Bonus Reviews: Halloween Ends, Werewolf by Night, and Mockingbird Lane
Horror Bulletin Bonus for Week 192
For this week’s bonus films, we’ve got a failed pilot for a "Munsters" reboot in 2012. It's an interesting re-imagining, quite different from the modern Rob Zombie version. We'll also look at Marvel/Disney's "Werewolf by Night" and howl along with that. But first, we'll look at the "final" chapter in the Halloween saga, "Halloween Ends" released just yesterday.
We’ve also included an index at the end that will link you to all thirteen of the films in the “Halloween” Franchise—yes, we’ve watched them all for you!
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Mockingbird Lane (2012)
Directed by Bryan Singer
Written by Bryan Fuller, Norm Liebmann, Ed Haas
Stars Jerry O’Connell, Portia de Rossi, Charity Wakefield
Run Time: 40 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This was the pilot for a reboot of “The Munsters.” Unfortunately, it aired but never made it past this one episode. Grandpa is a lot more powerful and menacing this time around. It's much darker and more violent than the original, and still has quite a bit of humor as well. The cast is great, and the effects are really good. It left us wanting more.
We begin with a scout troop out camping in the woods. Something jumps from the bushes and grabs one of the kids and attacks the scoutmaster. It could be a werewolf. Yup, definitely a werewolf. In the morning, the shaken scouts hiding in a vehicle ask, “Where’s Eddie Munster?” He’s over there, standing in the woods naked. Credits roll.
Marilyn Munster talks to the Realtor about buying the spooky old house on Mockingbird Lane. The former owner was a notorious serial killer. There were dozens of graves in the backyard. There could be bodies in the walls. Marilyn thinks that sounds perfect. She looks normal, but she’s definitely weird. The family has moved because of Eddie’s misadventure. Eddie’s father, Herman, is avoiding telling Eddie what really happened. They’ve only told Eddie that he has “a condition,” and that a baby bear attacked those scouts. That night, two large crates are delivered to the house; something may be moving inside; it’s Grandpa and Lily who make a very cool entrance.
Herman and Lily wonder if they did something wrong raising Eddie; he’s going to find out, since they can’t keep blaming baby bears for the random attacks. Marilyn and Grandpa want to tell Eddie about his condition, but Lily and Herman both want to wait. Eddie knows his family is lying to him, but not about what.
Herman collapses. Grandpa uses electricity to resuscitate him. He blew out his heart; he loves too much. Herman doesn’t want to give up how this heart makes him feel, so Grandpa reluctantly patches it together but warns that it isn’t going to last; he needs a new one.
Grandpa makes cookies for the neighbors, with a little of his blood in the jam filling. It makes them his “blood slaves” if they ingest it. Grandpa warns Marilyn that he plans to start drinking again.
Eddie goes to his new scout group and introduces Herman and Grandpa. When Lily comes in, Grandpa notices that Scoutmaster Steve’s heart beats in sync with Herman’s. It would be a perfect transplant.
Grandpa and Marilyn give Eddie a graphic lesson about food and the circle of life in the woods. Grandpa eats a deer, while in his winged full-out vampire form. Grandpa and Herman talk about the donor for the new heart. Herman is against it, but Grandpa invites Scoutmaster Steve over for dinner. Grandpa plans to kill Steve, drink his blood, and give Herman his heart.
Lily and Herman have a private discussion about telling Eddie that he’s a werewolf. Marilyn likes Steve and tries to shoo him out the door but too late. Grandpa changes into his demonic bat monster form and goes after him. Marilyn tries to intervene. But while backing away, Steve falls down the basement stairs, killing him.
Eddie tells Herman he knows about puberty, but that’s not what Herman wanted to explain. Yes, Eddie’s a werewolf, and he’s not happy about it– he wants to be a vegetarian. “I can’t be a vegetarian werewolf!” Herman says he can be a human vegetarian, and what the werewolf does while he’s changed is okay too. Eddie goes back inside. Herman’s heart stops and he falls off the roof. When he wakes in the basement lab, he’s got Steve’s heart and Grandpa is slurping Steve juice through a tube. He looks a lot younger and more energetic after a good drink.
Herman and Lily get Eddie a semi-invisible dragon named Spot to watch over him when it’s time to change.
The special effects are quite good. Herman has scars, but otherwise, they all look pretty human. It wasn't until the end, when we see Grandpa looking younger that we were really sure he was wearing old-age makeup before. Very well done.
It’s a lot darker and more violent than the pure goofy comedy of the original. Grandpa is especially entertaining: creepy and snarky combined. Marilyn also has a good upgrade from the original; here, she’s more of a Wednesday Addams type.
The problem here is that other than just being about a weird family, it might have been limited on where they could have gone with it in the future. That said, it was really good. This pilot was well received, but the network didn’t pick it up, so this is all we’re going to get.
I’d totally watch more of this.
Werewolf by Night (2022)
Directed by Michael Giacchino
Written by Heather Quinn, Peter Cameron, Gerry Conway
Stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Harriet Sansom Harris, Kirk R. Thatcher, Eugenie Bondurant
Run Time: 52 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This was a lot of fun. Classic Universal movie monster meets Tales From The Crypt meets Marvel action. The cast and effects were great. The story was simple but good. Short too at less than an hour so it moves fast. Well worth the watch.
We begin with the family Marvel Studios logo in black and white with very dramatic music. A 1940’s style title card appears. The narrator mentions that monsters exist alongside the superheroes, including the Bloodstone family, who control the Bloodstone weapon. Tonight is the funeral of Ulysses Bloodstone. Hunters have gathered from around the globe to decide who will next wield the Bloodstone.
The room is full of very strange-looking characters. The only bit of color in the room is the bloodstone. There are all manner of monster heads hanging on the walls. Old man Bloodstone was quite a hunter. His daughter Elsa Bloodstone wants the stone, as does Jack Russell and all the others.
Verussa, his widow, explains that there’s to be a ceremonial hunt, and this group of six monster hunters has been invited to participate. Ulysses himself attends as a sort of animatronic corpse. He teases that a monster unlike any they’ve seen will soon be released on the grounds for them to hunt. The winner gets the Bloodstone, which will be embedded in the creature’s back.
Jack goes first, accompanied by a flaming tuba. There’s a huge garden maze that holds the monster, somewhere. One by one, the others go in as well. Elsa finds smoking giant footprints and then kills the Asian guy with his own amputated hand.
We see that Jack Russell knows the monster personally. Man-Thing has been captured, and Jack’s here to release him. Jack helps patch up Elsa’s wounded leg. Jack says that “I’m not that kind of hunter.” Jack doesn’t want the stone; he just wants to let the monster out. Elsa just wants the stone. Will they partner up? Jack tells her that the monster’s name is Ted and she can’t be afraid of him– or else.
Man-Thing, or Ted, kills Jovan right in front of Elsa, but she’s not afraid of him because Jack explained it all. Jack and Elsa blow up the wall and let Man-Thing out into the swamp, but then the rest of the hunters converge around the Bloodstone. Jack tries to pick it up, but he can’t. Yes, he’s a monster himself.
Jack and Elsa wake up in a cage. She’s afraid of him, but he points out that the full moon isn’t for another five days. Elsa says the Bloodstone can transform him without the full moon. Oops. But he gets her scent and thinks that he can avoid killing her if he remembers her as the Wolf. He warns Verussa to kill him now as a human, because later there won’t be any mercy. Verussa pulls out the Bloodstone and says some magic words; red light flashes, and Jack changes into a werewolf.
The werewolf tears open the bars and immediately gets out. Elsa helps fight the other hunters while the werewolf takes care of all the guards. Verussa nearly kills the werewolf with the bloodstone, but Elsa intervenes. The werewolf starts to attack Elsa, but he does recognize her smell and leaves her behind.
Man-Thing reappears just in time to kill Verussa. Elsa tells the butler to start cleaning up the mess.
Next morning, Jack wakes up, and Man-Thing has made him coffee and breakfast.
Ulysses channels the Cryptkeeper well. The entire thing is in black and white, like the old 1940’s film the Wolf Man. The only splash of color in the whole thing is the red Bloodstone, which not only gives the story a “noir” feel, but also helps disguise the buckets of blood that would logically be here with these battles. Disney/Marvel isn’t big on gushing blood splatters.
There’s not really a transformation scene, as all we get is an animated shadow on the wall.
It was fun, and the story was super-simple. There was a fight over a jewel and monsters were involved. It’s got an interesting look with the black and white and animated stuff. The acting is good, the special effects are good, although not as good as I’d expect from Marvel. Still, for a “horror” episode from Marvel, it was a good start.
Halloween Ends (2022)
Directed by David Gordon Green
Written by John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Paul Brad Logan
Stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Ani Matichak, Will Patton
Run Time: 1 Hour, 51 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This is going to be a Halloween horror movie, right? There is a shocking beginning. Then after a while, we started to wonder as it goes on a bit too long with the new character named Corey, Laurie, her granddaughter Allyson, and town drama. The payoff is okay with a decent climax. The cast is excellent, and production values are top-notch, but it was a pretty disappointing wrap-up to the franchise.
Back in Haddonfield, on Halloween, 2019, Corey goes over to a rich family’s house to babysit. The mother says that little Jeremy has heard voices and wets the bed ever since last year with all that Michael Myers stuff that went on. They watch “The Thing,” which is always a good film for scared little kids. Corey comes out of the kitchen to find the front door open and Jeremy is gone. Corey hears screaming coming from upstairs, so he runs to investigate. He gets locked in the attic; Jeremy has tricked him. In a panic, Corey kicks the door open, but unfortunately, Jeremy is right on the other side and goes flying. The parents arrive just in time to see Jeremy fall from the third floor and die. Credits roll.
Laurie Strode rehashes what’s gone before, including the events of the previous film. At the end of all that, Michael Myers vanished. His house was demolished. Over the next few years, the entire town turns in on itself in terror. Laurie eventually bought a new house, and it’s now four years later, and she’s writing a book about her story.
Corey rides his bike to work, and we see that Haddonfield isn’t the clean nice town it used to be. He arrives at work, at the town junkyard. Ronald, the owner, gives Corey his old motorcycle. We also see a homeless guy who walks past a suspicious-looking tunnel. Corey’s got a reputation as a child killer and pedophile now, but Laurie looks out for him. The two of them slash the tires of the bully who picks on Corey.
Allyson, Laurie’s granddaughter, works at the hospital. Corey offers to fix her car. Allyson asks him out, even though Deputy Doug is interested in her. Frank, who isn’t Officer Hawkins anymore, is interested in Laurie. We see that some of the townspeople really hate Laurie, blaming her for Michael’s shenanigans. Corey still gets the blame for killing that kid several years ago.
Michael is going to be in this, isn’t he? It’s been forty minutes so far.
The bully with the flat tire and his friends attack Corey and break his glasses. They throw Corey over the bridge and drive away. Something under the bridge grabs Corey and drags him away. Corey runs into Michael Myers in the sewer, and Michael almost kills him until he “sees” Corey’s past and lets him go. On the way out, Corey kills the crazy old homeless man sort of in self-defense.
Cory takes Allyson to the house where he killed Jeremy and tells her the whole story. Deputy Doug gets on Allyson’s case about seeing Corey the child killer. Allyson gets passed over for a promotion at work because her boss, Dr. Mathis, is sleeping with the other nurse.
Later, Deputy Doug goes looking for Corey to stir up some trouble and finds the dead homeless man. He then follows Corey into the sewer tunnels, where Michael and Corey work together to kill him. Michael is really slow and weak, but as he stabs Doug repeatedly, he seems to pep up a lot. Apparently, death recharges him.
Laurie thinks she sees some of Michael in Corey’s eyes now. Jeremy’s father tells a story about how Corey isn’t the same kid anymore. He thinks Jeremy’s death was an accident, but the whole thing and the aftermath changed Corey.
Over at Doctor Mathis’s house, Corey kills the doctor. As the nurse-girlfriend starts to call the police, Michael comes up behind her and kills her. They’re a tag team now? Or perhaps (we speculated) Michael is just in Corey’s mind now and it’s all him.
Willie the Kid, a radio Dj, picks on both Corey and Allyson. Allyson agrees to leave town with Corey and start over somewhere else.
Finally, FINALLY, it’s October 31st. Laurie tracks down Corey in Jeremy’s old house. She tells him to stay away from Allyson, and he says if he can’t have her, no one will.
Corey calls Allyson and tells her that Laurie wants to kill him. Corey and Michael wrestle in the sewer. Corey takes his mask. At this point, we’re not sure how much of what we’re seeing is even real, and how much is Corey’s twisted imagination. Was that conversation with Laurie real? Is Michael Myers even really there?
Laurie warns Allyson about her suspicions about Corey. Allyson doesn’t want her protection, and Laurie takes it badly. Meanwhile, the bullies follow Corey to the junkyard, where he locks them in. They die, one by one, but poor Ronald gets killed by accident. Corey’s mother and Willie the Kid get it next.
Laurie sits at home and takes out her pistol. She calls the police and reports her own suicide. She puts the gun to her head, and we hear a shot. Michael walks into the room, and Laurie shoots him. It was a trick. Turns out, it’s just Corey in that mask. “You came here to kill me, so just do it,” she demands. He stabs himself in the neck. Just as Allyson comes in, Laurie pulls the knife from Corey’s neck. Allyson jumps to a reasonable conclusion and thinks Laurie killed him.
Someone in the house picks up Michael's mask and the knife. Laurie hears him moving around. Yes, it’s actually Michael, finally. The two of them fight it out in the kitchen, and she stabs him in the heart. And the hand. And the leg. And then she throws the refrigerator on top of him. Then she stabs him in the neck and pulls his mask off. She slices his throat open, and he still manages to reach up and grab her. Allyson comes to the rescue and helps slash Michael’s wrists.
There’s blood everywhere as Frank and the police come in. Deciding he’s not dead enough, they tie Michael’s body to the roof of a police car and drive him through town. The whole town shows up to meet at the junkyard. They start up the car-eating machine, and it eats Michael, clearly crushing and grinding him into little pieces.
Allyson eventually comes around about Corey; she realizes he killed several people. She and Laurie make peace. “Evil doesn’t die,” Laurie writes, “It changes shape.”
If Corey and his past are so well known in Haddonfield, why is this film the first time we’re hearing anything about him? At least they could have had him make a small appearance in one of the two previous films. If he was going to be the central character in this film (and he was), then he should have been a part of the previous two films in the trilogy. Suddenly, we're saddled with this new character, and Laurie and Michael are essentially background characters for the majority of the film.
Michael’s only been missing for four years, but Laurie and everyone acts like they know he’s dead. Laurie is far more normal-acting mentally than she has been for the past forty years, and they know he’s still out there. It’s an uncharacteristic change for her, and not entirely believable after forty years of PTSD.
The final battle at the end was pretty good, but the first 90 minutes wasn’t so hot. Still, we can finally say that Michael is really dead this time. If he comes back, it’ll be in an entirely different form.
Halloween Franchise Reviews
At one time or another, we've watched and done reviews on all thirteen of the "Halloween" movies. Some are on our main website, and others have been published exclusively in our newsletter. Here are links to all of them:
Halloween (1978) https://www.horrorguys.com/halloween-1978-review/
Halloween II (1981) https://www.horrorbulletin.com/p/bonus-reviews-for-october
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) https://www.horrorguys.com/halloween-iii-season-of-the-witch-1982/
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) https://www.horrorbulletin.com/p/bonus-reviews-an-intrusion-2021-and
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) https://www.horrorbulletin.com/p/bonus-reviews-how-to-make-a-monster
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) https://www.horrorguys.com/halloween-the-curse-of-michael-myers-1995/
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) https://www.horrorguys.com/halloween-h20-twenty-years-later-1998/
Halloween Resurrection (2002) https://www.horrorguys.com/halloween-resurrection-2002/
Halloween (2007) https://www.horrorguys.com/halloween-2007/
Halloween II (2009) https://www.horrorguys.com/halloween-ii-2009/
Halloween (2018) https://www.horrorguys.com/halloween-2018/
Halloween Kills (2021) https://www.horrorguys.com/halloween-kills-2021/
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