Children: Still evil.

mikey 1992

MIKEY

2 Stars  1992/92m

“Remember – Jason and Freddy were kids once, too.”

Director: Dennis Dimster-Denk / Writer: Jonathan Glassner / Cast: Josie Bissett, Brian Bonsall, Ashley Laurence, Mimi Craven, John Diehl, Whitby Hertford, Lyman Ward, David Rogge, Mark Venturini.

Body Count: 8

Laughter Lines: “Psychotic? So now we have Ted Bundy Jr., is that it?”


I love this artwork, total Hand That Rocks the Cradle weave-snatcher.

Mikey holds the moderately interesting status of being one of very few films still banned in the UK. That is to say, it was originally rejected in 1993 due to a case of two ten-year-old boys abducting and murdering a toddler and simply never resubmitted for release.

It matters not, seen The Stepfather and any of the early-90s psycho nanny/neighbour/roommate flick and you’ve seen Mikey, which has the unremarkable caveat of the loony toon being a nine-year-old serial adoptee. I’ll say it early, The Good Son did it way better.

The Stepfather seems to provide the template here, as things begin with Mikey, dissatisfied with his family’s attitude towards discipline, drowns his little sister, electrocutes mom in the tub, and sets up a Home Alone stunt to send dad through a glass window before finishing him off with a baseball bat. He then hides in the closet and turns on the tears when the cops come.

mikey 1992 brian bonsall

Mikey is re-adopted by Neil and Rachel Trenton in Arizona, enrolled in school, and develops a crush on his classmate/neighbour’s big sister, Jessie.

The first adult to suspect all isn’t right is his teacher, Miss Gilder, who takes his violent drawings to the principal, catches him in several lies and concludes he’s a sociopath in about four minutes.

Mikey frames Jessie’s boyfriend for the death of their cat and when she takes him back, he repeats the electrocution gag, prompting Miss Gilder to crowbar her way past the closed adoption to find out just where the little shit came from.

Outed as a maniac in the making, Mikey does away with the adults who pose a threat and somehow manages to set up a Happy Birthday to Me-esque tableau of three corpses around a dinner table. A tiny nine-year-old was able to drag, lift, and pose three corpses more than twice his size and weight. OK. Bet dad regrets teaching him archery.

mikey 1992 brian bonsall

As soon as the film began I knew how it would end, with the requisite HE’S STILL OUT THERE!!!! scene where a couple of new schmucks adopt the ‘amnesia-suffering child found wandering the highway’. So Hollywood shouldn’t revel in the death of a kid on screen, but c’mon, we had to grow tired of Macaulay Culkin and that Xerox from Problem Child, just shove the little fucker down a well.

Too derivative to be anything more than a passing interest, but at least Bonsall does well in the title role, equal parts manipulatively convincing and unhinged, even if the post-slasher dialogue is too hammy to pack a punch: “What’s your favourite movie?” / “Freddy Krueger, Nightmare on Elm Street.”

Blurbs-of-interest: Bonsall was famous for playing the youngest child in Family Ties, and going from infant to age five over one summer; Josie Bissett was in All-American Murder; Ashley Laurance was the final girl in several of the Hellraiser movies; Whitby Hertford played Alice’s son in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 and was the kid Sam Neill yells at in Jurassic Park; Mimi Craven – Wes’s daughter – played a nurse in the original Elm Street; the late Mark Venturini was the angry dude who axed up Joey in Friday the 13th Part V.

Canadian Horror Story

slasher guilty party 2017

SLASHER: GUILTY PARTY

2 Stars  2017/394m

Director: Felipe Rodriguez / Writer: Aaron Martin / Cast: Leslie Hope, Lovell Adams-Gray, Paula Brancati, Jim Watson, Kaitlyn Leeb, Rebecca Liddiard, Christopher Jacot, Joanne Vannicola, Paulino Nunes, Madison Cheeatow, Sebastian Pigott, Ty Olsson, Melinda Shankar.

Body Count: 18

Laughter Lines: “Why do I always get stuck with the Jason Voorhees types?”


It’s a whole new story for Season 2, although one or two actors return for new roles. Some spoilers follow.

Camp Montega, 2012: Six camp counsellors drive into the woods to party at the end of their summer tenure, but instead of good times, five of them decide to put the sixth on trial for being a manipulative bitch. The girl, Talvinder, is charged with screwing the boyfriend of one, ruining the chances of a summer romance of another, and teasing another into doing her work for her. The situation escalates, an assault occurs, and poor Talvinder ends up with her skull smashed in with a rock.

Five years later – never four, never six – the threat of a development unearthing the hidden skeleton spurns an awkward roadtrip back to the area to move the bones before they’re discovered. The camp, closed down in the wake of Talvinder’s unsolved disappearance, has been transformed into the ‘We Are One’ commune, home to a small group of people with various emotional issues who live outside of society.

slasher guilty party 2017

In the dead of winter, they allow the newcomers to stay in a cabin for the weekend, and it’s not long before a parka ski-jacket and be-goggled lunatic shows up on a skidoo and begins laying waste to everyone in a variety of gruesome ways. Really gruesome: One guy is chainsawed to pieces while naked, another is drilled with an auger, eyes are gouged out, people are immolated, run over with the skidoo… There’s also a fairly graphic male-on-male rape scene.

With victims not limited to the five responsible for Talvinder’s disappearance, the episodes take a sort of sub-Lost tack and go into flashback territory, revealing bits about the lives of various characters before coming to the area, and pretty much informing us that virtually all of them are murderous assholes, one way or another. The commune folk number amongst them an ex-con who killed and took the place of a new resident, a nasty lawyer, and the victim of a gay bashing who fatally turned the tables on his attacker.

slasher guilty party 2017

The main problem in Slasher is that almost none of the characters are likeable. Guilt-racked Peter comes close to becoming our first black final guy, but is overshadowed by the actions of those around him, who are purely selfish and hell-bound.

I also pegged the identity of the killer by the second episode. I mean, the only semi-known in the cast who has lingered virtually in the background for all episodes and excused a flashback scene of their own… The misdirection is feebly handled and things grind uncomfortably into Identity waters, which is almost clever, but having seen that film – and several like it – obvious to the literate viewer.

The first series may have been a bit clunky, but it felt like a series. Guilty Party has the plot of an 87-minute B-movie stretched to its limits over six-and-a-half hours, pumped with more filler than a warehouse full of battery farm chickens. The gory killings are well done and shocking, but that really is all it has going for it. Uneven writing results in characters who act like asshats one episode then switch to being practical and pleasant for the next two and depriving us of any real central hero figure to root for.

slasher guilty party 2017

This was a chore and a half to get through. I’d imagine a shrinking budget from the move to Netflix from the defunct Chiller network threw a spanner in the works to some extent, but what achievements the first series had over its smallscreen rivals has been pummelled to dust. Or rather snow.

Those Friday the 13th-in-the-snow hi-jinks we want are not to be found here.

Halloween: The Ever-Changing Myers House

Property is a big deal, and who wouldn’t renovate their home over the years. But Haddonfield’s real estate market must be really lively for the cursed Myers house, scene of a murder in ’63, ’89, ’95, and ’02, to morph and grow and change as it does over the years.

Look at it in 1963: Pleasant, small, boxy timber-frame family home.

myers house 1963 halloween

Jump forward to the year I was born, 1978, for Halloween and Halloween II and it needs a little lovin':

myers house 1978 halloween

Its next appearance was in Halloween 5, where it had somehow grown into a mansion of Garth Manor proportions – complete with extra storey and turret-room thingy:

myers house 1989 halloween 5

Relatives of Laurie Strode were living in it six years later, guess they disliked the turret-room thingy and shrunk it back down to two floors:

myers house 1995 halloween 6

The house was able to rest for a few years until Dangertainment came-a-filmin’ in 2002, where the neighbouring house used to be there’s now a driveway and garage that never existed at the beginning, but otherwise looking like it used to. Due to them building it on a stage, you never enjoy a shot of the whole frontage:

myers house 2002 halloween resurrectionIn conclusion: Did the location scouts for Halloween 5 even watch the previous films?

H A P P Y   H A L L O W E E N !

Let’s go round again

happy death day 2017

HAPPY DEATH DAY

3 Stars  2017/15/96m

Get up. Live your day. Get killed. Again.”

Director: Christopher Landon / Writer: Scott Lobdell / Cast: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitken, Caleb Spillyards, Blaine Kern III, Rob Mello.

Body Count: 8… kinda


It would be impossible to forego mentioning Groundhog Day in the same breath as Happy Death Day - ostensibly the same idea, but staple-gunned to a slasher-lite opus.

This film provided a rare opportunity for me to go to a horror movie with VeVo’s lover, who is largely against bloody violence for entertainment, but hates Bill Murray to the point where they could use this film to project those feelings on to and imagine it was him being murdered over and over again…

At Bayfield College, self-centered sorority girl Tree (short for Teresa) wakes up hungover in the dorm room of sweet-natured Carter, grabs her clothes and a Tylenol, and is outta there. She walks by a girl trying to sign her up for an environmental campaign, sprinklers soaking a couple, a frat boy keeling over, a needy ex, and gets home to her sorority, where the bitchy house president Danielle is quippy with her, and finally rejects her nice roommate’s attempt to give her a birthday cupcake.

happy death day 2017

Tree goes through her day, classes, getting naughty with her professor, and then heads off for a frat party. Alone. Down dark areas of the campus. In a short tunnel, Tree encounters a creepy music box playing ‘Happy Birthday’ and is attacked and killed by a loon in a baby-faced mask that matches the school mascot.

Then she wakes up in the dorm bed. As most of us probably would, Tree stumbles through the day writing it all off as deja vu. This time, she sees the music box and goes the other way, making it to the frat house, where it turns out the party is a surprise for her birthday and, this time, ventures off upstairs with a guy, who is murdered before she is attacked a second time and killed with a shattered bong.

happy death day 2017 jessica rothe

Then she wakes up again. And again. And again. Tree is knifed, struck with a baseball bat, drowned, and hit by a bus as she tries to work out who it is who’s after her and why. With Carter’s help – after she’s convinced him each morning – Tree knocks names off the list of suspects and goes about making reparations to her unruly life, reconnecting with her estranged Dad, apologising to her suffering roommate, and ending the affair with her teacher.

But who is trying to kill her and why? Happy Death Day‘s eventual revelation is a tad contrived, but at the same time I didn’t guess it correctly, so perhaps I’m just being picky. It helps that Tree’s resurrections aren’t unlimited – each time she wakes up she’s weaker than yesterday, so the clock is ticking on solving the mystery before she’s gone for good.

happy death day 2017 jessica rothe

While almost entirely bloodless (it was a PG-13 Stateside), what murders there are besides Tree’s happen mostly to schmucks who get in the way of the killer and are undone each new dawn, resulting in a ‘real’ murder count of, well, none. It’s still a slasher film of sorts, in the same way April Fool’s Day is, despite not being… kinda?

Katie Cassidy-a-like Rothe is great in the lead role – balancing comic timing with final girl aplomb and going from nasty victim-type to appreciative heroine over the runtime. Rachel Matthews as bitchy Danielle is also a hoot and gets most of the best lines.

happy death day 2017 jessica rothe

A fun diversion, checking most the boxes Camp Daze failed to, and a surprising box office success that will hopefully trailblaze the way for some more theatrical slasher flicks, although whether audiences will embrace straight-up stalk n’ slash over this kind of concept remains to be seen.

Back to the Bellylaughs

cult of chucky 2017CULT OF CHUCKY

3 Stars  2017/18/88m

“You may feel a little prick.”

Director/Writer: Don Mancini / Cast: Fiona Dourif, Michael Terriault, Alex Vincent, Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Adam Hurtig, Zak Santiago, Elisabeth Rosen, Grace Lynn Kung, Ali Tataryn, Marina Stephenson Kerr.

Body Count: 8

“…The look on my victim’s face when they realise in that final moment that it’s all really happening: A children’s toy is actually beating them to death with a yardstick.”


Credit where credit’s due – the Child’s Play series has done an impressive job when it comes to continuity, more or less keeping on top of film-to-film plot lines for almost thirty years and seven movies. To that end, rather huge spoilers are necessary to ‘splain Cult of Chucky

Four years after the events in Curse of, original hero Andy Barclay – now mid-30s – has kept Chucky’s living head in a safe at home, and ritually tortures it. Nica Pierce, meanwhile, has been locked up in an institution and convinced by her shrink that she was the one responsible for the murders of her family.

cult of chucky 2017

Said shrink decides to move Nica to an isolated lower security clinic now that she no longer blames it all on a possessed Good Guy Doll, going so far as to bring in such a doll to a group session. Nica is fine with it, and the doll is summarily adopted by fellow inmate Madeleine, who treats it like a real baby. Bitchy Claire doesn’t trust Nica; away-with-the-fairies Angela claims she received a phone call from Chucky, warning them all he’s coming back; and multiple-personality sufferer Malcolm flips between thinking he’s Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Phelps.

cult of chucky 2017 alex vincent jennifer tilly

Nica receives a visit from Tiffany, who was somehow appointed guardian of her niece Alice, and breaks the news to her that Alice is dead. Broken, Nica attempts suicide but wakes in the morning to find her slashed wrist stitched up and a message for her left in blood. Meanwhile, another patient has successfully topped themselves, and the floodgates soon open in Nica’s memory.

Chucky stalks the halls, killing patients and staff by shattered glass and powerdrill, while Andy races to save the day, but has to get around Tiffany first.

The cult in Cult of Chucky is reached by a new voodoo curse that allows his spirit to possess multiple vessels at once, so ultimately we end up with this:

cult of chucky 2017

At the time Curse of was released, there was much hoopla over the back to being scary approach, which was the result of the remake falling through and the straight-to-DVD quasi-reboot coming instead. Though the film was sluggish in places due to its reduced budget, it succeeded in creating some atmosphere lacking in the Bride and Seed chapters.

Well, forget all that as Cult takes us back to the comic one-liners (albethem sometimes hilarious), wacky demises, Jennifer Tilly’s loony toon Tiffany back in the fray (but not centre stage), and a bit of a mess to try and untangle as things get weirder and weirder.

cult of chucky 2017

Mancini weaves things together well enough, leaving the door wide open for the eighth film – Christ knows what they’ll title it though – and as per Curse‘s post-credits gag, another face from pastures old puts in an appearance, giving the entire series a familial boost over its contemporaries. Fiona Dourif also gets to flex some reasonable acting muscle as well.

I’ve never been more than a casual fan of Chucky at best – he’s always entertaining and none of the instalments are crap, but I’d rank Cult in the lower echelons of the series, though it’s great to see the original creators still onboard and pushing things forward rather than phoning in a crummy remake or instalment-ignoring cash-grab as most of the others have done.

Blurb-of-interest: Adam Hurtig, who plays Malcolm, was also in Curse as Officer Stanton.

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