Tuesday, December 8, 2009

But the Third One Was Great: FAQ the First

Q: Why don’t you like horror movies?

A: I do like them. I like them a lot. I don’t think I could do this if I didn’t like them, unless there was a lot of money in it.

Q: Then why do you make fun of these movies?

A: I would argue that I don’t make fun of the movies – I’m just noting the logic flaws, missed continuity, bad storytelling choices, and questionable acting.

In a way, I view what I’m putting down here as a “What not to do” checklist. Follow it, and the next time you go to make a horror movie, you’ll avoid some of the pitfalls.

Alternately, when something goes right, I also love to revel in it.

Q: So what’s this FAQ for?

A: I’ve had a few questioned addressed to me directly, and a LOT of Google searches that have come up over and over again. So I thought I’d help my readers out.

Q: What happened to Judy at the end of “Sleepaway Camp?”

A: Judy got a hot curling iron in a place where no curling iron should go in a lady.

Q: Did that kill Judy?

A: Interesting question (you’re going to see that a lot), and the answer is, “Depends on who you ask.”

As far as the film is concerned, probably. But we never see Judy acting all deceased once she’s “dead,” and she’s never carted away in an ambulance, since the movie ends once we learn who the killer is.


After “Camp” 1, 2, and 3 came out, a fourth film was in the works. Parts of it were shot, but the money ran out and the film was never completed. The footage was released only in a special box set put out by Anchor Bay. The story goes that, at the end of the film, we would learn that Judy was the murderer – she was driven mad by her disfigurement by curling iron. Or something equally disturbing.

Of course, eventually, there WAS a fourth camp movie – which ignored 2, 3, and the unfinished 4 totally.

But wait! There’s more! A script also exists for a “fourth” camp movie that follows parts 2 and 3, and at some point there are plans to release a “Camp” movie that follows the storyline of “Return to Sleepaway Camp.”

So, to reiterate – Judy is probably dead, but any one of a number of “Sleepaway” projects could bring her back at any moment.

Q: Who’s the guy in the silver-toed boots/black hat in “Halloween 5?”

A: Depends on who you ask. (See, I told you that you’d see this answer a lot.)

According to the people who starred in “5,” the person had no name, and he entered the “Halloween” mythos with no definite plan of action for how he fit into the story of Michael Myers in the future.

Since part six was written by another person, we have to assume that we’ll never know the so-called “true” story of just who that guy really was.

Or, if you follow the story of part six, Silver Toes is Wynn, Loomis’ friend – the guy who ran the asylum Michael lived in for roughly 15 years.

Q: What’s the deal with the Cult of the Thorn in Halloween 5 and/or 6?

A: As far as part five goes, your guess is as good as anyone’s.

As far as part six goes, the cult wanted to control Michael, so that things could do back to the way they were in the old days, with evil, and child slaughter, and stuff. No, it doesn’t make even a tiny bit of sense.

Q: Is Loomis dead at the end of “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers?”

A: Depends who you ask. (Man, I love that answer.) Oh, and also which cut of the movie you watch.

Assuming we’re talking about the theatrical release, the answer is… uh… there’s no way to tell. Loomis goes back to find Michael, but in the end, we only see Michael’s mask, and we certainly don’t see Loomis being killed by Michael. Though we do get some screeming.

The writer of the movie, in interviews, has said that Loomis is dead. Of course, Loomis was also dead at the end of parts five and two, depending on who you ask. And “H20” ignores all the movies that aren’t part 1 and part 2 – and Loomis is dead for sure in “H20.”

But the mystery deepens, as hardcore fans of the “Halloween” series have also gotten their hands on a “Producer’s Cut” of “Curse,” in which Loomis lives. So there you go.

Q: Why are you so mean to Jennifer Tilly when talking about the “Child’s Play” movies?

A: I don’t have any problems with Tilly. I think she’s a good actress who looks a certain way, and sounds a certain way, and subsequently always ends up in certain kinds of roles.

Tilly, who I’m positive is not an idiot, is well aware of this, and has turned it into a lucrative career. To this I say, good for her.

My “complaint” with Tilly, if it has anything to do with her at all, is how she’s parodied in “Seed of Chucky.” “Seed” has a lot of problems – it’s barely a horror movie at all, for starters. It’s a camp take on dramas, and something of a satire of the Hollywood system. The problem is, it goes for every single painfully obvious joke, from Glen(da) wetting his/her pants, to the whole, tee-hee, Tilly is trying to get a job as the Virgin Mary by sleeping with the director gag.

It’s about as funny as a series of knock-knock jokes.

Q: Seriously, what’s the deal with the “Phantasm” movies? Those recaps made no sense at all.

A: By the creator’s own admission, he’s kind of making it up as he goes along.

In short: The Tall Man is a being from another dimension. He’s come to our world to take corpses, which he shrinks down so they can handle the gravity in his dimension. He also takes the brains out of the corpses, and uses them to operate those killer balls he’s got.

Michael is the first person to discover the evil Tall Man. His brother Jody is killed and captured by The Tall Man, and may or may not be working with him.

Reggie was Jody’s best friend, and he and Michael are on a cross-country journey to stop The Tall Man. Oh, and Reggie sells, or used to sell, ice cream, and carries his uniform with him throughout the whole series.

Over the course of four movies, The Tall Man wipes out various cities to add members to his dwarven army.

There are other details, but if you want to try to make sense of them, you’re on your own.

Q: Why didn’t/don’t you cover “Day of the Dead 2: Contagium”

A: Hoo boy.

Let’s talk about the “Dead” movies for a minute, shall we?

I’m pretty sure someone out there can prove me wrong, but I suspect that “Night of the Living Dead” might have more sequels, remakes, and spinoffs than any other film in history.

To date, the movie has been remade twice. “Dawn” and “Day” have also both been remade, but not, I repeat, NOT as sequels to the original “Night.” The second version of both “Dawn” and “Day” don’t acknowledge the original “Night,” and they also are NOT sequels to either of the “Night” remakes.

In fact, the new “Day” isn’t even a sequel to the new “Dawn.” It stands all by itself.

As for “Day of the Dead 2,” it’s billed as a sequel to “Day of the Dead.” But it isn’t one. It has nothing to do with the original. It has different zombie origins, a different backstory, and uses none of the characters found in “Day of the Dead.”

It’s just a rip-off title meant to make the filmmakers some more money.

But wait! That’s not the first time that happened. The original “Dawn” was re-titled as “Zombi” when the movie went overseas. And someone released a movie called “Zombi 2.” Only here in the states, it was just called “Zombi.”

And then? Oh, man. Then there were sequels to the “Zombi” movie as well – they got up to part five.

But wait! I’m not done yet! You know what happened? It turns out that John Russo, who co-wrote the original “Night,” felt like making his own set of sequels. So produced “Return of the Living Dead,” which is a more-or-less direct sequel to “Night.” That movie was also followed by four sequels that bear the “Return” moniker.

Even Romero got in on the action, bringing the “Dead” movies to a close with “Land,” then re-launching the series with “Diary of the Dead,” which takes place at the start of the zombie uprising. He followed this up with a movie that was originally called “Diary of the Dead 2,” though the name has since been changed.

All told, there are 20 movies that exist because of the original “Night.” That thing made more babies than 12 inches of snow in Wisconsin.

Q: Why haven’t you covered X series yet?

A: Two common answers: 1. I’m getting to it eventually, hold your horses. 2. It’s just way too hard to track down all the parts and pieces.

I mean, there are three “The Stepfather” movies. How many of them are on DVD? One. And there are also a ton of “The Howling” movies, some of which are on DVD, and some of which aren’t.

I may be able to locate them all eventually, but it’s going to take some time.

However, if you have a favorite series, note it in the comments and I’ll try to get to it eventually.

Q: How do you choose which version of a movie to watch, what with all the director’s cuts, producer’s cuts, etc.?

A: Generally, I try to locate the most common cut, unless I think there’s something of value in watching an extended or otherwise “corrected” version of a film.

In most cases, I try to watch the “cannon” version – the movie that people who wrote the part III, IV and V would have had on hand when putting together their final product. This is why, even though the director’s cut of “Army of Darkness” is widely available, I wrote up the original version – because THAT’S the version any subsequent movies will follow.

To some extent, I suspect writing up every version of a movie could drive you insane. “Exorcist II,” for example, at one point had several minutes cut out of it – all of which were restored for the DVD. Trying to track down a cut version, just to see what all wasn’t there, probably wasn’t going to do anyone any favors.

By contrast, I did watch the extended version of “The Exorcist,” because the writer of that movie felt there were some important moments at the end of the film left on the cutting room floor – stuff that was important in “Exorcist III.” Of course, “III” came out before the extended version of “I” ever did.

No comments:

Post a Comment