Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Trouble With HALLOWEEN (2018) and HALLOWEEN KILLS (2021)

Note: This article/review/bitch fest/whatever is full of spoilers for HALLOWEEN (2018) and HALLOWEEN KILLS (2021). If you don't want these movies spoiled for you, stop reading now.

Still with me? Okay...

John Carpenter is my Horror Hero(TM). Growing up, I'd say THE THING (1982) and HALLOWEEN (1978) were two of "The Big Four" Horror films that turned me into a lifelong Horror fan (the others being INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978), and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 (1981). I loved HALLOWEEN II (1981) and HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1983). What can I say? I've considered myself a big HALLOWEEN fan from an early age.

I was in High School when HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS came out, and of course I absolutely loved seeing Michael Myers back behind the mask. Other films in the franchise followed, some better than others. I saw them all in theaters. I really thought H20 was it: a perfect swan song for the franchise. Jamie Lee Curtis came back and took care of business. It was all over with a nice bow on it.  It's a shame they couldn't leave well enough alone. They produced a sequel, and let me tell you: the first 10 minutes of RESURRECTION were so bad I wanted to walk out of the theater. (For the record, the rest of the movie was actually pretty okay).

I wasn't a huge fan of the Rob Zombie HALLOWEEN films. I felt like they gave too much back story on Michael Myers. I had no desire to see him as a child, pulling the wings off of flies. I didn't care about his broken home. I didn't like Malcolm McDowell as Loomis. The mystery of Michael being "pure evil" was no longer a mystery. Yes, these films were brutal and Tyler Mane made a menacing bad guy, but I could honestly take these films or leave them. Zero attachment whatsoever.

Then, years later, along comes HALLOWEEN (2018). 

Hollywood stoner goof (or "that EASTBOUND & DOWN guy, if you prefer), Danny McBride, has somehow convinced the studio to hand him the keys to the HALLOWEEN franchise. Frequent McBride collaborator David Gordon Green (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, EASTBOUND & DOWN) is in line to direct. Jamie Lee Curtis, whose star power has cooled substantially since 2000, is set to return as Laurie Strode (even though she's died once, and faked her death once in this series). Carpenter, of course, doesn't give a f***. He's going to get a nice check for "consulting." For obvious reasons, I'm skeptical from the word go. 

HALLOWEEN (2018) is going to be a direct, 40 Years Later sequel to Carpenter's HALLOWEEN (1978). Say what now? Yes, the plan from the word "go" is to ignore all of the other films. Even HALLOWEEN II. That means that Laurie Strode is just a random victim and babysitter, not Michael's estranged sister. That means Michael's endless body count is wiped out, as are most of his superhuman feats of survival and Hulk-like strength. Basically, they're going back to the beginning to try to give the franchise a proper end. Again, I'm not liking this idea, but they didn't really ask me, did they? Let's see how this goes.

HALLOWEEN (2018) opens, as promised, as a direct sequel to the OG. Michael Myers has been locked up in a sanitarium for 40 years. Two British podcasters (what?) show up at the Smith's Grove sanitarium looking for Michael. They want to do a story about "whatever happened to that guy?" After all, at this point, he killed his sister some 55 years before. I guess no one but podcasters would really care after 55 years (or 40 years for that matter).

Somehow these two dopes have managed to get their hands on Michael's original mask. How? On eBay? Should that not be locked up as evidence somewhere? Is it a copy? I doubt they still manufacture them 40 years later. This is absurd. Plus, how did they talk their way in here and arrange to see Michael? And not get searched beforehand? They just meet up with Michael, standing around chained to the ground, and show him his old mask. Okay, sure. Whatever.

Later we find out that Loomis is dead and Michael's new doctor isn't exactly tightly wrapped. That explains some of it, but regardless, this whole beginning is just off to an epically D-U-M-B start.

So what has Laurie Strode been up to all these years? Apparently she...hasn't left the area at all. Hasn't moved to a new town. Hasn't changed her name. She just hung out and built her home into a survivalist compound (some serious Sidney Prescott vibes here). Had a kid. Did her part as the town recluse. She was attacked 40 years ago and is still extremely traumatized and apparently she has let that "lifetime ago" attack govern every decision in her entire life. 

But why? 

HALLOWEEN II (1981) and all the sequels don't exist, so Laurie and Michael aren't related. Why does she feel compelled to stay around and keep an eye on Michael? I could see feeling responsible if he was her brother, but he isn't. He's just a loon. And he was locked up before the Internet, so how would he ever be able to find her if she moved away? And why would he even want to find her? Because she's no longer his sister, that makes the 1978 attack random. He was out killing. She got in the way. If he got out, what possible motive would he even have to try to find Laurie again? 

Sure, he might make a beeline for Haddonfield again like he did in '78 because that's where he grew up and that's where he killed his sister, but you know what? If you don't want to get killed by the killer who attacked you in Haddonfield, JUST MOVE AWAY from f***ing Haddonfield!  But nope...she's in it to win it. Even her own kid is telling her to move on. That just serves to drive home how f***ing stupid this whole thing is.

Now that we've met Laurie again, let's get down to business. Michael escapes from the Sanitarium and the film heads off into fan film territory. The escape scene is a mashup of the original HALLOWEEN and PART 4 and the ensuing hunt down and killing of the podcasters steals the bathroom scene from Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN (2007). None of the sequels exist, yet let's just start lifting things from them wholesale while pretending this is a direct sequel. Podcasters dead? Check. Michael has his mask back now. Good thing the rubber hasn't disintegrated in 40 years. Myers does kill a little kid here, which is not something I expected to see. Points for shock value and "originality," I guess? Bold.

The movie meanders now and introduces a bunch of teens and kids and random townsfolk that we really don't give a flying f*** about. But hey, Michael is home and we need to up the body count. Let's get this baby rolling. What year is this, by the way? This whole section of the film looks right out of the 70s, from the home decor, to the lighting, to the fashion. I get they're going for nostalgia, but it just feels sloppy. Oh, and it's a shame they ruined the "open up the door and Michael is in the closet" scare because that would have been a real pants-shitter of a scene if the trailer reveal didn't ruin it. 


Here's where we find out that Laurie Strode, who's given up her entire life and dedicated it to protecting the world from Michael Myers, has...never met the Doctor who took over for Dr. Loomis after he died. What? want to stick around "just in case" Michael breaks out, but you don't want to actually get in touch with the person who's treating him and who is the absolute best person to tell you about it if escape were to actually happen? Ridiculous.

Remember when I said that Loomis's doctor wasn't tightly wrapped? At this point in the film, we find out that the doctor is the one who allowed Myers to escape. He wanted to study Michael out in the wild, apparently, so he let him out. We find this out after Police Officer Hawkins runs Michael over with his SUV and Sartain stabs Hawkins and tries to drive off with Laurie's granddaughter and an injured Michael in tow. Confused? Me too. It's pretty shark jumpy.

Remember that Myers is a 70'ish-year-old man here. HIT HEAD ON BY AN SUV! But he's apparently been training, saying his prayers, and eating his vitamins, brother, because not only does he survive getting run over by the aforementioned SUV, he Hulks out in said SUV and manages to crush Sartain in the front seat by ripping up and pushing the steel-reinforced seats and cage into him in the most superhuman way possible. How is this? Superhuman Michael was primarily a staple of the sequels. In the OG HALLOWEEN, Michael lifted the one guy a few inches off the floor when he stabbed him and somehow managed to move Judith's tombstone into a house. Impressive, but explainable.

This isn't supposed to be the guy who breaks shotguns in half, presses his thumb throgh a guy's skull, and goes Terminator on an entire Police station or any of a hundred other ridiculous things we saw as the sequels unfolded. Nor is this Rob Zombie's Myers who was purposely made Superhumanly massive and strong. Nope. This is a direct sequel to the 1978 film, remember. There's a frustrating lack of consistency and we're caught again doing fan-filmy, fanboy things that pretend the sequels' canon exists, even when it doesn't.

Laurie is going full T2 Sarah Connor now. She's at her compound. She's loading up her weapons. She's ready to rock when Michael finally makes his way to her. Michael keeps busy here, killing a bunch more random people and cops, giving this film a pretty damned respectable body count. Sure, they're all random people that we don't really care about, but it keeps it from being boring, anyway.

Myers arrives at Laurie's fortress and a cat and mouse game ensues. There's some good tension here and some great nods to the original film. This is probably the best part of the film because it features Survivalist Laurie (channeling Nancy from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET) using her traps and guile to beat the boogeyman. What is SUPER farfetched, though, is that Laurie winds up GRAPPLING with Michael here. The same Michael who 15 minutes earlier ripped a solid steel wall out of a Police Car and crushed his old doctor with it. But sure. I guess Laurie's been lifting, too? Whatever. We've jumped the shark like 5 more times at this point.

When all is said and done, Laurie traps Michael Myers in a safe room in the basement of her fortress and sets the place on fire. The nightmare is finally over. Michael Myers is dead. Or is he? The post-credits breathing (and the fact that sequels were already announced) says "No." They couldn't just let it burn.

Along comes HALLOWEEN KILLS. The movie opens with a flashback to 1978 that's really well done. It has a great look and feel, and you get a few surprise appearances, but the most important thing is you get to find out the back story of Officer Hawkins and how he was on site when Myers was originally captured after the events of 1978's HALLOWEEN. You get insight into Hawkins' history and you establish some great motive for Hawkins wanting to hunt down and kill Myers himself, 40 years later.

So where's Michael?

The house still burning and Michael comes out of the safe room and escapes the blaze and makes short work of the firefighters here. People started a petition to remove this scene because they didn't think firefighters should die. They should have removed the scene because it was junk. Instead of being directed like a horror scene, you have what is essentially Michael Myers killing a bunch of dudes like a Wal-Mart Great Value John Wick. It's just...well, awful. These firefighters, by the way, turned a full-force fire hose on 70-year-old Michael. Did it slow him down? Knock him down? Break ribs? Nope. He just shrugs it off and keeps killing. Escaping from the fire is one thing, but this whole scene is just ridiculous.

Laurie's off to the hospital. She's hurt pretty bad. Gotta check in on her and fam here before we move back to what's going on in town. Okay? Okay. 

Enter Tommy Doyle who, like Laurie, apparently has spent his entire life obsessing about Michael Myers. Why? Yeah, Michael technically stalked him at the same time he was stalking Laurie back in 1978, but Michael didn't kill anyone he really knew or was related to. Not even his babysitter (Laurie). He was just a little kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet here he is, 40 years later, saying they commemorate the night of the attacks every year. This isn't Paul Rudd, by the way. This is Anthony Michael Hall, the quintessential "townie" who you get the idea is probably Anti-Vax and probably voted for Trump. And what's with his baseball bat? This all feels like yet another fanboy nod: this time to Stephen King's SILVER BULLET.

This is yet another problem with making a direct sequel to HALLOWEEN. Michael Myers at this point killed his own sister in 1963. Then he killed a random truck driver in a different town. Then he killed 3 teenagers and tried to kill Laurie. But that's it. He gets locked away for 40 years and THE GREATEST EVIL THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN has basically killed 4 people that the Haddonfield townsfolk would know or care about.

So what is it with these people? Why commemorate 1978? I could understand if all the sequels were canon, but this point, Myers is just a loon who went to the sanitarium for 40 y ears. No one really knows he's is on the loose or that he's killed a shit ton of people earlier this same evening. All of this obsession and pomp and circumstance is not from an endless chain of murders throughout all the sequels, it's from Michael Myers killing 4 people 40 years ago (pretty tamely, I might add) and then getting arrested (in another really well done flashback in this film).

How big is this town? There are always like 30 cops around, so it can't be a town of 100 people. This has to be a pretty sizeable town, right? City even? Look at the size of this hospital! This vengeance and hate all feels like something that would happen if 4 people were killed in a town of , say, 100 people. MAYBE. This is maddening.

Michael Myers is on the loose. He's killing people left and right. Random people. An old couple. He kills a bunch of kids wearing masks from HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (which would have been a badass surprise, again, had they not shown it in the trailer). This is now a PURE SLASHER of the highest order, which I guess is just fine. It's mostly what people want to see. The kills are violent and creative and should be applauded. They got a few golf claps from me. Seriously. This might be the highlight of the film: the brutality and creativity of these random kills (none of which the townsfolk really know about yet).


Laurie's in the hospital. Hawkins is in the hospital. Hey, they have history together. They had a relationship once. Is Hawkins a baby daddy? It sounds like it. Okay. Finally. Some more insight into how this story is supposed to all come together. Maybe. At some point. I mean Laurie was and is the focus of this franchise, right? And she's been in this movie for all of 5 minutes at this point? I checked my watch. I guess Tommy's the hero? Or the town? Not really sure.

Further confusing things: there's another inmate who also escaped from Smith's Grove Sanitarium on the loose. He acts as a red herring throughout much of the movie. He is run down by the chanting horde in the hospital chanting "Evil Dies Tonight" and jumps to his death. "How do we know this isn't Myers? We've never seen him with his mask off?" I'm serious. They went there.

So Michael Myers is out and about, killing, and killing, and killing. This is called HALLOWEEN KILLS after all. It lives up to its name. So Michael is killing, and he's heading back to his childhood home. It's occupied by a gay couple. They die horribly (great use of Anne Murray's music, btw). There's a showdown looming. People die (brutally and coolly), and Allyson, Laurie's granddaughter is in danger. Karen, Laurie's daughter (Allyson's mother), stabs Michael with a pitchfork (not sure what a pitchfork is doing around) and takes his mask off. She runs away from the house, taunting the killer, inciting Michael to follow.

Here's where shit gets REALLY real.

Michael is unmasked at this point and they're showing his old, gray, bald head and face in HD. This seems like a colossal mistake to me (NEVER take the mask off), but I guess that's what we're talking about anyway: one colossal mistake after another. Maskless Michael follows Karen, trying to get his mask back, and finds himself in an alley surrounded by, like, 100 townspeople with weapons. Tommy Doyle is leading the charge. It's a lynch mob. This whole town, that is super angry about....3 people they didn't know dying 40 years ago...decides they're going to kill this motherf***er with blunt force trauma. Along the way, we get to hear "EVIL DIES TONIGHT" like a half dozen more times leading up to this. We get it. It's terrible. But whatever. 

Michael puts his mask back on and the crowd attacks.

Michael is on the ropes. The townspeople put him down. Karen grabs and bloody knife and stabs him in the back and then leaves to go take care of her daughter. He's getting the f*** kicked out of him. Stabbed. Beaten. Broken. This is really the end, right? Nope. This is called HALLOWEEN KILLS, not HALLOWEEN ENDS.

In the hospital, Laurie is telling Hawkins that brute force can't kill evil (even though that's how she's been trying to kill him for these past two movies and that's how Loomis tried to kill him, with a bullet to the head). This is apparently how they try to explain how Michael is Superhuman? I guess? All the shit I've been complaining about is being explained away with a throwaway voiceover line. Oy. 

This serves as the cue for Michael to start shaking his head and going full Hulk Hogan after taking this epic beating and, you know what? Let's KILL THE WHOLE FUCKING TOWN! Sure. And Tommy? Let's kill that fucker WITH HIS OWN SILVER BULLET BAT!!! I mean, great. If you've lasted long enough to accept all of the bullshit leading up to this, you're probably standing on your couch and cheering at this point. Me? I'm wondering why I paid $9.99 to watch this crap on Peacock premium. 

At least I didn't have to go to a theater and deal with COVID and teens on their cell phones the entire movie. Whee. So after killing the entire town, Michael somehow sneaks back into his own house (even though it's crawling with people and paramedics) and wait in hiding so he can kill Karen. Evil doesn't die tonight. Evil wins. Pretty convincingly. Roll credits.

So yeah, these movies are junk. They don't know what they want to be. They are essentially bad fan fiction that on one hand wants to ignore all the sequels, while on the other hand channeling endless shit from these ignored sequels. It's maddening. They want it both ways, and it's a all a big, hacky cheat.

HALLOWEEN (2018) is watchable, if ridiculous, and then HALLOWEEN KILLS (2021) just meanders unnecessarily while having basically no Laurie and no plot advancement. It does, however, have brutal kills that go to 11. So at least it's not a total loss. If you're curious, in my opinion, these are not the worst films in the franchise. PART 6 and RESURRECTION are worse. PART 5 is not great, either.

When this trilogy or whatever it is all wraps up in HALLOWEEN ENDS, I imagine what we'll have in retrospect is enough material to have made either one long movie, or possibly a movie and a single  sequel. The fact that this is a trilogy is ridiculous. Normally, when it comes to trilogies, I enjoy the middle film the most (EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, THE TWO TOWERS), but HALLOWEEN KILLS is just....well...meh. 

Let's hope that HALLOWEEN ENDS is not only better, but that it's the ACTUAL FUCKING END. I'm not sure how much more I can take. That said, KILLS made $50 million on its opening weekend despite streaming on Peacock and opening during a pandemic. I bet ENDS will only be the beginning.

Hopefully the beginning of something better for the franchise and for the fans.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Yes, I'm Still Alive, and Still Writing About Horror...

Hello all. Damn, did I really not touch this Blog in all of 2019 and half of 2020? I guess so. I should really try to fix that.

Just a quick note to tell you that yes, I'm still alive, and yes I'm still writing for PopHorror. I actually passed the 1000 article mark, recently. Holy shit. That's a lot of horror coverage!

A few of my more recent efforts you might be interested in...

We recently reached 20,000 followers on Twitter (@PopHorrorNews). I'm particularly proud of that. When I took over Tweeting for the site 3 years ago I think we were at maybe 1000 followers. 20,000 is a great milestone! Looking forward to the next 20,000... Give us a follow, will ya?

Until next time... 

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Last Friday the 13th Until September, 2019

I'm excited and bummed at the same time. It's Friday the 13th -- my favorite unofficial holiday. That's the good news. The bad news? We're not going to see another one until September, 2019. That sucks! Oh, well. What can you do? I guess we'll just have to make this one count!

This Friday the 13th happens to coincide with my 450th article for PopHorror. As you may or may not know, the Friday the 13th franchise is in limbo because of a legal battle between Victor Miller and Sean S. Cunningham. My article speculates what will happen when the lawsuit ends and the film series can finally move forward.

So, without further adieu, I present Article #450 - 10 Ways To Resurrect The Friday the 13th Film Franchise!


And stay away from Camp Crystal Lake...

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Family Game Night: A Lesson In Convenience vs. Life Experience

My son Connor is 4 1/2 years old. He's discovering that he likes board games and I, like a lot of parents, see the immense value in a family game night. "Operation" is a game I've had my eye on for a while. I remember playing it as a kid and loving it. I don't own a copy myself anymore, but I feel like Connor would enjoy it. I've been meaning to buy a copy of the game forever so we could play it together.

"Operation" is available pretty much everywhere. I visit Wal-Mart (against my better judgement) a few times a month. They sell it. I have Amazon Prime, so in theory I could have a copy shipped to the house in a day or two for $19.99. For whatever reason, I just hadn't gotten around to it.

A few weeks back I went to St. Vincent De Paul's. It is a secondhand store akin to Goodwill. I was there looking for cheap board games for the break room at work. There I spotted a copy of "Operation." It was The Simpsons Special Edition where Homer is the patient. The box was in immaculate shape and it carried a price tag of $2.30. SCORE! I picked it up and bought it without even bothering to open the box (which was rubber banded shut).

I headed home and I cracked open the box. I grabbed the game board and quickly compared its organ list to the baggie full of plastic pieces that came with the game. They were all there! Wow! What are the odds of that? I really scored big on this one! Wait. Something's wrong. I read through the instructions and the game is supposed to come with money, doctor cards, and specialist cards. All missing. Crap!

To eBay! In no time I found a listing for missing "Operation" pieces. For about $3.00 + minimal shipping I scored the missing money and cards. Thanks "Buy It Now!" Okay, what's next? Oh. I should probably find out if the game actually works. Duh. I touched the operating tool to the metal plates and nothing. I opened the battery compartment and...NOOOOO! The batteries had exploded!  Crap!

I removed the bad batteries and put in 3 new ones and tried again. Nothing. Double crap! Why did I go ahead and order the missing money and cards without checking to see if the game actually worked first? Grrr. And why didn't I bother opening the damned box in the first place before I bought it at St. Vincent's to make sure it was complete? Oh, well. I guess I'm only out about $7.00 at this point.

My wife called a friend and she suggested trying baking soda in the battery compartment to neutralize the battery acid. I went to the store and grabbed a box for $1.00 and filled up the compartment to the brim. I decided to let it sit overnight. Now I'm down about $8.00. Could be worse. I think a pack of Cigarettes costs about $8.00 these days. I'm so glad I quit 10 years ago (to the day, actually).

The next day I cleaned out the baking soda from the battery compartment and tried again. Nada. Damn it! What else could I try? To Google! I Googled "Clean AA battery terminals" and an article came up suggesting vinegar. Vinegar I had, so I put some on a Q-tip and swabbed out the terminals and the springs. Then I swabbed them again with water and then let it all dry.

The next day I put the batteries in again and...success! Homer's nose lit up and he talked. It worked! Alright! So now I'm only out $8.00 and a few days worth of experimentation. Could be much worse! As an aside, it's interesting the game runs on 3 AA batteries. The edition I had as a kid took D batteries! That's crazy! Anyway...

Easter weekend. I took the game with us to the family gathering so Connor could play with his cousins. The money and cards arrived safe and sound, so the game was complete. (Or was it?) This would be the perfect time to try it out. "Hey Kenn, did you know there's a piece missing?"  Wait, what now? Yep. Turns out the Heart of Gold was missing. I had mis-counted the pieces. NOOO! eBay! I found another seller who sold the heart for $2.00 + $1.00 shipping. It's on the way as of this writing. I also ordered an hourglass timer that counts down 1 minute at a time to supplement the game and give a sense of urgency to perform the surgery. So now I'm up to $12.00 and probably 4 days worth of work. If I figure out my hourly pay rate, I'm obviously out a shitload of money at this point. But I guess that depends on how you look at it.

So...would I have been better off just having the original "Operation" drop shipped from Amazon to my doorstep for $19.99 and avoiding this whole mess? Eh...I don't think so. The way I look at it, this whole experience gave me:
  1. A chance to shop for random stuff! In the Internet age, the joy of the hunt is mostly gone. It's why I love going to secondhand stores and yard sales and flea markets. You never know what you'll find. I consider finding the game a win.
  2. A lesson learned: if you're buying something used, always open the box!
  3. I used a bit of resourcefulness to gather the missing pieces and make the incomplete game complete. Thank you eBay (and Internet in general).
  4. I learned something about exploded battery compartments. Something I will likely use again considering 80% of Connor's toys take batteries. LEVELING UP as a Dad? Priceless!
  5. Connor loves the game. We'll have a great time playing it as a family. And now, every time we play it with someone new I'll have a story to tell. A story of how this all came together that's far more interesting than "Yeah, I ordered this from Amazon Prime." 
Finally? The experience made for a fairly compelling (hopefully) blog post. I don't blog nearly enough and "The Simpsons Operation" adventure gave me an excuse to do it. 

As Stuntman Extraordinaire Rod Kimble once said: "Life is short...STUNT IT!"

Friday, October 13, 2017

"His name was Jason, and today is his birthday..." Happy Friday the 13th!

It's Friday the 13th -- a horror fan's Thanksgiving and New Year's wrapped into one! I just wanted to take a minute to wish you a very Happy Friday the 13th and ask you to check out the latest article I wrote for PopHorror - Jason vs. Jason: Famous Friday the 13th Set Feuds!

It was a lot of fun to write. I hope you enjoy reading it! Oh, and if you're bored, you can also check out the article I wrote for Jason's last birthday: Ranking Jason's Final Girls on Friday the 13th!

This was a fun one to write, too. Enjoy!

Finally, if you get a chance, check out the Friday the 13th Fan Film "Never Hike Alone" from Womp Stomp Films. It releases tonight, 10/13/17, at 11:15pm EST on their YouTube Channel. I didn't have anything to do with it, other than I backed their kickstarter at the Junior Counselor level. Paramount can't seem to get their shit together, so this might be the best we can hope for for a while! Fingers crossed it's as great as I think it will be!

Thank God it's Friday!  Stay out of the woods...

Monday, September 25, 2017

PopHorror Retrospective - 1 Year and 100 Articles

It was a little more than a year ago I started writing for It was August 29, 2016. I know because my first piece for the site was a happy birthday article for William Friedkin's 81st. Here we are, 13 months and 100 articles later and I'm still having a blast writing about one of my favorite subjects: HORROR.

Looking back on those 100 articles, here are 8 of my favorites. If you haven't read them yet, please do and let me know what you think. I'd love to hear your feedback.

8. Kathy Bates Receives Hollywood Walk of Fame Star - Most of my early articles were birthday wishes. This was the first article I wrote that had a little more meat to it. It was fun finding all of the quotes and images and recapping Kathy Bates's illustrious career.

7. Wes Craven's DEADLY FRIEND Turns 30! - Another fun article to research. It gave me the chance to re-acquire and re-watch the film for the first time in years. I learned a lot about the movie and its development. It's a little heftier than the average piece I write, too. I like how it turned out.

6. Saying Goodbye To An Icon: Bill Paxton Dead At 61 - This was a rough one. I'm still in shock. I had a Bill Paxton movie marathon the same day I wrote this one. He was loved. He is missed.

5. Lee Majors To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award - I'm a big fan of Lee Majors from THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN to THE FALL GUY to SCROOGED to ASH vs. EVIL DEAD. Writing this article allowed me to reach out to Lee Majors fans all over on Facebook. Of all the articles I've written, I think this one got the biggest public response.

4. 10 Fun Facts About BUG On Its 10th Anniversary - BUG is a great movie. This was a lot of fun to write. I feel like the article didn't get a lot of exposure when I wrote it because there was no real way to hashtag it or promote it effectively on Social Media. That's a shame. It's one of the best articles I've written so far. Go read it!

3. Watch EVIL DEAD 2 In The Woods With Bruce Campbell - I'm not really a fan of my own writing, but I feel like "Who’s up for a road trip to Austin? All we need are $55.00 tickets and some extra gas for the chainsaw!" is one of my better one (two) liners. Plus I'm a huge fan of Bruce and Evil Dead 2. If I still lived in Houston, I would have made the road trip for this. I wrote this article in record time, too, for a slow news day. When I finished it I realized "Hey, I'm getting pretty good at this."

2. Celebrating 35 Years of John Carpenter's THE THING - John Carpenter's THE THING is my favorite movie of all time. I never pass up a chance to talk about or write about it (or blog about it). I'm glad I got the opportunity to write this one for its 35th anniversary milestone.

1. Meet Our Writers: Kenn Hoekstra - I haven't been interviewed since I was a game developer, so it was fun to do one again. I got to answer some fun questions about movies and horror. Everyone should interview themselves if they get the chance. It's therapeutic.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully I blog again before I hit my PopHorror 2 year, 200 article milestone! :)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Celebrating 35 Years Of John Carpenter's THE THING

The weekend box office chart 35 years ago was pretty amazing. You had Blade Runner, John Carpenter's The Thing, and MegaForce debuting on a weekend when E.T., Poltergeist, Rocky III, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Conan The Barbarian were already out in theaters. I mean look at this! Amazing!

I was 8 or 9 in 1982 (depending on the time of year). I saw a few of these in the theater (back when it was $1.00 or $1.25 to see a movie). I definitely saw Rocky III,, Star Trek II, E.T., and Poltergeist that year. I also remember Secret of Nimh, Dark Crystal, and Tron. The first movie I remember seeing in the theater was Empire Strikes Back in 1980. I also remember Superman 2 in 1981, but I think my theater going ways started in earnest in 1982.

I was too young to see John Carpenter's THE THING in theaters, but I saw it on HBO not long after. What a life changer. It's my favorite horror film of all time. It may even be my favorite movie of all time. It's so good. I took the opportunity to write about it for PopHorror. Check out my 35th anniversary retrospective of The Thing right here.

I watched it over the weekend. It still holds up. I'm looking forward to the next 35 years!

I've written quite a few articles for PopHorror over the past few months. If you're bored and want to check them out, you can do so here.