Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Halloween II

The burn-in that opens “Halloween II” informs us that we’re in Haddonfield, Illinois, and that’s it’s October 31st, 1978.

The first shot is of Tommy’s house, and after a moment it’s apparent that the opening few minutes of this movie are a rewind on the last few minutes of “Halloween I.” You kind of have to love the era before VCRs became commonplace, when every horror sequel used to pull huge chunks out of the previous movie to remind everyone what happened last time.

I’m sure it’s not a cost-saving measure. At all. There’s no way a producer would go to the writer of the movie and say, “Look, can you work in ten minutes of the last movie? And then, can you, like, maybe only come up with like seventy minutes of plot? Because we want to keep costs down. Way down. Perhaps you could work in a lot of flashbacks to the first movie, while you’re at it?”

At any rate, the movie rewind takes us back to the moment when Laurie tells Tommy and Lindsey to run down the street and have the neighbors call the police. They run out screaming, Dr. Loomis sees them, and he heads into the house.

Michael attacks Laurie. She pulls off his mask. He pulls it on. Dr. Loomis comes up the stairs and shoots him a bunch of times. Laurie asks if it was the boogeyman, and Dr. Loomis says it was.

Then Dr. Loomis looks out the window… oh wait, I’m sorry, he walks out the front door and looks at the ground and sees that Michael is gone.

So… I guess we’re into the new stuff now.

(A couple of quick notes: The score from the first movie has been replaced for the redux of the old scenes, and the awesome creepy tinkly piano sound has been replaced with blatting keyboard noises. This is not pleasing. On a similar note, the reused footage has been recut a bit here and there, and newly shot footage has been added. So, for example, in part uno, we watch Michael fall out the window from inside the house, but in part dos, we see him fall from outside the house.)

(And seriously, Loomis really did look out the window in the original movie. How did they forget that? Did they just assume there would never be magical video-watching boxes that would allow people to verify that kind of information?)

Whatever. Loomis walks out the door (feh!) and onto the front lawn, where he takes a closer look at where Michael fell to the ground. He sticks his hand into the patch of matted-down grass, and it comes away very bloody.

A neighbor walks out, and Loomis tells the neighbor to call the police. The neighbor says he’s been trick-or-treated to death tonight, and Loomis informs him, “You don’t know what death is.”

Is it too much to hope that the movie turns into a series of philosophical musings on the true meaning of death, both physically and spiritually?


No matter. Here come the credits! Same deal as last time, really. Credits roll along next to a jack o’ lantern. Once again, the thing still seems to be wobbling from side-to-side. As the credits wrap up, the pumpkin slowly fades from view, and then the camera pushes in on it, revealing a skull trapped… behind it? Inside it? It’s an interesting little camera trick, but I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking at.

Eventually, the shot pushes in on the eye socket of the skull inside the pumpkin, and then the blackness there fades up… and we’re in a Michael point-of-view shot. The soundtrack helpfully informs us of this, because we can hear the mask-breathing sound that makes us think that perhaps Michael went bad as a kid because kids teased him about his terrible asthma.

Michael-cam sees some kids out trick-or-treating really, really, really late, and also a barking dog, and then he sees Loomis, who runs out to the sheriff’s car and proclaims, “I shot him six times!” Then he repeats his proclamation twice more, perhaps assuming that the sheriff didn’t hear him.

Finally, Loomis states, “He’s not human!” and they both get in the patrol car and drive away.

Michael wanders over to another house. The lights are still on, and an elderly woman is asking her husband if he wants mustard on his sandwich. When he doesn’t answer, she wanders into the living room, and finds her husband asleep in his chair. “Night of the Living Dead” is playing on the television.

A special news bulletin breaks in, letting the woman know that a killer is on the loose! Yep, three people were found dead in the bedrooms of “this house,” says the reporter, who opts not to give too many more details.

As the news runs, the woman watches, while Michael-cam creeps into the house behind her and grabs a knife from the cutting board.

Michael leaves, the news bulletin ends, and the woman turns around and mind her knife missing and some very ketchup-looking blood smeared on her cutting board. The woman starts screaming.

Michael walks across the lawn, keeping to the shadows, though it’s hard to tell if he’s doing it on purpose, as he isn’t exactly being sneaky about it.

A teenaged girl runs out of her house and calls out to her elderly neighbors, who are named Mister and Mrs. Elrod. When no one answers, she goes back into her house and calls someone, though it isn’t clear who. She does say that Mrs. Elrod is always picking on her husband, and that he probably started beating her. I swear I did not make that up.

Suddenly, we can hear the other side of the conversation, which allows us to learn that this here teenage girl opted to call her friend, instead of the cops, even though she suspects domestic violence one house over.

Her friend informs her that three people were killed, and the girl turns on the radio where, according to the laws of movies, the important information she needs to hear must be on the radio at the exact second she turns it on.

The girl starts to freak out a little bit, because she’s home alone and the murders only happened three blocks away. She would probably be even more nervous if she were to turn around and see Michael walking in her front door. This girl has the worst peripheral vision ever.

Come to think of it, Michael just walked into two fairly quiet houses without making enough noise to alert people to his presence. Haddonfield must be the home of WD-40.

The girl, who is named Alice, hears a noise, turns around, and Michael stabs her. Good thing they finally told us her name…

Back at Tommy’s house, Laurie, who appears to be wearing a bad wig, is put on a stretcher and taken out to an ambulance. Which is nice, I guess, but probably not necessary, since really her only wound was a not-very-deep cut on the arm.

At the hospital, a mom and her kid get out of their car. The kid seems to have a bloody nose. Or bloody teeth. There’s blood in his facial area, at any rate.

The ambulance pulls up, and the two nice ambulance-workers bring Laurie into the hospital and inquire about the doctor. The doctor, the nurse informs them, has been at the club and she thinks he’s drunk.

Assuming that medical policies were this lax everywhere during the 1970s, I’ve gotta say I’m happy to have made it out of them alive.

The doctor notes the cut on Laurie’s arm, and he states that there’s also one on her chest. He takes a blood sample to get her blood type, and says they’re going to have to knock her out to sew her up.

Laurie begs everyone not to put her to sleep. But they do it anyway.

She seemed really worried about it. Perhaps she thought they meant “put to sleep” in the sense that people say, “Well, we’re going to take your dog to a nice farm where he can run around, so he won’t have to bite anyone…”

Elsewhere, Loomis and the sheriff drive around, and the sheriff seems remarkably calm, considering the fact that his daughter is dead. But he’s not happy with Loomis who keeps saying things like, “Drive faster. Shine a light over there.”

Then things take a sudden turn. Loomis spots someone walking towards a bunch of trick-or-treaters. He’s/she’s wearing a mask that looks somewhat similar to the one Michael wears. Loomis runs from the car and pulls out his gun, preparing to shoot the guy.

The sheriff grabs Loomis, rightfully assuming that it would be a bad thing if Loomis shot some random dude, freaky costume or not.

Loomis is about it open fire when a car comes out of nowhere, smashes into the Michael lookalike and crashes into a van, pinning the lookalike between the two vehicles. Which then burst into flames.

The sheriff cries out to Loomis, “Is it him?” only it’s hard to tell, what with the wall of fire surrounding him and all.

At that moment, another car pulls up, and a cop gets out and informs the sheriff that they just found three dead people in the house across the street from Tommy’s house, and that one of them was Annie.

Ah, that explains it. The sheriff didn’t know his daughter was dead because despite the fact that he’s supposed to be in charge, and despite the fact that the deaths are all over the news, the sheriff had no idea what was going on.

The other cop, the sheriff, and Loomis all pile into the other cop’s police cruiser and drive away, leaving a flaming body and two flaming cars behind. I guess they figure they’ll take care of the paperwork later.

Back at the hospital, the little kid with the bloody face and his mom walk out. He’s been taken care of, but he can’t talk right for some reason. Whew. Glad they decided to resolve that plotline.

Inside the hospital, one of the ambulance dudes, Jimmy, goes to visit Laurie in her room. She’s already awake, post whatever-the-doctor-did. A nurse comes in and states that Laurie has a cracked bone in her… I don’t know really. The nurse just sort of vaguely points, so it could be her foot or her leg.

The nurse tries to get Jimmy to leave, but Jimmy is a sassy monkey, and offers to get Laurie a Coke. Unfortunately, he has to go on another ambulance run. Laurie will be forced to just lie there and feel a parched, I guess.

At Lindsey’s house, the sheriff identifies Annie’s dead body, and then heads home to tell his wife. The other cop and Loomis bicker back and forth about whether or not the dude who just went up in flames is Michael.

Loomis gives another, “He was my patient for fifteen years” speech, tossing in the information that he shot Michael six times. Naturally, since this is a crime scene, there are about a half-dozen reporters standing there with cameras and microphones at the ready, so the news is out in the world mere seconds later.

Loomis tells the other cop (man, I’d kill for a name…) to get the Michael lookalike’s body to the coroner’s office and meet him there in half an hour with a dentist.

Out in the middle of nowhere, a kid wanders around with a boombox on his shoulder, blaring the news. I wonder if he does that all the time. Just wanders around, box all rocking the NPR.

The camera zips past him, and two young ladies, maybe teens, maybe older, it’s tough to tell, gab back and forth about being at a terrible party, and how one of them is late, and the other one needs a ride, and blah-blah-blah whatever.

They drive away, and here comes NPR-boy, only he’s not paying attention to where he’s walking, and he just misses walking right into Michael, who isn’t dead. Because, duh. Seriously. We’re only 26 minutes in. This would be a really dull movie if the bad guy was already worm food.

Michael ambles along for a minute, until the movie finally shows us a street sign to alert us to the fact that Michael is headed to the hospital.

At the hospital, the chick who was running late arrives there, and gets out of her car. And there’s Michael.

A minute later, we’re in the security office, where the security guy is reading a magazine, instead of noticing Michael walking across the lawn. There’s a knock at the door, and the security guard lets the late girl in.

Over in the break room, Jimmy, his ambulance cohort, and another nurse sit around, trying to kill some time so the movie makes it to the 90-minute mark. The late girl, who is finally assigned the name Karen, comes in for a minute and flirts with Jimmy’s cohort, then heads off to get changed.

Michael-cam wanders the hospital for a bit, constantly avoiding being seen by a bunch of people who should really get their peripheral vision checked. It turns out that Karen works in the kid ward.

Jimmy heads down to see Laurie, and Laurie finally learns that Michael was the one who attacked her. “Why me?” she says. Um, Laurie, seriously now. Michael killed a man for his pants. He also iced three of your friends and a dog. “Why me?” is not a relevant question. Try, “How was I lucky enough to survive?”

A black nurse, Alves, shows up and kicks Jimmy out. She tells Laurie that they’ve attempted to call Laurie’s parents, with no luck. Alves tries to call from Laurie’s room, but the phones are out.

She sends another nurse to tell the security guard to check it out. Man of many talents, I guess. Security guard, phone repairman. I wonder if he knits.

The security guard heads out, but can’t see anything wrong with the telephone pole. So he starts walking… somewhere else, and sees a dumpster. He opens it up, and spots some blood. He’s about to touch the blood, only a cat comes shooting out of the dumpster and bumps into him, knocking him over.

The guard goes to a storeroom, and finds the lock open and hanging loosely from the door. He starts looking around, then radios a nurse and tells her to get someone to drive to the sheriff’s station.

Only she keeps playing with the radio, because she can’t figure it out, and she doesn’t hear him.

The security guard starts opening up different cabinets, because he’s trying to get himself killed, and sure enough, he moves a door, and there’s Michael, who introduces the guy’s skull to the claw end of a claw hammer.

Over at the coroner’s office, some unidentified dude stands over the charred Michael lookalike and says that there are no fillings, so the body is probably 17 or 18. Loomis notes that Michael is 21. “Some Dude” says that they have to check x-rays and dental records in cases like this.

Loomis says they have to assume that Michael is still alive. He’s well aware there are still 50 minutes worth of movie to go.

The random cop tells his cop buddy to get everyone back out and sweep the neighborhood. Then random cop and Loomis head out to the Myers house, which is under siege by rock-throwing teenagers.

The cop, who it turns out is named Hunt, tells everyone to back off, and the crowd walks about ten steps down the street. Loomis does another, “Michael sure is evil,” speech, and two random boys come over and tell Hunt that a guy named Ben Tramer left “the party” a while ago, and wandered off in a “stupid mask,” and that he was “real drunk.” Ben Tramer was, it should be noted, the unseen hunk of Laurie’s dreams, five hours and one movie ago.

You know, before Jimmy swept her off her feet with the offer of a Coke.

Loomis and Hunt determine that Ben was probably the poor guy who met a flaming death, and vow to check his dental records.

At the hospital, one of the rooms buzzes a nurse named Janet for service, and she heads in. Suddenly, she’s viciously attacked by Budd, Jimmy’s ambulance buddy. No, wait, he’s just fooling around. Or hoping to fool around. And weirdly, despite the fact that she almost wet herself about a minute ago, Janet agrees to meet him for a little something-something.

She heads off to make sure all the kids are okay, first. She’s not, you know, irresponsible, or anything.

Lying in her room, Laurie, who was terrified of being put the sleep, has fallen asleep. She dreams about being a little girl. Talking to her mother, who says, “I’m not your mother.” About walking into a room, and there, in front of a big window, is a little boy.

She dreams about what I guess is dripping blood. Or possibly paint.

Laurie wakes up, looks around, and then goes back to sleep.

And now we’re back with Janet and Budd. They’re in the hot tub in the therapy room. Janet carefully undresses behind a note-quite-see-through window, puts on a towel, then walks over to Budd, and takes off the towel. Not sure what the point of the towel was.

Some fooling around happens, and Janet comments that the water is really hot.

In the other room, a hand twists the knob that sets the water temperature, setting it even higher. Of course, it’s Michael’s hand, as near as we can tell. But perhaps there will be a shocking twist of some sort.

Either way, Budd is sent to turn down the heat. He exits the tub and goes into the next room, while Janet wraps herself in a towel again and makes sure to face away from the glass door behind her.

Budd goes through the door, the door closes, and Budd is immediately attacked by Michael. But, of course, Janet is NOT LOOKING. Again with the peripheral vision issue.

I’ve gotta say, though, no one ever talks about how humiliating some of these deaths are. Can you imagine how this is going to go down? Here’s a guy, have unclothed time with his lady-friend while on duty. And he gets choked to death.

So they’re going to find him dead on the floor, with nothing on. What do you say to that? “Well, he always said he wanted to go out that way. Strangled to death, not a stitch of clothing on, while on the clock.”

One other thought, before I move on. People make a big deal about the whole “pureness” factor in these movies. Laurie lives through the first movie because no man has touched her special place, right?

But go with me on this – I don’t think Michael is necessarily against the act of sweet, sweet, loving. I think he’s against really awful, lower-your-standards action. Consider: He ices his sister after her encounter lasts less than a minute. He doles out death to The Other Best Friend and The Other Best Friend’s Boyfriend after their not-impressive act lasts something like twenty seconds.

And then we have these two bozos, fooling around in a tub made for therapy, while on duty, while the woman complains that the tub is too hot.

This series is not about killing those who are impure in deed. Quite the contrary. This is a movie telling women that they need to raise their standards when it comes to carnal acts.

At any rate, once Budd is dead, Michael quietly walks up behind Janet, who naturally thinks Michael is Budd. So she says she needs to get back to work, but that maybe they can have breakfast, and then she does some flirty stuff with his hand, and then she realizes that the hand has a sleeve on it, and freaks right out.

Michael jams her head under the water, which has moved from hot to scalding, according to the helpful meter on the wall the movie keeps showing us. This causes her to both die and have skin peel off her face. Though, interestingly, it does not affect Michael in any way, despite the fact that he keeps jamming his hand in the water.

Of course, he was shot six times, so it’s clear Michael is not exactly easy to damage.

And now we’re back to “Loomis and Hunt: They Fight Crime. But Not Very Efficiently.” Some other cop without a name takes them to a local elementary school. Michael broke into it earlier that evening. He left some blood splotches lying around, and stuck a knife through a children’s drawing of a family.

And also, he wrote the Celtic word Samhain in blood on the chalkboard. Samhain means The End of Summer – October 31st.

Which I guess is an interesting if you wanted to watch a movie so that you could totally learn some Celtic. But since we’ve already established that Halloween is important in this movie, learning another word for October 31st isn’t really what I’d call a plot twist.

It seems the movie knows this as well, as it sends a woman into the classroom to talk to Loomis. I think it’s the nurse from the first movie, but since no one bothers to explain themselves, the movie instead opts to send its audience into whisper-fits of, “Who is that? Do you know?”

The Random Woman asks to talk to Dr. Loomis alone, and tells him that the Governor has demanded that Loomis leave the search and head back to the mental hospital. Apparently, the fact that one of his patients got away, killed three people, was shot six times, and then got away again is bad publicity for the hospital.

Loomis tells Random Woman to tell the Governor that she couldn’t find him. She tells him there’s a marshal waiting outside for him.

At the hospital, Jimmy goes to visit Laurie, and tells her that he’ll take care of her. Which would be really sweet, if they had known each other at all before he stuck her in the ambulance.

After a moment, he realizes that Laurie is staring at the ceiling, and not acknowledging the heart on his sleeve. So he calls a nurse, who in turn runs to get the doctor. She finds his office dark and his shower running.

She walks into an inner office, and sees the doctor sitting in his chair, facing away from her. After imploring him to come with her, she turns his chair around and discovers that the doctor has a hypodermic needle in his eye. So he’s quite dead.

She gasps and steps back in horror, and Michael, who is standing there in the dark, grabs her, pulls out a hypodermic needle, and injects air into her head.

She drops to the floor, dead.

Meanwhile, Jimmy and yet another nurse continue to stand over Laurie’s non-responsive body. Jimmy decides to go and find Alves. He races off and heads to the Ladies Lounge. But no one is there, so he runs off again.

Totally Random Nurse continues to stand by Laurie, until the front desk phone buzzes. She heads out to see what’s going on with the totally random, non-comatose patient.

And here comes Michael. He walks down the hall to Laurie’s room, lets himself in, and then proceeds to stab Laurie over and over again with a scalpel. Only it turns out Laurie isn’t there – she stuck some pillows under her sheets and ran off.

The movie catches up to her in a hallway, and I guess it figures we don’t care why she was in a coma, but now she’s not. Or we’re just supposed to assume that she faked it. I have no idea.

Either way, Laurie goes wandering down the hall.

The nurse eventually returns to Laurie’s room, finds her missing, and then proceeds to not look very hard for her.

Laurie slips into a room and tries the phone, but the phones still don’t work. So she closes the door to the room and curls into a little ball on the floor.

Back with Loomis, Hunt, and Random Woman, Loomis is escorted into a car by the marshal. Hunt assures Loomis that they’ll find Michael.

At the hospital, the nurse who totally failed to look after Laurie goes to find the security guard, only of course the guard is missing.

Jimmy find the random nurse, and tells her to check the east wing again, and then to drive to the sheriff’s office if she doesn’t find anyone. Meanwhile, Jimmy goes on a hunt for pretty much anyone.

You know, if it were me? I’d whack the old intercom and be all, “Yo, is ANYONE HERE!?”

Jimmy locates Alves, who has been tied to a table, then punctured with a needle so that she can bleed out. He goes to leave the room, slips Alves blood, and falls to the floor, knocking himself out.

Outside, the completely random nurse goes outside, gets in her car, and tries to drive away. But her car won’t start.

She gets out of the car, and discovers that her tires have been slashed. And so have the tires of every other car in the place.

So she runs back into the hospital. Which may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen happen in a horror movie.

On the bright side, as she comes up the hallway, she spots Laurie, who has just decided to come out of hiding. But, sadly, that’s pretty much it for the good news, as Michael walks up behind random nurse moments later, stabs her with a scalpel, lifts her up into the air on the scalpel, waits for the nurse’s shoes to fall off, then drops her to the floor like so much undercooked beef jerky.

Laurie, the only person in the movie with peripheral vision, witnesses the entire act.

Laurie runs, and Michael does the whole slow, “I’m just barely walking after you” thing.

Laurie goes down some stairs, runs down a hallway, and finally finds and unlocked door. She goes through it, and there’s the dead security guard, hanging from a power cord for some reason.

Laurie sees that Michael is coming, so she climbs up a pipe and breaks through a window, exiting to another room while Michael slashes impotently at the air beneath her.

Laurie finds an elevator and punches the call button, getting in just as Michael slooowly walks up behind her. It’s one of those two-way jobs, and so she goes in the front door and out the back door of the elevator, which takes her to the lobby of the hospital.

Which takes her outside.

Free at last, she runs to find help and the movie ends with the sheriff’s department descending on the hospital.

Okay, no. What really happens is she finds an unlocked car in the parking lock and hides in it.

Back in the car with Dr. Loomis and Random Woman Who Might Be That Nurse, Loomis explains what the Celtic word back in the school meant. Apparently, to appease the gods, Druid priests held fire rituals, burning criminals and animals in order to see the future.

The nurse interrupts Loomis and tells him there was a secret file on Michael that was sealed by the courts after his parents were killed. It seems that Michael had a sister who was born two years before Michael killed his sister.

And then, two years after Michael was committed, his parents were killed, his sister was adopted, and the adoptive parents asked that the records be sealed to protect the family.

And that sister’s name was? You with me? Yeah, it’s totally Laurie.

Loomis pulls out his gun and demands that the marshal take him to the hospital where Laurie is.

And speaking of Laurie, she’s still hidden in the car. Which turns out to be Jimmy’s car. He steps into the car and tries to start it, only naturally it won’t start. And Jimmy is looking kind of stoned. Or perhaps like he has a concussion. Either way, he passes out, and his head lands on the horn, honking it loudly.

Laurie pushes him aside and tries to start the car. Then she attempts to get out of the car, trips, and falls to the ground.

But lucky Laurie, here comes Loomis and company. Only they don’t see her (curse you, periphery vision!) and they head into the hospital while Laurie screams for help.

Laurie drags herself across the parking lot, finally getting up and running to the door when she sees Michael stalking across the parking lot. For whatever reason, he’s totally on the other end of the lot from where Laurie was.

Laurie makes it to the door, pounding and screaming to be let in.

Loomis lets her in at the very last second, and locks the door behind her.

But the door is made of glass, so Michael just walks right on through it. Loomis shoots Michael a whole bunch, and Michael falls over.

The marshal appears in the hallway, and is about to walk over to Michael, only Loomis warns him away, noting that, yep, Michael is still alive.

The marshal steps back, and Loomis tells the woman who still hasn’t been identified to go out to the marshal’s car and radio Hunt for help. Marshal tries to argue that he’s the only one authorized to use the radio, which is dumb, because he just watched Loomis shoot a dude to what everyone hopes is death.

You know who you should never argue with? Crazy guys with guns.

But whatever, the marshal clearly isn’t all that bright, as he opts to get down on his hands and knees and take a closer look at Michael. Naturally, Michael grabs the marshal and cuts his throat.

Loomis and Laurie run for it. The nurse, lucky for her, is already out the door and headed for the car/radio.

Oh, hey, we finally got a name for the nurse: Marion Chambers. She uses it when calling the cops.

Inside the building, Loomis and Laurie secure themselves in a surgical room, which sadly doesn’t project them from the superman Michael. Michael breaks through the door as Loomis sets a gun next to Laurie.

Loomis then runs up to Michael, sticks a gun in Michael’s face, and pulls the trigger. The gun goes CLICK instead of BANG, and Michael stabs Loomis in the belly.

Loomis falls over because he’s a big baby who can’t handle a minor stab wound.

Laurie says, “Michael!,” and Michael pauses for a moment. For all of a second. She then tries, “Michael, stop!” which doesn’t have much of an effect either.

So she shoots him twice, in the face. The eye holes in his mask cry tears of blood.

Michael puts his hands over where his eyes used to be and starts slicing at the air. But he’s not exactly taking careful aim. He isn’t even kneeling, which would pretty much be the only way to stab someone lying on the floor.

Loomis stands up, and runs over to a gas tank labeled Ether. He cranks it on, and Michael lurches towards him, slicing at the air.

Laurie stands up and turns the crank on another tank with no label on it that I can see.

Loomis ups the ante by pulling some tubes out of the wall labeled Ether and Oxygen.

Laurie starts turning the dials on more tanks.

Loomis grunts, “Laurie, get out now!” and Laurie runs.

Loomis says, “It’s time, Michael,” and flicks a lighter. The room behind Laurie explodes.

And here comes Michael. He’s walking. And he is on fire. For a minute. Then he’s collapsed on the floor on fire, and then I guess he’s dead. For whatever degree of dead allows multiple sequels using the same character.

Then it’s the next morning. Some cop goes up to Hunt and tells him the body count is ten, so far.

Close by, the TV news is following Laurie as she’s taken to an ambulance in a wheelchair. They put her in the back, and she stares into space as the ambulance takes her somewhere or other.

The story comes to a close with The Chordettes singing Mr. Sandman. While we watch an extended shot of Michael’s face/mask melting on the floor of the hospital. What the two things have to do with each other, I have no idea. I guess it was either that or Funkytown.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Here’s something no one ever talks about – just how shaky the opening shot of Halloween is. Not that bit where the little kid puts on the mask and does some cuttin’, but the bit before that, where the credits are running while a jack o’ lantern just keeps getting closer, and closer, and closer.

The pumpkin just keeps on wobbling back and forth. Apparently, someone said, “We need a shot of that. Okay, someone grab the camera, turn it on, and walk towards it. No, no! Slow. Slower… Really, really, really slooowww…”

Then concluded with, “Wait, maybe we should have used the Steadicam? Oh well. It’s not like someone is going to be watching this thing thirty years from now.”

Once the pumpkin bids us a fond farewell, a friendly burn-in alerts us to the fact that we’re in Haddonfield, Illinois. Good thing. With all those palm trees on the edges of the frame, I would have thought we were in California somewhere.

It seems it’s Halloween in 1963, and here we were in a little old point-of-view shot, first walking up to a house, then peeking through the windows inside the house, so we can watch a teenaged girl and a teenaged boy make out for a bit.

The girl and boy head upstairs, where I’m sure they’re going to engage in a wholesome activity of some kind.

Then “we” run around to the back of the house, open a drawer in the kitchen, and pull out a rather large knife. Perhaps “we” just want some more Halloween turkey?

No, it seems like “we’re” going to head upstairs, pausing and hiding when the boyfriend, who is tucking his shirt in and leaving a minute after “we” saw him head upstairs.

“That was quick” doesn’t seem to cover it.

“We” head upstairs, where we find a little clown mask and put it on. So now we’re looking through eye slits as we head into the girl’s room and stab her to death. She calls out “our” name – Michael.

“We” head outside, the shot reverses, and a dad-and-mom looking couple pull off “our” mask and inquire, “Michael?” Which seems inadequate somehow. You’d think most people would be all, “So… what’s with the bloody knife?”

But the movie fades out, and fades back in, letting us know that we’re now in Smith’s Grove, Illinois, and it’s October 30, 1978.

A car zips on down the rainy, rainy road. Inside are a doctor and a nurse. They’re driving along, the gist of their conversation being, “We’re gonna take this no-longer-a-kid, dope him up, stick him in front of a judge and then bring him back.”

This conversation continues until they get to the mental hospital, which features crazy people running around on the front lawn. The doctor is concerned about this, while the nurse just figures the hospital has stupid policies.

The doctor tells the nurse to drive up to the gate, then gets out of the car and goes to a phone to call someone in the building.

The minute he’s out of the car, a dude in a hospital gown jumps on top of the car and terrifies the nurse. The nurse runs from the car, and the begowned man hops in the car and drives away.

“The evil is gone from here!” cries the doctor. Which I guess sounds more ominous than, “Some crazy dude just stole my car!”

Then it’s back to Haddonfield, on Halloween day.

And here comes our heroine, who is directed by her father to “drop off the key at the Myers place” and instructed to put the key under the mat. Ah, fake small towns in the 70s, so full of trust.

Our heroine goes to drop off the key, and one of the kids she babysits runs up and asks her a bunch of questions. Eventually it’s revealed that he’s there in an expositional capacity. He informs everyone that missed the first five minutes of the movie that “something bad” happened at the Myers house.

Our heroine laughs it off – what could possibly happen because she chooses to drop off a key?

The scary dude standing behind the door, just out of sight through the window does not do any laughing. Perhaps he’s just basking in the irony. Always assuming that this is irony.

Our heroine heads off to school.

Back at the hospital, the doctor lets another doctor, and the audience, know that the crazy dude got away.

Back again with our heroine, it’s time for class! Yep. There she is, just sitting and taking notes and learning things, when what should happen? She glances out the window and sees a creepy dude in a mask. This interrupts her train of thought, but not so much that she isn’t able to answer a question posed by the teacher.

And then it’s over to our heroine’s little baby-sitee, who is taunted by a bunch of other kids who inform him that the boogyman is going to get him. Eventually, they all leave, and the boy is stalked by, yes, the boogyman. Or rather, the crazy dude from the mental hospital.

So, you know, in case you haven’t put it all together, the guy from the hospital is little Michael. All growed up.

Michael gets in a car and follows the little boy down the street for a few minutes. Today, of course, a creepy guy in a mask driving a car stolen from a mental hospital would probably cause the neighborhood watch to come rushing out of their homes, baseball bats in hand.

But I guess things were different in 1978 in fake Illinois.

Somewhere out on the road, Michael’s doctor calls the Haddonfield sheriff from a pay phone and tells him that Michael is on his way. Then he wanders over to a place just off the road, where a red truck has… I’m not sure, really. Skidded to a halt?

Doesn’t matter. The important thing is that the doc finds a hospital gown. So now I guess we know where Michael got his clothing. From a random truck by the side of the road.

Yes, folks, when you’re building a legend of horror, make sure you tell everyone where the man got his pants.

(Oh, wait, the camera panned over and showed us a dead guy. A man died so our killer could have pants. I guess the question is, did Michael just kill a guy, and lucky for him, they were the same size? Or did he wait until he saw a dude who looked just about the right height, and ran him off the road? Or is there a trail of bodies going back for miles, each missing an item of clothing?)

Then it’s back to our heroine, and her friends who are mean to her because she’s all nerdy and likes school and doesn’t date very much.

As they proceed to walk home, Michael drives by in his stolen vehicle, and one of the girls yells out, “Hey jerk, speed kills.” Michael stops for a long tense moment, then drives away.

As they walk, just for fun, you can look at the green, green leaves on the trees, and the brown dead leaves on the ground. Ah, movie magic.

Oh, hey, someone finally called our heroine by name – she’s Laurie. We find this out when Laurie spots Michael standing by a hedge, only then he vanishes into thin air, and one of her friends makes fun of her.

The girls all arrive at their various homes, and Laurie goes up to her room. She looks out the window and spots Michael, who is standing by the laundry on the clothesline. A tense moment passes (man, this happens a lot, huh?) and suddenly, the phone rings.

Laurie hears noise, but no talking, so she hangs up. The phone rings again, and it’s her friend, calling to let Laurie know when she’s going to pick Laurie up.

Later, Laurie grabs a pumpkin and heads out the door. She gets in her friend’s car, and they light up what is in no way a cigarette.

And now it’s time for “more exposition with the good doctor.” Doc has decided to head to the cemetery, where he learns that Michael’s sister’s headstone has been stolen. Here’s a question – why did he go there? Just on the off chance that the headstone might be missing?

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s back to Cheech and Chong go babysitting.

On the way, they’re forced to stub out their recreational drug when they encounter Laurie’s friend’s dad, who happens to be the local sheriff. He informs them that someone broke into the hardware store and stole Halloween masks, rope, and a couple of knives.

Point of order – Michael’s been wandering around in a mask for at least three hours we can account for. Just how slowly do the wheels of justice grind? The hardware store’s alarm is blaring, which implies the store was just robbed.

So was the store closed all day, and the Michael had to break in to steal a few items? Maybe if they were open weekdays, they could do some actual business. For all we know, Michael would have happily paid for the items he took using money from his stolen pants.

The girls drive away just as the doctor (Loomis, it turns out his name is) runs up to talk to the sheriff.

The girls drive on, toking and conversing, and by the time they arrive at their destination, it’s fully dark. Man, that was one long drive. It was late afternoon like a second ago.

Michael follows them to their destination in his stolen car.

Oh, hey! Laurie’s smoky friend also has a name – Annie.

Around the same time, Loomis takes the local sheriff to take a look at the Myers house. They find a dead dog in the house. The dog is still warm. Loomis notes that, “He got hungry.” I have to presume he’s not talking about the dog.

Loomis takes this opportunity to tell the sheriff that Michael is, like, totally evil. And that he shouldn’t alert the media to the fact that the kid has e scaped, because otherwise people will see him, “On every street corner.”

The sheriff goes to tell his men not to alert the press, and Loomis opts to stay by the house in case Michael comes back to consume more dog.

Meanwhile, at Laurie’s Babysitting Adventure Hour, Laurie is reading a book to the kid, whose name is Tommy. Tommy doesn’t like the book. He’s into comics now, which he shows to Laurie. Then he asks what the boogyman is, only the phone rings.

Annie is calling, pretty much just to say hello, I guess. She’s making popcorn for Lindsey, the girl Annie is babysitting tonight. She talks until a huge dog shows up in the kitchen and does some barking, for some reason.

Then we take a peek-see outside of the house Annie is in, and there’s Michael, prowling around.

Annie and Laurie yack about boys while Michael skulks around, until Annie spills something on herself. She strips out of her clothing and puts on a man’s work shirt, which just happens to be in arm’s reach.

Outside, Michael does more skulking, until the dog comes outside and starts barking at him. Michael decides he needs a snack. Or maybe he just kills the dog for being annoying. Or perhaps he just hugged it a little too hard. It’s tough to tell with serial killers.

Elsewhere, Laurie assures Tommy that she will not let the boogyman get him. This is because she doesn’t think the boogyman exists.

Annie takes her clothing to the laundry hut, which is located way off in the backyard. Seriously. The laundry room is in a shed in the backyard. In Illinois.

That must be kind of tough to use in the winter. Maybe everyone in the house owns a metric ton of clothing, which they burn for warmth after wearing it once or twice.

The door to the laundry shed shuts, locking Annie inside the shed while Michael looks in through various windows. Annie attempts to escape, and her little charge Lindsey finally comes to rescue her.

How she manages to lock herself inside a shed remains forever a mystery.

Annie’s boyfriend Paul calls Annie, and they have some mature but restrained banter. Annie is instructed to pick up Paul at his house, only Lindsey wants to sit and watch TV. So Annie, who is wearing a men’s work shirt and her underpants, walks Lindsey across the street to hang out with Laurie and Tommy.

Seriously, chick is walking around with no pants. That stretches the definition of Halloween costume. Perhaps Michael can kill someone and give the corpse’s pants to Annie. He seems to be good with the whole killing people for pants thing.

Annie walks her pantsless self to her car, then realizes it is locked and she doesn’t have her keys. So she goes to get her keys, comes back, and opens the door without the keys.

Yes indeed, folks… something bad is going to happen. In this case, it’s Annie’s death by strangulation.

Back in Tommy’s house, Tommy goes to the window and starts talking in a creepy voice to freak out Lindsey. He glances out the window and sees Michael carrying a quite-dead Annie across the lawn.

He flips out. Laurie comes running, but doesn’t see anything, and she figures Tommy is just being a problem. She threatens to send him to bed, and he quiets down. No cadaver is worth an early bedtime.

At the Myers house, Loomis freaks out some kids who are daring each other to go into the house. The sheriff arrives and says no one has seen anything unusual. So Loomis does another “No, really, Michael is eeevil” monologue.

Over at the house where Annie is lying around being all dead, Laurie and Annie’s other friend shows up with her boyfriend. Instructions are given. Annie will distract Lindsey, and then they’ll sneak up to the first bedroom on the left.

The boyfriend replies: “First I’ll rip your clothes off. Then you’ll rip my clothes off. Then we’ll rip Lindsey’s clothes off. Dude! Lindsey is seven. The boyfriend needs to end this movie in a Turkish prison.

The Other Friend replies, “Totally.” I guess we should all just be glad she’s not the babysitter.

The Boyfriend and The Other Friend run into the house. The boyfriend doesn’t close the door on his van. Whoops.

The couple notices that no one is in the house. Or at the very least, they’re so distracted by making out that they don’t notice Michael standing in the corner, watching them.

The Other Friend calls Laurie up, and they pretty much tell each other a bunch of stuff we already know. This makes The Other Friend happy. “Lindsey is gone for the night!” she crows to her boyfriend. “Hey, that’s wonderful,” he replies.

Given his earlier dialogue, I guess I’m just glad he didn’t say, “Aw… are you sure?”

The couple heads upstairs. To play board games. On the bed. Under the sheets. The boyfriend is put out because the phone keeps ringing, so they take the phone off the hook, and get back to what they were doing.

This lasts about another 30 seconds. The Other Friend declares it was “Fantastic. Totally.” Then she demands that her boyfriend bring her a beer. He complies, because he has found a girlfriend with incredibly low expectations, and he wishes to keep her.

Down in the kitchen, the boyfriend notices a door is open. He figures it’s Annie, playing some kind of joke. But, naturally, it’s Michael, who takes a kitchen knife, lifts the boyfriend up into the air, and then pins him to the wall like a butterfly.

Upstairs, The Other Friend is sitting around, waiting for her beer, when her “boyfriend” appears in the doorway, dressed in a sheet with eyeholes.

Now, granted, that’s pretty creepy, and of course we as the audience are aware that it’s Michael behind the sheet. So we’re all like, “Nooo! Run awaaay!”

But logically, it makes no sense at all. The Other Friend shouldn’t be all, “Hey, where’s my beer?” She should be all, “Hey, Boyfriend, you seriously found a sheet and tore two holes in it at a house you’ve never been in?”

For that matter, what was Michael thinking? He’s going to kill the girl anyway. But instead of just going in and getting it done, he had to think, “Okay, I need to find a sheet. Then I need to cut eyeholes in it, and put it on. And then I’ll take boyfriend’s glasses and put them on over the sheet, so The Other Girl will just think I’m her boyfriend, fooling around.

“Then, once she’s convinced I’m her boyfriend being a big jerk for no reason, I’m sure she’ll get up and face away from me, so I can sneak up on her and strangle her. This is an excellent plan, and I can find no flaw in it.”

The end game is, The Other Friend calls Laurie, and then gets strangled to death while Laurie listens in. At first, Laurie figures that The Other Friend is just sharing a special moment with her, but then she gets a little freaked out.

Over at the Myers house Loomis finally looks around and notices, hey, there’s a car here that appears to have been stolen from a mental hospital. How he missed seeing it over the last several hours is something of a mystery. It’s less than 50 feet away from him.

Either way, Loomis decides to take a little walk.

Laurie, who has put the kids to bed, also decides to take a walk. She heads across the street to figure out just what, exactly, was happening during her last phone call from The Other Friend.

She tries the doorbell, and then knocks. When no one answers, she wanders to the back of the house and finds the unlocked door. She walks in and wanders through the dark house, not turning on a single light.

At first she’s all, “This isn’t funny, y’all.” Then she starts to freak out, but still opts to head upstairs to examine just what, exactly, is going on. If The Boyfriend was still alive, this would probably be a dream come true for him.

Laurie heads down the hallway, eventually coming to what is not the first door on the left. In the bedroom, Laurie finds Annie dead on the bed, with Michael’s sister’s headstone taking the place of the headboard. Then she finds The Dead Boyfriend in a wardrobe, and The Other Dead Friend in a closet.

She freaks and walks out into the hallway, instead of running out of the house really, really fast. Michael pops out of a closet and tries to stab her, but only gouges her a little bit.

Laurie runs down to the kitchen to escape, locking the kitchen door behind her. But the back door has been closed, and a rake has been shoved in front of the door handle outside, so Laurie can’t get out.

Michael smashes through the kitchen door. Laurie breaks a glass panel in the back door and shoves the rake away.

Laurie then runs out of the house. She screams, and runs to the neighbor’s house to get help, only they won’t come out and offer assistance. What an awesome neighborhood.

Laurie runs back across the street to the house she’s supposed to be babysitting at. Only she forgot the keys. Oops.

She tosses a flowerpot at the second story window, smashing the pot, and calls to Tommy. Tommy comes down and opens the front door as Michael stalks up.

She locks the door and tells Tommy to go upstairs and lock the door.

Tommy leaves.

Laurie tries to phone. It isn’t working.

Laurie grabs a knitting needle, and Michael, who found another way in, pops up from behind the couch and tries to stab Laurie. Laurie stabs him in the neck with the knitting needle.

Michael yanks the needle out, then falls over. Laurie grabs the knife Michael dropped and peers over the couch at Michael, who appears to be dead. Then she collapses on the couch.

Not the best choice anyone ever made.

Out on the street, Loomis walks along, looking for signs of dead people.

Laurie, meanwhile, heads upstairs and tells the kids that she killed the boogyman. Only, hey, there he is, right behind her.

The kids run in their room and lock the door, and Laurie runs to another room with a closet that appears to be made of balsa wood.

Michael tries to break in while Laurie freaks right out, which is a fairly appropriate response at this point.

Laurie grabs a hanger and gives Michael a solid stab right to the eye. Michael drops his knife, and Laurie picks it up and stabs Michael again.

Sadly, she once again fails to just keep on stabbing until the killer is reduced to tiny slivers of meat. Instead she steps out of the closet, over the “body,” and goes to Tommy and Lindsey’s room.

She tells them to go down the street to another house, and have those people call the police. While Laurie stays in the house. For some reason.

The kids race out the door, screaming, and hey! There’s Dr. Loomis, who happened to be looking around for screaming kids.

He heads towards the house.

Inside, Michael gets up off the floor again and grabs Laurie. There’s some choking, and Laurie pulls off Michael’s mask.

Michael pauses to put his mask back on, and Loomis comes up the stairs and shoots him.

Michael opts to stand, passively, while Loomis shoots him five more times. Michael then falls out a window, dropping from the second floor to the ground.

Laurie asks, “Was it the boogyman?”

Loomis replies, “As a matter of fact, it was.”

Then Loomis looks out the window at the ground. Michael has vanished.

The movie concludes with shots of various locations, as the soundtrack rumbles with the sound of Michael breathing through his mask. The movie closes on a shot of the Myers house.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tremors 4: The Legend Begins

Since the opening burn-in notes that we’re in Nevada, in 1889, I think we all know what we’re in for, right? Right?

Yep. Prequel.

And we all know what that means, of course. Because in the first movie (which is now the second movie) no one ever said, “Hey, these things coming out of the ground and eating people? That totally happened before. Check out this old diary I found…” it means that at the end of this here prequel, there’s gonna be a cover-up of some kind.

Maybe they’ll eat all the graboids? Big old Nevada-style barbecue? That’d be awesome.

Moving right along.

As our story begins anew, a bunch of miners are in a mine, noting that there’s quite a bit of soft dirt. Which they have to note, because otherwise people like me would be all, “I thought they couldn’t tunnel through rock?”

We meet a dude named Juan, and then another guy. But I’m not going to bother to tell you his name, because thirty seconds after we meet him, he mysteriously vanishes.

This puzzles Juan, who goes to talk to another friend. That friend is just about to offer a theory when he gets yanked up towards the ceiling and his head gets popped off, complete with gratuitous neck stump.

Juan screams, and several of the men outside the mine inquire after his health in loud voices.

Then Juan hears screaming, and the mine goes dark, because special effects cost way, way, way, way too much to blow the budget in the first three minutes of the movie.

Now that Juan’s fate is sealed, the movie jumps on over to a nearby town called Rejection, which I’m about 100% certain will be called Perfection by the time the closing credits roll.

Oh, hey. There’s Chang’s market, right there. Good old Chang. I don’t feel so bad that he died in the first movie now. The guy was at least 100 years old. That’s a good long run by any standard. No wonder no one got all that sad about his death.

The movie then takes a moment to introduce us to Chang, only there’s two Changs. Chang, and his son. But the movie doesn’t bother to tell us their name right away, so from now on they’re going to be Big Chang and Little Chang.

Big Chang tells Little Chang that the mine has closed and everyone is leaving. Little Chang thinks that the town’s name is the problem. Little Chang has a smart mouth. It’s time for Big Chang to bring down the long arm of the law on his behind, methinks.

Chang squared walk into their store, where we get to meet some more of the town. For example, we meet Mrs. Chang. She’s a peach. And by a peach, I mean she’s angry and bitter and wants to go back to China.

Also in the store: Some woman, a drunk dude, and Juan, who wants to buy a hat but can’t afford it. Chang says he can buy it on credit, but Mrs. Chang says no.

What a fun little group, huh?

The telegraph machine goes clicky-click, and Chang picks up the message and reads it. The owner of the mine is coming to town, all the way from Philadelphia.

And who is the owner? Hiram Gummer. Which I guess would make him the grandfather of Burt.

“Some woman,” by the by, has a name: Christine.

Hiram arrives by stagecoach, along with a lot of luggage. The movie takes a long, long time setting up this mysterious stranger, just so that we can see that it’s the very same actor who plays Burt.

Why bother? If you’re a fan of the series, you know who it is based on the name. And if you don’t follow the series, all you’re going to think is, “Oh, it’s that ‘Family Ties’ guy. I wondered what happened to him.”

Everyone fills him in on what’s going on – the mine closed, seventeen men were killed, and the person who runs the mine just skipped town, which is why Hiram hasn’t heard from him.

Christine takes Hiram to her “hotel,” which is basically a tent with some beds in it. Man alive, who doesn’t love the old west? Hiram is shocked and somewhat dismayed. He is, however, intrigued by Christine’s collection of guns – all of which were taken as payment for services rendered when the mine closed.

Later, as Hiram concludes his lunch, he offers Little Chang the last of his gingerbread if the boy will run and get him some brandy. Then Hiram eats the gingerbread. He says he wants to teach the boy a lesson about life, but I suspect he’s just not a very nice guy. He probably kicks puppies and then informs them that they should avoid shoes.

Hiram talks to Juan and says that he wants to take the remaining miners out first thing in the morning, and deal with whatever it is that ate 17 miners.

In the course of events, we learn that Hiram doesn’t own a gun, but that everyone else does. Except Little Chang. He owns a slingshot. Hiram is lucky he didn’t take a shot to the face for the gingerbread stunt.

The next day, Hiram and Juan set out. There’s some semi-amusing business, but it’s mostly about making fun of Hiram and the fact that he’s never ridden a horse.

The good news is, we learn another character name: Tecopa. He works for Christine. Or maybe he doesn’t. It’s a bit unclear.

Juan, Hiram, and a cadre of miners head up to the mine. They investigate it, but they don’t find anything but a few dead bodies. Which is odd, seeing as how we’ve never seen that in a “Tremors” movie before. Perhaps the graboids of 100 years ago were a little more sloppy.

Hiram declares the mine to be safe, and everyone camps out for the night.

Things go smoothly until one of the miners wanders off to play his concertina to the horses. He is promptly eaten. By the horses. Well, okay, probably not.

The horses run off, which aggravates the rest of the miners. One of them wanders out into the darkness to find his missing comrade, and he, too, is eaten. By the horses. Because once they get a taste for blood, y’know?

Everyone starts to freak out, and rightfully so. Guns are pulled out, and people go on alert. But it’s too late – the graboids are here.

Or rather, little mini-graboids that are capable of shooting out of the dirt and leaping through the air are here. They immediately eat a third miner, and Juan loudly suggests that everyone should get off the ground and onto a nearby rock.

Of course, since these graboids are capable of making tremendous jumps into the air, the chances of the rocks protecting any of the remaining victims is somewhat laughable. And even if they survive, they won’t be able to protect themselves from the man-eating horses.

Death is imminent.

Oh, uh… except that the foothills just behind Hiram and Juan, the only survivors, are made entirely of rock. So that was lucky.

Hiram and Juan walk home, and recount their tale of screaming and running to the rest of the town. Hiram determines that they need to hire a gunfighter – someone with a fast trigger finger who can shoot the creatures as they fly through the air.

Little Chang sends a telegram to a few semi-local papers.
A month passes.

Several small scenes roll by, providing us with two pieces of information: The town owns a massive steam engine, and Hiram is broke because the not-running silver mine is where all his money comes from.

Finally, someone remembers that they should get back to the plot, and the people of the town gather together in the hotel on dark and stormy night.

A flash of lighting illuminates the wall, and there, in the shadows, is Black Hand Kelly. He has a black glove on. That’s why he’s Black Hand Kelly.

Kelly demonstrates that he’s a great shot by shooting a sausage off a wall, then shooting two holes in it before it hits the floor. I’m going to let you fill in your own jokes here.

Discussion of payment comes up, and Kelly demands some money up front – forcing Hiram to give up his one extremely valuable coin and his diamond cufflinks, all of which were set up during the dull scenes from a few minutes ago.

This sacrifice really impresses Christine. Christine is sort of gullible, I guess, since giving up a couple of valuables now will re-open a quite literal silver mine for Hiram. If someone could promise me I’d win a 500 million dollar jackpot by handing over 100 bucks, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Hiram, Juan, and Kelly saddle up and ride back to the mine. And Mrs. Chang gives Juan a hat. As a gift. I realize this is a payoff in a setup-payoff scheme, but seriously? How many times have we made reference to Juan’s hat? Did no one get into editing the movie and realize, say, this hat thing just goes on, and on, and on, and on… ?

The boys ride to the mine, where they discover that the worms (Chang has taken to calling them Dirt Dragons) are missing. But they do find some egg shells, which as it turns out were hatched when the miners pumped the hot spring from the mine.

Bad form, boys. I guess the good news is they have no one to blame for their deaths but themselves.

The boys continue grub-hunting,

They come across an old wagon that belongs to Old Fred, the drunk guy who was always hanging around. Turns out Fred is dead. And only a head. Why whatever ate him left his head lying around is a mystery. Perhaps they thought it would be creepy.

The gang buries the head, then heads down to the old muling station to get some sleep. Juan thinks they’ll be safe, because there’s no way that the dirt dragons will be able to break through the heavy beams in the barn floor.

Of course, Juan doesn’t take into account that there’s a big old wagon behind them that’s been torn in half. Someday, when the short bus is invented, Juan will ride it.

The boys get to the muling station, get the horses behind the fence, and then go the sleep.

That night, a loud rumbling scares the horses and they all run away.

Moments later, graboids stick their tentacles through the wide slats in the station walls, and steal Juan’s hat. Just when you thought that joke was over…

The boys all jump up and start firing away at various and sundry tentacles. The tentacles pull out, and Kelly decides its time that Hiram learn how to shoot. So there’s a shooting lesson.

The thing is, each time Hiram fires, the graboids can feel the vibrations and try to break through the floor.

Finally, the graboids wise up, and start grabbing the boards in the floor and dragging them away, one by one.

Hiram tells Juan to go make clicky-clicks on the telegraph, only Juan doesn’t know any Morse code. So he just clicks at random.

Lucky for him, Little Chang, Mrs. Chang, and Christine hear the tapping, and figure out it’s from the muling station. The other men have left on some expedition or other, so Christine decides to saddle up and head to the muling station herself.

Back at the station, a full-sized graboid breaks through the floor, and almost eats Juan.

Kelly realizes that none of their weapons are effective against the creature, so he decides they should sit and wait, and when the graboid attacks they’ll all shoot it at the same time and kind of hope for the best.

Really. That’s the plan.

The next morning, with nearly all the boards gone, the boys hear a sound from behind them. They turn around, and of course it’s a trick, and of course Kelly gets eaten, because he’s the guest star.

Lucky for Juan and Hiram, Christine shows up with a horse and wagon rig, and our remaining boys jump out and hop on. Hooray! They are saved!

Though come to think of it, in the last movie, Bert lived for a while after he was swallowed. So Kelly is probably all right. They should go back and save him.

Back at Chang’s, everyone debates what to do. Long story short, Hiram thinks everyone should run away to a new existence and never look back. But everyone else feels like this is their home and that they should fight for it.

Never mind that four little creatures managed to eat all of the miners except one. Never mind the fact that Kelly, their only real chance as survival, got eaten. These people are going to stand their ground.

Gonna be a full short bus.

Hiram, who is not insane, decides to leave.

The townsfolk, however, give him an ultimatum. He’s going to have to leave on their horse – in trade, they want the mine. Hiram says he’s going to sell the mine. The townsfolk say they’ll send a telegram to the papers saying just what happened at the mine.

Hiram will be destitute.

But he’ll be alive.

So he rides off anyway, telling everyone they can have the mine.

Hiram rides through the night and gets to the next town. Perhaps this is the legendary Bixby? Sadly, it’s Carson city. Drat. Perhaps we’ll see Bixby in part V.

He goes to a hotel and takes a bath, though it’s unclear how he’s paying his hotel bill. The man has no money, by his own admission.

Back at the other town, Juan goes for a ride and discovers that the dragons are coming.

Then the worms arrive, and everyone dies. The end.

Well, okay, actually there’s a half-hour to go.

Hiram goes to buy a train ticket home. At the station, the telegraph starts to chatter. The folks back in Rejection are asking for help, only the guy behind the counter figures the whole thing is a big joke.

Hiram leaves the station without a ticket, which makes sense, because the man still has no money at all. He looks across the street, pulling out his watch while eyeing a big old gun shop.

Back in Rejection, everyone is packing up. They see dust from the South… only the worms will be coming from the North. Who could it possibly be?

Really. The movie not only asks the question, but makes us wait a minute for the answer. That’s just weird. Did they make this movie for people who’ve never seen a movie before?

Anyhow, Hiram rides up with a big wagon filled with guns. Everyone gets one. Oh, and Juan gets another hat, because Hiram figures Juan will need a spare. I did not make that up.

Strongly emphasized is the punt gun, which is a really, really, really, really long gun that shots a whole lot of shot at once.

And now we’re into the final battle.

First worm: Everyone stands around on something heavy, while they lift and drop a gigantic dinner bell on top of a rock using a rope. This causes the worm to stick its head above ground, and Hiram shoots it with the punt gun. It dies.

Second worm: Everyone gets back on something heavy. The worm grabs the punt gun and drags it under the ground. Juan trips and falls, the worm hears him, and goes after him. Juan climbs a tall pole. The worm starts to eat the pole. Tecopa grabs a really long saw, and jams it down a really deep hole he made earlier in the movie so that they’d have a place to stick a flagpole when Nevada got a state flag.

(One again, not kidding.)

He whacks on the saw-in-the-hole with the butt of his gun, and the worm races over and, presumably, chops itself in half on the saw. I say presumably because blood seeps up from the ground.

Third worm: The worm eats Tecopa. No, wait, we’re led to think that, instead the worm eats a cigar store Indian. Tee-hee.

The graboid then races away, circling the town. The characters claim this is because it is hunting, but let’s not kid ourselves – this is because the screenwriter couldn’t think of a scenario that reached this point, but didn’t end with every member of the town being consumed.

Think about it. Everyone is standing on the ground right now, and they lost their big gun. They’re basically a undercooked buffet. But whatever.

Big Chang grabs the remaining gunpowder from the punt gun, and some twine, and makes some explosives. In case you missed that, the Chinese fellow takes the Chinese-invented gunpowder and makes explosives.

I feel a mite uncomfortable with this.

The bomb is just about finished then the telegraph machine starts clicking, attracting the worm. Chaos ensues. Various people nearly die.

The worm pops out of the ground and stays out of the ground, attempting to eat itself some people. Hiram grabs a long belt-like thing, sticks a hook at one end, and attaches the belt to the steam engine.

He jams the hook into the worm’s tail, Big Chang fires up the engine, and the worm is dragged out of the ground and splats to its death.

The town is saved. Hoorah!

Later, Hiram gets a loan from the bank to hire workers so he can re-open the silver mine. Hiram points out that it’s not really his mine anymore, and the townsfolk say, no, really, it’s his mine.


Hiram agrees to take back the mine under two conditions. One is that they never tell anyone about the dirt dragons, and two is that the hotel gets real walls, the shop gets real walls, Juan’s land is paid off, and Tecopa gets a cigar store Indian that looks just like him. Really, that’s what Tecopa wants. He requests it.

I have no words.

Well, I do, but I don’t know that I really want to spew them out here.

As the credits get ready to roll, we get to see miners coming into town, Big Chang changing the town sign from Rejection to Perfection, and Hiram getting a shiny new gun that shoots lots of bullets really fast, which causes him to laugh and laugh and laugh, so we can see the crazy on his face as we fade out.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tremors 3: Back to Perfection

It appears that someone learned a little something between the making of part II and part III, because this time, we zip on through the credits and get right to it – here’s the title, aaaand… here’s the movie.

Despite the fact that the movie is called “Back to Perfection,” the opening scene informs us that we’re starting off in El Chaco, Argentina. Two trucks are driving around in the dark in the middle of nowhere (okay, not nowhere, the movie just told us where we are, but you know what I mean).

They pull over and, hey, whaddaya know, they’re some kind of news people.

And then here comes another really, really big truck, and of course, it’s Burt. And is he armed to the teeth? Of course he is.

Burt spouts off a bunch of exposition about how a graboid was running around, but the government wasn’t prepared to stop it, so it evolved into shriekers. Oh, hey, the little screamy things have a name!

Burt notes that six of them came out of the graboid. Except, as we all know, graboids give birth to three of those things, not six. But we all know that Burt is probably totally insane, so let’s just go with it.

After the shriekers burst forth into this world, they ate a truckload of chickens which, of course, allowed them to be fruitful and multiply. But don’t you worry. Burt has some kind of massive automatic machine-gun thing mounted to the back of his truck.

So he straps in, and a bunch of shriekers come zipping over the hill, and Burt blows them all away.

And NOW we’re headed back to Perfection. Yes indeed. There it is. Population five. At least, that’s what the sign says.

You can tell the budget is headed south on a sequel when they just flat-out tell you that there’s no one in the town.

Burt drives into town, and then it’s exposition time! First, Burt spots the trailer and sign: Perfection Valley Ranchettes. Those evil corporate land-sellers have come to town, to sell unsuspecting folks a bunch of dust with a house on it.

Miguel, who you may remember as the other minority in Perfection, drives up and asks Burt about the collection of cement trucks that drove up to his land. It seems that Burt had a big old see-ment wall built around and under his compound so that graboids can’t get him. Even though there haven’t been any graboids in Perfection for 11 years.

Burt heads to what used to be Chang’s. Turns out that his daughter runs the place now, so it’s still Chang’s. Which is convenient for me. Just remember that when I say Chang, I’m no longer talking about an old Asian dude, but a young Asian woman.

Other important facts from this scene:

Chang is trying to up tourism by selling graboid and shrieker paraphernalia – including puppets.

Burt is now the proud owner of an awesome watch.

Earl and Grady did, in fact, start a theme park. Which means that apparently a couple of actors opted to price themselves out of part III.

And finally, some dude showed up recently and started giving tours, under the name Desert Jack’s Graboid Adventure.

We get a quick little CUT TO, and here we are, with Jack, driving along, telling people that they’re in the heart of graboid country. It is, of course, every stupid thing you’ve ever seen at a theme park.

In other words, they drive for a bit, then Jack sticks a hidden tape into a player and the viewscreen on his truck tells all the nice people in back that a graboid is on its way.

Meanwhile, his buddy, off in the bushes, fires a bunch of dust in the air and yanks over some fence posts. Just for, you know, verisimilitude.

Jack then takes his charges and secures them on a large flat rock, so they can sit around in the hot sun and buy tasty beverages from him at $4.50 a pop.

After that comes a short scene wherein Burt drives to his compound, so we can see that he’s a paranoid goofball. In case you missed that during the previous fifteen minutes. And the previous two movies on top of that.

And then it’s over to Chang and Jack, wherein we learn that Jack took some ice without paying for it. And possibly some other stuff, but I’m guessing it’s not important, so I’m not going to bother babbling about it.

And then, well, it’s off to the desert for a super-short scene where we get to hear some rumbling and see a hula-girl doll rock back and forth on the dashboard of an empty car.

The next morning, Chang is working in the store while somebody-or-other complains about how some kind of clay is too expensive. Luckily, the movie lets us know who we’re seeing by bringing in a teenage girl, and telling us that the girl is Mindy, the pogo-stick girl from the first movie.

Which, of course, makes the clay-complaining woman her mother. This also means that she eventually got her kiln built, even if Val and Earl weren’t the ones to do it.

Mindy is dropping off some pants for Jack. She mended them using duct tape, claiming that it’s a statement, and not just laziness on her part.

Mindy heads outside and runs into Burt, so she can fill him and us in on all the fascinating things she’s been doing. Like dropping out of college because her family can’t afford tuition.

(Well, sure. Not with that kind of work ethic.)

Oh, and also she’s working at the Arby’s in Bixby. Isn’t that like 38 miles away? So she’s driving something like 45 minutes to get to work, so that she can make minimum wage? Not great life planning. Her first hour, and probably most of her second, is going towards gas to get to work. Here’s hoping she’s taking a lot of 12-hour shifts.

Mindy wanders off, and Jack walks up to Burt. Jack tries to convince Burt that they should partner up. Burt could sign a few autographs, maybe give a weapons demonstration.

Burt says no, impolitely.

Jack’s partner drives up, and we learn that his name is Buford (really?) and that he’s got a thing for Mindy. Probably because she’s fully one-third of the female population of the town.

Back out at the only entertainment in town, Jack gives another tour, and Buford does his thing. He’s invited Mindy along, and she went with him, probably because it’s either that or sitting around at the house, watching the precious minutes of her life slip away.

Mindy asks Buford why he has such a pathetic job, and he ripostes by stating that he used to shovel roadkill for the country. Mindy speculates that perhaps Buford has reached his social peak, while Jack is almost certainly bound for greatness, or mending a broken heart.

Mindy has terrible taste in men. And career choices. And pretty much everything else.

Buford, meanwhile, has pulled out a really large knife and started throwing it into the ground, over and over. He starts to give Mindy a semi-threatening look that says, more-or-less, that perhaps if she can’t be with the one she loves, she should love the one she’s with, or maybe she’s gonna get stabbed, and then Buford gets eaten by a graboid.

Jack freaks right out, as this was not part of the tour, but Mindy keeps a cool head and tells Jack via frantic, silent signals that he should keep his mouth shut and not move.

She uses the same signals to have him throw his keys, and when the graboid is distracted, they run to Jack’s truck, throw some stuff as a distraction, and then drive back into town.

Burt, who has been planning for this day for eleven years, also races into town. And, uh… there’s some more racing.

Ultimately, everyone ends up in town, with lots, and lots, and lots of time to talk and plan what to do. Interestingly, someone points out that they can call the authorities this time, because they aren’t cut off.

Burt points out that they are the authorities. Dude. Whatever. If giant killer worms are coming after me, I vote to send some sort of militia members after them.

No matter. Burt, Jack, and Miguel all head out at dawn with some explosives and radio-controlled trucks in tow.

Only they get stopped by the U.S. Government, who have placed the graboids on the endangered species list.

There’s a boatload of dialogue here, but long story short: no graboid hunting allowed. And if the area becomes dangerous, the citizens of Perfection will be forced to move to a new location. Naturally, the government will give everyone a fair price for their land.

You know what this means, right? It means Burt is right about something that doesn’t explode. I guess that’s what makes it science fiction.

Later that night, Burt heads down to his basement to shoot some stuff, which he does right up until he hears his seismograph beeping. He steps outside, and a massive CGIed white graboid pops up from the ground to, like, hang out and demonstrate that CGI is popular in direct-to-video sequels.

Interesting to note, however, that the graboid sticks out pretty far. Makes one wonder just why Burt didn’t opt to build a six-foot wall ABOVE ground, instead of just below it.

A couple of scenes wander on past without much happening in them. The basic gist is this – the government boys want to catch a graboid. They can’t do it. So Jack cuts a deal. If Burt can catch one, then they give him back his hunting rights.

The government boys have been using tranquilizer darts, but they can’t penetrate the dirt. So Burt grabs a dart and sticks it on top of a remote-controlled truck.

He also grabs Jack and drags him along for the ride.

As Bert and Jack head off, the dude from the Smithsonian (he was with the government guys) comes driving up, all excited because he found an egg, which he immediately dated and determined that, yes, this is where the graboids come from.


Bert and Jack get ready to do them some graboid catching, when here comes another vehicle, out to the middle of nowhere. It’s Melvin, from the first movie.

Now, instead of a teenager you want to punch in the throat, he’s the man running Perfection Valley Ranchettes… who you want to punch in the throat.

Basically, he makes Burt an offer Burt can’t refuse, only Burt refuses it. At which point, Jack hears a beeping and realizes that a graboid is headed right for them.

Burt tells everyone to be quiet, only Melvin’s pager goes off. He throws it away from him, and it lands at Burt’s feet. So Burt gets eaten, while Melvin drives away.

Really. That’s what happens.

But Burt’s on the movie poster, so after a few moments of sad music, we learn that Burt is alive and in the belly of the graboid. He tells Jack, via radio, to engage the graboid and drive towards Burt’s front gate.

Naturally, this causes the graboid to smash headfirst into Burt’s underground wall. Icky.

Jack grabs a shovel and a chainsaw, first digging down six inches to find the worm, and then cutting into the dead worm with a chainsaw. Burt pops out of the worm like an ancient, goo-covered fetus.

And then it is later, and instead of just Burt and Jack, the team is now in two vehicles that consists of Burt and Miguel in one vehicle and Jack and Chang in the other vehicle.

They confer, and determine that they haven’t heard from the government agents in a while – only here comes the Smithsonian guy, who is covered in fire extinguisher foam. He lives just long enough to let us know that the other graboid turned into shriekers, then ate the other government dudes. Oh, and himself, kind of. He’s got a mess of blood on his back. Perhaps they ate his spine?

It kind of makes sense. He was only standing upright because he was frozen in place. But once he unfroze…

Burt hooks up some new gear and they go shrieker hunting. The only problem is, when they pause to figure out what’s up with the shriekers, the albino graboid attacks, which causes all our heroes to run for the rocks.

Unfortunately, they forgot their radios back on their vehicles, so they can’t call for help. So the team sits out on the rocks for a spell. And by a spell, I mean overnight.

In the morning, the worm is still out there. So Miguel hands Burt a fishing pole he made with sticks and dental floss. Because Miguel always has dental floss with him.

I can’t say I really want to know why.

Burt and Miguel go fishing, and grab Burt’s radio. Burt asks for loud music, and Mindy plays some. Burt tosses his radio, and the albino goes for it.

Burt leaps off the rock, hands guns to everyone, and then jams a toolbox on his accelerator pedal and sends his vehicle driving away at top speed. The graboid follows it.

Of course, now they’re trapped out in the middle of a field with nowhere safe to go, but, you know. Whatever.

The team heads into a nearby canyon to shoot the shriekers. But when they get to the canyon, there’s nothing there but shrieker husks.

Burt is saddened by the lack of things to kill – “Let’s go find my truck,” he says. Never mind that his truck just drove away from them at 45 miles her hour, headed for who-knows-where, with a gigantic beast behind it that’s really, really good at breaking stuff.

They eventually find the truck, only it ran off a cliff, flipped over, and is currently semi-engulfed in flames. So much for that really-poorly-conceived plan.

Suddenly, our gang hears a noise, and there, on the ground… is yet another mutation of the creature. Bigger than the shrieker. Smaller than a graboid. But! Bonus! This one has wings! And shoots fire from its rectum, allowing it to soar into the air majestically.

Which is does.

Burt shoots it a lot, but, sadly, not before it can knock Miguel off the cliff. Miguel is mighty dead, now.

Burt radios Mindy and her mom, and we almost get a moment of grief, only one of the new, improved killing machines come flying at them.

They race to get off the roof they’ve been hiding on, and head inside Chang’s store and into the meat locker.

Gonna be a nippy afternoon for them.

Chang, Jack, and Burt grab a mattress that’s lying on the ground nearby, and hide under it as they walk back to Burt’s place. Lucky for them, they’re walking on a strip of natural granite, so the worm can’t get to them.

Why yes, that IS convenient, now that you mention it.

The trio arrives at Burt’s place, and calls up Mindy and mama, only of course they aren’t answering.

Burt’s seismograph goes off, but they’re safe from graboids inside Burt’s basement.

They are not, however, safe from flying creatures who shoot flames from their bottoms. So one of the creatures crashes through the ceiling of Burt’s basement.

Which means that not only did it sense heat from Burt’s house, but it managed to pound through the ceiling and at least one story worth of home.

No wonder Burt lives in the basement all the time – his house is made of balsa wood.

The trio escapes to the safe room, only the creature turns around and applies its fire-shooting behind to the door, melting it.

So Burt and crew get out using an escape tunnel. Only first, Burt sticks a gas can in front of the melting door.

The creature, and the house, go up in flames. And a series of explosions and ricocheting bullets.

Mindy and momma radio to Burt at that moment – their beast ate all their food, which caused it to go into a total food coma.

So, had Burt opted to feed the creature instead of destroying it, it would have passed out. And Burt’s panic room was filled with MREs.

Oh, juicy, delicious, dried-food irony. Where would we be without you?

The trio needs to make a run for it, so they hop in Burt’s boat, stick a tarp over their heads, and wheel on down a steep hill. On a boat. In the desert.

They escape to the junkyard, where they kill one creature by knocking something heavy over on top of it. There’s a short victory celebration, only four more of the creatures spot them, and they’re forced to run and hide in a porta-potty.

Discussion ensues, but long story short, they remember that the creatures are filled with flaming chemicals, which is what allows them to set fire to their own booty emissions. So they decide they’ll shoot them with flaming arrows and they’ll blow up.

Jack figures they can build some kind potato gun. All they need is some pipe, some flammable liquid, a lighter, and something that can fire and also be flaming.

Everyone runs out of the porta-john to go find parts.

Chang gets spotted, and it looks like it’s curtains for the only remaining minority in the valley, until she runs into a boxcar of some kind (why is that in the junkyard?) and accidentally knocks over some gas cans inside (that still have gas in them – doesn’t that violate a law or three?) and escapes out a back window. She runs around to the front door and locks it, and naturally the thing which is designed to squirt flame does so, and there’s a loud explosion, and now it’s dead.

Everyone finds their parts, including Burt, who locates some hooch tucked into the walls of a destroyed trailer. And that trailer? Totally belonged to Nestor.

What? You don’t remember Nestor? He had, like, one line back in the first movie? Tried to hide inside a tire and got sucked down into the ground by a graboid?

I loves me some continuity, but, seriously, even fans of this series had to be going, “um, wha?” I seriously doubt they went back and rewatched the first and second movie before watching part three.

Jack, Burt and Chang wander around the dump until well after dark. Which means they must have been out in the junkyard for a few hours. I’m not quite sure how that works, since the junkyard appears to be maybe sixty feet by sixty feet.

Once the gang is all back together, they head into yet another trailer that’s stored in the junkyard. After a short altercation with a winged beast, in order to heighten suspense, they get to work making their potato/spear gun.

Luckily for the audience, Burt goes out of his way to explain that the moonshine is Nestor’s, and that Nestor died in the first graboid attack. Just in case the audience members were still looking at each other, going, “Do you remember Nestor? Was he the first dead guy? No, that was Old Fred, right?”

The gun is carefully assembled, the flaming arrow/fence post is set on fire, and the shot directly fired into the flying creature. He blows up real good.

That’s two down, and two to go.

The next beast crash-lands on their roof. It attacks through one skylight, knocking Burt to the ground. Jack and Chang grab the gun, and Jack boosts Chang up through the other skylight so she can shoot the creature.

The creature flames up, falls off the roof, and explodes, destroying the wall with it’s dying flaming gaseous emissions.

The fourth creature starts walking towards them, and the gang preps the gun and fires again – only this time, the creature ducks.

Yes indeedy, folks, it’s getting smarter.

The creature rushes them, and it looks like Jack is going to get eaten. Which is fine. It’s not like he’s a well-loved character. But Burt is always thinking on his feet, and carrying cannon fuse. He wraps some fuse around another metal stake, lights it, and jams it into the beast.

The trio manages to get away from the creature just long enough to get into a back room, and then, BOOM, the thing explodes off-camera, which is much cheaper than on-camera.

All’s well that ends well, except the albino graboid has found them again. Burt laments that the thing always finds him, until he realizes that his super-awesome watch that uses an ultrasonic signal is clearly the thing that’s causing the graboid to hunt him down.

Burt trips, falls, and lands on the underside of a matress, where he ends up snagged by his vest.

Jack jumps down and steals Burt’s watch. He pretends that he’s doing this to draw the graboid away, but let’s not kid ourselves. The minute he’s out of town, he’s pawning that thing.

It looks like everything is going to be more-or-less okay, only the winged beastie that they dropped the large object on? That was thought was dead, only I guess it was still alive? Yeah, it finally got free, and it’s coming for them.

Since Burt is still trapped, it looks like he’s going to be meal number one.

But no. Jack looks at the watch. Then he looks down at his pants, which were, and are, mended with duct tape.

He strips off the tape, and wads it up around the watch, sticky-side-out. Then he throws it directly on the angry, flaming creature.

The albino graboid pops up and eats its own third stage variation. So if history taught us anything, that creature is still alive, and at some point, the white worm will spit it out somewhere and it will go on a rampage.

Or maybe I’m overthinking things.


The movie then leaps forward some indeterminate time, as it tries to wrap up all its little plotlines.

So… let’s see how that goes.

First, we get to see the final winged gasplosion-using creature, which Mindy and her mom stuffed into a crate with an open back end. Mom is on the phone negotiating with people, and eventually it’s revealed that they’re selling the creature to Siegfried and Roy.

Which is sort of funny, until you remember that one of them was mauled by a tiger a couple of years later. Then you’re all, “Oh, that’s kind of sad…”

Moving right along, we learn that Jack, who clearly won’t be giving tours anymore, since his partner was eaten, now has a job managing a car wash down in Bixby. Given the size of his massive vehicle and the kind of gas mileage he’s getting, his first six hours of work every day will go towards fuel.

Jack offers to take Chang for a ride, help him break in his new rear axle. I think we all know what THAT means, but I can’t say I’ve ever heard referred to quite that way.

Chang asks Mindy to watch the store, and she and Jack head out for a “drive.”

Mindy is saddened that the only semi-youthful male in town is now taken, and that she will have to settle for Burt. But she’s philosophical about it.

(Okay, that might be giving her too much credit. What really happens is, she says, “Figures. Older women.” Whatever that means.)

Finally, we head out to the middle of nowhere, where Burt is driving a remote-controlled vehicle around the ground with a new watch strapped to it.

Melvin drives out, and Burt suggests that Melvin join him on the rock.

Burt then calmly explains that since the albino graboid is protected under the endangered species act, Melvin can’t build. So the entire town has built up its defenses in preparation to live in harmony with the great white worm.

(It was, of course, carefully explained that since albinos can’t mate, that the creature will never advance to the next stage o’ life.)

Burt jumps into his vehicle and takes off, leaving Melvin trapped on the rock to die out in the middle of the dessert.

That’s right, boys and girls. The hero of our movie. A genuine sociopath.

A final note: The credits point out that no graboids, shriekers, or their mutations were harmed in the making of this motion picture.