Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"I've been trick-or-treated to death tonight"

Woke up to a super-blustery day and the power off, but fortunately I fell back to sleep and didn't suffer from a lack of Emergency Frappuccinos. I realized I don't have any reserves in the pantry, and since my stove is electric, I couldn't even rustle up some caffeinated tea in a crisis.

Anyway, as one thing leads to another, at the convention we saw a bunch of trailers for upcoming movies. We saw the 30 Days of Night, which looks good, despite the off-putting presence of Josh Hartnett. Also, I am Legend, finally being filmed under its own name (after Vincent Price's The Last Man on Earth and Charlton Heston's The Omega Man). I'll definitely go see it, although I thought that and the new umpteenth Invasion of the Body Snatchers movie, this time just called The Invasion, both seem to be aiming for big budget Independence Day/War of the Worlds status more than I'd rather, including the overused parent/child "I just want to find my family" slant. However, I was super-excited to see that there's a Veronica Cartwright cameo in The Invasion.

And it was my first viewing of the trailer for the upcoming Rob Zombie Halloween remake (I just haven't been hitting YouTube very heavily, obviously, to be so far behind). I have doubts about the whole project, not just because of Rob, but because of the cast list's obvious emphasis on the Pretty People. Still, there was nothing in the trailer that turned me off, which is something in itself. And no matter how bad it is, it can't be any worse than some of the older sequels. If Halloween 6 didn't ruin the original for me, I'm pretty confident that nothing can.

That led to an afternoon of listening to various Halloween soundtracks and finally to eenie-meenying Halloween II to watch after an excursion to the dive bar last night. It pales next to the original, of course, but in retrospect, it didn't seem so bad. I've always been fond of the spiritually incorrect "Sam Hain, the Lord of the Dead" speech, and amused by Donald Pleasence's tendency to say all his lines in this movie as if he's totally distracted. I was also pleased to rediscover that Nancy Stephens actually got a bit of screen time and more lines in her recurring role as Dr. Loomis' chain-smoking nurse. (You might also remember her as the manifesto-reading kamikaze revolutionary in Escape from New York).

There are also a handful of scares that actually work, like when Ana Alicia is terrified in the dark room, and Michael's face slowly appears out of the blackness behind her. It's a scary and fairly subtle effect in a not-so-subtle movie. And when Michael comes up to the locked glass doors at the hospital and just keeps walking, crashing right through them without hesitation, it prefigures the really non-human sense of purpose that The Terminator would later do so well.

Some dull victims, yes; Jamie Lee Curtis doesn't really get to do anything but stumble and play drugged, and it's a little odd when she seems to be flirting with the EMT from her hospital bed early on. And where the heck are her parents? It's completely implausible that the authorities can't find them, in a small town where everybody knows them and it's all over the radio and tv what's happened, naming their daughter by name. But the script has to keep them away because they would explain what's going on, and it would ruin the big revelation. A revelation I've always found totally silly, but what the heck, all the rest of the movies have stuck with it, so I guess I can roll my eyes and let it pass.

When I watch the original, though, I put all of that nonsense right out of my mind. I prefer my evil random, thank you very much.

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