Category Archives: hollywood

‘La La Land’ an enjoyable love story

Directed and written by Damien Chazelle, ‘La La Land’ tells the story of Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone), two dreamers living in Los Angeles, one looking for fame as a jazz musician, the other as an actress. As they meet and fall in love, their passions for fame and artistic brilliance threaten to tear them apart.

It is an incredibly well-made film, utilizing dramatic camera movements, a full color palette and strong performances to tell its story. Emma Stone’s huge blue eyes have never been used more effectively.

The music is not all that memorable, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be either. It stands as more of a metaphor for how the characters (as dreamers) view the world: full of love and possibility, a poem from the heart. It is both sad and happy, full of longing, hope and regret.

Much like his previous film “Whiplash” though, there’s something about Chazelle’s work that feels just a tad off. It doesn’t stick with you as much as it should. Perhaps it’s a case of style over substance. Perhaps because his characters are not wholly developed, more archetypes than fully fleshed out. Perhaps the stakes are not deep enough, the forces confronting both characters not crafted well enough to understand the character’s plights.

Regardless, “La La Land” is an enjoyable ride, full of great little moments and great visuals. Experience it for yourself and see what you take away from it.

 

‘Rogue One’ explosive but lacks soul

Are you ready for a “Star Wars” movie every year until the end of time? Disney is. After rebooting the franchise last year with “The Force Awakens”, the next film in the series deviates from the Skywalker storyline and focuses on a Rebellion troop who manage to secure the plans for the Death Star and deliver them to Princess Leia.

The story follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), a renegade whose father, Galen (Mad Mikkelsen), was forced to build the Death Star by the Empire. Meeting up with Cassian (Diego Luna), a member of the Rebel Alliance and a few other allies, she intercepts a message from Galen that contains information on how to destroy the weapon. She and her team must retrieve the plans before the superweapon is operational.

The action is strong and exciting, the last thirty or so minutes of the film a breakneck war film that recalls memories of “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Dirty Dozen.” It is refreshing to see a darker tone and something a little bit different.

However, when confronted with a story where the audience pretty much knows the ending, the filmmakers have to establish a basis for the audience to care. That starts with strong and empathetic characters, but there is nothing particularly compelling about Jyn. The story is a simple stop-the-bad-guys type of affair, which by itself is pretty boring. Jyn and her rebel friends really need something to drive them internally.

For example, take a look at “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The film’s conclusion is about an army trying to save a planet from a warlord trying to destroy it, but that is not really what it’s about it. It’s about a team of losers who have been alone for so long and have found friendship and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for each other. We are given time to really know them and to understand their fears and desires, what has held them back, what they want in life and they build off each other.

In “Rogue One”, we are rushed through from scene to scene, never quite identifying with Jyn or Chirrut (Donnie Yen) or Saw Gerrera (Forrest Whitaker) or any particular character. We don’t really understand their past or why they are fighting for the Rebellion so the resolution to the story lacks meaning and emotional punch.

Perhaps Jyn’s father was a loyal Imperial and she has to correct his evil deeds (similar to Luke in “Return of the Jedi”). Or she has been running her entire life from responsibility and ditches the fight only to be lured back at the end (similar to Han in “A New Hope”). Perhaps Cassian was a stormtrooper who couldn’t stand the killing anymore. Perhaps Chirrut and Baze (Wen Jiang) lose their home to the Empire after it begins ethnic cleansing and want to take revenge. We just need a little backstory to care.

It’s a shame because there is so much that “Rogue One” does right. It’s direction and visual style are strong, it’s action scenes are top-notch, the premise is precise and interesting and it elaborates on the “Star Wars” mythos. But without a heart behind it all, it is just a pretty facade.

The series that will never end

We now live in an era when TV and movie sagas really have no ending. Even when you look at a final film, listed as the last installment, hyped as the end of an era, fans start asking as soon as the credits roll, “Okay, when’s the next one?”

Sequels are endless. Great movies get sequels (X-Men: Apocalypse). Terrible movies get sequels (TMNT: Out of the Shadows, Ice Age: Collision Course). Movies that don’t need sequels get sequels (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, Magic Mike 2). Popular movies from ten years ago get sequels (Zoolander 2, Jurassic World). Unpopular movies from ten years ago get sequels (Bridget Jones’ Baby). Movie franchises are brought back from the dead (Independence Day: Resurgence, Ghostbusters (2016)). Everything gets a sequel.

And TV is not any different now either. TV shows long dormant are rebooted. Just look at recent attempts at rebooting “The X-Files”, “Gilmore Girls”, “Full House”, “Arrested Development”, “24”, and “Heroes” to name a few. Those shows all ended years ago, but here are they, back again. Thankfully, these shows really just seem to be one-offs as none of them have really caught on with the fire that they once did, but that hasn’t stopped studios from making them.

One just has to wonder, will anything ever end anymore? Let’s look at some of the seemingly never-ending properties and come up with an expiration date, starting from soonest to latest.

X-Men (End Date: 2017)

The current iteration of X-Men movies, spanning from 2000 to the present, have given us 9 films, ten with “Logan” next year. But with Hugh Jackman saying that “Logan” will be his last go with the character of Wolverine, time seems to be closing on the heyday of Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender. Now, having said that, there will be another “Deadpool” movie, but he doesn’t really fit into the X-Men mythos. And there will be more X-Men movies, but they will be rebooted with new casts and new characters. So take this one with a grain of salt.

PREDICTED ENDING: Wolverine and Charles Xavier have an emotional sendoff that culminates with Wolverine finding his humanity, completing his journey. The next film opens with an entirely new cast and a female Wolverine.

DCEU (End Date: 2022)

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Batman V. Superman was supposed to be the DC Extended Universe’s big, blockbuster hit. It did okay commercially and was pretty much a bomb critically. The same with “Suicide Squad.” Now “Wonder Woman” and “Justice League” will debut next year and that will be the true test for Warner Bros. If either or both of them bombs, it could spell the end for their hopes of taking on Disney’s MCU. They simply need to perform better. If next year is a dud, they may seriously have to reconsider their plans. Maybe this is just me being optimistic, but I see two more critical failures, two more box office mehs, and an early end to this colossal mistake.

PREDICTED ENDING: The entire Justice League takes on an army of aliens bent on destroying the Earth at all costs, probably with a giant blue laser that shoots into the sky, a gigantic hour-long fight ensues that levels a city, blah, blah, blah… There’s a teaser for a future film at the end of the credits that is never filmed.

Toy Story (End Date: 2025)

The “Toy Story” series should have ended with “Toy Store 3” in 2010. But now we have “Toy Story 4” coming in just about two years. Will there be anymore? I think there’ll be one more, but with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen certainly getting up there in years, that’s it. Without Woody and Buzz, I don’t think Disney makes anymore “Toy Story” films. But I’ve been wrong before.

PREDICTED ENDING: Buzz and Woody and the gang engage in a colorful journey through the scary world that tests their friendship and involves them coming to grips with maturation and inevitability. There are an equal number of tears as laughs.

Transformers (End Date: 2032)

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“Transformers” has made so much money and been so bad for so long that it may be tempting to think it is on the same level as the cockroach and the twinkie in terms of evolutionary survival. But fear not. “Transformers” is mortal. It can be slain. It just won’t be for a few years. It’s U.S. business is falling. It’s making less money. It’s really just made for the Chinese at this point. They will learn too, once the euphoria of the explosions has passed, they will sober up.

PREDICTED ENDING: Boom! Wham! Clink! PFFFFFHHH! Crash! Boom! Clank!

Fast and Furious (End Date: 2040)

There have now been eight “Fast and Furious” movies dating all the way back to 2001. With another two planned, the franchise is still a continuous moneymaker, despite the death of star Paul Walker. The appeal of fast cars, cool action and hot women won’t diminish anytime soon, so the franchise will probably continue to soldier on for the next few years, even as its stars leave. But as usually happens, when the big names go, quality suffers and the box office will slowly start to reflect that. Then they’ll try and reboot it later on with a whole new cast and some cameos by Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, but that won’t work.

PREDICTED ENDING: Ummmm…. I don’t know. I’ve never seen one of these movies. Car races?

Harry Potter (End Date: 2052)

Harry Potter seemed to be finished. All the books had been translated into movies and the story was complete. But that was so five years ago. Fast forward to the present and we now have a whole set of theme parks based on the stories, a new play about Harry and his son, Albus, and a new five-picture series set in the 1920s. So the wizarding world is back in full force and it shows no signs of stopping. “Fantastic Beasts” is doing well enough at the box office so plans should continue on their current course. Of course, the thing driving all of this is J.K. Rowling. By 2052, she will be in her 80s. She won’t have written for a few years, but once she leaves us, one of her kids or family members will publish some jotted notes about something to make some cash and that will be the last story… well, turned into a six-part movie series anyway.

PREDICTED ENDING: Harry is now 128 years old. He’s dumped Ginny and now shacks up with Hermione because that is the only sensible thing to do. Voldemort is back… again. It’s his clone or something so they have to fight, but never fear; there’s some convenient magic that helps Harry defeat him despite the fact that he is a far inferior wizard to the dark lord. Voldemort just can’t catch a break.

MCU (End Date: 2061)

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe just keeps going and going and going. It is now a behemoth of Hollywood. Even obscure characters like Doctor Strange, Ant-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy produce hits. The name itself brings people to the theaters because they know an MCU movie is fun and easy to digest. Steven Spielberg has said that the superhero movie is like the Western and that it will come and go like that genre. Perhaps he’s right. This end date signifies pretty much the length of the Western’s popularity.

PREDICTED ENDING:All 134 superheroes fight a giant CGI army led by a generic villain whose name you won’t remember. The heroes beforehand will fight amongst themselves and disagree about… something. They’ll unite and fight the big baddie and defeat him with the power of teamwork. The movie will literally have so much awesomeness that all the supernerds who watch it die from euphoria, ending the superhero craze once and for all.

Star Trek (End Date: 2072)

Star Trek has endured through TV shows and movies and next generations and reboots. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The only thing that will make Star Trek irrelevant is when humanity actually catches up to it, technology-wise and humanity-wise. Technology-wise is actually not that far off. Humanity-wise is still a ways away. Go figure.

PREDICTED ENDING: The Enterprise journeys to a distant planet where the crew must… zzzzzzzz. Whoops, sorry. They meet the Klingons and start a series of negotiations over…. zzzzzzz.

James Bond (End Date: 2104)

James Bond has had dozens of films, 6 actors play him (soon to be seven) and has become the top-grossing film series of all-time. Is there an end to his film series? I do see one, but not for a long, long time. I mean, eventually, society will start to decay as global warming, mass populations and nuclear holocaust take its toll. Perhaps humanity’s last breath before extinction will be the 124th James Bond film. He will still be very suave.

PREDICTED ENDING: I mean, it’s the same movie every time. There’s women and cars and spy stuff and weapons and gadgets and catchy songs and opening stunt sequences and headline villains and on and on. It ends exactly as it started.

Star Wars (End Date: Infinity)

Was there ever any doubt? For a franchise that lasted through the 70s and 80s, through an incoherent special edition, through three absolutely horrendous prequel films and now with a new heavyweight company bankrolling a film a year, “Star Wars” is bigger today than when it first premiered. I don’t think anything can kill this franchise. Not the Great Recession. Not plagues and wars. Not George Lucas. It will be around forever and ever. Even when the human race is gone, it will be around. Small microscopic life forms right now are soaking up its cultural relevance and fan fetish, and it is influencing the genetic makeup of its DNA so that when it reaches evolutionary maturation in a few thousand years, it will continue the series.

PREDICTED ENDING: Luke’s great-great-great grandchild is an orphan on a desert planet. There’s a dark force rising. He or she is called forth by a droid who needs his help and then he or she discovers that it is imbued with the Force. Wait… that’s not an ending. That’s just another beginning.

 

‘Fantastic Beasts’ a return to the magical world

J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world has a lot of room for further stories outside of the character of Harry Potter. That world is expanded with “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, a story set in 1920s New York City.

The film follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a wizard from London with a suitcase full of illegal magical creatures. As tensions between the magical and no-maj community reach a boiling point, several of Scamander’s creatures escape into the city, setting off a series of events that lead to Scamander conflicting directly with the MACUSA, Magical Congress of the United States of America.

Not exactly a prequel, not exactly a standalone film, “Fantastic Beasts” both suffers and strengthens itself off its relationship with its predecessor. On the way hand, it is free from the constrictions of the books and can be its own entity. On the other, it is always in Harry Potter’s shadow, and the story is not as strong as any of the books.

The creatures are indeed fantastic and fun (though a bit over-reliant on CGI) and the interactions between them and Newt, in addition to the no-maj Jake Kowalski (Dan Fogler), are the true heart of the film. Other characters such as Porpentina (Katherine Waterston) and her sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol) are rather pointless, and that’s a shame. Tina is really just the added-on love interest which is a character that has never materialized in one of Rowling’s books (outside of Cho Chang). Hopefully in the sequels, they will become more integral parts of the plot.

While it is always a joy to be in the wizarding world, the film suffers with a plot that is not clearly focused. While Newt collecting the creatures who escaped him is the main part of the story, there is a subplot involving Graves (Colin Farrell), Mary Lou (Samantha Morton) and Creedence (Ezra Miller) that doesn’t really seem to fit in with the rest of the story. Focusing on just Newt and his creatures would have given us a more cohesive story because the film feels distracted at times.

Those who enjoyed the Potter movies will find plenty to love in “Fantastic Beasts.” Those unfamiliar with them or disapproving of Rowling’s sometimes rambling plots and inactive characters will be left wanting, but the magic of Harry’s wondrous world is still with us.

When to release your sequel

“The Lego Movie Sequel” just had its release pushed back another year to 2019, meaning that it will come out a full five years after “The Lego Movie.” So anyone who saw it as a five year old will be 10 when the sequel comes out. Anyone who was 12 will be 17. Is that too much time between sequels? Will the film do worse because of the five year difference or will it not matter? What is the ideal time to release a sequel?

Strictly looking at box office numbers and not the quality of sequels, time apart between movies does seem to acutely matter.

Take a look at the recently released “Independence Day: Resurgence”, a sequel to a movie that came out twenty years ago. The original “Independence Day” made $306 million in the United States, a huge amount at the time. “Resurgence” made $103 million. That is a major drop.

Another recently released sequel, “My Big Fat Greek Weeding 2”, completed its box office run with $59 million, a far cry from the $241 million its predecessor made 14 years ago.

“Alice Through the Looking Glass” grossed $77 million this year, well below the original’s $314 million gross six years ago.

“Zoolander” grossed $45 million; its sequel, released 15 years later, grossed $28 million.

“300” grossed $210 million; its sequel, released 7 years later, grossed $106 million.

When looking at recent sequels released within just a few years of their predecessor, the numbers appear more similar:

– Ride Along (2014): $134 million/ Ride Along 2 (2016): $90 million

– X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) $233 million/ X-Men: Apocalypse (2016): $155 million

– Man of Steel (2013): $291 million/ Batman V Superman (2016): $333 million

– The Conjuring (2013): $137 million/ The Conjuring 2 (2016): $102 million

This is not to say that all sequels are as relatively successful as their predecessor. Sequels such as “Now You See Me 2”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2”, and “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” all grossed significantly less than their predecessors even though they were released just a few years apart.

So it is not a given that a sequel will perform well if made soon after the first film, but it certainly helps. The exception would be the comedy sequel; “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”, “Neighbors 2”, “Ted 2” and “Horrible Bosses 2” all grossed significantly less than the original despite not a lot of time between releases, further strengthening the theory that a comedy sequel is a terrific challenge for any studio.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, and those exceptions are big name franchises that have not lost muster over time, specifically “Star Wars” and “Jurassic Park.” Nostalgia and love for the original drove those films sequels to blockbuster grosses even though it has been decades since their releases.

Looking even closer at sequelitis, compare the original film to its second sequel.

– Divergent (2014): $150 million/ The Divergent Series: Allegiant (2016): $33 million

– Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007): $217 million/ Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011): $133 million

– Blade (1998): $70 million/ Blade: Trinity (2004): $52 million

– Taken (2009): $145 million/ Taken 3 (2015): $89 million

– The Hobbit (2012): $303 million/ The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014): $255 million

So even if a film has a successful sequel, a third sequel rarely works unless again, you are working with one of the premier franchises with a built-in audience.

However, one of the common exceptions to the law of diminishing returns for box office receipts is the animated sequel. One need only look at the box office records of “Finding Dory” to see that an animated sequel, even if it is released 13 years after its predecessor, can still be highly profitable.

Sequels in the “Shrek” series, the “Despicable Me” series, the “Kung Fu Panda” series, the “Madagascar” series, the “Toy Story” series, “Monsters University”, “Rio 2” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2” have all proven successful no matter the length of time between films. There are still sequel flops in the animated genre (The Smurfs 2), but in general, the family-friendly audience supports most of whatever is in theaters no matter quality and length of time between films.

So, if you are a studio, and you are contemplating a sequel, you should consider the following:

– If your film was released in the last three years, go ahead and make a sequel, but make sure it is of high quality.

– If it has been longer than three years, and it’s name is not “Jurassic Park” or “Star Wars”, don’t make it.

– If it is the third of an entry, don’t make it unless you have lady luck on your side.

– If it is an animated film, go ahead. It doesn’t particularly matter if the film is any good.

– If it is a comedy, don’t make it.

So “The Lego Movie Sequel” should be fine since it’s an animated film, not to mention the fact that “The Lego Batman Movie” comes out next year to tide fans over. But “Super Troopers 2” and “Bad Santa 2”? Probably not so much.

Oh please, Disney. Don’t…

After the success of “Maleficent”, last year’s “Cinderella” and this year’s “The Jungle Book”, Disney has revamped their efforts at turning their animated classics into live-action films. So, if you’ve always been dying for a live-action version of “The Fox and the Hound”, hey, that is now a distinct possibility.

While the quality of these movies is not terrible, they are still unoriginal cash-grabs meant purely for reliving the glory days of yesteryear, not creating original and exciting films.

Which of the future planned live-action reboots is the worst idea? In this edition of “Oh please, Disney. Don’t”, let’s count them down.

14. Mulan

Admit it. You want to see a live-action Mongol horde attack an ancient Chinese city where the villain is blown up by fireworks. And the chance to see a strong heroine with a small, CGI dragon companion at her side. Unlike a lot of the entries on this list, “Mulan” is rife with possibilities of exploring Chinese culture and giving us something different than the whimsical fairy tale, sing-a-long so often exploited by Disney. Will they actually create something unique out of the source material? Who knows, but the possibilities are stronger than with any other property.

13. The Jungle Book 2

“The Jungle Book” was a fine, if unoriginal, film. It was one of the biggest hits of the year. A sequel’s been planned because, you know, more money. Of course, there wasn’t really a sequel to the original “Jungle Book” film. So maybe that means there’ll be new things, new adventures, new characters, you know, something, anything new. There’s hope in that.

12. Prince Charming

Sure, why not make a movie about Prince Charming? Nobody even knows his real name. Maybe Charming is his name. If it is, that’s unfortunate. If the film is tongue-in-cheek, it could be a hoot. If it’s taken seriously, it’ll be a bore.

11. The Sword in the Stone

King Arthur has been done so many times. There doesn’t really need to be another movie. But Disney’s animated “The Sword in the Stone” isn’t really a classic so you can give some leeway to the creative team to make the material it’s own. Plus there are lots of opportunities for strong visuals and a solid story of a boy king and Merlin.

10. Snow White

Sure, why not. Remake Snow White. The dwarves will be cool. I’ll bet that evil queen will be badass. At least rinse the taste of the “Huntsman” movies out of our mouths.

9. Aladdin

Ugh. Remake “Aladdin”? How are you going to keep this from being racist? And who could possibly do Genie with Robin Williams gone? This is one of those, “If they’re going to do it, make it different.” Make the Genie evil and do some forty thieves stuff.

8. Beauty and the Beast

This one has the potential to be just plain creepy. Hermione falling in love with a hulking CGI bison? Sure, it looks pretty, but what could this possibly add that’s different?

7. The Little Mermaid

How are they going to make this work? Like how? I don’t understand.

6. Tinker Bell

Oh, dear God. Just… the horror.

5. Pinocchio

Anybody remember that Jonathan Taylor Thomas movie? Yep.

4. Winnie the Pooh

There’s talk that it will be an adult Christopher Robin. Having him chatting with a CGI Pooh bear and friends won’t give anyone nightmares…

At this point, how can any sane person think any of these are a good idea? This isn’t even fun to joke about anymore.

3. Cruella

Maleficent got her own movie to show her good side, so of course the next logical choice goes to… Cruella deVille! I’m sure it will be easy to empathize with a psycho who wants to murder animals and then wear them. With Emma Stone set to star, what could possibly go wrong?

Seriously, what could happen in this movie? Does she have a secret heart of gold or something? Is she the villain? Wouldn’t that just make this a straight up remake like the Glenn Close one? I don’t get it. How could this possibly work?

2. Dumbo

Reasons this will be terrible other than the obvious: This movie has Tim Burton attached to direct it (mic drop).

1.The Lion King

Has Disney really sunk this low? One of their most beloved animated classics, a film that has practically no flaws… sure, let’s go ahead and remake it with a bunch of fake-looking CGI animals. This one has already caused an uproar (ha ha) because no good can come of it. It’s almost unfathomable what a poor decision to remake “Lion King” is; the only question anyone can fathom is, why?

 

Horror Movie Classics: Halloween

Most horror films today are terrible and contrite, boiling down to just basic jump scares or excessive gore to excite their audience. It’s a shame really because good scary movies can really shine a light on the human condition, revealing our greatest fears and desires, showing us the darker side of nature that many of us keep hidden. By acknowledging this dark side and examining it, horror films can do so much more than just scare; they can make us feel.

So in looking at the best of the best of horror, it’s natural to look at the films that have defined the genre. And no film may have changed the genre more than John Carpenter’s Halloween.

The plot of Halloween is simple: A crazed killer escapes from a mental institution to terrorize a suburban town on Halloween night, the same night he murdered his sister years ago. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it has been done to death since Carpenter’s film was released, a testament to the influence of his work.

The killer, Michael Myers, is not some raving lunatic. He never says a word. The only thing you ever hear from him are his low, shallow breaths. He is often referred to as the boogeyman by the children in the film. He practically ceases to be a man and instead becomes a malevolent force, something that can not be killed, but lurks everywhere, behind bushes, in your garage, in the bedroom where you think you are most safe. In many ways, he is a metaphor for death, always lurking, waiting, omnipresent. The camera tracks him through both his point of view and through the other characters, often with the use of steadicam, bringing us right into the action.

Jamie Lee Curtis as the young Laurie plays the role with poise and innocence. The effect of a masked figure hunting such a girl is the ultimate nightmare, the outside world crashing in on youth and innocence. Laurie’s journey of going from naive girl to heroine is illustrative of the growth of adolescence and understanding the apparent senselessness of death, something that can take you at any time. You can also make the case that Michael represents the male hierarchy intruding into feminine virtue or that the act of trying to murder Laurie is akin to an act of rape or that it is simply a struggle of good and evil; one is good, pure and innocent, and one is evil, malicious and tarnished. There are many interpretations of what each represents since the forces Carpenter is dealing with are so elemental.

And then there’s the score. If you were to watch the film without that trademark score, it’s a pretty dismal affair, but there’s something about the simple repetition and the eerie piano music that crawls under your skin and won’t let go. The score becomes a representation of Michael in the film, his own voice since he himself doesn’t speak. It is almost an entry into his psychosis, his insatiable desire for murder driving him continuously.

No greater compliment can be given to any film than the act of duplication and Halloween may be the most imitated film of all time. The lone female survivor followed by a senseless killer, the act of sex an harbinger of death, a psychopath who simply commits foul acts for the fun of it, suburbia being the center of evil: all were started at least in some part by Halloween and its success. The formula has gotten stale recently simply because it has been done so frequently, but that should in no way detract from the glory of the original slasher film.

At the end of Halloween, the killer is seemingly dead and all is right with the world. Except nothing is right. Our world of innocence and high school frivolity has been crushed, our friends are dead and our sense of safety and place in the world has been turned upside down. Michael Myers was more a force that could not be reasoned with than a man, and we are left to pick up the pieces of our lives. Except we learn that Michael Myers is not dead. His body is gone, the bullets meant to kill him obviously ineffective against such an evil being. We are left with random images of the places we have been throughout the film, knowing he could be anywhere now, always hearing the huff of Myers’ breath, omnipresent, the score building to a crescendo towards the inevitability of death.

What modern filmmakers forget as they copy Halloween‘s tropes is that the film is not just a slasher film (only five people die throughout the course of the film plus a dog), it is also an examination of death and innocence. Modern horror movies are so caught up in the thrill and the gore that they forget what is really at the heart of a good horror story, the thing that sticks with viewers; our fear of death and how it is always there.