List-O-rama: My 5 Favorite Werewolf films

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Movies based upon the shape-shifting, village terrorizing beasts are far and few between. Although most of them are pretty terrible, once in a blue moon (pun fully intended) you get one that is a real howl (that is TWO puns in one sentence, for those keeping score).

My 5 Favorite Werewolf Films

1)  An American Werewolf in London (Dir. John Landis, 1981) This dark comedy/horror is the top dog of all werewolf films. Two American students are hitching through Northern England, and are mauled by an unknown beast. One man is killed, while the other survives. He wakes up in a London hospital to realize that he is no longer the man he was before the attack. David Naughton and Griffin Dunne are stellar as the college friends who end up in the wrong part of the Yorkshire moors. American Werewolf has three things I admire in a film; dark comedy, disturbing imagery, and savage violence.

2)  Ginger Snaps (Dir. by John Fawcett, 2000) Outcast sisters, obsessed with the idea of death, try to navigate their teenage years. Things get even more complicated when one of them bitten by a werewolf. As Ginger, who is bitten, becomes more of a danger, sister Brigitte must find a cure before it is too late. The performances by Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle are real and convincing. The story is surprisingly original and darkly twisted. Also, Ginger Snaps is a Canadian production, and me being a proud Canadian makes me like it even more.

3)  Dog Soldiers (Dir. by Neil Marshall 2002) A company of British soldiers are sent on a weekend training mission in conjunction with a Special Forces unit in the Scottish wilderness. As it turns out, this will be anything but a routine military exercise. The soldiers discover the remains of the Special Forces team, and realize they are being hunted by something that is not human. They hole up in a farmhouse and try to keep the beasts at bay until the sun comes up. This is a gritty, violent film with some good twists, and lovely special effects that kept me interested from the start. The portrayal of the British soldiers is very believable. A very original movie directed by the great Neil Marshall (Descent, Doomsday).

4)  The Wolf Man (Dir. by George Waggner, 1941) Along side Dracula and Frankenstein, The Wolf Man is a cornerstone in the Universal Monsters franchise back in the golden era of cinema. This true classic is the Story of Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), who returns home to Wales upon the death of his brother. During a visit to a gypsy camp, Lawrence saves his friend Jenny from a wolf attack, but is bitten during the struggle. Talbot is now cursed, and transforms into a werewolf during each full moon. Lon Chaney Jr. is amazing as the man burdened with the fact that he is no longer human. This was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and continues to inspire me to this day. The Wolf Man runs really short at seventy minutes, but that does not take away from it’s legacy.

5)  WolfCop (Dir. by Lowell Dean, 2014)  Another gem of a Canadian film, everything about WolfCop is ridiculous. If you are a small town police deputy with a pretty severe drinking problem and really nothing to look forward to, what do you do to turn things around? Correct, you become a werewolf. Lou Garou is no ordinary werewolf. He is a Wolf cop with a strong sense of the law and a lust for the ladies. This movie had me once the scene came on where WolfCop makes love to a lucky gal while the song “Moonlight Desires” by Canadian legend Gowan plays in the background. He also rips a dude’s face of during one scene. Pretty impressive, very ridiculous.

T.

 

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List-O-rama: My favorite films of 1989

LIST O RAMA 2

My 5 Favorite Films of 1989

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“This town needs an enema!”

Batman (Directed by Tim Burton | starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson) The first true comic book blockbuster, Batman still holds up today. I am not entirely sure on the exact number of times I saw the movie upon it’s release, but it is the most I’ve gone to see one movie in the cinema. With a flawless portrayal of the Joker by Nicholson, Batman is super stylish and one of my all-time favorites.

 

 

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“Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn

Major League (Directed by David S. Ward | starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger) This movie is number 2, next to Slap Shot, as best sports comedy of all-time. A great cast and clever writing make this story of the downtrodden Cleveland Indians baseball clubs worst to first comeback story very enjoyable. It is very much an updated version of the Bad News Bears. This is a love story intended for every viewer who is a diehard fan of their home town team, even if the suck terribly.

 

 

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Marty’s get rich quick scheme backfires.

Back to the Future II (Directed by Robert Zemeckis | starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd) The second of the time travel trilogy, this film is the glue that holds it together. I am not saying I don’t love the other two films, but Back to the Future II has a certain charm. The writing and references to the future are clever, and Biff Tannen is one of the all-time villains. Even though the Cubs did not win the World Series in 2015 like the film boldly predicted, it is still a hell of a time waster.

 

 

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The Stones have nothing on the Stallyns!

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Directed by Stephen Herek | starring Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter) In 1989, a gift was given to the world, and that gift was Keanu Reeves. This comedy features such names as Napoleon, Billy the Kid, Socrates, Genghis Khan, and George Carlin as Rufus. Bill and Ted travel time in a phone booth. Sound familiar? This excellent adventure features one of film’s greatest fictional bands; Wyld Stallyns. Good, mindless fun. You’d have to be a medieval dickweed not to enjoy and appreciate this history lesson.

 

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A hellacious cat named Church. Poetic.

Pet Sematary (Directed by Mary Lambert | starring Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynn) This film is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. In my opinion, this is the best of King’s work turned movie. I saw this one at a drive-inn double feature and it scared to crap out of me. Pet Sematary still has an unsettling effect on me. This film features a ghost, reanimation of dead things, a demonic house cat named Church, and a toddler on the loose with a scalpel.

 

 

 

T.

My Favorite Films of 2016…1/3 of the way through.

Best of 2016 (so far)

As a fan of film, and the cinema, I typically try to see a movie each week. It is not always an easy endeavor considering each week is hit and miss with good new release movies. Sometimes you roll the dice on something that isn’t considered “must see”, and you can be pleasantly surprised. Other times you’d wished you saved your time and money. During the first one-third of 2016, I have seen some good, a lot of average, and a few bad ones. This is kind of an unimaginative topic, and an easy scribe, but it has been a while since I have written anything, so to get the juices flowing again I would like to share with you my top 5 favorite films of 2016 (so far).

5. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Dir. Zack Snyder starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill) I almost decided not to see this film. I have never been a big fan of Superman or DC Comic film adaptations in general. I thought Man of Steel was a blur of CGI and an okay film at best. What finally drew me to see the film was Batman and Ben Affleck’s portrayal of the Dark Knight. When it was announced that the former Daredevil star would be the next Batman, you could almost hear a collective groan from movie nerds far and wide. My initial thought was ‘hmmmm…I can dig it’. To be honest, I think Affleck was an amazing Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film was a little long, and there are a handful of WTF? moments, but it was generally very decent and held my attention for the duration. Dawn of Justice laid some interesting ground work for the next wave of DC films.

4. 10 Cloverfield Lane (Dir. Dan Trachtenberg starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead) John Goodman playing a paranoid end-of-the-world survivalist, you say? Sign me up! 10 Cloverfield Lane, is from what I can tell, the second film (the first being 2008’s Cloverfield) in an anthology of stories based on alien/monster invasions. Ninety percent of the film takes place in an underground bunker, and has a great mix of suspense and atmosphere. The writing and acting keep the film moving along nicely, and John Goodman (like always) is amazing. The last ten minutes of the film strays from the formula, but still fits with the story. This film is a pretty sweet unheralded gem from producer extraordinaire J.J. Abrams.

3. The Witch (Dir. Robert Eggers starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson) This 1630’s New England folktale is not a typical, jump-out-of-your-seat horror film. From the start, it is a slow burn, and makes you feel like you may crawl out of your skin at any moment. The cinematography, set design and costumes give The Witch a very authentic feel. From the outset, you know this God-fearing family is doomed; either at the hands of the evil residing in the forest, or through their own unraveling. I’m glad I got to see their demise on the big screen. If you like gritty horror, The Witch will please you.

2. Midnight Special (Dir. Jeff Nichols, starring Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton) Michael Shannon has quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. The roles that he chooses seem to fly under the radar, but create a buzz. The film Midnight Special is no different. Shannon plays Roy, who is on the run from the law after liberating his son from the control of a doomsday cult. His son is no ordinary boy though. He has gifts that no mere human could possess. This is a well done science fiction feature with some great performances from Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, and especially Jaeden Lieberher, who plays the son.

1. Deadpool (Dir. Tim Miller, starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin) Quite possibly the most enjoyable ninety plus minutes you could possibly spend in a cinema, Deadpool is almost perfect. Of all the comic book adaptations, Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson is on par with Robert Downey’s portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man. I think I am being fair to say that this film is the most true to the title character that we have seen from Marvel Studios so far. Reynolds brings Deadpool to life as the humorous, blood thirsty “Merc with a Mouth” just as we see in the pages of the comic books in which he was born. Even if you have no idea who Wade Wilson is, you will leave the theater satisfied. The film is not for kids, as it is laced with bloody violence, no-holds-barred sexual innuendo, and enough language to make Joe Pesci blush. The casual viewer may not get every inside joke and the hidden homage to the comic, but they will be a Deadpool fan after watching the movie.

T.

Friday the 13th – A Quick Ranking of Jason Films

Happy Birthday Jason!

In honor of Friday the 13th, and Jason’s birthday, I give to you my ranking of the movies starring the birthday boy. After 35 years, 200 kills, and severe mommy issues, Jason Voorhees has done it all. Here are is my ranking, from worst to first.

12. Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday – What the hell went wrong here? Jason is basically a snake demon that jumps from body to body; he can only be killed by a sacred Voorhees family dagger, and shaves his victim’s mustaches off. This movie has no redeeming qualities. I think I hate this film.

11. Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan – This could have easily been my least favorite of the bunch, but the rooftop boxing match between Jason and Julius saves it from being last. The movie has so many holes in it, the boat taking Jason to New York should have sank before it left harbor.

10. Friday the 13th VII: The New Blood – Maybe the most menacing Jason, played by Kane Hodder. Not even that can make up for a terrible story and terrible characters. The only character I like is the biggest jerk in the film; Tina’s doctor. Hard to sit through this one.

9. Friday the 13th (2009) – A pretty lame attempt at rebooting a franchise that needed some life breathed into it. Jason lives in an underground network of tunnels. Pretty weird. Jared Padalecki was alright as the lead. My only question; was that Jason’s crop of marijuana that the characters in the opening scene are searching for?

8. Freddy Vs. Jason: A pretty cool story line which could have been way darker and more like a horror film than a teen comedy. It was nice to see these horror gods finally share some screen time. Lacks veteran Jason actor Kane Hodder, who was the best actor to put on the mask.

7. Friday the 13th: Jason Lives – Pretty sweet soundtrack provided by the iconic Alice Cooper. This sixth film would be a much better film if they left the Tommy Jarvis story line behind. Jason bends a cop in half, the way a human should not bend.

6. Jason X – So silly, but so awesome. Overall, a pretty terrible film. Contains two or three amazing death sequences. Jason as a futuristic looking cyborg is not as terrifying as it sounds. Features a cameo by The Fly (1986) director David Cronenberg, who agreed to be in the movie only if he got killed on screen.

5. Friday the 13th – A true classic horror film. I would love it more if I didn’t find the lead actresses as annoying. Mongoloid boy Jason coming out of the lake is my favorite bit. Kevin Bacon is also a victim to Jason’s insane mother.

4. Friday the 13th Part II – The first appearance of Jason as an adult, and a bad ass killing machine. Runs around Camp Crystal Lake wearing a sack over his head and is dressed like a hillbilly.What’s not to like?

3. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter – In my opinion, the best produced and best acting of the saga. An effective horror movie, and Tom Savini’s make-up effects are amazing. Plus a young Corey Feldman and his bald head defeats Jason.

2. Friday the 13th Part III: 3D – Probably the one I have watched the most, and the first one I saw when I was a Kid. Jason acquires his mask from a guy named Shelley. Great music score. Will always be a special movie for me.

1. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning – I can’t really explain why the fifth movie of the series is my favorite. It just is. Sweet deaths, humorous, and cheesy all rolled into one. Jason only appears in dream sequences, but I still love it. Number one because of sentimental value. The outhouse scene is one that will will always make me laugh. Reggie the Reckless is my best-loved character that lives through any of the films. “It’s those damn Enchiladas!”

T.

Phantoms, Specters and Hautings …Oh My! My Five Favourite Ghost Movies

“These souls, who for whatever reason are not at rest, are also not aware that they have passed on. They’re not part of consciousness as we know it. They linger in a perpetual dream state, a nightmare from which they can not awake.”

-Tangina (Dialogue from Poltergeist, 1982)

What really scares us? Besides death, bills and other regular day-to-day horrors. When I think about what gets my heart pumping, it is fear of the unknown. What you cannot see can AND will hurt you. Think about it for a second; walking alone down a dark alley after dark, hearing a noise in the middle of the night that you cannot immediately identify. When I want to watch a movie that might get my guard up and give me a little scare, I always go for one type; a good old ghost story. Slasher movies are great for some jump scares, gross-outs, and humor. Unfortunately, ninety-five percent of them fail to serve up the chills. The thought of an invisible force is a lot creepier than a dude wearing a mask that you can see coming a mile away. Besides demonic possession, supernatural films (when done right) make my skin crawl the most. I would like to share with you my five favorite ghost films. There are plenty of these types of films I have not seen, mostly because I have heard terrible things about them, or I have not gotten around to watching them yet. I am fairly confident that I have seen enough to make these five films my most revered supernatural viewings.

The Shining (Directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson 1980) From top to bottom, a brilliant film on so many levels. Jack Torrance is tormented. Not only by the spirits that haunt the halls of the Overlook Hotel, but also the ghosts of his past. There are so many theories and dissections of this film, trying to look for the real meaning behind Kubrick’s madness, but on the surface it is a gritty and lingering story about a haunted hotel that truly wants to make it’s residents feel unwelcome. From subliminal flashes of butchered families to the terror behind the door of room 237, there are many things to love about The Shining. Jack Nicholson is perfect.

The Blair Witch Project (Directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, 1999) Love it or hate it, BWP is a polarizing film. This was the first of a rash of “found footage” films to break into the mainstream. Three students get lost in the Maryland woods and find out that the legend they are documenting is indeed true. I will admit that the camera work is nauseating in some spots, but lends to the authentic feel. The viewer never sees the entity that terrorizes the characters, but is presented in other ways that are effective and creepy regardless. Freaky scenes include children’s hands pressing on the outside of the tent while the sound of children can be heard, and Josh disappearing during the night, with only his tongue remaining wrapped up in a piece of his shirt. The final scene is also tense and well done. Any film that made my brother (self admittedly) stay up all night pacing the house will always make my top five.

Poltergeist (Directed by Tobe Hooper, starring Craig T. Nelson 1982) This is the proof that you don’t need an old house to have a haunting. All you need is a house built on a Native American cemetery. Although Poltergeist is not as scary as it once was, it sure scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. At first, the spirits seem harmless enough; moving objects and furniture around. The spirits then become malevolent, becoming violent and then kidnapping the young daughter, Carol Anne. Stylish and well produced, Poltergeist is a charming ghost story well worth the watch. On a side note, the 2015 remake starring Sam Rockwell is not very good at all, and no where near as charming as the original. But that is just my opinion.

Sixth Sense (Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, starring Bruce Willis 1999) A young boy with the ability to see ghosts who don’t know they are dead needs the help of Dr. Malcolm Crowe to cope with his “ability”. This film is not scary in the traditional sense, but has some very strong imagery that will get inside your head. Sixth Sense is a movie that will make you think, and take you on a few twists. I include this one in my list of favorites because it is well written and very well orchestrated in delivery. There is one scene in school involving bodies hanging from the rafters that still gives me the creeps. Also, who doesn’t love Bruce Willis?

The Fog (Directed by John Carpenter, starring Jamie Lee Curtis 1980) The small seaside town of Antonio Bay has a dark past, and the spirits of the done wrong want their revenge. What is freakier than ghosts you ask? What about ghosts that arrive and hide inside a thick fog that has rolled into town? John Carpenter is a master of simple suspense. The Fog is no exception. In typical Carpenter fashion, the soundtrack is brilliant and makes the atmosphere that much better. A pretty fun movie with some good spooky ambiance. If you like John Carpenter, and or ghosts, you’ll like this one.

Honorable mentionAmityville Horror, The Changeling, The Conjuring

Note – Although two films, Ghostbusters ,The Frighteners, and Beetlejuice are “ghost” movies, I felt they are too comedy oriented to be part of the list. However, all three films are personal favorites of mine.

T.

Five Bands You Should Check Out…

Do you remember the good old days, before internet and smart phones? The long forgotten days when us kids had to read a magazine, watch Much Music (for we Canadians, hey) or MTV to find out about our favorite bands, and for that fact, discover new bands. Now it is as simple as a Google search or logging into iTunes to get information and find your new sound. I can honestly say that the ability to find new music on the World Wide Web is an amazing privilege. This method, and going out to see live shows has given me the pleasure to discover some great new acts. I would like to share a few of these bands with you. I am sure a lot of you will have heard of these outfits, but not everyone is a music nerd (snob) like us folk. Please feel free to share some of your favorites with me.

We Hunt Buffalo (Vancouver, B.C.) Self-described as “dirty, grimy, fuzz rock”, these guys are right up my alley; big riffs, big sound, and Canadian. I have been listening to We Hunt Buffalo since late last year, although they have been around for a spell longer. These guys, along with Anciients and Bison, have made Vancouver one of the best scenes for heavy music over the last few years.

Barn Burner (Montreal, PQ) Disappointingly, Barn Burner is no longer together and have been inactive for a few years. I had the pleasure of seeing this band live, along with Bison at a club show four years back. I was absolutely blown away by how tight they were. They looked like they were having a hell of a good time performing for the hundred or so people that came out to see the show. Barn Burner truly were what the title of their debut album suggests; “Bangers”.

 Pallbearer (Little Rock, AK) Personally, I am a sucker for melodic doom metal. For me, Pallbearer does not disappoint. I purchased a vinyl copy of their debut album Sorrow and Extinction, and have been hooked since. A lot of you who are into the same type of music as me have probably heard about this band, but I figured I would mention them anyways. Pallbearer will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you drink the same tea everyday, life gets boring.

The Shrine (Venice, CA) The dudes in The Shrine seem like the type that would show up at your house party, play an hours worth of blistering rock ’n roll, drink all your beer, make out with your girlfriend, spray paint a dick on your fence and then leave because your party was lame. I had an opportunity to see The Shrine play as part of Calgary’s Sled Island festival last year. I felt violated after their set, but in a good way. Cool fact; The Shrine recorded their debut album, “Primitive Blast” on a reel-to-reel machine. Old school!

Chron Goblin (Calgary, AB) At the risk of sounding like a total homer because they come from my home city, Chron Goblin is another band that deserves more recognition. I have seen them play around town a handful of times, and they get better each time. Locally, they have opened for some great bands like Fu Manchu, 3 Inches of Blood, and Vista Chino. Chron Goblin is a band that will keep heavy music fresh, whether it is locally or they achieve the wider success they deserve.

T.

Pro Wrestlers Turned Horror Film Actors… My Five Favorite Roles for Wrestlers.

Over the years, professional wrestlers have tried to cross over into the world of acting. A few have been successful; Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson might currently be the reigning box office champion with films like San Andreas and Fast 7. On the other side of the coin, many wrestlers have struggled to make the transition, such as Hulk Hogan. Films like Santa With Muscles and No Holds Barred did everything but run wild at the box office. Sure those movies were pretty bad, but you would think that the late 1980’s drawing power and popularity of the “Hulkster” would have translated into Hollywood gold. I guess people do appreciate substance over muscles at the cinema. Today, the world lost one of the all-time greats, and a fine actor in his own right; “Hot Rod” Rowdy Roddy Piper passed away at the far too young age of sixty-one years of age. The Hot Rod could play the hated villain, booed by thousands, but could play the hero as well. adored by the fans who paid to see him in action. Tonight, in Roddy Piper’s honor, I have decided to bring you my top five film roles played by professional wrestlers. Rest in Peace, Hot Rod.

Diamond Dallas PageBilly Ray Snapper (Devil’s Rejects 2005)DDP” was a superstar in the late 90’s to the early 2000’s in the now defunct World Championship Wrestling. In Devil’s Rejects, Page plays one half of the “Unholy Two” with his partner being the incomparable Danny Trejo. The sheriff hires these two to bounty hunt the Firefly Family. Diamond Dallas plays a great greasy, dirty ex-con creep. One of my favorite films.

Paul Levesque (Triple H)Jarko Grimwood (Blade: Trinity 2004) Paul Levesque or “Triple H” has held the WWE world title over ten times and now runs a portion of the WWE along with Vince McMahon. In the second Blade sequel, Levesque plays an unstoppable henchman for the Blade’s most powerful enemy, Dracula. The character is pretty wooden, but Triple H does his best with what he is given. This is a pretty stacked cast, but the former WWE champ still manages to get noticed. Blade wins in the end, but I bet Triple H would show him a thing or to inside a steel cage.

Glen Jacobs (Kane)Jacob Goodnight (See No Evil 2006) In the world of pro wrestling, Glen Jacobs has played Kane, an evil disciple from hell tagged “The Devil’s Favorite Demon” for close to twenty years. In See No Evil, and plays a psychotic recluse who stalks the hallways of an abandoned hotel. Not too much of a stretch as far as stepping outside of his acting comfort zone, but at seven feet tall and three hundred pounds, he plays a mighty imposing slasher. I actually thought this was a well done, if unoriginal, horror flick.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura Blain (Predator 1987) Before “The Body” was a reclusive conspiracy theorist, he was the Governor of the state of Minnesota. Even before that, he tried his hand at acting. After a career as pro wrestler and a WWE color commentator, Hollywood called. Ventura starred in a few action roles, and even played a “Man in Black” in an episode of X-Files. His best, and quite frankly, most macho role was as “Blain” in the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi classic Predator. A total bad ass complete with chewing tobacco, Gatling gun, and absolutely no time to bleed.

Rowdy Roddy PiperNada (They Live 1988) In John Carpenter’s underrated classic They Live, Piper plays a drifter who finds a pair of Ray Bans that reveal a pretty big secret. Through these sun glasses, Nada can see who is human, and more importantly, an alien. The world is controlled by these creeps, and the Hot Rod must stop them. A much taller order than having a boxing match with Mr. T at Wrestlemania 2. And just like in life, in They Live the Hot Rod came to do two things…chew bubble gum and kick ass. And he is all out of bubblegum.

T.

Top Five Favourite Halloween Movie Deaths

The Halloween film franchise has always been my favorite. Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th are close seconds, but there is something more appealing to me about Michael Myers. “The Shape” has the expressionless white mask, and seems to be a more “hands on” murderer. A knife or a simple choking always seem to be his go to methods. The series has gone down hill in quality and originality, but the original Halloween and Halloween II are classics as far as I’m concerned. I even enjoy Rob Zombie’s 2007 Re-imagining, with a much larger and imposing Shape (played by Tyler Mane). A few of the sequels are decent, but lack the charm and atmosphere of the 1978 John Carpenter classic. The second sequel Halloween III: Season of the Witch is an entertaining watch, and actually quite original, but has nothing to do with the Michael Myers storyline, so I have not included any deaths from it in this list. These five deaths are not the most brutal, or most gory of the series. These are simply my favorite for reasons I will give with each one. Please enjoy!

5. Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)   Oops! – Ok, so this is technically not one of Michael Myers’ kills, but he is indirectly responsible. Basically, Michael returns to Haddonfield after 10 years to finish off his only remaining heir. The town’s rednecks are getting shit faced at the local tavern and learn through a television newscast that Michael is at large. Well, now it’s time to take the law into their drunken hands. The posse storms out of the bar and goes to make a citizen’s arrest. It goes badly. Poor Ted Hollister is creeping around some bushes and becomes the victim of mistaken identity. Please, if you are drunk and decide to go out and mob an escaped lunatic, make sure you ask questions first, and shoot second.

4. Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)   Batters Up! – A young Michael Myers could have made the Major Leagues with a swing like this! Poor Steve Haley was famished after having sex with Michael’s sister Judith. So when you are hungry, you make a sandwich in the kitchen. Unfortunately at the Myers’ house, even snacks are danger. His thirst results in a crushing baseball bat blow to the top of the head. This one makes me cringe each time I see it. Lesson? Michael Myers is not a fan of you banging his sister. Or stealing his lunch meat.

3. Halloween (1978)   Oh Brother… – This is the opening scene of Halloween, and really sets the tone for the entire film. The scene is ninety-five percent shot as it was from a young Michael Myers’ perspective.  Judith is supposed to be watching Michael on Halloween night. As it turns out, she is entertaining her boyfriend in her upstairs bedroom. We follow Michael’s perspective as he observes his sister’s promiscuity. After he waits until Judith’s suitor leaves,  he goes into the kitchen to retrieve a large knife. He makes his way upstairs, pulls his mask down and stabs his sister multiple times. All this done while dressed in his clown costume. His parents return home to find their son standing on the sidewalk holding the knife that butchered Judith. I am not sure if Carpenter intended this as an homage to the famous point-of-view shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, but the result is as effective. A very simple and personal introductory murder for the young psychopath Michael.

2. Halloween (1978)   Annie’s Death – The original John Carpenter’s Halloween was great for numerous reasons. The music score was perfect, the acting was believable, the tension and suspense was beautifully done, but I feel the best reason was the simplistic nature of the film. The film was believable because it was not over the top and gory. The killing was minimal and done in a personal manner, which made Michael Myers have a human element. Annie’s death is a great example of a smart, simple, and suspenseful film work. While you are watching, you know Michael is there, stalking Annie, but you don’t know when. Michael is a smart, patient predator that waits until he knows Annie is absolutely alone and vulnerable. The detail is pinpoint, right down to the steam on the inside of the car windows that is generated by Michael’s breathing. The shot of young Tommy witnessing Michael carrying Annie’s lifeless body across the front yard is a nice touch.

1. Halloween II (1981)   A Real Lady Killer… – Michael seems to have a real problem with people’s promiscuity. Nurse Karen decides to take her break with ambulance driver Bud…naked…in the hospitals hot tub room. This should have been Bud’s lucky day, but it wasn’t meant to be. Things are getting hot and heavy in the tub, too hot for Karen actually. She send Bud out to turn the thermostat down (which Michael has cranked right up). Bud is easily dispatched while Karen waits for him to return. Michael enters, Karen thinks it is bud standing behind her and she begins seducing “Bud” by sucking on his fingers. “Do you want to go for breakfast after?” she asks. She doesn’t know that Michael is only hungry for death. Michael drowns/burns Karen by repeatedly shoving her face into the boiling hot tub water. This is my favorite death because it was the first attempted seduction of Michael Myers, and because it is the first time I remember being exposed to a half nude woman when I was a child. Those types of milestones are exciting and not easily forgotten. (I have included the PG edited version video. Sorry fellas.)

T.

Top Five Guilty Pleasure Songs

Everybody has a few of them. Songs that are a guilty pleasure. It’s not that the artists are not held in high regard, because they are, but these are artists that are generally not in my wheelhouse when it comes to my typical listening habits. This was a list that was suggested by my brother. After much more thought than it should have taken, here are my five favorite guilty pleasure songs.

5. Mr. Big – To Be With You (Atlantic 1991)  I’m not really sure why I like this song, but it’s kind of catchy. It’s a typical hair rock ballad, which is probably why there is a soft spot for this song. Also, it reminds me of high school.

4. Duran Duran – Girls On Film (EMI Capital 1981)  I suppose Duran Duran as a band is a guilty pleasure.  Their lyrics don’t really make sense unless you base song writing on the ability to make verses rhyme. I am a sort-of-proud owner of their greatest hits album, and this is the best song as far as I’m concerned.

3. Bon Jovi – Let It Rock (Mercury 1986)  When I was ten years old, we went on summer vacation to some small town that I don’t recall. My grandma bought me this tape from some five and dime store. I played the shit out of the first side, got sick of it and never really listened to it again. I don’t really care for Bon Jovi now, but this song rocks. If you are ever going to play “air key-tar”, the intro to this song is the perfect choice.

2. La Bionda – I Wanna Be Your Lover  (Baby Records 1980)  Why the hell not? You’ll understand after viewing the video.

1. Billy Ocean – Caribbean Queen No More Love On The Run) (Jive 1984)  When you hear this one on the radio, you have to turn it up and sing along. This is not only my favorite guilty pleasure songs, it just might be my go to 80’s song. I can’t explain it, Caribbean Queen is embedded in my soul. ‘Cause we’re sharing the same dream, and our hearts they’ll beat as one…

TOP FIVE DESERT ISLAND ALBUMS

I am sure we have all played this game. Stranded on a desert island, or anywhere remote without anyone to save you. The five albums that you would take with you. It is not a very realistic game; what would you play the albums on? Where would you get the power to run the device? Rules are kind of stupid, so let’s ignore them and play anyways. These albums mean different things to me, fond memories, times in my life. So here in no particular order here are the five albums I would pack if I was ever to become a castaway.

Appetite

GUNS ‘N ROSES – APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION (Geffen 1987) You would hard pressed to find a better hard record than this beauty. No other album brings back as many fond memories of growing up than Appetite. The attitude and bite of this debut is unrivaled. If you are between the ages of 35-45, you probably know the words to every song on the album. Also, this is the first time I remember hearing the word ‘fuck’ on a rock song. I have probably owned this album ten times over.

Lullabies

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE – LULLABIES TO PARALYZE (Interscope 2005)  It was hard to choose the QOTSA album that I would have on a desert island. I love them all, but a decision had to made. I chose Lullabies because it was the record that blends the bands raw desert rock background with the new wave type sound they have adopted for their last two albums. This is also the last album that Mark Lanegan has a large contribution on, as well as the debut of drummer Joey Castillo and multi-instrumentalist Troy Van Leeuwen.

Angel Dust

FAITH NO MORE – ANGEL DUST (Slash 1992)  Faith No More pretty much do what they want when it comes to recording albums, and it works so well on this one. Angel Dust is beautiful and ugly, complex and simple, accessible and confounding all at the same time. This was Mike Patton’s first real contribution to writing songs with the band, and it shows brilliantly. If you took almost every style of music you could think of, put it in a blender and mixed it up, you would end up with Angel Dust. RV is one of my favorite songs ever. Also, the album artwork, inside and out, is amazing and disturbing.

Dopesmoker

SLEEP – DOPESMOKER (Tee Pee 2003)  Not be confused with the album Jerusalem, which was released in 1999, chopped into multiple tracks and released without the bands input or permission. Dopesmoker is a titan, with the title track timing in at 63:31. This is Sleeps final album as a band, even though they released a single last year. This is a powerful, slow, heavy prophecy of doom, delivered by the high council of “stoner metal”. The only thing that would top listening to this on a lonely island would be to have Sleep perform. I also have a soft spot for this album because guitarist Matt Pike a guitar giant, and one of my favorites.

Bubblegum

Mark Lanegan – Bubblegum (Beggars Banquet 2004)  I’m not sure what about this album that draws me in. It could be because Bubblegum is perfectly flawed, and from the heart. Lanegan’s gruff, soulful voice seems to make the songs have more meaning (see Tom Waits). The album features a long list of guest contributors featuring the talents of P.J. Harvey, Joshua Homme, Nick Oliveri, and Alan Johannes. A very dark, intimate record, but beautifully crafted. It is also one of the CDs I go to when driving on the highway.

T.