31 Days Of Horror: Halloween 5

We continue today with the next film in the Halloween series, Halloween 5 (1989).

Halloween 5 DVD
These DVD covers are not the most beautifully composed things in the world!

The film starts with a reprise of the last film‘s ending, just like at the start of Halloween II.  We see how Michael escaped, ’cause obviously he escaped – he crawls underground into a river, nearly kills a hermit in a hut, then passes out.  We then get a ‘One Year Later’ caption and meet Jamie in the children’s hospital, still traumatised and mute a year after stabbing her mother.

Either Jamie’s nightmare (she’s very clearly mentally connected to Michael now) or the fact of it being Hallowe’en awakens Michael, and we see a strange symbol on his wrist.  He gets up and murders the hermit, and you have to wonder why the latter’s bothered to take care of an unconscious guy in a mask for a year without calling the authorities.

Dr Loomis has hung around for a year at the children’s hospital, obviously, but it’s still the case that the other staff don’t take him seriously and treat him as a crazy old man.

I’m not sure where Tina’s come from (she wasn’t anywhere to be seen in the previous film), but it’s nice to see that Rachel has friends now.  It’s also fun to hear some ’80s pop music (nothing you’d recognise – it’s all small local bands again!) while Rachel gets ready.  Unfortunately, she’s soon interrupted by a phone call from the hospital, as Jamie’s psychic ability is telling her that her sister’s in danger.

(The characters keep referring to the Carruthers family as Jamie’s ‘stepsister, stepmother’ etc., which isn’t accurate according to the last film – they were fostering her then and might presumably have adopted her by now.)

Rachel calls the police, and some comedy incompetent cops appear, accompanied by silly honky-tonk music.  I can’t stand this attempt at humour – it falls completely flat in the context of slasher horror.

The incompetent cops fail to find Michael in the house and tell Rachel it’s perfectly safe, meaning that she gets offed by Michael pretty quickly.  This is the first example we’ve seen of the interesting trope of ‘final girl from previous film gets killed early in next film’ – I’ll note this again in other films this month.

Tina shows up at Rachel’s house, and tells the frantically barking Max the dog that she’ll get him some water in a minute.  She fails to find Rachel, obviously, but her other friend Sam shows up, and so they both decide that Rachel must have gone out of town with her parents without telling anyone.  Annoyingly for the viewer, Tina never gets Max the water she promised, and her surmising about Rachel seems to be off – why would Rachel leave the dog tied up and alone for a whole weekend?  In general, both Tina and Sam come across as a bit thick.

Tina’s boyfriend Mike is a violent idiot, and I can’t wait for him to meet his namesake.

The other Michael arrives at the children’s clinic and chases Jamie through a deserted part of the building, but the editing is headache-inducing and you can’t see what’s going on.

A man in black (you never see his face, only his black steel-toed boots) shows up outside the drugstore where Brady and Kelly worked in the last film, having arrived in Haddonfield on the Greyhound bus.  He has the same symbol on his wrist that Michael does (a new tattoo trend?) and is clearly a bad guy, so I find it quite quaint that he used the bus!

Loomis goes to creep around the scary rundown Myers house, knowing Michael tends to return there when he’s on the loose.  The man in black has had the same idea!

As expected, Mike soon gets butchered by Michael, and we see the man in black watching as the wrong Michael picks up Tina for the evening in Mike’s car, wearing the mask she gave Mike instead of his usual whitefaced Shatner mask.  We don’t usually see Michael Myers attempting strategy like this (even if it’s not completely clear what his plan is) – I would have expected him just to dispatch Tina and head back to the children’s clinic.  In fact, what has he been doing away from the clinic all afternoon?  He nearly caught Jamie earlier, and it’s not like she’s under guard all the time.

Tina kisses the wrong Michael through the mask.  Ew!

I like the sequence with Jamie identifying the store where Tina is in danger, with help from her friend Billy.  ‘Cookie woman!’ she manages, and one of the cops immediately realises she means a poster on the wall of the store.  A rare example of Haddonfield police competence!

There are some odd inconsistencies with the ‘One Year Later’ caption mentioned earlier.  One year later (after the 1988-set Halloween 4) would set the film in 1989, the year of its release, but there are a few indications in the dialogue that it’s actually 1990 – Loomis talks about Hallowe’en 1978 as being twelve years ago, and Jamie is referred to as a nine-year-old girl, when she was seven in Halloween 4.  A possible indication is that Hallowe’en seems to fall on a weekend, as none of the teenage characters are in school – but as it fell on a Tuesday in 1989 and a Wednesday in 1990, that doesn’t help us!

At the party at the Tower Farm, we get some nonsense with teenagers playing pranks on cops, which is becoming a bit of a theme in the Halloween movies.  Tina, Sammy and Spitz all come across as annoying idiots, so I wasn’t exactly disappointed when Michael dispatched the latter two in the barn.

I quite like Billy and Jamie’s initiative in hunting down Tina by themselves.  Naturally, the incompetent cops from earlier don’t last long, and as the rest of the partygoers from Tower Farm have decided to go skinny-dipping elsewhere, the three of them are left alone with Michael, which results in an awesome sequence with Michael chasing down Jamie in a car through a wheat field (apparently she can run faster than a car!).

After Tina dies saving Jamie, Jamie agrees to Loomis’ dangerous plan.  The plan turns out to be to get Jamie to brush her hair in the bedroom in the Myers house, just like Judith Myers was doing when Michael killed her in 1963, and then fake an incident at the clinic so that Michael won’t be deterred by police presence.  The plan works, and Michael shows up as soon as the police cars leave.

Michael often attacks Loomis when he has the chance, but never actually kills him for some reason.  On this occasion, the injury is enough to put Loomis out of action for ten minutes or so, meaning that Michael can chase Jamie around the house, and we get the first of the Halloween laundry chute sequences, with Jamie hiding in the chute, which makes for a really tense sequence!

Michael has set up some kind of weird shrine upstairs with candles and a child’s coffin, similar to the gravestone he stole in the first film.  Jamie comes across the bodies of Rachel and Max here (poor Max!  I don’t know what Michael has against dogs), which makes for a good scare.

Jamie escapes downstairs and bumps into Loomis, who has come prepared with all sorts of gear for capturing Michael.  He throws a net over his ex-patient and beats him into submission, before collapsing himself.  Unusually, this actually works to subdue Michael, and the cops manage to take him into custody and put him in a cell!  Unfortunately, this is the point where the man in black shows up, kills all the cops in the station, and helps Michael escape.  We end with Jamie wandering alone and terrified through the destroyed police station.

This is another film where it’s not clear if Loomis is dead at the end, but as (spoiler alert) he shows up in the next film, I expect he’s been taken to hospital.

Halloween 6 coming tomorrow, where things will get really silly!

Autumn TV is the best

After a nice weekend in Edinburgh, Geth and I headed back to Newcastle today – with a very comfortable and efficient train journey for once!  We’ve spent the evening watching Doctor Who, the Strictly results, and the coverage of this morning’s Cardiff Half Marathon.  Nice to be back home and relaxing.  Looking forward to another productive week!

OOTD 7th October 2018
OOTD: travelling outfit. Hoodie Uneek Classic for Mesh (2016), t-shirt Punk Masters (2018), jeans Vivid (2018), boots unknown brand/eBay (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Tracey Ullman – They Don’t Know
Alannah Myles – Black Velvet
Sonia – You’ll Never Stop Me From Loving You
Example – Won’t Go Quietly
They Might Be Giants – Particle Man

And a bonus track that Geth was humming earlier:

Dean Martin – Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes

TV Review: Doctor Who: The Woman Who Fell To Earth

Doctor Who is my favourite TV show, and so it’s always exciting when a new series starts back on BBC One after a long break.  Doubly exciting when it’s a new Doctor, and triply exciting when it’s a new showrunner.  Chris Chibnall’s Doctor Who feels like a completely fresh start, just like when Steven Moffat took over from Russell T Davies in 2010.

I loved Moffat’s fairytale take on Who, and Peter Capaldi was probably my favourite Doctor of the revived series, so I suppose I should have been apprehensive – but in all honesty, I’ve been a Doctor Who fan for long enough now (twenty-six years!) that I’ve learnt to embrace change and am always excited to see where the story will go next.

Jodie Whittaker is wonderful as the Doctor from the off.  Much has been made of the novelty of her being the first female Doctor in the regular series, but all of that is soon forgotten when watching her performance, as she inhabits the character so beautifully.  It’s not treated as a big deal onscreen (although I did roll my eyes a bit when she became the first Doctor to choose her costume through a long drawn-out ‘trying-on-clothes-in-a-shop-dressing-room’ process, with the companions standing in as the long-suffering husband), so hopefully it won’t be treated as a big deal by the viewers either.

I also really liked that the episode was set in Sheffield, and so that’s where the companions and their communities are based.  There have been complaints since 2005 that the series has been ridiculously London-centric – most of Moffat’s primary companions did mitigate this issue to some extent, with a Scot based near Gloucester and a Lancashirewoman based in London, but this is the first time that it properly feels like Doctor Who is finally set somewhere else.  Now if we could someday soon have a primary companion who’s not from the present day, I’d be a very happy girl!

Speaking of the companions, I’m also very intrigued by the fact that we’re going back to a ‘Team TARDIS’ setup, with three companions travelling with the Doctor.  This number of companions worked brilliantly in the ’60s, but was handled poorly in the ’80s, with one companion normally having to be sidelined for a story (often by being knocked unconscious by psychic alien means or a similarly poor excuse).  It’ll be interesting to see how it’s done this series – I did feel that I’ve not properly got to know Ryan (Tosin Cole) and Yasmin (Mandip Gill) yet, though Bradley Walsh is brilliant and touching from the off as Graham.  What I’m hoping for is that each companion will have particular episodes to shine during the series.

I also loved the character of Grace (Sharon D Clarke) – I’ve gone into this series spoiler-free, as I’ve not had time this year to keep up with Doctor Who news, and so was expecting her to become a supporting ‘companion’s family member’ character.  As such, I was shocked when she was killed off towards the end of the episode.  As two of the companions are now grieving a family member, I would expect this to have a significant impact on their character arcs (or at least more of an impact than when Tegan immediately forgot about the Master murdering her Auntie Vanessa back in 1981!), and I also wonder if this is an indication that Chibnall won’t be afraid to kill off regular characters.  Some very interesting stuff to think about as we go through the series.

The story itself was fairly fun fluff, as is usually the case with series openers.  I’m not sure if we’ll see the Stenza race again, but the character of Tzim-Sha made for a good dark villain, and it’s good to see Chibnall making his mark on the Whoniverse with new monsters already.

On the whole, I loved the episode, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series!

31 Days Of Horror: Halloween 4

Halloween 4 (1988) returns to the Michael Myers storyline (well, the first of them!) and swaps the Roman numerals for Arabic ones.  This is the first of a trilogy that delves deeper into Michael’s backstory.

Halloween 4
The mask on the DVD cover is typical of the contemporary advertising for the film – they were very keen to emphasise that they were going back to the Michael Myers story.

Donald Pleasence gets top billing, and is definitely the star here!  His portrayal of Dr Loomis with ten added years of paranoia and stress is fantastic.

The film is set ten years after Halloween/Halloween II, which keeps the setting contemporary.  We’re firmly into the late ’80s here, which adds a lot of fun and colour to proceedings.

We start off with Michael Myers about to be transferred from the sanatorium in which he’s been kept for ten years back to Smith’s Grove, which is the place he escaped from back in 1978.  Why are they taking him back to Smith’s Grove when he’s already proven he can escape from there?

In case you’ve not been keeping up, the backstory is delivered by a helpfully chatty sanatorium staff member.  ‘Both of them nearly burnt to death,’ he says of Myers and Loomis, letting us know that the fire in Halloween II wasn’t fatal for either character.

While one of the doctors is checking Michael’s blood pressure, his arm falls down from the bed, so he clearly wasn’t very well restrained in the first place.  The Smith’s Grove doctors get him in the back of the ambulance and on the road, and start talking about his living relatives. As soon as he hears he’s got a niece, Michael gets his strength back, and off he goes on his killing spree!

We’re introduced to seven-year-old Jamie Lloyd here.  The backstory is that Jamie’s parents (Laurie and an unknown other) died eleven months ago, and Jamie is being fostered by the Carruthers family, including teenager Rachel and Sunday the dog.  Jamie has a picture of Laurie that is clearly a publicity still from the first film!  She’s also having dreams/hallucinations about Michael Myers, which doesn’t make sense given that she doesn’t know anything about him yet.

It’s still the case that nobody else in the Illinois medical system is listening to Dr Loomis, which is nice and nostalgic!

There are lots of beats matched from the first film as Michael makes his way to Haddonfield – including him killing a mechanic just because he needs a new pair of overalls.

The school bullies at Jamie’s school are really vile!  Mocking her for being an orphan, yikes.

We get a good introduction to Kelly, the sheriff’s daughter, who works in the drugstore with Brady, Rachel’s boyfriend – it’s clear early on that she’s a romantic threat to Rachel, especially as Brady is frustrated by Rachel having to cancel their date to babysit Jamie.

Jamie chooses a pierrot costume for her Hallowe’en outfit, just like the one Michael was wearing when he killed his older sister as a child.  I don’t know why kids were ever into those pierrot costumes – they’re really creepy!

As Michael has destroyed his car, Loomis has to go hitchiking.  I quite like the invocation of the ‘crazy drunk evangelical who happily picks up hitchhikers’ trope here!

Haddonfield is beautifully decorated for Hallowe’en – an absolutely picture-perfect American small town.  I never know how people manage to put pumpkin lanterns outside on their porches and not have the wind blow the candles out.  Maybe there’s no wind in Illinois.

While escorting Jamie for trick-or-treating, Rachel catches Brady at Kelly’s house.  ‘So you just hop onto the next best thing?’ Rachel says angrily.  Brady tries to make excuses, but yes, that is exactly what he’s doing.  What a dick!  He only holds Rachel up for about twenty seconds, but it’s still long enough for Rachel to lose sight of Jamie, who has clearly never been schooled sufficiently about how children shouldn’t go running off.

At least Sheriff Meeker is sensible enough to believe Loomis!  Haddonfield cops apparently never forget.  We also get some nice backstory about how Sheriff Brackett retired to Pennsylvania in 1981.

I like the rednecks from the bar who decide to go vigilante as soon as they hear Michael Myers is back in town, even though it’s pretty clear that it’s all going to go horribly wrong.

Loomis and Meeker investigate the Carruthers house to discover that Michael is back to his dog-killing habits again.  Poor Sunday!

Michael also comes up with a rather spectacular way of taking the whole town’s power out, by chucking some poor power plant worker into the electrical grid!

The redneck riot mob naturally kill the wrong person.  Poor Ted Hollister joins Ben Tramer from Halloween II on the list of characters who die in Halloween films without the assistance of Michael.

The lock-in, with all the characters holing up in the Meeker house, is quite an interesting setup for the penultimate sequence – everyone is in the same place and on high alert (except for Kelly, who’s still thinking about sex – this is a very good indication in a slasher film that someone’s not going to survive for long).

We conveniently lose all the competent characters when Loomis goes off to hunt Michael at the Carruthers house and Meeker goes off to stop the rednecks, meaning that everyone at the Meeker house is now doomed.

‘Wish they’d fix the power.  At least we’d have some MTV while we wait for the cavalry,’ says Kelly to the dead deputy, approximately five seconds before she realises he’s dead and then gets killed by Michael herself.  Are these the most ’80s last words ever?  I will pay attention for the rest of this month and keep you posted.

Brady idiotically traps the surviving characters in the house by not checking whether the door lock’s made of metal before shooting it, and then finds that he’s run out of ammo and is too clumsy to reload the gun before Michael catches up with him, but at least he dies heroically and thus sort-of-redeems himself (punching Michael Myers in the face is pretty fruitless but also pretty brave!).

The rooftop sequence, with Rachel and Jamie trying to escape Michael by finding a way down, is fab!  Really tense and well shot.

The rednecks see sense at last, deciding to let the state troopers handle it, but are sadly not long for this world – Michael quickly dispatches them in his last-ditch attempt to reach Jamie.

The cops arrive in time to load several clips of bullets into Michael, but there’s some convenient unstable ground for him to fall into at the end, so he’s clearly not dead yet!  ‘Michael Myers is in hell,’ says Loomis, but without a body to prove it, he should know that you can’t be sure about that.

Having been sent insane by Michael (which is not explained in the slightest), Jamie puts a mask on and stabs her mother, providing a great chilling moment, bringing Loomis to utter terrified hysteria, and nicely setting up the next film.

Speaking of which, we’ll move onto Halloween 5 tomorrow!

Speeding up

Another Saturday, another sub-30 parkrun – and today I did it without the help of a pacer, which proves that I can do it myself!  I’m still having my third and fourth kilometre slump, though, so I really need to have a think about what I can do about that.

We then had a nice pub lunch and a catchup with Kieran and Lisa, so it’s been a good afternoon!  Now relaxing with Strictly and other TV.

OOTD 6th October 2018
OOTD: pub lunch outfit. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jacket Gap (2010), t-shirt Katharine Hamnett for Help Refugees (2017), skirt Gap (2007), shoes Office (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Simply Red – Money’s Too Tight To Mention
Johnny Hates Jazz – Shattered Dreams
The 1975 – Too Time Too Time Too Time
They Might Be Giants – Birdhouse In Your Soul
Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes
Example – Won’t Go Quietly
Jennifer Lopez – Louboutins

Gig Review: They Might Be Giants at Queen’s Hall, 5th October 2018

It’s not very often that They Might Be Giants come over to Europe from North America – indeed, Geth has been waiting to see them for approximately quarter of a century – so when we heard earlier this year that they would be doing a few UK dates, we made sure to book tickets.  It was well worth it, because they put on a really good show, with lots of banter and comedy interludes in between the tunes.

Before the gig started:

Me: How many people do you reckon have come here just to hear the Malcolm In The Middle theme song?

Geth: Nobody.  It looks like quite a geeky, well-informed audience.

(Pause)

Guy behind us: Hey, play the Malcolm In The Middle song!

Geth: Okay, one.

They Might Be Giants
My least blurry gig picture of the evening.

Geth and I got to the Queen’s Hall in plenty of time, as it turned out, because although a support act was advertised, they never materialised, and They Might Be Giants didn’t arrive on stage until an hour after the doors opened.  It was worth the wait, though, because they launched into an absolutely storming first set.  They opened with new track The Communists Have The Music – apparently there’s a brand new video coming for that next week, so I will be checking it out then!  The old favourites soon showed up too, with Particle Man featuring a brilliant interpolation of Sia’s Chandelier, and Birdhouse In Your Soul appearing unexpectedly early (though very much appreciated by me).  There was also a run-out for The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight), their alternative-lyrics version of the classic song.

The band played a lot of new songs – complete with tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that the audience might not appreciate them as much as the classics!  I personally found the new stuff really interesting, and I will definitely be listening to the latest album over the course of the next week.

Dead was another highlight of the first set, and I must also give a shout-out to the brilliant brass instrumentalist the band had on tour with them – his trumpet and trombone sections were fantastic and really added to the atmosphere of the gig.  The set finished with some interesting experimental instrumental stuff, and a nicely-timed twenty-minute interval enabled Geth to go and get us some more drinks – always appreciated!

The second set was launched with the video for Last Wave – which is actually Aerosmith and Run DMC’s video for Walk This Way, best explained here.  We were then treated to a rendition of How Can I Sing Like a Girl?, which was given a really poignant context by current events.  Other highlights of the second set for me were Istanbul (Not Constantinople) and Whistling In The Dark, but pretty much everything was a real treat – the band really kept up the energy for the whole evening.

My only complaint was that the gig ended at just the wrong time – Geth and I ran out of the Queen’s Hall just as the number 5 bus was pulling away, and we ended up splurging on a taxi instead!  Great night out though – I will definitely go see the band again when they next play the UK, even if it takes another twenty-five years.

(They never played Boss Of Me (the Malcolm In The Middle theme song), incidentally.)

31 Days Of Horror: Nosferatu

Nosferatu (1922) is nearly a century old now, so it’s a very interesting watch!  It’s so fascinating to see the techniques and the overacting-by-modern-standards that was common in the silent film era.

Nosferatu
Love this very ’20s German Expressionist shot.

FW Murnau didn’t have the rights to make a film version of Dracula – so he made it anyway but changed all the names.  The action switches from Whitby to Wisborg, Dracula becomes Nosferatu, and the Harkers become the Hutters.  I don’t think it stopped the filmmakers from getting sued by the Stoker estate.

Junior estate agent Thomas Hutter gets a big job from his boss Knock.  ‘I may be away for several months,’ he says to his wife Ellen, and off he runs, no preparation, he just runs back in to grab his hat!  We then get a couple of scenes where he’s clearly come back for a long drawn-out goodbye, and Ellen can’t cope with this so she has to be looked after by relatives.

We get our first example of ‘superstitious locals’ here, so ably demonstrated in later films such as yesterday’s Friday the 13th.  They warn Hutter off, but of course he takes no notice.

I love the ‘I don’t believe this book about vampires’ overacting!  Hutter then has a good laugh at the superstitious locals being all ‘No way, we’re not driving you up to the vampire’s castle’ and leaving him at the side of the road.  Maybe he likes the exercise?

Count Orlok’s opening scene is quite understated – no big entrance, he’s just standing in a courtyard.

The traditional ‘Whoops, cut myself’ scene is present and correct though.  ‘Blood! your precious blood!’ says Orlok, who is kind of obviously sinister about it, sucking Hutter’s finger and all, and you kind of wonder why the latter doesn’t run there and then.

Also, Hutter sleeps in a chair the first night – you’d think Orlok would keep up the pretence by offering him a bed.

There’s a nicely-done reveal where Thomas is writing to Ellen and says that he’s been bitten by mosquitoes – two bites very close together.

I love how you could apparently send a letter in those days just by flagging down the nearest random on a horse!  I wonder if that was actually the case?

‘Your wife has a beautiful neck,’ says Orlok on seeing Ellen’s picture.  So hokey!  ‘I shall take the house – the handsome deserted house opposite yours,’ he continues, because he completely doesn’t care that he’s being really obvious about his plans.

Suddenly Hutter believes the vampire book from the last place he stayed in, which he still has with him.  Why has he been carting it about if he thought it was stupid in the first place?

Back in Wisborg, Ellen randomly has a mad turn and tries to climb off a balcony – the reason for this is not explained.  There’s some connection between Ellen and Orlok that stops the latter from harming Thomas – where is this psychic energy coming from?

‘A harmless blood condition!’ says the doctor who’s been called to look at Ellen, starting a fine tradition of clueless authorities telling horror film characters that there’s nothing to worry about.

The reveal of the vampire in the coffin takes place fairly early on for a Dracula adaptation.  Again, why doesn’t Hutter run away at this point?  After opening the coffin, he just goes straight back to his room!  Still, it does mean he (and therefore the audience as well) sees Nosferatu being loaded onto a cart.  Hutter then does the classic bedsheets-out-the-window escape, which is a bit superfluous seeing as the vampire’s left the castle – he could just have walked out the front door instead.

What does the ‘Professor Bulwer gives a lecture to his students about carnivorous plants’ bit have to do with anything?  ‘That plant is the vampire of the vegetable kingdom.’  Yes, but that tenuous link is ALL it has in common with Nosferatu, and it’s not followed up.

Nosferatu uses long-distance psychic means to turn Knock, who is still in Wisborg, insane.  What’s the vampire’s plan here?  Knock never does anything useful for him for the rest of the film, apart from being a scapegoat when strange things start happening in town.

I like the atmospheric beach scenes of Ellen waiting for Thomas.  Very Whitby…in Wisborg.

There’s a nice plot progression on the boat carrying the vampire, with the sailors gradually falling ill.  There’s also an irritating continuity problem with the vampire apparently wandering about the ship deck in broad daylight!

Ellen is now also psychically controlled by the vampire, but at least there’s an explainable purpose for that.

There’s a nice page-long explanation about the vampire needing to sleep in the earth in which he was buried.  You don’t get many explanations for things in this film, so I quite appreciate it.

Why has Thomas brought the vampire book back to Wisborg if he doesn’t want Ellen to read it?

I like Ellen’s realisation about what she has to do to kill the vampire – an early example of a female character showing nouse and self-sacrifice!

Professor Bulwer has a purpose after all!  Ellen uses him as deception to get the hapless Thomas out of the way so she can get on with her plan of destroying the vampire.

Does Ellen die at the end?  It’s not clear.

On the whole, it’s all a bit nonsensical, but it’s quite fun to watch such an early example of a horror film!

Back to the Halloween movies tomorrow.

Out for the evening

Geth and I are off to a gig tonight, which I will update you about tomorrow.  As such, today has mostly involved getting everything done in time so that I can chill out and enjoy the evening!

I’m really looking forward to going out for the evening – it’s nice to get out once in a while.

OOTD 5th October 2018
OOTD: going out for the evening! Necklaces Claire’s Accessories (2003), top LK Bennett (2018), skirt Miss Selfridge (2004), tights Primark (2017), shoes Carvela (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Madonna – Into The Groove
Roxette – Listen To Your Heart
Irene Cara – Fame
The Human League – (Keep Feeling) Fascination
They Might Be Giants – Birdhouse In Your Soul
Semisonic – Closing Time
Jennifer Lopez – Louboutins

2018 Ciders #61: Magners Pear

After getting my taste for Bulmers Pear in the pub in South Shields after the GNR, I went for Magners Pear in the next pub to continue the theme!

Magners Pear
Magners Pear.

Magners Pear is a bit sweeter than Bulmers Pear, but it’s still very nice and nowhere near cloying.  Another good option for pubs where I’m not keen on the draught offering.

31 Days Of Horror: Friday the 13th

I watched Friday the 13th (1980) fairly recently, in the summer (similarly to Halloween, I usually watch it when it’s a Friday the 13th, and I realised this year that there won’t be another one until 2020!)

Friday the 13th
Everyone’s dead. Let’s put the kettle on!

It’s another film with a flashback opening sequence, which again is not-quite-period – 1958 looks very 1980 in terms of hair and makeup, though the props are done quite well.

Friday the 13th is probably the most egregious slasher film series for the ‘sex equals death’ trope – any time characters so much as think about it, the killer comes calling.

I really like the character of Annie, whose doomed journey to Camp Crystal Lake opens the contemporary narrative of the film.  She comes across as quite sweet and whimsical, and I always wish she survived long enough to interact with the others at the camp!  This is another film where the characters are written quite well and I always end up imagining the alternative universe where they didn’t get killed.

The date is given as Friday June 13th, setting the film in its release year of 1980.

Crazy Ralph shows up, who is my favourite example of ‘mad old doommonger’ in slasher horror!

The backstory to why all the locals think the camp is cursed is explained quite well by the old dude who gives Annie a lift, so the audience are nicely up to speed.

I can’t stand the daft honky redneck music that plays while Jack, Marcie and Ned are driving to Camp Crystal Lake – I can only imagine it’s meant to indicate that Ned is the comic relief character.

Jack is played by a pre-fame Kevin Bacon, which adds some interest!  It does mean that I keep being reminded of the latest EE advert whenever he’s on screen.

Alice is introduced quite unusually for a final girl, coming across as a slightly older and more sensible camp counselor at first.  It’s not clear during this early section who the main character is supposed to be.  There’s also a hint of romance between camp leader Steve and Alice that is never followed up.

There’s some backstory about Alice not really being happy working at camp, but this soon becomes unimportant.

Ned’s flirting with Brenda – constantly grabbing her from under the water during the lake swimming sequence – comes across as super creepy from a modern point of view!

Annie succumbs to the first of the classic Friday the 13th through-the-woods chases.  These become more prevalent in the sequels.

Ned crying wolf about drowning should really have been followed up later with him calling for help for real and nobody believing him – it would have made for a much better death scene!

The bit with the counselors being slightly cheeky to the police officer is hilarious – it really gives them all some character.

Marcie’s fear of thunderstorms is quite touching, and again rounds her character nicely.

Ned doesn’t even get an onscreen death!  He just investigates a strange noise and disappears.

The infamous strip Monopoly game is one of the highlights of the film – it’s very funny.  I remember when I last watched this in the summer, Geth kept getting notifications on Facebook from his favourite boardgame discussion group, who were also all watching the film (and commenting on this scene) to celebrate it being Friday the 13th!

This is the second film I’ve watched this week (after Halloween) where characters think the strange noises they hear must just be their friends pissing about to try and scare them.  I’ll be watching for this trope all month now.

In order to lure Brenda outside, the killer plays a recording of a child’s voice calling for help.  I’m not quite sure how the killer is doing this with 1980 technology in the middle of a thunderstorm!

Brenda’s death is offscreen too – offscreen deaths are quite unusual for a slasher and I don’t think it happens much again in subsequent entries in the series.

There’s a good reveal where Steve turns out to know the killer – he greets them with surprise just before getting stabbed.

For a while after realising something strange is going on, Alice and Bill do the sensible thing of sticking together…but not for long.  ‘I’ll be right back!’ says Bill, which is such a stupid thing to say in a horror film that Scream highlighted this particular phrase sixteen years later.

Bill’s death is offscreen too.  The trend in this film seems to be for people to die offscreen and then show up as corpses for scare value later on.

The sequence of Mrs Voorhees showing up, first providing relief from the tense atmosphere by appearing to be a helpful adult figure (though it shouldn’t be too much relief if you picked up the Steve clue earlier) then turning out to be the killer, makes the ending chase sequence quite interesting.

The ‘beheading’ special effect, by effects specialist Tom Savini, was lauded at the time but looks a bit hokey now!

I’ve seen the infamous lake boat ending moment so many times it doesn’t make me jump any more, but it’s still a great scare – it’s not clear if it’s just a hallucination on Alice’s part though.

The ending, with Alice suspecting Jason Voorhees is still in the lake, sets things up nicely for Part 2!

A non-slasher to discuss tomorrow.