Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children

Village of the Damned (1995) is a remake I never knew existed. That’s mostly because my parents always made an effort to show us an original first. So unless a remake was released when I was a kid, I didn’t know about it. Not even legendary director John Carpenter being involved seemed to make it standout. Really the only thing its remembered for is being the last movie performance from Superman himself Christopher Reeve. Before the tragic accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Other than that Village of the Damned (1995) plays out about the same with a couple of key differences. The now American village of Midwich still falls asleep all at once, but the government gets more involved. A doctor closely examines the mysterious pregnancies. Only the children come out looking much more obvious. Their hair is a lot more white than blonde and their eyes glow a more orange color. They’ve also added an unnecessary layer of complexity to them. By having them be exactly 5 boys and 5 girls. Only with David’s intended being a stillborn. Because of that, David is for some reason made to be the only sympathetic child. Instead of the sinister leader that worked so much better in the original. The leader this time is a girl named Mara. She, along with the rest of the children, aren’t nearly as creepy. Due mostly to the fact that they aren’t British. Apart from the added violence and attempted depth, Village of the Damned (1995) doesn’t feel like it was helped by John Carpenter’s style.

3. Village of the Damned

The children use their telepathy

Remake of: Village of the Damned (1960)

Beware the Eyes that Paralyze!!!

Children of the Damned aren’t as creepy as they could have been. Apart from the use of children with telepathic abilities, there’s almost no connection to Village of the Damned. That’s why my mom didn’t give it the same kind of endorsement. Instead I only ended up seeing  a scene when I was younger. We were both wondering the same thing. Why change the look of the children? The reason Village of the Damned worked so well was because the children all looked the same. It was creepy to have every child have blonde hair and blue eyes. It drew more Nazi parallels. In Children of the Damned, every child is ethnically diverse. The countries they come from include: China, India, Nigeria, the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom. It’s hard to find them scary when they look like any other kid. The focus this time is on a team of researchers attempting to study children with psychic powers. Each child resides at a different embassy from around the world. They all escape to an abandoned church and there lies another problem. The children aren’t depicted as completely villainous. Anything they do to the military is mostly done in self-preservation. Children of the Damned has the atmosphere, but the terror is sorely missing.

2. Children of the Damned

The children use their telepathy

Preceded by: Village of the Damned

You’re Thinking of a Brick Wall

Village of the Damned is where cinema’s creepiest children live. One of my mom’s personal favorite sci-fi horror films is Village of the Damned. So much so that my brother and I watched the movie with her at a young age. Approximately the age of the kids in the movie. It made me appreciate The Bloodening in The Simpsons even more. Village of the Damned features one of the more unique alien invasions. It happens when a small British village called Midwich suddenly falls asleep all at once. Men, women, animals all enter a deep sleep no matter where they are in town. The military intervenes, but is unable to send anyone through. It’s only when the village wakes up that it happens. Every woman of child-bearing age suddenly becomes pregnant. Giving birth to nearly identical children with blonde hair. I actually missed the beginning the first time I watched it. So I never knew the circumstances of the children’s existence. I only knew that they were creepy little monsters in suits that showed no emotion. All with eyes that glowed because they had telepathy too. Village of the Damned was one of the earliest movies to depict villainous children. Let alone children committing acts of violence. The biggest standout being their leader David. He’s just so believably sinister. When their reign gets out of hand, it’s up to David’s “father” (whose also been teaching the children) to out smart them. Easier said than done. As their mind reading makes it difficult. That’s why he thinks of a brick wall. Village of the Damned is not as innocent as it seems.

1. Village of the Damned

The children use their telepathy

Followed by: Children of the Damned

Cause I Eats Me Spinach

Popeye the Sailor Man is strong to the finish cause he eats his spinach. He’s Popeye the Sailor Man! One of the oldest cartoon characters ever created. His first appearance was in a series of comic strips starting in 1929. Then he made the leap to film, first starring in a Betty Boop cartoon. Popeye is a gruff, but good natured sailor distinguished by his strong chin, one eye, pipe, and large forearms. Always by his side is his extra skinny girlfriend Olive Oyl. He’s always there to rescue her from the big palooka Bluto. There’s also the burger obsessed Wimpy and Popeye’s adopted boy-kid Swee’Pea. Just as old is the live-action adaptation released in 1980. Making it one of the earliest adaptations of a popular cartoon. Brought to life by the very unlikely director Robert Altman. He took a chance on casting an up and coming comedian by the name of Robin Williams. In his first starring role, Williams gives a spot on Popeye impression. Shelly Duvall was born to play Olive Oyl for obvious reasons. They’re just placed in a slow movie that feels more like a series of animated shorts. The pacing problem is mostly the result of the time it was released. Popeye is the new guy in town, he becomes a boxer, his baby predicts races, he finds his father, and there’s also buried treasure. Spinach doesn’t even play a role until the very end, but when it does it’s the best part. Ending with his famous theme song. It’s not the most exciting live-action version of a cartoon, but to quote Popeye, “I yam what I yam.” Which can just as easily be applied to the movie Popeye.

fullwidth.cdad1e73

Popeye and Olive Oyl protect their baby

Till Death Do Us Part

Corpse Bride brought Tim Burton’s macabre storytelling to the altar. At only 1 hour and 18 minutes, Corpse Bride tells the quick story of a nervous fellow living in Victorian England. Victor is to marry Victoria, a woman he doesn’t know, but grows fond of when they share an affinity for the piano. A very unlikely coincidence occurs when Victor accidentally says his vows to a tree root that turns out to be a corpse bride. From there Victor is forced to choose between his blushing bride-to-be and his undead newlywed. Tim Burton obviously brings his keen eye for dark detail. Along with the stop-motion animation he loves so much. Though surprisingly, this is actually the first one that he’s directed. It’s a common misconception that Burton actually directed The Nightmare Before Christmas. Corpse Bride is still distinguishable enough on its own. The real world is so lifeless that it’s practically black & white. Yet the underworld is so lively and full of colorful energy. It’s quite beautiful in a haunting sort of way. I regret not giving it a chance when it first came out. Although I’m still not sure why its a musical. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (of course) help to make Corpse Bride an unexpectedly poetic creepy delight.

Corpse-Bride_704

Victor prepares to marry Emily

H40: 40 Years Later

Halloween (2018) is confusingly the third movie titled Halloween. Even though it’s a sequel not a remake, but that didn’t stop it from finally being a worthy follow up to the original. It only took 11 movies. After 9 years with no Halloween movies, it seemed like this franchise was as dead as other slasher franchises from the 80’s. However, some slashers just can’t stay down. So the unlikely comedy duo of Danny McBride and David Gordon Green brought us a surprisingly strong sequel that erases every movie that isn’t the original from existence. Meaning Michael Myers has now been locked up for 40 years. Once Laurie Strode was Michael’s sister (not anymore) whom she killed on the same Halloween night. Then she was killed off screen leaving behind a daughter named Jamie. Then she was alive again with a son, seeming to kill Michael, but dying anyway. Then she was remade into a selfish brat (the less said about that the better). Now Laurie is alive once again. This time as a badass gun-toting shut in with PTSD. Jamie Lee Curtis is just as good as any of her other returns to the franchise. After Michael’s inevitable escape, he goes on a killing spree which leads to a much anticipated final confrontation. Halloween (2018) manages to bring back the slow building dread that made the original a classic. Only with a higher body count and more graphic kills. There’s also three generations worth of final girls that all have their time to shine. Laurie’s now daughter Karen and her granddaughter Allyson all face the elderly Michael Myers. Save for a few odd moments, a lack of nudity, and some out of place humor, Halloween (2018) is the best Halloween sequel we’ve gotten.

11. Halloween

Michael gets his mask back

Preceded by: Halloween (1978) & Followed by: Halloween Kills

Love Hurts

Halloween II (2009) is an awful sorry excuse for a Halloween movie. Which is saying something. Halloween II (2009) does what the original sequel did by starting where the last movie began and taking place in a hospital. Oh wait, no it doesn’t. All that stuff is part of one extra long nightmare that doesn’t lead anywhere and is completely pointless. The sequel is actually about Laurie’s connection with her brother Michael Myers. When I said every character was unlikeable in the last movie, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I’m not even exaggerating when I say every character, victim, or otherwise is a horrible horrible person with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Then again, what do you expect from Rob Zombie. Even characters that were sort of likeable aren’t anymore. Laurie is now a self-destructive brat and Loomis is a greedy jerk who only cares about personal gain. The only character who seems to have a soul is Laurie’s one surviving friend. Danielle Harris is once again the only person to care about in any of her appearances. The excessive nature of the sequel is much worse than before. Making it the goriest film in the franchise. Michael Myers is actually shown eating a dog. The plot also contains many stupid moments. The ghost of Michael’s mom and his younger self appear with a white horse shot to look like one of Zombie’s music videos. There’s also an out of nowhere cameo from Weird Al Yankovic! Probably the worst offender happens only in the director’s cut. Halloween II (2009) is such a slap in the face to the legacy of this character. I know for a fact I wouldn’t have seen either of these dreadful remakes if I wasn’t such a dedicated franchise watcher.

10. Halloween II

Michael stabs

Remake of: Halloween II (1981) & Preceded by: Halloween (2007)

Evil Has a Destiny

Halloween (2007) is the movie we all knew was coming, but nobody wanted. All the long running horror franchises would force a continuation just by remaking it. Heavy Metal singer turned horror movie director Rob Zombie decided Halloween needed remaking. The only difference is that the movie is more of a prequel/remake. Michael Myers childhood is explored for a large majority of the film’s runtime. Which isn’t entirely a bad idea, until you see how Zombie does it. One of the biggest problems with Halloween (2007) is his interpretation of the characters. Instead of the normal suburban home life that Michael seemed to have in the original, his family is just a bunch of redneck a-holes. His mother and baby sister are alright, but his stepfather and sister are horrible. You’d almost feel sorry for him if he wasn’t killing animals. After killing the people that frankly deserve it, Michael is of course sent to the institution. Malcolm McDowell actually gives a surprisingly good performance as Dr. Loomis. In fact, several horror actors play a part. Even Danielle Harris returns as one of the original victims. When all that’s over, the remake pretty much plays out the same as the original. Only with more unnecessarily gruesome violence, gratuitous nudity, constant profanity, and every single character being an awful person who deserves it. Save for a few characters who come close to being good, but still die. The new Laurie is sort of likeable, but she does things that brings that into question. Tyler Mane on the other hand is a huge and intimidating Michael Myers. Halloween (2007) is just way too extreme and uncomfortable to watch. The childhood stuff at least keeps it from being a shameless rehash and slash.

9. Halloween

Michael looks at a pumpkin

Remake of: Halloween (1978) & Followed by: Halloween II (2009)

Dangertainment

Halloween: Resurrection is just an embarrassment. They just couldn’t resist making another sequel after Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. A movie that by all accounts should have been a proper end to the franchise. Halloween: Resurrection came out in the early 2000’s and had the radical idea to make it about an online reality show. With a group of disposable teens being hooked up to webcams that connect them to the internet. So Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks run the show of course. That will in no way date the movie. The idea of an online reality show where you enter the house where a killer lived makes no logical sense. Then again I can sadly see this idea possibly happening in real life. It just so happens that Michael Myers was there in time to kill them. The kills have gotten dumber and the climax is just ridiculous. The series hits rock bottom the second Busta Rhymes fights Michael using karate. The opening is the only thing in the movie that’s worth watching. Jamie Lee Curtis returns for the “final time” as Laurie Strode. Her defeat of Michael is annoyingly retconned so that he wasn’t the one she killed. SPOILER ALERT! Michael kills her about 5 minutes into the movie. At the time, Halloween: Resurrection was finally the movie bad enough to kill the franchise that should have ended a long time ago.

8. Halloween Resurrection

Michael fights Busta Rhymes

Preceded by: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

Sibling Rivalry

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later was for a time the only good sequel in the Halloween franchise. There’s still no comparison to the original, but at least this one gets a lot right. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is exactly as it sounds. It takes place 20 years after the events of Halloween and Halloween II. In fact, the movie completely ignores everything that happened in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Laurie Strode is alive and not so well, she now has a Josh Hartnett son named John instead of a daughter named Jamie, and there’s no mention of all the messy cult stuff. Ignoring the last three films seemed like a good idea considering how bad they were. In Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Laurie lives in California with her son as a headmistress under an assumed name. Since it has been 20 years since the events of the first film, Michael Myers returns to finish his sister off once and for all. Some of the characters like LL Cool J’s are a bit more fleshed out than previous installments. While the tone is slightly more meta and the teens are hipper thanks to the ironic influence of Scream. The best thing about the sequel is definitely the faceoff between Laurie and Michael. It’s a lot more physical then you might expect. SPOILER ALERT! the way she kills him at the end should have capped off the series. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later may have a weird title, (how is the formula for water scary?) but it’s a welcomed return to the roots of the original.

7. Halloween H20 20 Years Later

Michael sees Laurie for the first time in 20 years

Preceded by: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers & Followed by: Halloween: Resurrection