27 September 2015

September 27th

Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge (2001) directed by Mary Lambert
I'm still sticking with my theory that I came up with after watching the first one: little Sophie is the true power in the family. While Marnie is being easily seduced by Kalabar's son -- who uses the opportunity to steal her grandma's spellbook and almost end normal human existence as we know it -- Sophie is immediately aware that something is not right. Later, she easily flies herself and her brother on a broom without any prior training. Sophie is also the one to figure out that her mom's crush is actually a golem made up of frogs. Meanwhile, her grandma continues to fawn over her screw-up older sister -- the so-called future leader of the Cromwell witches -- who loses and fails to memorize a time travel spell and is only required to figure out a ridiculously easy one-word spell to reverse the damage her boyfriend has done to both worlds.

My girls enjoyed the show well enough. They got a little embarrassed during the flirty bits with Kalabar's son and his fake frog-dad, but nothing was remotely scary for them this time out. It's a completely harmless little movie. My main complaint would be we didn't spend any time at all in the non-cursed version of Halloweentown, which is, you know, the name of the series and the big, fun draw to these things.

Friday the 13th Part III (1982) directed by Steve Miner
Richard Brooker as Jason
13 Aug 1982
Freddy vs. Jason, Part III: New Jersey Barnyard Massacre
For me, Friday the 13th 3 to 8 are the meat of the series. This is where Jason is the Jason as we know and love him: relentless, nearly indestructible, and wearing a hockey mask. If I'm going to randomly pop in a Jason movie to relax one fall night, it's gonna be one of these (OK: not typically 8).

Though, Jason seems to be in a weird mood in this one. Maybe it's because he's run out of camp counselors to take revenge on? He doesn't exactly seem to know what to do with himself. He tries out killing middle-aged grocery store owners at the beginning of the movie, but that doesn't seem to be a path he's interested in pursuing further. Luckily, some horny young people arrive at a nearby farm and he's allowed to go back to his killing comfort zone.

Still, his approach is very business-like in this movie. He marches around, calmly and quickly killing everyone in his path. There's little malice in what he's doing. Jason's simply performing the job he was made to do, as if he were a factory worker tightening bolts. A poke with a hayfork here, a slash with a machete there...

We even get a glimpse at his process at one point. Near the end of the movie when he's chasing Chris and Rick, the two are split up. When Chris opens up the door of the house to look for Rick, the camera pans right and we see Jason has caught him. But, Rick isn't dead and Jason isn't in the process of killing him; instead, Jason has a hand clasped over Rick's mouth to prevent him from making any noise. Clearly, he doesn't want Rick's screams to alert Chris. He hasn't had time to get to the business of killing Rick and wants to ensure he can later do the same to Chris. This nicely demonstrates Jason's low time preference. He's not a creature of pure id, wandering the woods and murdering whenever the urge strikes him. No, he's an intelligent planner with a goal. That actually makes the guy even scarier.

On a different subject, I love the incredibly cheezy 3-D effects in this film. Even though I watched it in 2-D, the "wooo, this is 3-D" shots are awesome. People are constantly shoving things directly at the camera: sticks, yo-yos, snakes, weapons, eyeballs... Even without the 3-D effect, it's still a ton of fun.

Favorite Character
Shelly (Larry Zerner): the chubby, socially awkward, horrible-with-girls, practical-joking dork. Or, the representation of all of us horror geeks in the Jason universe. That he is the one who gives Jason his iconic mask: icing on the nerd cake.

Favorite Sin
Eating and drinking bits of food from your own grocery store and putting the rest back on the shelf.

Favorite Kill
Rick (Paul Kratka) getting his head squeezed between Jason's hands until his eyeball pops out in 3-D!

Jason's Mood
Taking care of business.

1 comment:

  1. I remember being kind of disappointed in "Halloweentown 2," though I'll admittedly haven't seen it since it first premiered on the Disney channel.

    I agree that Part 3-D is when the series really begins to feel right, functioning like a well-oiled machine. Whenever someone says Jason is mentally retarded, I point towards events in the films that prove otherwise. You do a good job of referencing that here. The guy has cunning.