Forty years ago, Michael Myers went to the hospital. Not because he got shot six times and fell off a second story balcony. No, he survived that just fine. He was headed to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital to finish off Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) after failing to kill her in Halloween. And a sequel was born.
John Carpenter and Debra Hill returned to write the script. But Carpenter passed on directing again allowing Rick Rosenthal to step in. Unlike its predecessor, Halloween II had a bigger budget and body count. Plus, it was much gorier. Hello, death by hot tub. Also, unlike the first one, the sequel was a critical and commercial failure. It’s hard to top a classic. But part II does have some points that I appreciate. Here are four.
4. Spooky hospital
On Halloween night, the hospital has a skeletal crew and few patients. That gives you plenty of dark empty corridors for a homicidal maniac to creep around. Rosenthal creates an unsettling eerie atmosphere that’s perfect for the horror that follows.
3. Familial bond
We find out that Laurie is Michael’s sister. She was born after he murdered his older sister and got sent to the asylum. Then their parents died in an accident and she was adopted. Now Michael is determined to take out the last member of his family. Classic middle child behavior.
2. Dr. Loomis
Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) is back and twice as dramatic. He runs around town crying out to anyone who will listen that the evil is still out there and must be stopped. It can all be a bit comical but at the same time I love him. Plus, if the authorities had listened to him in the first movie, none of this would have happened. He’s basically doing an extended “I told you so” dance.
1. Chase scene
For the majority of the movie, Laurie is laid up recovering from her injuries. Then Michael finds her and she snaps to. There’s an amazing chase through the halls, down the stairs, over a wall, in an elevator, and out into the parking lot. Michael is always just within reach of her. Even though I’ve seen it a dozen times and know the outcome the scene always makes me so anxious. That’s good filmmaking.
Glitter was an epic disaster that nearly destroyed Mariah Carey’s career. That’s a dramatic statement, but it’s true. Up until 2001, Mariah was on top of her game, releasing one multi-platinum album after another and racking up fifteen #1 singles. Then she decided to try her hand at acting. Glitter (originally titled All that Glitters) is A Star is Born-like story about Billie (Carey), an aspiring singer in 1980s New York, who meets Dice (Max Beesley), a DJ who helps to propel her career as his own is flailing. There’s romance, drama, and lots of great music from the era. Good idea in theory, but horribly executed. The movie bombed and shortly before its premiere Mariah suffered a very public breakdown. The press had a field day roasting her downfall. The one good thing to come out of this mess was the soundtrack to Glitter. Unfortunately, it was released on 9/11 and was pretty much ignored. But it’s still a great album that just happened to get overshadowed by a bad movie. Hopefully people can appreciate it all these years later and see how ahead of the curve Mariah was by revisiting the 80s in the early 2000s.
11. Don’t Stop (Funkin for Jamaica)
You know what this song needs more of? Mariah. It’s Mystikal rapping for two verses while Mariah sings the hook. Yes, she comes in strong near the end, but it’s not enough. The original version, “Funkin for Jamaica”, is much better.
10. Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
Similar to “Jamaica”. I could have done with less Busta Rhymes. At least Mariah sings more here. Nice bass line too.
She wrote “Twister” about her friend who committed suicide. It’s a beautiful tribute.
8. Want You
You’re enveloped by powerful synthesizers and layered vocals on this r&b jam. Plus, Eric Benet is a good match for her musically.
7. Reflections (Care Enough)
Billie’s song lamenting being abandoned by her mother, as a child. A lovely sad melody
6. Never to Far
A big sweeping ballad with an amazing belting note at the end. Loooooooove! Billie sings this after Dice is killed…sorry for the 20 year old spoiler.
5. If We
Mariah collaborates with Ja Rule and Nate Dogg on this seductive track. A winning trinity. It should have been a single, but there was drama behind the scenes. More on that later.
4. I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On
Mariah is living her pop dance diva fantasy on her cover of Cherelle’s 1984 hit. She’s flirty and coquettish, enticing you to get on the dance floor. But, she’s not to blame if you get turned on.
3. All My Life
Rick James wrote “Life” and you can hear him all over it. You would think it came from his Street Songs album. He brings out a certain spicy sexy side to her that you don’t usually hear. A Mariah Jane girl.
2. Lead the Way
Mariah shows some restraint on the first two verses, but when the bridge comes along she takes off. She scales the high notes with her vocal agility, leading the way for every “female entertainer” that comes after her. Simply gorgeous.
1. Loverboy (Original & Remix)
When Mariah initially recorded “Loverboy” she sampled an obscure song called “Firecracker”. Unfortunately, her ex-husband, Sony Chairman Tommy Mottola, heard the track and stole the sample for Jennifer Lopez’s song “I’m Real”. Mariah had to scramble to remake “Loverboy”, ultimately choosing Cameo’s “Candy” as the basis for the song. Mottola took his douchebaggery up a notch when he hired Irv Gotti to produce a track for JLo and Ja Rule, just like what he’d done on Mariah’s “If We”. That became the “I’m Real (Remix)” which was an enormous hit and thus made it so Mariah couldn’t release her own duet with Ja Rule.
Having heard both versions of “Loverboy”, I’ll say the Cameo sample works better. It takes you back in time and the addition of Ludacris and Da Brat on the remix brings in a modern hip-hop flair. “Loverboy” wouldn’t reach #1 on the charts, but it came in at a strong #2. It was the biggest selling single of 2001, proving you can never count Mariah out. Or as Da Brat raps, “Hate on me much as you want to. You can’t do what the fuck I do. Bitches be emulatin’ me daily.”
Posted at 12:01 pm by Geoff, on September 16, 2021
Thirty years later and I’m still feeling emotions. Mariah Carey followed up her multi-platinum Grammy winning debut album with Emotions. Rather than repeat herself, she tried different sounds and worked with new writers/producers. The result is a strong collection of songs that capture that fantastic early 90s moment.
10. You’re So Cold
Mariah is dealing with a fboy here. He treats her horribly, playing with her mind and, yet, she keeps coming back for more. She can’t resist his fire-like kisses.
9. The Wind
Mariah listened to jazz when she was a child so it’s not surprising that she would incorporate it into her own music. She channels Billie Holiday in this somber song about loss.
8. To Be Around You
I like how “Around” starts off slow before kicking into a house beat. David Cole and Robert Clivilles definitely put their stamp on it. They bring out a fun playful side of Mimi.
7. And You Don’t Remember
You know you’re in for a sad love song when the first line is “shattered dreams”. Depressing yet beautiful.
6. So Blessed
This sounds like it could be a cover of a standard from the 60s, which is a testament to Mariah’s voice and writing.
5. Til the End of Time
I love the synths here and the ethereal melody. She sings about praying for a love that will come and save her life. The outro with all the harmonies goes on for a while, which is a good thing.
4. If It’s Over
Mariah worked with her idol Carole King on “Over”. If anyone knows how to craft a song about the end of a relationship, it’s her. This has a Tapestry for the 90s feel.
3. Make It Happen
If you need some inspiration, look no further. Mariah tells us that if we believe in ourselves we can make it happen. It’s her story too. She had a dream and kept powering through until she achieved it. The gospel choir puts an exclamation point on the message.
2. Can’t Let Go
The best ballad on the album. Her vocals, mixed with the background singers, are so lush. My favorite part is the bridge where she really goes off.
The title track bursts through the doors with an exuberant disco sound. She’s in love, she’s alive! Her whistle notes are earth shattering and plenty, but it’s not a gimmick like some thought. How else do you express how high on love you are? Fittingly, “Emotions” ascended to the top of the charts, becoming Mariah’s fifth #1.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of An American Werewolf in London’s release and appropriately a full moon is on the horizon. Back in the 80s, the Jonathan Landis horror comedy brought a new perspective to the werewolf genre. The movie tells the story of two American friends who encounter a werewolf while backpacking through England. Jack (Griffin Dunne) is violently ripped apart while David (David Naughton) is attacked but survives. Later in the hospital, an undead Jack (who’s stuck in limbo) warns David that the bite turned him into a werewolf and he’ll have to kill himself to end the curse. David thinks it’s just a bad dream, until the killings start happening.
What sets London apart from similar films made up until that point is the comedy that Landis infuses into his script and direction. You go from being scared of this menacing werewolf to laughing at the crazy situations David gets thrown into. Like waking up naked in a wolf den at the zoo, post-transition, and having to get back home. Who knew a bunch of balloons could provide such coverage. And good on Landis for including full frontal male nudity here. You weren’t seeing much of that in 1981. Naughton is a natural comedic actor. He easily jumps into the physical aspects required of the role. Dunne brings a lot, as well, with his character’s dry wit.
The special effects and makeup are fairly revolutionary. We get to see David transform into his werewolf self, complete with expanding limbs and hair growth. No wonder the film won the innagural Oscar for Best Makeup. It’s smart that Landis waits until the tail end of the movie to show the transformation and a full view of the wolf. The audience can only imagine what the beast looks like, which can sometimes be scarier than the actual thing. There isn’t a ton of gore either. Subtlety definitely makes for better horror and London still holds up all these years later.
Since today is Friday the 13th it’s a good time to take a look at the horror movies inspired by the “holiday”. Even better that it’s the 40th anniversary of Friday the 13th Part II this year. It’s one of the best movies in the series and a huge part of that is because of Ginny (Amy Steele). The final girl/child psychology major/camp counselor is a formidable opponent for serial killer Jason (Warrington Gillette). She really shines towards the end of the movie, specifically in that endless chase scene. Here’s a breakdown in 13 parts.
1. Ginny and Paul (John Furey) come back to camp after a night out in town. The lights are out and none of the other counselors are around. Eerie. Oh and Jason is waiting for them in the dark. Look out Paul! A scuffle ensues. Jason, wearing his sack mask with the one eye cut out (just as unsettling as a hockey mask) pops up and scares the hell out of Ginny.
2. She runs to the bathroom, which doesn’t have a lock on the door. How can you pee safely in there? When she’s convinced Jason isn’t going to come in she goes for the window only to see his hand break through it. That bathroom really isn’t secure.
3. Ginny gets to the kitchen, which actually has a lock. Go figure. She stands by, armed only with a small knife, as Jason attempts to force his way in. When his pitchfork pierces the door, she finally scrambles out the open window.
4. She flees to her VW bug, the shitty one that never starts up, where Jason pitchforks his way thru the soft top roof. Don’t bring your bug to a horror movie, people.
5. Ginny manages to get away and dashes to the woods where she hides behind a tree. When Jason runs past she kicks him in the nuts. Good aim.
6. Around another bend, Jason suddenly leaps out, barely missing her. I may have screamed the first time I saw that scene in the movie. Possibly the second and third times too.
7. After a lot of running, Jason enters one of the cabins. Ginny has decided to crawl under a bed because why not choose the most obvious hiding place. Well, obvious to everyone except Jason who doesn’t even look. If it weren’t for Ginny peeing herself, causing a river of urine to flow from under the bed, he would have left. She believes he’s gone and comes out, nearly getting impaled on his pitchfork.
8. Ginny grabs a chainsaw from the closet. Whoa, wrong horror franchise. She scares Jason with it until it runs out of gas. So she just throws the saw at him and breaks a chair over his back. He’s down. Rather then finish him, she runs off again. Oh, girl.
9. Deeper in the woods, Ginny comes upon Jason’s shack. He follows. She barricades herself in the backroom where she finds Mrs. Voorhies (Betsy Palmer) severed head and shrine.
10. It’s time for some child psychology. Ginny puts on Mrs. V’s moldy sweater and stands in front of her head. When Jason breaks down the door, she goes into mommy-mode and pretends to be her. Jason falls for it until Ginny moves to hack him with a machete and he sees his real mother’s head. Uh-oh.
11. Paul arrives in the nick of time and saves Ginny. A struggle ensures. Ginny grabs the machete and brings it down on Jason’s shoulder. He falls to the ground. For now.
12. Paul and Ginny stumble back to one of the cabins. They hear something outside and fear the worst, but it’s just Muffin, the little dog. Whew. And then a deformed still-alive Jason crashes through the window behind Ginny. The most shocking jump scare of the movie. Slam to black.
13. It all ends with the cops and paramedics swarming the camp. A confused Ginny is loaded into the back of an ambulance. Where’s Paul? Where’s Jason? Most importantly, is Muffin ok?
On this day in 1986, One Life to Live supercouple Tina (Andrea Evans) and Cord (John Loprieno) got married for the first time. There would be three other trips down the aisle. The couple was always experiencing some sort of drama that tore them apart. Typically it had to do with Tina’s lies and schemes. But there was also a crazed mother-in-law, jail time, baby switches, interlopers, and a presumed death or two. Thankfully the writers got them back together before OLTL went off the air. We had to have one last Tina & Cord wedding.
So tell me what you want, what you really really want! I’ll tell you what I want…to celebrate the anniversary of the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”. Twenty-five years ago the girl group burst onto the pop music scene with their first single. Released in their native UK, the song quickly rose to the top of the charts there before doing the same in the US. The infectious track explained everything you need to know about the quintet (Ginger, Scary, Baby, Posh, and Sporty). They were all about fun, friendship, and, most importantly, Girl Power! What’s better than that? Although the Spice Girls may not be together anymore, “Wannabe” continues to live on. Zig-a-zig ah!
Never to Young to Die poses the question: what if James Bond had a son who was also a secret agent? The answer: they’d make an incredibly bad movie about him. To be clear, NTYTD isn’t supposed to be 007 Jr., but c’mon. You have a former Bond actor (George Lazenby) playing a spy, a Bond girl (Vanity), and a dastardly villain (Gene Simmons) with a sinister plot. Plus the dramatic title that sounds like it could be a legitimate entry in the series. Director Gil Bettman knew where he was going with this. It’s just that getting there went completely left. And shitty.
While on a secret mission, Drew Stargrove (Lazenby) is killed by the evil Velvet Von Ragnar (Simmons). After the funeral, Drew’s son Lance (John Stamos, pre-Uncle Jessie) discovers his father’s spy past. This prompts the college student/gymnast to leap into action (on his little motorbike) and avenge his father’s death. Along the way, Lance teams up with his father’s associate, agent Danja Deering (Vanity). They aim to take down Velvet before she can carry out her plan to poison the city’s water supply.
The movie is truly ridiculous from the get go. We’re supposed to believe Lance can instantly become a super spy? That he can fight off Velvet’s Mad Max-like henchmen with ease? Those are some wacky action sequences, btw. But most importantly, that he can save the world? Mmmmk. Then there’s Danja (spelled how Whoopi would pronounce it). Vanity was clearly brought in to sex up the movie. Cue topless scene. Ultimately her character is flat and one-note. Adding to the blandness is the lack of chemistry with Stamos. Yes, they’re both hot, but it doesn’t translate into anything exciting. Let’s not even get into their bizarre love scene where she hoses herself down and he devours an apple. It’s the furthest thing from erotic.
Velvet is another story. A confusing one. In the film’s summary she’s described as a he/she. That’s offensive. Other reviews claim she’s a hermaphrodite. But at times she seems like a drag queen. Or possibly trans. Anyway you slice it, the character is problematic, even by 80s standards. It doesn’t help that Simmons is dialed up to a 30, on a 1-10 scale. It’s like Bettman said, “just go batshit crazy”, and he really leaned into it, creepy-flicking-tongue first.
NTYTD barely eeks into the “so good it’s bad” category because a majority of it is plain horrible. But it’s also entertaining in a weird way. The movie holds your attention with all the WTF moments, cheesy special effects, and unintentional comedy. For all of that, it’s worth checking out.
“The Lady in Red” danced (cheek to cheek) onto the soft rock scene 35 years ago this month. Chris de Burgh was inspired by seeing his wife across a crowded room looking gorgeous in a red dress. But it’s not just an ode to a pretty woman. It’s about cherishing an important person in your life and not taking them for granted. His voice and the synths come together to make a beautiful song, so it’s not surprising that this was a huge hit. You’ll never forget the lady in red.
Soapdish is a comedy about the drama that goes down behind the scenes of a daytime soap opera. As someone who read Soap Opera Digest for years, I can attest that the drama offscreen can be more interesting than the fictional stuff that airs. In the movie, Celeste (Sally Field), the star of “The Sun Also Sets”, is at the center of the strife. There’s her newly resurrected love interest Jeffrey (Kevin Kline), aspiring actress niece Lori (Elizabeth Shue), villainous rival Montana (Cathy Moriarty), manipulative executive producer David (Robert Downey Jr.), and head writer/best friend Rose (Whoopi Goldberg). A lot of chaos goes down with this crew. Here are 10 of the funniest moments.
10. Soap opera awards
The movie kicks off at the soap opera awards where Celeste wins for best actress, much to her costars’ annoyance. In the clip package, we see her character Maggie confessing while in prison. “Yes, yes, yes! I’m am guilty. Guilty of love in the first degree.” Powerful. Sidenote, Celeste has won several awards. If this character was truly based on soap diva Susan Lucci, that’s kinda shady. And I like it.
Hunky men are a staple on soaps. On TSAS, Blair (Paul Johansson) plays the studly and very dense Bolt. During a love scene with Celeste, he drops his towel revealing his full… bolt. Celeste implores him to wear a swimsuit next time. Blair: “I can’t act in a swimsuit.” He’s a method actor.
8. Casting couch
Carrie Fisher has a small role as Betsy, the show’s horny casting director. We see her auditioning with a handsome actor. Banging Betsy lands him the part, so ultimately they both score.
7. No turbans
Celeste is having a bad day after getting dumped by her boyfriend via answering machine. It doesn’t help that Tawny (Kathy Najimy), the costume designer, has put her in a turban. “Could you please tell our new costume designer that I don’t feel quite right in a turban? What I feel like is GLORIA FUCKING SWANSON!!” Nobody wants to be dressed like a dead woman. Najimy only has few lines in the entire movie, but she does so much with just her facial expressions.
6. Dinner theater
After getting fired from the show decades earlier, Jeffrey was banished to the dinner theater circuit. A horrible existence. It’s hard to perform Death of a Salesman to an audience of elderly people who are uninterested, busy slurping their dinner, and on death’s door themselves.
Everything about Montana is extreme from her voice, to her look, to her reactions. She steals each scene she’s in as she tries to take the show from Celeste. Moriarty is so good in the role. She also bounces off of (or on top of) Downey well. You don’t know whether she’s going to screw him or kill him.
4. Celeste’s explanation
The big plot twist in the film occurs when Celeste reveals that her niece Lori is actually her daughter with Jeffrey. She got pregnant years ago, hid it from everyone, invented a twin sister she passed off as the mother, and then got Jeffrey fired because she felt he ruined her life. That’s incredibly soapy. Field expertly delivers this monologue. It’s worthy of a soap award and another Oscar.
3. Nervous breakdown
The family drama with Celeste, Jeffery, and Lori spills over onto the show. All three separately go to the head of the network, Edmund Edwards (the sharply funny Garry Marshall), and declare they can’t work like this. They’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown! It must be contagious. The rapid cutting between each character adds to the comedy here.
2. Live show
During the live show everything goes wrong. Either Jeffrey, Celeste, or Lori is going to be fired, but they won’t know the outcome until they read it from the teleprompter. Jeffery is blind as a bat, so he mispronounces all his lines. Except Kopfgeschlagen. Celeste goes off script when she realizes Lori is going to be killed off. She offers to die instead. This leads to prepping for an emergency brain surgery. In a restaurant. Lori breaks character and stops it all, reconciling with her parents. It’s a great convoluted mess.
1. “He doesn’t have a head!”
Death is easy to overcome in soaps since characters come back to life on a regular basis. But some things can’t easily be explained. Like how Jeffrey’s character Rod Randall is still alive after being decapitated onscreen. Or as Rose proclaims, “He doesn’t have a head! How am I supposed to write for a guy who doesn’t have a head?!” Nothing is funnier than Rose’s exasperation and yet she manages to write for him anyways. That’s talent.