HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE VICTIM

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CAST

Michael Biehn (The Terminator)
Jennifer Blanc (Dark Angel)
Ryan Honey (Men of Honour)
Danielle Harris (Halloween)
Donny Kirkwood (Never Been Kissed)
Tanya Newbould (Skyline)
Nicole Bilderback (Bring it On)
J.C. Brandy (Halloween 6)

Annie’s (Jennifer Blanc) life is in jeopardy after she’s witnessed the horrific rape and murder of her closest friend. Fleeing from two attackers (Ryan Honey, Denny Kirkwood) she stumbles across kyle (Michael Biehn), a recluse living in the middle of the woods. Kyle finds the stillness of the woods comforting. The ruggedly handsome loner stays far from civilization – that is – until a single knock on his door throws his solitary life into chaos. Two worlds collide in this psychological thriller that will make you question your trust in mankind. I must admit I wasn’t instantly hooked in the first 15 minutes. Once everything started to unwrap it was one of his best. I loved the Directing in a sense that it was authentic and real. As were all the performances. A Great Horror/Thriller.

 

REVIEW: HALLOWEEN VI: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS

CAST

Donald Pleasence (The Great Escape)
Paul Rudd (Ant Man)
Marianne Hagan (I Think I Do)
George P. Wilbur (A Nightmare on Elm Street 5)
Devin Gardner (A Kid Called Danger)
Mitchell Ryan (Liar Liar)
J.C. Brandy (What Lies Beneath)
Mariah O’Brien (Dirt)

On October 31, 1989, Michael Myers and his niece Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) have been abducted by a mysterious “Man in Black” at the Haddonfield Police Station. Six years later, teenager Jamie (J. C. Brandy) has been impregnated and her baby is born on Halloween Eve. The baby is carried away by the “Man in Black” who appears to be the leader of a Druid-like cult. Later that night, a nurse (Susan Swift), helps Jamie escape with her baby and is soon killed by Michael (George P. Wilbur). Jamie and her baby flee in a stolen pickup. Stopping briefly at a deserted bus station, Jamie makes a call to a Haddonfield radio station to warn them that Michael is about to return home, only to be ignored by the radio D.J. Barry Simms (Leo Geter) who is doing a broadcast on the Haddonfield murders.

Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), now retired, is visited by his friend and colleague Dr. Terence Wynn (Mitch Ryan), the chief administrator of Smith’s Grove Sanitarium where Michael had been incarcerated as a boy, to Loomis to return to Smith’s Grove. During their conversation they overhear Jamie’s plea for help on a local radio station. Later, Jamie drives back on the road followed by Michael, who causes her to crash into an old barn. Michael kills his niece by impaling her on a corn thresher and then activating it, but finds that Jamie’s baby is not in the truck.

Back in Haddonfield, Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd), whom Laurie Strode babysat in the first film, now lives in a boarding house run by Mrs. Blankenship (Janice Knickrehm), a mysterious old woman. The family living in the Myers house across the street are relatives of the Strode family: Kara Strode (Marianne Hagan), her six-year-old son, Danny (Devin Gardner), her teenage brother, Tim (Keith Bogart), and her parents Debra (Kim Darby) and John (Bradford English). For years, Tommy has been obsessed with finding the truth behind the motives of Michael Myers. He finds Jamie’s baby at the bus station, takes him into his care and names him Steven. Tommy runs into Dr. Loomis and tells him that the Strodes are living in the Myers house. The two believe Michael has returned to Haddonfield.

After Dr. Loomis tells her that she is living in Michael’s home, Debra calls John to tell him she wants to leave Haddonfield but is killed by Michael. Later, Kara returns home to find Danny in his room with Tommy, whom he had met while on his way home. The three go to the boarding house, where Tommy reveals that he believes Michael has been inflicted with the curse of Thorn by a Druid-inspired cult. Thorn is an ancient Druid symbol that represented a demon that spread sickness and caused destruction. To prevent this, one child from each tribe was chosen to bear the curse of Thorn to offer a blood sacrifice of its next of kin on the night of Samhain (Halloween). When the corresponding Thorn constellation appears, Michael appears. The curse explains why Michael is out to kill his family and also accounts for his superhuman abilities. Tommy believes that Steven will be Michael’s final sacrifice.

While Tommy goes out to look for Dr. Loomis at a party at the Haddonfield Junior College, Mrs. Blankenship reveals to Kara that she was babysitting Michael Myers when he killed his sister many years ago, and that Danny hears the “voice” (from the “Man in Black”) telling him to kill just like Michael did, indicating that Danny also possesses the power of Thorn. Meanwhile, Michael kills John and Tim Strode, Tim’s girlfriend Beth (Mariah O’Brien), and Barry Simms. After Tommy returns home with Dr. Loomis, the “Man in Black” finally reveals himself to be Dr. Wynn. The “Cult of Thorn” take Kara, Danny, Steven, and Michael to Smith’s Grove. There, Loomis confronts Dr. Wynn who credits Loomis for first recognizing the evil power of Thorn inside Michael, which the cult wants to control and study, and that Jamie’s baby represents the dawn of a new age. Loomis is then knocked unconscious by a staff member.

Tommy finds Kara locked in a room in the maximum security ward and frees her. In one of the main hallways, they see Wynn and a team of scientists walk into an operating room to perform an unknown procedure. Tommy and Kara sneak into the adjoining room where they find Danny and Steven. Michael, angry at being exploited by Wynn and his staff, walks into the operating room with a surgical machete and slaughters them all. Tommy, Kara, and the kids run with Michael in hot pursuit, and hide in a high-tech laboratory. Inside the lab, Kara notices tanks containing human fetuses with a chart of runes and scientific letter codes connected together by the Thorn symbol, suggesting that the cult of scientists have been exploiting the evil power of Thorn for the benefit of medical science.It is implied that they have been trying to clone pure evil using the desired genes that Michael and Danny possess by impregnating their female relatives (i.e. Jamie and Kara), to replicate Thorn in its most powerful form, Steven being the successful result of this experiment. Michael breaks into the room. Tommy injects him with a corrosive liquid and beats him into unconsciousness with a lead pipe. As Dr. Loomis, Tommy, Kara, Danny, and Steven are about to escape, Loomis tells them to go on without him because he has “a little business” to attend to. Back inside the building, Michael’s mask is found lying on the floor of the lab room as the screams of Dr. Loomis can be heard in the background leaving the ending ambiguous.

Halloween 6 is full of top notch action sequences and some genuinely scary moments. Joe Chappelle directs with an obvious flare for this genre, and many of the scenes remind me of the original film.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – SEASON 1-7

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MAIN CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The Gift)
Denise Corsby (Dolly Dearest)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Franklin & Bash)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Diana Muldaur (Born Free)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

DeForest Kelley (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral)
John De Lancie (The Secret Circle)
Michael Bell (Tangled)
Colm Meaney (Intermission)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Elektra)
Brooke Bundy (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 & 4)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Tracey Walter (Batman)
Stanley Kamel (Domino)
Marc Alaimo (Total Recall)
Majel Barrett (Babylon 5)
Robert Knepper (Izombie)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Carolyn McCormick (Enemy Mine)
Katy Boyer (The Island)
Michael Pataki (Rocky IV)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns)
Judson Scott (Blade)
Merritt Butrick (Fright Night: Part 2)
Leon Rippy (Stargate)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th – Part 8)
Seymour Cassel (Rushmore)
Ray Walston (The Sting)
Whoppi Godlberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Chris Latta (G.I.Joe)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Billy Campbell (The Rocketeer)
Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Clyde Kusatsu (Doctor Strange 70s)
Paddi Edwards (Halloween III)
Sam Anderson (Lost)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Mitchell Ryan (Lethal Weapon)
Nikki Cox (Las Vegas)
Lycia Naff (Total Recall)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Robert O’Reilly (The Mask)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Andreas Katsulas (Babylon 5)
Simon Templeton (James Bond Jr.)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Corbin Bernsen (The Tomorrow Man)
Christopher McDonald (Fanboys)
Tricia O’ Neil (Titanic)
Hallie Todd (Sabrina: TTW)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Saul Rubinek (Warehouse 13)
Mark Lenard (Planet of The Apes TV)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Elizabeth Dennehy (Gattaca)
George Murodck (Battlestar Galactica)
Jeremy Kemp (Conan)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Beth Toussaint (Fortress 2)
April Grace (Lost)
Patti Yasutake (The Closer)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
Bebe Neuwirth (Jumanji)
Rosalind Chao (Freaky Friday)
Jennifer Hetrick (L.A. Law)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
Theodore Bikel (Babylon 5)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
Gwyneth Walsh (Taken)
Paul Winfield (The Terminator)
Ashley Judd (Divergent)
Bob Gunton (Daredevil TV)
Leonard Nimoy (Transformers: The Movie)
Malachi Throne (Batman 60s)
Henry Darrow (The Hitcher)
Daniel Roebuck (Lost)
Kathryn Leigh Scott (Three Christs)
Pamela Adlon (Better Things)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Matt Frewer (Watchmen)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Elizabeth Hoffman (Stargate SG.1)
Stephen Lee (Wargames)
Kevin Peter Hall (Predator)
Richard Cox (Alpha House)
Liz Vassey (Two and a Half Men)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Ed Lauter (The Number 23)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Famke Janssen (X-Men)
Shay Astar (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
Susanna Thompson (Arrow)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Alexander Enberg (Junior)
Lance LeGault (Stripes)
Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)
Richard Cansino (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Anne Ramsay (Mad About You)
Diedrich Bader (American Housewife)
Suzie Plakson (How I Met Your Mother)
Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes)
Max Grodénchik (The Rocketeer)
Lanei Chapman (Rat Race)
Barbara Tarbuck (S. Darko)
Mike Hagerty (Overboard)
Michele Scarabelli (Alien Nation)
George Coe (Kramer vs Kramer)
James Doohan (Some Things Never Die)
Olivia D’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
Clive Revill (Batman: TAS)
Jean Simmons (Spartacus)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Stephanie Beacham (The Colbys)
Reg E. Cathey (Fantastic Four)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Richard Herd (V)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)
Salome Jens (Superboy)
Andrew Prine (V)
J.C. Brandy (Halloween 6)
Alan Oppenheimer (Transformers)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
John Neville (The Fifth Element)
Ned Romero (The Lost Child)
Stephen Hawking (Futurama)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Joel Swetow (The Orville)
Bruce Gray (Starship Troopers)
Richard Lynch (Puppet Master 3)
Robin Curtis (General Hospital)
Julie Caitlin Brown (Babylon 5)
Kirsten Dunst (Bring it On)
Lee Arenberg (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Fionnula Flanagan (Lost)
Mark Bramhall (Alias)
Stephen Root (Dodgeball)
Terry O’Quinn (Lost)
Penny Johnson Jerald (Bones)
Jonathan Del Arco (The Closer)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)
Alexander Enberg (junior)
Ellen Albertini Dow (The Wedding Singer)
Brenda Bakke (Hot Shots 2)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas)
Erich Anderson (Friday The 13th 4)
Lawrence Tierney (Reservoir Dogs)
Robert Ito (Quincy M.E.)
Vyto Ruginis (Moneyball)
Richard McGonagle (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Time Winters (Thinner)

When the TNG series premiered in 1987, it wasn’t greeted well by many of the old-time Trek fans, including myself. It didn’t help matters that one of the earliest episodes, “The Naked Now” was a superficial retread of the classic “The Naked Time” from ’66. The new episode should have served as a way of spotlighting several of the new crew, but all it did was show them all in heat. I wasn’t too impressed. What did work was keeping the central theme of exploration (something lost in the offshoots, DS9 & Voyager). The new Enterprise was twice as large as the original, with about a thousand personnel aboard. Capt. Picard (Stewart) was a more cerebral, diplomatic version of the ultimate explorer we had known as Capt. Kirk. Again, Picard wasn’t too impressive in the first two awkward seasons, as some may mistake his caution for weakness. The Kirk-like first officer Riker (Frakes) was controlled by Picard, so the entire crew of Enterprise-D came across as a bit too civilized, too complacent for their own good. It’s interesting that this complacency was fractured by the most memorable episode of the first two years, “Q Who?” which introduced The Borg. All of a sudden, exploration was not a routine venture.

Other memorable episodes of the first 2 years: the double-length pilot, introducing Q; “Conspiracy”-an early invasion thriller; “Where No One Has Gone Before”-an ultimate attempt to define the exploring theme; “The Big Goodbye”-the first lengthy exploration of the new holodeck concept; “Datalore”-intro of Data’s evil twin; “Skin of Evil”-death of Tasha Yar; “11001001”-perhaps the best holodeck story; and “The Measure of a Man”-placing an android on trial. Except for “Q Who” the 2nd year was even more of a letdown from the first. Space started to percolate in the 3rd season. I liked “The Survivors”-introducing an entity resembling Q in a depressed mood, and “Deja Q” with both Q & Guinan squaring off, as well as other alien beings. A remaining drawback was the ‘techno-babble’ hindering many scripts, an aspect which made them less exciting than the stories of the original series. As Roddenberry himself believed, when characters spoke this way, it did not come across as naturalistic, except maybe when it was Data (Spiner), the android. The engineer La Forge (Burton), for example, was usually saddled with long, dull explanatory dialog for the audience.

In the 3rd year, truly innovative concepts such as the far-out parallel-universe adventure “Yesterday’s Enterprise” began to take hold, topped by the season-ender “The Best of Both Worlds,part 1” in which The Borg returned in their first try at assimilating Earth. After this and the 2nd part, the TNG show was off and running, at full warp speed. There are too many great episodes from the next 4 seasons to list here, but I tended to appreciate the wild, cosmic concept stories best: “Parallels”(s7); “Cause and Effect”(s5); “Timescape”(s6); “Tapestry”(s6); and the scary “Frame of Mind”, “Schisms” and “Genesis.” There’s also the mind-blowing “Inner Light”(s5), “Conundrum” and “Ship in a Bottle”(s6), “Second Chances.” The intense 2-parter “Chain of Command” was almost like a film, and the great return of Scotty in “Relics” was very entertaining, though it showed you can’t go home again. The show also continued to tackle uneasy social issues, as in “The Host”, “The Outcast”, “First Contact” and “The Drumhead” as well as political:”Darmok”, “Rightful Heir”, “Face of the Enemy” and “The Pegasus.” The series ended on a strong note, “All Good Things…” a double-length spectacular with nearly the budget of a feature film. But it wasn’t really the end. A few months later, an actual feature film was released “Star Trek Generations”(94). It’s rather ironic that the TNG films couldn’t match the innovation and creativity of the last 4 seasons of the series. “Star Trek Insurrection”(98) for example, is a lesser effort than any of the episodes mentioned above.

REVIEW: WHAT LIES BENEATH

CAST
Harrison Ford (Blade Runner)
Michelle Pfeiffer (Dark Shadows)
Katharine Towne (Evolution)
Miranda Otto (Lord of The Rings)
James Remar (Django Unchaiuned)
Diana Scarwid (Wonderfalls)
Jennifer Tung (Masked Rider)
Wendy Crewson (Air Force One)
Joe Morton (Terminator 2)
J.C. Brandy (Halloween)
Claire Spencer (Michelle Pfeiffer) is living in Vermont with her husband, renowned scientist Dr. Norman Spencer (Harrison Ford). One year previously, Claire had been involved in a serious car accident that leaves gaps in her memory. Combined with her daughter Caitlin’s (Katharine Towne) departure for college, this leaves Claire profoundly affected. The Spencers — who have moved into the former home of Norman’s father — live next door to the Feurs, who have just moved in and frequently engage in loud arguments. Overhearing Mary Feur (Miranda Otto) sobbing one day, Claire becomes concerned. When she sees Mary’s husband Warren (James Remar) seemingly dragging something that resembles a body bag in the middle of the night and putting it in the trunk of the car, she suspects that Mary has been murdered. Claire decides to investigate. After nobody answers the door, she walks around the side of the house and discovers a woman’s sandal with a dark stain on it. Claire begins spying on Warren with the help of her best friend Jody (Diana Scarwid). However, Claire soon witnesses strange occurrences when she is alone in the house and becomes convinced that Mary is dead and haunting her. Desperate for closure, and facing little sympathy from Norman, Claire invites Jody to join her for a séance in her bathroom, where she thinks she’ll be able to communicate with Mary’s ghost. Although the séance provides no results, after Jody leaves, Claire finds a message in the bathroom’s mirror that reads “You know”.
An anxious Claire goes to Norman’s office to inform him of the event, but he instead believes she’s trying to call for his attention because he’s been busy at work. As they argue while traveling through Norman’s campus, Claire encounters Warren and hysterically accuses him of having killed his wife. But Warren responds with confusion before Mary—very much alive—joins him. When Mary speaks with Claire later, she explains that she had left Warren and that he had been packing her belongings when Claire saw him.
The Spencers assume that the ordeal is over, but later a picture breaks in Norman’s study. Picking it up, Claire notices a newspaper clipping about a missing girl named Madison Elizabeth Frank (Amber Valletta). She learns that Madison attended the university where Norman was a lecturer. While visiting Madison’s mother she steals a braid of Madison’s hair. Reading from a book on the supernatural given to her by Jody, Claire uses the hair to perform a ritual that allows Madison to possess her. Norman comes home and Claire seduces him, but Claire morphs into Madison during the tryst, causing Norman to push her away. Claire’s memory returns, and she remembers that she had caught Norman and Madison together the night of her car accident. Outraged by Norman’s infidelity, Claire spends the night with Jody, who confirms to Claire her suspicion of Norman’s affair after having seen him and Madison together in a small cafe in the town of Adamant; unseen by Norman, Jody keeps this information to herself, until she confesses to Claire.
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Norman eventually relents: he had a brief relationship with Madison, but realized that he loved Claire too much to leave her and ended the affair, causing the unstable Madison to threaten to kill Claire. He states Madison came to the house, and he found her dead of an overdose. Panicked and unsure of what else to do, he placed Madison’s body into her car, which he then pushed into the lake. Claire urges Norman to contact the authorities, and he agrees to do so. He speaks with the police on the phone, arranges for a police officer to come to the house and then leaves to take a shower. Suspicious of her husband, Claire redials the phone and discovers that he had not really called the police. Norman, who has been hiding and left the shower tap running, suddenly grabs her from behind and sedates her. He drags her to the bathtub, which is still running, and places her in the rising water with the idea that since she cannot move, will drown once the water rises high enough.
Norman then confesses to Claire that his previous story had been a lie; Madison was planning on going to the college’s dean about their affair, so he killed Madison and pushed her car and body into the lake. Norman then tells Claire he hopes her death will bring him closer to Caitlin, who looks so much like her. Norman leans over Claire’s paralyzed body to give her one final kiss. While doing so, he notices that she is wearing a pendant around her neck. When he picks up Claire’s head to adjust it, her face suddenly morphs into the corpse-like face of Madison. He is startled and jumps back, slipping on the wet floor and hitting his head on the sink; he is left bloodied and unconscious on the floor.
Claire, recovering from the sedative, looks over the edge of the bathtub to see that Norman has crawled away, while she was struggling to drain the water. Recovering from the sedative, she crawls out of the bathtub, eventually regaining enough strength to walk down the stairs. The phone has been disconnected, so she tries to drive somewhere that will have cell phone reception. Norman, only stunned at the bottom of the stairs, chases her and jumps into the back of the truck. A ghostlike figure appears in the road, which Claire swerves to avoid, and she drives off the bridge into the same lake into which Norman pushed Madison’s car. Underwater, Norman tries to drown her and grabs Claire’s leg as she escapes out the window, but Madison’s decaying body, disturbed by debris falling from the car, floats up, grabs Norman and forces him to release Claire’s leg, so she can swim to the surface. Norman drowns while staring into the dead face of the woman he killed. Madison’s body floats to the surface of the lake as the necklace sinks to the bottom. The following winter, Claire places a single red rose on Madison’s grave. The camera pans out, and an image of Madison’s face appears in the snow.
While not as darkly disturbing as similar ghost stories, What Lies Beneath is as much a study of what underpins a relationship, and how quickly this can be betrayed and unbalanced, as a goosebump-inducing vision of what could be lurking at the bottom of the lake. The performances are faultless, the lakeside setting is used to perfection and the occasional use of gentle humour makes the story and characters even more likeable.