Saturday, October 31, 2009

Horror Series Reviews

Happy Halloween!

Ah, horror, how I love you so. Though it seems that there being simply one lone horror movie is becoming a rarity as over the years the idea of sequels just became more and more appealing to the market. So we have a flood of horror sequels (a lot of them BAD) but in the long run it’s given me an excuse to put some horror franchises under the microscope and review them.

The movies we’ll be covering are the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Friday the 13th series, Romero Dead films series and Halloween series. Originally I planned for Texas Chainsaw massacre as well but I refuse to watch all the awful sequels again.

So lets dig in to the brains of these iconic and beloved series!

Romero Dead Films
Films List: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead.

When talking about the Romero Dead films I think I have to let it be known that I find Night of the Living Dead to be some of the best work in cinema ever. Alongside so many other incredible films Night of the Living Dead embodies both horror and great story telling. I love it to death (PUN!)

Though when talking about the series as a whole it’s hard not to want to just talk about Night of the Living Dead. Everything about it is great, from start to finish it’s an amazing film that left a huge impression on me both when I was young when I saw it and even nowadays.

Dawn of the Dead though does come in close as a second place as my favorite zombie film of all time. Dawn of the Dead is almost as good as Night but it lacks some of the haunting imagery and creepy atmosphere. Romero was definitely having a lot more fun with Dawn then he was Night.

Dawn practically feels like a comedy just with horror bits. Not unlike the recent film Zombieland. I think when a director is able to add the feel of comedy and horror it’s a brilliant mix as horror can at times get a little too tense, so some comedy to lighten the mood often helps.

Much as I love Dawn of the Dead I do find the characters not as memorable as Night. Night had a cast of interesting and memorable characters. Whereas the only character that comes to mind when I think of Dawn is Tom Savini’s biker character.

Still together Night and Dawn of the Dead are some of the best examples of Zombie Cinema.

I like Day of the Dead, I do, but compared to the 2 movies it follows it’s not that great. It has more memorable characters then Dawn and almost as many memorable moments as Night. It’s a great movie but at the same time it feels much more downplayed at first when compared to Dawn.

Still it is an amazing film no matter what and I do love it just not as much as I love the first 2.

Land of the Dead was mediocrity at its’ best I figure. While in no way a bad movie, it just wasn’t anywhere near the first 3 films. No memorable characters at all. Nothing about this movie resonated with me and impacted me as a viewer like the first 3 did.

Still for a zombie film you could do a lot worse. The effects are great and there are some solid moments here and there. And I did dig Romero’s message on the supposed “battle between social classes” as it was more relevant then the message of Dawn which was about mall zombies.

Diary was just….painful. I don’t want to talk about it much because it just…wow. Just. Wow. It. Was. Awful. The characters where bland hate worthy and I was eager to see them get ripped to pieces. Not the interesting kind of annoying characters like the family from Night, no, I just wanted them dead. Fast.

Overall the Romero Dead Films have degenerated, just like the shambling corpses that star in them, into husks of their original selves. And I’m aware there is a Day of the Dead remake, do not even begin to ask me about it.

Halloween Series
Films: Halloween, Halloween 2, Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, Halloween 4: the Return of Michael Meyers, Halloween 5: the Revenge of Michael Meyers, Halloween: the Curse of Michael Meyers, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Halloween: Resurrection

As I’ve said multiple times now, the first 2 movies, together, make the greatest horror movie ever for me. They have all the creepy atmosphere, memorable characters, amazingly frightening moments and are a rare showing that the slasher genre, while predictable, is still great as all hell when done right.

Season of the Witch feels like a completely different film but I still love it. The idea Carpenter had was that the series would now be about different scenarios all set to Halloween night. It was a brilliant idea and I loved it.

Sadly that didn’t work out. Everyone was pissed that Michael wasn’t in Season of the Witch. Much as I loved that movie and the concept, Carpenter caved in and brought back Michael and it was all down hill from there.

4 and 5 tell the story about Michael’s niece and they are both predictable, boring and just all around mediocre in every sense of the word. The deaths are predictable and I see them coming every time, the characters are boring and even Michael himself doesn’t have the same scary feel he had in the first 2 films.

Part 6 was the final nail in the coffin for me. Trying to explain that Michael is being possessed and used by some evil curse and blah blah bullshit. By now the franchise was good and dead even if they kept making movies. Just like Michael, there wasn’t much left of them anyway.

H20 had one redeeming quality, Jamie Lee Curtis, she continues to do well as an actress no matter what awful movie they cast her in and she was great here. Everyone else of course was god awful but hey at least we had one good actor.

Resurrection was just lame. Everything about it reeked of Hollywood forced sequel. Nothing about it felt interesting or creepy or enjoyable. It was a husk and I was watching it, from beginning to end, wondering when the pain would end.

Now there’s of course the 2 Rob Zombie films. If you missed my Horror Movies and their Remake post, check it out, I don’t want to restate my hatred for that awful remake. Though I will say that no matter what, nothing will ever make me see 2. I’m not an idiot. It looks awful and if the first remake was something to go off of, it probably is.

Overall the Halloween franchise started out strong and has 3 of the best horror movies ever to me. Though when 4 came and they brought back Michael it was all over and the series has just turned into absolute garbage.

Friday the 13th Series
Films: Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th part 2, Friday the 13th part 3, Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter, Friday the 13th part 5: A new beginning, Friday the 13th part 6: Jason Lives, Friday the 13th part 7: the New Blood, Friday the 13th part 8: Jason takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Jason X

Oh wow, what have I gotten myself in to. I said the Halloween series turned into a husk? Well if that’s true the Friday the 13th turned into an inside out no handed zombie with several wounds all over the body. It’s been so drained of all life there really was nothing left by the end so much that it got twisted more and more.

As I’ve said the first 3 films are enjoyable, but flawed experiences. Pamela made a great villain though everyone knows Jason as the villain of the movies so often people completely forget about Pamela which is almost sad since she’s just as sadistic, if not even more so, then Jason.

After 3 I was getting bored with the series. So when I found the Final Chapter on the rental store shelves I was confused since I saw several more movies following it. Not a smart idea to label something “Final” if it’s not.

Final Chapter would have been a great ending to the series. Sure it’s as predictable as everything from part 3 but it was still a satisfying conclusion to the series and would have worked well.

A new beginning was bad in my opinion, it had no redeeming qualities at all. I hardly remember anything when I think about it. Save for maybe a couple of scenes and the bad guy but still it was the most forgettable of the entire series.

Jason Lives was okay, I liked the Frankenstein homage with how Jason is brought back and it’s almost funny how they turn Jason into a zombie. Though like the franchise, this movie was incredibly predictable and boring for it.

The New Blood was just meh. Nothing more I can say about it. Similar to new beginning it was incredibly forgettable.

Jason Takes Manhattan was just weird. Nothing really good about it but it at the very least had some memorable moments. Mostly Jason knocking over the boombox and the really weird way he dies in this movie.

To be honest it was actually more memorable then all the other movies following Final Chapter but still not a good movie. Also I didn’t like taking Jason out of his element of Crystal Lake again. This was too an extreme though.

Jason Goes to Hell was just awful in every way. I absolutely hated this movie and if I could erase one movie from existence it would be Jason Goes to Hell. Only one aspect of this movie was good and that was the Freddy Homage and even that wasn’t so great.

The weird supernatural eating hearts crap just was nasty and not even funny nasty, just gross. It was stupid and easily this was the worst film in the entire series no doubt.

Jason X was actually a fun movie. It didn’t seem to take itself as seriously as the other films did and that works.

The space setting was again, a bit too extreme for a Friday the 13th film but they don’t even call this Friday the 13th so I’m not complaining. It was as decent, dumb slasher film that had some great funny moments. Especially Jason beating one girl to death with another with in her sleeping bag. Hilarious.

Overall the Friday the 13th franchise has had some serious ups and downs but it’s been so badly drained of life that I can hardly call it a great series. Still Jason is one of the most iconic killers ever so I can’t really say the series is all that bad as the good movies do at times feel like they outweigh the bad. Even if they are fewer.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Series
Films: A Nightmare on Elm Street, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: the Dream Child, Freddy’s Dead: the Final Nightmare, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Freddy vs. Jason

When talking about the Nightmare series I have both a grand fondness and disliking of it’s main villain, Freddy Krueger.

On one hand I love the way Robert Englund is so versatile with the role. Able to play both dark and scary and over the top and funny. It’s so great see him no matter what it sees. Even the later films, annoying as they are, still have that awesome factor thanks to Englund’s performance as Freddy. It’s also nice seeing consistency with one actor playing Freddy the whole time.

Though still the series definitely had a huge overhaul as it went on.

The first 2 films both had a lot of great moments. 1 was of course better then 2 but 2 had some amazing build up and suspense just as 1 did. Both are great movies and both use Freddy more as an evil elemental force then as a regular character.

That changed come 3, the series slowly changed and became more about fighting Freddy then actually being afraid of him. Up to Freddy’s Dead the horror was gone and this felt more like a thriller action series then compared to horror.

I prefer the darker and scarier Freddy to the comedic wise cracking Freddy though to be honest. I find a quiet and haunting image from Freddy in the first film. He was generally scary there. As the series progressed he become comedic and it wasn’t the same. Much as I still loved Englund’s performance.

I did like some of the things they introduced about Freddy. Such as his mother being an un that was raped by 100 maniacs and that’s how he was conceived. It’s F***ed up and it fits the haunting origin of the character.

Though overall up to Freddy’s Dead I was bored with the series. Freddy’s Dead was just as boring as everything from part 3 and the series should have stayed dead. Or so I thought.

New Nightmare blew me away at how good it was. Mostly thanks to the return of Craven as right away you can tell his influence is in this haunting and creepy movie. I loved the hell out of it. It’s amazing.

New Nightmare is one of my favorite horror films of all time and it’s definitely the 2nd best in the Nightmare franchise. Everything about it is memorable, creepy and incredibly well done. I especially love the twist of Freddy being a devil that is held within a story. So brilliant and at the same time creepy.

Then there’s Freddy vs. Jason, not really a major part of either series but a crossover. When I first heard of this film I was psyched to check it out. It sounded awesome so I was really eager when I got to rent it.

I actually do quite like this movie. It uses both characters well and has a lot of over the top and well done moments. It’s only real problem being that once again the characters are as memorable as a fly. Still this was a fun movie and I’m disappointed that it never got a real sequel.

So overall the Nightmare series is a decent horror franchise really. It never got as bad as Halloween and Friday the 13th did with it’s sequels and it also didn’t flood the horror market with as much bad as they did. So I must say it’s a great franchise even with it’s weak middle movies.

So that’s it from your zombified writer, me, I hope you all had a fun time with these horror based posts and I hope you all have a great Halloween. If you be partying, trick or treating, or just staying home with friends and watching horror flicks I hope it’s a great and scary night for you all.

No comments: