Category Archives: Editorials

Hot Take: Rachel Carruthers: The GREATEST Final Girl in the “Halloween” Movie Franchise

I might be going to Halloween Hell for this but you have to hear me out here before throwing me down a well while I wash away in a river only to end up at some hermit’s shack. Rachel Carruthers is the true answer to the Halloween heroine series and 30 years later I’m still fairly pissed about how dirty they did her in Halloween 5.

Now, I know what you’re saying, “Excuse me, but what about Laurie?”

A very valid question and I’ll give a simple answer. Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) was at her best in the original 1978 film and honestly, I just didn’t register her as anything special or in fact relatable in any way whatsoever. She’s likable just enough in the original film but in a very generic sense as the character barely has any depth and some very corny one-liners to boot in the first few films. It wasn’t until H20 that Laurie’s character came out of her shell and gave us more than a shy girl next door- which is my favorite version of her mind you. That persona continues on in the current Halloween films (2018, Kills, and Ends), skipping over Resurrection as she was just outlandishly cartoonish; but the damage has already been done for me whereas she just ain’t hitting those notes like another has for me. Plus, I have a little bone to pick with someone who claims that parents who watch Halloween with their children are “the worst human being(s) on the planet.”

Look lady, most of us that grew up in the 80s and 90s did exactly that and watched these films as kids; renting them from our local mom-and-pop video stores. So just settle down there JLC and realize you have a fan base because of US and insulting parents who choose to share their passion for the genre and the Halloween films with their crotch fruit is no one’s business. Parent shaming is so gross.

That being said, Ellie Cornell who plays the “new and improved” girl-next-door type, Rachel Carruthers makes her first appearance in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, and oh man she came in swinging right away with that part. She just felt REAL. As if Ellie WAS Rachel and we weren’t watching an act.

Aside from my opinions, Cornell had some pretty big loafers to fill when stepping up to be the fresh face for Halloween after JLC’s role in the series was presumably over, and she delivered a powerhouse final girl performance to become the now, unsung heroine of the entire franchise.

Rachel was the epitome of a typical high-school girl in the 80s but with a lot more to offer. Beyond watching her figure, (she didn’t want her mom to have an oinker for a daughter) and daydreaming of her future with Haddonfield hunk Brady, Rachel had a lot on her plate to deal with for a teenage gal. Taking on the role of older foster sister to Jamie, (Danielle Harris) who is now deceased Laurie’s daughter, she is wise beyond her years in offering advice to the young troubled, and also, hunted girl. She also, at first begrudgingly, is willing to give up her “engagement, marriage, and children” all to babysit on Halloween night just to help out the family, taking it a step further and taking Jamie out for ice cream costume shopping after school. What a gal. Of course, some of this may have been due to guilt after throwing a tad of a hissy fit, but she IS a teenager, and most girls her age would be annoyed at this task. She, of course, shows maturity and rights her wrong which is commendable.

Ok, so we know Rachel is a down-to-Earth good girl. But she’s also a mega-badass.

When faced with the threat of Michael Myers hot on the sisters’ tail on Halloween night, Rachel goes from teenage dynasty to full-blown survival final girl mode. This young girl with boy troubles and a thrust-upon role model for Jamie becomes a fighter with every inch of her being by night’s end and does everything in her power to keep her foster sister safe from harm. She carries Jamie on her back onto a roof escaping from the Meeker’s house and MacGyvers’ the shit out of some rope to make an escape ladder all while Myers is flailing his knife around at them.

Fun fact: The badassery spills over into reality as Ellie did ALL her own stunts on that roof. No, it wasn’t a set folks. They actually filmed on top of a house for that scene and it was pretty high up. The crew wouldn’t let her do the free-fall but everything else is Cornell and not a stuntwoman.

Shortly after an incident with Loomis, Myers, and Jaimie at the school, Rachel pops up like mother fuckin’ Rambo with a fire extinguisher and gives the sisters a chance to get away. They escape with the redneck Haddonfiled lynch mob in a truck and it seems as if their night of hell has come to a close as they drive away from Haddonfield to a safe place.

Ugh. How boring would that be! As Michael was hiding somehow underneath the truck the whole time just waiting for the perfect moment to make an appearance. After killing off every vigilante, Rachel is now tasked with saving her and Jamie from imminent death.

The whole scene is badass but not over the top where it isn’t believable. These girls have been through one traumatic night, Rachel snapping into murder mode by plowing into him with the truck instead of just driving off showcases the evolution of her character from the Rachel we got at the beginning of Halloween 4, and the end of the film. You’re goddamn right; Rachel went full Heisenberg.

Rachel Carruthers deserved better than that bullshit death in Halloween 5 and certainly warrants more recognition for her achievements in breathing new life into the Final Girl persona of the genre. She’s just so damn likable. You may disagree with my thoughts here and you’re welcome to tell me I’m wrong- but first let me get that coffee for you.

Of Hobbits, The One Ring, and Grand Adventures!

 

Many moons ago I stepped out of the confusing world forced upon me and into a literary world of cunning dragons, wizards, and magic rings. The horizon of imagination spread before my mind revealing mountains where monsters hid deep down at the roots of the world, towers in black, and epic battles roaring across green fields. Once I took my first steps into the lively world of Middle-Earth there would be no coming back. 

I say with all honesty that had it not been for the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien I most likely would either not be the person I am today (certainly would not have pursued writing) or be here at all. You see Mr. Bilbo Baggins and the rest of the Hobbits came to me in the darkest years of my early life. I don’t tend to reflect too personally (can’t imagine anyone being interested anyway) but as my coffee cools beside me and The Two Towers plays on TV – and here on the anniversary of the late Professor’s death – I find myself a bit sentimental. So I handle this the way a writer does – by writing. 

And it begins in part in a faraway land of many shadows. 

Around the age of twelve, my parents quit their careers, sold our 17-room ranch home, and moved us overseas to serve the Good Lord as faith-based missionaries (‘faith based’ for those who don’t know means we relied on financial support from local churches kind enough to give us money) in the former Soviet Union.

Within months we went from a big house to a one-room flat where I was sleeping on the floor with a thin pillow and blanket. My sister and I huddled around the space heater and shivered beneath a newly discovered kind of misery, one that defeated Napolean’s armies and one that crushed the Nazi war machine. Russian winters, which proved unbeaten and taught us a new meaning of the concept of cold. 

Simple things like going out to buy eggs became a challenge. I didn’t speak the language yet and I wasn’t used to being stared at or pointed at. I saw strange faces whispering as I walked by and knew I was the topic. I was only 12 and I’m glad I didn’t know about Russia’s bad habit of human trafficking or I might have boarded myself up in the flat. I was young, scared, and very far from home. The days were shorter and the chill nights long, much longer than I ever knew nights could be. As the sun set each afternoon you felt the heavy shroud of night roll over the city and it became no wonder why Eastern Europe is known as the land of vampires. 

I should also mention the oppressiveness that loomed over the country in those days, a lingering ghost of the failed USSR stubbornly remaining, refusing to admit defeat in light of a newly placed democracy. Might as well mention this was also the city that destroyed its Czar and his family and was ruled by the tyrannical occultist Rasputin. The city was both physically dark and spiritually so. A land of shadows and I found myself unwillingly in the dead center of it. 

My separation anxiety was out of control being so far from friends and cousins and grandparents. With puberty riding a train of chaos through my body and my thoughts in tatters due to grief I’m not proud to admit that I was dangerously suicidal at an early age. I saw absolutely no future ahead, had nothing to live for, and my world was torn away from me. I was already tired of being spat on by neighbors or stoned in the streets just because I was different from the public. I slipped into a mental pit, was becoming wraith life in my thinking, and the shadows were taking over my thoughts. Worst part was I couldn’t act like I was in any mental pain because apparently, that’s not what faith-based believers do. Gotta rely on God and all that to be healed. The churches were watching after all. 

But, into the darkness of those days shone a light, very unexpectedly too, and by its grace, I saw similarities between a marvelous world of fantasy and the life I now lived. An adventure was at hand. Of all things a Hobbit who had no interest in leaving his hearth and home suddenly found himself whisked away on a very big adventure. The odyssey of dwarves, the threat of trolls, evil goblins in the hills, and a dragon! It’s as if the book was personalized just to me. And slowly I found something to look forward to. 

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings cast their spell over me and crazy enough I found my courage thanks to them. I never even liked reading before these. But these were so very different! These weren’t school books or required reading. These were something otherworldly, something I needed when I had nothing else left to enjoy in life. When most kids my age were playing Super Nintendo back West I was sleeping on a cold hard floor. Kind of like the Hobbits who left the comforts of the Shire and found themselves in caves or on tree roots. My depression was slowly pushed aside in favor of Rangers, elves, and a pursuit to defeat the Great Shadow. 

It didn’t take long for me to start fantasizing about my own fables and far-off mythic places. I began writing and – can you believe it? – loving it! The more I wrote the happier I found myself. Like I had discovered some amazing jewel in an unexpected place. I kept at it, adding maps and illustrations along the way, and developing stories about elves and dragons. Always about dragons! And to this day dragons remain in the center of my story, the one I’m currently working out. 

Before I knew it Tolkien gave me a reason to wake up and look forward to the days ahead. To turn challenges into adventures. But more than that to look forward to what’s ahead despite the doom at present.

His stunning descriptions have taken root inside my core and given me strength over the years. How bravery more often than might proves to be the most useful. The enormity of good friendships. Of hope in the face of hopelessness.

There’s a reason why Professor Tolkien is called the Author of the Century. I’m not the only life he’s saved along the way. Not at all the only writer he’s inspired either. The world of Middle-Earth was written by a man who was once left for dead in the trenches during World War I. Tolkien lost many of his dearest friends during the Great War and later returned home with a lot of pain and confusion weighing on his chest. The problem of evil and the atrocities committed against innocent lives being among them. Issues his grand mythology went on to tackle and deal with, especially the problem with evil. A topic powerfully displayed by the Ring Wraiths.

Tolkien’s themes are grand but not out of reach. The choices made by the Fellowship are ones we ourselves are free to make. We might not have a Dark Lord in Mordor to contend with. But we can still choose life over death, hope rather than despair, and courage despite the fears inside us. 

There’s a modern movement nowadays trying to distort the humble philosophies laid down by the Professor. Orcish-type minds I call them, but the nobility of the man’s great works cannot be overthrown. Too many lives shine like stars across the night sky due to Tolkien’s original inspiring flame. His broken heart was used to give this world something immeasurably beautiful. And it will outlive each one of us and go on to encourage and inspire millions more with each coming age.

Did You Know? Sam Raimi Almost Directed “The Fly 2” And It Would Have Looked Totally Different

Did you know the legendary Sam Raimi almost directed The Fly 2? I feel like this seemingly monumental snippet of horror movie trivia has been buried and unknown to the masses, much like the film itself as it failed commercially to uphold the standards of the Cronenberg predecessor masterpiece remake. A few years ago, an episode of Post Mortem with Mick Garris Podcast unhatched this bit of knowledge to the horror community; and I just want to remind you that we almost had a Dr. Strange/ Evil Dead Brundlefly Jr. national treasure.

Godammit that would have been THEE TITS.

Mick Garris, the writer who penned, in what is my humble opinion, the sequel to Cronenberg’s classic take which stands as a true master achievement in the horror genre and quite possibly the greatest horror movie remake of all time, had a lot to live up to following in those kinds of footsteps. While I personally don’t think the film is all bad as some would say, the premise of  Martin Brundle as the result of what happens when you infuse Brundlefly with Geena Davis isn’t quite as enthralling and just doesn’t bear within the type of raw emotion and certain magic from the 1986 flick. Although I will say. Martinfly love for animals is kind of the sweetest thing ever.

Martinfly is Fido’s Best Friend

Could the movie have been better with Evil Dead‘s Sam Raimi overseeing the film in the director’s chair? Mick Garris, in said podcast episode, stated that Raimi was indeed slated to direct the film and that it was originally VERY DIFFERENT. Here’s what Garris said according to the podcast:

“When I was writing Fly 2, originally Sam Raimi was going to direct it, on the strength of Evil Dead 2. It would’ve been a VERY different movie. Then [Sam] and his brother wrote a different treatment that went way out to cloud wacky land, and that would’ve been amazing. But it didn’t work out, but it was a great experience to meet him.”

I can’t help but wonder what kind of movie Sam Raimi could have brought us, and exactly what was it about this crazy different vision of Raimi’s The Fly 2 that scared the shit out of 20th Century Fox? Well, maybe we’ll never know but perhaps it was to coincide with an early draft of the film that involved a sort of X-MEN-type story where Veronica was convinced not to abort her baby by a religious cult who would keep and raise Martin after he was born and raised with a group of kids with their own unique abilities or deformities; Note Martin’s would have been that he could communicate with insects. Another draft included Bartok scientists using cloning technology to resurrect Seth Brundle in Brundlefly form and that his young son Martin was able to communicate with him.

Both of those sequel ideas sound incredibly bonkers and I’m here for it, especially with a Garris/Raimi treatment.

What could have been folks. Well anyway, if you feel like reliving the weird sequel that makes me cry more than horrify (the animal scenes are a hard watch for me), then you can pick up the Blu-Ray here.