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.
“Modern Family” is one of my favorite sitcoms on television, it’s a hilarious, often heart felt look at the idea of modern families that break the conventional mold of the nuclear family. The cast is brilliant, the writing is great, and you can’t help but engage yourself in their mishaps and activities. While “Modern Family” doesn’t celebrate Halloween every year, every time it’s delivered a Halloween episode, it’s a cause for celebration, because they’re very good about paying tribute to the holiday while also making us laugh. These are the Halloween specials so far from Worst to Absolute Best.
Sheldon Wilson’s “The Hollow” or as I refer to it “Phantoms 2: Samhain Edition,” is one of the more incomplete feeling horror films I’ve seen in a long time. Although the movie isn’t the completely worst Halloween oriented horror entry I’ve ever seen, it definitely feels like it could have stood for twenty minutes of exposition. Even when it stops the movie in its tracks to drop exposition, it still feels like the screenwriters are working on an under cooked film that never finds its footing. So much of “The Hollow” is downright unpleasant and dull, and manages to squander a potentially really cool movie monster.
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).
Truthfully, “Bad Apples” isn’t a terrible movie even when you consider it’s a shameless rip off of “The Strangers.” It just obviously has a paper thin premise and not much else to do but pad the time. The movie is ninety minutes long and for twenty of those minutes it feels like a relationship drama set on Halloween starring Brea Grant and Graham Skipper as married couple Ella and Robert. She’s trying to adjust to her new house, he’s working his new job, and she’s trying to teach at a school run by an overly religious principal, oh the hilarity. Then it decides to dip in to the horror–eventually.
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.
I should say that I love slasher movies. I adore the sub-genre and long before I fell in love with the genre of horror cinema, slasher movies were my bread and butter. I am all for a resurgence of slasher movies but if Gregory Plotkins’ “Hell Fest” is the attempt at starting a new renaissance of the sub-genre, it’s a horrible step forward. I don’t know how audiences will greet “Hell Fest” in ten years, but save for Tony Todd’s appearance I imagine this will be thought of as another horror groaner banking on the thirst for horror for the season. With five writers, “Hell Fest” never quite rises above utterly abysmal, and at best, would probably make okay background noise at a Halloween party.