Halloween is almost here, and over the weekend, I viewed The Houses October Built and The Houses that October Built 2. Both are about a group of people who are looking for the ultimate haunted attraction. Both feature lots of footage of actual haunted attractions and the people who perform in them thus making them pretty thematically appropriate, IMO, for Halloween viewing. Both are not, however, equally good.
The Houses October Built is by far the superior of the two films. The plot is simple, a few days before Halloween, a group of friends rents an RV and drives across Texas to experience various haunted houses. Their goal is to find the most "extreme" haunted house they can. Almost immediately, they piss off the staff of one such attraction by filming inside and begin to be stalked by costumed people. Eventually, they find a strange subculture of Haunted House performers, find rumors of a hard to find attraction called "Blue Skeleton" which seems to be just the sort of experience they are looking for and, without getting TOO spoliery, bad things ensue. It was a decent movie, though not the best. A solid four out of five though. I enjoyed it, though a few incidents in the film were caused by stupidity on the part of the protagonists and that always drags a movie down in my estimation.
The sequel, however, is a different bucket of smelly chum. For one thing, it completely negated the first movie. I HATE sequels that do that. But if that was all it did, I could forgive it to a point. But it did something worse, it took it a step farther, and filled in a few holes from the first movie in such a way as to make it all seem stupid. Any sequel can be a bad sequel, but it takes a very special kind of bad sequel to diminish the original to such a degree.
Overall, I would say watch the first movie, enjoy it. Forget the second one even exists. I can absolutely 100% guarantee that whatever you picture happening to the characters from the first film in your own head, after the credits roll, will be 100x better than the shitty sequel. The first movie was entertaining, the second stunk like a decomposing skunk.
Another Halloween themed film I watched lately is the newest reboot/sequel (or "requel" as I have seen it dubbed) of John Carpenter's classic Halloween. This movie is getting a lot of love from both critics and horror fans, and I just don't get it. It struck me as an almost complete rehash of the original with a couple of utterly predictable "twists" toward the end. Probably the most entertaining part (or if I really want to be mean, the ONLY entertaining part) is seeing how an older Lorie Strode, dealt with the trauma from the events in the original film. Spoiler alert: not well. You might also get some amusement from spotting the various easter eggs in the movie. Though this film retcons every single Halloween film except the first out of existence, they all get a little nod at some point in the movie. Even the totally unrelated Halloween III. So if you think a small glimpse into the psyche of a 'final girl' 40 years down the road might be fascinating, you might like this film. Otherwise, meh, there are better choices out there.
But regardless of what you choose to watch for Halloween, whether something gore-tastic like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a classic Universal film or more kid-friendly fare like Hocus Pocus, enjoy it. And Happy Halloween