While it didn’t make my personal Top 10 List of horror movies featured at this year’s Fantastic Fest in Austin Texas, Starfish (written and directed by A.T. White) was a definite mind-bender; an enigmatic riddle that sticks in your skull long after the film is over. It blends fantasy with low-tech/metaphysical sci-fi and a hefty dose of high drama. It’s got the appeal of Stranger Things and The Mist but carries the weight of something much deeper.
Today brings news that Starfish has been picked up for distribution by The Orchard. Expect the film to receive a limited theatrical release before arriving on VOD platforms this spring. The film stars Virginia Gardner (Halloween), Christina Masterson, and Eric Beecroft.
Synopsis A girl. A mixtape. And Armageddon. A uniquely honest portrayal of loss as a young woman struggles with the death of her best friend while dealing with the horrific Lovecraftian end of the world, driven by a beautiful indie music soundtrack.
The sci-fi horror feature Starfish, which stars Halloween and “Runaways” actor Virginia Gardner has been picked up by The Orchard for a raft of territories including the U.S. and UK, Deadline reports out of the American Film Market.
The film, which is directed by A.T. White, follows Gardner as a young woman who struggles with the death of her best friend, while trying to assemble a series of clues left on mixtapes in order to stop a monstrous end to the world as we know it.
Blending drama, high-concept sci-fi and horror with an upbeat indie music score, The Orchard has picked by White’s debut feature for the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. It is planning a theatrical release in the spring ahead of a digital release.
There is nothing worse than horror movies that spend too much time setting up the premise. You already know these kids will be fighting for their lives, so having to watch 30 minutes of them debating whether to go to the mansion with the creepy people can be annoying if you don’t care about the characters. Monster Party suffers from this exact problem, as we spend too much time setting up annoying and unlikeable characters and we skip over much of the gory fun.
We are introduced to a trio of robbers who target rich homes in Southern California. There’s Iris (Virginia Gardner), who is pregnant with the child of Dodge (Brandon Micheal Hall), and Casper (Sam Strike) whose dad has a gambling problem. That is it. Director Chris von Hoffmann wants us to care for these kids, yet the above information is the only thing we get to know about these characters we are supposed to sympathize with.
In one of the many similarities to Don’t Breathe, one of our robbers is forced to go on one last job to escape a terrible situation at home. Casper must now come up with a big amount of cash to pay some dangerous thugs who are threatening his dad. Luckily for him, Iris is scheduled to work as a server at a dinner party for a filthy rich family. Of course, they will get more than they bargained for.
The trailer and even the film’s synopsis are quick to spoil what’s going on with the dinner party guests, but just in case I will not say anything about it. Suffice to say, blood will be shed, and our young robbers will have to fight their way out of the house.
The performances are solid. Gardner, in particular, makes for a good old-fashioned horror heroine, and Lance Reddick manages to be menacing while also a comforting and calming presence. The main trio has some scenes with great chemistry, and you can see the fear in their eyes once everything starts going down.
The biggest gripe with the film is its lack of resources, which become too apparent once the bloodshed begins. The film’s glacial pace wouldn’t be a big problem if the characters were interesting – they are not – or if the film had some fun and inventive kills. Unfortunately, after waiting for more than 40 minutes for the “monster” part of the title to begin, the film’s budget restriction kicks in.
While von Hoffmann doesn’t shy away from blood splatter, all the deaths happen off-camera, either cutting away to someone else’s reaction, or just moving the camera to another room of the house and hear a faint scream before moving on. This wouldn’t be a problem if the film found a way around it, or if it was intentional, but it is easy to see the only reason for it was the lack of a bigger budget.
Monster Party has a morbid energy that keeps you interested despite all of its problems. Unfortunately, this is a horror film without interesting characters or satisfying kills which makes for a very dull experience. Do not accept this party invitation.
On November 2, RLJE Films will be releasing their new horror/thriller Monster Party in theaters, VOD, and Digital HD but we’re here to give you a sneak peek with an exclusive clip!
In the clip, a confrontation between two obviously sinister people takes place, with one thinking he’s the leader of the “ship” while the other sees that he needs to make things 100% clear as to where the hierarchy lies.
“Three thieves plan a daring heist posing as waiters at a fancy Malibu mansion dinner party in hopes of paying off an urgent debt. When their plan goes horribly wrong, the trio realizes the dinner guests are not as innocent as they seem and their simple cash grab becomes a violent and desperate battle to get out of the house alive.”
Written and directed by Chris von Hoffmann, Monster Party stars Julian McMahon, Robin Tunney, Sam Strike, Erin Moriarty, Lance Reddick, Brandon Michael Hall, Diego Boneta, and Virginia Gardner.
Director and co-writer David Gordon Green’s Halloween held its official premiere to a packed house this past Wednesday, October 17th at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, and HalloweenMovies was there to document the buzzed-about event forty years in the
Monster Party is a 2018 American horror thriller feature film written and directed by Chris von Hoffmann (Drifter). The Dark Web Productions movie stars Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck), Robin Tunney (The Craft), Sam Strike (Leatherface), Erin Moriarty (Blood Father) and Lance Reddick (John Wick).
Three thieves plan a daring heist posing as waiters at a fancy Malibu mansion dinner party in hopes of paying off an urgent debt. When their plan goes horribly wrong, the trio realises the dinner guests are not as innocent as they seem and their simple cash grab becomes a violent and desperate battle to get out of the house alive…
“Chris von Hoffman’s storytelling is both entertaining and intense,” said co-producer Jesse Berger. “It has been an incredible experience working with the creative team to bring this rollercoaster ride of a film to life.”
RLJE Films will release Monster Party in US theaters, VOD and Digital HD on Nov. 2, 2018.
Cast and characters:
Julian McMahon … Patrick Dawson
Robin Tunney … Roxanne Dawson
Sam Strike … Casper
Virginia Gardner … Iris
Brandon Micheal Hall … Dodge
Erin Moriarty … Alexis Dawson
Kian Lawley … Elliot Dawson
Lance Reddick … Milo
Diego Boneta … Ollie – Scream Queens
Jamie Ward … Jeremy
Chester Rushing … Cameron
Sofía Castro … Becca
Mickey Gooch Jr. … Emory
Bill Engvall … Flash
Logan Huffman … Mickey
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Halloween (2018) was directed by David Gordon Green and was written by Green, Jeff Fradley, and Danny McBride. It is the eleventh installment in the Halloween film series, and a direct sequel to the original 1978 film. It completely retcons the series as it ignores all other films in the franchise after the original.
SPOILER ALERT:This review will talk openly about some plot points of the film. I’ll try not to ruin any major surprises but if you want to be totally spoiler free skip this until you’ve watched the film.
Plot & Thoughts
Set forty years after the original Halloween, we once again follow Laurie Strode who’s been waiting all these years to come face to face with Michael Myers. Naturally, Michael makes his way back to Haddonfield, Illinois to finish her off as she escaped his killing spree on Halloween night back in 1978.
That’s a pretty short plot summary but it’s the gist and honestly it’s all you need. I could give you a beat by beat outline of the plot but it would neither A) spoil or B) enhance your enjoyment of the film. I’m not going to bury the lead here… I REALLY enjoyed this flick. It’s not a perfect film by any stretch and I’ll go into some of that but for horror fans and specifically fans of the Halloween franchise, there’s a lot to like here.
While I’m not a huge fan of all of the sequels in this franchise I had one major concern going in here: Would Michael still be Michael? Let me explain. The concept of Michael Myers is huge at this point. The body count he’s left in his wake across ten previous film is epic. But when we’re erasing 90% of that history what do we have left? A guy who killed five people and two dogs. *womp womp*
While that’s certainly horrific it pales in comparison to the nearly 100 victims he’s piled up in the sequels we just threw away. I’m thrilled to say that they address this right out of the gate and explain why Michael is a force to be reckoned with and why he should still be feared. I’m also happy to report that he leaves that original film’s body count in the dust in short order.
The other big concern I had here was the fact that they’d erased the bloodline between Michael and Laurie (as shown in the trailer). This is addressed. There’s still a reason that Michael wants to come after Laurie. There’s a little suspension of disbelief at play here but I’m totally OK with it.
Let’s start with some stuff that I wasn’t thrilled with.
Supporting cast – in general I wasn’t a huge fan of the supporting cast. Many of the high school kids were just sort of there. Luckily there’s not much for them to do as the film revolves heavily around Michael and Laurie.
The reboot Loomis – not a fan of this character as it was CLEARLY there to remind us of Dr. Sam Loomis. Hell, they even go so far as to call out the fact that he’s the ‘new Loomis’. Also there’s a particular aspect of this particular character that I really didn’t like. I’m going to leave it at that. I’m guessing you’ll know what I’m talking about after you’ve seen the film.
Off screen action – while this is actually used really well in some spots, there’s a couple of times where shit happens off screen that we really should have seen. Not seeing Michael escape was a huge miss in my opinion and I was bummed to have note been shown it. That’s primarily cause I totally enjoyed Michael in this movie so I found myself wanting more.
The horror tropes – folks running into the woods when they should be running into the house, falling down when there’s nothing to trip over and people walking around in a dark house when they could just as soon flip on the lights. This sort of thing irritates me every time I see them whether in a big budget flick or an indie. Stop. Horror fans deserve better.
OK. Let’s get into the stuff that I loved. Keep in mind I’ve only seen it once and I didn’t take notes, so I’m going from first impressions and memory here. That said, I don’t really see much of these thoughts changing on subsequent viewings.
The score – John Carpenter’s score is back and better than ever. It’s iconic and it’s done justice. From the word go, you know you’re in a Halloween flick when the music hits.
Camera movement, direction & cinematography – this LOOKS like a Halloween flick with deep homages to that original film. There’s a lot of long tracking shots, POV shots, out of focus ‘look in the background’ shots and jump scares galore. You could watch that original film and this back to back and while there would be a passage of time they’d butt up against one another nicely. Think Rogue One to A New Hope in terms of look and feel. It’s flawless.
The kills – they’re here in droves. They’re violent, they’re bloody and they’re rooted in reality. One thing I’ve always liked about Michael is that for the most part he’s a reality based killer. If you let yourself, you can imagine some psycho walking into a house and killing the babysitter. There’s a couple of kills here that are really ‘raw’ but not over the top like some of the ‘gore porn’ we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years.
Jamie Lee Curtis – she’s great here. I like where they take the character of Laurie Strode forty years later. If there was someone who’d gone through what she’d gone through back in 1978 you could see them turning out this way.
Michael – the portrayal of Michael here I completely enjoyed. He’s back to being ‘The Shape’ and that’s right where he needs to be. It’s a mix between the original 1978 version and the Rob Zombie hyper violent version.
In a nutshell, this is a tremendous entry into the Halloween franchise that completely ignores everything after the original. If you were a fan of the ‘story’ of Michael Myers including the cult stuff, the family ties to Laurie Strode and everything else that came in seven sequels and two reboots this one might not be for you. HOWEVER. If you’re a fan of ‘The Shape’ that is Michael Myers, a fan of a strong female lead, a fan of a high kill count full of blood and gore then this is a strong recommend and definitely worth checking out.
Halloween had a budget of only $10 million dollars. I’m not sure how that’s even possible in today’s day and age of blockbusters and shared universes but it’s fair to say that it will make an absolute shit ton of money and deservedly so. There’s slim picking coming to theaters for the rest of the year if you’re a horror fan but that’s OK… Halloween is really all you need this fall season. I imagine there will be some critics who will shit all over this film for it being ‘predictable’ and just another entry into a tired franchise. I’ll end my review with what I said as soon as I walked out of the theater:
If you’re a fan of horror movies and more specifically the Halloween franchise, I’m not sure how you couldn’t enjoy watching this.
I can’t wait to talk about it when more folks have had the opportunity to see it – Halloween opens nationwide on Friday, October 19th.
You can find more information about Halloween at the following links:
Universal Pictures will release Trancas International Films, Blumhouse Productions and Miramax’s Halloween on Friday, October 19th, 2018.
Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
Master of horror John Carpenter executive produces and serves as creative consultant on this film, joining forces with cinema’s current leading producer of horror, Jason Blum (Get Out, Split, The Purge, Paranormal Activity). Inspired by Carpenter’s classic, filmmakers David Gordon Green and Danny McBride crafted a story that carves a new path from the events in the landmark 1978 film, and Green also directs.
Halloween is also produced by Malek Akkad, whose Trancas International Films has produced the Halloween series since its inception, and Bill Block (Elysium, District 9). In addition to Carpenter and Curtis, Green and McBride will executive produce under their Rough House Pictures banner. Ryan Freimman also serves in that role.
Halloween is set to be released on Friday, October 19th, 2018 but if you’re in the Boston or Hartford areas you can see it THREE DAYS EARLY on Tuesday, October 16th… FOR FREE!!!
Halloween Hits Theaters October 19th
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Virginia Gardner, Nick Castle
Free Advance Screening Passes!
Tuesday, October 16th, 7:00 PM at the AMC Boston Common
To download passes to the advance screening of Halloween on October 16th in Boston, click here: tinyurl.com/HalloweenScreeningBostonRemember seating is first come, first served and not guaranteed so arrive early!
Tuesday, October 16th, 7:00 PM at the Bow Tie Palace Hartford
To download passes to the advance screening of Halloween on October 16th in Hartford, click here: tinyurl.com/HalloweenScreeningHartfordRemember seating is first come, first served and not guaranteed so arrive early!
Check out the trailer below and tell em ScareTissue sent ya!
Who else is PUMPED for this legend to return to the big screen!?!?
This past Saturday, September 15th, HalloweenMovies.com sat down with director David Gordon Green on the Universal backlot to discuss his forthcoming film Halloween, which is set for release by Universal Pictures this coming October 19th, 2018. Co-written by Jeff Fradley