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Unexplained Confidential: Halloween Edition

Welcome to a place where your dreams and nightmares cross over to the other side of the unexplained. I don’t have any UFO sightings to talk about today but that doesn’t mean they are not up above. I just wanted to talk on the subject of Halloween this edition.

Rob Zombie has been strongly criticized for reimaging John Carpenter’s Halloween and making Michael Myers more human. More criticism is upon Zombie’s shoulders ever since the announcement that he’s remaking Halloween 2. Zombie originally said that he would not be making a sequel to his version of Halloween but of course has since changed his mind. I think a lot of horror fans are too critical. I’m a huge horror fan and I consider Carpenter’s Halloween the greatest horror movie of all time.

Now, that being said, I think Rob Zombie did an outstanding job relaunching this franchise. Let’s face it, the last few sequels attempted were less than impressive. My favorite horror icon, Michael Myers, was in the midst of an ugly downward spiral. It was Zombie’s fresh take on the character that made this remake appealing. I guess it’s love it or hate it for most. I’m going into this experience as a Rob Zombie fan, as I enjoyed House of 1,000 Corpses and Devil’s Rejects. While I admit, I would have done a few things differently. I’m not so much a fan of his use of slow motion scenes but overall I really liked those movies.

Halloween was no different. I thought he did an exceptional job and I think Halloween 2 is going to be just as awesome. Yes, Michael Myers has a different childhood background than in the original but who wants to watch the same exact movie anyway. We already saw Carpenter’s image of Michael Myers and it’s timeless.

Rob Zombie’s version is more gritty and real. Michael comes from a low income white trash background and it works. I think it was the first half of the movie showing young Michael Myers that made that movie. Zombie shows that he’s just a kid who got messed up by this bad environment. He’s human and not just “the boogieman”.

It’s the emotional journey of Michael Myers from childhood to adulthood that makes Zombie’s remake so compelling. You care for his character and you understand his struggle. He’s the bad guy but he’s more the victim. I think all the fans who string up Zombie because of his very human portrayal of Michael Myers forget that in John Carpenter’s Halloween, Myers is simply a babysitter murderer. It’s not until all those sequels, do you see Michael Myers get his indestructible shell. In the original 1970’s classic, Michael Myers appears very human and vulnerable. You see him getting stabbed with a coat hanger and being haulted. Hell, you even see him driving a car in that movie. It’s not until the very end when Michael gets shot and falls out of the window, is he introduced as “the boogieman”.

We can then take a long hard look at the sequels and how Myers gets burned up and shot up and still is no worse for wear. I’m really anticipating Halloween 2 and the continuation of this Michael Myers storyline – the human story vs. the supernatural aspects of his character. My only gripe is, I don’t understand why Halloween the movies are not released in October. I think a late September or early October release would be perfect to bring Halloween right up to the holiday of Halloween.

I’m not a fan of remakes in general. It only shows how uninspired and not creative Hollywood has become. If it can be remade, it will be remade. It’s the way of the beast. Halloween 2 is more of a sequel from Zombie’s Halloween and not a remake of the original Halloween 2 that took place for the most part in a hospital. I wish we didn’t see all these classic movies being redone. I mean, I think the remake of The Fog had tons of potential but someone completely dropped the ball. Amityville Horror was another remake that fell flat. Dawn of the Dead got it right and so did Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

If you are going to remake something, don’t just re-do the same movie. There’s really no point to it. We have no choice about remakes. They are happening and happening in mass numbers. The horror genre is affected the most. If it’s something that is going to happen, I want to a least see the director make it their own. I think Rob Zombie did that. You can pay homage to the original film and still do your own thing. The basic storyline of brother and sister is still in tack.

The famous mask is still the famous the face. You even have the connection to Halloween 4 and Halloween 5 with the addition of Danielle Harris. I love the fact that she wasn’t killed off and is a returning character in Zombie’s version too.

Danielle Harris has definitely been taken to the level of Scream Queen. I really want to see her excel in the horror industry. Zombie doesn’t only pay homage to the original Halloween and it’s sequels but embraces the horror industry in general. You have so many stars from past horror classic spread out in Halloween. It’s exactly something any horror fan would do if they were able to make there own horror movie. Everyone from Courtney Gains ( Children of the Corn ) to Bill Moseley ( Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 ) are in smallest bit parts but it’s great to those familiar faces instead of some unknowns playing those parts.

I heard rumors about Rob Zombie reimaging Halloween 3 “ Season of the Witch “ but I think at this point it’s just smoke. It would be cool. If there is one horror movie that I would love to see get remade, it’s Season of the Witch. I think the movie got lost in the Halloween name. It has a storyline with tons of unrealized potential. In this instance, I’m fine with a remake or a reimaging.

It’s when Hollywood remakes great movies and classic movies is when I have a major problem. I think the movies we should be remaking are movies that didn’t hit there mark the first go around for whatever reason. Let’s see movies get remade that had good ideas going in but just never paid off in the end. Season of the Witch is one of those movies. I’d like to see it get remade without the label of Halloween being tied to the title. I’m not saying I want to see Rob Zombie get stucked into endless Halloween sequels. Sequels are OK for awhile but nothing ever good comes from too many sequels. If you don’t believe me just ask Jason Voorhees.

Friday the 13th started out as hot horror property but when you make so many sequels that you are lowered to making movies named “Jason Takes Manhatten” and “ Jason in Space”, you have serious issues. Look at the SAW franchise. The first film was brilliant and cutting edge, but now it almost seems pointless. They are running Jigsaw into the dirt. Michael Myers was heading in the same direction before it got remade.

When you start casting Busta Rhymes and L.L. Cool J., it’s time. Friday the 13th was just remade and Derek Mears now owns Jason. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to say the same thing about the upcoming Nightmare on Elm Street remake and the new Freddy Krueger. Time will tell. The new Freddy is going to have a much different problem, maybe a more difficult problem, being accepted by the public. Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees are silent monsters. Freddy Kreuger’s character is based on personality. There only one Robert Englund, so this one of going to be a tough sell.

Now, as I circle back around to Michael Myers, I ask myself what made John Carpenter’s story of Halloween so beloved and so celebrated among horror fanatics? I was just a kid, much like Rob Zombie, when Halloween first came out. That is the best possible time to see a horror movie or as my aunt used to say, “a spooker”. I remember watching Halloween when I was young and it was scary! That word is key. Why bother making horror films unless you want to scare someone or scare everyone. It’s essential. Remember the scene where little Tommy Doyle is hinding behind the curtain and he turns and looks out the window. You have the far away shot of Michael Myers carrying a dead body around to the other side of the house. You’re seeing this as a child and/or from a child’s perspective. This scene gave me the chills.

You may not agree, but I think that scene is one of the scariest scene’s from Halloween. That is the kind of thing that nightmares are made out of. Another scene that stands out for me is closer to the beginning of the film when Laurie is walking home from school. I remember walking home from school alone and how intimidating that can be. Carpenter really taps into some great fear factors here. She thinks she see’s someone (Myers) and then she doesn’t anymore. The hint that he could be behind the large hedges is enough to get your heart pumping. It doesn’t stop there because just when you think she made it home safely and there is nothing else to worry about, she looks out the window and the figure of Michael Myers is there in the blowing laundry that is hanging outside on the closeline. Then he’s gone. This is classic horror 101 that we’ve all learned from. It proven scary and it works. Those scenes can never be successfully duplicate. It’s the magic that is John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Moondog Takes A Vacation :
A few weeks back, I vacationed for 2 weeks with the family to California and Mexico. Although Wally World was closed for the day, Clark W and the Griswold’s did wind up at Universal Studios in Hollywood. We hit the Studios Tour first, which was phenomenal, with some of the highlights being the Bates Motel, and of course, Jaws. We then hit the rides, with both the Jurassic Park and Mummy rides being let downs.

And then settled into some of the shows, Waterworld being tons better than the movie ever was. And then we hit Creature from the Black Lagoon: the Musical. Let me type that one more time, Creature from the Black Lagoon: the Musical. Yes you read that title correctly. Now, let me just say that Creature from the Black Lagoon is my all time favorite Universal monster movie of all time. Any time I catch it on AMC late at night I am like a kid in a candy store, totally into the movie from start to finish, as if it is the first time I am seeing it all over again. But the Creature in a musical? Intrigue was my calling card as I led the families (we were vacationing with another family) into the Creature pavilion. And for the next 25 minutes I witnessed what could best be described as a train wreck. Bad is not a kind enough word to express how this show was.

My friend was never so angry. He was booing from the moment they broke into the first song. And because of him carrying on I was actually able to enjoy myself because of how bad this show truly was! I decided from the get go I was going to treat this show like an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. And I was better off for it. Words can not describe how abysmal this musical was. First, the captain was recast from a dirty old bum into an obese voo doo woman who sang about the wonders of the Lagoon. And in this version the girl actually falls in love with the Creature, who reveals his name to be…..and the hours spent coming up with this gem is priceless….Gill. So Gill and the chick start making out on stage. Yes the chick had the hots for the human fish stick.

And at this moment people started to bail and walk out on the show, all the while my best friend (well he was, maybe not after this show) was blaming me for wanting to see this atrocity. He was booing so loud and I had tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard. Not because the show was funny. No sir. But because of how bad the show was and how my (hopefully still) friend was reacting all I could do was bust a rib and laugh at the nonsense of it all. The finish (which could not come soon enough) has Gill (man those witty writers) get shot but instead of being shot with a bullet, he is accidentally shot with one of the divers ‘male enhancement creams’ – again, yes you read that correctly – and then the curtain close, and reopens, to the vision of an enormous Creature head being rolled out on stage, to which my friend screams – OH JESUS CHRIST – but alas, we could not be saved for the final abomination in which the Creature eats the chick, which I am sure with all the adult (supposed) humor in the show, was supposed to be a metaphor for, ummm, never mind. And then all the actors come back out for their curtain call, and my (used to be) friend is booing so loudly that I have no doubt each and every actor / actress heard him.

From start to finish this show was God awful brutal. But because of my MST3K approach to the show I was able to fashion a sick, twisted, almost demented kind of enjoyment. Of course my best friend’s reaction to this cesspool of nonsense also did the trick for me. But in the end, it was the Creature who the joke was on, because this legendary monster deserves much better than this terrible excuse of a show.
– Moondog Mackey

I was able to catch up with Shawn from the horror band WARFEAR recently for a few questions :

Who are the members of Warfear?

Shawn – vocals
John – guitar
Alexa – bass
Matt – drums

Joyhorror: What kind of music do you play?

Warfear:Hard to say, guess you can call it a mix between punk and grindcore.

Joyhorror: How has horror influenced your band?

Warfear:Horror has become the basis for the majority of our lyrics, making our band a complete evil spawn (in music form) of horror movies. It started with lyrics I (Shawn) wrote about George A. Romero’s Day of The Dead on our first CD entitled “As Chaos Ensues” and snowballed. I felt more anger and passion with lyrics based of the horror genre, for I was more into it than our old lyrics; and the rest of the band agrees and likes the theme we have.

Joyhorror:What music groups have influenced your band?

Warfear: we all have our own influnces, not only for a music style, but for the music we would like to sound like. One band we can all agree on is Slayer.

Joyhorror:What is a Warfear concert like?

Warfear: Holy Shit. We’ve been responsible for quite a bit of blood to spill, literally. For some of our first shows, we all armed ourselves with 2 liter bottles full of red liquid and spilled them and spit them out of our mouths into the crowd as we screamed out lyrics having to do with movies like Dead Alive and Dawn of The Dead. Getting shows haven’t really been the same since then (since venues want nothing to do with us) but where the spray stage blood has been temporarily lost, our live show is on point and the music has caused a never before seen crowd reaction; applause and demands for an encore. A show at a horror convention would be a COMPLETELY different story, you’d get both the stage show and an awesome set full of blastbeats and blood splatter!

Joyhorror: What are some of the songs about on your new CD?

Warfear: Ah, the Containment/Quarantine album. Our newest song on our site and the latest one we have been playing is titled Somewhere In Between.. and it’s based on the 1985 movie Return of The Living Dead, and the two employees who released the first deadly barrel of Trioxin 245. Another song is called No More Steps For Man, and that’s about technology and weaponry, and the ultimate perfect soldier (being a zombie shipped into our enemies land) turning and biting us in the ass and destroying mankind.

Joyhorror:Gimme a couple of cool lyrics from a Warfear song?

Warfear:Here are lyrics to one of our new songs entitled
How The Other Half Lives:

Ripping out the insides
Of your fellow man
Stuffing them in your mouth
Eating as much as you can
Groaning as your canines bite
Through the digestive track
Even if there was a way
You’d never want to go back.

Joyhorror:Where can HorrorNews fans get a Warfear CD?

Warfear: Warfear CDs are availible through contact of our website, and that’s about it. I’m (Shawn) always at horror conventions across the east coast, usually wearing black stretch jeans with a horror based tattoo sleeve. You could also pick up a CD from us at a show and save on shipping.

Joyhorror: What does a typical Warfear groupie look like?

Warfear: Hmm, studs, piercings, patches, and they’re usually in the pit. Stay Dead.

Joyhorror: What’s on the horizon for Warfear?

Warfear: We are hoping to play in front of bigger crowds, perhaps playing a horror convention, and giving a real good show to horror fans. Also, we are interested in making a comic book for Warfear, just gotta find an artist. Our next release is going to be a 6 song EP based on the zombie video game Left 4 Dead. should be recording that around winter time (possibly the day Left 4 Dead 2 comes out) and having it out before March of next year.
Thanks again for taking the time to ask me those questions. Take care and Stay Dead.

Fan Mail : Patrick Leslie

Recently read your article in which you mentioned the King Kong? Godzilla movie marathons that were a Thanksgiving staple for me growing up, sponsored by PlayWorld, where their prices are so low, low, low, low, lowwwww. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane!

I believe it was WNEW NY (channel 5) that used to broadcast some of the best B movies on Saturdays, and I think they called that Feature “Drive-In Movies.” I remember watching Robot Monster on there with my brother and for days walking around quoting the great line, “You live like human, you die like human.”

Joyhorror Replies :
Man, I live for nostalgia. It’s so cool that everyone has all these different memories of watching horror and being influenced. I use to quote Planet of the Apes all the time. Actually, I still do. I can’t count how many times I’ve said “Damn Dirty Apes”. But it’s wasn’t just the original … I think a lot of quotable lines came from Battle for the Planet of the Apes. I remember dropping to the ground outside in the back yards and my friends ( or maybe my make believe friends ) then yelling “ Fight Like Apes “ and getting up and charging the humans. And let us not forget “Ape shall not kill ape”. Anyway, I’m getting stuck on Planet of the Apes. I just wanted to say that I do appreciate the fan mail and besides my usual paranormal escapades , I’ll at times write about some cool memories or other horror related topics ( um, this column ). Feel free to call me out on stuff or just drop me a line – and that goes for anyone , really. Local channels in the 70’s and 80’s used to rock with all those B movies. I’m going to have to pick up a copy of Robot Monster now.

Paranormal or interview inquiries, please email me at joyhorror@horrornews.net

Later F’N’ Later,

– Director of Unexplained Confidential
– Chief HorrorNews Interviewer

Originally posted 2009.   Happy Halloween!!!

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