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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The New Blood

As I read Noel's rundown of all eleven (!) films in the Friday the 13th series (including Freddy vs. Jason), I thought about my days as a horror movie sequel fan. I never got to the point of seeing the Sleepaway Camp sequels, but there was a time when I wanted to see all of the movies in a series. Scream 2 had just come out and I loved it as much as the first Scream. So I figured this would be a worthwhile quest. Maybe my memory is hazy, but I think my quest began and ended with the Halloween series.

To recap: I had seen bits and pieces of the TV-version of the original Halloween (you know, with the extra scenes included) before watching the sixth entry, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. I figured I knew enough backstory from what I had seen in the first movie to get the gist of the sixth one. Turns out I was right even though I found the ending to be a big cliffhanger and a letdown because Donald Pleasance passed away before the film was released. Nevertheless, since I liked the film, I set out to see the rest of the series.

I checked out the original theatrical version of Halloween and loved it. My friend Tim told me the second film started right where the first one left off, so I hoped to see it soon. A few weeks later, in hopes of seeing Halloween II one night with my friends, I was a little put-off by the fact that we weren't going to watch it. For whatever reason (maybe it was checked out from Blockbuster), we watched Student Bodies instead and I was blown away. Still, I wanted to see II and I eventually did and dug it.

Being a huge fan of the series around this time, I even saw Halloween H20: 20 Years Later in a theater. It had to be great because it picked up right where the second one ended while completely looking beyond the Michael Myers-centric fourth, fifth and sixth entries. And I thought it was fantastic.

I think a year passed before Matt and I braved a viewing of Halloween III: Season of the Witch. We heard plenty of bad stuff about it and knew Michael Myers wasn't in it, but we wanted to see for ourselves. I think we both found the film bad and funny at the same time. A few years later, I saw it dubbed in Spanish and found it even more hilarious. I think it's the one movie out of the series that gets funnier with age.

Yet with age, the only Halloween movie that I care to watch is the original. I don't know what all works, but it still holds up very well. Maybe it's John Carpenter's angle of presenting Michael Myers as the kind of evil that never dies, I don't know. But the film is a classic to me. With all of the sequels, I find them to be repetitive and derivative of the original in some way. Once I realized this, it's never been the same.

I saw most of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers about a year ago and just could not get into them. I didn't bother seeing Halloween: Resurrection or even Rob Zombie's recent remake. Not to speak with a mouth full of sour grapes, but I just don't have the appetite for these kinds of sequels anymore.

I think the same applies to the Friday the 13th series, including the original. I saw Jason Goes to Hell years before I saw the original and I found it to be scary and gross. Then again, I was a high school freshman who had not really seen a horror movie before. When I finally saw the original (after seeing Halloween quite a few times), I saw the cheat the whole series (and most of the whole splatter genre) was: a bland take-off of a really cool movie. Maybe that's why I've been searching for other kinds of horror fare since.

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