I Do Believe in Spooks

Happy Halloween! Here’s a look at the latest Netflix selections Beth and I watched.

Hatchet II – We saw the first one a while back, but I don’t know that I wrote anything about it. It was basically a slasher movie made for fans of other slasher movies, starring veterans of other franchises like Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th), Danielle Harris (Halloween), and Tony Todd (Candyman). I believe Robert Englund also had a brief part in the first one. The films aren’t particularly original, but I don’t know that they’re supposed to be. This sequel did have a lot of Tony Todd as Reverend Zombie, so that was pretty cool.

Trick ‘r Treat – I had originally thought this was an old, obscure film, but it was actually made in 2007 and has Anna Paquin in it. There had apparently been talk of making it a theatrical release, but it ended up going straight to video. It’s a combination of several stories that take place on Halloween night, including a school principal who kills kids and the legend of a bus driver who drove some retarded kids over a cliff. Perhaps not too surprisingly, I felt it was all over the place, and could have used more focus. I’m not saying the multiple stories idea was bad, just that it could have been a little better organized.

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy – This was a documentary about the Nightmare on Elm Street series, covering everything from the first film through Freddy vs. Jason. It didn’t have a narrator, but rather a series of clips of various people discussing the movies. Quite interesting, I thought. I always like it when they talk about how the second movie is full of homoerotic subtext (or perhaps even supertext), but apparently nobody noticed it when they were making the film. One thing I find a bit odd is that everyone involved with New Nightmare seemed to love it, but Beth didn’t like it much, and I don’t remember thinking of it as anything special either. (To be fair, I’ve only seen it once.) On the other hand, I liked Freddy’s Dead, which doesn’t appear to be a favorite of the cast and crew. They’re right that it essentially made Freddy into a Looney Tunes character, but I think it worked because: 1) the jokes were actually funny, and 2) it demonstrated how much enjoyment Freddy gets from his work. New Nightmare, on the other hand, concentrated on Freddy as an archetype of evil rather than an individual villain with a personality, and that wasn’t as interesting. Anyway, the documentary also had some discussion of how heavily merchandised Freddy was, especially for kids, even though the movies were rated R. I was trying to think of other franchises like that, and I guess Beetlejuice would qualify, but at least Beetlejuice was never conceived of as a child molester. Speaking of which, they talked about how Freddy was originally going to be a child molester and murderer, but they downplayed the former because of some news story about a child molester around the time of the first film. Does this mean that a guy who kills children is more forgivable than one who molests them? Well, it might be more complicated in real life, but I think that’s definitely the case in movies.

Satan’s Little Helper – A pretty corny horror film about a kid who’s obsessed with a video game with the same name as the movie’s title, where you help out the Devil by killing people and performing evil deeds. While out on Halloween night, the boy comes across a stranger dressed like the game’s depiction of Satan, and starts following him around like a puppy. The main problem here is that the stranger happens to be a serial killer, but the kid thinks everything he does is just pretend, even when he’s running people down with a shopping cart. It kind of seems like fuel for the people who think kids who play a lot of video games can’t separate fantasy from reality, although I doubt any of them will watch this anyway. There were a few plot elements that I thought were interwoven rather poorly, like the whole thing about the kid’s sister’s boyfriend having an abusive father. At one point the boyfriend thinks his dad is the killer, but this never really comes to anything.

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4 Responses to I Do Believe in Spooks

  1. ozaline says:

    Aliens and Predator are even more heavily marketed to kids, for R-rated movies… though they didn’t have a cartoon like Beetlejuice did.

    • Nathan says:

      Neither did Nightmare on Elm Street. But yeah, I remember seeing commercials for Aliens toys. I think there might have been some for Terminator as well. I don’t recall hearing about Predator toys, but I believe you.

      • Ozaline says:

        Now that I think of it there were a lot of R-rated movies marketed to kids back in the day, Robocop had a cartoon and a tonned down TV series and toys…

        I think Freddy might have been light on the marketing to kids except for halloween stuff.

      • Nathan says:

        Freddy did have dolls, though.

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