', especially in 'Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers'. 

John Carpenter expanded on Season of the Witch's subversive themes in 'They Live', where instead of a mask, it's a pair of sunglasses that hold special powers, unveiling the alien overlords. While the Blumhouse trilogy is superior to Rob Zombie's two entries, it's ret-conned timeline is lazy, with JLC's return a novelty wearing thin in 'Halloween Kills', a bloody gore fest that is laughingly bad. With Laurie Strode seeming to having as many lives as Michael Myers, a nursing home set prequel seems inevitable.

If you visited a theater recently, you likely saw trailers for two new horror films, 'Smile' and 'Barbarian', that gave you goosebumps. Currently streaming on HBO, 'Barbarian' fuses a modern plot (an Airbnb turns deadly) with minimalist '70's low-budget horror. Set in the blight of Brightmoor, a neighborhood in Detroit, 'Barbarian' uses the spooky abandoned homes, overgrown trees and vacant lots to create nail-biting tension. Staying at the only inhabitable home on the block, Tess (Georgina Campbell) doesn't know what she signed up for -- and I'll leave it at that. 'Barbarian' is the type of horror film where it's best to go in blind.

What I watched in October:

10-1: Hocus Pocus 2 [Disney+]

10-2: The Fan (1981) [Criterion]

10-4: Nothing But Trouble [HBO]

10-6: The Believers [Tubi]

10-10: Dracula (1931)  [Criterion]

10-11: Wolfen [Criterion]

10–14: The Keep [Criterion], Frankenstein [Criterion]

10-16: Killing Diana [Tubi]

10-17: Hollywood Man [Tubi], Wrong is Right [Tubi], Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers [Shout Factory 4K UHD], Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers [Shout Factory 4K UHD]

10-18: Don’t Worry Darling [Midtown Art]

10-19: Bigger Than Life [Criterion blu-ray]

10-21: Alligator [Shout Factory 4K UHD]

10-22: Halloween III: Season of the Witch [Shout Factory 4K UHD]

10-24: Saturday Night at the Baths [Altered Innocence blu-ray]

10-26: Barbarian (2022) [HBO], The Fog (1980) [Shout Factory 4K UHD], The Mean Season [Tubi]

10-28: The Art of Self Defense [Hulu]

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