Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) Written by Alan B. McElroy Directed by Dwight H. Little
After the box office failure of Halloween III, likely because audiences weren’t keen on the anthology angle, the producers decided to pivot back to Michael Myers. The franchise would be centered around him, causing the slasher to join the ranks of the constantly returning killers like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhies. John Carpenter was pulled back in along with Debra Hill, but they wrote with horror author Dennis Etchison this time. Whatever was in that script was rejected as “too cerebral,” and the desire to just have a meat & potatoes slasher movie was reiterated. Finally, Carpenter & Hill were done with the series and sold away all their rights. They didn’t see anywhere else you could go with Myers other than a cheap by-the-numbers slasher. And that’s basically what the franchise became.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) Written & Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
After 1982, John Carpenter and Debra Hill honestly had zero interest in making more movies about Michael Meyers. The producers, however, saw there was still money to get out of the Halloween brand. The compromise was that Halloween III not be a direct sequel to the preceding two films; this meant zero Michael. Instead, they proposed that Halloween movies could become an annual horror anthology. Each film would be set on the holiday but feature original characters in a plot divorced from previous entries. To start this off, writer Nigel Keane penned a script but was so displeased with changes that he asked for his name to be removed. Director Tommy Lee Wallace did a rewrite; therefore, he receives the story credit.
Halloween II (1981) Written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill Directed by Rick Rosenthal
Little did John Carpenter and Debra Hill know that their low-budget indie slasher flick would spawn so many sequels and reboots, creating a veritable multiverse of Michael Meyers. Timelines branch hither and thither so that the casual viewer will immediately be confused by which reality the story takes place in. Is this the Thorns Trilogy, or is it the Rob Zombie reboot, or is it the one where they bring back Jamie Lee Curtis or the other one where they bring back Jamie Lee Curtis? This October, we will be watching every single Halloween movie post the original 1978 feature. Will we be making sense of it? Hell no. But it should be an interesting journey through one of the most confounding horror franchises of our time.
Superman and Justice League America Volume 1 (2016) Reprints Justice League Spectacular, Justice League America #61-68 Written by Dan Jurgens (with Gerard Jones) Art by Dan Jurgens and Ron Randall
In the wake of Crisis on Infinite Earths, one of the significant changes made to continuity was removing characters like Superman and Batman from the founding Justice League roster. Throughout the late 1980s, the JLA consisted of characters that weren’t considered headliners like Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, and Guy Gardner. Once the creative team of Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis stepped down after a five-year run, and JLA was handed over to Dan Jurgens, a writer/artist who was doing some exciting things in the Superman books. So it seemed natural that he would bring Superman to the title as it was time for a new pared-down team to form. That would consist of stalwarts Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, Ice, Fire, and two new additions, Maxima & Bloodwynd.
The Sopranos Season Six (HBO) Written by Terence Winter, David Chase, Matthew Weiner, Diane Frolov & Andrew Schneider, Robin Green & Mitchell Burgess Directed by Tim Van Patten, David Nutter, Jack Bender, Alan Taylor, Steve Buscemi, Danny Leiner, Steve Shill, Phil Abraham
From day one, The Sopranos was compared to the work of Martin Scorsese. At a surface level view, that was inevitable as they both dealt in the world of Italian-American life and organized crime. However, Scorsese is concerned more with the intermingling of the sacred & the profane. Harvey Keitel kneels before a statue of Christ and prays for forgiveness throughout Mean Streets. Catholicism is highly prevalent throughout Scorsese’s work, and there are common elements of this religion in the Sopranos. However, I never once believed that Tony’s arc was a spiritual one. He does not believe in God, and it’s clear the world of the Sopranos is not governed by a deity. Instead, Tony’s journey is one of the inner mind; his dreams navigate him through the landscape of his existence. He does not speak to God; he listens to himself, for all the good & ill that leads to.
Let There Be Light (2017) Written by Dan Gordon and Sam Sorbo Directed by Kevin Sorbo
When I was a youth, I fondly remember an hour block of syndicated television on Saturday featuring the adventures of Hercules & Xena. Little did I know over twenty years later, Kevin Sorbo, the man playing Hercules, would be revealed to be such a sanctimonious douchebag, grifting on the current fasci-corporate brand of American Christianity. It shouldn’t surprise me as the “top stars” of the American conservatism movement are washed-up actors (Scott Baio, Dean Cain, anyone?). I guess there’s some resentment about not succeeding in the business, but this isn’t some conspiracy theory about Sorbo’s religious belief; he’s not a good actor, so a cheesy show like Hercules was a terminal point for him. Sam Sorbo, his wife, was a recurring character on the show and is also a mediocre performer. I guess that makes them perfect performers for the Jesus film circuit.
It’s been four days since we arrived in the Netherlands, and it still doesn’t quite feel real. We’re staying near the city center of Leiden in one place for the first month. Our bedroom window has a view of the canals and street below, the Dutch architecture. There are moments of disassociation where I get caught up in reading a book or watching a movie, and my brain is back in Tennessee. Then I look up and out the window and am reminded of where I am. It leaves me thinking, “When will this all feel normal?”
Superman: The Man of Steel Volume 3 (2021) Reprints Superman v2 #12-15, Superman v2 Annual #1, Action Comics #594-597, Action Comics Annual #1, Adventures of Superman #436-438, Adventures of Superman Annual #1, Booster Gold #23, and Superman: The Earth Stealers Written by John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, Ron Frenz, Dan Jurgens, and Jim Starlin Art by John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, Arthur Adams, Ron Frenz, Dan Jurgens, and Curt Swan
The post-Crisis Superman is such an interesting bridge between the Silver Age Superman and the contemporary image of the character now. The writers and artists on this reboot period were tasked with reimagining the very stories they grew up with and revered. So it’s to be expected that some elements harken back to those classic tales while other aspects of Superman’s mythos are injected with new life. This collection opens with a trio of one-shot annuals and concludes with an original graphic novel drawn by the legendary Curt Swan. The result is the feel of a reboot wherein the creative forces weren’t exactly sure how willing they were to drift away from the original.
So, I’m writing this from the airport. I’m sitting in the Delta Sky Lounge exceptionally early for our 5:30 connecting flight. I can honestly say that I sat in our hotel room the last 24 hours with anxiety in my gut that we had forgotten something, and they would tell us we could not board. I realized I have so much insecurity still to overcome in my life, and when we are settled, I do need to see a therapist. This morning, as my stomach roiled with worry, I thought about people who just live life without this kind of worry. I think it is a combination of stuff from when I was growing up and the anxiety induced by our extremely class-stratified society.