I’m not sure whose brain child Kibosh was, but I’m not so sure we needed a villain for Casper. So apparently, there are ghosts, there are friendly ghosts, and there are—uh—bad ghosts? Or super ghosts? In either case, the Casper franchise continues its downward slump in the awfully mediocre “Casper’s Scare School.” This time around Casper best friends with a lonely boy named Jimmy. Jimmy has a big soccer game and Casper is helping him become a great athlete. But after getting scared by Jimmy, Casper’s embarrassment is discovered all over the ghost realm.
Less budget, and less stars, this time Casper’s adventures are reduced to a pretty crummy animated feature where Casper teams up with another spunky young girl. She’s a girl facing a crisis about Christmas and she needs the help of… Casper. Makes sense, I guess. “Casper’s Haunted Christmas” is a noticeably bargain basement style production compared to the previous movies, all the while the animation is often weird and the narrative nonsensical.
Well if anything “Casper Meets Wendy” is much better than “A Spirited Beginning” despite offering no big surprises. Unless you consider that the only cast member that’s been in most “Casper” movies so far is Pauly Shore. In the former film he played a bad ghost, and here he plays a fortune telling magical mirror. As with most of these movies, there is a whole cast of D list celebrities, and the adaptation of Harvey Comics’ “Wendy The Good Little Witch” is an excuse to introduce future teen star Hilary Duff. To her credit Duff is adorable.
Yes, you could say it only had three seasons on television, but I prefer to think of it as we horror fans had an “Evil Dead” series for three whole years. While Starz! Didn’t stick to their guns in the long run, we had a good run re-visiting Ashley Williams once again in his journey to bring down the deadites from hell and track down the necronomicon. “Ash vs. Evil Dead” is a stellar horror comedy series that didn’t shy away from anything that made the original movies so fantastic, and if you’re flexible, you’ll love how the writers even stretch the mythos for a wider scope and more interesting depth, as well as a new variety of deadites like a hand puppet, a high school mascot, and a cell phone.
Rusty Cundieff is back for what is another racial based horror anthology that not so subtly comments on our current social and political climate. The original “Tales from the Hood” still packs immense relevance today, and Cundieff goes another bite at the jugular. While “Tales from the Hood 2” isn’t only packs two very strong horror stories surrounding racism and corruption, it’s still a fun, darkly comic satire with Keith David doing a stellar job as our new Satanic narrator. The budget is obviously lesser this time, but “Tales from the Hood 2” packs a wallop with a ton of biting satire.
While the rest of the horror community are celebrating the big releases from Scream Factory this year like “Creepshow” and “Trick r Treat,” in comes a somewhat overlooked horror child known as the “[REC] Collection.” Shout! outdoes themselves packing together all four films from the found footage horror series from Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, and it’s a box set that should be explored if you’ve never seen the “[REC]” films or have only ever seen the original.
Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later” was a big horror film that made a boom when it appeared in the states, so a sequel was a no brainer. As with most genre efforts, with a sequel you have to go bigger, louder, and faster. While I miss “28 Days Later’s” more subtle, quiet, and somber meditation on the end of the world, and a rapid fire virus, “28 Weeks Later” has its strong points. It’s a solid follow up with some very good ideas in its corner, it just fails in some elements, especially in how it breaks the rules of its own villainous disease.
The original “Barbershop” from Tim Story and Ice Cube was a very good and entertaining albeit imperfect drama comedy about family, and community. It had a lot more going for it than didn’t, thankfully proving to be anything but a fluke. Kevin Sullivan carries on the down to earth tone with “Barbershop 2.” While it is just as imperfect as the original, it’s also a very good extension of the first film, continuing the storylines of the characters we grew to know and engage with. Thankfully everyone pretty much returns for the second go around, and they’re all about the same people we remember, except older.