31 Days of Nightmares — Halloween: Resurrection, Young Frankenstein, Return to House on Haunted Hill, and The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
I know I’ve slipped off schedule a little bit, but here’s a four-pack of horror movies to get us back on track.
There’s not much I can say about this comedy classic — we were due to see it again, and it’s always fantastic. Although I never really noticed before that Gene Wilder screams 80 percent of his lines in this movie. Maybe 90.
The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
Should we mention the utter ridiculousness of the title? Like, we know Georgia is pretty far from Connecticut, right?
Anyway, this is the worst of the lot. The utterly incoherent plot is made worse by an editor who I strongly suspect went completely insane inside the editing booth. I mean I think he really lost his mind. A lot of modern movies use rapid jump cuts to emphasize action or disguise shitty effects or whatever, but this movie blasts you with constant .5 second cuts the entire time. It’s relentless, like staring at a strobe light for two hours. Worse, the cuts move the characters through time so you keep seeing the same scene but with different angles, different characters present, or with completely different sets. And they violate all kinds of film rules about maintaining positioning between edits, so even if you were somehow interested in the terribly shopworn plot about the Underground Railroad, you’d have no idea what the fuck is even happening anyway.
Return to House on Haunted Hill
This was a pleasant surprise. I threw it on to pass some time but ended up enjoying it quite a bit. There’s a clear plot about two rival groups competing to recover a priceless artifact from the haunted asylum from the first Haunted Hill (which is itself a remake), even though the plot threads connecting it to the first film are pretty strained. Most of the characters are unlikable, but then you get to watch them get butchered by the evil psychiatrist ghost and his ghostly minions. There’s an admirable amount of nudity, too, which makes an OK movie slightly better than OK, of course. Aside from a few silly CGI shots, the effects are pretty killer — face removal, a liquified human, and a really terrifying water zombie creature were the highlights.
I was surprised to realize there was a Halloween movie I hadn’t seen yet. This isn’t a bad movie, but it’s weird. It starts out with a lengthy intro sequence featuring Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) in an asylum meeting her brother, Michael Myers. It plays out like a mini-movie with a clear ending — I mean it feels like the climax to a two-hour movie, but it happens about 12 minutes in. And it’s entirely unconnected from the rest of the movie, other than to say, “Yo Michael Myers is totally alive, people, just FYI, and also we had enough budget for just this amount of Jamie Lee Curtis.”
The actual plot involves a bunch of college kids who are hired to spend the night in the original Myers house while everything they do is livestreamed over the Internet. That is the setup to about a trillion found footage horror movies these days, but this came out in 2002, so the movie spends a bunch of time explaining, “Ok, we all have tiny cameras on so you can see what we do,” and even has scenes where someone chastises a friend for having an online friend. I guess people were still trying to get a handle on life with the Internet in 2002.
The one terrible mistake this movie makes is relegating the amazing and charismatic Katee Sackhoff to the role of quirky friend while giving the lead to the most bland, uninteresting actress ever, and frankly I don’t remember her name or even care enough to look it up right now. If Sackhoff had been the lead, Halloween: Resurrection would have been 10 times better.
This is billed as a horror/comedy, and it is — frankly, it’s not scary at all, but it is pretty funny, and the plot winds around in an interesting if mostly predictable way. With one exception…
See, for some reason this movie has both Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks in it. Banks appears to be playing herself (she’s a conniving, espresso slamming TV producer, right?), while Rhymes plays the other producer who set up the Halloween house livestream thing. The thing is, I would swear on a stack of Fangorias that he ad-libbed every single line he spoke in the entire movie. Like, at one point he narrates himself watching a kung-fu movie and answering his hotel room door. In other scenes he just says the most random, off the cuff things. And the climax of the movie is — I’m dead serious — Busta Rhymes defeating Michael Myers with kung-fu.
So I’m pretty sure this a conversation that really really happened once:
Busta Rhymes’ Agent: Hey Busta, they really lowballed us on the money for that Halloween movie, you still want to do it?
Busta Rhymes: I don’t know. Not really. Tell them I’ll only do it if I don’t have to read the script or learn any lines. I’ll just show up and do my thing.
Agent: Ok, I’ll run it by them.
Busta: Oh, and only if I can do kung-fu.
Busta: Wait, is this the movie with that Jason dude? Ok, I’m only doing it if I can beat Jason with kung-fu. And I’m gonna yell like Bruce Lee and shit.
10 minutes later…
Agent: Ok Busta, they…they agreed to your terms.