Book Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I wasnt sure that I would be doing one more Christmas review this year but after recently diving back into the Charles Dickens library I thought I may as well do a quick book review in celebration of the holidays.

A Christmas Carol was written by Charles Dickens in 1843, it is a short story otherwise known as a novella, but regardless of the books length it has been adapted to screen many times and is Christmas classic known by all.

The story is about an angry elderly man who has a cold heart and not a drop of love within himself, he is cruel to his employee Bob Cratchet who he underpays and has little sympathy for, he refuses to donate to charities and says that he would rather the poor die instead of help them and generally is a very unlikable character.

Throughout the story Scrooge is visited by ghosts one is his old partner Jacob Marley and the others represent the past, present and future who take him through time to see his life flash before his eyes and showing him the error of his ways.

If you cut apart all of the film adaptations and stitched parts together you would get a page for page perfect adaptation of the book and there not a is single part of the book that hasn’t included in any of the on screen tellings of the story.

there are few things in the book that are not often shown, one is the spirits in the air after Marley visits, in the books this shows ghosts all sorts of people who have done wrong and now carry the chains of their sins.

The other is Ebenezer’s sister Fanny who is very rarely put to screen and in the book it is told that she dies young and is the mother of Ebenezer’s nephew Fred.

Funnily enough one of the only adaptations to correctly depict the Ghost of Christmas Past was the muppet version as in the story and that version the spirit is said to be a glowing light.

What really surprised me was that in the original Charles Dickens story there is no part where Scrooge goes to Hell, in fact the story seems a lot more straight to the point than any version that came after it and I think it works better that way, so many of the re-tellings added this part and now I see that it really wasn’t needed as Dickens wrote the story so well without it.

It’s not easy to review this because while the book is really well written and very educational the later adaptations are definitely more memorable, in fact there are so many adaptations of the story that it is quite insane, if that doesn’t go to show that this is one of the most important stories every written I don’t know what does.

A wikipedia link which lists all adaptions of the original story

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptations_of_A_Christmas_Carol

I think I want to end this review by saying that I really enjoyed this book, I didn’t think that I would because I didn’t enjoy Oliver Twist another popular story from Dickens, back then I put it down to his writing style but I have to take that back because this story was wonderful. Perhaps I should check out his other stories in the future but for now I am very happy to say I will be reading this one every single year.

Merry Christmas and God Bless us Everyone !

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The Lord of the Rings – The Christmas Classics nobody ever expected

I want to start by saying that this is not a review, it is a discussion about what these movies mean to me, my history with them and why they remind of Christmas and are Holiday Classics for myself. I am only discussing the Peter Jackson Lord of Rings movies and not the books nor the animated version by Ralph Bakshi.

I don’t have photographs of my childhood with these films so I am using images from google, if anyone has an issue with an image I use please email me at my contact email address in the contact me section of this website and I will change it for another.

Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Fellowship of the Ring was released in December of 2001 and I was eight years old, my grandmother had come to visit the day after her and my Grandad went to the cinema to watch a film called The Lord of the Rings.

I remember asking her to tell me about it and she told me it was load of rubbish and was so boring and stupid that she fell asleep not long into the movie, this may be surprising but keep in mind that when she was younger she grew up with the books and while I haven’t read them myself yet I am sure they are quite different to the film adaptations.

After hearing about this boring movie eight year old me left the room to play and knowing myself it was probably Crash Bandicoot on the PS1 although I cant be too sure.

One year later on Christmas day 2002 I opened up one of my presents and it was that boring movie my grandmother told me about, I left it alone for a while as I was more interested in my new toys but on Christmas it has always been tradition for my family to watch a movie together and that year my mother wanted us to watch Lord of the Rings.

I quickly became obsessed with this movie and would play the tape almost daily, I’m not sure what really got me into the films but I do know that I had recently became interested in Wizardry thanks to Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone which was released in theatres around a year prior to when I was gifted Fellowship.

Gandalf the wizard became a favourite character of mine and even my friends, we all began quoting the famous “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” line while playing games in the garden and I we used to love re-watching his battle with the Balrog time and time again.

Another Scene I remember watching vigorously as a child was the fight with the Cave Troll, definitely one of the most intense parts of the movie and for an eight year old it was very memorable as a battle, again this may be due to Harry Potter which also had a troll fight, I dont like comparing the two but in my childhood this makes a lot of sense now that I look back almost 20 years later.

The movie ended on a fairly un-conclusive note so while young, I was still aware that there was more of the story to be told but at that age I was fairly distracted with school, video games and other hobbies so I never gave this much thought until the second movie ended up in my hands.

The Two Towers (2002)

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers released in theatres December 2002 I remember seeing posters for the movie but I was too young to be allowed to see the movie in the cinema, instead I would have to wait until the following Christmas before the tape was finally added to my collection.

I don’t remember the Christmas that I received this very well but I do have some very fond memories of this film and this is probably the video tape out of the entire trilogy which I played the most growing up.

It was the first interaction that the hobbits had with the creature Gollum here played by Andy Serkis who voiced the character and did live action work before the animation. Gollum is easily the best part of the film, he is very funny especially when he starts arguing with his other personality Sméagol.

I always wanted a Treebeard action figure when I was younger thanks to his scenes in the Two Towers, as a nine year old I was very jealous of Merry and Pippin getting to ride in his arms, I think he was a really lovable character and to this day he is still one of my favourite parts of the film.

I could never understand the whole Gandalf the Grey turned Gandalf the White when I was a child, It’s not that I didn’t like the character It was just a little bit too complicated for me to grasp back then, re-watching the film recently I must say it is really impressive how the cinematography, clever use of lighting and editing makes it seem like its Saruman before the big reveal.

The battle scene for Helms Deep was replayed so many times on the video tape that this section began to wear out before the rest of the video did, me and friends would often rewind this part and re-watch it, it is generally a very intense and fun battle scene, the fellowship only manages to get a 300 man army to take on 10’000 orcs so your really on the edge of your seat watching this.

There is also the competition between Legolas and Ghimli which adds some comedy to the scene and of course how can you forget Legolas riding the shield down the stairs while shooting orcs.

Again the film ends on a cliff hanger leaving me only desperate to get part three with me not realising that it would be the final chapter of this story.

The Return of the King (2003)

December 2003 saw the Return of the King hitting theatres but as per usual I wouldnt see the movie until a year later.

2004 was a tough year for my family, money was running low, savings were non existent and due to the stress of making enough money to feed the family my father had to take up a job abroad. One of the most difficult losses especially for my parents was the loss of our house, we couldn’t afford the upkeep so we were forced to move to an old flat in the city.

Its fair to say that I wasn’t expecting Lord of the Rings that year so I was very happy when it was gifted to me by my Auntie on Boxing Day when we did our usual Christmas greetings of the extended family.

Return of the King is easily in my opinion the best film in the trilogy, I have a lot of memories of this movie and they start from the very beginning, the movie opens with two brothers Sméagol and Deagol fishing on a boat, Deagol falls into the water and finds the One Ring, he refuses to give it to Sméagol for his birthday so he gets strangled to death and this starts the rings corruption of Sméagol and the creation of the Gollum.

I used to hate the scene with Denethor eating as it is really gross, I had a weak stomach when I was a kid so I used to close my eyes at this part, I suppose that’s why it always stuck with me.

The army of the undead was unbelievably cool for ten year old me, I used to love the big fight in this film, it had orcs, trolls, elephants and yes even the ghosts!, even Legolas and Ghimli’s competition was continued in the film and most prominently in this scene, it was tons of fun and both my favourite part of the movie and the videogame adaptation that was released.

There is a part of the film after Frodo leaves Sam he gets tricked into entering the cave of the Spider Shelob where he gets injected with a numbing liquid and wrapped in web, this part used to scare me and is really disturbing, when Sam removes the web from Frodo’s face he looks pale and dead and it isn’t revealed until later on that he is still alive.

For many fans the scene where Sam carried Frodo up Mount Doom is one of the most beautiful and memorable and if I ever review these films I will likely fully analyse this moment.

For me one of the most memorable parts of Return of the King was when Frodo refuses to drop the ring into Mount Doom, the entire trilogy had been building up to this moment so it is difficult to see Frodo be so corrupted that he doesn’t want to let go, of course Gollum jumps on top of an invisible Frodo and bits his finger off, this moment snaps Frodo out of his control and he pushes Gollum to his death in turn destroying the ring and saving Middle Earth.

The ending where Frodo, Bilbo and Gandalf go off on the boat I didn’t fully understand when I was younger, I assumed they were going on more adventures, and while this is kind of the case I now realise that they were going to the undying lands where they would settle down until the end of time.

And that’s it, that is all of my fondest childhood memories of Lord of the Rings, as I stated this was not a review but more of my experiences with the films growing up and why I watch them every Christmas, of course they are not Christmas movies but for me they do remind of the holiday and were some of the most memorable gifts I ever received, I know I skipped over a lot of moments in the films and if I ever review them I will do them full justice in a proper review but for now it was nice for me to look back at these epics and why they mean so much to me.

Happy Holidays everybody, I know my Christmas offerings have been less than usual this year, I may try to squeeze one more review out if I am feeling up for it but if not.

Have a great holiday season and I will see you all in 2021 !!

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The Santa Clause (1995) Review

The Santa Clause is a Disney Christmas movie starring Tim Allen as Scott Calvin a fairly unfortunate character who wants nothing more than for his son Charlie to retain the Christmas Spirit and believe in Santa very much to the dislike of his wife.

Later on in the film after a disappointing dinner at Denny’s and Charlie still unsure about the magic of Christmas, Scott accidently spooks Santa on his roof causing to him slip and fall to his death!

Scott begins to gain excessive amounts of weight and has uncontrollable facial hair growth, no matter what he does he cannot escape turning into the new Father Christmas.

Tim Allen actually looks really good as Father Christmas, all movie Santa’s pretty look the same but I think its the curved moustache that I like the most about this version.

The movie is pretty good but I don’t love it, some of the visual effects are outdated and are bad even for the time, the visuals of him going down the chimney were particularly unimpressive.

The elves being children is something I haven’t seen much in Santa movies, it definitely feels odd having these kids playing adult roles but it works well enough.

The thing I really don’t like about this movie is actually intentional, in the films defence this is not a criticism and is just something that I dislike. The mother character (Wendy Crewson) and her psychiatrist husband Neil (Judge Reinhold) really want Charlie to stop believing in Santa even though he is just eight years old. I really feel that eight is still very young and this intention while it was supposed to be for the child’s own good came across as really cruel.

Going back to the elves, the head elf of the North Pole is a character named Bernard, at first I did not like him as I thought he came across a little bit mean but I soon warmed up to him especially near the end of the film when his snappy and commanding attitude was shown more in the light of him really caring that Christmas is able to still happen and is as magical as can be even with a brand new, last minute Santa Claus.

The Santa Clause is a good Christmas movie, It is far from one of my favourites, I think the concept is really interesting, you don’t often see Father Christmas die and have the job passed onto someone else especially in a live action feature. I didn’t like a lot of characters in this film and I also found the visual effects somewhat cringeworthy but saying that this isn’t a Christmas Classic for others is untrue. The movie is often on lists of the best Christmas films of all time and many people have fond memories of watching this, It’s just not for me and at some point perhaps I will look at the sequels to see if I enjoy those more but for now this is one Christmas Movie I will happily sit through again but not as an annual Christmas Tradition.

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The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) Review

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a musical fantasy film starring everyone’s favourite puppet characters, Originally created by the late Jim Henson the Muppets were a huge success on Television and eventually starring in movies until Jim’s death in 1990.

This is a really good video playlist about Jim Hensons career it was made by Youtube Channel called Defunctland and is one of the best documentary series on Jim and his creations, I would highly recommend checking it out

After Jim’s passing his son Brian took the Muppets franchise under his wing and began work on the first movie that would be made after Jim Henson and this film just so happens to be a take on the Chales Dickens story A Christmas Carol.

The story is one of the most well known tales of all time but for those who may be living under a rock, A Christmas Carol is the story of a very angry and unkind man who is shown the error of his ways on one Christmas eve where three different ghosts show him his past, present and future in hopes of giving him a chance to redeem himself and avoid an eternity in Hell.

In this version of the classic story, Ebenezer Scrooge is played by academy award winner and cinema legend Micheal Cain, his performance in this is really good, in fact its my favourite performance of Scrooge in any media. The film is relatively silly as it should be, it is the Muppets after all.

The silliest moments come from Gonzo and Rizzo who are narrating the story while the movie is playing.

Another Great example of Muppet humour is the christmas party scene, it has Animal on the drums, Rolf on the Piano, Bad Jokes from Fozzy Bear and is genuinly one the most memorable parts of the film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jLRLwI6OdU

What makes Cain stand out so well is that he plays such a serious role when the rest of the movie is a Muppets film, his performance in this is so convincing that by the end of the film you even start to feel a little sorry for him, I really do think this is one of his best roles, the only slight issue is that he struggles to carry a tune during his song at the end of the movie and it would have been better if his singing was dubbed.

The rest of the cast is great, I felt the muppets chosen for the characters were really good, Kermit being Bob Cratchett is an obvious choice and Miss Piggy playing his wife Emily also makes sense, but we need to take time to appreciate the smaller roles, Dr Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker play the charity collectors which is seems an odd choice but it works surprisingly well but the best casting which was ingenious in my opinion was the role of Jacob Marley going to

Waldorf and Statler, I dont think anyone expected these guys to play such a large role in the film as they were mainly used for the odd funny remark in the TV show and the previous movies, they are great as Jacob Marley (now split into two brothers) and even sing a catchy musical number.

The music for the film was written and composed by Paul Williams and Miles Goodman, I have very mixed feelings on this I would argue that half of the music is phenomenal and some of the best Christmas themed music put to screen but the other half feels a little lackluster. Some highlights for me were “Scrooge”, “Marley and Marley”, It Feels Like Christmas” and even the “finale Song” was memorable but the rest is so forgettable, I couldn’t recall “One More Sleep til Christmas” or “Bless us All”, the movie had a lot of songs cut from it including songs by Beaker and Dr Honeydew, another by Sam the Eagle, these were not very good so I’m glad they weren’t kept in the film but the track “When Love is Gone” was cut from the film in releases after the theatre since it was deemed to sad and this is a shame because its a really beautiful lyrical piece that helps give more depth to Scrooge and his long lost love Belle’s character.

My favourite track is It Feels Like Christmas sang by the Ghost of Christmas Present, its a really bouncy and fun song about the meaning of Christmas but what makes it most impressive is the Puppet used for the Ghost, he was a life size Puppet made for the movie, a human actor controlled the puppet from the inside while a Puppeteer used robotics to control the eyes and mouth and did the voice acting in sync with the actors dancing and movements.

A Muppet Christmas Carol is a magical movie that is a yearly tradition for many especially Muppet fans like myself, It has a lot going for it with its impressive puppetry, charm that only these characters can bring the the screen and of course you cannot forget about Michael Cain who is just wonderful in this, this is one of the best telling’s of the classic Dickens tale but it’s not my favourite, it falls short is some places I found the commentary from Gonzo and Rizzo a little distracting at times and a few of the songs were forgettable but overall this is a still a really amazing film and it is one of the best in the Muppets library, a lot of love went into it and I have a lot of love for it and I’m sure you will too if you give it a try this Christmas.

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Friday the 13th Film Franchise – My Official Ranking

Friday the 13th is one of my favourite horror franchises of all time and I have wanted to discuss the films for a while but could never decide how I wanted to go about it, the films are all quite similar in premise and each have different qualities that are better in some than others, I figure that the best way to celebrate such a great franchise is with my official ranking of the 10 main series movies from worst to best.

Of course this is only my opinion and you may rank these film differently, my opinions on these films is likely to be unexpected but I am basing this list on how much I enjoyed them rather than the overall quality.

So without further lets talk about Friday the 13th.

10. Jason goes to Hell: Final Friday

This movie was a train wreck and not only is it the worst in the entire series but it may be the worst slasher movie in any major franchise.

Jason looks really awesome in this movie and is by far my favourite version of him but unfortunately the writers decided to kill him off in the first 15 minutes, leaving his spirit possessing normal characters and committing his murders within their bodies.

This is by far the most controversial decision in the film and honestly I don’t know why they thought it was a good idea, when you watch a Friday the 13th movie you want to see Jason not some stranger you’ve never seen in the franchise before.

To be honest the casting choices in the movie are just awful and I cant think of a single performance that stuck with me, the acting was genuinely stale and uninspired.

The visual effects are very good and are some of the best in the series, like the title at end of the movie Jason does go to Hell and the demons that come and take his soul are generally really cool and scary, this scene also leads to a great final moment which revels Freddy Krueger’s knifes dragging Jason’s mask into the ground hinting at a crossover in the future.

This was a really odd way on ending the original Friday the 13th franchise, at this point the series was getting a little stale and needed a conclusive end. I couldn’t understand some of the writers creative choices in this one and I think the “lack of Jason” really ruined this one for me, Like I said the reveal of the crossover was great but now that you know about it I can honestly say avoid this one because it is really not worth your time.

9. Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood (1988)

Friday the 13th Part 7 is one of the worst in series in my opinion, it definitely delves into new territory having Jason taking on a girl with telekinetic and psychic powers but it really does not hold up as a good entry in the series.

The films lead is a girl named Tina who accidently releases Jason from his prison beneath the lake ultimately putting herself and everyone else at the camp in serious danger.

The casting was nothing special but they at least enjoyable characters, I liked that there was a good mix of likeable and unlikable councillors this time so some of the deaths felt a lot more satisfying than others since those characters were so horrid, the death of councillor Melissa felt especially good since she was the bully character with some serious Egotistical problems and a manipulative personality.

Considering the movie has an interesting premise with Jason taking on a psychic, it is extremely boring for a slasher film and doesn’t have many memorable moments, even the deaths are a bit lame, the only parts I really enjoyed were near the end when Tina was using her powers to get one up on Jason but apart from that this is one movie I will be skipping next Halloween.

8. Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Part 8 was the first movie to take place outside of the usual setting, in the movie Jason boards a boat of graduating high school students and after a few murders the final chase takes place throughout New York City.

Before arriving in New York the majority of the film takes place on the boat, with such little room to escape the deaths are plentiful and quite memorable, the movie is quite silly with some comedic deaths including one woman who is beaten with her electric guitar and boy who has his head punched off.

The part of the film in New York was my favourite, it was nice to see such a change of scenery in one of these films and the way that the city was portrayed definitely made the film still feel intense and dark, there was one one scene where a female got kidnapped and the alleyway she was taken too was so dark and comic book like that I half expected Batman to come and recue her.

There is one moment near the end of the film that I just cant seem to get out of my head, a particularly unlikeable character meets his end in quite an ironic sense after it is revealed that he almost drowned one of the other characters years prior to the events of the film.

A fairly stupid movie but nothing too crazy and it is a lot of fun, the parts in New York are way better than what takes place on the boat, and I only wish that the entire movie had a New York setting, Part 8 can be over the top at times but not as much as some other entries in the franchise, I wouldn’t say you need to watch this one but I wouldn’t say skip it either.

7. Jason X (2001)

What do you do when you run of ideas for a franchise? If you guessed send them into space you would be correct and that is exactly what happened with Jason X.

In the film a group of scientists find a cryogenically frozen Jason Voorhees in the year 2455, the move takes primarily place in a space vessel similar to film Alien which I where I think they got the concept from.

From a story perspective this is probably the weakest one and the cast while funny were not great I couldn’t even remember their names after the film, infact the only person I really enjoyed was the captain of the group but holy cow is this movie a ton of fun.

The deaths were pretty standard but one really stood out and that was the frozen face smash, the rest of the deaths were forgettable but matched with funny lines and silly dialogue, the silliness works in this better than other franchise entries because I think this was meant to be a parody compared to another film that will be mentioned in this list.

Towards the end of the movie is a very funny scene that pokes fun at the cliche nature of the franchise and is my favourite part do the film

So is this slasher in space worth your time? I’m going to say no because while it was fun it’s not that memorable and feels more like a cheesy action comedy than a horror but if you want a good laugh and a stupid movie to watch with friends then this is a good option.

6. Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984)

The Final Chapter was definitely a stretch as a title bearing in mind that this was only the fourth film and in the original series there was actually ten.

For me this film was a major disappointment for such a beloved entry in the Friday the 13th franchise, the story is fine and is what is to be expected in a slasher movie, Jason escapes from the morgue and is back on a killing spree there isn’t much else to this apart from there is now a child played by Corey Feldman in danger as well as young adults.

The main cast is forgettable and none of the victims really stand out apart from a small handful, of course Corey Feldman as Tommy Jarvis the main protagonist is great and does a good job portraying a very intelligent but also fragile young boy who has managed to get himself wrapped up in the mess of Jason Voorhees.

At the end of the movie Jason is ultimately defeated when Tommy Jarvis recreates Jason’s childhood image and distracts the killer long enough for him to be taken down by his sister before finally being “killed” by Tommy which triggers a later rivalry between the two them.

The biggest issue I have with this film is that compared to what came before it this one really struggled to keep my attention, I found it boring, uninspired and generally forgetful, there was only one death that really stuck with me and that was Crispin Glovers character and I think that because he was only victim I actually liked.

One thing I can say this film does well is it connects the lore of previous movies with this one, the brother of Sandra Dier (Victim in Part 2) is seeking revenge on Jason after his sisters murder but unfortunately he meets the same untimely fate and is unable to beat Jason.

So as I have stated there are things I like about this movie but its just not enough for me to want go back and watch this every Halloween, honestly I think this movie is quite weak for genre of slasher movie, it doesn’t need a great plot but I don’t think I could argue that this is movie is even fun to watch and that’s why I dislike it.

5. Friday the 13th part 2 (1981)

Friday the 13th part 2 is a mixed bag in my opinion, I feel the movies first and last thirds are overall very good but it definitely falls short in comparison to the first film in the franchise.

The movie opens to Alice the lone survivor of the last film trying to cope with PTSD 2 months after her traumatising ordeal with Mrs Voorhees, in a similar manner to the first film she is placed as if she is to be the protagonist but is killed off to try and catch the audience off guard, I would argue that because of her previous work in the franchise her death was a bigger shock than how this was pulled off in the original.

The film moves onto five years later and we are introduced to our new campers who are setting up a summer camp in a new campsite and not Crystal Lake, the characters were really forgettable in my opinion, they all seemed quite cliche and none of them were really that interesting, I feel that this was done so that the film could have more focus on Jason who was the new threat but you still want to remember the people you are supposed to be rooting for.

Ultimately after the big showdown with Jason the film has two survivors, Ginny barely makes it and practically defeats Jason on her own but its a guy called Ted that has the ironic survival that I feel needs mentioning, the reason this character stands out amongst the rest is because the only reason he survives is because after too many drinks he is too drunk to drive back to the campsite leaving him staying at a motel and ultimately avoiding all of the unfortunate ends his campmates met with.

This was officially the first appearance of Jason as the main antagonist of the franchise so he didn’t quite have his signature look and before his deformed reveal near the end his face was covered with a flour sack and to be honest it comes across as very hills have eyes more than its own thing, I can at least say that the various kills are fun in this movie, the double spearing was particularly memorable as well as slitting the throat of a hanging upside down camper.

Friday the 13th: Part 2 had a lot to live up too especially when compared to the first film, but unfortunately I just don’t think is that great, it had a good start and the ending was really well done with a very intense battle between Jason and Ginny but the middle of the film is just a little boring especially with such bland characters who I found difficult to really connect with, not a bad film just quite disappointing and no where near the quality of that first film.

4 .Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives (1986)

Friday the 13th Part 6 may as well be a parody because it is so stupid that I cant believe it was actually signed off, with that in mind I will say that this is one of the most fun films in the franchise.

The movie opens with a grown up Tommy Jarvis digging up Jason’s corpse to cremate him with intentions to make sure he can never return, unfortunately thanks to a lightning strike the deceased killer is brought back to life and is now on a killing spree with his new undead and immortal form.

They redesigned Tommy’s character for this movie, in part 5 he was quiet and secluded which worked well for his character but I enjoyed his more confident side in this, Tommy has no fear of Jason and just wants to keep the killer at bay but the issue he has is no one believes him about Jasons return leaving him to mostly trying to defeat the killer himself.

The movie is well casted and is full of memorable moments, the issue I have though is that the movie is a bit too silly for my liking, this is mainly seen in the deaths, one guy gets his head bashed into a tree trunk leaving a bloody imprint of a smiley face, another death has a camp counsellor strangled to death in a RV toilet while her boyfriend thinks she’s jut being thrown around by his crazy driving, its all played for laughs but it doesn’t suit the franchise too well considering that other movies could be a little silly but Part 6 was way too comedic to feel like a Friday the 13th film and at times seemed more like a Scary Movie wannabe.

While this was not the first movie to use children as potential victims it was the first time I felt that Jason may actually be evil enough to kill a child, he comes very close in this but thankfully none of the children at the camp were harmed, children being murdered in films doesn’t often sit well with audiences so I think this was for the best.

I really enjoyed this movie from an easy entertainment standpoint but the comedic one liners and seriously over the top deaths just didn’t sit right with me for a Friday the 13th movie, I like a few cliché characters, cheesy dialogue and silly deaths in a slasher movie but this was just a bit too much.

3. Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning (1985)

Friday the 13th part 5 was never intended to exist, in fact part 4 was originally considered the end of the franchise, this left me some what concerned before watching this, however I was left pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it regardless of how ridiculous it can be.

The movie follows a now older Tommy Jarvis who is living in a halfway house full of misfits after his childhood ordeal with serial killer Jason Voorhees.

In the movie one of the misfits named joey is murdered by another household member triggering Joey’s father to become a Jason copy Cat Killer to get revenge for his sons death.

The movie does not take it self seriously as it often is very over top, this is reflected in the casting choice and the films characters, members of the halfway house are exaggerated versions of stereotypes which may be frowned upon today but I would be lying if I said they were not entertaining.

There is a secondary plot in the movie revolving around a hill billy and her very stupid son, these are way overperformed and it added a lot of laughs to an already silly film but again I think this worked in the movies favor.

The deaths in this film are more creative than what I got previously and I really appreciate that as it helped mix up the violence instead of the usual regular stabbings. Although it must be pointed out that while these deaths are silly they were written as comedic like the deaths in part 6

An unnecessary sequel but a really fun one that is full of memorable moments, great over the top kills and ridiculous but hilarious characters, if you like movies that are so stupid they are good then this is a movie for you.

2. Friday the 13th (1980)

The one that started it all, the first film in the franchise didn’t actually use Jason Voorhees as the villain and went for a more mysterious killer who left few clues for viewers to try and figure out who can be trusted.

The casting was very good here with believable characters and well written dialogue, I like that the film doesn’t take long to get to the first kill but it also doesn’t feel rushed and is overall well paced and uses a good mix of well executed cinematography and good work from director Sean . S. Cunningham which helps the film work so well with a fairly limited budget.

The film is full of memorable moments but for me the most surprising was the death of Annie, Annie was shown at the beginning of the film and viewers would expect her to be protagonist of the movie so when she became the first victim of the 1980 crystal lake murders it really caught viewers off guard and went to show that the film would not be a cliche murder flick but more of homicide mystery.

By the end of the film the mystery killer is revealed to be the mother of Jason Voorhees, Jason drowned in 1957 at Camp Crystal Lake when the councellers were not paying attention,  the killer is portrayed by Betsy Palmer  and she gives a very creepy and overall pychotic performance of a woman tormented by the loss of her son and now wants to murder all the councellers at Crystal Lake after its grand re-opening in 1980.

Overall a great film which is a lot of fun and full of memorable moments and characters, definitely a great annual tradition for a Halloween watch.

1. Friday the 13th: Part 3 (1982)

Friday the 13th Part 3 is where the franchise first started to stop taking itself so seriously and focused more primarily on memorable characters and great on screen deaths than it did story. I would argue that this worked in the franchises favor for many reasons.

By letting the franchise take a less serious route we were given a cast of characters who were are extremely memorable, funny and a little over the top at times, this may seem like a negative thing as these characters are not realistic and come across more as cartoons than actual people but in my opinion this just made them more likeable.

The film can be silly at times for example there is a secondary plot in the movie where two of the new campers upset a biker gang and a rivalry soon ensues, this is completely un-needed in a movie like this but it is actually one of the best parts of the film because the gang are again really over top versions of what a biker gang is ultimately making them very enjoyable to watch.

The movie doesnt take place in a campsite this time but in a log cabin which was a nice change of scenery, this movie was also much brighter in colour allowing certain elements to stand out more, I found that these previous two movies used very dark colour schemes and night skies to match the darker tone and more serious intention of those movies but since this film is more relaxed in that sense, the more cheerful lighting and colour choices works well with the high energy of the film.

Jason is first wearing the Hockey Mask in part 3 starting the trend of his signature outfit, this movie also had him more in frame and on show much more than the previous two films, again I found this much more fun, I appreciate that having him off camera is more scary but this movie only goes to show that he works much better as a slasher villain taken much less seriously, I would also argue that seeing him looking for his victims is much more creepy and menacing that what we cant see.

The movie was originally made in 3D so there is a lot obvious 3D moments in the film that don’t really look right in 2D as these moments come across as a little forced but that is honestly the only thing I don’t like about this film, I think its one of the best slasher films to watch around the Halloween season and if you have never seen a Friday the 13th film before this probably wouldn’t be bad a place to start, of course the original adds a lot to the lore and the Betsy Palmer moments are outstating but overall I would say that this is a better Friday the 13th movie.

And there you have it the 10 mains seires Friday the 13th movies ranked by yours truly, what were yoour favourite movies in the franchise?

Happy Halloween 2020, I hope this years spooky content, Im going to be taking a short break now until the Christmas Season to give myself some much needed chill out time so I will see you then.

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Castlevania: The Adventure (1989) Gameboy Review

Castlevania: The Adventure was the third Castlevania game released chronologically and was the first title to be exclusive for a handheld system, It was developed and published by the video game developer Konami, it was released in 1989 for the Nintendo Gameboy in Japan and North America prior to a 1991 release in PAL regions.

The game is set 100 years before the events of the first Castlevania game and stars Christopher Belmont who after years of Dracula causing havoc decides he’s had enough and travels to his castle ready to slay him.

The gameplay is fairly standard with it being a very basic 2D action platformer, in traditional Castlevania style you attack with the whip which can only be used in the direction you are facing so quick reaction times are a must in order to survive, it should also be noted that Sub Weapons are not in the game, a very odd choice which really takes away from the experience.

Quick progression is very important in the game since players are given a time limit to finish each of the four stages and their boss, overall the game is very short and I didn’t find the time limits to be anywhere near running out as I completed each level, as usual there are limited lives but there is little reason to worry because continuing from a Game Over only makes you repeat the stage you died on.

The boss fights are very forgettable and its a shame because in the two previous titles the boss fights were at least interesting and had some strategy and weaknesses to sub weapons, here they all feel very much the same and die fairly quickly.

I can at least say that while its not as good as before, the music here is really fun and is impressive for Game Boy standards, I would argue that the music may be the best part of the game due to the rest of it lacking in many ways.

Castlevania: The adventure is extremely disappointing as an entry in the Castlevania series, due to its limited stages, lack of sub weapons and overall boring gameplay nothing about it stands out compared to what we have had before, even the infamous Castlevania 2 is more enjoyable as a gaming experience than what we got here, the controls are clunky and the hit detection is a little off making the whole game even more frustrating than it needs to be, it had a good soundtrack but that’s about it and unfortunately I really cannot give this a higher ranting than a 2.5/10.

I am only grateful that the next Castlevania game I am reviewing is at least another good one so please look forward to that.

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Hocus Pocus (1993) Review

Hocus Pocus is a Disney Channel Original Movie which was directed by Kenny Ortega and was based on a story from David Kirschner and Mick Garris.

The film follows the resurrection of the child devouring witches the Sanderson Sisters and the work of a teenage boy, a love interest and his little sister to stop them.

Upon its release the film was not a commercial success and left Disney at a serious loss, it wasn’t recieved well by critics at the time although it has garnered a cult following in more recent times.

The film opens in Salem 1693 to a young boy named Zachary Binx who fails to rescue his sister from the witches and is cruelly punished to become immortal in the form of a black cat.

The witches are hung for years of crimes, unaware the towns folk do not realise that the sisters cast a curse that will resurrect them if a black flame candle is lit by a virgin on All Hallows Eve.

In the year 1993 Teenager Max Dennison lights the black flame candle and resurrects the witches putting the entire town in serious danger, in the film he is joined with two more heroes his sister Danni and love interest Allison.

The heroes are very well casted and its difficult to find any faults with their acting, my favourite out of the three was Thora Birch who played younger sister Danni Dennison, I often dislike child actors but she was very good and in my opinion the best character in the film. I liked her tough attitude and quick thinking in many areas of the movie.

The Sanderson Sisters (From Left to Right) KATHY NAJIMY, BETTE MIDLER, SARAH JESSICA PARKER

For most people the best part of the film may be Sanderson Sisters themselves but I’m going to be honest and admit that I really dislike them and It’s not because of their villainous nature. I found them extremely annoying the performances were very over the top which I think was the idea but as an adult with no nostalgia for the film all of the screaming and high energy performances were a little too much for me to find enjoyable.

The special effects are very impressive for a TV movie and are phenomenal for such a small budget, the best work is the life like effects of the Black Cat also known as Zachary Binx, there is a particularly memorable scene where he is run over and resurrected due to his immortality.

There are many memorable musical numbers in the film and I really liked all of them, “I put a spell on you” is the most well known but “Sarah’s Song” a melody used to lure unsuspecting children towards the witches was my favourite as I enjoyed It’s more calming ritualistic melody compared to the high energy of the other music.

I would be lying if I said that Hocus Pocus was one of my favourite child friendly Halloween Flicks but I can appreciate it for what it is, a simplistic tale of resurrected witches who are stopped by teenage virgins and a talking cat, it has a easy to understand premise, great music and excellent visual effects, I just found it a little bit annoying which is far less of a crime compared to some other films I have had to review for this website.

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Prometheus (2012) Review

As the first prequel to the beloved Alien franchise Prometheus at the time was exciting and had garnered high expectations from the franchises fan base but was it what we had expected or did we leave theatres disappointed?

The film may catch viewers by surprise as it doesnt just look at the origin of the aliens but at society as a whole. The movie opens to a humanoid figure consuming a substance and disintegrating, we are then introduced to our main characters before the plot starts to unfold.

I really dislike the casting in the movie because in my opinion apart two characters everyone is really forgettable, I couldn’t tell you much about this crew apart from there a geologist, an android called David and the female lead of the film Elizabeth Shaw.

The two characters that were memorable were fantastic, Noomi Rapace is a great actress and gives some really emotional work in this film, this is best seen in a really well directed segment where she is told by David she is pregnant, since she in infertile she realises that there is an alien inside of her and in a panic she quickly uses the ships mechanics to remove it from her stomach before she is killed.

David is the best android the franchise has ever had, All of the movies previous to this had an android and all of them have been portrayed by very good actors and actresses but from a personality point of view I think David is the most relatable and a lot of this is in part due to the portrayal by Michael Fassbender and Davids ability to make his own decisions beyond his programming this is shown later on in the film.

Thankfully compared to Alien 3 the CGI here is really good and I think it works really well and is better than some CGI you see in films today, the alien designs are really cool and have a prehistoric look to them which helps to emphasise that this is an origin story so these creatures have not evolved to the form we know and love.

I like Prometheus a lot as it helps me to appreciate the origins of a franchise I hold very dear to me but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard to follow even for people who know the original movies and I think if this was your introduction you may be left confused and not quite understanding what you just watched.

Overall an interesting start to the Alien prequels and one that I would recommend seeing but at least see the original film first to get an idea of the xenomorphs and to compare the complete difference in tone, pacing and story telling between the two movies.

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Revenge of Creature (1955) Review

The Season of Spooks and fear is among us and even though this year due to unforeseen circumstances parties and trick or treating has been cancelled, we can still enjoy some spooky media so please join me for Halloween 2020 !

Revenge of the Creature is the sequel to the much beloved sci fi-horror classic the Creature from the Black Lagoon

Check out my review of the original here

https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2017/10/23/creature-from-the-black-lagoon-1954-review/

The opening of the film really caught me off guard because it used a mixture of the previous films footage as well as new scenes briefly explaining the events of the last film and this ultimately leads up to the creature being captured and put on display in a sea park.

The majority of the film takes place in this sea park and I have mixed feelings about this because while the film is scripted well enough that the simple environment of the aquarium do work well from a story telling narrative it is difficult to not miss the amazing shots from the North Florida Wakulla Springs.

Compared to its predecessor I would argue that this film is more light hearted and sillier but I think it works more in its favour because of this, a great example of this is the scene in the laboratory, it opens to a monkey painting and then eventually the films shows us a goofy moment regarding a missing lab rat from a scientist played by Clint Eastwood, this film was actually his debut role although he isn’t credited as being in the picture.

In this movie we get see the creature on Land much more than we do in water, he’s also more brutal and more animalistic with his mannerisms and the way he kills his victims, It’s hard not feel sorry for him in this movie because all he wants is to get back to the Black Lagoon and apart from trying to take the female lead with him to the water he doesn’t do anything that doesn’t have just cause, he only really kills people when he feels threatened and doesn’t do much harm to others.

There is a great scene film in this film where the creature escapes its captivity and all of a sudden the humans that imprisoned it panic and do not know what to do, in this scene the creature is only trying to leave the sea park but everyone is so terrified of him that he has to fight through their terror to try and get back to the sea so that he can breathe.

The casting is great in this movie and all of the characters are very likable, the three main cast members give the best the performances and give the most screen time, of course the creature is yet again played by Ricou Browning for the underwater scenes and for the land segments Tom Hennesey takes over the role. The two main love interests and scientists in the film are Clete Ferguson and Helen Dobson played John Agar and Lori Nelson.

I really enjoyed this movie and I like it better than the first, the original film is great but its a little slow in places, I like this version because it has silly moments that mix well with the horror, and with creature now having more screen time and some more on land segments his character is more entertaining and overall more memorable, at least this was the case for me and from what I understand a lot of people would disagree with my opinion as the original is often regarded as a much better film, either way there is still one more movie in this trilogy and I’m going to be taking a look at it later on in October so look forward to that.

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Tomb Raider (1996) Review

Tomb Raider is a 1996 3D platformer-puzzle game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It was released for the Sega Saturn, Playstation 1 and MS DOS. The game was the first release in the popular video game series that sees Tomb Raider Lara Croft solving dungeons to discover treasures.

Relaxing in a Hotel in India, Lara is approached by a texan man named Larson who shows her a video feed to his boss Jaqueline Natla who offers her a job to travel to various countries to seek out the Scion of Atlantis which had been split into separate parts and hidden in tombs across Peru, Greece and Egypt.

The first Tomb Raider game while not limited in it’s environments definitely is forgettable, nothing about these areas stand out much apart from the enemies that you would fight, for example Peru has wolves and bears, Greece has lions and gorillas, Egypt has panthers and Atlantis has bleeding skin demons.

In the game you will have to solve puzzles and commit to some tricky platforming in order to survive the many tombs in the game, unfortunately you would be best playing the game on an original PS1 controller as more modern controllers make the platforming difficult as the game really was made with the Playstation’s original limited controller in mind.

while general control is rather clunky and a little stiff I found that swimming in the game worked really well and controlled smoothly, I believe this is why I enjoyed the underwater segments the most.

For an early PS1 game the graphics are really good and even hold up better than some games released later on in the systems life time, the game focuses primarily on tombs and is actually quite realistic as Lara will die constantly due to small mistakes and the tombs feel like they could exist in real life due to their simplicity by using mainly levers, switches and difficult platforming sections, there is nothing in the game that feels fantasy minus a few additions such as the Lara Doppelganger in Atlantis which is a puzzle in its self.

The soundtrack is great, it uses simple tunes but mixed in with orchestral music that fits perfectly into the lonely tombs and helps to amp up serious moments in what is a very quiet game. The developers decided to not have music playing constantly in the game but to only have it appear on certain cues such as discovering a secret or triggering a boss fight.

Tomb Raider on PS1 is a very important game as it was the introduction of Lara Croft who would go on to become one of video games most famous female icons. I wish the game controlled a little better or at least would save after every challenge as the controls really did make the gameplay unnecessarily difficult, I also wish that the environments were more memorable as apart from Atlantis and the dinosaur section nothing else really stands out. Overall I dont think is one of the best games I have ever played but its far from the worst and I look forward to checking out Tomb Raider 2 in the future.

5.3/10

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