Bonus Reviews for October
Horror Bulletin Monthly EXCLUSIVE Reviews
Bonus Reviews first issue!
This is the FIRST Horror Bulletin BONUS review collection. These have not appeared on the website, nor are they discussed in the podcast. These are EXCLUSIVE to members of the Horror Bulletin weekly email newsletter and monthly magazine.
Note that this newsletter and the monthly mag were new this month, so we haven’t had a full month to prepare or release bonus content. Thus, we only have five bonus reviews this time around. Our plan for November and beyond is to offer two bonus reviews each week, meaning eight to ten extras per month.
This time, we have John Carpenter’s “Halloween 2” as well as the awesome version of “Dracula” from 1979. We’ve got a subtitled sci-fi film called “Trans” and a slasher flick “Wicked Ones.” Just for some crazy fun, we’ve also got the comedic Kaiju film, “Giantess Attack vs. Mecha Fembot.”
Naturally, we’ll be sending along this week’s regular reviews this weekend.
Brian and Kevin,
“The Horror Guys”
Halloween 2 (1981)
· Directed by Rick Rosenthal
· Written by John Carpenter, Debra Hill
· Stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasance, Charles Cyphers
· Run Time: 1 Hour, 32 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgement Zone
If you liked the first one, this is a must-see. It’s one of the best horror sequels of all time, and doesn’t lose any of the suspense of the first film.
October 31, 1978, immediately before the ending of the first film, Michael Myers gets up behind Laurie Store and approaches, just as Dr. Loomis comes in and shoots him dead six times over until he falls out a window. Game over, end of film. Never gonna see him again. Well, at least not until Loomis goes outside to look, and Michael is gone. Credits roll.
Michael watches from the shadows as Loomis gets in a police car to help with the search. Michael steals a knife from an old couple, then goes next door to find a teenage girl, home all alone. She’s not alone for long.
Meanwhile, down the street, Laurie is taken by ambulance to the local hospital, where they sedate her. Already at the hospital is kid who ate razor blade Halloween candy.
Loomis spots a tall guy in a white mask, who is then run into by a police car and burned to death. That must’ve been him, right? The Sheriff’s daughter was one of the previous victims, so he’s not real sympathetic to Loomis.
Paramedic Jimmy goes to look in Laurie, but the nurse soon runs him off. Michael hears a radio report that Laurie has gone to the hospital, so he follows the signs and finds his way there too.
Jimmy explains to Laurie that it was Michael Myers that killed everyone; she hadn’t even known it was him until now. “Why me?” She asks. The phones in the hospital stop working for some reason.
The security guard thinks someone broke into the supply room. He tells the nurse over the radio to go get the sheriff, but they can’t hear him. He investigates and becomes close friends with a claw hammer.
Paramedic Budd tricks Nurse Karen into a kiss, and she gets annoyed, at least until she agrees to meet him in the therapy room in fifteen minutes. The two of them get into the hydrotherapy pool, and we see Michael turn up the temperature. Budd gets out to check on the temperature, and Michael strangles him. Karen, on the other hand, gets her face boiled off in the tub’s “Scalding” setting.
The Governor sends a Marshall to pick up Loomis; they don’t want anything jeopardizing their rehabilitation program.
Back at the hospital, Laurie goes into some kind of shock, and the nurse finds Dr. Mixter, dead; she doesn’t live long enough to tell anyone. Michael finds her room, but Laurie has gotten up and is trying to run away.
Jimmy and Nurse Jill are the only two people in the hospital other than Laurie and Michael, at least until Jimmy knocks himself out by slipping in a blood puddle. Jill tries to leave but finds all the cars in the lot have had their tires slashed. Laurie watches in helpless terror as Michael kills Jill with a scalpel. The chase is on!
Back in the Marshall’s car, Loomis gives a creepy speech. His assistant spills the beans that there was a hidden file all along that explains that Laurie Strode is Michael’s sister. Loomis pulls out his pistol and makes the Marshall drive them to the hospital. He might be just a little unhinged at this point, but he’s not wrong. They go into the hospital, but Laurie and Michael are out in the parking lot.
They all get inside, and Loomis shoots him another six times. The Marshall gets too close, and Michael gets back up. They hide in one of the operating rooms as Loomis gives her one of his guns. Michael stabs Loomis. She shoots him in the eyes, blinding him. Loomis, who isn’t dead yet, turns on the Ether valve, flooding the room. Laurie does the same with the oxygen tanks.
Laurie runs away, and Loomis pulls out his lighter, blowing the entire hospital wing sky high. Michael still manages to walk out, covered in flames until he finally collapses and dies. Laurie leaves later in the morning in another ambulance. She’s safe now, right?
I’ve always thought that such a big hospital would not have been so completely empty and short-staffed, especially on Halloween, when so many people are out and about.
This is one of the best horror-franchise sequels as well as one of the earliest. For most of the film, Laurie has no idea that Michael isn’t actually dead; she’s just running and hiding on instinct and shock. It’s only in the final 22 minutes that she even knows he’s after her. That last twenty minutes are worth the wait though.
· Director: John Badham
· Writers: W.D. Richter, Hamilton Deane
· Stars: Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence
· Run Time: 1 Hour, 49 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgement Zone
As a handsome and charming Dracula, Frank Langella does a fine job in the title role. A strong cast backs him up. The movie is based on the stage play, which is based on the book, so the basic story is unchanged. There are differences here and there in the characters and their relationships. It clearly had a nice-sized budget, with very effective special effects. Overall it’s a winning version, one of the best.
It was a dark and stormy night. A ship is tossed in the waves. There’s growling and howling being heard, and there’s a box labeled “Count Dracula.” The ship approaches the rocky shore. As they prepare to throw the box overboard, a claw reaches out and kills the man. A wolf then attacks the man steering the ship…
It’s also a wild night at the asylum. Dr. Seward’s lost control of his lunatics. Upstairs, Mina Van Helsing and Lucy Seward read a letter from Jonathan, who is still in law school. Lucy goes downstairs to help calm the loonies.
Mina watches out the window as the ship breaks up on the rocks. Mina sees the wolf running away from the crash site. She follows the wolf into a cave and finds a man there.
The next morning, the whole town is swarming over the wrecked ship. Jonathan talks to Seward. The new owner of Carfax was on the ship; he’s actually the only survivor. Mina found him last night. Jonathan is Dracula’s lawyer, and he takes possession of Dracula’s other boxes. Seward tells Renfield to ask Dracula over for dinner tonight.
Renfield whines about lugging the boxes around, to Dracula, who turns into a bat and attacks him. Dracula doesdecide to join the others for dinner. They talk about the fate of the ship and about the word “vampire” which appeared in the final entry of the ship’s log. Dracula has come to England to walk in the crowded streets. “You have a great lust for life,” says Mina. Mina swoons, and Dracula hypnotizes her to relieve her headache.
Lucy wants to dance with Dracula, and he’s really good it; Jonathan is not amused. Much later that night, Dracula crawls down the outside of the building and stops outside Mina’s window for a bite.
Meanwhile, Renfield wakes up and suddenly has a craving for cockroaches. The next morning, there’s something wrong with Mina; she can’t breathe. She quickly dies. Could those two wounds on her neck have anything to do with it?
Jonathan soon starts to see Dracula as a rival for Lucy’s affections. Renfield attacks Jonathan, so they commit him to the asylum. Mina’s father, Professor Van Helsing, will be arriving tonight. Seward picks him up at the station and explains everything that happened.
Meanwhile, Lucy goes to dinner alone with Dracula. They talk about the sad song of the howling wolves. They kiss, but he doesn’t bite her.
There’s trouble at the asylum. The patient claims it was Mina there, sucking the blood from her baby. The baby, is, in fact, dry as bone. Van Helsing puts garlic on Mina’s grave the next day. He also gives Lucy a cross to wear around her neck. Afterward, Dracula rides up on a horse and meets Van Helsing.
Van Helsing releases a horse into the cemetery, thinking it will indicate where the vampire lies. It goes crazy over Mina’s grave. They dig her up and find the coffin empty. There’s a tunnel under the entire town, and one entrance is right under her grave. While they’re doing this, Dracula comes to Lucy and hypnotizes her. This time, he does bite her. He also has her drink some of his blood.
Van Helsing enters the tunnel system under the graveyard. He finds Mina down there, and she’s not looking so good. Seward burns her with a cross, and Van Helsing stakes her.
Jonathan arrives home early and finds Lucy in bed, covered in blood. She also has two wounds on her neck. They save her with a transfusion.
Dracula comes into Van Helsing’s room and smashes the mirror. Van Helsing knows what’s going on by this point. Dracula recoils from garlic. He drops the garlic when Dracula hypnotizes him. He pulls out a cross wafer and Dracula runs away from that. Van Helsing explains to Seward and Jonathan what’s been going on before he cuts out Mina’s heart to kill her for good.
Lucy watches that through her bedroom window and then steals the carriage, hurrying to Dracula’s place to warn him.
Jonathan and Van Helsing go to Carfax and find Dracula’s box of soil. He’s not in there. Dracula can move around during the day just fine, he just can’t be in direct sunlight. Van Helsing knocks a hole in the wall to let in the sunlight, and Dracula flies off.
Dracula stops by the asylum to kill Renfield and steal Lucy away. Van Helsing, Seward, and Jonathan rush to the port, as Dracula looks to be heading out of town the same way he came in. There’s a high-speed chase, and Dracula gets away.
The three men get a motorboat and chase down the schooner. They find Lucy and Dracula sleeping, but he wakes up just in time, staking Van Helsing instead. Dracula turns on Jonathan and is ready to kill him, but dying Van Helsing swings a heavy cargo hook into Dracula’s back. It sticks there out of reach, and before he can get loose Jonathan hoists him up into the sunlight. Dracula burns and ages rapidly, and soon, all that’s left is his cloak. Lucy is completely cured now that Dracula is dead. Unless he got away in the end…
People always say how sexy and seductive Christopher Lee’s Dracula was, and I’ve never understood that. Langella, on the other hand, just oozes class. He’d be invited to all the parties and wouldn’t have any trouble getting necks to bite even without hypnosis.
It’s technically the same old Bram Stoker story, but there’s enough new drama here and things are mixed up enough to keep it interesting. This time around, we start aboard the ship Demeter, there’s none of the proceeding stuff with Dracula’s castle, the Brides, or Harker being imprisoned. He just arrives in London one day after having a rough voyage.
The production values are high, the acting is top notch (Olivier doesn’t slack, and Pleasance is always fun), and the story is good. It had a big budget, and it shows.
Giantess Attack vs. Mecha Fembot (2019)
· Director: Jeff Leroy
· Writer: Jeff Leroy
· Stars: Obada Adnan, Chelsea Bellas, Vinnie Bilancio
· Run Time: 1 Hour, 8 Minutes
Credits roll, looking just like a 90s version of Power Rangers. There’s even a “starving pet guilt commercial” after the credits that sounds a lot like extortion.
Deidre and Frida, from the “previous episode” had just lost their job on a TV show. They have the ability to grow gigantic and fight invading giant monsters, except Diedrehas lost her Betamax Capsule, so she’s now powerless. They don’t know about the imminent invasion. This is accompanied by clips from the (real) previous film, “Giantess Attack” from 2017.
Meanwhile, in the Fortress of Immeasurable Guilt, Diedre has been drinking. Frida comes in, waving her magic Betamax Capsule, which looks suspiciously like a vibrator. Diedre vows to “never grow giant again!” She wants to break up and see other superheroes.
Dr. Drew is an AI expert who has a brilliant conversation with a Hooters’ waitress. “Would you like to be my assistant on a robotic project,” he asks. Suddenly, their car gets miniaturized. A dog eats the Hooters girl, and the evil space queen captures Dr. Drew.
Frida tries to persuade Diedre to wear glasses so no one will find Diedre’s apartment/fortress. Frida walks off in disappointment as we get a “memories montage.”
Meanwhile, the space queen Metaluna watches those hilarious tortured pet commercials and laughs. She wants Dr. Drew to build her an evil cyborg. She easily seduces Drew, and he agrees to build the Fembot.
At the Blowfeld Talent Agency, Jimmy Blowfeld has the other Betamax Capsule. He’s trying to recast the two superheroes in Diedre and Frida’s show, “Battle Babe and Combat Queen.” The two actresses that come in to star in this children’s series are porn stars. The two porn girls fight and Jimmy gets hit in the head with the Betamax Capsule and shrinks right in the middle of their fight.
Drew and Metaluna continue working on the Mecha-Fembot, and it’s finally done. Drew tells Metaluna she has to do a silly dance to activate the robot, but then he laughs and just turns it on with his remote.
Diedre remembers where she left the Betamax Capsule, but before she can go after it, General Kigore comes in to kill her. Metaluna orders the Mecha-Fembot to go and destroy the animal shelter where they keep making those commercials. We then get many gratuitous money-shots of Mecha-Fembot destroying the city.
Kilgore breaks off his attack on Diedre to have a PTSD flashback. He shoots her repeatedly, but she explains, “I have bulletproof ta-tas, and you’re out of bullets!” She then gives him a giant wedgie and runs off.
Frida grabs her Betamax Capsule and does battle with the Mecha-Fembot. They break up many buildings and vehicles in their colossal girl-fight. The army arrives and shoots the Fembot with missiles, laser-rays and all the stuff you see in Godzilla films; all are ineffective.
Diedre arrives just as Frida goes down. Drew turns against Metaluna and disables Fembot’s laser cannon. At last, Fembot shoots her own head off. Metluna squishes the tiny Drew in retaliation. The animal clinic is destroyed, and the tiny three-legged cats are saved!
“We are the greatest team ever,” says Diedre. Aspen the three-legged hostage-cat gets a bionic leg. Diedre and Frida are assigned 9000 hours of community service for destroying the city. They get into a fight…
I haven’t seen the first film in the series, but I really want to now. The whole thing is set up to be like a TV series, and I’d totally watch that series if it were real.
This is both terrible and brilliant at the same time. The whole thing is just insanely stupid (in a good way), but some of the miniature effects are really surprisingly good (and many aren’t). It’s clearly done with a mixture of miniature buildings and CGI explosions. It’s fantastic!
· Written and Directed by Naeri Do
· Stars: Jeongin Hwang, Kyungho Yoon, Taeyoung Kim
· Run Time: 1 Hour, 32 Minutes
Minyoung wakes up in her South Korean high school. She watches the bullies pick on the weak kid. Suddenly there’s a scream outside. A dead body has washed ashore. Credits Roll.
Minyoung called Taeyoung, the victim, before the murder, and the police want to know why. She watches a video about brain implants and computer interfaces. Then, she logs into an online church, and they discuss free will and the problem of evil.
Minyoung says he doesn’t remember why she called Taeyoung. The bullies at school make her eat food she doesn’t want, but then someone shoots them with a taser-like weapon and they run away. They go to his home, and he has tons of computer and technical looking equipment. They talk about the transhumanism movement.
He got an implant 3 years ago to help with his OCD. He thinks brain patterns can be improved and altered to improve ourselves. She goes home and researches the subject herself.
The next day, she’s bullied some more and goes to see her friend, Itae, and they start working on improving her brain electronically. She reads faster and in great quantities. They program each other’s brains to be smarter, faster, and more successful. The bullying stops when she starts carrying her own taser-stunner weapon.
Itae texts her and calls her a “Murderer.” The bullies catch up to her and beat her up. They all think she killed Taeyoung.
Nochul Na is a new student at school, and he has a prosthetic arm. Minyoung’s friend want to experiment on Nochul. He starts talking about Trans, a new level of humanity. No one has been able to do it yet. He argues with Minyoung, and she shoots up the place.
Minyoung wakes up in school in the scenes we saw in the pre-credit sequence, only without one boy. The scream comes as before, and they find Taeyoung’s body. Nochul and Itae both skipped school today. Itae wants to build a giant Tesla coil to amplify voltage for his experiment. He can put two Tesla coils next to each other and eliminate gravity itself.
Minyoung gets in the back of Itae’s van and finds a dead body. He’s driving up a mountain to find a lightning strike. He opens the van and unloads his equipment next to two large Tesla coils. Minyoung slips out of the van to watch. Itae puts on an insulated suit and plays the electric guitar as lighting sparks. He puts the box containing Nochul’s body between the coils, and the lightning plays.
Minyoung points her gun at Itae and he admits killing Taeyoung. Itae’s obviously crazy, and he thinks the electricity will make him into some kind of god. Lightning strikes, and Nochul’s coffin floats up into the sky in a wave of anti-gravity.
Minyoung wakes up in school in the scenes we saw in the pre-credit sequence, only this time Nochul is back in class. This time, he fights off the bullies with super strength. Itae shoots up the classroom and leads Nochul and Minyoung outside. “Evolution comes at a cost,” Itae explains. Nochul is still evolving, he says. Nochul electrocutes Itae and runs away.
Minyoung chases him and eventually catches up to him, but he’s dead; he drank a bunch of pesticide. Minyoung goes to church but doesn’t stay long. The bullies grab her and try to make her drink a bottle of pee. Meanwhile Minyoung is watching herself from a distance— she’s in two places at once.
It soon becomes clear that she’s all the main characters. She has the brain implant. She has the prosthetic arm. She’s the researcher into transhumanism. “We simply exist in her perceptual bubble” says the ghost of Itae. “We are now in Trans,” he continues. “We are your creations.”
We see Minyoung back at the Tesla coils. She puts on the suit, and she climbs into the coffin. The coffin rises into the air.
Minyoung wakes up in school in the scenes we saw in the pre-credit sequence, but this time, she’s the victim of the bullies. We see various scenes from earlier in the film play out, but differently this time, because now, she’s transhuman and can travel through time.
Apparently, Korean schools have not a single adult, not even a teacher, inside the building. Some of the bullying shown here is so over the top as to be impossible. Actually, it looks more like there aren’t any adults in all of Korea, much less the schools.
I still don’t know why Taeyoung was killed. I’m also not sure if Minyoung was actually the only character in the film, or if she became all those other people later. I suspect it was some kind of altered reality/time loop kind of situation. Reality just kind of evolved into what we see at the end as Minyoung needs other people less and less.
They tie in the Philadelphia Experiment, which is interesting, but completely unrelated to anything in this film. There’s just no actual science involved with any of this. It’s barely even reasonable fantasy. It’s literally a movie about technobabble. Horror? Only if you look at it sideways.
Overall: It’s pretty dumb. AND it’s hard to follow.
Wicked Ones (2020)
· Director: Tory Jones
· Writers: Tory Jones, Nathan Thomas Milliner
· Stars: Richard Leo Hunt, Katie Stewart, Dale Miller
· Run Time: 1 Hour, 43 Minutes
There’s an interview show with the survivors of Colin Miller, a notorious serial killer known as the “Wicked One.”
Mr. and Mrs. Mathis wonder what’s up with the kids; they’ve barely said a word all evening. Suddenly, the kids have knives. Myles and Maddie hack their father to death. The mother gets out of the shower, and they get her too. The children are immediately arrested. Credits Roll.
Ten years later
A family is on a road trip to take their son to his musician’s gig. They spot a strange woman in a white dress in the parking lot who vanishes on a second look.
Meanwhile, at the police station, Burke the cop’s still working on the Colin Miller case. He’s still got the whiteboard for the case set up with sightings listed. “Colin Miller is dead,” says the younger cop. There have been a lot of murders and disappearances in Carpenter Falls, but they don’t have any reason to pin them on Miller, who vanished ten years ago.
Daniel and Jenna head to their gig, which apparently is inside a church. Two guards are driving some lunatics across the country in a van. It’s Maddy and Myles from the pre-credit sequence. They hit a woman in the street. As the driver checks on the woman, someone in a scarecrow mask gets him. Myles and Maddy get out of the truck— they’re free!
The chief tells Burke to lay off his obsession with Miller. He doesn’t want to stir up the press any more than it’s already been stirred.
At the concert, Daniel’s mother, Alex, sees that weird woman in white for a third time. The ghost warns her to leave this place. Alex seems to have mental issues, so she leaves the concert with Adam and Kendall. Alex explains later that she knew a bunch of the victims of the killings ten years ago, and she’s barely over it now.
A young couple leaves the concert and goes to one of the private rooms of the church to have sex. The scarecrow kills him in a bathroom stall. Madeleine kills the girl and carves “DADDY” on her chest.
Daniel and his girlfriend go into an old empty house to make out. While they look around, the killers murder their friends outside in the car. For an abandoned house, it’s awfully easy to see; where’s all that light coming from. The pair go off in search of Jenna, who has been taken prisoner by The Wicked Ones. Daniel whacks Myles over the head and unties Jenna.
Alex goes to the police, and the cop says “48 hours is typical…” and she says she’s not gonna take any of that. Burke brings in the Chief, who agrees to look for her kids.
Meanwhile, the Wicked One takes off his mask in front of Daniel and Jenna. They kill Daniel’s girlfriend Holly in front of him and Jenna.
Everyone’s out hunting for the missing kids, and dead Olivia’s ghost is following Alex. Maddy goes after Jenna one-on-one, while Myles “plays” with Daniel. The cops run into Maddy and shoot her dead.
Alex insists that she go in with Burke after Daniel and sends big, bulky tough guy Adam out to the car with injured Jenna. Not smart! On the way out, Muller kills the deputy, and Adam and Jenna run through a maze of pallets. Burke knocks out Myles, and Alex talks to Daniel. Myles stabs Burke.
Myles and Madeleine, who isn’t dead yet either, fight Alex and Daniel while Adam fights Colin Miller. Alex kills Myles and Maddy both with her axe. Colin Miller just sort of disappears on his own.
The family leaves the house and heads to the car, but they pause in the barn. Adam wants to set a trap for Miller; they all grab weapons from the barn. The four family members tag-team Miller and beat him to death rather excessively. Except he’s still not dead because he has the power of a demon within him.
Alex goes hog-wild with a machete, and maybe he’s really dead this time.
The father’s obsession with finger-free queso was a continuing joke, and an awesome bit of detail. Also, for a supposedly “Packed house,” that concert only looked like it had twenty people. And who has a “punk rock” concert in a church? For being cut at least eight times, Jenna looked remarkably blood-free at the end.
Overall, this was pretty good. The acting was fine, the three villains were interesting, and it all moved quickly.
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