Celebrating Poltergeist’s 40th Anniversary

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This month, I am personally celebrating my mom’s 50th birthday by seeing a film in theaters that’s turning 40. The film that got me started with horror. The film that is the ultimate starter-horror with its PG rating, mild scares and whole lot of heart. The title gives it away, we’re talking about Poltergeist.

Durango Arts Center holds special 'Poltergeist' screening – The Durango  Herald

The Steven Spielberg produced and written; Tobe Hooper directed flick from 1982. A true treat to any moviegoer as it is tame in its scares but deep and rich in its story. It’s a film that has stood the test of time and didn’t even receive a smudge from its terrible remake (what a waste of Sam Rockwell). However, with genius and heart comes tragedy, which struck in the real life of those involved in the film. We’re going to be going over all of that as we jump into this legendary void of Poltergeist.

Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg: an interesting account

One of the rumors that have stuck around throughout the years is that Steven Spielberg actually directed majority of Poltergeist. I mean, it makes sense–the film does have that Spielberg charm. However, there’s more to this story as another iconic film is celebrating 40 this year as well. ET: The Extra-Terrestrial was being filmed at the same time as Poltergeist right next door. Believe it or not, that was the script that Spielberg tried to get Tobe Hooper to direct. Having been impressed with his directing in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, he wanted him for a project and offered the fully fleshed out script of ET rather than the half-baked idea of Poltergeist.

Poltergeist (1982) - IMDb

Shockingly, Hooper turned the script down as he was seeking out a film about ghosts rather than aliens. There was a script that Spielberg had been aware of back in his Close Encounters days called ‘Night Skies’ which would then become the framework for Poltergeist. Spielberg took up the entire helm of ET and offered Hooper the job of directing Poltergeist, which he accepted. Due to ET being the bigger budget, Spielberg was contracted to focus his efforts on that film despite the second project occurring at the same time.

Spielberg did not take the reins however due to conflict, but rather partnership. Tobe Hooper would set up the shots, Spielberg would make adjustments and that was that. Spielberg remains adamant to this day that Hooper deserves the credit for director and that it is Hooper’s project as much as it is his. That is the true answer to this day.

Tragedy on Set: The Infamy Behind Poltergeist

There are two major tragedies tied to this film and its series (though more have occurred). It is known for being one of the ‘cursed’ sets–The Exorcist is the most notorious for its cursed nature. There are two incidents that have tainted its legacy despite neither happening on set.

Dominique Dunne - Profile Images — The Movie Database (TMDB)
Dominique Dunne

Dominique Dunne had a blooming career. Poltergeist was her first theatrical role and her role as Dana Freeling, the teenage daughter, got quite a lot of screen time. She lined up a role in V, the popular sci-fi miniseries from 1983. On October 30th, 1982, she was rehearsing with V costar David Packer–a few weeks before is when she cut ties with her abusive boyfriend John Sweeney. There had been multiple violent episodes between the two, and Dunne had finally fled and broke it off after a friend walked in on Sweeney choking Dunne after a heated argument.

Sweeney showed up at her house, saying he only wanted to talk it out. After she went outside to talk, Packer heard them start to argue, then heard two screams and a thud. He went outside and saw Sweeney over Dunne, strangling her. At the hospital, Dunne was declared brain dead and taken off life support. Sweeney was charged with voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 6 years in prison. Production of V moved on yet used some footage of her for a cameo and dedicated the entire series to her memory.

Heather O'Rourke - Wikipedia
Heather O’Rourke

The other tragedy lies in the legacy of the other leading lady: Heather O’Rourke. O’Rourke was merely five years old when she was cast as Carol Anne Freeling and garnered a Young Actor award for her performance. After Poltergeist’s reception came in, it was time for a sequel. However, shortly after the release of Poltergeist II, O’Rourke was misdiagnosed with Crohn’s disease after contracting giardiasis–a parasite that attacks the intestines and may produce similar symptoms–from well water at her house. They prescribed her cortisone which causes her tissues to swell and led to a fatal constriction of blood vessels in her intestines.

O’Rourke began feeling flu-like symptoms which devolved into cardiac arrest on January 31st, 1988. She was revived by medics shortly after and was flown to the San Diego Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery. After surviving surgery, she went into cardiac arrest again in the recovery room. Despite 30 minutes of CPR, she passed. She was barely twelve years old.


Many consider the Poltergeist set cursed. While there are paranormal whisperings of events that occurred on set, it was these tragedies with their unnatural circumstances that have the most substantial evidence of any curse. Dunne’s murderer getting off with manslaughter. O’Rourke’s misdiagnosis at the most inopportune time. These are weird cases, but mostly tragic.

A Lighter Note: Fun Facts about Poltergeist

With a mix of controversy and curses, I thought it would be nice to close this article with some fun facts. I mean, we have reason to celebrate, Poltergeist turns 40 this year!

Five Fun Facts
Poltergeist at 40: How the Classic Film Changed Haunted House Horror
  • The film actually started as a sequel of Close Encounters of the Third Kind but split off from its source material rather quickly. Seems like the aliens went to E.T. instead.
  • Heather O’Rourke was incredibly mannered on set–however, there was one scene that she was not fond of. The scene when she is sucked into the closet and hanging on by the headboard upset her severely. They got the shot of her looking back and screaming, but shortly after she burst into tears. Spielberg promised her she would never have to do that scene again. Therefore, a body double was used for the rest of the scene.
  • The two main scares in this film are actually inspired by Spielberg’s real childhood fears. The tree is based off of a tree that cast shadows into his childhood bedroom and the clown–well the clown is self-explainable to anyone who suffers from coulrophobia (like me).
  • The tree scene was actually filmed in reverse. Opting to have Oliver Robins spit out rather than swallowed made the final result look better. It also shortened the time the actor had to be in the tree itself–I declare that a win-win.
  • Most know that the pool scene contained real skeletons. However, when filming that scene, the pool was surrounded with live wires and electrical equipment. JoBeth Williams refused to get in the pool until she was guaranteed safety from possible electrocution–a very reasonable request. Spielberg insisted total attention of the crew. When met with lukewarm enthusiasm, Spielberg got in the pool with Williams to ensure her safety. It also helped her feel more comfortable filming the scenes.

Conclusion

Poltergeist was my first horror movie, and it remains as one of the best of the genre. I think what makes Poltergeist unique is it is packed full of heart. The family dynamic is front and center in this film. Despite the short runtime, you care about the characters and want this family to be okay. The 2015 remake is not worth the watch as this whole dynamic was missing. It also lacked the brilliant practical effects that the original has. Anyways, happy 40th birthday Poltergeist. You can rent Poltergeist on Amazon Video or if you want to support the physical media movement, buy it physically here.

This House Is Clean GIFs | Tenor

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. Love Poltergeist? Check out the custom sticker here on Redbubble designed by yours truly. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

Stranger Things: Horror Movie References You Might Have Missed

It’s been three weeks since the release of Stranger Things 4. The show really shook the world and was the most important season–I mean, it put Kate Bush back on the charts (where she rightfully belongs). While the press time has seemingly passed, I wanted to discuss the horror references in the show. I also wanted to do this without giving spoilers way too early in the cycle, so here it is now.

Stranger Things - What You Missed

This season was a tad bit scarier that the seasons in the past. With that came more horror movie references that made my heart giddy. It was fun to pick these out and cheer when an homage was made, so why not share my list with the world and see if there was any you might have missed. Without further ado, here are five references you might have missed in Stranger Things 4.

Vecna’s Attacks: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Stranger Things - Vecna

The first episode traverses through the torment that Chrissy goes through. It is a no brainer that the way Vecna attacks and manipulates his victims is an homage to A Nightmare on Elm Street. This trance that those who are cursed go under emulates a dreamlike state that can be fully controlled by the gruesome ruler of the Upside Down. Vecna poses as people to get under the victim’s skin. He traps them in a mental cage. He changes the scene at will. All of these are tactics that Freddy pulls from time to time.

Freddy's arms stretching out : r/NightmareOnElmStreet

Vecna’s appearance almost reflects Freddy Krueger. The disfiguration caused to Henry is very similar to the burn marks and scars seen on the slasher villain. Mixed in is the brutality of the kill–another thing they seem to have in common. A Nightmare on Elm Street is famous for its notoriously gruesome kills and the style in which Vecna kills his victims could fit right in.


Victor Creel: Speaking of Nightmare

Speaking of Freddy Krueger, the man behind the burns makes an appearance in the “Dear Billy” episode. Instead of being the perpetrator this time, he acts as father of the perpetrator in a twist. Robert Englund delivers in the haunting role, sporting grueling eye prosthetics. It’s his story that pushes the narrative further into the question of who is Vecna and what does he want.

Despite Victor being a victim rather than a villain, there’s no denying he’s connected to it all. Unfortunately, he’s even confused as to how and why he was targeted, and the events ruin his life forever–leading to him gouging his eyes out in grief. It’s a monologue that will stick with you and ultimately propels the story, therefore a great use and nod to Robert Englund and his character’s influence on the Stranger Things bad guy.


Steve Pulled Under: Jaws

There was a lot of surprises this season, and “Watergate” was one of them. The newly opened gate is discovered by Steve in his deep dive down Lovers’ Lake. Covered with suspicious tentacles, its presence is as ominous as it is threatening. As he swims up to inform the group, we are greeted with a reference from the first blockbuster ever.

What Happened To The Girl From Jaws' Iconic Opening Scene?

First, he is pulled down quickly. Next, he bobs up to react. Suddenly the underwater beast pulls him into the depths and through the mouth of the gate. Steve’s abduction is quite reminiscent of the first kill in the Spielberg classic Jaws. The first jerk down is always the most terrifying. Seeing the panic in Steve’s eyes and the transition of confusion to terror in the rest of the group is what sells the scene. It acts as the perfect reintroduction to traversing through the Upside Down.


A Rope Between Two Dimensions: Poltergeist

Stranger Things - A Reference to Poltergeist
I Rewatched Poltergeist for Its 40th Anniversary and I Have Questions |  Tor.com

Speaking of Spielberg classics, he acted as producer for the next film referenced. After their adventures through the Upside Down and their brawl with the Demobats, the gang make the connection between the deaths and the gates. They meet up with the others in Eddie’s trailer and cook up a method of escape.

This method of escape emulates a very iconic scene from Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. The rope that they throw up into the other dimension has the same kind of effect and look as the one used by the mother to save Carol Anne. Paired with the same emotional feeling of reuniting only for something terribly wrong to ruin it, it’s impossible to deny this is a Poltergeist reference.


Eddie and a Spider’s Form: It

Stranger Things - Eddie Munson

Finally, the number one comparison to Stranger Things is IT. Their similarity to each other is the reason for comparison, in which the series’ fourth installment further emphasized. The number one thing to bring up–even though it saddens me beyond belief–is the death of Eddie. It is general knowledge that IT packs an emotional punch with the death of their Eddie, and the Duffer Brothers decided to take that in the same direction. Eddie Munson died a hero and so did Eddie Kaspbrak.

We also got the tidbit of information that Vecna was behind the Mind Flayer. More importantly, he made it in the form of a spider due to his fascination with spiders. A spider form is kind of the butt of the joke in regard to the IT miniseries, as it is the “ultimate” form of the alien in the final battle. So, the comparisons to IT took on rather ironic levels in the season’s big plot twist.


Conclusion

This season was a wild ride and climbed the list to be my second favorite season of the show. I hope you enjoyed it as well and are hopefully exiting your mourning period for fictional characters. We have to wait two more years for the Stranger Things series finale, but in the meantime, let me know if there were any references that I might have missed or if there is anything you’re looking forward to next season. You can watch Stranger Things here on Netflix.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

Popcorn (1991): A Mother of the Void Summary

The Void has given me almost free reign to decide my movies to wax poetically about.  When I told her about my pick for this installment and sent her the trailer, her response was, “Well that looks fun.” I want to remind you, fearless readers, that this is an essay on a particular horror movie. I will be sharing my thoughts as I view the picture, so there will be spoilers. If you want to watch the film first, or watch along as you read, the title is POPPING on the screen below.

The film for this view is “Popcorn” from 1991. This is director Mark Herrier’s only time to sit in the director’s chair. Harrier has mainly spent his time in front of the screen, in bit part in TV shows like Bosch, The Practice and MASH. He also appeared in the very popular 80’s Porky’s franchise. The film stars horror staples Dee Wallace (The Howling, The Hills Have Eyes), Jill Schoelen (The Stepfather, Cutting Class), as well as veteran actors Tony Roberts (Serpico, Annie Hall) and Ray Walston (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Sting). 

With its feet still firmly planted in the 80s, this is a fun film. While it is not well known, some notable horror films have found some inspiration in this little film, and I will reference them as we go. 

In the BEGINNING

The film starts with the sound of dripping water and slowly focuses on a number of different latex masks floating in water. The very stylized title glistens across the screen. The camera now scans the room of Maggie (Schoelen) who is having a nightmare in her very bright bedroom. Personally, I can’t sleep in a room that bright. However, she is a college student, and apparently, they can sleep through anything. Her dream involves explosions, a young girl who looks like her, a creepy, hippie man, and a flaming sword.

Horror Movie Review: Popcorn (1991) - Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging  Life

The hippie man is actually just a head on a table that has now decayed, and the little girl is running away. The coloring in this scene is very vivid, giving it a quality of Dario Argento’s films. Maggie stirs in her bed as flames appear around the young girl and suddenly a bound woman is shown, calling the name “Sarah”, over and over on a loop. The little girl moves her hand and Maggie mimics the movement. Seriously, between the light and movement, this girl either ran a marathon the day before, or I want to know what medication she is on for when I suffer from insomnia. 

In the dream, the little girl’s hand is grasped by a man’s hand. She turns to look at the man, but all we can see is the child, and the outline of a man, and the once flaming sword in front of her. Hippie Man, whose head is now firmly attached to his body, raises the sword over his head, as he slowly says “Sarah”. We hear Maggie’s alarm clock and this is what wakes her up, gasping. 

Hello Maggie and Suzanne

Maggie instantly grabs a tape recorder next to her bed, she talks about this “same” dream she is having, expanding on the details. We now cut to Suzanne (Wallace), Maggie’s mom, as she is getting breakfast ready. Man, do I feel like a crappy mom. This woman is dressed, hair and makeup perfect. She has cooked breakfast, but the counters are completely clean.  I mean the goddamn burner covers are on the stove. The rest of the house appears immaculate. I’m calling it right now. This woman is a psychopath!

Anyway…. Suzanne answers a phone call. At first there is no one on the other end. The person on the other end finally asks for a person, and Suzanne says, “Sorry, wrong number.”  The voice then says, “Remember who the ninth circle of Hell is reserved for.” and then hangs up. This just makes Suzanne look and the phone, make an amused sound and hang up. 

Maggie enters the kitchen and says she doesn’t have time for breakfast. Don’t piss off your mother. Maggie is recording details of her dream into her tape recorder and when she mentions the name Sarah, Suzanne’s face slightly tightens. She asks her daughter why she named her character Sarah. Maggie says she doesn’t know and then makes a standard Citizen Kane reference, used when a filmmaker wants everyone to believe that they know a lot about cinema.

We now see Maggie driving up to her college, the University of California at Oceanview. This looks like a very high class institute of higher learning. She is rushing to class, still dictating to her recorder, when an earring-wearing mullet man attaches himself to her face.  Without even a hello, he is telling her how much he wants her and to come back to his place. Maggie is a serious filmmaker, we know this because of the Citizen Kane reference, and she tells Mark, despite his begging, that the only energy she has right now is to work on her film. He tells her that he is not going to wait forever. 

The Horror-THon

We are now in a classroom? I say this in a questioning way because the seating is just concrete risers. They explain that the film students have been bounced around from room to room, and now they are stuck in a music room. The risers make even less sense now. The students in this class consist of three girls, three boys, the teacher and his assistant. No wonder they keep getting moved. This film department is not bringing in much money in tuition. One of the students, Bud, is in a wheelchair. I immediately thought of Franklin from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and knew this kid was in trouble. 

The professor calls Toby to the front of the class to explain his idea for a fundraiser for the department. Toby suggests that they put on an all night horrorthon. The other students make fun, and it is here that I saw familiar. This scene is very reminiscent of the movie discussion in the film class in “Scream 2”. There are others as the film goes on, but maybe it is just me…

Popcorn (1991) - IMDb

The appeal of this horrorthon is that the film will be shown with the original gimmicks that they were released with; smell-o-vision, shock-o-vision, etc. There just so happens to be an abandoned theater, named Dreamland. It is three weeks from being torn down, and the horrorthon will be the last event that will be held there. There is concern that they will be able to get everything ready in time, when out of nowhere, Dr. M (Walston) appears. He says he is there to help, and all his gear is outside. Toby explains that Dr. M owns a movie memorabilia shop, and it is all they will need.

Dr. M passionately explains how the classic movie theaters were run. He tells them that he is there to help them turn this into a memorable evening. Then…wait…. what is this I hear….it can’t be?!  Oh yes, it is. A music montage of them all working together, to an upbeat song, with almost a ska rhythm, singing the joys of “Saturday night at the movies.” Everyone is happily cleaning and mugging for the camera, and they are making masks, getting costumes ready and testing the special effects. 

The Possessor

It is the night before the big show. As they finish up, they find a film canister. They decide to run it and we see the close up of an eye. The face on the screen says, “I am the possessor.” There are scenes of gore, and then it is HIPPIE MAN.  Scenes from Maggie’s dream play out on the screen. She is reacting and passes out. The classmates have carried her out into the lobby, and she asks what the movie was. The teacher explains it is a film called “The Possessor” made by a 60’s cult leader named Lanyard Gates. They used to make art films. He supposedly murdered his whole family at a showing of the film. The class decides to not show the film at the festival. 

We now see Suzanne, looking a little spooked, as she is closing up her door to the balcony. Maggie makes matters worse when she walks into the room, making her visibly jump. She asks her mom if she has ever heard of Lanyard Gates, which makes Suzanne even more nervous, but she denies knowing who that is. Maggie explains about the film they found, and how this movie is what she has been dreaming about. Suzanne tells Maggie she wants to skip the festival, but Maggie refuses. She says she has to see this through. They have a sweet mother daughter moment and the phone rings.

The same voice is on the phone as earlier, referencing the ninth circle of hell again and when Suzanne asks who it is, it repeats, “I am the possessed.” Suzanne is visibly upset and the voice on the phone says, “I want her.”

Suzanne screams “NO”, and the voice on the phone suggests that they talk. He tells her to come to Dreamland and to bring her gun. Well, first of all, Suzanne is obviously hiding something. Secondly, this is not the way you ask a woman out on a movie date. I mean it has been a while since I have been asked out, but I am pretty sure this would not be a very successful method. And lastly, you are telling an obviously nervous woman, with at least a few mental disorders, to bring a gun on said date. I see a Dateline special in their future. 

The Date from Hell

Of course, Suzanne goes to the theater. Dressed all in black she exits her car, gun in hand. As she approaches, the marquee lights up, then suddenly the letters start flying off the sign at her, and the title Possessor appears on the marquee. A single ticket is issued from the empty box office. Suzanne retrieves her ticket, and the door opens.

Exhumed & Exonerated: 'Popcorn' (1991) - Bloody Disgusting

Suzanne hears the voice on the phone and follows it into the theater. She talks to the screen, confirming that she does know who Lanyard is. Now mostly in the dark, a figure appears in the balcony. She hears special effect noises and runs to the back of the theater.  She sees a figure approaching her and fires her gun. The figure falls to the floor as she cries. This prompts a big hug. Maybe this will be a successful date after all. You go Suzanne!

Maggie wakes the next morning and finds breakfast and a note waiting for her from her mom.  With the events of the previous evening, it is obvious that Suzanne was not home to make this loving gesture. 

We cut to the night of the big and once again…it is a musical number! Imagine how much better Halloween would have been if Laurie had broke out singing a chorus of “Somebody’s Watching Me.”  Carpenter really missed the boat on that one! All the costumes are on point and they are playing their part. Maggie is manning the ticket booth, when handsie Mark with the ultimates from earlier shows up with a very blonde date. Maggie plays it cool, while Mark is visibly regretting his decision. I hope for his sake the goodie bags with your 3D glasses and nose plugs comes with condoms. 

A scarred hand drops some crumpled money onto the ticket booth counter and asks Maggie if the films they are showing are as shocking as “Possessor”, but he refers to her as Sarah in the question. He quickly walks away, and Maggie rushes out to follow him, but secures her replacement before leaving. She should be dressed as a girl scout!

Maggie and MArk aren’t meant to be

The first movie begins and the audience is lively. Maggie spots her target in a different balcony and he leaves, exiting the lobby before Maggie can catch him. 

Mark is no longer very enthusiastic about his date and tells her he will be right back. Hello…. Way to keep breaking the rules asshole. Pressuring a girl to have sex, showing up with a nonvirgin who is an obvious target, and now, “I’ll be right back.” Please kill this man of principle alone!  He heads out towards the lobby.

Maggie has made her way up to the projection booth, where Toby is keeping an eye through the tiny window. Maggie tells him that she thinks Lanyard Gates is in the theater. He is of course skeptical, but Maggie tells him she is sure it was him. Toby says since nobody identified the body, there is a possibility that he could still be alive. Maggie’s reaction is that of excitement, with her thoughts being about her movie. Toby tries to convince her to call the police, but Maggie tells him there is no way the police would believe them. He leaves to take a look, leaving Maggie in the projection booth. 

Toby makes his way downstairs. He steps outside a suspiciously cracked door to see if there is anything or anyone there, and the door shuts behind him, leaving him locked out.  Meanwhile in the theater, Mark’s date makes a new friend, who sits beside her without protest. 

 We now see someone approach Maggie from behind. A voice says “BOO” and Maggie punches boytoy Mark right in the face, knocking him on his ass. 

Here comes the carnage

Behind the movie screen the teacher is getting the big mosquito ready to make its debut. He has all the switches flipped and is ready to send the critter flying. The crowd goes wild, and he is like a kid on Christmas morning. From above, another set of hands with a different remote takes control of the big bug, suddenly sending it the teacher’s way, impaling him, and leaving him dead on the floor. Maggie’s new man of interest comes and drags the teacher off stage. 

Horror Movie Review: Popcorn (1991) - Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging  Life

We now see more of the masks in the water that we saw at the beginning of the film. The newest addition is a mold of a teacher’s face. 

Maggie is explaining all the backstory to Mark, when Toby returns, telling of his adventure of walking around the building. Mark proceeds to piss off Maggie, who sends him back to his blonde. 

Everyone returns to their posts, and when Mark tries to get his seat back, he finds his replacement not very cultured, but really good with his hands. For the second time tonight, Mark’s ass is on the ground. 

Bud is getting ready to shock the shit out of the audience and tells Tina to go get their teacher because he needs help. Tina, who is the teacher’s pet, was already looking for him. Maggie is out in the booth, listening to her tape recorder, smiling at the sound of her own voice, when Suzanne’s new boyfriend’s voice comes on, once again calling her Sarah. She tried to rush out of the ticket booth, only to find the door blocked. She pushes hard, hears a thud, and Mark is down for the third time.

Utter Chaos: The meat of the movie

I know he wanted to lay flat on his back, but this is not the way to go about it my man. Maggie runs to comfort him, because after all the crap he’s put her through, that is exactly what we women do. I would have laughed and stepped over him…but that’s just me. Maggie tells Mark she has proof that Gates was there. When she goes to show him the tape, it’s broken. They go to find Tina to see if she saw anyone mess with her recorder. 

Tina makes her way backstage to find her favorite teacher. She sees him securing the mosquito and he motions for her to come to him. Bud sends Maggie and Mark backstage as well, giving them a flashlight, because that is always welcome in a movie theater. 

Bud now gets to have his fun, zapping the audience with electrical shocks. He make quips and takes great joy in torturing the audence. 

Not from these events… but I had to include this photo.

Tina meets up with the “teacher”, but his newly made mask is still wet. As she goes to kiss him, it sticks to her face, and she pulls away in disgust. The mask rips off and reveals a burnt and mutilated face underneath. The crowd mutes Tina’s screams. Maggie and Mark come across a newly deceased Tina, who is now being puppeted by her killer. He mimics her voice, and sends them on a wild goose chase. Mark, of course, pulls a Toby, and locks them out of the building. 

“Tina” comes into the box where Bud is having his fun. Tied up and wired up, Bud is the target for the big shock. The killer has a recorded message for him, explaining how it will all go down. Bud tries desperately to reach the switches, but the lights the killer referenced in the recording start going off. 

Maggie and Mark end up back in the lobby, after scaling a fence to get back inside. Mark is limping and has ripped the ass of his pants. Maggie, of course, is unscathed. They once again go off looking for the teacher. 

Bud is still struggling, and almost makes it to one of the wires, but he is too late. The electricity going through him knocks out the power and knocks him out of his wheelchair. With the power out, Leon and Joannie decide the only logical thing to do is to of course have another musical break, so the run to have the band get on stage. How they will play without power, I am sure they will figure out something!

SOme more Musical moments

Maggie and Mark are now joined by Cheryl, who is helping keep Mark upright. Not very well, because he manages to fall down the stairs. See boys….this is why you don’t pressure girls into doing things they aren’t ready for! Karma is real!  While Cheryl helps Mark, Maggie goes to talk to Bud. 

Popcorn 1991 Sale, 48% OFF | avifauna.cz

The band takes the stage, playing the chart topper “Pocomania Day”. The crowd is jamming and grooving. Maggie, on the other hand, has the very pleasant task of finding what remains of Bud…or is it. Suddenly the man of her dreams, who is also her mom’s new boyfriend, is sitting in Bud’s wheelchair. He calls her Sarah again and says, “What, no kiss for daddy?” GROSS! And I would tread lightly dude. We have seen how this girl handles Stepfathers! Maggie denies being this man’s daughter. She runs away, as memories come flooding back. 

Maggie runs into Toby and tells him everything. That she remembers everything, that she is Gate’s daughter, and Suzanne is not her mother. Just then Mark’s blonde comes stumbling out of the dark. Toby takes Maggie away before words or blows begin to fly. They go and sit behind the stage, and she continues to tell Toby the whole story.

Toby comforts her and tells her he is there for her. They head downstairs to get to the circuit breakers and fix the lights. Toby falls down the stairs, Maggie retrieves his flashlight, as she shines it around the room, it is not Toby she sees, but her teacher. She sees Tina, but not really. She hears noises surround her, and Gates appears behind her. 

Puzzle pieces fall into place

Popcorn (1991) - IMDb

The lights turn back on, and the third movie begins…Although I don’t know who starts it. 

While she’s tied to a chair, the killer reveals to Maggie his snazzy Toby mask. He shows her the different masks he wears. This is actually a pretty good bit. He settles on Toby to continue his story. Maggie asks him if he is not her father, why is he doing all this. Toby reveals that he was in the theater the night of the fire. He was burned over most of his body and blames her for everything that happened to him. He gives her a demonstration of how he puts his face on. Toby tells Maggie he is going to recreate the end of Possessor as it should have been. 

Mark’s Blonde makes her way out to the lobby where he is being bandaged up by Cheryl and Joannie. Blondie, I know this is not her name, but I already have too many names to keep track of, tells Mark that she saw Maggie and Toby getting friendly with each other, and they left together. Blonde’s new man comes out and it is Cheryl who takes care of business. Joannie tells Mark where Toby lives and he heads out to see what is going on. 

Pee and pinatas? The Final Act

Meanwhile, in the basement, Toby wheels out a Suzanne pinata. It must have been a really tight hug, because she is in a full body cast. Toby shows his full crazy, leaving mother and daughter to catch up. 

Joannie and Leon are getting the smell tabs ready, when Leon says he has to run to the bathroom. Standing at the urinal, his twin confronts him. Toby pee on Leon’s leg and locks him in the stall. Then he drops an exploding gas tablet in the toilet. When Toby returns to take care of Joannie, she proclaims her love for him, thinking she is talking to Leon. This saves her life. Toby returns to the basement ranting that he doesn’t have time to talk about love. 

Now Toby, and Suzanne are behind the screen, getting ready for the live action ending of the Possessor. 

Mark is at Toby’s and talks to his landlord. The landlord talks about what a horrible tenant he was. Mark finds all the articles about the theater burning down, pictures of Maggie, and he puts together who the bad guy is. It only took a few blows to the head to turn Mark into a good guy!  

Toby starts to play the Possessor and begins to walk down the aisle. Cheryl and Joannie try to stop the projector as Mark tries to find a way into the theater. Toby is setting the final stage. Instead of just breaking a window, Mark scales the building. 

Toby begins to act out the movie that is playing behind him. Mark is doing his best Peter Parker impersonation on the outside of the building. Here are some more similarities to Scream 2 in my opinion. The opening and the ending of the film. The audience is into it. They don’t realize this is not part of the show. Mark saves the day by ziplining with his belt, but the real hero is Mr Mosquito, who skewers Toby and lets him fly like Peter Pan around the stage. 

Conclusion

Well we have come to the end of the Popcorn bucket. This little film was a box office flop. It has since become a cult classic among horror fans due to the homage to the films of William Castle. The music choices make more sense when you know the movie was actually filmed in Jamaica. And I promise, those songs will be stuck in your head for a while. 

I hope you enjoyed my take, the film or ideally both. Until next time….and who knows where the Void will lead me. Check out my last post here.


Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with us. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

I Don’t Know Horror Movies. I’ll Guess the Plot to These Six Popular Horror Movies Anyway.

Hi there, Taylor (The Void) here. I opened up the floor to some friends of mine to write a blog post for TVOC this summer, and surprisingly, they jumped on board immediately. This is one of those posts written by my one of my dear friends Justine. I’ll let her take it away.


I must admit my knowledge of horror films is severely lacking. I have never bothered to delve into the genre and all it has to offer. The closest thing to horror I’ve watched is Troll 2 (Please dear god watch it if you haven’t yet, deserves all the praise in the world). So, when my dear friend Taylor asked if I wanted to write a post for TVOC I thought it would be entertaining to guess the plots of popular horror movies. Taylor gave me six movie posters, and in this post, I will guess the plot of the movie using said posters. I’m going in blind, expecting to completely butcher these plot points. Come along for the ride.

Cat People (1942)

The poster for Cat People gives me a lot to work with. Um hi…a gorgeous woman, a blood dripping cat and a curse? Sounds like a good time. 

Cat People (1942) - IMDb

The Plot: A woman in her early 20’s lives alone with her multitude of cats. At this point she’s lost track because she has taken in stray after stray, and they come and go as they please. Little does she know, one cat that has snuck in amongst the ranks is not like the other cats. For this cat carries a CURSE (oOooHhh). This black cat (the one in the poster) acts sweet and innocent in the first few days at the house. However, one night as the woman is feeding all the cats, the cursed cat strikes.

It bites her, right on the wrist. She thinks nothing of it at first. However, the next morning when she wakes up, she herself is a black cat. The stray cat she took in, as it turns out, used to be a human woman. The woman has been trapped in a cat’s body for the past decade and can only turn back into a human on nights with a full moon. The cat has decided to give other unsuspecting women the same curse by biting them. Our main character is just one of many victims. She is desperate to remove the curse, but the black cat disappears before she can get any answers. 

The main character is finally able to transform back into a woman on the next night of a full moon. When she looks in the mirror, she notices she does not look the same. She is wearing a deep red dress that she does not own. Her lipstick and nail polish a bright red. Her fingernails are pointy and sharp to the touch. She has a desire for blood to match. Our character spends the night out on the town trying to seduce the men she meets. It does not take long for one man to take the bait.

As soon as they are alone, she quickly kills him with her talon-like nails. After a few months of killing men during full moon nights, our main character realizes she no longer desires to get rid of the curse. She meets other black cats, who are really women afflicted by the same curse. They form a group. Preying, and hunting together.

Each full moon they go out on the town as a group, kill as a group, and disappear before anyone can figure out what has happened. The police never find out who is responsible for all these mysterious deaths, just that an influx of black cats seem to appear in town before the full moon every month.

THe Hills Have Eyes (1977)

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) - IMDb

The Hills Have Eyes poster has a lot of good information that can be used to determine a plot. Right away, I noticed “A nice American family. They didn’t want to kill. But they didn’t want to die.” That along with the broken-down car in the bottom left of the poster, gave me all I needed to know.

The Plot: Picture this, a cute family of five plus their adorable dog are headed out for a camping adventure at Arches national park. BUT…. their van gets a flat tire and they’re left stranded in the middle of nowhere. The family is calm at first waiting for someone to pass by to help out (like AAA or something idk). 

As the days go by, they realize no one is passing by. The road is empty. All is quiet, except for weird noises they keep hearing at night. Enter the creepy man that’s front and center on the movie poster. He leads a group of cannibalistic egg-headed aliens. They live within the hills that the all-American family is surrounded by. In order to survive, the family has to fight off the cannibals that are trying to eat them. I imagine the movie involves a lot of fighting and near-death experiences.

The dog is probably killed and eaten first, followed by one or two of the kids. However, I think at least half of the family survives the cannibals when a school bus full of free-spirited hippies drives by and saves them. But PLOT TWIST: the movie ends with the surviving family members finding out those that saved them are actually part of a cult.

Suspiria (1977)

The biggest thing I got from the Suspiria movie poster is that it is in another language (french? italian?). Also it looks like the woman in the poster has had her throat slit? Lots of blood. Besides that, I got nothing, so this plot is going to be completely pulled out of my ass.

Saturday Matinee: Walter Chaw Talks Suspiria, 1977 | Denver Public Library

The Plot: A European woman (Suspiria) desires to be the best ballet dancer of her generation. Suspiria works nonstop and is willing to do anything and risk everything to be on top. However, she is not the only dancer that wants to be the best. Suspiria’s childhood friend also has the same aspirations. The friend knows that Suspiria is a naturally talented dancer. When they both decide to try-out for a world-renowned ballet program in Vienna, Suspiria’s friend realizes she has no chance of getting in with Suspiria as competition. The night before try-outs, Suspiria’s friend convinces her to have a couple drinks, to help relax. What our main character does not know is that her friend has drugged her drink. Once Suspiria slips out of consciousness, her friend drags her to the alley behind their hotel, slits her throat and slips away, unnoticed. 

The morning of the try-outs the friend believes she has gotten away with it, tries-out and gets accepted into the ballet program. All is well, UNTIL two months later. The friend begins touring with the program across Europe. One night, she wakes up in a sweat in her hotel bed and sees a flash of something in the corner. When she looks over, nothing is there. She is awoken again to something touching her, when she opens her eyes, again, nothing is there. The friend begins to see and hear things night after night. After a while, she sees and hears things even during the day. Finally, at the ballet’s last show of the tour, she sees her, Suspiria.

Suspiria is dancing amongst everyone in the performance, as if she is part of the group herself. When the friend gets a full glimpse of her, she sees Suspiria’s throat is still slit, blood gushing out of it all over the stage. The friend is horrified, but no one else seems to notice. The movie ends with Suspiria dancing up to her friend, making direct eye contact, acknowledging her for the first time on stage. The friend, frightened, takes a tumble mid-spin, landing wrong and breaking her neck. The end.

Christine (1983)

The movie poster for Christine really does not give me a lot to work with (love the car though). I am sorry in advance if my plot is so inaccurate you feel like gouging your eyes out after reading.

Christine: Ignition (Video 2004) - IMDb

The Plot: Christine is this absolute dream of a woman. Drop-dead bombshell that everyone wants. On top of that, she has an impeccable sense of fashion and a hot-ass red car to match. Little is known about her, she has no friends, no family (that anyone knows of), and she doesn’t bother making small talk with the peasants. No one knows her age, where she lives or works. They just know she’s around when they hear the rev of her car’s engine. 

The plot begins in a small town where men start disappearing. One every few months at first, then one every month, then one every two weeks and so on. Detectives are stumped, so are the citizens. Christine has been in town for a while and seems unbothered by the disappearances. No one suspects her to be the cause of the disappearances, but some have noticed her red car lingering around known disappearance sights of the men. This is because…pause for dramatic effect…. she is in fact a femme fatale killer.

Unbeknownst to the town, Christine goes from small town to small town every one or two years, kidnapping and killing some of its male citizens, before driving off to terrorize a new town. To her, men are playthings. She has fun with them (and they have some fun too), until they realize being with Christine ends in their death. This little town in the center of the plot does figure out Christine is responsible. They connect her to too many of the disappearances. However, by the time they can make an arrest, she is gone. Along with her gorgeous red car that you can hear speed off into the distance.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Taylor did warn me that Halloween III has nothing to do with the Michael Myers. To be fair, I haven’t seen Halloween so it doesn’t make much of a difference. Based on the poster alone, it’s obvious this movie is about witches who are up to no good. The line ‘The night no one comes home.’ makes me think this movie has one fateful night, where all hell breaks loose. 

Guess the Horror Plot

The Plot: The witches of Witchy Town (I don’t know you come up with a name), are a particular sort of twisted fun. They live under the radar in their all witch town. No men or non-witches in sight. They do what normal people do. Host holiday parties, go to cafes and parks, spend way too much money online shopping, etc. While Witchy Town has thankfully only seen a handful of men pass through its borders throughout its history, that all quickly changes.

One day, four different bus loads full of men pass through the town. All four buses stop in the middle of town to refuel and let the men stretch their legs and explore. This annoys and horrifies the witches. But it happens again the next day, and the day after that. Busloads of men, all stopping in Witchy Town before heading off to their destination. 

Soon the witches realize that a new golf resort (or whatever gets the men’s blood pumping i don’t know), has opened in a town about an hour away. The only driving route to the resort is right through Witchy Town. The witches decide that they have to stop even more men from coming to their town and disturbing their peace. So they hatch a plan. They have to scare away the men, to ensure they never pass by Witchy Town again. The witches hold a big town hall and determine the best course of action. The night following the town hall, they enact their plan.

A bus full of rowdy men pulls into the town’s gas station. The men all unload heading to the bathroom, store, or to explore the nearby shops. When all the men get back to the bus, the hottest witches of Witchy Town greet them. The witches act overly kind to the men, offering them refreshments before departing. The men gladly accept and are happy to converse with the ‘sweet women’ of the town. After they’ve had their refreshments, the men safely return to the bus as the witches blow them a kiss goodbye. 

Once the bus gets to the resort, a resort staff member notices that the bus doors open. However, after ten minutes, no one has come into the resort. Concerned, the staff member goes outside and checks on the bus. No one is in the driver seat and the bus is dead silent. As the staff member walks onto the bus, they see every man on the bus is dead. The employee alerts others in the hotel and they all look on in horror. Walking behind the bus, all the resort employees see that the words ‘death to all men’ are written in blood on the back of the bus.

Turns out that the witches had poisoned all the men. They also killed the bus driver so that a witch could drive the group to their destination before flying off into the night. The witches’ plans work, and men are too scared to go to the resort, and it is shut down. The witches of Witchy Town get to live happily ever after.

Thir13en ghosts (2001)

Guess the Horror Plot

Thanks to my broken brain, the title Thir13een Ghosts makes me think of 13 Reasons Why. Nonetheless this movie poster is creepy but doesn’t help me ascertain any sort of plot. I just see a terrified looking face, overlaid with a bunch of creepy ghost pictures. 

The Plot: Thir13een Ghosts follows your average woman. She is single, in her mid-30s, has a normal number of friends, and supportive parents. Life is normal up until she decides to make a career change. To get more excitement in her life she decides to move across the country and start new. She buys an old, beat-up house, that she plans to slowly renovate and make her own (you see where this is going?).

Once she moves into her house, she realizes that the house is older, and creepier than anticipated. That’s when the 13 ghosts come in. They all haunt the old house our main character has moved into. They’ve all decided to haunt her in their own unique ways. The only way to get rid of them? Defeat them. I’d like to think of it as a horror version of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Instead of evil exes to defeat, this character has to defeat the 13 ghosts to get her life back.

Throughout the movie she slowly finds all their weaknesses, killing them one at a time. She has a few near-death experiences herself but is finally able to defeat them all by the end. The character gets to live happily ever after in a new town, and in a newly constructed house (not taking chances again).


Wow, that was a rollercoaster. A big thanks to Justine for using her imagination and crafting plots that actually make way more sense than the actual plots. I was quite a fan of the made up Suspira‘s plot–gave me kind of Black Swan vibes. We’ve talked about a few of these movies on TVOC before, such as Cat People and Halloween III (in passing).

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

Scream Queens: Celebrating Women’s History Month

It’s Woman’s History Month, and I am beyond happy to be celebrating here on The Void of Celluloid. I am a proud woman and love me some women from the horror genre. Whether they’re the final girl or the antagonist in their films, the horror genre has always been a genre that predominantly casts women in their leading roles. The representation of their femininity and independence has only improved over the years as well.

Jamie Lee Curtis channels mom Janet Leigh in re-creation of 'Psycho' shower  scene

What is the best way to celebrate the horror genre and the women that are involved in it? Talking about the scream queens, that is. It is an honor to be crowned a scream queen, and usually implies that a female actor has frequented the genre a few times to earn the crown. Therefore, let’s talk about our famous femme fatales and how they’ve adorned our screens throughout the years.

The First of Many: Fay Wray

Fay Wray (1907-2004) - Find a Grave Memorial

As Tim Curry sings so angelically, “Whatever happened to Fay Wray, that delicate satin draped frame?” Well, she is the iconic star from the 1933 King Kong, making her our first official scream queen. She also starred in Son of Kong, The Most Dangerous Game, and Mystery of the Wax Museum, to name a few more early horror films with her as the starring role.

Wray really set an example of sultry meets the scream, as she always looked good while in distress. She practically is the poster child of what a woman looked like in early horror films.

King Kong was also incredibly successful for its timeframe, as the adjusted-for-inflation international box office for the film exceeds $350 million. It was a worldwide sensation that plastered Wray as its centerpiece (other than the giant ape itself). As the film closes, Wray was in fact that beauty who killed the beast, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here comes the slashers: Janet Leigh

Janet Leigh Reveals Psycho Movie Shower Scene Secrets

Yes, I am very aware that Janet Leigh is not a final girl when it comes to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. However, when thinking of the movie, her face immediately pops into my head. While Janet Leigh would not make another horror appearance again until the 80s with her daughter in The Fog, she is considered to be the first of the modern scream queens. Psycho is the birth of the slasher genre whose popularity snowballed in the 70s. Therefore, it can be pinpointed as the film that really kicked of the horror genre to what it is today.

That film would not have the gravitas that it does however without that shower scene. That shower was the last running shower Leigh would ever stand under, due to the mental strain filming that scene. With the masterful shots that teased nudity and gore, it was definitely a kill scene that made a splash. With it ending on Leigh’s eye transforming into that shower drain, there is no way that you don’t associate that movie with her.

Her Royal Highness: Jamie Lee Curtis

Halloween timeline and how to watch the horror series in order

Did I mention that Janet Leigh had a daughter? Well, she happens to be the queen of all scream queens herself, Jamie Lee Curtis. With her first role being the other huge film that changed the horror genre, Halloween, she basically was adopted and indoctrinated into the horror genre. To put it frankly, she is the horror genre. She has gone on to reprise the role of Laurie Strode multiple times in multiple timelines and has starred in other horror flicks such as Prom Night, Terror Train, and The Fog.

She is very aware of her role in the horror genre and where she lies on the scream queen hierarchy. Curtis is an executive producer on the new Halloween trilogy and says that she doesn’t participate in projects that aren’t important to her. Therefore, we have to know her reprisal and producing of this new trilogy is out of love and care–and it has reflected that thus far. Another notable film is Halloween: H20, as she stars in that with her mother once more. While it’s not the best horror movie out there, their scenes together are extremely heartfelt and really act as a nod as to the mother of the Queen. Legends truly make more legends.

Heather Langenkamp and Neve Campbell: Hello, Sid and nancy

Daughter, Sister, Mother - Nancy Thompson in the A Nightmare on Elm Street  Series - Rise Up Daily

Wes Craven was one to usher in a few scream queens in his day. The first being Heather Langenkamp from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Langenkamp was notably in the best of the franchise, the OG, Dream Warriors, and New Nightmare. Therefore, you could say they were the best because of Nancy’s appearance. She is a horror icon through and through, and Nancy can’t not be mentioned when discussing the penultimate final girls.

Scream (1996) - IMDb

However, the 80s came and went, and smack dab in the middle of the 90’s, we get a new scream queen–due to Wes Craven again. If you’re not new here, you know that I love me some Sidney Prescott. Neve Campbell graced the screens in both the Scream franchise and The Craft. Both of these films had the horror genre in a chokehold during the 90s. It was for good reason too, and a lot of it was due to Campbell’s natural charisma and edge that she gave to her characters. It made her that much more loveable and relatable. Campbell is also the scream queen with the most recent installment under her belt, with the latest Scream coming out earlier this year.

The MODERN-DAY Scream Queens

There are so many scream queens that haven’t been mentioned on this list that deserve acknowledgement, therefore I’m going to rapid fire a few here in a gallery to match names to faces to films. Let’s go.

If you can’t tell from this gallery, we could use a lot more diversity when it comes to crowning the next scream queens. However, we must appreciate the ones we have this women’s history month, as they have shaped the horror genre more than we could possibly say.

How you can celebrate Women’s History Month spookily

This month is the month to watch, support and share women led, directed and produced horror projects. While the scream queens grace our screens year after year, we are severely lacking in women horror filmmakers. While we should be supporting these films all the time, we know that people like to use these distinct months for performative activism. So go be performative and share some women led projects with the people you know.

Some of my favorite women-directed horror films are the original Pet Sematary (Mary Lambert), The Babadook (Jennifer Kent), the newest Candyman (Nia DaCosta), and The Invitation (Karyn Kusama). If I had to recommend one, The Invitation is one of the most slept on horror-thrillers of the last ten years, and everyone I’ve shown it to absolutely loves it. Give it a shot.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post twice a week and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

Honesty is the Best Policy: Let’s Talk About Scream

Scream (2022) - IMDb

As I stated in my article last Friday, I am really looking forward to some honest criticism about Scream. If I want to see it, I might as well contribute. I was part of the super hyped group that saw it opening day. While it met my expectations and exceeded some, there were a few fatal flaws that looking back on it–I wish there was a little more effort. Don’t get me wrong, the legacy cast killed it and I did appreciate and like the new cast of characters, but the story that revolved around them has quite a few plot holes and went weird directions.

Time has passed, so I think that it is now time to talk about it. If you haven’t seen it, stop here and go watch it, as this review will be chock full of spoilers. The twist worth the watch, as it is done pretty damn well. Nevertheless, let’s jump into 2022’s Scream.

The Opening Scene: what a bummer

Don’t get me wrong, the opening scene in Scream is intense. However, having it not be a kill really breaks tradition for all of the Scream films, as these openings are known for taking risks and killing off either very important characters or A-list actors. I guess the zinger was that she was still alive after all of that, but it just communicates that we might not have a as sinister and strong killer as we did in the past.

Scream (2022) - Plugged In

I think this movie would’ve benefitted from an event flip. A shocker to the audience would be the double kill that occurs about twenty minutes into the movie: Judy and her son Wes. It’s in the broad daylight–which had been done only once before in the franchise–plus a beloved character and the top theorized killer due to his namesake and the casting of Dylan Minnette. I don’t think this would’ve changed the events of the film, as after the opening credits, we can jump right into the scene with Tara, involving the new characters. It also involves the original characters a little earlier into the film and is the hard cutoff from the fourth film, as Judy was the only overlapping character that wasn’t one of the legacies.

Let’s Talk new Characters

Scream 5 Video Introduces The Franchise's New Characters

Of the ones that survived this new reign of terror, I do appreciate the sister power we have as our new “Sidneys.” They’re not meant to replace Sidney, obviously. However, I can definitely root for them for a few more films. However, I have a bone to pick with our lead, Sam. It’s not her fault, it is most definitely the writers reaching for straws, but we need to talk about the hallucinations.

I Love Skeet Ulrich, but…

Of all the past killers to bring back, they brought back Billy. Also, the timeline lines up for Sam, but also it is very narrow amount of time, with it only making sense that Billy slept with Sam’s mother the night of Stu’s party or somewhere within those days of the killing spree. Also, trying to turn him into a near anti-hero in the end and Sam mimicking his blade wipe–that did not leave a good taste in my mouth. Billy Loomis is bat shit crazy and took his need for vengeance a little too far. We don’t need to redeem him. However, I did enjoy Sam other than her daftness about going to Stu Macher’s house as if she did not grow up in that town immediately after the events took place. Most of all, I loved her as a team with her sister.

Siblings not done dirty
Scream (2022): This or That? : r/Scream

Finally, the Scream franchise is kind to siblings and doesn’t kill them off in brutal ways or make them wacko killers. We see Sam and Tara Carpenter as sisters who kick ass despite their shared trauma that separated them all of these years. Sure, the way they reintroduce each other in the hospital room was a little rushed and messy, but in that final showdown, we see the potential of what they can be, and when they put their brains together, they manage to make it out alive.

While Tara and Sam really delivered in a dynamic duo of final girls, it was Randy’s niece and nephew, Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin. There was finally some relief from the pain of Randy being gone, as there is no doubt that he is their uncle. It is almost as if he has visited them beyond the grave and bestowed his witty wisdom. I think their inclusion as well as their survival (I was really worried about Chad there for a second) really felt like the apology for killing Randy so early and abruptly. I am excited to see them in the sequel, but as their uncle said, the stakes are higher in a sequel.

Let’s Talk about the Killers

Alright, I saw Jack Quaid being the killer from a mile away. However, I thought he would be the one to provide the tie to the original killers. It would’ve been so easy, as Stu was quite more of a sex maniac than Billy it seems. It would mean Richie actually being Stu’s son instead of the hallucinations and the Billy stuff. They could’ve found another way to bring Skeet back, but we all really wanted Stu back. Even Matthew Lillard wanted Stu back. Maybe they’re saving it for a rainy day. The man could’ve survived a TV to the head, it’s a horror movie for god’s sake, it doesn’t have to make sense.

Scream 5: All The Clues To The Killer Identity Twist

Speaking of things not making sense, how did Amber manage to lift Dewey into the air above her head? I think that was Scream‘s way of tiptoeing towards an invincible, super strong killer like the rest of the franchises have adopted. I mean, it took a lot to kill both of them in the final act. Mikey Madison even relived some of her stunts that she pulled in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, except it was a stovetop, not a flamethrower. The thing that I liked about Scream’s killers was the human element. The crazy, unhinged human element. It sets them apart from previous killers, and not in a good way. However, they were on that same level of batshit crazy, so their actions around their oddly super strength demeanor sold them over all as Ghostfaces.

Finally: THe Legacy Characters of the Scream franchise

Oh, Dewey. I bawled in the theater due to Dewey’s death, as it felt like they ripped out and stomped on the heart of the series. However, I knew that is what would have to happen for Sidney to even come back to Woodsboro, and the movie laid it out as so. It was so good to see all of them again, however. I also like how their lives ended up, as they are very human and very unpredictable. Sidney ending up with Kincaid was a good little easter egg and made me happy that she found happiness and trust in a partner again. The first two movies made us think that would never happen, and it would be justified.

Scream 2022 Ending Explained - FandomWire

Gale is in the best position that Gale could be in, and I was grateful that she wasn’t the bad guy that ended things between her and Dewey. This allowed for no bitterness between them in their final moments and nothing but mutual love without the will-they-won’t-they element. I think that drama that was present in the previous films would’ve taken away from how gut-wrenching it was to say goodbye to Dewey, for both the audience and Gale.

It wouldn’t go without saying that I wish that we could’ve seen more of them, and they had more driving forces in the story. However, if the Scream franchise is going to continue, we have to say goodbye as we can’t watch another one of them die. It is a salute to both Wes Craven and Sidney Prescott from the horror genre. Together they revolutionized the final girl and broke down all of the rules that they had to abide by.

In Conclusion: Scream is worth your time

If you are a horror fan and love Wes Craven as much as I do, please watch the newest Scream if you haven’t already. While there are some plot holes and it might not have the payoff that some of us were wishing for after all these years, it is still a wild ride that is worth the experience at least once–it definitely isn’t as rewatchable as the others are. It is heartfelt at times, nostalgic in others and reads as a love letter to its creator, gone seven years now. The horror family misses and loves you, Wes.

Do you agree with the critiques marked in this review? Let me know your thoughts either on Twitter @OfCelluloid, Instagram @TheVoidofCelluloid, or on Facebook under the page The Void of Celluloid. Make sure to follow and sign up on the mailing list if you would like to receive more content of the sort and I will catch you guys in the next void. See ya soon, Spelunkers.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022): It isn’t Worth Your Time

The horror community will always get a little giddy when there is a new installment in the legendary franchises. It’s inevitable, even if we know that the sequels, reboots and requels won’t satisfy as much as the original. We watch them anyways. That’s how everyone felt with the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre. However, once it was announced that Netflix was the studio and the trailer dropped, the hype died almost immediately.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) - IMDb

It was for good reason. I sacrificed one of my Saturday nights watching this film to see if it was as bad as everyone says. The only reason I say that it was terrible is because there were some fun spots in the flicker of the flames of this dumpster fire. Texas Chainsaw Massacre plays as a comedy and spoof sometimes, and it is undercut by the times that the film tries to be serious. The last half of it? It plays like a Halloween (2018) rip off.

The New Group: Might be more annoying than franklin

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre | release date, cast, plot for Netflix film |  Radio Times

The film starts out fairly similarly. A group of twenty somethings traveling to the middle-of-nowhere Texas for some kind of sanctuary. This film takes sanctuary a little too far. They’re practically turning a ghost town into a commune. It gives me a little bit of the creepy cult vibe, but honestly, revamping a ghost town into something thriving sounds pretty neat. However, I would not want to be neighbors with any of these pretentious hipsters. I say that as a Portland local, so you have to know I mean that.

They make several stupid decisions and are really not supportive of one another. An example of a stupid decision being not having any papers on you when claiming the town, causing in the death that starts the whole thing off. Another example was sending the main guy’s girlfriend with the ambulance. The ambulance got there within plenty of time, I feel as if they should’ve just hoped for the best and called. Of course, that wouldn’t be the catalyst of events anymore, but the film honestly takes no time to get things rolling. Especially since it is paying homage to the original, which is a bit of a slow burn in the beginning.

The indestructible, traumatized sisters

Never have I ever seen someone get a sledgehammer to the gut from the top of the stairs that drives them through the floor, only to have them crawling for their lives three seconds later. The older sister, Melody is borderline indestructible. She takes so many hits and slashes, but still makes it through to the final act and beyond. I get that horror can go beyond reality, but this was borderline ridiculous. In turn to making Leatherface invincible, maybe making another character seemingly invincible will lead to a lot of fluff to the film. Just maybe.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 Cast and Character Guide

On top of that, we have poor Lila. She is severely traumatized by a school shooting, which puts some pretty heavy commentary into the film and never really goes into it afterwards. The film then proceeds to force this traumatized girl to defend herself with multiple guns and hear multiple gunshots, just to add to the horror and terror of it all. I understand final girls have to go through it, but part of it is getting the upper hand creatively. That happens eventually, but after the heavy use of guns, it seems as if her using a gun was the true cure to her trauma. That’s not really a sympathetic approach to survivors of school shootings.

Pro Gun Control or Anti Gun control? Does it really matter?

The Most Shocking Moments in Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Netflix Tudum

To follow up on the Lila’s storyline, the film really makes fun of the younger characters being against having guns. I get we’re in Texas and the writers might consider this detail ironic, but it ultimately didn’t deliver. I think it was supposed to be somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek reference to the current political climate and the gun control debate. However, it doesn’t establish what side it leans on to be actually funny. It just came up as confusing and abrasive to insert it within the story without a smooth transition.

Honestly, I am really for social commentary in horror. There usually always is some kind of metaphor and moral hidden between the brutality. However, I really saw this as an unnecessary situation to bring up. Especially since it turned into something so insensitive to the school shooting victim in the film and a ‘gotcha’ moment when the people were not a fan of guns had to use the guns. Of course, they did; they are up against a seemingly supernaturally invincible murderer with a chainsaw. Distance works in your favor for that situation. With the already poorly written dialogue, this kind of serious topic was never going to be a subtle, witty insert.

Sally Hardesty isn’t laurie strode

The last thing about Texas Chainsaw Massacre was its final act and the writing of Sally Hardesty. After the bus scene, that I dare say was the best part of the film. It’s ridiculously brutal, bloody and violent–which actually made me laugh at the insanity of it. After that bloodbath and wiping out the entirety of the extra people in the town, the final act kicks in, with its weakest part not being the new characters but rather the original final girl. I don’t think the writers realized that Sally Hardesty will never make the same impact as Laurie Strode. Therefore, they shouldn’t have used her character like this without beefing up her character.

Sally is a hardened, traumatized woman who decided to go build an arsenal to showdown Michael Myers once they met again–sorry, I mean Leatherface. It’s literally the same format they went with in 2018’s Halloween. However, despite Sally being a trailblazer for the final girl, she simply doesn’t hold a candle to Laurie. Also, she makes some really stupid decisions that result in way more harm to herself and others than Leatherface. The woman doesn’t even make a dent in him and utters the worst line ever: “Don’t run, or he’ll haunt you forever.” Okay, whatever you say.

I think the icing on the cake was her asking Leatherface to say her and her group’s name while holding up a polaroid to him. Did she not listen in the first film? Leatherface is very much implied to be nonverbal due to disability. Also, he didn’t wait to learn their names, he just murdered them immediately upon arrival to that house. I feel like they were trying to show that they were putting a lot of thought and effort to tie it to the 1974 film. However, those of us who know the film are disappointed that seemingly ignored the events of the first film.

Final thoughts on Texas Chainsaw Massacre

I went into this film knowing it was going to be bad. I was ultimately hoping for a situation in which it was so bad, it was funny. Instead, I watched a half-baked horror film that had some really solid sequences that were just covered with poorly written, non-loyal to the original filler. Also, the Tesla autopilot ending was terrible. Hilariously terrible. Therefore, I don’t really think it’s worth the watch. What did you think of it? Were you a fan of this one or do you agree that Netflix should probably lay their efforts to rest? Let me know in the comments.

I’m not anti-Sally Hardesty either. You can read more on the evolution of the final girl and the role she plays in forming the trope here.

If this is your first time reading The Void of Celluloid, welcome. I am happy to have you here and encourage you to follow me on Twitter @OfCelluloid, Facebook under the page The Void of Celluloid or Instagram @TheVoidofCelluloid to stay updated on what’s next. Thanks for jumping into this void with me, you lovely spelunker you.

Cannibal Holocaust: The First Found Footage Film and Why It’s Trending

A lot of people were left shocked by last week’s episode of Euphoria. Some horror fans were left a bit more shocked as a familiar score. It soundtracked Cassie looking through that window with a Sissy Spacek style stare. The oddly calming, grotesquely titled “Cannibal Holocaust” popped up on the captions to confirm, and I nearly lost my mind.

Cannibal Holocaust looms over the horror genre as one of its most controversial films for so many reasons. Considering its ban in over 40 countries, the criminal charges that occurred after its festival release and the cruelty that occurred on set to both actors and animals, the use of its score in Euphoria was a very specific choice. And an odd one. It has caused curious minds to go looking for the answers, myself included.

I will admit, it is a film that I have avoided due to its depravity. However, I cannot be genuine if I haven’t experienced it. That being said, I do not agree with anything that has been done for “creative choices” in this film. I also do not encourage one to go looking for this film, as its content is highly traumatizing to both the viewers and the indigenous people that were exploited for this film. However, it is a critical point in the horror genre and should be examined as so, so let me do it for you.

Let’s Talk about the Cannibal boom

From 1972 to around 1988, there was a phenomenon in Italian horror known as the Cannibal Boom. Most of these films are referred to as video nasties, a term coined by English film media to describe low budget horror-exploitation films. It started with the film Man From Deep River and continued on from then.

Man from the Deep River - Alchetron, the free social encyclopedia
Man From Deep River (1972)

Man From Deep River is what kicked off the boom and is considered to be the first Italian cannibal film. Directed by Umberto Lenzi, the film follows a British photographer, John Bradley, as he gets kidnapped by a native tribe in the rainforests of Thailand. He is then tortured by the tribe and enslaved to the chief’s daughter, Marayå. He tries to escape multiple times and with the final attempt, he kills Marayå’s suitor. This leads to him being accepted into the tribe in which he marries Marayå. He joins the tribe’s war against a rival, cannibalistic tribe and his wife gets killed in the process of childbirth.

It tries to tie it in a metaphorical bow by having him not seize the opportunity to escape and joining the tribe for good. Overall, this film is very white-saviorist and features loads of animal killing, violence, gore and torture. However, this is the outline of what’s to come.

Next: Cannibal Holocaust–the most famous and controversial

Cannibal Holocaust released in 1980 and shook the world a bit with its controversy. It also held a spotlight on the cannibal boom and the possible malpractices that occurred when making those films. First, let’s have a brief overview of the plot. Then, we’ll discuss what came about after the film’s release.

The Plot of Cannibal Holocaust
Cannibal Holocaust (1980) - IMDb

With a film crew going missing in the Amazon rainforest, an anthropologist goes looking for them only to find them dead and arranged in a gruesome manner. What remains intact is their footage, which is taken back to New York to be made into a documentary film. The first half of footage involves seemingly interesting footage and shows the filmmakers trekking through the rainforest. Things seem rough for these filmmakers, and the anthropologist along with many sponsors continue to push for this documentary to go through.

All of this motivation vanishes for the main anthropologist, Harold Monroe, when he watches the rest of the footage. The investors try to protest him pulling out and condemning the project until he decides to show them the footage themselves. What is shown is the format for the found footage style that would take the horror genre by storm in the late 1990s. The footage shows that the filmmakers aren’t the martyrs they seem to be and caused most of the horrific events that led to their demise. Yes, they’re the ones responsible for the famous impalement victim. And its cause makes it so much worse. Then the final reel of footage shows their demise, and the documentary is finally pulled after all of the carnage plays out on the screen.

What makes this film worse than any other horror film?

Yes, that is a fair question. There are three topics that make this film as well as many of the other Italian cannibal films: the brutal sexual violence, the animal cruelty and the mistreatment and misinformation of indigenous people. This film features not one but two brutal gangrape scenes that result in even more violent consequences, such as that infamous impalement scene and the beheading that occurs at the end. This was very typical of the genre, but Cannibal Holocaust took it to an extreme, especially for the first of its audience that was not used to the found footage style and worried that the acts may be real.

There was something that was quite real however, and that was the animal cruelty and deaths that occurred on screen. The most infamous of these is with a sea turtle but features at least five other animal deaths, dismemberments and torture. Most versions of this film that you can rent have these scenes cut out of it, but the footage is still around and still easily accessible. It is usually some of the first things that come up, so tread lightly when looking up this film if you are a bit more sensitive to the content that I am.

Cannibal Holocaust (1980) | MUBI

Taking it to the final point, these films did nothing but contribute and stigmatize indigenous cultures further, and that doesn’t benefit anybody. There are multiple accounts of the indigenous extras being mistreated, specifically in the scene in which a hut is set on fire. There was no real training or professionals to perform the stunt, but by serious convincing by the director, Ruggero Deodato, the extras stood under the hut and a lot received minor injuries due to malpractice in pyrotechnics to save a buck.

Those are some brief overviews into what went so wrong with this film and gained it its notoriety, but it is what happened in regard to the format and controversial scenes that catapulted this film into absurd infamy.

How Cannibal Holocaust possibly ties into Euphoria

Ten days after Cannibal Holocaust premiered in Milan, the magistrate confiscated the film and arrested Deodato, who was charged with obscenity. All the distributions were pulled, and it was rumored that Cannibal Holocaust was actually a snuff film due to the silence and absence of the supposed actors in the film. This led to the charges being upped to possible murder charges.

Ruggero Deodato and His Mad Genius
Ruggero-Deodato-in-Cannibal-Holocaust-1980 - PopHorror

The actors however were very much alive–in fact they had signed contracts with Deodato to not appear in press coverage and keep their lives on the down low to create this speculation. Not realizing that would lead to severe criminal consequences, Deodato had to get in contact and gather all the actors involved in the found footage segment, in which they appeared both in court and on an Italian talk show to showcase that everyone was very much alive. They also had to show how they did the impalement effect, as that was one of the biggest topics for the real versus fake argument.

This didn’t save the film nor the director’s reputation, as the film was banned anyways for the violence and cruelty against animals, something that Deodato spend years defending but slowly turned into regret, with him admitting that he never should’ve brought animals into it in the first place. Cannibal Holocaust was banned in several countries and was only recently released on a wide release in 2005, one of which is heavily cut. Deodato was onto something, however, with the actors, as the same type of thing was done with The Blair Witch Project, and the disappearance of the actors just added that much more to the horror.

Alright, but what about euphoria?
Euphoria S2 E7 Recap: Lexi Howard, Director of the Year

As the season two finale drops tonight, I think the reference to Cannibal Holocaust through its haunting score is to focus on the consequences of the play, specifically Lexi as the director. Despite her good intentions and wanting to push boundaries for both shock and artistic methods, it’s going to backfire on her. Specifically, that backfire will be coming from Cassie, who now has this theme to this grotesque film tied to her character forever. I have a feeling we’re finally going to see what she means by claiming that she is crazier.

On top of that, Lexi’s play is going to be heavily tainted by the backlash and interruption that the episode is implying, and sadly Lexi will face the brunt of that. Our Life will be remembered as the one play with an epic musical number to “Holding Out for a Hero” and the time that the director’s sister couldn’t take the heat and stormed on stage. Therefore, much like Deodato, she will be remembered more for the absurdity rather than the actual art and message that pertains to the work.

FInal Thoughts on Cannibal Holocaust

I will be tuning into Euphoria in a heartbeat; however, I cannot say the same for Cannibal Holocaust. I do truly think that there is a good moral deep in there. The twist of the slaughtered filmmakers actually being the monsters really provides some decent commentary on how we exploit other cultures for our own wonderment and benefit. However, the things that occur both inside and outside of the film are inexcusable.

I do find it extremely amusing that this was used so casually in the show. I also feel terrible for the curious minds that think they are looking up just your run of the mill horror film. This film is very different, and can be described as a cult horror. Not in the sense of a small, dedicated fan base, but rather those of us who have seen it, understand it and then never really want to watch it again. I guess we’ll see if its use was purposeful in a few hours. But if not, that was a wild rabbit hole I just went down. I am honored to share it with you.

If you’re new to The Void of Celluloid, welcome. If you want to know more about horror and the things that go on within the community, please go follow on Twitter @OfCelluloid and Instagram @TheVoidofCelluloid. Happy to have you here, now please don’t watch Cannibal Holocaust. Or do. The world is your oyster.

The Week of SCREAMS: Revisiting the Scream Franchise

Scream 5 Review: Ghostface Feels As Sharp As Ever

Hello everyone–I just watched the new Scream. It is a brilliant addition as well as homage to its predecessors. During its viewing, I took a trip down memory lane and it’s time to revisit Scream: my favorite quirks and moments in the Scream franchise. It truly is a unique and essential piece to the horror universe–one that many horror fans are proud of. For most horror fans, young and old, Scream just gets you. It knows how you tick, what excites you about horror movies and holds up a mirror and hands you a thank you card.

I cannot think of any fandom who doesn’t like their ego stroked–but we’re stepping away from the meta-ness. Each of these films in the franchise has a gleaming trait that always draws my attention and has me theorizing a lot of what-if scenarios. So, without further ado, I am going to go through some of my interpretations and observations of this brilliant series that Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson has blessed upon us.

Billy and Stu: The Queer Subtext

I have seen the first Scream several times, and it is for three people: Stu, Billy and Randy. That is not a diss towards Sidney, Gale or Dewey, but we get significantly more time with them as the series goes on. Randy is obviously the shining star as well as the most relatable character–horror movie aficionado and a constant hard-on for Sidney Prescott (I mean, same, my dude). He’s not my focus point here; it’s the two murderous lovebirds.

Scream's Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard: Billy and Stu Fell 'in Love'

There is a certain intimacy between Billy and Stu, and it mostly falls on Matthew Lillard’s performance and portrayal of Stu. Even Matthew Lillard has confirmed he meant to convey it this way, which you can read more about in this brilliant essay from FilmDaze: The Lifelike Misogyny of Scream’s Stu Macher. Kevin Williamson confirmed this. He himself is proudly out and confirmed that he based the characters on Leopold and Lobe.

Lillard conveys Stu’s ferocity and passion towards Billy with intense eye contact. It is also implied that it didn’t take much convincing on Billy’s part for Stu to team up with him in this killing spree. Considering the killing spree included offing Sidney and making Billy painfully available–that was a bargain that one so madly in love couldn’t resist. It’s hard to deny that this isn’t about passion. The more I watch it, the more it comes through to me. On top of that, everyone that I’ve mentioned this theory too can’t unsee it, so I suggest giving Scream another watch and try to lean into the queer point of view. You’ll only appreciate Matthew Lillard’s performance more and more.

Oh, Randy: The Biggest Mistake in the Franchise

Now back to Randy–and yes, I’ve mentioned this before. Randy’s death in Scream 2 is truly devastating. As the franchise goes on, it sinks in more and more that the death of Randy might have been the biggest mistake they made. The Scream franchise was never afraid of broad daylight kills, but the fact that the character with his head screwed on so tight gets yanked into a van, sliced and diced with Gale and Dewey within earshot–that’s just cruel.

Scream Creator Kevin Williamson Explains Why He Killed Off Jamie Kennedy's  Randy | Cinemablend

It’s even more cruel due to Scream 2 showing Randy thriving in the college environment. Always being outcast by his peers in Woodsboro, he finds his niche and can discuss and evolve his knowledge and opinions all day long. This seemed like a step towards him growing with the rest of them and able to assess the surroundings and deliver appropriate ‘isms at perfect times. I understand that would’ve been the easy route.

I do respect the out-of-the-blue return of Randy in Scream 3 through VHS, but I feel as if the franchise is also realizing it was a bit of a mistake to kill Randy off so soon. His death would’ve been more firmly placed in Scream 3. Randy’s death in Scream 2 signaled no one was safe. However, there were no other major deaths of the legacy characters in Scream 3 and 4. Therefore, his death was a missed opportunity to take some more controversial steps and just kind of leaves a sad pit of what we could’ve seen from an older Randy.

Definition of Camp: Scream 3 isn’t a bad movie

Days before I watched the newest Scream, I rewatched Scream 3. I never am really excited to rewatch this one, however I saw it through fresh eyes for whatever reason lately. If Scream 3 sold strictly as a spoof and a comedy, I firmly believe critical panning would decrease. It is honestly the funniest installment in the series, and the absurdity of the plot and dialogue is what makes it.

Parker Posey talks Scream 3, her character's legacy

I realized that the opening scene of Scream 3 does not set the tone for the majority of the movie, but rather the more serious final act. Therefore, to go from the sinister nature of Cotton Weary’s demise to cooky Gale-Dewey Hollywood banter feels kind of like whiplash. I can see how that radical tone shift left a bad taste in people’s mouths. However, separating that, the rest of Scream 3 is delightfully campy with a whole bundle of wacky characters who happen to play the characters from the series. It’s extremely meta, which is what the Scream franchise is all about.

The character that sells on the campiness and meta-ness is 100% Jennifer Jolie, played perfectly by Parker Posey. Scream 3 deals a hard bargain on the actors in it–they have to play their characters as well as caricatures of themselves. I think that Parker Posey nails this balance, and focusing on her, Gale and Dewey’s storyline in the middle of the movie definitely is what sells it as a viable end to the original trilogy. I definitely recommend anyone to rewatch Scream 3 and treat it like it’s a “so-bad-it’s-good” movie–you’ll see the comedic genius and expert portrayal in camp in it.

Questionable Characters: Scream 4’s Bloodbath

Eleven years have passed, the original cast is either dead or older. 2011’s Scream 4 was an attempt to pass the torch onto a popular, younger cast and ended in a bloodbath instead. Almost every new character introduced in Scream 4 died by the movie’s end and for that, I am sort of grateful.

With the exception of Kirby, played charismatically by Hayden Panettiere, the new characters weren’t very likeable. Now having watched the newest Scream, I am so grateful they didn’t go with this ragtag group. Most of the characters didn’t have much character development, with Jill being the only one that got a backstory and link to Sidney. On top of that, they feel like hollow shells of a person rather than actual humans. All of the complexity vanished.

Hayden Panettiere's New Haircut Has Scream Fans Freaking Out | Cinemablend

I attribute part of this to the time jump and dealing with a different generation. A lot of characteristics from these new characters felt very tropey and out of place, with some of them seeming like they stepped out of coming-of-age rom-com. As I mentioned about Randy, this film definitely tried to make up for Randy being gone. While Kirby was extremely likeable amongst the trio of movie know-it-alls, the shoes of the Randy character were not filled. Despite my complaints, however, I really do like Scream 4 a lot. I feel that this newest Scream however took it down a few pegs in regard to likeable characters.

Scream Lives on through the newest installment

To wrap this up, I cannot stress how badly I want everyone to go and watch Scream. It is truly amazing, hilarious, and brutal. My overly emotional self even cried a bit. I adore the new cast so much and am already looking forward to a sequel, which they plan on doing. The directors behind this new one also did Ready or Not, so if you are looking for some more horror comedy with badass women, I suggest either watching or rewatching that one (I’ve seen it at least five times). I will never stop talking about Scream and singing its praises, so if you want to hear more from The Void of Celluloid, be sure to follow this blog and our social medias linked on the homepage. See you next time, spelunkers.

Revisit scream revisit scream revisit scream revisit scream revisit scream

The Mother of the Void Presents: Suspicion

I would first like to welcome The Void back! She chose this movie for me during her hiatus, so I have watched it, had time to stew on it, and here goes my dissection.

For this outing, The Void has chosen the 1941 Alfred Hitchock movie, “Suspicion”. She told me upon discussing it with her after my viewing, that she picked this for me because of how swooned over Cary Grant in “Notorious”. Unfortunately, without giving too much away, this film has slightly tarnished not only my opinion of Mr. Grant, but of Mr. Hitchcock as well. I have never had a problem liking flawed characters, just look at my past dating history, but as I get older, I have come to differentiate between flawed and defective. But let’s get into the nitty gritty shall we, and I hope to explain what I mean. I hope you will join me for my take of 1941’s “Suspicion”. You can check out my last Hitchcock review here.

So It Begins: Suspicion

The film begins with a black screen and Johnnie (Cary Grant) apologizing to someone unseen, explaining he didn’t realize they were going to go through a tunnel and he thought the compartment was empty. When the light fills the compartment, we see Lina (Joan Fontaine), book in hand, looking slightly annoyed at Johnnie as he is putting his things on the shelf above the seat opposite her. He complains to her that he had to switch compartments because of the cigar smell next door. He asks if she smokes and explains how relieved he is when she says no because he apparently had quite the evening the night before. When he asks her if she understands, he surveys her more conservative appearance; her sensible shoes, child psychology book, high buttoned coat and hat, and he conveys a look of ‘well maybe not’. 

Just then the porter enters asking for their tickets. Lina retrieves hers from her handbag, while Johnnie quickly goes from pocket to pocket, searching for his. Lina’s ticket is first class; Johnnie’s ticket is for third class. The porter explains he is in the wrong compartment. Johnnie accuses the rail line of ‘selling third class tickets at first class prices’. The porter gives him the total for the seat upgrade, and Johnnie asks if they will accept what he has, which is not enough.

The porter looks at him unsympathetically, and Johnnie asks Lina if she has any change. She starts to pull coins out of her purse and he reaches over, grabs what he needs and gives the money to the porter, who gives him a disgusted look as he leaves the compartment. Now personally, I don’t care how handsome or charming a person is, if they help themselves to my money, out of my hand, they are pulling back a bloody stump!

Johnnie acts as though he is trying to sleep, while Lina picks up the newspaper. She opens it to the society page, and there is her new, freeloading compartment mate pictured with an elegantly dressed woman. Lina looks from the paper to Johnnie as he looks out the window, annoyed by the sunlight. 

The Fox Hunt

We are now at the start of a very traditional English fox hunt. Bugles playing, horses antsy to get going and dogs barking. Johnnie is charming the ladies and a local photographer. In the distance he sees a horse being a bit cooperative and he instantly recognizes the rider as his unwitting travel companion, only this time, she is sans glasses, looking vibrate and RICH!. He asks the ladies he is with her name, because of course he didn’t bother when he was pilfering money out of her hand.  One of the women warns him that Lina is ‘not up his alley’. Johnnie replies he is ‘bored with people in my alley’.  He asks for an introduction and the woman who issued the warning refuses. Johnnie says he will just have to do so himself, as the ladies go to get ready for the hunt. 

With the hunt over, we now find Lina, back in her more mousey attire, casually reading in her home. Visitors arrive at her window and she greets them, inviting them in. They are the same ladies from the hunt, and Johnnie got the introduction he wanted. Lina instantly takes off her glasses and accepts the introduction, shyly. The girls tell Lina that when they saw her in the window, Johnnie insisted on meeting her. I am sure this was completely a coincidence (Wink Wink).  

Lina questions why Johnnie would care to meet her, and his answer made me gag a little. This man is so full of himself, he is going to need a bigger suit! Lina is more reserved than his other companions. He tells her that she should hurry so she is not late for church, which she was not planning on attending. When she inquires with the ladies if that was their plan, they are caught off guard, but Johnnie sees his plan working out as intended.

The three women extend an invitation to join them, and much to Johnnie’s delight, Lina accepts, with a bit of speculation towards her stalker in her voice. He asks her to put on the hat she had on the train, signalling to not only Lina, but the other ladies, that he remembers her and it is not their first meeting. Lina leave to make herself ready, while the ladies take seats to wait for her return. Johnnie pick up the book Lina was reading and as a bookmark , she is using his picture she saw in the paper on the train, much to his delight. 

A Deadly…Hair Fixing?

When they reach the church, Johnnie finds a way to separate Lina from the group and before entering the two leave together. We next find them struggling on what appears to be a cliff top. Lina is not amused, while Johnnie see this as all great fun. He inquires why she so aggressively fought off his advances, afterall, it wasn’t like he was trying to kill her. No means NO, even in 1941! He explains that he was not trying to kiss her, he was just trying to fix her hair, telling her that her hair is all wrong.

He then undoes her hair and makes it ridiculous. She tells him that she is much different than the women he is photographed with, he asks her how he stacks up against her horse. Interesting approach, at this point, I would compare him more to a dog…but anyway. Lina tells him that if she ever got the bit in his mouth, she would have no problem controlling him. That’s my girl! Johnnie then makes his move to try and kiss her, and she dodges successfully. It is at this point he bistoes his new nickname on her. Monkeyface. 

Suspicion

Johnnie walks Lina home, and as they approach, she asks him not to come further. He tells her he will come to ‘fetch her’ at 3:00. She tells him no, and he keeps insisting. She leaves him, and as she approaches the house, she hears her family discussing her. They are talking how she will never marry, how they will have to care for her, and that she is a spinster. Her father does praise her brains and character, but the damage is done.

Mom and Dad basically tied a steak around her neck and sent her to the wolf! Lina turns to see Johnnie standing there beside her. He is smiling, and it is uncertain if he heard what her parents said or not. Lina wraps her arm around his neck and kisses the wolf, I mean Johnnie. She quickly retreats into the house and joins her parents for lunch. 

Lina tells her parents she didn’t go to church after all, but went on a walk instead with Johnnie. Her father quickly remarks that Johnnie is wild, and when Lina asks, he tells her he was caught cheating at cards. She tells her parents she is seeing him again, and she no more gets the words out, and she gets a call that he has canceled their plans. She returns to the table, slightly defeated. 

The Ball

As time goes on, Lina tries to track Johnnie down. She inquires if he has been invited to an upcoming ball, checks her mail, and calls him home. No reply. The night of the ball, Lina’s mother comes to her room to find her crying, saying she is not going to the ball. A telegram arrives, stating Johnnie’s intentions on seeing her there. Suddenly Lina’s mood changes and she opts for a more revealing dress. 

At the ball, Lina is watching the others dance. She waits on the sidelines, anxiously watching the door for the wolf. A friend approaches her and they start to dance. LIna’s father is approached by the butler, saying that there is someone at the door. He says he is with his party, to which Lina’s father disputes ever extending an invitation. The matter is quickly dismissed as Lina sees him and the two begin to dance, leaving her stunned father and his other female admirers behind.

They dance their way out of the ball, and Johnnie helps himself to Lina’s family’s car, as she gleefully protests. They drive off, all smiles and he asks her if she has ever kissed in a car. When she says never, he remedies that situation. Their conversation reveals how much of a ladies man he is. He admits to her that he is honest with her because he can see that is what will get him results, to which she replies with a confession of love.

He is a cad and she is an idiot. Blunt I know, but it is one thing to be fooled by someone who is pretending to be something they are not. It is something entirely different, when they lay every ugly detail out on the table, and yet “but I love him”, is still your reply. I want to reach through the screen and slap her, just on principle. 

Johnnie tells her he is falling in love with her as well, and they make a stop at Lina’s house for a drink. Johnnie tells her how nervous he is and she says she is not, because she knows what she wants. He is taken aback by the painting of Lina’s father, admitting that he knows her father doesn’t like him. To his credit, Johnnie tells her, he is everything that her father says he is. Johnnie proposes and she agrees as they dance to a song of their own. 

Well That Was Fast: The Fatal Flaw of Suspicion

Lina is leaving to elope and she goes to tell her parents goodbye. Okay….I am going to be honest with you here. When I review the movies, I watch them once and then watch them again, pausing and analyzing the scenes. I can’t with this one. It just pissed me off. So here is the rest of the film in a nutshell.

Suspicion

Lina runs off and marries Johnnie, who, when they return home from a honeymoon he bought with credit, moves them into  a home they can’t afford. He is banking on the fact that her parents will give her money. The only thing that they give them is a set of antique chairs, that he turns around and hocks so he can go and gamble. Lina is upset and heart broken until Johnnie returns from the track with presents for her, and his lifelong friend, who is staying with him. He gives her the receipt for the chairs he bought back and all is forgiven. The friend mentions he has an allergy to brandy, and drinking it could kill him. 

Johnnie agrees to take a job with his cousin as a property manager. When Lina goes to visit him at work one day, she discovers they fired him for stealing $2000, the exact amount he “won” at the track. She does not confront him, but starts to pack, and once again “But I love him.” comes into play. She stays of course. 

Johnnie and his friend decide to start a corporation and go into real estate, but the land they try to buy is bogus. Lina’s father dies and instead of money, he leaves them the painting from the study.  Good job Pop!  The friend goes back to Paris to dissolve the corporation, while Johnnie goes to London. 

Johnnie’s a Little Sketch, But Why Does That Matter?

Later in the week police show up and tell Lina the friend is dead, someone had poisoned him with brandy. They ask where her husband is, and she covers for him. She calls the club where he was to be staying, and they said he left a few days ago. She instantly believes her husband killed the friend. 

Suspicion Final Scene

Then, there is a bunch of stuff with life insurance and Lina again believes Johnnie is going to kill her this time. She decides to leave him and go to her mothers, which he agrees to. There is a struggle in the car and confrontation and Johnnie reveals he was going to kill himself. That way, she could have the life insurance money and pay off the debt and get rid of him. Of course Lina responded with, “But I love you.” and they drive off into the sunset. 

Final Thoughts on Suspicion

I wanted to like this film so much, Hitchcock, Grant, Fontane….but it is just a pile of pretty people doing disgusting and stupid things and charming their way out of it. She never should have married him, and when he sold her chairs, she should have been gone. I love the players in this film, but not the film. I will not be watching this again, anytime soon. 

Am I angry about this? Yes. Do I recommend it? No. The Void has given an assignment from way back in time, and possibly the pits of Hell. As long as there are no chair stealing, pretty boys; I can handle anything but that!

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