Ponty Pans: Halloween Kills (2021)

Halloween might be over—noooooooo!—but the Halloween film franchise will never die—or End, as the latest installment claims.  If you’re like Ponty and myself, you try to watch at least the 1978 John Carpenter classic at least once a year, preferably on Halloween.

Unlike Ponty, I haven’t seen the plethora of sequels, besides—of course—Halloween II (1981) and the unusual Halloween III: Season of the Witch.  I’ve also seen the “soft reboots” since 2018, thought I haven’t seen Halloween Ends (2022) yet.

As Ponty points, I, like many others, will.  I’ll also see Halloween Ends Again or whatever comes out next.  Heck, I’ll probably see Halloween Ends Again III: Season of the Witch: The Musical, with an original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, including that annoying Silver Shamrock jingle.  These franchises know how to hook in suckers like yours portly, who will never hesitate to drop a $1.25 RedBox coupon to sample some tasty trash.

But I digress.  Ponty asked to take a stab—no pun intended—at reviewing 2021’s Halloween Kills, a film I reviewed last November.  Ponty assiduously avoided my review, so it’s interesting (though not entirely surprising) that we walked away with some similar reflections on the film.  “Evil dies tonight!”—ugh.  How could anyone miss that braying mantra?

Regardless, Ponty’s review goes far deeper than my own, delivered with his own brand of acerbic and longsuffering wit.

On a lighter note, he also includes some pictures from his and Tina’s Halloween festivities.  Well done on the decorations, Tina!

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 2021’s Halloween Kills:

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Ponty’s Friday Video Game Review: Little Nightmares

It’s the witching season—the time for all sorts of ghoulish, spooky things to go down—and what better way to toy with dark forces than via video games?

Good ol’ Ponty has been dying to review this game for some time now, and he has finally delivered the goods—tasteful bedroom photos of his allegedly hot girlfriend.

Oh, wait—wrong e-mail [just kidding, Tina—Ponty wouldn’t do such a thing, and I wouldn’t ask]!  No, no, Ponty has offered up his review of Little Nightmares, a game of Tim Burton-esque grotesquery.

It’s long sat in my Steam library, just waiting to be played; after the Spooktacular this weekend, I will have to do just that!

With that, here is Ponty’s review of Little Nightmares:

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Best Films: #9: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Ponty has been plugging away at this Top Ten Best Films, and as I predicted, he’s suffering from an embarrassment of riches.  Doing the bad films was difficult in some ways, but if you call a “bad” film wrong, it’s no big deal—no one would watch it, anyway.

Good films, while rarer, are still abundant enough to make the selection process difficult.  Just when you think you have a sense for your list, you’re reminded of some classic that you managed to forget in the depths of your memory hole.

That was my experience when reading Ponty’s #9 pick.  I love this film (which came out when I was in college), but somehow it had slipped my mind for consideration in my own list.  What a fool I was!  As Dr. Samuel Johnson wrote (to paraphrase, since I don’t feel like looking up the exact quotation): “We don’t need to be taught so much as we need to be reminded.”  So true!

Well, Ponty did an excellent job reminding me in this impressive review.

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 2004’s Shaun of the Dead:

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Best Films: #10: A Quiet Place (2018)

The Top Ten Best Films list now jumps over to Ponty, who I believe is enjoying a much-deserved holiday this week (although that was possibly last week).  Here’s hoping he’s enjoying some peace and quiet.

Speaking of quiet, Ponty’s first pick for his list is a film that explores a terrifying world in which staying quiet is the only way to stay alive.  If only students were similarly terrified into shivering silence.  Oh, well.

It’s a wonderful picture—one of my favorite recent films, too—and a very intriguing concept, executed extremely well.  I could say the same thing about this review, which is exceptionally thorough and interesting (and has me wanting to go back and watch 1963’s Jason and The Argonauts).

With that, here is Ponty’s review of 2018’s A Quiet Place:

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Midweek Myers Movie Review: King Kong (1933)

Good ol’ Audre keeps delivering the goods with these film reviews.  Of course, all these movie reviews make me wonder if I should just morph The Portly Politico into a film review blog—maybe re-brand as “A Portly Night at the Movies” or something.

But there’s just too much other good stuff to bloviate about.  Still, there’s something magical about a good movie, and few movies are quite as magical as 1933’s King Kong.  There’s something whimsical—completely captivating—about this film:  the stop-motion Kong; the iconic scenes; the mighty ape fighting a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  It’s all so… cool!

So I was thrilled when Audre—quite out of the blue!—contributed this review of the film.  She captures that whimsy and magic and adventure so beautifully here.  And for a woman obsessed with Bigfoot, well, it makes sense she’d like movies about giant apes.

With that, here is Audre Myers’s review of 1933’s King Kong:

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My Latest Earworm: “Johnny Get Angry”

I love many kinds of music, but I’m primarily a rocker—I like swaggering, almost comically masculine hard rock.  I want to bang my head, shake my fists, and rock out to thundering power chords and hypnotic bass lines.  When I listen to rock, I feel like a panther taking flight on the wings of a phoenix.

But I also have a softness—a weakness, really—for late Fifties/early Sixties doo-wop and rock ‘n’ roll.  Sometimes—perhaps, embarrassingly often—that love extends to female torch singers (I promise, I’m an allegedly heterosexual man).

Lately, I’ve had the 1962 tune “Johnny Get Angry” stuck in my head—constantly.  Songwriters Hal David and Sherman Edwards wrote this bit of bubblegum pop for Joanie Sommers, and it was a modest hit for the songstress.

That 1962 version is pretty catchy, and the instrumentation is interesting—especially the kazoo chorus when the key changes from D major to E major—but the version that really got me into this song is from the 1990 film Nightbreed, specifically the Clive Barker-approved director’s cut.  Other versions of the film apparently were missing the song—performed by actress Anne Bobby in the role of heroine/love interest Lori Winston—which is a travesty, as it’s really key to highlighting the struggle inherent in Lori and Boone’s relationship in the flick.

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Lazy Sunday CLIV: More Movies, Part XIX: Movie Reviews, Part XIX

Ponty and I are getting down into our final three films for our respective Worst Movies lists, so it seemed like a good weekend to get back to looking back at some other movie reviews.  It wouldn’t surprise me at all if one the films here shows up on Ponty’s list; try to guess which one:

Three quite different films, but all films I’d recommend.  Which one did Ponty hate?  Take a guess in the comments below.

Happy Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: John Carpenter

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

The good folks at Shudder made the very wise decision to upload a bunch of John Carpenter films within the past couple of weeks, including Escape from New York (1981), The Thing (1982), Prince of Darkness (1987), and They Live (1988), the last of which I reviewed way back in the day, before I was writing movie reviews regularly.  Naturally, that’s meant a John Carpenter film festival at the Casa de Portly.

I’m not sure I have a favorite director—like most people, I just know what movies I like, regardless of who directs them—but if I had to pick, it would probably be John Carpenter.  I haven’t come close to seeing all of his films, but I know I like the ones I’ve seen—a lot.  The Thing might just be the best horror film ever made.  Big Trouble in Little China (1986) might be my favorite movie ever.

As such, I’d like to take this edition of SubscribeStar Saturday to celebrate the music and films and John Carpenter.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Worst Films: #4: The Wicker Man (2006)

Thanks go to Ponty, who mentioned in a comment—that I am not about to look up, ha!—this film.  You really helped me out with #4, but I’d like $3.23 for the RedBox rental, mate.  —TPP

This week’s flick is the second consecutive Nicolas Cage flick I’ve had to pan, which pains me:  Nicolas Cage is probably—and unironically—my favorite actor.  At his best, his loose cannon hamming can completely make a picture.  At his worst, he’s either too ridiculous—a caricature of his already cartoonish self—or too subdued, leaving the best arrow in his quiver unused.

In the case of this week’s film—The Wicker Man (2006), the abysmal remake of the 1973 classic—the poor presentation is, fortunately, not Cage’s fault exclusively.  He does deliver a rather lackluster performance, lacking either the over-the-top insanity of Vampire’s Kiss (1989) or the wordless panache of Willy’s Wonderland (2021), but it’s only occasionally bad.  Mostly, it’s just forgettable.

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare any remake to the original (with the exception of John Carpenter‘s The Thing, 1982), but remaking this film was a bad idea.  At least, the 2006 attempt is a very poor one indeed.

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