The story of Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is about as classic a tale and about as old a tale as most other movies in development. Whedon had a vision for a new take on a horror story and Hollywood didn’t get it and kind of fucked it up. Everyone by now knows the tale of 1992’s “Buffy,” and how Joss Whedon initially wanted to make something of a darker more stern take on the vampire hunter that minced a coming of age tale with a story of a young woman coming to maturity. When Whedon was given the chance to finally bring his film in to development he kind of lost control of his creation.
Fred Dekker’s “The Monster Squad” is the assembly of many eighties tropes, even conjuring up the aesthetic of a novel series one might have found tucked beside “The Hardy Boys,” and “Babysitters Club.” It’s Amblin, Spielberg, Universal and everything else we loved about the eighties, and while it can in many ways be considered a take off on “The Goonies,” it watches so much better over time. Even better is the script by Shane Black allows for interesting and complex preteen heroes, all of whom have their spotlight, as well as their own personal struggles. Like Spielberg, Black introduces a potentially broken home with main hero Sean, while this extraordinary situation allows his family to re-unite for the fate of him and his little sister.
This year, Nickelodeon decided to add some spice to their celebration of Halloween by providing a half hour stop motion special. The folks at Bikini Bottom are celebrating Halloween this time, and rather than the iconic wacky two dimensional style, we’re given a brand new spin, with some hilarious results. The stop motion by Screen Novelties is quite excellent, lending the series a sense of whimsy that you would find in something like “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” There is even a great homage to “The Haunted Mansion” Disney Ride, which is both dazzling and screams Halloween.
McG’s newest film tries to be everything for everyone. And while it doesn’t always work, I loved “The Babysitter” for being so self aware most of the time. It’s not just a horror comedy about a really hot babysitter who turns out to be a Satanist, but it’s also a film packed with heart. It’s about growing up, learning to conquer your fears and insecurities, and learning that in life you have to take your lumps instead of finding the easy way out. Don’t get me wrong, “The Babysitter” is a fun and demented horror comedy, but it’s also a stellar coming of age film, as well. Writer Brian Duffield successfully conceives a slew of characters that learn something about each other and come to some kind of self realization.
Charlie is a friend, so Mark and his wife help him out by setting him up with Maureen. As the evening goes along, with uninvited guests Virginia and Jay joining the 4 of them, things take an odd turn.
Written by Guy Benoit, John Simpson, and director Nick Spooner, The Call of Charlie is a horror comedy that works, and works great. It’s funny and uses a creature to the best possible result in terms of comedy and awkwardness. The film has witty dialog and flows really well throughout. The writing is on point and the directing supports it perfectly. The way this is short is build shows a good grasp of comedic timing and how to build a strong story with odd aspects and keep it simple to make it work the best possible.
In 1993, Monstervision on Turner Network Television in America was mostly a program that aired old horror movies and science fiction with the occasional hosting from magicians Penn and Teller. During the early nineties, many cable channels hadn’t yet solidified their formats, so a lot of the time slots were used on syndicated programs and adult programming, with the occasional time slot devoted to a rare original program here and there. Mainly though, the original appeal of cable television was watching old movies and television shows you couldn’t find on network television. To break up the monotony of airing the same movies over and over, they enlisted hosts to riff during commercial breaks.