The first “Goosebumps” movie was a big surprise for me. While I was against it being a fluid narrative and not an anthology or adaptation of one of the books, it ended up being a great, heartfelt, and genuinely fun horror comedy. And Jack Black as RL Stine was such a nice little addition that helped what was essentially a love letter to RL Stine’s imagination. It pains me to say that, like a lot of others, I just did not like “Goosebumps 2.” It’s not only the fact that it tosses out a lot of what made the original film so much fun, but it also completely recycles the premise from the first film with a monster apocalypse… except, you know, on Halloween.
No one loves miniature things more than Charles Band and Full Moon Entertainment (in this case, Moonbeam), and “Prehysteria!” is a great example of such a statement. Not only does Charles Band manage to find a way to squeeze dinosaurs on to a film with such a small budget, but he does so in a very creative way. In the decade, dinosaurs were in vogue with everyone putting dinosaurs in to pop culture, and “Prehysteria!” is one of the better products of the time. It takes dinosaurs and makes them cute little critters with rock star names. And yes it’s a childhood favorite.
Michael Dougherty’s “Trick r Treat” is a contemporary success story that’s enamored horror fans for a long time. Originally in 2007, Michael Dougherty’s horror anthology was kicked around various studios, pushed back, and shelved. When it finally re-emerged, it was pushed to a DVD release on 2009. Once unleashed on the fan base, it began life as a hidden gem, and has grown to become a bonafide horror classic, almost universally praised. To boot, “Trick r Treat’s” mascot, the burlap sack wearing, jagged lollipop adorning Sam has become one of the modern horror icons, whose bred a legion of fans (as well as a slew of merchandise).
In the decade that gave us “E.T.” and droids, “Short Circuit” introduces a hero that’s a little bit of both. “Short Circuit” is very much like “Chopping Mall” except when lightning strikes a military grade robot he becomes hyperactive and charming like Robin Williams. I wouldn’t call “Short Circuit” a childhood favorite but I fondly remember re-visiting the movie time and time again on network TV when I was a kid and didn’t hate it. In the spectrum of “Mac and Me,” and “E.T.,” its right there smack dab in the middle with “Batteries Not Included.”
If anything, I’m glad Genndy Tartakovsky’s off beat humor and fun animation has been embraced by Sony, but like the previous “Hotel Transylvania’s” this threequel is a mixed bag. Some of it is genuinely funny, and other times it’s either flat or kind of dull. Tartakovsky is usually so very off beat and original, it’s sad that Sony pretty much went the formulaic route with all movie series. There’s the romance, the baby sequel, and inevitable second romance with the series’ arguably most popular character. And the movie, like the formula is pretty predictable, which is what keeps “A Monster Vacation” from really taking off.
It’s not often I hear about a movie made before the nineties that took three unfinished films and cobbled them together to create an anthology movie, but here we are. “Night Train to Terror” is actually a pastiche of failed productions, with its three spooky tales actually re-edited and truncated remnants of films titled “Scream Your Head Off,” “The Dark Side to Love (aka Greta),” and “Cataclysm” You might think this would end up in a failed production, and a poorly constructed end product. And you’d be right “Night Train to Terror” is one of the top five worst anthology horror films ever made. It’s a film that constantly left me baffled, confused, bored, and muttering to myself “What the fuck is happening here?”
Who else can soak in every bit of fun about Halloween than Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat? Branching off from the series of short films, “A Halloween Boo Fest” is a perfect celebration of Halloween and autumn that tells quite the interesting story. The Man in the Big Yellow Hat wants to show George his first ever country Halloween, but George ends up getting in to so much more along the way.
Also known as “Casper Saves Halloween” and “Casper the Friendly Ghost: He Ain’t Scary, He’s Our Brother,” the titular ghost’s Halloween special is about as rough around the edges as you’d expect from a production from the company from 1979. Around that time Hanna Barbera had absolutely no limits about whom they gave a show to, and Casper took time out of his series “Casper and the Angels” to help save Halloween. As opposed to his short lived series where Casper teamed up with two futuristic space cops. No, really.