Friday FaBOOolousness – The Boo Factor: Halloween

Who can get through the Halloween season without watching the spooky 1978 film, Halloween?  Not this horror movie fan!

The House

The Mask

The Scream Queen

Michael Myers

The movie opens with a young Michael Myers stabbing his teenage sister to death in 1963.  He is admitted into Smith’s Grove Sanitarium where he spends the next eighteen years undergoing treatment from psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis.  But, on October 30th 1978, Michael awakens from his catatonic state, escapes the hospital, and steals a car.  Where’s he going?  He has unfinished business in Haddonfield, Illinois

The next morning, we’re introduced to Laurie Strode and her best friends Annie and Linda, a happy group of teenage girls walking to school.  The three friends agree to babysit later that night, Halloween night, despite the fact that Laurie feels like someone has been watching her all day – a man in a dark jumpsuit wearing a weird, white mask. 

Later that night, Annie’s boyfriend calls for a ride, so she drops off the little girl she is watching with Laurie who is conveniently babysitting Tommy Doyle across the street.  Alone in the car waiting for her boyfriend, Michael sits up from the back seat and kills Annie.  Tommy watches as the “Boogie Man” carries Annie’s lifeless body back to the house, but Laurie shrugs off Tommy’s antics as a Halloween scare. 

Next, Michael discovers Linda and her boyfriend Bob having sex in the house.  What are the rules of horror movies?  Never have sex.  Have sex, and die. 

Michael sets his eyes on his true target – Laurie.  After very suspenseful scenes, Laurie barely escapes Michael’s grasps and manages to hide the children before crawling deep into a corner of an upstairs closet.  Just as Michael finds her, Dr. Loomis finally catches up to his patient and shoots him.  Michael falls from the bedroom window; however by the time Loomis looks out, he is gone. 

Queue The Music

Ever wonder why the film is referred to as John Carpenter’s Halloween?  That’s because John Carpenter wrote the screenplay (with Debra Hill), produced (with Hill, and others including Moustapha Akkad) and directed the movie, and created the original music.

In October 2010, the Biography Channel aired Halloween: The Inside Story, and my appreciation for the original film of the Halloween franchise grew.  Not only did the film captivate audiences, but the movie’s success came with an extremely low budget, even for the 1970s. 

Carpenter took the small financing and hired a ton of no name actors, including the now famous, Jamie Lee Curtis to play Laurie Strode, Michael’s main target.  He approached famous actors to play the part of Dr. Samuel Loomis, but after multiple rejections, Carpenter finally found an English actor interested in the role, Donald Pleasance.

The other cast members had a few film credits to their name, but many were considered “B” movie actors: Nancy (Loomis) Kyes played Annie; P.J.  Soles starred as Lynda; and Nick Castle played “The Shape” – or Michael Myers as we know him.

Keeping within the small budget, Carpenter selected areas in California for filming the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, and he tasked the actors with gathering and dropping the fake fall leaves over and over again during the twenty-one days of filming.  The most astonishing of all the Halloween facts learned while watching Biography’s special, was the fact that the Michael Myers’ mask is actually a Captain Kirk mask painted and tweaked just a bit so that it wasn’t recognizable as the popular Star Trek character.

Originally the The Babysitter Murders, Carpenter’s movie saw extreme box office success. The approximate $300,000 film made over $47 million at the theaters.  The Halloween franchise remains popular today and consists of ten films, including two recent remakes by rocker, Rob Zombie

Pleasance and Curtis have remained loyal to the franchise; Pleasance filmed a total of five Halloween films and Curtis four.  The Halloween movies have also featured a few familiar faces over the years:  Danielle Harris (Halloween 4, 5, and both of Rob Zombie’s remakes); Paul Rudd (The Curse of Michael Myers); Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, Michelle Williams, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Adam Arkin, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (H20); Sean Patrick Thomas, Tyra Banks, and Busta Rhymes (Resurrection); Malcolm McDowell and Scout Taylor Compton (Zombie’s 2007 and 2009 movies).

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the only film in the franchise that doesn’t tell Michael Myers’ story, and is by far my least favorite.  So which one is my favorite?  The original, of course.  But, I’ll watch  Halloween: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, and Halloween: H20 anytime I can!

Did the original 1978 Halloween scare you?  Did you ever think twice about babysitting on Halloween?  Which of the Halloween movies is your favorite and least favorite?  Who wins – Michael / Freddie / or Jason?  I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Halloween!

Friday FaBOOolousness – The “Boo” Factor – Friday the 13th

Who’s the killer in the original Friday the 13th?

Answering this very question incorrectly cost Drew Barrymore’s character her life in Scream.

It all started in 1980, when innocent camp counselors worked to open an old camp site; a camp that had been closed after a young boy, Jason Voorhees, drowned in the lake.  How did Jason drown?  Two camp counselors that were supposed to watch him decided to have sex instead.  Devastated by her son’s death, Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhees took matters into her own hands to ensure the camp didn’t open again — to protect other children from counselors who were more interested in their summer shenanigans than watching the children.  One by one, she stalked the unaware teenagers, placing blame on each of them for her son’s death.  Mrs. Voorhees managed to brutally murder each counselor — all except for one.   Alice managed to escape Mrs. Voorhees’ murderous rampage and turned the tables on the crazed mother.  In what began the true Friday the 13th style, Alice decapitated Mrs. Voorhees’ with a machete.

And then begins the Curse of Camp Crystal Lake.

In Part II, the supposed dead son of Mrs. Voorhees, is actually an adult, and very much alive.  Following in his mother’s footsteps, Jason slaughters Alice, his mother’s murderer, and returns to Camp Crystal Lake.  He lives in peace, until years later more teenagers arrive to open the camp — BIG mistake.

Part III picks up right where II ended, and is crucial to the series.  Why?  Jason finds a hockey mask, the hockey mask, to cover his disfigured faceJason continues to slice through dozens of teenagers over the years, proving he’s invincible along the way.

 

The series continues with: Part IV:  The Final Chapter, Part V: A New Beginning, Part VI: Jason Lives, Part VII: The New Blood, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Part IX: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, and Part X: Jason X.  With twelve feature films and a television series, Friday the 13th is considered one of the most successful franchises in movie history.

 Twenty-three years later, the franchise continued with a match-up that fans had been talking about for years: Freddy vs. Jason.  The battle of the century takes place in both Freddy’s dream world, and Jason’s home, Camp Crystal Lake, with only one victor.  Or was there?

In 2009, Friday the 13th was reborn again.  The newest installment featured popular television stars for the new teenage audience:  Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester, Supernatural), Amanda Righetti (Grace Van Pelt, The Mentalist), and Danielle Panabaker (Julie Stark, Shark).  The film didn’t disappoint this Friday fan, and had classic elements of the older versions — most recognizably, Jason’s resurrection after being buried in the water, from which he rises and grabs a survivor before the screen fades to black.  Did you jump?

In addition to the machete and the hockey mask, what is the other most famous element of Friday the 13th and Jason Voorhees?

Ki ki ki, ma ma ma – The dreadful, eerie, creepy music.  There have been many debates over what the actual sounds of the Jason music are.  The ‘ki’ sound comes from the word ‘kill’ and the ‘ma’ sound from “mommy’; a line in the original movie spoken by Mrs. Voorhees in her child’s voice, “Kill her mommy!”

Unknown actors are often cast in slasher films early in their careers.  The Friday franchise is no different.  Who are two very famous Friday alums today?

Kevin Bacon (I)

Corey Feldman (IV and V)

Jason Voorhees remains one of the most frightening characters today.  He’s gigantic, has super strength, obtains supernatural abilities, and isn’t afraid to kill.  He always has his machete, but he will also never shy away from bows and arrows, spears, pitchforks or chainsaws: anything that will cut right through his victims.

Despite all the death, someone always manages to escape Jason’s clutches.  Wanna know the secret, kids?  I’ll give you a hint – the same rules apply from the movie Scream.  Don’t believe me?  Watch & see!

Do you think of Jason when you go camping? Will you ever send your child to a summer camp on Crystal Lake?  Who do you think is stronger and more dangerous – Jason or Michael Myers from the Halloween franchise?  Which Friday movie was your favorite & why? I’d love to hear from you!

Friday FaBOOolousness – The “Boo” Factor #2

The endearment “Sweet Dreams” changed drastically in 1984 when audiences met Freddy Krueger for the first time.

 

Happy and carefree high school students in Springwood, Ohio transformed overnight into terrified teenagers afraid to fall asleep.  It all started when Tina dreamed of being chased by a horribly burned man wearing a green and red striped sweater, teasing her with his razor-sharp knives in lieu of fingers on his right hand.  Tina escaped his clutches just in time, and woke up with tears in her night-gown.  How can something that occurs in a dream actually happen?

Tina’s best friend, Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), experienced a similar dream the very same night.  Nancy dismissed her nightmare as just that, a nightmare.  Being the good friend that she was, Nancy agreed to spend the night with Tina so that she wouldn’t be alone.  Joining the girls, of course, was Tina’s boyfriend, Rod, and Nancy’s boyfriend, Glen (introducing Johnny Depp, ladies).  Tina fell asleep feeling safe with her friends nearby, and Freddy appeared again; only this time, Freddy didn’t miss slashing Tina with his razor-sharp claws.

Do you remember that scene?  Tina, wearing the oversized, white button down shirt, flailing about, blood spraying everywhere, levitating, crawling on the ceiling, and finally crashing into her bed — dead.  Her boyfriend standing helplessly by, watching an invisible knife slash through his girlfriend, screaming her name, “Tina!” – completely terrified and confused.   

The nightmares continued for Nancy, finally convincing her that she and Tina were dreaming about the same man.  Continuing to have nightmares, Nancy saw the burned man kill Rod; and, later found Rod dead in reality too – just like Tina.

Finally, Nancy’s mother confessed that the man haunting and stalking her in her dreams was Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) – a child murderer that was burned and killed at the hands of the children’s parents.  Together, Nancy & Glen devised a plan to trap and kill Freddy, but Glen made one fatal mistake – he fell asleep.

Do you remember that scene?  Glen lying on his bed in his midriff jersey t-shirt with his television & gigantic head phones, sinking through the bed as Freddy sucked him in, the blood rushing through the mattress with the velocity of a fire hydrant.

Alone, Nancy battled Krueger to the end, living to see another day; actually, Nancy survived to see another few installments of the Nightmare franchise: Nightmare 3 and New Nightmare.

Do you remember the eerie nursery rhyme?  The little girls dressed in beautiful white baby-doll dresses playing hop-scotch and jumping rope in the parks?

“One, Two, Freddy’s coming for you.

Three, Four, Better lock your door.

Five, Six, Grab your crucifix.

Seven, Eight, Gotta stay up late.

Nine, Ten, Never sleep again.”

Say what you will, that rhyme still spooks me to this very day!  Not to mention the fact that I have a hard time remembering the actual lyrics to the peaceful, children’s song.

Wes Craven created the Nightmare franchise with his horrifying screenplay and his directing brilliance.  Robert Englund may still be recognized today as his character, Freddy Krueger, more than he is as Robert Englund, the actor.

A Nightmare on Elm Street opened the door for nine feature films, including a 2010 remake produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller.  The original Nightmare will always be great; but, the remake included more of the back-story of Freddy Krueger, and the children he preyed on, making the 2010 film very exciting for a Nightmare-aholic like myself.

Wake Up!

The Nightmare franchise has also featured an array of popular actors over the years in addition to Langenkamp, Englund and Depp, such as Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, Jason Ritter, Breckin Meyer, and Lochlyn Munro.  Additionally, Rosanne Barr and Tom Arnold appeared briefly in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.  The 2010 movie successfully catered to today’s teenage audience by casting the brilliant Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy (in an absolutely FaBOoolous performance assuming the role from Englund), Katie Cassidy (Gossip Girl), Kellan Lutz (The Twilight Movies), Kyle Gallner (Jennifer’s Body), Rooney Mara (The Social Network), and Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles).

Hopefully, the franchise will live on.

Do you believe that if you die in your sleep, will you die in real life?  Do you prefer the 1984 original or the 2010 remake?  Do you fear Freddy, Jason, or Michael more?  What’s your favorite scary movie?   I’d love to hear from you!