MOVIES FROM HELL: Halloween: Resurrection
A short while ago, I said that as a special Halloween feature, I was going to rewatch some of the worst horror movies I've ever seen. I'm starting off with Halloween: Resurrection, which, technically, I've never seen before. So how did I know, before even watching it, that a seventh generation sequel starring Busta Rhymes would be awful? Lucky guess.
Yes, Resurrection is indeed the eighth entry in the Halloween series, which, unlike the Friday the 13th series, I'm sadly unable to list from memory. I need IMDb's help for that:
First came the landmark John Carpenter original, Halloween, in nineteen-seventy-damn-eight. I was eight when that came out. Wow. Then came the fairly worthy successor, Halloween II in 1981, in which Loomis (Donald Pleasance) was killed. Then came the "what the fuck?" non-sequel Halloween III: Season of the Witch in 1982, which had literally nothing to do with the first two movies. I know! What the fuck? Then, much like a farmer must let his field lay fallow to replenish the soil's nutrients, so was the Halloween franchise allowed to lay dormant for six years. Unfortunately, Farmer Brown planted turds, and up sprouted Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), in which Loomis got better, but Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) was dead, and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), in which various lame stuff happened. 1995 brought Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, in which Loomis got dead again, as did Donald Pleasance (sad). And then of course came Halloween Water: 20 Years Later (1998), in which all the stuff from the previous three films was ignored, and Laurie got better (but Jamie Lee Curtis' film career died). Wait, what's that? Yeah, Halloween H20. That's what I said.
And then came Resurrection (2002). Oh boy.
Jamie Lee Curtis makes a contractually-obligated appearance right at the top of the movie, which rewrites the ending of the last movie. Laurie's in an insane asylum now. Turns out the guy whose head she chopped off at the end of the last movie wasn't Michael after all. It was just some dude in a mask. Oopsie! "Father of three," one of Laurie's nurses gravely informs her co-worker. Which is what makes it a shame. Father of two, that's fine. Father of three, that's a real bummer.
We now meet Willie, a tubby security guard. Hey, I bet Willie's gonna be around for the next sequel! We follow Willie as he inspects a couple of vending machines packed with various blatant product placements in a scene totally relevant to the plot. Meanwhile, Michael decides his partner's head looks a little damp, so he puts it in the dryer. Willie discovers the noggin on tumble dry low, but before he can add a fabric softener sheet to prevent static cling, Michael ventilates his trachea. WILLIIIIIIIIIEE!!! I totally and completely did not see that coming.
Then Michael chases Laurie onto the roof -- have I mentioned the slow motion yet? This director loves throwing in a few seconds of slow motion in almost every scene. Very annoying. Anyway, on the roof, the stupidest thing ever happens. Laurie has somehow -- and keep in mind, she's an inmate at an insane asylum -- she has somehow rigged up an elaborate, electronically-operated winch system (I assume she rigged it up; why else would there be an electric winch on the roof of an insane asylum?). She's tied a small noose at the end of its rope, about the exact size of a man's foot. And Michael somehow steps directly into it. Because stupid plans require stupid victims! Laurie hoists Michael over the edge of the roof, and plans on cutting the rope and letting him drop to the ground below. Which, I mean -- has she even watched the last seven movies? Michael's fallen off lots of roofs. He's been shot about 8,000 times. He's been blown the fuck up. But Laurie thinks this roof is the clincher! Yeah, smart plan, babe. She deservedly gets stabbed and dropped off the roof for her troubles. Next time, try a bazooka.
Michael then gives his knife to one of the inmates. Because he's always careful to cover his tracks and frame innocent bystanders. Oh, wait, no he's not. He just kills the innocent bystanders, because he's Michael Myers, not a James Bond villain. This movie doesn't make a lick of sense, and we haven't even gotten to the title yet. The inmate, by the way, is a serial killer buff, and as Michael walks away, the inmate reels off Michael's life story from memory. Only he doesn't remember Halloweens 3 through 6. That's okay, buddy. Nobody does.
Cut to Haddonfield University, where a professor can lay down some Jungian bullshit that's supposed to reveal something about Michael's psyche, but is really just there to make everyone involved feel better about being in a dopey slasher flick. We meet Sara, who is broody and smart, so she's going to live; Jen, who is cute and ebullient, so she's dead; and Rudy, who is black and not Busta Rhymes, so you guess what's gonna happen to him. (Yes, I'm calling it right now: Busta will survive.)
And we get into the story of this film, which makes me grit my teeth and feel a white-hot ball of pain and anger behind my eyeballs: they're going to be on a reality show. A REALITY SHOW! Jesus Hieronymus Christ, a reality show. Can you get more played out than that? Answer: no.
Ironic foreshadowing dialogue:
SARA: Every time I let you two talk me into something, I live to regret it.Get it?? It's ironic, because they're talking about Sara dying, when really they are going to die! GET IT??? Eh, whatever.
RUDY: Listen, without me, you would die of boredom.
JEN: Us! Without us, you would die of boredom.
Then there's some more stupid stuff, then they get to Busta. I want to hate him -- he's a damn rapper, not an actor, not even a horror movie-level actor -- but he's the best part of the film so far. He's in charge of "Dangertainment", the reality show in question... which will be airing on the internet. Because so many people watch internet programming. Man, is it dumb in here, or is it just this movie?
Did I mention Tyra Banks is Busta's assistant? No? Good. I used to like her, but ever since America's Next Top Model began, I just want to smack her.
The reality show will take place inside Michael's childhood home. The participants, all with mini-cameras mounted to their heads, are going to be exploring the mystery of Michael Myers, whatever that means. If Michael Myers weren't actually going to show up, this would be the most boring program ever. "Hey, did you find any of Michael Myers' mystery in the fridge?" "No. Did you find any of Michael Myers' mystery in the broom closet?" "Ummm... no. I found a broom." Who the hell does Busta think would watch this shit? Or, wait: does Busta have a hidden agenda? Hmmmm.... Wait, even if he does, it's an idiotic idea.
So they go into the house, Sara, Rudy, Jen, and three other meat sacks whose names I can't be bothered to learn. One of them is a cute redhead gal, one of them is Kevin from American Pie, and one of them is a jackass. I'm guessing they will be killed in the reverse order I listed them.
Meanwhile, some nerd who's been having an email relationship with Sara is watching the show at a Halloween party -- and all the other non-nerds stop drinking, dancing, and screwing and also start watching the computer monitor. Which is possibly the most unrealistic moment in the entire movie. Hmm, have drunken sex with a cheerleader, or look over a nerd's shoulder at shaky, grainy footage on a computer screen? Computer wins nine times out of ten, of course.
Kevin flirts with Jen, then gets her to flash her bra for the camera. I think that's it for sex in this movie. Stupid damn modern horror movies, with no sex or nudity! I blame Kevin Williamson.
Ooh, Kevin gets killed first! The camera on his head catches it all (and then his head catches a butcher knife), but Busta and Tyra, watching from the control room, fail to see it, as do all the tens of people worldwide who are watching the show on their computers (including nerd-boy).
Ope! Here's a little sex. "Say something smart," says jackass. Cute redhead says, "Existence precedes essence," and takes off her bra. Bless her heart. Then a bunch of skeletons burst through a wall and fall on them. Cock-blocking from beyond the grave!
Turns out Busta and Tyra (that's the new millennium's "Uma and Oprah") have set up a bunch of phony crap around the house to make their show scarier and more interesting. So that's a failure on both counts.
Now comes probably the only cool shot of the film: Michael Myers creeps slowly through the house -- while behind him, Michael Myers creeps slowly after. It's a decently creepy thrill. The first Michael Myers is actually Busta in a mask. He thinks the other Michael is his cameraman -- but we saw the real Michael kill him earlier. The creepy coolness is ruined by idiocy: Busta, thinking it's the cameraman, yells at Michael, telling him to get his ass out of there and go get in position -- and Michael meekly turns and leaves. 8,000 bullets won't stop him, but harsh language will? Criminy.
Hot redhead (yes, I've upgraded her from cute) gets impaled on a spike by Michael. Nerd-boy believes it's real. Other non-nerd non-partiers laugh at him. This is the lamest subplot ever.
Jen and Rudy take bong hits. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Getting high in a horror movie. Seriously, how badly do they want to be killed? Can they be killed twice?
Sara, Rudy, and jackass discover Busta in his Michael mask. He explains he's faking everything, and asks them to play along. Gee, I wonder if the real Michael will show up in a moment, and they won't believe that it's him?
Jen finds Kevin's dead body, and, as her moron friends refuse to help her while she screams, Michael chops her head off with a butcher knife. Right the fuck off! Wow, jackass outlived her. Not for long: Michael crushes his head like a grape, then nails Rudy to the kitchen door. So we're down to Sara, Busta, and Tyra. Plus nerd-boy, who's calling 911. Yeah, that oughta help.
Nerd-boy begins text-messaging her on her Palm Pilot (or whatever the hell it is) as to Michael's location. He's not very good at it, because soon Michael's got her cornered, along with Busta. Busta pulls some Wu Tang kung fu, though, and after Sara wraps a camera cord around his neck, Busta kicks Michael out a window, where he hangs by the neck until dead. Or until two minutes from now, when everyone who's never seen a horror movie before will be shocked -- shocked! -- to find that he's come back to life.
Wait, nerd-boy even spoils that surprise, with the message: "HE'S STILL ALIVE!" I thought it was odd that he added "H3 i$ g01n9 +o HaX0r j00r @$$!!!11 ROTFLMAO ;)))" Nerd-boy's got leet skillz, bitch.
Michael stabs Busta, but I'd bet anything it's non-fatal. He chases Sara for a while, and she winds up in the control room, where she finds Tyra has been exsanguinated (look it up). Michael appears, and she attacks him with a chainsaw. Which could've been cool, if done well, but, in case I haven't made it abundantly clear, little or nothing in this flick is done well.
Then Busta breaks down the door to save the day. Hooray. He's alive. He does some more tae-bo, and Michael knocks his sorry ass across the room. Michael approaches in slow motion... slowly he raises the knife... sloooowly... sloooooooooowly.... This is where I started yelling, "Just kill him, for Christ's sake!" (In this scene, Busta says both "Trick or treat, muthafucka!" and "Hey Mikey! Happy fuckin' Halloween!" Admit it: you want him to get killed, too.)
But Busta has other ideas. He grabs a live wire, and jabs it into Michael's crotch. Yes, crotch. Because this movie is all about taking the high road. Michael gets tangled in other wires, and lights up like a Christmas tree. A bloody, homicidal, William Shatner mask-wearing Christmas tree covered in sparklers and kerosene. I bet he's really really dead, this time for sure!
Cops and news crews show up now, and Busta spouts this mealy-mouthed bullshit to the cameras about how "Michael Myers is not a sound bite," as though the film had been indicting the world of reality TV and ubiquitous web cameras, rather than exploiting it. Nice try at having it both ways, chumps. And Michael? He retires to a villa on the French Riviera, having invested wisely in tech stocks in 1999.
Coming in 2005: Halloween 9! No, really. You know, it might be time to let this franchise take a few years off again.