April Fool’s Day (1986)

Directed by Fred Walton [Other horror films: When a Stranger Calls (1979), I Saw What You Did (1988), Trapped (1989), Homewrecker (1992), When a Stranger Calls Back (1993)]

Though mired somewhat by a mixed reception, April Fool’s Day is a classic that I will never not enjoy.

A large part of this is due to all of the characters. In truth, the kills themselves are somewhat light, but the variety of characters here still add a lot of vitality to the movie, and the opening scenes, while almost overwhelming insofar character introductions (there are quite a few characters thrown at us that we need to keep track of), do a good job of showing us who we’ll be watching for the next hour and a half.

So let’s take an unnecessarily lengthy time and go over each and every cast-member, shall we?

Jay Baker cracks me up here. He plays the Texas boy Harvey, and he’s fun in pretty much every single scene he’s in. It helps that he wants to plow some fields wink wink. Deborah Goodrich (Nikki) never really stuck with me, but she’s in the movie, so she’s fine too. It helps that her name is Mary O’Reilly O’Toole O’Shea, and she fucks on the first date. You know who else is fine? Ken Olandt (Rob, who was also in Leprechaun), as he’s a solid protagonist and there’s little to really dislike him for.

Griffin O’Neil (Skip) is of good quality. No complaints. Leah Pinsent (Nan) is probably my favorite character, especially toward the end when she’s just trying to read her book in peace amidst the celebrations going on. I really find her a lot of fun here, as Nan is totally my type. Clayton Rohner (Chaz) is something else, and of course, in this case, ‘something else’ means a lot of fun. He also wants to hide the sausage with Thomas F. Wilson (Back to the Future, brah), and seeing Rohner and Wilson just goof around like that is a lot of fun.

I don’t know if Amy Steel stands out amidst the characters as much as she did earlier in Friday the 13th Part 2, but she still makes for a pretty solid focal point. It’s Deborah Foreman (my girl Muffy) who really shows talent, though her obviously different personality in the latter half of the film felt almost too telling (which I guess is the point, so I won’t complain). Foreman’s probably best well known for, aside from this one, Destroyer, Waxwork, Lobster Man from Mars, and the ever-classic Valley Girl (this last one is, unfortunately, not horror), and I definitely think she’s a lot of fun here, from beginning to end.

Certainly, it could be said the kills are lacking. Much of the action, such as it is, happens off-screen, and usually that would be at least a mild cause for concern, but it works here due to, one, the nature of the story, and secondly, you’re already having a lot of fun watching these guys hang out, mess around, and get fooled by fake cigars, so the fact that the blood is a bit light isn’t a giant issue.

As for the conclusion, I think it’s pretty suspenseful, and they really get all the juice they possibly could out of the situation (I do love it that when Kit finally figures out what’s going on, Rob is still bellowing in the background). It’s worth mentioning too that, even had I not loved the ending (and I’m not going as far as to say I loved it, but I never had a problem with it), it wouldn’t badly impact the rest of the film – look at Slaughter High. That had perhaps one of the worst endings imaginable, and it still rocks in awesomeness.

From the beautiful island setting to the collection of fun and playful characters (I really can’t get enough of the cast – fantastic job all around getting these performers together), April Fool’s Day has never disappointed me. It’s not the best the 80’s has to offer, but it is pretty damn good, and I’ll stand by that.

8.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss April Fool’s Day, a true classic.

Spellbinder (1988)

Directed by Janet Greek [Other horror films: N/A]

There are some movies that I really enjoy the first time I see them, but then, upon revisiting them years later, fall a decent amount from my favor. Two good examples of this would be Witchboard (1986) and, more dramatically, Nightwatch (1997). My reaction to seeing Spellbinder again isn’t nearly as negative, but I do think I enjoyed this quite a bit more when I first saw it.

It’s still a quality film, don’t get me wrong. The atmosphere is appropriately tense throughout much of the second half of the film, and the whole Satanic cult thing really works out in the movie’s favor. The special effects are great at times, and there’s an element of creepiness too that’s hard to deny. Oh, and there’s Tim Daly as the star, which is fantastic. All of these are great elements, and to be sure, I find the film above average without a doubt, but it’s missing something that I must have seen my first time through.

Tim Daly isn’t a giant name, but he did star in one of my favorite Stephen King works, the 1999 mini-series Storm of the Century. It’s sort of fun seeing a ten-year younger Daly, especially since it flew over my head the first time I saw this that I had previous experience with the actor. The other performances are all decent, such as Kelly Preston, Diana Bellamy (Stripped to Kill), and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Ghost Voyage, of all things), but Daly was, at least to me, the clear stand-out here.

Once we get toward the finale of the film, some potential surprises pop up, and even though I’ve seen the film before, I still found the ending decently satisfying, though I think that past a certain point, many people could correctly surmise where exactly Spellbinder is going. Related, I enjoyed how they tacked on an epilogue of sorts, because it gave the thing a cyclical feel that worked well.

In the end, I didn’t enjoy Spellbinder quite as much as I used to, but I still think it’s a decent movie. It’s just not a movie that blew me away at all. Still, for the late 80’s, Spellbinder is a pretty unique film, and if it’s gone under your radar, it may well worth be checking out at least once.

7.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Spellbinder.

Trick or Treats (1982)

Directed by Gary Graver [Other horror films: The Attic (1980), Moon in Scorpio (1987), Evil Spirits (1990)]

I didn’t much care for this one the first time I saw it, primarily because I thought things were happening way, way too slowly. That hasn’t changed with a revisit, and I have to admit that, despite having potential (I mean, it’s a slasher based around Halloween from the early 80’s, how could it go wrong?), this is an entirely lackluster movie.

So how slow is the film? From my viewpoint, we don’t really see any actual dangerous horror situations until about an hour and ten minutes in. Keep in mind that the film overall is just an hour and a half, so we really only get about twenty minutes of horror, and none of it is really worth all that much, including the ending, which was just ridiculous and included only for what I guess would be shock value.

Before that, we get to watch a babysitter become frustrated with the boy she’s babysitting. And – that’s it. Well, we do get to see the deranged Malcolm, played by Peter Jason, break out of a psychiatric hospital, but he was played far too goofy to possess any type of threatening aura. He also dresses up as a woman for half the film, and yet apparently no one, from cops to homeless people, can tell that he’s a man. Certainly it’s possible that, if done well, these more comedic moments might contrast nicely with the chaos that the babysitter is facing, but she’s not facing anything so exciting, just a dick who likes playing pranks.

I can’t lie and say that the kid, played by Chris Graver (who is the son of the director), didn’t annoy me, because he most certainly did throughout the film, but even if the kid had been marginally more likable, Trick or Treats still wouldn’t have been a good movie. Hell, even if the ending was foreshadowed in some way, it still would have felt as dry as it did. Sure, Jacqueline Giroux did okay, and it was sort of nice seeing David Carradine for a few scenes, but none of it amounts to much when most of the story is just filler.

Trick or Treats isn’t a movie without any enjoyment to be had, but it’s far and few between. I didn’t care for this film when I first saw it, and I really don’t think there’s a huge reason to go out of your way to see this one. You might have an okay time with it, but more likely than not, you’ll just wish you watched They Don’t Cut the Grass Anymore again.

5.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Trick or Treats.

Crawlspace (1986)

Directed by David Schmoeller [Other horror films: Tourist Trap (1979), Catacombs (1988), Puppetmaster (1989), The Arrival (1991), Netherworld (1992), Possessed (2005), Little Monsters (2012), Puppet Master: Blitzkrieg Massacre (2018), Death Heads: Brain Drain (2018)]

Honestly, there’s not really a lot to Crawlspace. Oh, sure, it’s short, at only an hour and twenty minutes long, but more to the point, there’s not a whole lot of story here. Girl moves into an apartment building, girl hears strange noises, girl finds out landlord is a Nazi. I mean, we’ve all been there, right?

Well, perhaps not, but it is true that this movie doesn’t really feel that active. It’s not that there’s really a boring moment here, because I don’t think it drags at any point, it’s more that it just felt, for lack of a better adjective, shallow.

Respect where respect is due, Klaus Kinski gives a great performance (apparently he wasn’t that enjoyable off-camera, which was interesting to learn). It’s not that his character is filled with unique backstory or emotion, it’s just that he plays his role in a very creepy, yet subtle, style, and he’s pretty much all you’re watching when on-screen.

Problematically, he’s about one of the only reasons to go out of your way to watch this, though. It’s not that the other performances are bad, or even lacking (I personally enjoyed the main character, played by one Talia Balsam), it’s just that there’s not a lot to this movie, and Kinski’s character is pretty much the focus for a large portion of it.

Hell, most of the kills themselves aren’t exactly that memorable, save for maybe the chair scene, and while I’ll give credit to the ending for being somewhat suspenseful (a chase through air ducts being both claustrophobic and tense), along with the woman trapped in the cage added an additional uneasy vibe, I just couldn’t find it in me to call this an overly memorable movie.

I think I’ve seen this one maybe three times before, perhaps only two. No matter how many times I saw it before this most recent viewing, though, I don’t think I was ever amazed with it. No doubt that Crawlspace is competent, and occasionally compelling, but it’s certainly not much more than that. Not bad with a single watch, but I really don’t think multiple viewings does this one much good.

6.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen to the wonderful video below to hear Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Crawlspace.

Videodrome (1983)

Directed by David Cronenberg [Other horror films: Shivers (1975), Rabid (1977), The Brood (1979), Scanners (1981), The Dead Zone (1983), The Fly (1986), Dead Ringers (1988), Naked Lunch (1991), eXistenZ (1999)]

David Cronenberg is a director I have a difficult time with. I respect much of the work I’ve seen from him, and Videodrome is no exception, but few of his movies are films I’d actually call enjoyable, and again, Videodrome is no exception.

It’s not for lack of trying, either – I’ve now seen Videodrome something like four, perhaps five, times. I’ve consistently not loved it, and though many of the visual elements are great, and certainly some of the ideas within the movie are worthy of praise, as a whole package, this movie feels more like a mess.

To be fair, much of this is due to the fact that I simply don’t understand exactly what’s going on. “Long live the New Flesh” is a fun saying and all, but what exactly is the “new flesh,” and how does Bianca O’Blivion’s “new flesh” differ from Barry Convex’s “new flesh”? Brian O’Blivion is interesting, no doubt, and I found his appearance on the talk show quite amusing, but his philosophical ramblings, devoid of any practicality, wasn’t my idea of a good time.

Certainly, science fiction that challenges the viewer with new and sometimes befuddling concepts isn’t something that need be a problem. Much like Triangle, though, I just don’t get exactly what’s going on in this movie (and especially toward the end, which I guess isn’t really the end for Woods’ character, just the end of his arc in his current flesh?), and when a movie has great special effects but a troublingly confusing story, that’s a bit of an issue for me.

Like I said, this isn’t something I went into blind – it’s a movie that I’ve seen multiple times. I was actually hoping for a bit more enlightenment this time around, since before now, I’ve not seen this one in quite a long time. Nothing doing, though, which, while that might be a shortcoming on a personal level, I can’t pretend that doesn’t impact my views on the film.

I don’t have that much to say about the performances. I think that James Woods is decent here (and during the talk-show about violence on television, I tended to agree with everything he was laying out), though not really a stand-out performance. Debbie Harry played one of the more interesting characters (for the screen-time she had), and I certainly wouldn’t have minded learning more about Jack Creley’s Brian O’Blivion, but others fell somewhat flat, such as Sonja Smits and Peter Dvorsky. Overall, there wasn’t much to be amazed by as far as the actors and actresses go, but that’s not really a big issue, as that’s not really what this movie was going for.

What it was going for, or at least by far the most memorable thing about the film, was the special effects, which were pretty solid throughout. Obviously there are some very striking scenes (such as a head going into a television screen, and a man poking his hand into a slit in his stomach), and it’s certainly impressive, but I can’t say that it necessarily made up for any of the perceived issues I had with the story.

In many ways, Videodrome is a cult classic that just never did it for me. I certainly respect the film, but like many of the Cronenberg movies I’ve seen (The Brood being the first that comes to mind), the focus on body horror just doesn’t appeal to me. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that the only Cronenberg movie I actually enjoyed was Shivers, also known as They Come From Within, though of course that may change once I finally get around to watching Rabid or Scanners.

Videodrome is a movie that’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of classic horror or science fiction, and especially if you enjoy off-the-wall movies that make you think. It’s just not something I’ve ever really liked, and as such, have to throw it a below average rating, no matter how much that damns me in the eyes of some.

5.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Videodrome.

La casa sperduta nel parco (1980)

Directed by Ruggero Deodato [Other horror films: Ultimo mondo cannibale (1977), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Inferno in diretta (1984), Camping del terrore (1986), Un delitto poco comune (1988), Minaccia d’amore (1988), Vortice mortale (1993), The Profane Exhibit (2013, segment ‘Bridge’), Ballad in Blood (2016), Deathcember (2019, segment ‘Casetta Sperduta in Campagna’)]

In many ways, this Italian movie (generally known under the title House on the Edge of the Park) is a by-the-numbers exploitation flick, and there’s not much here that’s overly surprising (even for a video nasty). At the same time, if you’re a fan of exploitation films, there’s no reason not to check this out, even if it is a little shallow.

For the majority of the film, some rich, rather snobby, people are humiliated, raped, and otherwise under attack from David Hess’ Alex and Giovanni Lombardo Radice’s Ricky. Hess, best known for The Last House on the Left, does a fantastic job, and for his role, Radice does pretty decent too. Few of the other characters really stood out, save Gabriele Di Giulio (who had The Purge’s Rhys Wakefield swag), Annie Belle, and Brigitte Petronio, but everyone did at least okay.

None of the rape sequences here were as revolting as the scenes from I Spit on Your Grave, but there’s an in-universe reason for that, as we find out toward the finale, so that’s probably not a problem (and certainly not something I’d complain about). Speaking of the end, it was nice for this movie to throw a little bit of a twist to us – it didn’t entirely make up for just how dull much of the previous time was spent, but it did throw a bit of meat into the story, and the ending itself was pretty decent.

That said, I just can’t see House on the Edge of the Park being a movie I go back to all that often. It’s well-made and well-acted for what it is, but what it is is a by-the-number exploitation film, and while maybe fun for drive-ins, and certainly possessing some foreign appeal (the soundtrack here was, as the kids say, dope af), it’s not something I particularly loved. It did get better toward the end (some solid nudity from the attractive Petronio helped), but I still think it’s a bit below average.

Certainly, though, if you’re into exploitation movies, and you’ve not yet seen this one, it’s worth a watch.

6/10

This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. If interested in hearing Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss House on the Edge of the Park, listen below.

Fright Night Part 2 (1988)

Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace [Other horror films: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), It (1990), Danger Island (1992), Vampires: Los Muertos (2002)]

Despite being a big fan of the first movie, I’ve never once really wanted to see this one, partly because I am such a big fan of the first. I knew that this had returning characters, but I wasn’t really sure where this one was going to go, and I just knew that while the first movie was fantastic, the second probably couldn’t compete.

After having seen it, I can sort of say I was correct, because I did find this film below average, but to my surprise, I did find this a bit better than I thought it would have been.

A big reason for this is the return of Roddy McDowall in the role of Peter Vincent. He’s just as fun here as he was in the first movie, and it’s obvious that he really cares for the well-being of Charley (William Ragsdale, also returning from the first movie). The two of them share some solid scenes, and while nothing is really too emotionally-moving, it was nice seeing the pair of them again. As far as love interest is concerned, Amanda Bearse was dropped entirely in favor of Traci Lind, which was a move I was okay with, as Lind has a very attractive look (especially wearing those glasses – hubba hubba).

One move I didn’t much care for was having the antagonists being a group of vampires (as opposed to just a single vampire and his assistant, as the first film had). Having four vampires here, led by Julie Carmen’s Regine, wasn’t something that really interested me, and led to most of the more comedic scenes (such as that pointless bowling sequence, and the whole of Jon Gries, a character I really didn’t like). In relation, Ernie Sabella’s character was another one that, while a twist was present, I thought was unnecessary. The best I can say about these antagonists is that Brian Thompson was there, who I know as the Alien Bounty Hunter from The X-Files.

Story-wise, Fright Night Part 2 is decent. It’s not great, but I liked Charley seeing another vampire attack, alerting Vincent, and then finding out that it happened during a vampire-themed party. Vincent in particular during that sequence seemed to be having a fun time (at least until he pulled out his trusty mirror). Lind’s character development throughout was somewhat fun, and the scene in which she goes to the state institution was perhaps her highlight.

I’ll give the movie a few mores props for both the music and special effects. The music they use here isn’t too far removed from the first film, and has that wonderfully 80’s synth feel to it. Definitely brought with it a solid vibe. The special effects were pretty solid throughout too, and though I didn’t care for some of the vampire characters, I can admit they did some cool things with them toward the finale.

All-in-all, though, Fright Night Part 2 isn’t anywhere near as good as the first film. It’s still okay, and it’s not nearly as much a degrade as I was honestly expecting, but I much preferred the story of the first movie to this one. The antagonists here were probably my biggest issue, and I think the best thing this movie did was drop Amy for Traci Lind’s Alex. Not a great film, in my view, but certainly not a disastrous one.

6/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Fright Night Part 2.

Stepfather II (1989)

Directed by Jeff Burr [Other horror films: The Offspring (1987), Stepfather II (1989), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings (1993), Puppet Master 4 (1993), Puppet Master 5 (1994), Night of the Scarecrow (1995), The Werewolf Reborn! (1998), Phantom Town (1999), Straight Into Darkness (2004), Frankenstein & the Werewolf Reborn! (2005), Devil’s Den (2006), Mil Mascaras vs. Aztec Mummy (2007), Resurrection (2010), Puppet Master: Blitzkrieg Massacre (2018)]

While not near as good as the first movie (which I have heaped praise upon, and will continue to do so), Stepfather II is still a solid film worth watching, especially if you’re a fan of the first one.

Terry O’Quinn puts in another great performance as the Stepfather, and again, while his scenes were stronger in the first movie, he does a very good job here. He just nails it, from that small scene where he’s listening to the snap-crackle-pop of the Rice Krispies to his musing about the importance of tradition (“If more people stuck with tradition, there’d probably be a lot happier people and a lot fewer divorces”).

I mentioned this in my review for the first film, but I’ll do it again – I find the character of the Stepfather so damn interesting. His old-fashioned view on the world, his desire for the perfect family, but at the same time, how easily he dispatches those who disappoint him and optimistically moves on, hoping to finally find that perfect home, family and all. His origins are hinted at a bit in this one, with him mentioning his father, but we still don’t get that much, which I’m actually fine with. He’s great as is, and O’Quinn really brings him to life. If only it weren’t for that whistling and wine…

Meg Foster is also good here, as is the guy playing her son, Jonathan Brandis, but neither one is quite as captivating as Jill Schoelen (who appeared in flashback form at the beginning, on a side-note). I didn’t notice until just now, amazingly, but Brandis played young Bill Denbrough in the It mini-series. Looking at him now, it’s not clear how I missed it, but there you go. Meg Foster is certainly solid, but again, I wasn’t quite as engaged with her character.

The only other performance to mention is Caroline Williams, who played Stretch in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. She was one of the few things I liked in that movie, and she was similarly pretty enjoyable here, though I probably would have approached the situation she found herself in somewhat differently.

Much like the first movie, the kills here aren’t great. A character getting strangled had some suspense to it, to be sure, and seeing this one guy get pummeled to death was oddly satisfying, but kills were never the strong points for these movies. Perhaps O’Quinn’s breakout of the mental institution was the best sequence, but I digress. The lack of memorable kills never really bothered me with the first film, and it doesn’t bother me now. I would say the overall story, though, isn’t quite as engaging, partially because of the characters.

Stepfather II isn’t near as good as the first movie, but then again, few movies are. This is still a surprisingly solid sequel, and despite it not being great, it’s an enjoyable watch, and if you enjoyed the first one, I can’t imagine this coming across as a big let-down.

7.5/10

The Dead Next Door (1989)

Directed by J.R. Bookwalter [Other horror films: Robot Ninja (1989), Zombie Cop (1991), Kingdom of the Vampire (1991), Shock Cinema Vol. 3 (1991), Shock Cinema Vol. 4 (1991), Ozone (1993), The Sandman (1995), Polymorph (1996), Witchouse II: Blood Coven (2000), Witchouse 3: Demon Fire (2001), Deadly Stingers (2003)]

This is one of those movies that I’ve wanted to see for quite a long while, but didn’t honestly know that much about. Virtually all I knew about this before going in was that it was a lower-budget zombie movie. I didn’t know, though, how inept it was.

Which is interesting, actually, as I’ve generally heard okay things about The Dead Next Door. I never really heard that many people praise it, but the few times it’s been brought up, people seemed to enjoy it. I can admit that the special effects are somewhat impressive, and the gore is pretty good for a movie of this budget, but everything else is rather lackluster.

It’s a bit of a shame, because the story had potential. It wasn’t amazingly creative or anything, but there were inklings of interest strewn across the plot. Due to a combination of unremarkable characters and some terrible acting, though, even the short run-time of 80 minutes is more a struggle than anything to get through.

Obviously, the lower budget on it’s own didn’t bother me too much. We’re talking Redneck Zombies-level budget here, and it really showed at times (such as some truly awful shots, and they even threw some blood on the camera, which is something I thought only newer bad movies did), but that wasn’t the main concern at all. A low budget, I can deal with. But the stilted and sometimes laughably atrocious acting? It’s a bit harder to swallow.

It’s possible that Bogdan Pecic was the worst, but it’s hard to pinpoint for certain when Robert Kokai (who wore sunglasses during night scenes, which tells you all you need to know about his character) and Roger Graham were also terrible. To be fair, I thought that Jolie Jackunas was almost okay, but overall, we’re talking some really ridiculous acting here. The one-liners were bad enough, but when half the characters are named after famous horror directors/writers (such as Romero, King, Carpenter, and Raimi), it was a hard sell.

Jennifer Mullen and Maria Markovic were both okay, but Markovic’s subplot was entirely wasted. I mean, toward the end, things were falling apart anyway, but even so, they didn’t have a better way to conclude her character’s story? And speaking of which, the one guy who becomes a zombie, with the quote “I’m a zombie now, man” – yeah, I could have done without that exchange. Or really, that whole unnecessary ending, which was just ridiculous.

None of this is to say the movie can’t be amusing in the right setting, because when a movie is this inept, it most certainly can. I mean, these people have been living in a world with zombies for years, now, and they still leave themselves easily open to getting bit? For being a squad of zombie hunters, we’re talking truly inept soldiers, which I guess is a common theme here.

To be sure, the special effects are still mostly solid. I can’t say too much really stands out, but there was a guy getting ripped apart which was pretty satisfying to watch, given the character in question was a major asshole. Still, if you’re watching for just the special effects, may God be with you.

Kudos to the delivery of this line (it’s just as ridiculous as it sounds): “No, it’s not true! It is my religion that is right!” Brought to us by Jon Killough, with the most tepid outburst imaginable.

The Dead Next Door wasn’t really what I was expecting, and while I don’t regret watching it, I can easily say that it wasn’t a movie I could imagine wanting to see again without copious amounts of weed and alcohol accessible nearby. It’s amusing, in it’s own way, but boy, it’s not necessarily an easy movie to get through.

4/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. If you want to hear Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss The Dead Next Door, here you go, brahs.

The Shining (1980)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick [Other horror films: N/A]

I don’t want to spend a long time on this. I just want to get in and get out, while still being 100% honest about my views.

I don’t like the Shining. At all.

At best, I find the movie around a 5/10, certainly below average and definitely not a movie I’d want to watch too often. Now, to put my views in context, I don’t dislike the movie because it deviates from the novel. I’ve not read the novel as of yet, so unlike my views on the 1990 It mini-series, the book has nothing to do with it.

The concept in The Shining is interesting, but there are far too many unanswered questions come the end (Who was that old woman? Who was in that bear suit? Why was there a bear suit? Why was Torrence in that picture at the end? What was the use of ‘Tony’ at all? Why did Windy see those skeletons at the end, and that flood of blood meant what, exactly?) and I frankly didn’t enjoy much of this.

I’ll give it that Jack Nicholson does well here, though elements of his character bother me (such as the idea that he literally didn’t write a single word of his novel, and just automatically went into his “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” repetition). He did decent here. I didn’t like Shelley Duvall at all, though (she pretty much bothered me throughout the whole of the film), and Danny Lloyd did nothing for me (I don’t hold that against him, as he was a kid). And I gotta say, Scatman Crothers doesn’t do much for me either.

Both Philip Stone and Joe Turkel were good, but without an explanation as to exactly what they are (ghosts of previous people who do the hotel’s manipulation is my guess). Regardless, it goes back to unanswered questions, and while I know that the book might touch of some of these, the fact that the movie just doesn’t bother is something I find a problem with.

A lot of people love this movie. That’s cool. You do you. But I’ve seen this three, maybe four times now, and I never loved it, never liked it, never really enjoyed it. It’s a struggle to get through, and once I do, the best I can say about it is that it finally ended. The Shining isn’t a movie I enjoy.

And since I’ve probably pissed off some people already, let me just throw this in: the 1997 mini-series version of The Shining is a lot better in my eyes, and actually worth watching.

As for this one? Yeah, I can do without.

5/10