I grabbed this at a convention an found myself wondering what it could be.
As slasher series go, I’ve always found Halloween to be much of the same. It did the masked stalker first and created a genre, but it’s sequels always felt like the same film made over and over again.
The comic has some good moments. It’s nice to see Loomis proper again, and being full of short stories it gives us several visions, set in that universe while never really trying to repeat the same old tales we’ve heard again and again.
It’s a pleasant surprise, but still new enough that you’re likely going to have to drop the full cover price to grab it, however if you’re a Halloween fan I recommend it. As good as any of the sequels, and better than a few of them.
And here I thought I was done. I missed the Masters of Horror series when it first broadcast and never really got around to catching up on it. I always wanted to see the Carpenter one. The Coscerelli one never occurred to me, but it’s a good one to dive in with. During negotiations with Showtime, this episode was essential in getting the show on the air – and as such, it was the first one to be broadcast.
It’s a good story, beautifully shot and well made. But it also feels very by-the-numbers to me, and I just don’t see enough of Coscarelli’s fingerprint in it. This could be because the script was written by Stephen Romano, not Coscerelli, and even that teleplay was based on someone elses’s short story. It’s the tale of a lumbering humanoid monster in the woods stalking a young woman on the run from her survivalist husband.
I don’t dislike it per se. In fact, this story includes an absolutely arvelous performance by Angus Scrimm. It’s positively goofy and off – a complete departure from teh sinister demenor we are used to seeing, but far more lunatic than the actually nature of teh man himself. I saw flashes of this in Ravager and Oblivian actually. It’s Angus being flighty and so much fun.
Still, the whole thing isn’t quirky enough. I miss Don’s sense of humor and off kilter style. This feels like an episode of a TV series. It’s normal for an auteur’s personal style to get lost there. Essenetial that it does in fact. But it does make me wonder about the rest of the Master’s of Horror series. Still, I’m glad I finally got around to seeing what is one of Don’s biggest commercial successes.
A voice rang out at me from across the room.
“Why is it every time you put a baby in a rocket, the planet blows up?”
“I didn’t even BRING the rocket this time,” I replied, glancing down my gold armor at the baby Superman in the hand held basket.
Akron Comicon was in full swing.
The con has grown every year so we’ve once again relocated; this time to the Goodyear Hall on the outskirts of the city. With this particular move came parking problems. The lots filled up fast, but we managed to grab a small patch of street a half block away in a nice shady area next to construction. It was windy and freezing Maddie and me in our costumes. The food trucks we passed looked awfully warm. (I regret not grabbing some Swenson’s)
Inside I made a beeline for Jon Bogdanove’s table. The last time he was here, his line was terribly long, and after waiting an hour, I ended up having to bail (Kiddo had a birthday party I had to get her to.). The line wasn’t as bad this time, and after half an hour we were face to face with one of my favorite Superman artists. Bogdanove is a Superman fan himself – his son is named Kal-El- and he gushed over Maddie’s Supergirl suit, expressing delight that she was actually carrying around Streaky the Supercat in her own little basket.
After a quick stop at Brett Breeding’s table ($5 a signature! Yeesh!) we popped over to see Bob Wiacek. The bulk of my books to be signed were his….but they were all big collected “essentials” volumes and weighing down my bag. I do love Wiacek. He’s done a great variety of stuff, working on things like Damage Control, Shadowman and Nightmask. He brushed it off, “A lot of guys can say they’ve had long careers.”
“Not as many can say they’ve had such varied ones though,” I replied.
“I like that!” He nodded with a smile.
I kept running into friends over at Karl Story’s table. As he played Pokemon Go on his hone I beat my friend Mayday about the shoulders with a stuffed supercat until he perked up and noticed me. I didn’t have as much for Story to sign (I restrained myself from bringing my entire run of Nightwing. I don’t like being THAT guy). But I did pick a couple of things, in particular the Star Trek graphic novel “Debt of Honor”
“This was such an interesting story. It’s a shame it’s never been reprinted,” he said as he flipped through it. “IDW has the license right now, and they’d love to, but DC has no obligation to work with them and won’t release their copies of the art. IDW actually contacted me and Chris (Claremont) to see if we had any of the originals. I’ve got maybe, 30 pages but these are oversized – they’re so big they’d be hard t copy, even if I ran them down to Kinkos.”
After stopping by Dirk Manning’s booth to present him with a monster ice cream cone, Maddie guided me over to Chris Yambar’s table so she could get a new Simpson’s comic from him. He greeted us by nodding at me with a “Thank you for you son.” Akron is a very Superman oriented show, but even so, I’m always pleased when someone recognizes my Jor-El (father of Superman) costume. Maddie told him all about how much she likes the Simpsons. “I watch it every day! A couple episodes usually!”
We drifted on to chatting a bit about Yambar’s late and lamented Lawncon. The girls and I really liked it when we hit it’s final year. But perhaps not so final after all. Yambar has been long talking about resurrecting it.
“We keep wanting to do it again, but then something (health issues) would happen. It’s been a good year though, with no new things coming up. Maybe if I could get together a committee – where I could just sit back and be a benevolent overseer….”
Back in the lobby area of Goodyear Hall, Maddie and I ran into a huge scarecrow, with his handler, Harley Quinn. After pictures, we found an isolated corner by the windows where Maddie could practice her quick-change for the costume contest. It’s a long one, but Rubber City Cosplay managed to get everyone through reasonably swiftly, and it didn’t hurt that I was in line with my buddies Vito and Cassie. Despite the amazing plush monster in front of me in line, my bet was on the Alien made entirely out of balloons to win. Best costume EVER!
Akron continues to be the best con in Northeast Ohio and I’m eager to see what next year has in store!
Like a mini Free Comic Book Day, but better because there’s candy. And more horror. And it’s freakin’ Halloween!
Like FCBD, Carol and John’s comic shop holds an event every year. Anyone in costume can grab one of each of the free books, (and candy) but those not in costume are still welcome to grab three if they like (and candy). There’s also a photo op setup with a giant Pop figure box (and candy), and the shop cat Winston even dons his festive holiday sweater (he guards the candy)! Maddie and I donned this years halloween costumes and headed out. It’s one of my favorite events every year and no one does it as well as Carol and Johns (though my other regular shop; Comics are Go do thier best as well, inviting artists and making a big deal about it as well!). Not every comic shop does Halloween comic fest, so I hope you were all able to get out and find one who does! Here’s our photos from the day!
Okay, serious question – why did they keep making these movies? I mean, I find it difficult to believe that there was there a rabid audience clamoring for more prom night films every year in the way they were for Freddy and Jason movies. I have a very difficult time even imagining there are those remote groups of diehard devotees for this particular franchise the way there are with hellraiser and phantasm fans. I mean, there is no central figure or premise for someone to latch onto. Prom Night 4 follows the established tradition of each film having basically nothing to do with the previous. Indeed, in this film our group of protagonists don’t even make it to the prom. Their destination is a weekend alone at an old house – one that used to be a monastery.
This film is another straightforward story about a catholic priest turned avenging angel – slicing and dicing that which he considers “unholy “. I’d bristle if the trope wasn’t so common.
Someone’s picked up those night of the Demons references again by the way – we have a swooping racing crane shot through abandon hallways. We have a slow push in to frame. Even that large cavernous living room they hunker down and feels much like the one we saw in Night of the Demons – perhaps it’s just a standard look. You could just as easily be Collinwood from Dark Shadows, but I really feel like this film makers are pulling cues from those films. This one feels just a tad more watered down – almost like a TV film, but with just enough edge to push into direct video territory. I miss the blood and gore of the previous movies, but it’s understandable – this movie was filmed during that period we were entering where the MPAA was seriously cracking down on blood in films – we’d have fairly dry horror for the next 10 years. I also miss the supernatural element, though I have to admit – it’s to their credit that they tried to get the series back to Its stalker/slasher roots. The flick is made particularly interesting by the inclusion of Nicole Debor as our final girl- I of course remember her best to ask the actress to replace Terry Farrell as Dax on the last season of Deep Space 9. My familiarity with the actress, actually makes me want to root for her more! There is a real punch the air moment with bug spray that I genuinely felt myself cheering for her. Nevertheless, she is still betraying the innocent and optimistic adorable kind of character she always does… It’s even present when I watch her in Cube. She’s definitely got a type. I’m still trying to decide whether I think she’s cuter with long hair or short.
This film feels like a great missed opportunity. Once again the whole prom night been is pushed to the background – almost making me wonder if the script wasn’t written first and then adapted into the franchise. But it seems to me like a great deal of catholic mysticism and religious horror could have been injected into this film making it far more interesting then The by the numbers slasher we end up with.
Unlike the second and third films, which are endlessly rewatchable, this one is utterly forgettable. AND LONG. One of the good things about the rest of these films is that the mercifully short – so whose idea was it to make this one two hours? Repeated sequels should definitely not be longer than Star Wars. I
There’s many films that would be improved by trying to stand on their own – but this is not one of them… Even without The prom night name, this would have absolutely been a forgotten VHS rental for me back in the day. One watch and never thought of again. You can probably skip this one, and It’s probably a good thing that the series ended here.
Or did it?
This one is not strictly a Don Coscarelli film – he produced it while someone else directed it. However, his fingerprints are deep enough in the movie that I think that should count.
Phantasm 5 is easily my 3rd if not second favorite film in the series. I know I’m in a minority there, but I love everything about this. We have the reunion aspect, everybody is back for one last ride, but we also have a much better sense of finality. The Phantasm films never really end, they’re always cliffhangers, but this one feels more hopeful than any others.
There is a sort of piecemeal look to it, the decision to transition from web series into feature film came on little too late and is obvious, but it still feels like a satisfying end to the series. It’s just as weird as any of the other entries, and the action is just as impressive and it allows me one more foray into this world.
I went to great detail on this film when it came out, and I don’t feel like rehashing that here, but I do want to let you in on the big secret of the film… Most of it is a dream. No, I mean it… From the beginning of the movie, until Reggie wakes up in the tall man’s laboratory, being rescued by the woman from his dream and her diminutive companion, all of that is a fantasy – one that the tall man has created to extract information. The only part of the film that is in the “real world “are the moment in phantasms end. Even when we start flashing back to the nursing home, that is the dream… It’s still hanging on, it’s still clinging along the edges. At the moment that he leaves the nursing home, the moment he dies in the nursing Home, that’s not REGGIE’S death – it’s the dream dying. It’s Reg choosing to live in the real world.
The film makes a great deal more sense once you understand this, and it’s actually a lot more straightforward than ever, despite feeling wierder! It’s the final appearance of Angus Scrimm, and I’m glad for it. It’s a good performance, and the Tall Man is truly scary once more. No goofy companions like the scavengers from 3, he’s surrounded by dares and gas masked gravers. He’s on top of his game (though I wish he had some better lines to say) and even with the short hair feels scarier than ever.
A fitting end to the series, and also to this director retrospective.
The thing about prom night three, is that it feels like this director watched 1988’s Night of the Demons, and decided to do a version of it grafted onto the prom night series. Mary Lou is back but it’s a much less convoluted story – more of a very straightforward slasher rather than the slow possession that we got from the previous film. It’s a very stylized looking to me, but then again that’s what we come to expect – each entry in the series seems to have its own unique look and feel.
In Prom Night 3, Mary Lou is a ghost who is attached to a young man – trying to do things to help him. Helpful acts like murdering the guidance counselor or changing his GPA. I’m not entirely clear as to how this helps her, it doesn’t seem like her goal this time around is to return to life but rather merely a infatuation with this boy. Nevertheless, the bloodbath ensues and we get treated to some fun and inventive kills ask the story unfolds. If this movie wasn’t direct to video, it really should have been. In most ways it doesn’t feel like it continues the narrative in any significant way. Indeed, the prom itself is clearly a minor component of this film – just a happenstance background for the final act .
That’s not to say it’s a bad film, I actually really liked it – I just don’t know what it’s doing using the name “prom night ” or “Mary Lou Maloney “. I’m definately inclined to pull this out again though in the future – particularly if I ever watch any of these films again, or even if I were to take another look at the Night of the Demons series… This would make a great number four
I remember the ads for prom night 2 – this particular poster was plastered everywhere, I believe it was even in some of my comic books back in the day. One of the things that makes Prom Night 2 a much stronger film is that it’s its own thing – you have the recognition of the name with the classic film but it really has an individual sense of identity and is a quintessentially 80s slasher film.
This is a slow burn, a gradual possession flick with a very stereotypical blonde, innocent, catholic final girl at its core. We get some slimy greasy FX towards the end, although the gore is actually surprisingly subdued here.
Still, it’s not really the same kind of film that the original wires – it’s not the 70s gritty cult classic type. That’s okay, because it’s more of an 80s slasher classic type and honestly it still stands that test of time – as well as standing on its own as an individual film. The only thing holding this film back from true cult status, is the lack of a truly charismatic villain. Mary Lou Maloney is adequate, but she lacks the panache of the Freddie or Jason or even a Night of the Demons Angela. Still, this movie is definitely a recommend – it’s a good time and a nice fun slasher that belongs in your collection