Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: The Final Girls(2015)

Movie My Way:  The Final Girls

The Final Girls

I love it when filmmakers are able to combine horror and comedy effectively.  Horror often takes itself way too seriously.  When something refreshing comes a long like Tucker and Dale vs. Evil and Cabin in the Woods, for me, it makes the movie watching experience just a lot more fun.  It also introduces horror style films to people who are not fans of horror.  My wife had a lot of fun with Cabin in the Woods and she is not a fan of horror.  At all.  So I was excited to see something new along those lines and The Final Girls delivers a really great time.  The Final Girls is a film about a girl(obviously) who is magically transported into the horror slasher film ‘Bloodbath’ that her since deceased mother starred in back in the 80’s.  While in the film, they experience everything that happened in the film including flashbacks, oblivious stereotypical camp counselors and of course “Billy” who is wandering the woods hunting down our players.  It does help to be familiar with horror films to really get all of the tropes they use in this film as an homage but it is a really approachable film that is just really fun.  And can you believe this film is PG-13?  That’s right!  You have all heard me rant about the ratings of horror films these days.  However, The Final Girls pulls it off quite nicely with some wonderful camera angles and direction throughout as well as the very witty dialogue.  My only complaint would be that we don’t see enough Billy in this film.  Hopefully, just like real horror films, this will spawn at least one sequel to coincide with ‘Bloodbath 2’.

My Movie Rating:

31 Days of Halloween – Day 31 – The Halloween Series(1978-2002)

31 Days of Halloween – Day 31

The Halloween Series(1978-2002)

Happy Halloween, everyone!

As you could have all probably guessed, I was saving this series for last.  Though not every film in this series is great or even good, I have to give honor to what John Carpenter and Debra Hill created back in the day.  This review will, like my other serial reviews, put the 8 non-remake films in order from least to best in my opinion.

#8 – Halloween Resurrection(2002)


This poster should tell you everything you need to know about this film.  Tyra Banks?  Busta Rhymes? Umm, what in the heck is going on?  Why would Jamie Lee Curtis even agree to be in a film like this?  **Spoiler Alert** Well, after some research, she mentioned that the only way she would agree to be in this film is if they were to finally, and forever, kill off the character of Lori Strode since killing her brother in the prior film didn’t work.  Which they do in the first 10 minutes of the film.  Says something about what this film ended up being.  A cash grab on an established franchise.  It tried too hard to bring Michael into the “new age” by centering the story around the then new media style of reality tv.  It was a sad ending to the “original” series and the Jamie Lee Curtis series.

#7 – Halloween 6 – The Curse of Michael Myers(1995)


I cannot, for the life of me understand what the film makers were trying to come up with when they wrote this film.  I guess they were going for the ultimate “why” Michael is so violent and wants to hunt down his family members?  So they concocted this weird astrological back story and that Michael is being controlled by some ancient cult group. Why?  Who knows.  Be aware there are two versions of this movie.  There was the theatrical release and then there is what is now known as the Producers Cut of the film.  The Producers cut of the film went WAY deep on the whole “curse” side of things.  Which is why the theatrical version suffered so much.  The studio couldn’t make heads or tails of what was going on in the Producers cut and had to re-shoot a lot of the film to add more kills as well as change the ending.  Needless to say, it isn’t all bad.  This is the last time we get to see Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis in a Halloween film as he died shortly after the completion of this film.  This film might be entirely better if they just used some other faceless killer in this film instead of Michael Myers.

#6 – Halloween 5 – The Revenge of Michael Myers(1989)


By this time in the series, instead of focusing on Lori Strode, we are now focusing on her daughter, Jamie Lloyd who may become the next Michael Myers.  It was a great concept from part four that was just simply thrown away in this film for more mayhem and violence.  Which was unfortunate since I thought that premise was a great unique twist.  However, we spend this film centering around some clueless high schoolers who end going the way that most do in films like this.  This film isn’t awful but I guess I ranked it lower just because it wasted an opportunity to really change the film up and bring new life into a series that was starting to get tired around the edges.

#5 – Halloween 4 – The Return of Michael Myers(1988)


After the brief hiatus that Halloween III was, audiences wanted our white faced killer to return.  In a big way.  It introduces us to Jamie Lloyd, daughter of Lori Strode who is now got the attention of her Uncle Michael and must do what she can to evade his killer grasp.  Dr. Loomis is also back ready to help her deal with him.  I thought this film was pretty a decent entry in the series.  Danielle Harris, as Jamie, was a great new addition in this film and she was easy to root for.  It expanded on the universe just a bit and overall, had some really good tension in it.

#4 – Halloween III – Season of the Witch(1982)


This movie gets a lot of crap from fans.  I get it.  I understand.  Your favorite psycho killer is not in a movie with Halloween in the title.  However, if you take a step back and simply look at this film as a horror film, independent of the Haddonfield stories, then this is a decent entry into the Halloween genre.  In interviews, John Carpenter has always stated that Halloween was meant to be a series of anthology films.  Every year, a new, different story centered around the holiday would take place.  It is a bold concept and one that could have really been done well.  Think about a horror themed version of the Twilight Zone in film form.  The possibilities are endless.  So from that perspective, I thought this film was a lot of fun.  Do I still like Michael Myers as the butcher knife wielding killer?  Of course, but I can appreciate what they tried to go back in 1982.

#3 – Halloween H2O: Twenty Years Later(1998)


Let me start by saying I HATE the name of this movie.  Some clever marketing exec probably thought they were being funny.  It just sounds dumb.  Anyway, this is Lori Strode’s opus.  This is the film where she is able to put her demons behind her and finally confront her brother twenty years later.  It is the first time Jamie Lee Curtis has played Lori since Halloween 2 with 4 films in between.  Again, through interviews, the only way she agreed to do this film was if she was able to actually kill off the character of Michael Myers.  They agreed but of course omitted the fact that any maker of a Halloween film must agree to the fact that Michael Myers can never die.  No matter what.  Oh well.  Regardless, this film really breathes some great life into the original trilogy.  Similar to what Wes Craven did for his Nightmare series, we get a great new take on the Halloween universe and it adds a lot to the series.  This film is worth it for the final fight between Lori and Michael.  It has some great action and tension.  It was a sequel that was done right.

#2 – Halloween 2(1981)


After the success of the original Halloween, the film studios wanted to rush another one out.  They also wanted John Carpenter back but he was hoping to move into other territories.  However, he did agree to collaborate with Debra Hill once again and wrote this movie.  The great thing about this film is that it takes the very same night as the original.  It adds an almost maniacal quality if watched back to back.  Unfortunately, the story does suffer a bit since they don’t really have to do any set up and just have to keep the body count racked up.  Though it isn’t prefect, this is a great sequel to the original.

#1 – Halloween(1979)


As if you didn’t know that I would rank this film at the top.  I have spoken about it often and this is BY FAR my favorite horror film in ANY genre.  It is the perfect horror film.  I have seen plenty of interviews with John Carpenter about how this film came to be and his attitude is pretty ambivalent about it all.  He shrugs his shoulders a lot and hoped it would let him direct more movies.  To him, it was just a job.  I guess he underestimated his fans.  As a matter of fact, it was just by chance that this film was even called Halloween.  Originally, it was to be called the Babysitter Killings but when they realized that there were no prior movies that were simply called Halloween, they changed the name and the rest is history.  That history is a lot as well.  From the opening steadicam shot(which was in its infancy then) to the innocent final girl, Halloween created some of the most used and iconic slasher horror film tropes that are still used to this day.  It spawned a LOAD of horror movies to be made in the 80’s.  All were looking to take the Halloween crown.  Some got very close but in my opinion, this original classic will never be topped.  There are so many memorable things about this film, I don’t think that I can list them here.  Needless to say, this film encapsulates the season in a very distinct and unique way.  It is a must watch for any horror fan and is the perfect Halloween horror film.

31 Days of Halloween – Day 30 – Return of the Living Dead(1985)

31 Days of Halloween – Day 30

Return of the Living Dead

The Return of the Living Dead

I will come right out and say it.  This is my favorite zombie themed horror film of all time.  Period.  Some might think that is blasphemy for not picking Night of the Living Dead or Dawn of the Dead, but this one just hits all the notes correctly for me.  Humor, fun characters, great special effects, fun story, one lingers galore, tension, great soundtrack and on and on I could go about this film.  I never get tired of this watching this film.  Let’s all not forget that this was the film where the notion that zombies eat brains comes from.  And who could forget Tarman.  He is still really creepy to look at and done so well.  Seriously, if you haven’t seen this film, it is a must see even if you aren’t a fan of horror films.

31 Days of Halloween – Day 29 – Trick ‘r Treat(2007)

31 Days of Halloween – Day 29

Trick ‘r Treat

Trick 'r Treat

Since I have reviewed this movie before, I won’t go into too many details.  If you are looking for a great selection of stories told in the perfect Halloween setting, this movie is for you.  It has some great dark humor and a nice thread that ties all of these stories together.  Later this month, another collection of Halloween stories is being released titled ‘Tales of Halloween‘ and am wondering if it will live up to what Trick ‘r Treat has established.  I would love to see our new friend Sam show up in a sequel or two. This is one that I like to watch on or very near Halloween.

31 Days of Halloween – Day 28 – The Thing(1982)

31 Days of Halloween – Day 28

The Thing

The Thing

This film is rightfully regarded as one of the best monster movies of all time.  I have to admit, it is one of my favorite horror films.  Though it is a remake of the also great Thing from Another World, this complete re-imagining of that classic is just one of those movies that has everything  It has tension, scares, superb creature and practical effects, a great plot and wonderful ending.  The one big aspect about this film that sets it apart from others is its use of trust among our players.  It keeps you guessing throughout the film and ultimately there is no definitive way to know who or what the thing actually is.  It is a a great way to introduce an interesting set of characters set in isolated Antarctica.  A great movie to set the tone for the season of monsters and ghouls.

31 Days of Halloween – Day 27 – American Werewolf in London(1981)

31 Days of Halloween – Day 27

American Werewolf in London

An American Werewolf in London

What a great movie.  I just love everything about this film.  It has great characters, great writing, great humor and GREAT special effects.  Some of the most revolutionary practical effects ever put on the screen.  One of the most memorable ones was the in camera transformation of our main character, David.  I don’t think anyone had seen those kinds of effects on screen before.  I know I hadn’t  Another memorable effect is the deterioration of our main characters friend Jack from the beginning of the film and then towards the end.  For as grotesque as our character looks towards the end of the film, it brings a very nice levity to the screen.  Also very similar to my Dog Soldiers review earlier, the actual creature design in this movie is THE best werewolf design ever.  It truly is scary and sets itself apart from all others.  Great film for those foggy nights in the fall.

31 Days of Halloween – Day 26 – A Nightmare on Elm Street Series(1984-1994)

31 Days of Halloween – Day 26

A Nightmare on Elm Street Series

With the recent passing of Wes Craven I thought I needed to include this series.  Even if he hadn’t passed away, I still would have included this series since it is so iconic and and immediately stands out as one of those “franchise” standards.  Again, these will not include the recent remake nor the Freddy vs. Jason movie and will just be the standard 7 films that make up the original series.  Even though I do bag on these films, I still find them fun and are neat to watch this time of year.


#7 – Freddy’s Dead – The Final Nightmare(1991)Nightmare6

This film struggles to even be a Nightmare film.  By this time, our friend Freddy has run the gamut of being the scary figure that Wes originally intended to be all the way to the wise cracking, joke spewing one liner machine.  This movie decides to stick to the latter route which is frustrating.  This film is filled with so many “gags” that don’t fit in with.  I mean do we really want to see Freddy Krueger play video games? I never thought it would happen but in this film it did.  So that should give you an idea of how frustratingly bad this film is.  It would have been a tragedy for the series to end on this note.

#6 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 – The Dream Child(1989)


 This hot mess of a plot centers around the back story of Freddy and how he came to be.  It all revolves around the unborn child of our final girl Alice in this film but for some reason, Freddy decides he has to haunt the dreams of the unborn child.  For what reason, I’m not sure.  Just to mess with her?  To be reborn?  It is never fully explained in this film.  That combined with the almost “artistic” approach they took with this film and the dream sequences, it just really clouds and confuses the entire series.

#5 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 – Freddy’s Revenge(1985)nightmare2

The much anticipated sequel to the original starts off with our new protagonist in the same house that Nancy lived in when the horrible incidents started happening to the kids who live on Elm Street.  However, this time they decided to break with classic horror tradition and changed it to a guy this time.  This only one of the many changes they made that left me scratching my head.  This film is often spoken about because of its supposedly unintentional homo-erotic themes in the film.  If you watch this cut of the film, there seems to be no way that the director wouldn’t have noticed it.

#4 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 – The Dream Master(1988)


So I have mentioned that the character of Freddy Krueger has been everything from downright frightening to comical.  This is the film that took things to an extreme.  I mean Freddy in sunglasses?  Come on.  It isn’t all bad though.  There are some really good effects in this film.  It also introduces us to our friend Alice that I briefly spoke about in part 5.  She is likable and packs a punch.  I can actually believe that she could take on Freddy in a dream and take him down.

#3 – Wes Craven’s New Nightmare(1994)


Wes Craven is back!  For the first time in 10 years, the creator of our friend Freddy is back to pen a real Nightmare film after it getting butchered by so many others.  Wes manages to pretty much re-invent the series with this very unique entry to the series.  Like I said about part 7, it would have been a tragedy for it to end on that note and I think Wes agrees.  I saw this one in the theater with my cousin and thought that it was a great stripping down of the characters, the story and the series as a whole.  To me, this is the a great book end to the top three films in the series.

#2 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 – Dream Warriors(1987)


Some could argue that this film is the best in the series.  In a lot of ways, they would be right.  It is a very solid sequel that honors the original material and brings on some new and interesting characters to the mix.  It also struck a nice chord tonally with the right mix of action, humor, suspense and gore.  Some really good and memorable moments in this film.  Who could forget Lawrence Fishburn and Patricia Arquette?  And don’t forget the Dream Warriors theme song by Dokken too!

#1 – A Nightmare on Elm Street(1984)


So I had to do it.  I had to leave the original for last.  Not out of respect or anything but this film created something completely original.  It wasn’t your run of the mill slasher like Jason or Michael which made it stand out on its own.  This had a great mythology and back story to it that allowed film makers to really push the limits of what an antagonist could do.  How do you stop something that invades your dreams?  Pretty creative stuff.  Wes knew what he was doing and made something special.  He also knew that a star was being born in his little movie in Johnny Depp.

31 Days of Halloween – Day 25 – The Exorcist(1973)

31 Days of Halloween – Day 25

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

This film doesn’t really need any sort of explanation at all.  It is often ranked within the top 5 of scariest movies of all time on many lists.  Rightfully so.  This film deals with a pretty dark topic that most audiences had never even considered back in the 70’s.  Now it seems there are possession movies all over the place.  I have reviewed plenty of them in the past and 9/10 will be boring/bad or just plain uninteresting stories with bad plots.  This one, however, is the gold standard for the genre.  It is cold, frightening, subtle and sometimes not so subtle.  It is just one of those great films that deserves all the accolades it gets.

31 Days of Halloween – Day 24 – Night of the Demons Series(1988-2009)

31 Days of Halloween – Day 24

Night of the Demons Series

Night1 Night2
Night3 Night4

So don’t let these covers scare you.  I remember seeing a couple of these back in the 80s thinking they would be a super scary movie.  In this case, however, these are fun and campy movies that all center around the Halloween holiday.  As a matter of fact, the original was going to be called Halloween Party, but film makers thought it would cause confusion with audiences thinking it was associated with the now famous Michael Myers series. All of these movies are just silly fun and just really set the mood right for the season.  I would rank them in the order they were released too with the last entry being the remake made in 2009.  It was an honest remake of the original but it lost a little bit of the 80’s nostalgia feel to it.  So give any of these films a watch this time of year.  It should give you a scary good time!

31 Days of Halloween – Day 23 – The Strangers(2008)

31 Days of Halloween – Day 23

The Strangers

The Strangers

This movie creeps me out.  That isn’t easy to do, either.  I don’t really know why but this film just sets an uneasy tone from the beginning with our couple dealing with their recent breakup on a weekend that was meant to celebrate their engagement.  Everything from the isolated location to the super creepy “guests” that show up out of nowhere, I love how this movie was executed.  It does a great job at a nice slow and sinister burn without too much action.  Today a lot of horror films rely on loud jump scares to get audiences to jump. I am looking at you Insidious series.  This was a refreshing take on getting an audience scared.  Let their mind do all the work.  I highly recommend this film.  Don’t watch it alone though.  You may have a very sleepless night.

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