Tag Archives: Halloween (film)

Scream and Scream Again

I wrote something about slasher movies! You can read it now on The Hooded Utilitarian. Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Phantasm, Child’s Play… all their sequels are under discussion. Their quirks, their staggering lapses in logic, and their (mostly vain) attempts to make that “kill, kill, kill” formula seem fresh again. Thanks to HU for publishing it!

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Horror Character Madness, Part 2

By Ashley

Last week, Andreas posted his first five favorite horror movie characters and now, after a brief setback, I’m happy to present my own!

25) The Dancing Corpse (Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn [1987])

Because why the fuck not? Seriously though, what is better than the decapitated corpse of Ash Williams’ girlfriend rising from the grave to treat viewers to a macabre pseudo-ballet? When Linda’s giggling head joyfully rolls back onto her neck and she starts pirouetting around, the movie is very knowingly walking the line between horror/comedy and self-parody. Up until this moment, Evil Dead II is just a remake/reminder of Evil Dead I but then BAM, a corpse is dancing and it really sets the stage for the bizarre comedic set-pieces that follow. And it’s damn fine stop-motion to boot!

24) Rhoda (Patty McCormack in The Bad Seed [1956])

The Bad Seed was one of the first maternal madness movies I ever saw and it struck a major chord with me (obvi). Rhoda terrified me—all blond pigtails, wide eyes, and murderous rage. I was totally sucked in by her precocious psychosis and how effortlessly she manipulated the adults around her. Why is this little girl the very embodiment of evil? The best explanation the movie gives us is some shoddy science: Rhoda’s maternal grandmother was a serial killer and this tendency skips a generation. Ultimately, Rhoda gets bitch-slapped by the heavy hand of morality; as my dad quipped darkly after she was struck by lightning, “God got her.”

23) Lynda Van Der Klok (P.J. Soles in Halloween [1978])

I’ve discussed, at length, my love for Lynda Van Der Klok. It has very little to do with Lynda’s character and everything to do with how fucking much I love P.J. Soles; she has the amazing ability to breathe charismatic life into dim-witted, shallow, catty characters. She helps these characters become more than your typical horror movie meat-bags. Lynda Van Der Klok is self-centered, vain, vapid, and isn’t apologizing for shit, and goddammit, I love her for it.

22) Rhonda (Samm Todd in Trick ‘r Treat [2007])

You know, sometimes you’re just down for some good old-fashioned revenge. I watched Trick ‘r Treat for the first time in the beginning of October and it was perfect. It was so goddamn perfect that I wanted to punch it for being too good. It was very hard for me to pick just one character from this movie because, God, they’re all so fucking awesome. But Rhonda holds a special place in my heart: the sweet savant who gets cruelly tricked by her little bitch classmates. And then, when real scary shit goes down, does our girl Rhonda take the moral high road and prove herself better than her classmates? Fuck no. In true Carrie style, she leaves them to be eviscerated by a horde of zombie children. My favorite part is how incredibly calm she is about it: she doesn’t sneer or glower or spell out to them what she’s doing or why. She just looks at them with a clear, patient face that says, “You deserve this.”

21) Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten in Shadow of a Doubt [1945])

I’m not shy about my all-encompassing (at times indecent) love of Joseph Cotten. There is nothing I do not love about this man. Joseph Cotten, like Jimmy Stewart, often plays characters who are superhumanly warm and good-natured. And so, just as with Jimmy Stewart, when he’s playing a decidedly unwholesome character—like the bluebeard Uncle Charlie—it brings an added chill to the table. Especially because Uncle Charlie is a deceitful mix of gentle, wholesome family man and cold-blooded murderer; Cotten switches between the two in an instant with little more than a look or a gesture. It leaves me feeling deeply unsettled because just like his ever more suspicious niece Charlie, I love Uncle Charlie. I admire him and want him so badly to be good. It’s a film that fucks hard with our feelings toward its charismatic villain.

So, boys and ghouls and those off the gender spectrum, keep your eyes peeled for the rest of our favorite horror characters! The next five from both of us should be up later this week!

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The [totally awesome!] life of Lynda Van der Klok: a love letter to P.J. Soles

By Ashley

I, like many other people participating in this blogathon, am totally enamored with P.J. Soles. There’s just something about her that is so charming and irresistible, despite the fact that a lot of the characters she portrays are very catty, overly perky, backbiting and condescendingly, unabashedly bitchy. It doesn’t matter; once you see that thick golden hair and that mischievous, toothy smile, she’s reeled you in and you’re a fan for life.  I’ve never met anyone who (if they know who P.J. Soles is) dislikes her and I never hope to.

It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to concentrate on when I wrote this: should I just write about her and her awesomeness in general? Should I write about the first time I saw (and loved) her in Carrie? Should I finally do what’s long overdue and watch Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and talk about how she definitely should have been a lead actress more often? Should I take the less traveled path and write about some of her later work, maybe her part in Jawbreaker?  So many choices! Ultimately though, I decided to keep it simple—I’ve decided to do a visual analysis of her portrayal of Lynda from Halloween.

Lynda is Jamie Lee Curtis’s slightly bitchy, ultra-perky, self-indulgent friend who doesn’t understand why Curtis’s Laurie spends every weekend babysitting instead of getting drunk and hooking up. Soles is the wild child to Curtis’s straight lace, which means that she’s doomed from the start.

We first see Lynda as she and Laurie are leaving the school. Lynda is having a rapid one-sided conversation about cheerleading and makeup while Laurie looks uninterested. This is what strikes me as so amazing about P.J. Soles: even if the characters she plays are annoyingly vapid, backstabbing, or bitchy, she’s just so compelling as an actress that we like her—nay, love her—just as much as we do more pleasant characters.

As I grabbed screenshots for this post I realized that just watching isolated images of P.J. Soles from the movie makes it seem like an average high school flick, right up until the part where she gets the fuck strangled out of her. (I once saw an interview wherein P.J. Soles said that she milked her death for all it was worth so she would have more screen time, which is why we have the delightfully ridiculous continuing moans and gasps even after she’s been out of frame for like 30 seconds.) With that said, I now present:

Lynda Van der Klok: A Story in Pictures

And so there you have it! The life, loves, and death of Lynda Van der Klok. You were, like, totally awesome, Lynda. Totally RIP.

For more P.J Soles goodness check out the week long blogathon over at Day of the Woman!

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