Halloween II (2009) Recap

Jamie

I think this is dog poo. It’s sometimes hard to tell when a film is so not made for you that you wonder whether its creator in fact explicitly made it for no one. If Rob Zombie sat down and said “I’m going to make something so horrific… so wallowing in the muck and mire of the worst people in the world… to the point where the audience would ultimately side with the monster over humanity… and no one can or will like it because it no longer represents horror, but rather the horror that is my diseased mind… oh and also I’ll fill it with meaningless symbolism that will only confuse and further horrify the audience as it will force them to confront the meaninglessness of art… that’s what I’ll make and everyone will hate it.” If he said that… then is it good? He accomplished his mission after all.

The answer is obviously no. Not just because it’s not possible to purposefully create a bad movie (it must be grown and nurtured organically), but also because that really wasn’t Rob Zombie’s purpose. It just so happened that his true vision was terrible, poorly made and no one would like it. But kudos to him for earning so much money the first time around that they gave him free reign on the sequel. Oh to be a fly on the wall as the producers went over dailies. Trying to make heads or tails of whether they were making something good or bad or something that would fail or succeed at the box office. I’d only be sure that the producers would be thoroughly in the dark about what they were creating, but also absolutely aware that they were going to be battling some dire reviews in their attempt at boffo box office.

To recap, the film turns the original Halloween on its head a little bit by opening with a 20 minute dream sequence where Myers is attacking Laurie in the hospital following the events of the first film. Zombie sets it up like he’s doing another straight remake of the second film, but no no no. It’s all meaningless and soon we are treated to the fact that instead Myers was never found after the events of the first film. He’s instead been wandering the country in wait, a la Halloween H2O. We’re being told that this isn’t your grandpappy’s Halloween. This is Rob Zombie’s Halloween and buckle up cause you’re gonna get a whole lot of gore… and also extended horse metaphors and ghosts… but also gore and gross naked people. It all proceeds from there with everyone now being terrible. Laurie is broken and terrible. Loomis is a total jerk. The whole town is infested with heavy metal groupies (obviously, where else but suburban Illinois would such denizens reside?). This all culminates with a very Halloween 4 ending where Myers kills Loomis and Laurie kills Myers and… bum bum bum… becomes Myers. Nooooooooooo.

As I’ve meditated on this film I do not believe it is as bad as Resurrection, but it’s not what I want out of my Halloween by a long shot. Finishing up with a Hot Take Clam Bake, I will venture to say that this film is good. Whaaaaaa?! No, not actually good, but rather good because a man was allowed to make his vision. A pure pursuit of art. Like Little Nicky before it, Halloween II should be lauded for what it represents and not what it is (which is bad). That’s it… that’s the hot take: Halloween II is Little Nicky and Little Nicky is good. Ergo, Halloween II is good (but also very, very bad). Hot Take Temperature: a nice crisp autumn bonfire. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Halloween II (2009)? More like Halloween Too Gory for Patrick! The producers got a big fat check from Halloween (2007) and so they wrote a blank check for Rob Zombie … that’s never not a mistake. Let’s go!

  • Oh boy.
  • Oh jeez. This movie is a tough pill to swallow. It isn’t even dog poo in my face. It is just gross and I hate it.
  • Also it bucks the entire premise of the original second film by making the hospital sequence into an extended 20 minute long dream sequence … you heard that right! Rob Zombie did it again! He took a svelte 90 minute horror flick and bloated it with garbage at the beginning.
  • But for real, don’t watch this movie. It sucks. It has weird sequences with Michael Myers as a kid, and people in pumpkin masks, and Loomis is a straight dick. The only redeemable thing in the entire film is Dourif.
  • There is an entire sequence just having Michael Myers stomp a guy’s head in at a strip club and then kill the owner and his girlfriend/stripper … who are these people? Why do I care about this? What is happening?!
  • Michael Myers has a big bushy beard.
  • There is a huge part of the film involving a White Horse that represents … something? Like Michael Myers’ murderous desires, or like his mother or something? The quote that opened the film probably explained this, but I was mostly just astonished that the film opened with a quote. I haven’t seen that in forever.
  • A thousand people die in this film in horrible fashion. At the end Laurie Strode is wearing the mask. I thought Resurrection was a slap in the face to fans of Halloween. This film doesn’t even resemble Halloween anymore. Whereas the first did what needed to be done in putting a spin on a horror classic, this one was just Hostel-ween and it is horrible. No wonder the producers ran away from this direction in the end. It is an abomination. And not like with the vaguely amusing mess that is Resurrection. It is an abomination in the terrible way where you realize there are people who enjoy horror films like this. How bizarre.
  • Yup. I did not like this film.
  • Once again a Setting as a Character (Where?) for Haddonfield, Illinois. And once again an A+ Holiday Setting (When?) for it all happening during Halloween. This film is the worst, I hate it, I recommend it to no one, it is Bad.

Sorry guys, I went into a fugue state for a second there. I had to rent this one on Amazon, so sadly no director commentary or anything else for me. Of course, you can read my sequel to this film called Halloween III: Urban Legend III in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Halloween (2007) Recap

Jamie

“Get me a Hostel!” the executive screamed, chomping a cigar between his lips. The young associates scrambled through the piles of original scripts sent their way. No hostels in sight. Where were the achilles tendon slices? A quick ctrl+F for “ripe melon” finds zero time it was used to describe a head being crushed by a killer’s bare hands. Even a script titled “Extreme Gore” turns out to be a reimagining of the 2000 Presidential Election which, while horrifying, is not what they need. Suddenly the sea of scripts parts and like a glowing medallion there is a copy of Halloween: Resurrection. “Resurrect… Halloween… talk to me people,” screams one of the associates excitedly.

Or at least that’s how I imagine this all happened. Step two: hire Rob Zombie. Step three: profit. There is no inbetween steps because I assume no one on the studio side knew what the hell was going on. Horror had changed in a matter of just a few years from Scream knock-offs to Blair Witch knock-offs to Saw knock-offs. Halloween went right along with it: H20 to a pseudo reality horror in Resurrection and then finally Zombie’s Halloween reboot. And it worked. So kudos to everyone involved. Zombie remade the classic film with some extra gory bits mixed in, he did it on the cheap, and it made a massive amount of money. And that’s pretty far and away the most impressive part of this movie. Besides that it’s a gross, cheapo Halloween remake with much worse acting and an excessive amount of Myers backstory. No need to even do a recap as there isn’t anything interesting to talk about.

For Hot Take Clam Bake I’ve got one that’s been cooking in the oven for the last few entries of Halloween. I have not shied away from my opinion that for the original Halloween series (through entry six) Dr. Loomis is at best a merely annoying, possibly drunk character who pops up here and there for some laughs. At worst he’s the true villain of the franchise. HOWEVER, after his absence in H20 and Resurrection I started to suspect that, could it be?… Loomis might be a necessary evil? His absence made it clear to me that he had functioned for most of the series as Michael Myers hype man. A little kid murdered his sister and then escaped years later. Throw it on the pile next to the rest of the escaped prisoners. But no! Loomis is right there screaming in your face about his eyes being black as coals!!! He’s evil! And you’re criminally responsible if you don’t heed his warning because Michael Myers is one scary MFer… well, shit now I’m spooked. Who is this Myers character? He must be an unstoppable horror show. You see? I’m all hyped now. Ready for Michael to knock my socks off.

What does this have to do with the reboot? This point is the remake’s biggest failure is its inability to understand this. You had McDowell at the ready! The man is a maniac! So what do you do with him? You tame him down. It becomes a story of Loomis’ recognition of Myers’ trauma and ultimately his attempt (and failure) to reason with Myers’ homicidal mission against his sister. And just when I was recognizing his value as a character. Loomis is good. This movie failed him and thus it failed us. That take is scored as a Heat Seeking Missile. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Halloween? More like I Wish I Hadn’t Seen (It). Did you ever think to yourself “Man, I wish the horror classic Halloween was gross like Hostel.” Rob Zombie did. Let’s go!

  • This movie is two hours long. This movie also has a half-hour section that explains in detail the origin story of Michael Myers as a whiny sociopath. Thus, this movie could have been a much better film if they just cut out the origin story. Et voila. You are welcome, Rob Zombie, call it the Sklog Cut.
  • This is a tale of two films. On the one hand, thanks, I hate it. On the other, very clearly some people liked it because it made a boatload of cash. It does potentially feel like the way a “reboot” should go for a horror classic. He changed up the genre. That makes sense. You have to change up something, right?
  • I still wish the film wasn’t made though.
  • Besides maybe Dourif, the rest of the cast is a kind of give or take. I didn’t think Rob Zombie’s wife or the woman playing Laurie were very good, and McDowell is always a trip. But acting isn’t in the top 3 things I disliked about the film.
  • The top three are all how gross this film is. Again, thanks, I hate it. Turns out I can abide torture porn-esque films now. I don’t feel queasy while watching them. But I still hate them and I hate that they did it to Halloween.
  • Similarly Michael Myers being a hulking wrestler also seems wrong.
  • To draw it back to the remake series a bit, Halloween: Resurrection could have been called MichaelMyers.com because that is hilarious, but also could have been called Murder.com and been a generic slasher. Similarly, this could be called like Torture House or Stabbed Seventy Times in the Face and it would have made more sense. This isn’t really Halloween, and when it is it is really just going through the motions.
  • I know this is a mishmash of thoughts, but I’ll end it by saying that this film is NOT dog poo in my face. So it does manage to not be the worst of the series … I might have watched the worst of the series right after though. Stay tuned.
  • Obviously, as usual, the film is a Setting as a Character (Where?) for Haddonfield, Illinois. And it is a A+ Holiday Film (When?) for Halloween as well. This film is closest to Good for me, as much as I personally hate it, I also recognize what it needed to do and that Zombie managed, against all odds, to do it to make is a marked improvement over the later Halloween sequels.

I didn’t have time to get this on DVD so no special features. Wish I could have listened to Rob Zombie’s director commentary. Read about the spinoff series called Halloween II: King Michael Myers in the Quiz.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Halloween II (2009) Quiz

Oh man, so, obviously after being traumatized by getting me face bashed in my (the) Michael Myers last Halloween I decided to stay in. But what do you know? Michael busts in and this time he has a big beard and he (again) smashed my face apart! Now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Halloween II (2009)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Welp, Michael’s dead. D-E-A-D! Right? WRONG! He is heading to the morgue, but he never makes it there, because the morgue truck crashes. How?

2) Welp, Loomis is a straight dick in this one. This craven weirdo is hawking another book, this time with a big reveal (ooooooo, what a twist). What is the reveal about Michael and his motivations for the murders the prior year?

3) Oh and also Laurie is now a goth with a bunch of goth friends and works at a goth record store or something. But guess what? They want to party hardy tonight! What are they dressing as for the big Halloween bash?

4) Oh yeah, right around this time Michael massacres everyone in a strip club (fun, I guess?). Again, just tell me why? This film has no real structure haha.

5) Of the three main people (Laurie, Loomis, and Michael), who dies at the end?

Bonus Question: In the cut scene a mysterious figure cuts a grotesque image in a rural Illinois cornfield. As we zoom in the man takes off his mask. Who is he?

Answers

Halloween (2007) Quiz

Oh man, so I was just minding my own business, trying to make some money as a babysitter on Halloween, when this real tall guy busted in and bopped me on the head with a knife (over and over, brutally smashing my face to smithereens). Now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Halloween (2007)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We are treated to a literal neverending origin story of Michael Myers. In his youth massacre how many people did he kill?

2) Well, whoops, now Michael is obsessed with masks and insane. Where does he get the “real” Michael mask and where, evidently, does he hide it for the 17-or-so years between his murderous sprees?

3) At last, we meet Laurie Strode. And just like in the original she has to babysit tonight. And just like in the original the person she has to babysit is obsessed with a specific Halloween-appropriate legend. What is it?

4) During Michael’s spree as a young boy and during his spree as an adult he dresses in two specific (non-Shatner) Halloween costumes. What were they?

5) How many people survive Michael’s terror that night?

Bonus Question: My god, she shot him in the face! In a mid-credits scene we see him come back to life though. How does it explain that he’s still alive? 

Answers

Halloween II (2009) Preview

“Looks like New Years come early for you two,” Officer Mash says with a smirk as he clangs the jail door shut. Jamie and Patrick beg them to listen to their story. Sure it sounds totally crazy, but they have to trust them. They are there for a reason… to change someone’s life… to help. But Bongo and Mash scoff at the suggestion. “Nothing is wrong in this town. It’s perfect,” Bongo says matter of factly. “Yeah, perfect,” agrees Mash, “you know, except for…” But before he can finish Bongo shushes him and reiterates that the town is a perfect example of perfection. Jamie and Patrick see their opening, but no matter how much they try to explain, it’s like talking to two rule-abiding walls. Mash chuckles at their attempts and silently mocks them to his partner. “I don’t know what kind of yuletide cheer you’ve gotten into, but there isn’t anything wrong with the town. Rules are just rules. So you boys just stay right there. We gotta go patrol the Halloween Jamboree.” Jamie and Patrick look at each other in confusion. Halloween? Didn’t he use the phrase ‘yuletide cheer’ just a second before? Officer Mash rubs his hands together in anticipation. “I heard this year they got Mikey Myers (of the Mikey Mikes fame) to perform and they are doing some spooktacular novelty songs.” Jamie and Patrick leap up. “Wait!” shouts Jamie, “We’re the Mikey Mikes.” Patrick nods his head excitedly and just as Bongo and Mash are about to wave them off he blurts out, “We can prove it! Let us give you a sneak peak at a double dose of spooktacular novelty songs!” Bongo and Mash look at each other and finally relent, “Ehhhh, OK. But just don’t make them too scary.” That’s right! We are doing a double dose of spooktacular action with both of Rob Zombie’s Halloween films. We are well ahead of schedule in our Halloween franchise pursuit with only Halloween Kills (currently qualifying) left. Let’s go!

Halloween II (2009) – BMeTric: 70.7; Notability: 69

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 3.2%; Notability: top 4.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 16.5%; Higher BMeT: Dragonball Evolution, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Stan Helsing, S. Darko, The Unborn, Dance Flick; Higher Notability: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2012, Angels & Demons, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Terminator Salvation, The Lovely Bones, Nine, Fast & Furious, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Surrogates; Lower RT: Labor Pains, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Miss March, Old Dogs, All About Steve, Whiteout, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Echelon Conspiracy, Post Grad, My Life in Ruins, The Unborn, Couples Retreat, Bride Wars, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, The Stepfather, S. Darko, The Pink Panther 2, I Love You, Beth Cooper, The Ugly Truth, Year One, and 20 more; Notes: Man we have a lot of high BMeTric films on the table … can’t same I’m super excited about any of those though. Nearly 70+ for both BMeTric and Notability is pretty impressive though.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Michael Myers is back on the gory warpath in this lumbering sequel to Zombie’s 2007 Halloween. There are pitifully few genuine scares … just a lot of blood and utterances of the “f” word. Unrated director’s cut runs 119m.

(That’s what I’m talking about Leonard! YES! I think this might be the first BOMB in the actual series, the only other one being Halloween III (which is now a cult classic). Stunning that it managed it when even Halloween: Resurrection didn’t.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXkcgqmKZ2Y/

(This trailer makes it look a lot more normal that I think this film actually is. I’m pretty sure this film is a gross film I don’t like. But this makes it look like an actual slasher film (a genre I generally like). So that’s confusing.)

DirectorsRob Zombie – ( Known For: 3 from Hell; The Devil’s Rejects; Grindhouse; 31; The Lords of Salem; Future BMT: House of 1000 Corpses; BMT: Halloween; Halloween II; Notes: Real name Robert Cummings. Was most well known as a singer headlining the heavy metal band White Zombie.)

WritersRob Zombie – ( Known For: 3 from Hell; The Devil’s Rejects; Grindhouse; 31; The Lords of Salem; Future BMT: House of 1000 Corpses; BMT: Halloween; Halloween II; Notes: Is writing and directing the horror-comedy film version of The Munsters.)

ActorsScout Taylor-Compton – ( Known For: 13 Going on 30; Chariot; The Runaways; An American Crime; The Long Night; Return to Sender; Flight 7500; 247°F; Love Ranch; Triple Dog; Ghost House; An Intrusion; Wicked Little Things; Love at First Hiccup; Andover; Get the Girl; Future BMT: Sleepover; Obsessed; BMT: Halloween; Halloween II; Notes: Was a teen actress as she was only 15 when she was in 13 going on 30.)

Tyler Mane – ( Known For: Troy; X-Men; The Scorpion King; The Devil’s Rejects; 247°F; Victor Crowley; Gunless; Black Mask 2: City of Masks; Compound Fracture; Devil May Call; Future BMT: Joe Dirt; Playing with Fire; BMT: Halloween; Halloween II; Notes: A former wrestler, his ring name was Big Sky.)

Malcolm McDowell – ( Known For: Father Stu; A Clockwork Orange; Caligula; O Lucky Man!; Bombshell; Easy A; The Book of Eli; Blue Thunder; Doomsday; The Player; In Good Company; 31; Bolt; Cat People; The Artist; Star Trek: Generations; Hidalgo; Excision; Time After Time; American Satan; Future BMT: Tank Girl; Milk Money; Mr. Magoo; Just Visiting; Sunset; Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius; Delgo; BMT: Halloween; Silent Hill: Revelation; Halloween II; I Spy; Notes: He’s in a million things at this point. The most intriguing upcoming project is Wizardream where he plays the role of The Wizard Mangodor.)

Budget/Gross – $15,000,000 / Domestic: $33,392,973 (Worldwide: $39,421,467)

(Actually, still not that bad. But I’m sure the reception was less than warm and ultimately they began looking for a new direction to take the rebooted series after this one.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (18/81): Zombie shows flashes of vision in the follow-up to his Halloween reboot, but they’re smothered by mountains of gore and hackneyed, brutal violence.

(That is way way way higher than I would have thought! I legit would have thought there would have been wholesale rejection of the Hastel-esque direction Zombie took with full creative control, but 20% isn’t that bad.)

Reviewer Highlight: Let’s float a notion: Rob Zombie is the greatest horror-movie director never to make a great movie. – Keith Phipps, AV Club

Poster – Hostel-ween 2: Even Hostel-ier

(Certainly shocking and so it’s doing its job. I can see that hanging in a theater and it grabbing the right people’s attentions. I don’t love all the gray, but the orange pops and the font is good. I think it’s good. Better than the first in its simplicity. A-.)

Tagline(s) – Family Is Forever (C+)

(Boy oh boy. They just don’t seem to care about these tag lines and that’s a shame. Slightly better than the first. Even though it’s generic there is a whiff of cleverness… “family is forever” is a wholesome phrase and they turn it around. But I don’t really appreciate just stating a generic phrase ironically. Gotta do something with it.)

Keyword(s) – dimension

Top 10: Sin City (2005), Spectre (2015), The Others (2001), Scream (1996), Equilibrium (2002), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Mist (2007), Death Proof (2007), 1408 (2007), Scary Movie (2000)

Future BMT: 86.5 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 82.8 Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), 77.4 Who’s Your Caddy? (2007), 76.9 Superhero Movie (2008), 70.1 Black Christmas (2006), 68.6 Pulse (2006), 66.9 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 64.9 Scary Movie 4 (2006), 61.8 Cursed (2005), 58.9 Apollo 18 (2011)

BMT: Scary Movie V (2013), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994), Halloween II (2009), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), My Boss’s Daughter (2003), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Dracula 2000 (2000), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Phantoms (1998), Texas Rangers (2001), Halloween (2007), Mindhunters (2004)

Best Options (Horror): 70.6 Halloween II (2009), 70.1 Black Christmas (2006), 68.6 Pulse (2006), 61.8 Cursed (2005), 58.9 Apollo 18 (2011), 58.6 Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992), 56.9 They (2002), 45.9 Darkness (2002), 36.9 The Amityville Horror (2005), 33.6 Halloween (2007)

(Apollo 18 is one of those films that has been on the tip of BMT forever. Probably because it came out the year we started BMT. So it was always there, but we obviously had the classics to get through and he didn’t have as sophisticated an infrastructure to identify the merde de la merde of bad movies. Anyways, missed again, but we’ll get there.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Scout Taylor-Compton is No. 1 billed in Halloween II and No. 1 billed in Halloween, which also stars William Forsythe (No. 8 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 5 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 1) + (8 + 5) + (3 + 1) = 19. If we were to watch Sunset, The Jackal, Nights in Rodanthe, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – John Carpenter was offered a cameo in the film by Rob Zombie, but he turned it down.

First Halloween movie to include Michael clearly walking around without his mask on.

Daeg Faerch filmed scenes reprising his role of Young Michael Myers but was replaced and the scenes reshot after it became apparent that Faerch had noticeably grown up since the last installment and no longer looked the same age.

Rob Zombie originally stated he would never do a sequel to Halloween (2007), until the studio decided to make it. Then he signed on to write and direct, because he didn’t want someone else to ruin his vision.

While writing Sam Loomis for the sequel, Rob Zombie based his egotistical and self-absorbed personality on Dr. Phil and his talk show.

Malcolm McDowell quotes Alex Delarge, the character he played in A Clockwork Orange (1971), during the press conference when he says “Let’s get things nice and sparkling clear”.

The decision to give Laurie the name ‘Angel’ as her real name was meant to emphasize her as an extreme opposite to Michael. Laurie Strode’s birth name in the original films was Cynthia Myers.

Tyler Mane is only the second actor to portray Michael Myers twice. George P. Wilbur previously portrayed Michael in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995). Mane is the first actor to portray Myers two movies in a row.

In the scenes shot at the exterior of the hospital parking lot, the location of the emergency room entrance to the hospital was actually the entrance to the Spinal Cord Injury Clinic at the now-defunct Sepulveda Veterans Administration Hospital in the San Fernando Valley, California.

The characterisation of Dr Loomis as a greedy, unlikeable egotist was Malcolm McDowell’s idea. He told Rob Zombie he didn’t want to give the same performance from the first film.

In addition to the studio interference that compromised production, Rob Zombie also strongly suspected that crew members were actually stealing money from the film’s production budget.

Rob Zombie had nearly every main character killed off in the ending, including Michael Myers and Laurie (though she only dies in the Director’s Cut), to finally ensure that another film could not be made. Despite this, Dimension Films insisted on a third film and Zombie walked away from such plans, not wanting to be involved with it. This film ultimately underperformed financially and was panned by fans and critics alike, casting doubt on a sequel. After years of no development, Dimension Films and The Weinstein Company finally surrendered the rights to the franchise to Universal Pictures and Blumhouse, resulting in Halloween (2018).

Halloween (2007) Preview

“Looks like New Years come early for you two,” Officer Mash says with a smirk as he clangs the jail door shut. Jamie and Patrick beg them to listen to their story. Sure it sounds totally crazy, but they have to trust them. They are there for a reason… to change someone’s life… to help. But Bongo and Mash scoff at the suggestion. “Nothing is wrong in this town. It’s perfect,” Bongo says matter of factly. “Yeah, perfect,” agrees Mash, “you know, except for…” But before he can finish Bongo shushes him and reiterates that the town is a perfect example of perfection. Jamie and Patrick see their opening, but no matter how much they try to explain, it’s like talking to two rule-abiding walls. Mash chuckles at their attempts and silently mocks them to his partner. “I don’t know what kind of yuletide cheer you’ve gotten into, but there isn’t anything wrong with the town. Rules are just rules. So you boys just stay right there. We gotta go patrol the Halloween Jamboree.” Jamie and Patrick look at each other in confusion. Halloween? Didn’t he use the phrase ‘yuletide cheer’ just a second before? Officer Mash rubs his hands together in anticipation. “I heard this year they got Mikey Myers (of the Mikey Mikes fame) to perform and they are doing some spooktacular novelty songs.” Jamie and Patrick leap up. “Wait!” shouts Jamie, “We’re the Mikey Mikes.” Patrick nods his head excitedly and just as Bongo and Mash are about to wave them off he blurts out, “We can prove it! Let us give you a sneak peak at a double dose of spooktacular novelty songs!” Bongo and Mash look at each other and finally relent, “Ehhhh, OK. But just don’t make them too scary.” That’s right! We are doing a double dose of spooktacular action with both of Rob Zombie’s Halloween films. We are well ahead of schedule in our Halloween franchise pursuit with only Halloween Kills (currently qualifying) left. Let’s go!

Halloween (2007) – BMeTric: 33.6; Notability: 53

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 21.6%; Notability: top 9.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 29.7%; Higher BMeT: Epic Movie, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Norbit, I Know Who Killed Me, Bratz, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, Daddy Day Camp, Who’s Your Caddy?, Are We Done Yet?, Postal, Delta Farce, Captivity, Underdog, The Comebacks, The Hills Have Eyes 2, Ghost Rider, Redline, The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Code Name: The Cleaner, and 34 more; Higher Notability: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Evan Almighty, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Fred Claus, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Rush Hour 3, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, The Comebacks, Epic Movie, The Ten, Lucky You, TMNT, The Invasion, Ghost Rider, Balls of Fury, Lions for Lambs, Wild Hogs, The Heartbreak Kid, and 4 more; Lower RT: Remember the Daze, Redline, Daddy Day Camp, Epic Movie, Kickin’ It Old Skool, Code Name: The Cleaner, Because I Said So, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Delta Farce, 88 Minutes, Good Luck Chuck, Who’s Your Caddy?, Silk, License to Wed, Are We Done Yet?, The Number 23, Premonition, The Reaping, Postal, Norbit, and 53 more; Notes: Genuinely high notability for a horror film. I can’t believe this has a 6.0 IMDb rating … that is stunningly high for a bad horror film, and more so for a remake of a beloved horror film.

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Umpteenth rehash of the 1978 movie retells the story of Michael Myers, who kills his family and spends 17 years in a mental institution before escaping. As he searches for his younger sister he sets off in a rampage, treating the town of Haddonfield to his latest murderous tricks. Although horror fanatic Zombie remains faithful to the premise (with more backstory on Myers than ever before), it’s clearly just an excuse to show off the latest advances in movie gore. Unrated version runs 121m.

(That is a lot kinder of a review than I would expect as well. First, Maltin doesn’t usually like horror at all. But additionally, as alluded to, the film is particularly gorey. More backstory … great.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeQiSdznHGo/

(Want to know the big takeaway I have about this film? … Why was it released on August 31st? That is a crazy decision. Anyways, looks like a pretty faithful remake with a hulking Myers which is an interesting choice actually.)

DirectorsRob Zombie – ( Known For: 3 from Hell; The Devil’s Rejects; Grindhouse; 31; The Lords of Salem; Future BMT: House of 1000 Corpses; BMT: Halloween; Halloween II; Notes: His brother is named Spider One and is in the heavy metal band Powerman 5000.)

WritersRob Zombie – ( Known For: 3 from Hell; The Devil’s Rejects; Grindhouse; 31; The Lords of Salem; Future BMT: House of 1000 Corpses; BMT: Halloween; Halloween II; Notes: Wrote a script for The Crow: Salvation and was supposed to direct it, but was ultimately fired from the film and the script became Legend of the 13 Graves instead.)

John Carpenter – ( Known For: Halloween; They Live; Halloween; Escape from New York; Escape from L.A.; The Fog; Prince of Darkness; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Assault on Precinct 13; Assault on Precinct 13; Dark Star; Eyes of Laura Mars; Black Moon Rising; Future BMT: Halloween Kills; Lockout; BMT: Halloween; Ghosts of Mars; Halloween II; The Fog; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers; Notes: Amazingly Carpenter doesn’t get a credit at all on the sequel to this film. Either because the film doesn’t resemble the original or any of the sequels in any way, or because Carpenter intentionally took his name off of it.)

Debra Hill – ( Known For: Halloween; Halloween; Escape from L.A.; The Fog; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Future BMT: Halloween Kills; BMT: Halloween; Halloween II; The Fog; Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers; Notes: I feel like you can just pair up Carpenter and Hill each time. They were long time collaborators so on remakes like this they’ll almost always both get credit.)

ActorsScout Taylor-Compton – ( Known For: 13 Going on 30; Chariot; The Runaways; An American Crime; The Long Night; Return to Sender; Flight 7500; 247°F; Love Ranch; Triple Dog; Ghost House; An Intrusion; Wicked Little Things; Love at First Hiccup; Andover; Get the Girl; Future BMT: Sleepover; Obsessed; BMT: Halloween; Halloween II; Notes: Became a big horror film actress with, I think, three small budget horror films coming out in the next year or so.)

Malcolm McDowell – ( Known For: Father Stu; A Clockwork Orange; Caligula; O Lucky Man!; Bombshell; Easy A; The Book of Eli; Blue Thunder; Doomsday; The Player; In Good Company; 31; Bolt; Cat People; The Artist; Star Trek: Generations; Hidalgo; Excision; Time After Time; American Satan; Future BMT: Tank Girl; Milk Money; Mr. Magoo; Just Visiting; Sunset; Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius; Delgo; BMT: Halloween; Silent Hill: Revelation; Halloween II; I Spy; Notes: From England. He’s an extremely prolific actor with nearly 300 credited acting roles.)

Tyler Mane – ( Known For: Troy; X-Men; The Scorpion King; The Devil’s Rejects; 247°F; Victor Crowley; Gunless; Black Mask 2: City of Masks; Compound Fracture; Devil May Call; Future BMT: Joe Dirt; Playing with Fire; BMT: Halloween; Halloween II; Notes: Definitely the most imposing Michael Myers they’ve ever cast. Ends up looking very muscle bound instead of the oddly slight version you typically see in the rest of the series.)

Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $58,272,029 (Worldwide: $80,460,948)

(Huge win for the studio and for Rob Zombie in the end. That is a giant take and the best Halloween must have done for years .. unfortunately that success directly led to Halloween II.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 28% (33/119): Rob Zombie doesn’t bring many new ideas to the table in Halloween, making it another bloody disappointment for fans of the franchise.

(Yup, that was always the perception I had, that it was mostly a rehash of the original so what is the point?)

Reviewer Highlight: The new Halloween has sympathy for the Devil, but not enough. – Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Times

Poster – Hostel-ween

(Weird poster with all the pictures in the mask. I’d have to look at it very closely to see which one they included is the funniest. Could be Danny Trejo’s face, since he actually plays a very nice person in the movie. Good good, nice striking orange, and intriguing. All around not bad, if busy. B+.)

Tagline(s) – Evil Has A Destiny (C-)

(Meh, fine. Not offensive. Just a little generic and not clever in the least. Not much more to say.)

Keyword(s) – dimension

Top 10: Sin City (2005), Spectre (2015), The Others (2001), Scream (1996), Equilibrium (2002), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Mist (2007), Death Proof (2007), 1408 (2007), Scary Movie (2000)

Future BMT: 86.5 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 82.8 Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), 77.4 Who’s Your Caddy? (2007), 76.9 Superhero Movie (2008), 70.1 Black Christmas (2006), 68.6 Pulse (2006), 66.9 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 64.9 Scary Movie 4 (2006), 61.8 Cursed (2005), 58.9 Apollo 18 (2011)

BMT: Scary Movie V (2013), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994), Halloween II (2009), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), My Boss’s Daughter (2003), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Dracula 2000 (2000), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Phantoms (1998), Texas Rangers (2001), Halloween (2007), Mindhunters (2004)

Best Options (Horror): 70.6 Halloween II (2009), 70.1 Black Christmas (2006), 68.6 Pulse (2006), 61.8 Cursed (2005), 58.9 Apollo 18 (2011), 58.6 Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992), 56.9 They (2002), 45.9 Darkness (2002), 36.9 The Amityville Horror (2005), 33.6 Halloween (2007)

(Boom. Best option gets got even while pursuing the complete watch of all Halloween films. There is actually one more left because at the moment Halloween Kills barely qualifies. And good to see us hitting some of the late-00s Dimension films.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: William Forsythe is No. 8 billed in Halloween and No. 5 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (8 + 5) + (3 + 1) = 17. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – William Forsythe actually injured his leg prior to shooting, which is why his leg is in a cast in the film. In the script, the character only had an arm brace, but Forsythe’s leg injury was also worked into the film.

The inclusion of the plotline about Michael Myers’ early days at the mental asylum under the care of Sam Loomis is a nod to a plotline added in by John Carpenter for the television viewing of the original Halloween (1978). As told by Carpenter, when the original film was first sold to television, they demanded added scenes to replace the edited portions of the murder scenes. So Carpenter recalled Donald Pleasence, the original Sam Loomis to film scenes of him at the hospital taking care of Michael.

Before reinventing the legendary Halloween (1978), Rob Zombie made the wise choice to inform John Carpenter about it. In response, Carpenter encouraged Zombie to “make it [his] own”. 

Before deciding to go with Rob Zombie’s version, the studio was about to green light “Halloween: The Missing Years”, which would have been a prequel, set within Michael Myers’ early days at the asylum.

In an interview, Rob Zombie said he went into the meeting with the Weinsteins with two films in mind: one being strictly just Myers and his childhood, then the remake. They shot the idea down, which is why in the remake that the first half of the film focuses on Myers’s childhood.

The movie was not released in the United States on Halloween weekend, as was the original, for fear of going head to head with Saw IV (2007). It was instead released two months earlier on the last weekend in August 2007.

Rob Zombie revealed making Halloween with the Weinstein’s was “a miserable experience for me, and so I was very reticent to do the second one. I did do the second one, and I thought, ‘Okay, well the first one was a miserable experience, but it did well, so maybe it’ll be easier the second time?’ It was worse. Oh my God. I felt like they weren’t trusting me on the first one because they wanted to make sure it was a hit and now they weren’t trusting me not to f*** up their hit.” Detailing why the experience was not one the creator looks back on favorably, he said: “They would show me scenes from Halloween to try and make a point and I’d be like, ‘Yeah, I know. I made that movie. Why do you show me that like I’ve never seen it before?'”

At 121 minutes, this is the longest Halloween film to date.

Danielle Harris was 29 years old when she was cast as the teenage Annie Brackett. The movie was released nearly three months after her 30th birthday.

First movie where Michael Myers talks. In the eight movies of the original franchise (1978-2002) he doesn’t say a word.

At one point, Dimension Studios considered making a crossover film featuring Pinhead from the Hellraiser (1987) series (which was owned by Miramax at the time), following in the footsteps of Newline Cinema’s horror crossover Freddy vs. Jason (2003). A poll was held on the official site, but response from fans was negative and the studio dropped the concept.

Heather Bowen was a finalist for a walk-on role through a contest on the official “Halloween” Website. She won overall through a lottery-style drawing by Moustapha Akkad at the Haddonfield 25 Fan Convention.

Brad Dourif (Sheriff Lee Bracket), was previously in another horror franchise from the 80’s/ 90’s as the voice of Chucky in the Child’s Play movies.

Reindeer Games Recap

Jamie

You know you’ve struck gold when at the very end of the film the twist is revealed and the main character doesn’t crumble in disbelief at how he was had by such an intricate and beautiful plot. Instead he stares blankly at the other characters and mentions off-hand at how ludicrous and unlikely it all was. To which the antagonists go, “Well, you ever heard of a longshot?” You could feel the screenwriter patting you on the head and going, “shhh, shhhh, don’t you worry your little head about this. Everything is going to be OK. Just understand… all these characters are real big dumbos. Like the biggest idiots. None of this made any sense because they are stupid and set up a plot that shouldn’t have worked… but somehow it almost did (which is why I wrote a movie about it). Merry Christmas.”

Just to briefly recap the plot, Rudy is in prison where mere days before he and his cellmate Nick are set to be released he is attacked and Nick is killed. When he leaves prison he sees Ashley, the woman Nick has been communicating with, and impulsively lets her believe he’s actually Nick. They begin a torrid love affair, only for Ashely’s brother, Gabriel, and his trucker gang to show up and demand he help them with a heist of a casino that Nick used to work at. Facing death, Rudy agrees. During the heist everything goes sideways and only Ashley, Gabriel, and Rudy survive. But uh oh! Turns out Nick is alive and it was all a long con (WHAT A DOUBLE TWIST!!!). Too bad for Ashley and Nick, though, because Rudy is able to kill them both and gives away all the money. Merry Christmas. It’s actually kind of a fun 90’s heist film other than the fact that the twist-em-ups are so dumbo supreme that you could never actually claim it was a good film with a straight face. But that gets me to my Hot Take Clam Bake: the plan should have worked!

Hear me out. So the set up is that Nick and Ashley are long time lovers who concoct an intricate plan after Nick lands himself in jail. He’s gonna tell his cellmate everything about a casino that’s easy to rob. Meanwhile Ashley will fall in with a trucker gang where she plants the seed of an idea whereby she would write to an inmate to find a target for a heist. From there Nick will fake his death, paying off numerous prison employees, and let the cellmate fall into the hands of the truckers who will demand the heist go forward. From there they are in the clear until the heist is finished. That is as long as the cellmate does in fact impersonate Nick… and the truckers don’t figure out that he’s not Nick and just kill him. Sure it’s a longshot, but fortunately everyone is super dumb. So it all should have worked. The fatal flaw? Hubris, my friends. Classic hubris. Nick can’t help but reveal himself to Rudy. It’s actually really bad considering the whole plan is to protect Nick and Ashley as much as possible from being involved in the plot. So why not let Gabriel, a more adept murderer, actually murder Rudy and then quickly murder Gabriel. It doesn’t make sense and is the only reason it wasn’t actually a perfect twist… other than the twist being totally insane.

That hot take is scored as a Chilled Eggnog. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Reindeer Games? More like Drains my Brains! Amirite? Are you ready for a real twist-’em’up? Will you better be, because there ain’t no way there aren’t like seventeen twists in this thing. Let’s go!

  • Oooooooo doggy, that twist! I mean like … the second twist. Or maybe the third. Well whatever, the last twist is the craziest. Like “oh man it turns out Theron set Affleck up … wait, she’s dating Sinese? Oh, I see it is like a real set up … oh wait, Nick is still alive! That plan seems … unlikely to work.” That is my train of thought throughout the film.
  • Don’t worry they lampshade the whole plan thing saying they just kind of hoped it would work or something, it’s dumb.
  • Sinese and Theron are both good, but Affleck feels a bit out of his element. It was early in his career, and he’s very charming, but he comes across as a bad actor.
  • As far as a heist film is concerned this is pretty fun even if it is a bit frustrating trying to figure out what Affleck knows, when he knows it, and what his motivations might be in pretending he doesn’t know it, you know? I’m pretty sure he knew everything they were asking of him, but he was always withholding as much as possible as a ploy to get away at various times, but it was confusing. But he knew about the Powwow Safe (and you can see so did Theron who tries to dissuade her co-conspirators from going after it when it is opened), so he must have known about everything in a way.
  • A great great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Northern Michigan where, oh boy, is it a-snowing. Great Holiday Film (When?) for it being set at Christmas specifically and dressing up everyone as Santa Claus. I’m going to give it a MacGuffin (Why?) for the casino, kind of, but mostly for the Powwow Safe which is a big thing that constantly gets mentioned and ultimately has a huge payoff for what is in it. And finally this might be the stone cold winner of Worst Twist (How?) for the ultimate twist that Nick was alive all along and manipulating Rudy to get him to rob the casino for him. I think this is very much closest to Good, it is kind of a good movie if you ignore all the twist-em-ups.
  • Oh man, Live Free or Die Hardcopy is back jack! So in this one we really only have two special features and in reality it is just one special feature. There is a Set Visit, which is mostly people explaining how they wanted to work with Frankenheimer and then Frankenheimer saying a bunch of stuff that is also in the commentary (C+, fun to see how a movie is made at least). And then a commentary … which is just Frankenheimer explaining stuff (D, interesting if you care about direction, but this is absolutely the epitome of “one person is not enough for a commentary.” The whole thing just draaaaaaaaaaags). I might stop listening to commentaries with just the director, they are almost always terrible.

And of course I outlined my sequel to Reindeer Games called Reindeer Games: Independence Day in the Quiz. Cheerios, and back to you Jamie!

Reindeer Games Quiz

Oh wow, so get this. After getting out of prison I was tricked into helping a gang commit a robbery! Well, obviously the “trick” was “hitting me in the head a whole bunch” which, indeed, convinced me to help. Bad news though, I got a massive concussion and now don’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Reindeer Games?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We meet our hero Rudy and his best friend Nick the day before they’re to get out of prison (and mere days before Christmas too!). What are they both in jail for?

2) Whoops, well Nick died. But you know that his prison correspondence girlfriend will be heartbroken about that. Why does she claim that she was corresponding with Nick when she’s … you know, Charlize Theron?

3) Double whoops, turns out it was all maybe a trick to get Rudy … er, I mean Nick, to help out the sadistic trucker Sinese with a job. What is the job and why do they need Rudy … er, I mean Nick, to help them out?

4) In the end Rudy … er, I mean Nick, helps them out. Throughout this series of twists (including the “reveal” that Theron is actually Sinese’s girlfriend, not his sister) Rudy … er, I mean Nick insists that there is something called the Powwow Safe that the gang just need to get their hands on. What does he claim is in it? What is actually in it?

5) Triple Whoops everyone is dead. So … what was the final twist’em’up? Who was the mastermind of the whole affair?

Bonus Question: Well looks like Rudy makes it home in time for Christmas. But uh-oh a blast from the past visits him in the mid-credits scene. Who and why?

Answers

Reindeer Games Preview

“This is why we’re here?” Jamie asks incredulously. “No, we’re here because dumb bum Ty over there jumped in the time machine and overloaded the time imputation processor (not to get too technical about it). We need to fix the machine and get home because we don’t know what freak dimension this is.” LePumice nods vigorously in agreement. Even a trained time cop never considered the possibility of an interdimensional time jump and he can barely hide the terror in his eyes. But Patrick has a little smirk on his face as he listens to them fret. “Oh really,” he says, “well how ‘bout you check this out.” With that he turns to face Bongo and Mash. “Officers, I think you’ll find we present to you a tidy solution. Our teeny-bopper friend Ty here will accompany your daughters to the Fourth of July bash. No need to be jealous, friendos.” With that he winks at Jasper and Kelley. But Bongo and Mash only stare blankly at him. “Fourth of July?” Mash says confused. “Are you OK, son? Our daughters aren’t going to the Fourth of July bash with anyone. Certainly not a couple of bozos who arrived a second ago in our town, breaking our rules, and looking like you done come from some dumb terminator future. Now beat it before we arrest you for disorderly conduct.” Bongo and Mash turn back to Jasper and Kelley, who are now looking at Jamie and Patrick suspiciously. Patrick is at a loss. “I… uh… wait, are you sure?” Bongo and Mash sigh and quickly whip around to slap cuffs on Jamie and Patrick. “Alright, I didn’t want to have to do this fellas,” Mash says sternly, “but you forced my hand. Have fun spending Christmas Eve sobering up in jail.” Christmas Eve?! That’s right! It’s time for some fun and games… some reindeer fun and games. Because we’re watching Reindeer Games if you didn’t get that. Feels like this Affleck vehicle has been on the table forever and a bit of a shocker we never watched it. Let’s go!  

Reindeer Games (2000) – BMeTric: 37.6; Notability: 60

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 16.8%; Notability: top 3.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 25.2%; Higher BMeT: Battlefield Earth, Dungeons & Dragons, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Urban Legends: Final Cut, 102 Dalmatians, Highlander: Endgame, Dracula 2000, Supernova, Big Momma’s House, Get Carter, The Next Best Thing, Little Nicky, Down to You, Hanging Up, Lost Souls, Bless the Child, The Crow: Salvation, Fortress 2: Re-Entry, and 22 more; Higher Notability: Little Nicky, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Coyote Ugly, Mission to Mars, Ready to Rumble, Lost Souls, Proof of Life, Rules of Engagement; Lower RT: 3 Strikes, Fortress 2: Re-Entry, My 5 Wives, The in Crowd, Battlefield Earth, Bless the Child, Down to You, Lost Souls, Turn It Up, Circus, The Skulls, Urban Legends: Final Cut, Dungeons & Dragons, Supernova, I Dreamed of Africa, Ed Gein, Screwed, The Watcher, Boys and Girls, The Ladies Man, and 39 more; Notes: Notability is the name of the game here I suppose. I think one of the surprises there is Coyote Ugly having a 60+ notability. That’s a lot of notable people in that film I think a lot of people would have forgotten about.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – “Reindeer Games” is the first All Talking Killer picture. After the setup, it consists mostly of characters explaining their actions to one another. I wish I’d had a stopwatch, to clock how many minutes are spent while one character holds a gun to another character’s head and gabs. Charlize Theron and Gary Sinise between them explain so much they reminded me of Gertrude Stein’s line about Ezra Pound: “He was a village explainer, excellent if you were a village, but if you were not, not.” Just a nudge, and the movie would fall over into self-parody, and maybe work better. But I fear it is essentially serious, or as serious as such goofiness can be.

(I wonder if this is the only reference to Ezra Pound related to Reindeer Games. What a ref. Legendary. I do know what I like most in my action films is talking.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0856Uv4QmtI/

(Incredible. The entire trailer kind of covers up the main conceit of the film. Because you see … Ben Affleck isn’t “Nick”. He isn’t the one who wrote letters to Theron or worked in the casino. That was his cellmate. But Senise doesn’t believe that, and things go awry. Funny that the movie actually seems a bit more fun without that conceit in the end.)

DirectorsJohn Frankenheimer – ( Known For: Ronin; Prophecy; The Manchurian Candidate; The Train; Seconds; Grand Prix; Black Sunday; 52 Pick-Up; Seven Days in May; French Connection II; Birdman of Alcatraz; I Walk the Line; The Holcroft Covenant; The Iceman Cometh; The Gypsy Moths; The Challenge; The Fixer; The Young Savages; 99 and 44/100% Dead!; All Fall Down; Future BMT: Dead Bang; Year of the Gun; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Reindeer Games; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: Was a legendary director and received an honorary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. He also won four Emmys for four miniseries he directed in the 90s. I’m actually a bit surprised he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for some of his films from the 60s. This was his last film, he died a few years later.)

WritersEhren Kruger – ( Known For: The Ring; Ghost in the Shell; Scream 3; Dumbo; Arlington Road; New World Disorder; Future BMT: Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; The Skeleton Key; The Brothers Grimm; Impostor; Blood and Chocolate; BMT: Transformers: Age of Extinction; The Ring Two; Reindeer Games; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2010; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; Notes: Just wrote the new Top Gun film. Cut his teeth via a ton of collaborations with Michael Bay.)

ActorsBen Affleck – ( Known For: Deep Water; The Last Duel; Zack Snyder’s Justice League; Dazed and Confused; Gone Girl; Good Will Hunting; Argo; The Town; Triple Frontier; The Tender Bar; Daredevil; The Accountant; He’s Just Not That Into You; Shakespeare in Love; Field of Dreams; Dogma; Jay and Silent Bob Reboot; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Mallrats; The Sum of All Fears; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; Justice League; Pearl Harbor; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Smokin’ Aces; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Live by Night; 200 Cigarettes; Surviving Christmas; BMT: Armageddon; Paycheck; Runner Runner; Gigli; Reindeer Games; Phantoms; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor in 2004 for Daredevil, Gigli, and Paycheck; Winner for Worst Screen Combo for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2017; Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Gigli in 2004; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; in 2005 for Jersey Girl, and Surviving Christmas; and in 2017 for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Last Duel in 2022; Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for Daredevil, Gigli, Jersey Girl, Paycheck, Pearl Harbor, and Surviving Christmas; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 1999 for Armageddon; in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; and in 2005 for Jersey Girl; Notes: Y’all know Ben Affleck. Publicly struggled with alcohol and other personal matters, but he seems to have maybe found his … Way Back, heyooooooooooooooo.)

Gary Sinise – ( Known For: Forrest Gump; The Green Mile; The Quick and the Dead; Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Apollo 13; Joe Bell; Of Mice and Men; Snake Eyes; Ransom; I Still Believe; Open Season; The Human Stain; The Big Bounce; Albino Alligator; A Midnight Clear; A Wedding; SGT. Will Gardner; Bruno; All the Rage; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; The Forgotten; Impostor; Jack the Bear; BMT: Reindeer Games; Notes: Definitely most well known for his starring role in CSI: NY … wait, no, I think it might be for Forrest Gump, which is was nominated for an Oscar. He won an Emmy for his role in Frankenheimer’s miniseries George Wallace.)

Charlize Theron – ( Known For: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness; F9: The Fast Saga; Mad Max: Fury Road; Prometheus; The Devil’s Advocate; Monster; The Old Guard; Bombshell; That Thing You Do!; The Italian Job; Snow White and the Huntsman; Atomic Blonde; The Road; The Fate of the Furious; Long Shot; Young Adult; 2 Days in the Valley; Hancock; The Cider House Rules; North Country; Future BMT: A Million Ways to Die in the West; The Huntsman: Winter’s War; The Addams Family 2; Trapped; Sweet November; 15 Minutes; BMT: The Astronaut’s Wife; Æon Flux; Reindeer Games; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Combo for A Million Ways to Die in the West in 2015; and Nominee for Worst Actress for Sweet November in 2002; Notes: Won an Oscar for Monster and nominated for two others (for Bombshell and North Country). Is set up for three sequels, Atomic Blonde 2, The Old Guard 2, and Fast X.)

Budget/Gross – $42,000,000 / Domestic: $23,368,995 (Worldwide: $32,168,970)

(A definitive bust. Not that surprising, it got terrible reviews at a time when that definitely mattered.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (23/90): Despite a decent cast, subpar acting and a contrived plot disappointed reviewers.

(Yeah, sounds about right. But here’s the thing … I like contrived plots. They are often turn-off-your-brain hilarious.)

Reviewer Highlight: Reindeer Games is basically a test of your ability to accept a slushpile of implausible twisteroos and Tarantino-style conceits. – Desson Thomson, Washington Post

Poster – Lame-deer Games

(One the one hand I respect it, cause it’s classic and the orange pops (although not all that Chirstmas-y). On the other the font is bad and I’d be thoroughly confused by the little scene they put in the upper right corner. I’d be like, wait… a bunch of Santas and a Casino… I guess I don’t know why that’s so important that we have to see it on the poster. C-.)

Tagline(s) – The trap is set. The game is on. (B-)

(How many movies could this be the tagline for? Answer: hundreds. How many board games could this be the tagline for? Answer: one, Mousetrap. Otherwise not the worst tagline. Short and got some cadence.)

Keyword(s) – dimension

Top 10: Sin City (2005), Spectre (2015), The Others (2001), Scream (1996), Equilibrium (2002), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Mist (2007), Death Proof (2007), 1408 (2007), Scary Movie (2000)

Future BMT: 86.5 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 82.8 Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), 77.4 Who’s Your Caddy? (2007), 76.9 Superhero Movie (2008), 70.6 Halloween II (2009), 70.1 Black Christmas (2006), 68.6 Pulse (2006), 66.9 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 64.9 Scary Movie 4 (2006), 61.8 Cursed (2005)

BMT: Scary Movie V (2013), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), My Boss’s Daughter (2003), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Dracula 2000 (2000), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Phantoms (1998), Texas Rangers (2001), Reindeer Games (2000), Mindhunters (2004)

Best Options (Action): 86.5 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 82.8 Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), 76.9 Superhero Movie (2008), 66.9 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 37.6 Reindeer Games (2000), 37.0 The Brothers Grimm (2005), 33.0 Fortress (1992), 30.5 Gunmen (1993)

(Looking at this, am I disappointed that we didn’t have this algorithm to tell us The Crow: City of Angels was probably our best option? A little. But I also think Reindeer Games was a long time coming for BMT so ultimately I think I’m fine with it. Crushing dat early-2000s Dimension I have to say.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ben Affleck is No. 1 billed in Reindeer Games and No. 1 billed in Gigli, which also stars Al Pacino (No. 7 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 1) + (7 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 14. If we were to watch Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – In October 2007, Charlize Theron said in an interview in Esquire magazine that “Reindeer Games” was her least favorite of all her films. She said: “That was a bad, bad, bad movie. But I got to work with John Frankenheimer. I wasn’t lying to myself – that’s why I did it.”

The film was cut by over twenty minutes before its original theatrical release date of December 1999 because of both a poor test screening and the MPAA’s objections over the infamous dart torture scene. John Frankenheimer’s preferred version was dark, gritty, and sexier. The film was released in Feburary 2000 in its shorter 104 minute version. Frankenheimer’s original version was released a year later with the twenty minutes restored on DVD as his “Director’s Cut”.

The character names Rudy and Nick are an allusion to the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” from which this movie takes its title. Nick (St. Nicholas) orchestrates the entire plan, only to have Rudy (Rudolph) lead it.

At the time of shooting, Gary Sinise was romantically involved with Charlize Theron.

In the scene where Dana Stubblefield stabs Ben Affleck, Stubbie accidentally knocked Affleck down, causing a concussion. Filming had to be halted while Affleck recovered.

John Frankenheimer’s last feature-length, theatrically distributed film.

Alan Silvestri was hired in late 1999 to score the film after replacing Jerry Goldsmith, who left due to creative differences. Silvestri had only a month to score the film, with the music being recorded in early January 2000.

Originally planned for a Christmas 1999 release, but delayed until February 2000 after a poor test screening in mid 1999.

The music that plays during the scene where all of the Santas, including Ben Affleck, appear together at the poker table is “Sleigh Bells”, which is a tip off for the impending robbery.

Ashton Kutcher: as the man with whom Rudy (Ben Affleck) switches clothes, in the bathroom.

My Boss’s Daughter Recap

Jamie

There was a moment where I thought My Boss’s Daughter could be a Grandma’s Boy. A film with terrible reviews that contained a bunch of funny stuff and was actually good. Then I was like, ‘nah, this ain’t that,’ and so I revised my opinion mid-movie and thought perhaps it was a Freddy Got Fingered. An interesting film that was probably actually bad, but also not as bad as the reviewers made it out to be and mostly reviled for its strangeness. But even that wasn’t quite it. Finally, after going through these stages of grief I arrived at the truth: this movie is real bad. That’s right, the film is trash. Don’t get me wrong, there are some funny jokes in there and the supporting cast consists of some of the best in comedy. But it all came down to a simple fact: they had no idea what they wanted to make. And so only about 25% of the film is any good. The rest is appallingly bad.  

To briefly touch on the plot, Tom is in love with his boss’s daughter Lisa. Tom also wants to make it big in publishing but Lisa’s dad is a big ol’ mean face. One day Lisa asks if Tom could help her out and he’s psyched, but less so once he realizes that helping her out means he’s owl-sitting for her father while she goes to a party with her BF. Hilarity ensues as everything, everyone, and every owl goes wrong. Drug deals go bad, Tom is mixed up in a murder most foul, Lisa comes home admits she thought Tom was gay, the owl gets high on cocaine and flies away, etc. etc. etc. Then Lisa’s father gets home early and Tom is fired for acting like a crazy person. But Tom has grown a spine through the ordeal and goes after Lisa, they smooch, and live happily ever after.

So yeah, it’s some real crazy stuff that doesn’t add up to much. It can’t seem to stick to a theme and falls apart under the weight of four different styles. 

  • Director David Zucker. He’s best known for his spoof movies. Indeed, I think the most successful aspects of this film are when they start to border on spoof. An owl is sucking down cocaine and running wild and I swear if they just called it The Great Owl Adventure I would have been into it. 
  • Writer David Dorfman. The writer of the film was hot off making Anger Management and making a splash in Hollywood and his voice seems to contain a bit of acid that works against the lighter, spoofier tones of Zucker. Much of it doesn’t age super well either.
  • Standard Studio Rom Com. It’s already a wild idea to pair this script with that director, but to also then shoehorn in a Tara Reid/Kutcher stereotypical love story in the middle of it? Not a single moment of Kutcher and Reid together works.  
  • Ashton Kutcher Vehicle. Kutcher was clearly on his way up. So when he gets his leading role he is giving it his all in the biggest, broadest way… even when his character reads more like a nervous Woody Allen character than Ashton Kutcher. 

You mix these four things together and it’s a stew not worth eating. When you extract The Great Owl Adventure… now I’m interested. That’s actually my Hot Take Clam Bake. Very simple: more owl=more money. I wanted to sit down thinking, ‘hmmm, just another rom com, sigh.’ Only to then perk up when I realize this isn’t a love story between Kutcher and Reid… it’s a love story between Kutcher and the owl. Fly me to the moon, owl. That hot take it ice cold, baby. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! My Boss’s Daughter? More like What Dross and Rotter! Amirite? I mean, yeah, if I were British … oh, wait, I am British! Let’s go!

  • There was a time not too long ago when people made unfunny garbage where the “comedy” was all gross-out and the plots all paper-thin. The era I’m sure was great for some people, and perhaps even Dimension Films. It wasn’t great for comedy. This movie is unfunny garbage.
  • Kutcher and Reid are both shockingly bad in this film. I never really thought Kutcher was a particularly good actor. He’s a bit one note, seems to lack a bit of range. But he’s particularly bad in this, presumably as it was quite early in his career (when filmed, I believe the film was shelved for years prior to release). It is actually incredible Tara Reid had a major motion picture career at all. No offense.
  • It was nice I suppose to see Andy Richter bumming around though. He’s actually pretty funny in this. But he’s also a television actor and his part isn’t nearly big enough to save the film overall.
  • Oh there were some funny jokes I suppose, mostly concerning an owl named O.J. (after O.J. Simpson) who causes quite the stir after getting high on cocaine. There is a kernel of something there in that the owl is almost always a terrible puppet/doll that Kutcher interacts with. There is something actually funny about half-assing what is (wildly) the centerpiece to the whole movie: the escape of the antagonist’s pet owl.
  • Oh, and add this to the films where the main character works in book publishing. I … don’t think they know how the book publishing world works. I’m not sure the primary job of a publisher is coming up with ideas for books … I think the authors do that. But what do I know?
  • The film definitely has a nice Product Placement (What?) for both Miller Lite and Cheetos. But other than that I think there are basically no superlatives. The film is closest to Bad, it is unfunny garbage and not interesting in any particular way beyond being a time capsule for everything bad about comedy in 2000.
  • I think I need to name this segment. Jamie likes Live Free or Die Hardcopy (soon to be a smash hit podcast I’m sure). Anyways, plenty of special features on the DVD I got from my local library. We got Bloopies (F, unfunny trash, but hey, so is the movie). We got Deleted Scenes (B, but only because it was a scene that was basically only half done and looked ridiculous). There is a making of Documentary (D, oh boy does it explain why this film is unfunny), and a (gulp) Tara Reid Audition … alright, I’m just going to stop right there for a second. They have Tara Reid get actually half-naked in her audition. Now I’m not one to presume. I’m not one to try and project my thoughts and feelings onto situations. Let’s just say … not a great look. I give the segment a (D, not a great look), and leave it at that.

You best believe I made up a sequel called My Boss’s Granddaughter. Cheerios, and back to you Jamie!