Halloween is over for another year and I sincerely hope you had as much fun as I did. Before we get overly nostalgic it is worth remembering that not all of Halloween is devoted to accepting sweets from strangers or dressing as your favourite fetish. Half the joy of Halloween is how unbelievably crap parts of it can be, from attempting sexual acts whilst very drunk in a giant Optimus Prime costume to discovering all the sweets you bagged are in fact licorice. But for the sake of simplicity, lets just examine the best and worst films, games and characters that I've had the dubious pleasure of viewing this Halloween 2010.
Worst Horror Film (of Halloween 2010)
Jaws The Revenge (1987)
This Image Is So Awesome It Forced Lorraine Gary To Headbang
The Jaw's Series has been something of a one-way street in terms of success. While the original shattered the box office of its day and invented the concept of a Summer blockbuster single-handedly, the later installments managed to define the rule of diminishing returns. Jaws 2 showed the (clearly fake) shark far too much, Jaws 3D showing the (ridiculously fake) shark in multiple dimensions and Jaws The Revenge featuring a (at least, I think it's a) shark who explodes when stabbed with a ship mast.
No really, I'm serious here.
Perhaps even more bizarrely, Michael Caine stars in the film, evidently enjoying the fact he is being paid to go to a holiday resort and practically rolling his eyes whenever the shark comes along to ruin things. His best moment being his chronic understatement of the sharks appearance as simply 'Oh shit', sounding like he's annoyed because he now has to leave his Pina Colada's at the bar for a few minutes.
Aside from the shark being able to jump as well as swim almost entirely out of the water and managing to roar as he gets electrocuted, a character experiencing flashbacks of events she never witnessed and a guy being chewed to bits but somehow being alive and laughing at the films end, what else is there to recommend it as "so bad it's good". Plenty!
Milking Sharks Was Always Risky Business
A ludicrous plot about the shark having a grudge (and some sort of GPS that allows him to track the main characters at all times, even over 3000 miles of ocean), the worst effects of the series (A fishbowl-esque shipwreck set in particular) and a shark TAKING DOWN A PLANE (note: This is not nearly as awesome as it should be) and its no real surprise that this film often appears on lists of worst films of all time. It's hilarious in that stiff-necked way some hopelessly bad films can be and the final fight scene is so awful as to be epic. You will believe a shark can explode like he's made out of nitro-gycerine.
Worst Horror Game (of Halloween 2010)
Vampire Hunter D (2000)
Cause Boys... Don't... Cry...
A game from one my favourite animes was always going to have a lit to live up to in my eyes. A fast, violent and dark series about a half vampire (or Dhampir/Dunpeal if you will) who works as a mercenary, mostly against, you guessed it, other pure-blooded vampires in the year 12090AD.
Humans are slowly reappearing as a dominant species after a 1000 year war against an onslaught of mythical creatures (It's Japanese, roll with it). With a steam-punk meets Warhammer 40K style religious-military overtone, its an easy series to love.
The game on the other hand is ass.
Pictured : Ass
Clones of the godfather of all survival horror games Resident Evil were already ten-a-penny when Vampire Hunter D came out, so the game at least attempted something new by letting you jump, strafe and use a sword. Sadly the controls are hideous. Instead of turning to face and dodge enemies, you'll find yourself running into them for a hug instead. When you run, D slides along the floors like a figure skater, meaning you WILL fall to your death trying to stop your momentum. A lot. Thanks to the flat, poorly rendered backgrounds jumping is a nightmare, an ugly, monochrome, headache-inducing nightmare. Killing things with a sword is kinda fun though, even if making D look more sinister then the enemies may have been missing the point slightly.
The music was obviously written by a seizure-prone ape who has never seen a horror film/game before. There is NO atmosphere at all, which is an amazingly glaring problem in, you know, a survival horror game! The voice acting is dreary but not bad enough to be fun. The actors just sound like they are wet and miserable, even my favourite character from the series, Left Hand (he's a possessed hand, it's Japanese, roll with it) is heavily neutered, gone from acting as D's dark Id and suggesting he kill innocents for fun to being his annoying smarmy side-kick. Imagine if instead of a Devil on one shoulder encouraging you to do wrong, you had Iago from Disney's Aladdin.
And Remember, THIS Is What The Game Was Supposed To Live up To
Mostly its just boring. After mastering the controls, the game has next to no challenge, no charms and very little replay value. The three different endings are easy to get and not worth replaying for. The CGI is nice but causes lag and slowdown for some odd reason. Even if your sick of the exact same thing from survival horror games and crave something a little different, go for Dino Crisis or my favourite, the Silent Hill series instead. Sadly more a case of It's Japanese, shoot it.
Worst Horror Film Character (of Halloween 2010)
Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) - The Wickerman (2006)
Is This Poster Implying That Nicolas Cage Can't Find The Wickerman That's Marching After Him?
Nicolas Cage is without a doubt one of my favourite actors. From heart-felt work in Raising Arizona and Matchstick Men to more action-packed roles in Con Air and Kick Ass. And then there is always the awful but amazing side of his career, with highlights such as "Hi-Fucking-YAH!" in Deadfall, most of Ghostrider and of course...
So what was your favourite bit? Was it the big boot (typically a wrestling move) to Leelee Sobieski, followed by her "Am I unconscious" face? Hell, you could be the kind of person who just enjoys the insane amount of violence against women in general, culminating in a mean right hook whilst wearing a god-damn bear suit? Or perhaps grand theft bicycle is what tickles your fancy, although he did let her keep her "stupid mask" at least? Or you really want to know "How'd it get buuuurnnned?!!?!"
The best part about that clip is thats only some of the more extreme Nicolas Cage moments, which still leaves a few gems to see. The Wickerman itself is a gloriously silly film and one of my favourite bad films of all time. A hopeless remake of a clever 70's british horror film, you know you want to see it now. Don't lie to yourself. There is an entire classroom scene you haven't witnessed yet that is a must, with Nicolas's Edward Malus calling out 9 year old girls as little liars who he plans to convict of murder.
What makes Edward Malus a bad character isn't even shown in the clips. He's a cop looking for a missing little girl, outside of his legal jurisdiction. So all the acts you seen him do in that clip are not just hilarious but also highly illegal. On top of extremely violent behavior and a complete misunderstanding of his powers as an officer of the law, he also manages to fall into the trap set by the islanders for him. All the while never calling for back-up of any kind, which should have been the very first thing he did. Thus making him stupid.
Glorious, but stupid.
Worst Horror Game Character (of Halloween 2010)
Barry Burton (Barry Gjerde) - Resident Evil (1997)
If your a gamer in any way, shape or form you will have heard of Resident Evil. It can be credited with not just making survival horror games cool (though in my mind games like Harvester and Alone In The Dark had already managed that) but also for kick-starting the surge in zombie culture over the last decade or so. The game was almost flawless, with a great score, above-average controls, a ton of unique enemies and a lot of replay value. Notice I said almost flawless though...
The Resident Evil series has always suffered from a ridiculous script, which is at this stage a deliberate insertion to appeal to all the fans. Back in 1997, the script was awful by mistake and thus way funnier. Having an awful script can be over-come with the right actors (look at the Star Wars prequels). Capcom decided instead to spent the casting money on what I can only assume to be crack and instead cast the game like so.
While all the cast get their chance to shine, so to speak, Barry is far and away the most endearing. His character seems to be the kindest and most caring of the squad, he is being forced into helping the villain Wesker (who is pitiful apparently) with his evil plans and all the while struggling with the issue that he may have something wrong with his brain.
My personal favourite moment would have to be his total apathy to having just saved Jill's life, summed up with a long, painful "yeaaaah". That and the fact Barry has a really powerful weapon, "especially against living things". Which makes me believe Barry must spend his weekends shooting at brick walls, slabs of beef and the sky.
And poor "Fawrest! Oh. Mi. GAWD!"
As you can see from the clip, the voice acting and script are insane and well beyond saving. But Barry, holding 6 of the 10 scenes (not to mention the top 2) as well as creating countless memes from 'A Jill sandwich" to "I hope this is not CHRIS'S blood, is the undisputed hero here. Barry is like some sort of strange man-child who got on the S.T.A.R.S team out of sympathy. Listen to him again and ask, would you let him investigate a zombie house? That he survives is much like allowing the dog or cat to survive your horror movie. even if he is hopeless it's impossible not to love him all the same and rout for him to win.
And for that sir, we salute you.
Til next time!