Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers

Michael Myers is the original Undertaker.  Think about it.  He often no-sells your offence.  When you’ve knocked him down and he’s just laying there on the ground, teasing you with his motionlessness, he’ll pause for a few moments before suddenly sitting up.  And maybe I’m not remembering correctly, but I’m pretty sure he’s chokeslammed a few victims, as well.

Or maybe I’m thinking of his brother Kane who does all of these things and wears a mask.

At any event, Myers is the silent killer who can’t be killed because dead horror villains aren’t profitable.  So, after being shot multiple times and seriously burned in the first two Halloween movies (and taking a vacation from number three), preposterously he’s ordered back into action for a round of mindless butchery in Halloween 4:  The Return Of Michael Myers, one of the silliest entries in the series.

10 years after the events of Halloween and Halloween II, the recaptured, should-be-dead man, now supposedly docile and completely out of it (ahem), is about to be transferred into state custody by complete idiots who don’t know what they’re getting into.  No one bothered to inform the indefatigable Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance), Myers’ longtime, battle-scarred psychiatrist, about this.  (Was he really sent a memo?  I call bullshit.)  He tries convincing a very dumb, wrongfully skeptical colleague that this is a very bad idea indeed.  Even after that same colleague gets a timely phone call about a very suspicious “accident”, he still doesn’t think it’s a very big deal, especially after they check out the scene together.

Dr. Loomis knows better and is soon back in his car searching desperately for his difficult patient.  He tracks him down at a gas station where he’s already offed a couple of employees and destroyed a couple of phones.  (Clever murderer.)  Pleading with him to end his long association with this series instead of annihilating a bunch of nobodies we’ll never see again, Myers somehow avoids being shot (what is he, The Flash?) and, in one of a number of unintentionally humourous scenes, manages to blow up the gas station.

The limping Loomis, who had dropped his wooden cane before attempting to 187 the masked man, is suddenly able to leap into the air to avoid getting burned a second time.  It’s a good thing, too, because the make-up representing what he went through in Halloween II already looks bad.  (Ditto the burn marks on Myers’ hands.  In his case, they look like dried puke.)

As The Undertaker’s inspiration heads back to his old murdering grounds in Haddonfield, Illinois, we meet Laurie Strode’s now orphaned daughter Jamie (the adorable Danielle Harris) who initially refuses to dress for Halloween but then decides, because of the bullies at school, to be a clown.  A bad sign.

Now adopted by the Carruthers, a local family, she’s particularly close to the cute, virginal Rachel (Ellie Cornell), their teenage daughter.  Although initially annoyed that she’ll be babysitting little Jamie on Halloween rather than having a date with the bushy-eyebrowed Brady (Sasha Jenson), she proves accommodating especially after Jamie lays the guilt trip on her.  (They learn so young.)

The impatient Brady doesn’t sound particularly thrilled with Rachel’s news but unbeknownst to his loyal girlfriend, he’s got a reliable back-up, Kelly (Kathleen Kinmont), the buxom blonde daughter of the new sheriff.  One look gives it all away.

Like her not-really-dead mother in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Jamie suffers night terrors about her ruthless uncle.  She encounters him for the first time in a local pharmacy where Brady and Kelly work after she selects her costume.  (Did that asshole even pay for that mask?  Motherfucker!)

As night falls, Rachel takes a now enthusiastic Jamie trick-or-treating.  When they stop by the sheriff’s place, Rachel learns the truth about her cheating boyfriend and while having an argument with him outside she gets separated from Jamie who goes off to the next house with some of her now strangely friendly classmates.

Eventually reunited, they’re spotted by Dr. Loomis and the sheriff (Beau Starr) who just happen to be driving up in a police car.  Long before that, Loomis, having hitched a ride with an old, wacky nut obsessed with the apocalypse and unkillable damnation after his car blows up at the gas station, patiently explains to the sheriff why the town needs to lock their doors and stay off the streets.  This time, his prescient warnings are heeded.

But stupidity still reigns supreme most notably in the film’s final act.  Myers has secretly hitched a ride with one of the sheriff’s brain dead deputies.  When said deputy goes back to get a rifle from his trunk, he notices an open passenger door.  He looks around, pops the hood, grabs the weapon, goes back inside and never once mentions this rather important development to anyone in the house.

Shortly thereafter, Dr. Loomis suddenly decides to depart and check out the Carruthers’ residence again erroneously thinking that Myers will show up there for a second time.  (Loomis already examined Jamie’s bedroom.  Poor Sunday.)  Right after learning that a bunch of drunken, trigger happy vigilantes have accidentally shot an innocent man mysteriously hiding in some bushes, the sheriff exits, as well.

That leaves Rachel, her hot rival Kelly, Ernest Borgnine wannabe Brady, Jamie and the aforementioned deputy who looks like Roger Waters to fend for themselves.  As always, Myers proves that he has all the advantages in this cinematic handicap match.  (Throwing Bucky into that transformer beforehand was smart.)  The numbers get reduced very quickly.  Maybe locking themselves in wasn’t such a swift move.

Which brings us to the ending.  (We’ll just skip over the nonsense involving the showdown at Jamie’s school (how did Myers and Rachel get there so fast?) and the battle royale on the pick-up truck.)  I’ll say this for it.  It’s not like the filmmakers didn’t foreshadow what was going to happen.  The problem is it doesn’t work.  How do you go from being terrorized to suddenly being a terrorizer in your own right?

We’ll never know because apparently Halloween 5 doesn’t address this at all.  (I’ve yet to see it.)  Furthermore, it’s not even an original idea.  Didn’t Friday The 13th do something similar in one of its god awful sequels?  (If memory serves, there was no follow through there, either.)

With far more unplanned laughs (Pleasance’s cries of “No!” at the end are particularly lame; some of the kill scenes are equally cheesy, especially the first one) than thrills (the exception being Myers briefly showing his masked face in the background without being detected), Halloween 4 is far away from an ideal horror movie.

And to think, a number of people, including critics, think this is one of the better sequels.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, October 4, 2015
8:25 p.m.

Published in: on October 4, 2015 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Halloween: Resurrection

What a betrayal.  What a disgrace.  Have they no shame?  Have they no respect for the audience?

At the very end of Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, the embattled Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) finally faced her fears and vanquished her relentlessly homicidal brother Michael Myers.  Literally pinned against a wooden fence, for the first time in his life he was truly vulnerable.  Despite reaching out his hands hoping in vain for mercy, she chopped his head off with an axe.  (Cue the classic John Carpenter theme.)

But according to the deplorable Halloween:  Resurrection, she fucked up.  We learn that she didn’t behead Myers at all.  It was a voiceless EMT guy that was pinned against that fence.  (The still-not-dead masked killer strangled his larynx so hard he couldn’t speak before putting him in that body bag.  But that doesn’t explain why EMT guy didn’t remove his mask to prevent what was coming.  I mean he’s heard of charades, right?)

As a result of this patently dishonest revision of cinematic history (it was clearly Myers all along, I mean let’s get real), a thoroughly guilt-ridden Laurie is now the one institutionalized awaiting the inevitable return of her unstoppable brother.

Sure enough, after knocking off a couple of dopey security guys, he breaks into her room only to get wacked in the head by his very alert nemesis.  (The hospital doesn’t know she hasn’t been taking any of her pills. She has built up quite the collection.)

Long story short, we end up on the roof where Laurie has set a trap which Myers falls right into.  (Is she even allowed out of her room, let alone the building?)  Flashing back to the end of H20, she’s suddenly stricken with an embarrassing case of doubt (who else would put on that mask and track you down like this, you dipshit?) which leads to her depressing downfall.  Yep, after dying in an off-camera car accident years ago, then being resurrected in H20 to finally get closure, Laurie Strode is now just another victim.  Ridiculous.

Meanwhile, a couple of overly ambitious Internet entrepreneurs (Tyra Banks and Busta Rhymes) have recruited some very naïve teenagers for a live and ultimately doomed online broadcast.  They’ve located Michael Myers’ childhood home (now all boarded up and without power) and on Halloween, they plan to show the world the inside of it through cameras mostly worn by their sacrificial lambs, those aforementioned naïve teenagers.

Of course, no one knows that Myers still lives there.  (Apparently, he’s a rat connoisseur.)  So, you know what that means.  That’s right.  More dumb mayhem.

Adding to the dumbness is the secret agenda of Banks & Rhymes.  Unbeknownst to the naïve teenagers who signed up for this shit, Rhymes will actually don the infamously white William Shatner mask and help them burn some calories, as will an assistant.  (Another one gets killed earlier in the day while setting up a camera which an oblivious Banks doesn’t witness despite it being seen on a monitor.)  The Internet entrepreneurs have also added some props to enhance the effect.  As our teenage heroes explore the interiors of this condemned house of hell, we’re mislead into believing that Myers had a rotten childhood.

Very slowly, the killing spree begins as these ignorant motherfuckers get exterminated one at a time.  (Did I mention they’re locked in and can’t escape for the night?  Good one, Busta.  At least your love of kung fu movies will come in handy.)

Considering how dull the experience of watching this movie is, it’s hard to imagine a potential global audience desiring to see this fictional live Internet broadcast in the real world.  The footage is very dark, grainy and with the exception of the murders plus one unpersuasive, mercifully brief sex scene, nothing of note happens.  For a while, it appears there’s no audio, either.

As the slicing and dicing commences, one of the participants is fortunate to have outside guidance.  There’s a younger friend watching on a computer at a Halloween house party he didn’t even want to attend.  (They’ve never actually met.  They just text and chat online.  They’ve never even exchanged pictures.)  Everybody else is shit out of luck.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that there hasn’t been a proper sequel to Halloween:  Resurrection, even though the ending leaves open the possibility for one.  Honestly, how much more can the elastic band stretch here?  Michael Myers has been shot countless times, burned, punched, kicked, wacked with numerous objects and electrocuted, yet is still able to open his eyes awaiting the green light from some greedy executive to send him out on another pointless bloodfest.  (Thirteen years later, despite a couple of Rob Zombie-directed remakes, that still hasn’t happened, thankfully.)

Realizing belatedly that this has become a very silly franchise, Halloween:  Resurrection is supposedly an intentional comedy.  But the only genuinely funny moment comes near the end when Busta Rhymes (who was much better as the older brother in the wonderful Finding Forrester) utters the memorable line, “Trick or treat, motherfucker.”

Actually, on second thought, maybe he was serious.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, October 4, 2015
7:46 p.m.

Published in: on October 4, 2015 at 7:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

She’s tried everything.  Therapy, self-help books, yoga, 12-step groups, pills, even alcohol.  But she can’t let go.  She can’t stop dreaming about him.  She can’t stop seeing him everywhere she goes.

For 20 years, Laurie Strode has been haunted by the memories of her homicidal brother, Michael Myers, and with good reason.  On Halloween night 1978, he stalked her unsuccessfully for two movies.  He killed several of her friends.

But despite faking her death in a publicized car accident and secretly relocating from Illinois to California under a new identity, there is no closure.  How can there be when, against all the rules of nature and common sense, he’s still out there.

This is the set-up for Halloween H20:  20 Years Later, an unusual sequel in this long-running horror saga.  Disappearing almost all of the events of the last four films (Season Of The Witch to The Curse Of Michael Myers) and literarily resuscitating its original, dead protagonist, it’s definitely an improvement over the last chapter.  But despite some welcome intelligence, some funny bits and a few genuine scares, it feels unnecessary.

Once again, Jamie Lee Curtis plays Laurie who now goes by the name of Keri Tate.  She’s a divorced academic with a 17-year-old son (Josh Harnett in his first film role) who runs a private high school.  (There is zero mention of Jamie Lloyd, her orphaned daughter from Halloweens 4, 5 & 6.)  Now dating Will Brennan (Adam Arkin), the school’s guidance counsellor, she’s reluctant to tell him about her past.

Meanwhile, without any clear explanation, Myers is loose (did he escape the institution again?) and back in Illinois to take care of some unfinished business.  The nurse he didn’t kill from the original Halloween has a file on Laurie which apparently reveals her current location.  He finds her house, rampages through her office until he finds out the truth and then sticks around to slit her throat.  (His first appearance is a decent scare.)  He also puts down a couple of her teenage neighbours including Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  (I’m glad I no longer own hockey skates.)

As the 20th Anniversary of the original Halloween massacre approaches, Laurie suffers night terrors and starts hallucinating.  She looks out the window and there’s his reflection.  She turns around and instead of seeing Will, she sees the man in the Shatner mask.  No wonder she’s hittin’ the booze hard.

Not helping matters is a school trip her son John wants to go on.  Now the same age she was when her brother first came after her, she forbids it much to his disappointment.  Realizing wrongly, as it turns out, that she’s way too overprotective (in turn, he’s tired and growing ever more resentful of being her caregiver), she signs the permission slip but by that point, John has made other plans.  Along with his girlfriend Molly (Michelle Williams) and their mutual friends, Charlie (occasionally amusing Adam Hann-Byrd from Little Man Tate) and his partner, Sarah (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe), he’s staying on campus for a romantic night.

A terrible idea, of course, because Michael Myers is secretly driving around in a stolen car (when did he learn to drive?) and he now knows about Laurie’s new life.  Thanks to the school’s distracted security guard (LL Cool J) who tries to convince his girlfriend via telephone that he’s got a future penning erotica (spoiler:  he doesn’t), Myers very easily slips by him once the gate is open.

And just like that, we’re down to one couple.

Meanwhile, Laurie confesses all to Will and after suddenly remembering the age of her son, she panics and soon discovers he never left for that school camping trip.

One of my biggest annoyances with this movie is its overuse of false alarms, those irritating moments when we’re expecting something terrible to happen only to be fooled again and again.  I saw most of them a mile away, although one actually made me jump but it’s such a cheat.  Having someone unexpectedly jump into frame is such an easy way to spook you.

That reliance on an old horror cliché grows tired very quickly as does the indestructability of Michael Myers in general.  Ok, I get it.  He’s supposed to be more than human than human, an unrepentant monster with superhuman strength and extraordinary healing powers.  He’s not like other men.

But come on.  Haven’t the filmmakers in this series stretched out this idea beyond all credibility?

Despite wisely erasing all but one of the events of four previous sequels, it’s still not believable that he’s alive, ditto Laurie, for that matter.  (It’s never properly explained how she was able to fool people, including her now erased daughter, into thinking she’s been dead this whole time.  We’re just asked to accept it without question.)  And because the original remains a tough act to follow (after watching the TV version three decades ago as a terrified 10-year-old, I’ve never seen the theatrical cut in its entirety), there’s no escaping the routine nature of watching Myers hack up a bunch of people for no good reason.

Since this is the central focus of this series (psycho in a mask killing a bunch of teenagers because of an unchecked compulsion), a concept that’s been ripped off far too often for too many years, there’s little room for originality and true suspense.  It’s hard to be surprised when you’ve seen it all before.

As a result, Halloween H20:  20 Years Later, despite some genuine laughs, some effective atmosphere and welcome intelligence (the reference to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein novel is a sharp touch), can’t truly erase the missteps of its tarnished legacy.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, October 4, 2015
7:30 p.m.

Published in: on October 4, 2015 at 7:30 pm  Comments (2)  

I Spit On Your Grave (1978 & 2010)

(Trigger warning:  the following contains frank commentary about sexual violence.  Reader discretion is advised.)

When David Cronenberg made A History Of Violence ten years ago, he set out to make an important point about one particular cinematic double standard.  It goes like this:  the audience cheers when villains are physically attacked and vanquished by our heroes.  But are deeply repulsed when the reverse happens.

I wonder now if this idea was at all inspired by I Spit On Your Grave, one of the most notorious, hypocritical horror films of all time.  Originally released in 1978 to much deserved condemnation and disgust, it tests one’s endurance for depravity like few films before and since.

The set-up:  Jennifer Hills, a sexually liberated, short story feminist writer, decides to work on her first novel in a cabin hours away from her apartment building in New York City.  Along the way, she stops for gas where she encounters three men.  Two are too preoccupied with constantly throwing a switchblade in the ground to notice her.  But the attendant who serves her chats her up.  He seems friendly and professional.

As it turns out, like the dopey knife throwers, he’s actually an unrepentant misogynist with ugly views about women, particularly those from big cities.  (He also has a wife, a son and a daughter.)  They’re joined by a mentally challenged, bespectacled delivery boy who works at a nearby grocery store.  He’s a virgin who develops a crush on the writer after stopping by to hand over her order one night.

That becomes their rationale for ultimately stalking, harassing, chasing, kidnapping, stripping, raping, humiliating and beating this poor woman in a supremely uncomfortable series of scenes that just go on and on and on.  Making things even worse is how the terror sequences are briefly interrupted by moments of false hope:  the writer, naked & completely traumatized, seemingly in the clear walking away from her assailants only to encounter them again.  The moment when she slowly crawls to the phone in her cabin only to have the receiver kicked out of her hand before she can say a single word to the operator.

When her nightmare finally ends, the men assign the easily suggestible delivery boy to kill her off.  Reluctantly armed with a knife, he can’t go through with it, though.  Passed out and showing disturbingly visible signs of her truly horrifying ordeal, he decides instead to wipe the blade with blood from her face hoping to fool them.  Because they’re reprehensible morons, it works.

As Hills quietly recovers at her retreat and goes back to working on her book, the rapists become worried.  And with good reason.  Two uneventful weeks have passed.  No body has been discovered.  There should’ve been a noticeable odor.  Belatedly starting to doubt the delivery boy’s story, after two of the men discover the truth, he gets beaten and kicked out of their group.

Meanwhile, the violated writer’s attitude has significantly darkened.  Preemptively asking for God’s forgiveness at a local church, Hills systematically plots the demises of each of her assailants.  How she undergoes this startling transformation is never ever explained, just accepted as a given considering her deplorable circumstances.  (What about other survivors who don’t do this?  Are they weaker people because they don’t develop a sudden bloodlust for their attackers?)

Her first kill bothers me the most and not just because of its violence.  Laying a trap for the very naïve and conflicted delivery boy, she ends up having consensual sex with him.  Yuck.  This allows her enough time to wrap a noose around his neck.  Also terrible.

Let’s stop for a moment and consider the irresponsible implausibility of this scene.  As the movie emphasizes again and again, the delivery boy is easily manipulated as explicitly demonstrated when he rapes Hills.  (He initially resists but is ultimately pressured to do it by his domineering peers.  Why does he give in?  Because he’s a people pleaser with a child-like mentality who’s desperate for friends, although it’s clear he knows the difference between right & wrong but nonetheless, still chooses poorly.)  Why script her to be in this seriously compromising position to exact deadly revenge when it’s not even necessary nor believable?

Even weirder is the moment when she tells one of his estranged comrades in a later scene that he successfully climaxed (or was she just lying for strategic, survival reasons?), something he couldn’t do when he was raping her in front of the other cheering men.  That’s just…creepy & bizarre.  It also sends a terribly misleading message about rape victims.

And it’s not the only one.  One of my biggest annoyances with I Spit On Your Grave is the constant, unchallenged “slut” shaming.  When Hills confronts the gas station attendant late in the film, he basically blames her for her own rapes using textbook misogynistic reasoning.  Not once is she scripted to say anything that would instantly demolish his sexist garbage.  In fact, in the very next scene, they share a bath together where she does something every man fears.

That’s the film’s dangerous counter argument.  Rather than attacking the faulty, flimsy roots of cultural woman-hating in some intelligent, compelling way, it endorses simple-minded vengeful violence.  Why challenge a sexist’s corroded mind when you can just cut off his penis instead?  Or hang him with a noose?  Or put an axe in his back?  Or carve him up with your motorboat motor?

It’s the same lazy, heart wrenching tactic employed by the radically reworked 2010 remake, a film that manages to do the impossible.  It made me empathize with despicable assholes who don’t deserve it.  Not only is it far worse than the original, it may be the worst film I’ve ever seen.  (Yes, I hated it even more than the far sillier Sleepaway Camp.)

In the update, Jennifer Hills is already an established novelist working on a new title.  When she encounters the dickheads at the gas station (like the earlier version, she’s lost and needs directions to her isolated cabin in the woods), this time they don’t conceal their threatening demeanours.  One even tries to hit on her but she sees right through his bullshit while an accident leads to him being embarrassed, another significant change from the 1978 movie.

The mentally challenged delivery boy is now a mentally challenged plumber for hire who is rewarded with a kiss for fixing her plugged toilet & filth-spewing sink.  Of course, he takes the completely innocent, appreciative gesture the wrong way.  (She’s not romantically interested, just thankful for having a functioning bathroom.)

As before, his virgin status becomes one of the bogus motivating factors (along with the new gas station rejection) behind Hills being viciously gang raped in yet another ugly, overlong, seemingly endless series of exploitative terror scenes (complete with those sadistic false hope breaks) but now with the added twists of a corrupt, very married sheriff being one of the assailants (there are now five rapists instead of the original four), a supremely gross use of a gun and the fact that it’s all captured for sickening posterity on a camcorder.

Also, the supremely pressured, mentally challenged plumber is a far less willing perpetrator this time around.  In fact, you could argue he’s a victim, too, since his supposed friends threaten to kill Hills if he doesn’t violate her, too.  And he has genuine remorse.

In a departure from the original, this Jennifer Hills completely disappears from the story after jumping off a bridge naked, dirty, bloody & bruised just as the sleazy sheriff is about to shoot her.  The villains immediately go into crisis mode afterwards, searching in vain for a once terrified now suddenly steely nerved survivor who, as this version progresses, must’ve studied the CIA torture techniques in record time.  (Again, this is never explained, just accepted without question.)

As a result, the 2010 update of I Spit On Your Grave seriously tests the aforementioned double standard on onscreen violence.  We are deeply repulsed by the villains repeatedly violating our innocent hero.  And it’s clear when Hills turns the tables in scenes that would make even Jigsaw blush, the audience’s reaction is expected to be far more enthusiastic and supportive.  She’s supposed to be getting “justice”, you see.

But the filmmakers completely miscalculate.  In one of the saddest ironies I’ve ever experienced as a critic, the agonizingly long torture scenes made me empathize with the rapists (ugh) not because I suddenly liked them (on the contrary, they’re despicable vermin) but precisely because they’re being tortured which is wrong no matter who is on the receiving end of such degrading abuse.  You know your film has gone completely off the rails when it proudly considers an internationally recognized war crime as a “solution” to misogynistic violence.  The stench of hypocrisy is unmistakable.

In the long history of humanity, how many victims have taken the Jennifer Hills approach to “justice”?  I don’t have reliable stats on hand, but I’m sure it’s not a large number.  And for those who have fought back (most likely in self-defence situations unlike Hills in either of these movies), how many got away with murdering their attackers?  Based on the alarming number of abuse victims in prison alone (not all of whom were convicted of murder, it should be noted), probably not that many.

So, the idea that “no jury in America would ever convict” the Jennifer Hills character for exterminating her rapists, as famously asserted in the original I Spit On Your Grave ad campaign, is dangerously wrong.  (She’d probably get the death penalty, depending on the state, in all likelihood.)  With catastrophic rape culture myths still stubbornly pervasive and continuously propped up by mostly powerful white men in the real world (despite an encouraging, growing international backlash), and with many victims understandably keeping quiet out of fear of retaliation (criminal & civil remedies are too often far out of their reach), violent retribution is an ill-considered, fantastical dead-end.  It’s also, let’s face it, anti-feminist and just plain wrong.

Let me get back to the business of the camcorder for a moment.  In recent years, there have been awful media reports of young women being photographed and videotaped while assaulted by young men.  Photos and videos of these deplorable acts of misogynistic violence circulate in schools and are posted in online forums and on social media sites like Facebook & YouTube.  When the gang rapists in I Spit On Your Grave start to worry about their own video evidence becoming public, with the notable exception of the married sheriff who has more to lose than anybody else, it feels very phony.  Rapists in the real world are arrogantly unrepentant not just because they’re proud of their despicable crimes, but also because for the most part they know they won’t pay any legal price for them.  (Too many infuriating examples to mention here.)  The villains of I Spit On Your Grave are scaring themselves for no reason.  Rape culture will always protect them.

I don’t know about you but I’m growing increasingly weary of “women in danger” movies like this.  Honestly, what real purpose do they serve other than to dumbly and irresponsibly fetishize misogynistic violence & tortuous retribution?  As I write this, I’m reminded of what Gene Siskel said on Sneak Previews 35 years ago.  He argued that movies like the original I Spit On Your Grave were a sexist backlash to the feminist movement, a terrifying rebuke to the growing independence that women were starting to enjoy in the late 70s/early 80s, which was threatening to the old world order of the confining patriarchy.  (Hell, it still is.)

Indeed, when you think about Jennifer Hills in either version of I Spit On Your Grave, you make note of this very independence.  In the original, she skinny dips, writes in longhand in an outdoor hammock while in a bikini & openly admits to having a full dance card.  In the remake, she jogs, drinks wine while typing on her laptop and smokes marijuana in her cabin.  Both characters are so comfortable in their own skin they don’t fully understand they’re in serious danger until it’s too late.  As a result, both are severely punished for living life on their own free spirited terms and blamed for nonexistent offenses.

But because neither film is willing to point out this serious injustice, it foolishly allows the misogynist narrative to dominate.  Ultimately, it sees only one way to combat it:  with more violence.

And as David Cronenberg argued in A History Of Violence a decade ago, our acceptance of this double standard is a big part of the problem.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, September 28, 2015
1:34 a.m.

Published in: on September 28, 2015 at 1:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Sleepaway Camp

Throughout my life, I’ve seen some pretty bad horror films.  The Mangler, Sorority Row, Boogeyman, Maniac.  But nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to the depraved stupidity of Sleepaway Camp.  Released in 1983, not only is it completely unscary it exists beyond all sense of logic & reason.  Put simply, it cannot be taken seriously at all.

It begins with an unfortunate accident.  A camp counsellor is talked into letting his gal pal take over the reigns of a motorboat while their terrified friend is tailing behind reluctantly on water skis.  At the same time, a father on a tiny sailboat is playfully pushed into the lake by his young, bickering daughter & son.  While the family is clowning around in the water, the father notices the motorboat approaching from a short distance.  The teen girl on the water skis tries to warn her friends to turn the boat in time but they can’t hear her because of all the noise.

Next thing you know, the body of the dad is floating by on the water while only one of the kids appears to have survived.  The girl on the water skis, however, is so hysterical she won’t stop screaming at the top of her lungs.  Considering how poorly constructed this whole sequence is, her reaction feels just a tad overwrought.  She’s clearly overcompensating.  As it turns out, she’s not the only one.

Eight years later, we meet the peculiar, annoyingly melodramatic Dr. Martha.  (Imagine Faye Dunaway’s Joan Crawford as interpreted by C3PO.)  Overacting at every possible turn for no good reason, she’s eager to send off Angela, a shy young teen with a big secret, and Ricky, her prank addicted, protective cousin, to summer camp.  Inexplicably, Dr. Martha has handed them each papers revealing the results of their physicals.  (Is she even a real doctor?)  She tells them to not reveal where she got them from as if anyone at the camp would give a rat’s ass.  (Is this really necessary?)

Once at Camp Atawak, Angela pulls a full-on Koothrappali and refuses to talk to anyone, especially girls, for several days.  This greatly annoys Ricky’s ex, Meg, who wants nothing to do with him any more, and Judy, one of the bossy counsellors.  (Considering how snotty Meg is, one wonders what Ricky ever saw in her in the first place.  Was she ever bearable?)

Meg & Judy spend much of the movie tormenting, insulting & yelling at her while she does nothing but stare blankly at them almost the entire time.  Meanwhile, Ricky’s handsy pal, Paul, takes a liking to Angela and she finally opens up.  It would be nice if he respected her boundaries, though, and resisted the aggressive Meg.  (If only his kisses were too wet.  Big turn-off for her.)

Besides doing the selective mutism routine, Angela also refuses to chow down in the rec hall.  So, one day, the muscular counsellor in the short shorts introduces her to the head chef hoping he can make something special just for her.  Unfortunately, the chef’s a sex offender with very little self-control.  (It’s not exactly a secret in the kitchen.  Was there no background check performed on this guy?)

After the chef corners her in the supply closet, a little too eager to take off his pants, she’s spared when Ricky catches him just before he does anything.  Despite threatening him to never say a word, it’s not long before the fat creep gets up close and personal with a large pot of boiling water.  I laughed very hard at his reaction.  It just goes on forever, especially after he’s all wrapped up like a mummy.  You can still hear him screaming after he’s wheeled out of the kitchen.

Mel, the hilariously inept owner of Camp Atawak (Mike Kellin’s enormously overdone facial expressions are consistently uproarious), is insistent that no one be informed of what happened.  Burned up pedophilic chefs are bad for business, you see.  And besides, it was an accident.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  An accident.  Hey, kitchen guys.  Want a raise?  Done.

Meanwhile, Angela, the selectively mute starer, continues to get picked on by Meg (who apparently has a thing for the ancient Mel & vice versa) & Judy who at one point throw her in the lake.  (Why does it bother them so much that she doesn’t talk to them or participate in any camp activities?  Why do they care so much, anyway?  They have plenty of other people to hang out with.  They’re such busy bodies.)  At another point, Judy ridicules her body.  An older boy hits her with a water balloon.  Other boys bluntly ask her what’s wrong with her.  They should’ve asked Robert Hiltzik, the guy who made this awful trash.

In between the usual camp activities like standing around listening to shitty 80s music, making childish rec hall chants, pranking (really bullying) the nerdy guy, eating, swimming & playing volleyball, softball and capture the flag, dickish one-dimensional characters are suddenly offed and instantly forgotten about.  Every time a body is wheeled away by the authorities, good ol’ Mel insists nothing untoward has taken place.  It’s always an accident, he claims.  Deep down, however, when no one else is around, he blames Ricky.  Bad assumption, Mel, but to be fair, thanks to some bad cinematography & creative decisions, completely understandable.

The laughable Sleepaway Camp has one major problem after another.  The often old-fashioned musical score feels hopelessly out of date and completely fails to set the proper mood.  The minimally gruesome kill scenes lack any kind of tension or believability.  Plus, the movie cheats regarding the killer’s identity.  It’s more than obvious on at least two occasions that different actors are being used for these particular scenes.  (In one shot, you can clearly see their face, and in another, a very different body, two huge blunders.)  We don’t care about any of the characters.  (Almost all of them are horrible people, including the so-called heroes.)  And that ending.  By God, what the hell were they thinking?  It’s not exactly credible.

Instead of shrieking or recoiling in absolute terror, Sleepaway Camp inspires a great deal of unintentional laughter, from Mike Tellin’s increasingly silly facial expressions to the cop’s suddenly fake moustache to the impromptu brawl during a social event and especially during that final scene which probably shouldn’t have ended in a freeze frame.  (Why permanently remind the audience of the moment your movie completely falls apart?  And what’s with the cheesy snarling?)  Honestly, how can you take any of this mess seriously?

Beyond the remarkable silliness, though, is a sinister homophobia that feels deeply irresponsible and insulting, even more so 32 years after the film’s initial theatrical run.  I mean to unsubtly suggest that seeing two men in bed would cause someone to giggle incessantly, then ultimately go insane and therefore kill anyone for even the slightest provocation is absolute garbage, a hateful, nonsensical sentiment that has no business being in an otherwise ridiculous horror film.

And then to offer a cockamamie explanation for the killer’s secret identity in a preposterous flashback, well, for me it was the final straw.  Already terrible, the ending makes things that much worse.

With far more unintended laughs than thrills, Sleepaway Camp is a textbook case of how not to make a horror film.  It’s a shame Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is off the air.  The robots would’ve had a field day with this one.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, September 17, 2015
4:08 p.m.

Published in: on September 17, 2015 at 4:08 pm  Comments (1)  

Cruel Charade

The polite word is contrarian
The real word is hypocrite
Neutral on one bad policy
You’re all in on another
The status quo is injustice
But you embrace it all the same
Challenges to your narrative
Are met with hostile nonsense

You maintain this cruel charade
By disappearing all the evidence
Offering up an illusion
Even you know is a lie
Lashing out at the truthtellers
With laughably false accusations
Offended by a single word
That demolishes your whole perspective

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, September 4, 2015
11:17 p.m.

Published in: on September 4, 2015 at 11:17 pm  Comments (2)  

National Treasure (2004)

Jon Turteltaub’s National Treasure is a beautiful con job, an engaging cross-country jaunt of conspiratorial whimsy.  Seamlessly mixing historical fact with utter bullshit, it is both deeply implausible and surprisingly entertaining.

The movie opens in 1974 as a young boy goes up to the attic one night trying to investigate something he shouldn’t.  His grandfather (the delightful Christopher Plummer) catches him and wonders what the hell he’s doing.  Ultimately, however, he feeds his already insatiable curiosity by telling him everything he knows about the long history of a secret treasure and its final connection to America’s Founding Fathers.

40 years later, that inspired young boy grows up to be Nicolas Cage whose childhood intrigue has grown into full-blown obsession.  (If my math is good, he’s the fourth generation male in his family to pursue this.)  He’s on the verge of making a major breakthrough in his ongoing search for that elusive fortune, thanks to major funding from a very charismatic, blond-haired Sean Bean.  Years of investigation and code cracking have led him to the Arctic Circle where him and his team find an old ship called the Charlotte buried under tons of snow.

Once inside, they seemingly hit a dead end.  There appears to be nothing but dead skeletons, hammocks and barrels full of gunpowder in there.  But wait!  Some cheeky fellow has hidden something in one of them, a rather intricately carved meerschaum pipe that, as it turns out, is integral to finding the treasure.

There’s also a riddle which Cage solves rather quickly.  And that’s when Mr. Bean turns heel.  Since Cage determines that the Declaration of Independence has a treasure map on its reverse side (a wild hypothesis he most definitely needs to confirm), Bean declares he will steal it.  (It turns out he has experience with heists.)  Cage is appalled by this and wants nothing to do with his crackpot scheme.  Out comes the handgun and now we have a stand-off.

A desperate Cage lights a flare and long story short, when it’s accidentally dropped, everyone bolts and it’s good-bye Charlotte.

Along with his quick-witted, tech-savvy sidekick Justin Bartha, Cage returns to D.C. to try to warn the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security about Mr. Bean’s diabolical forthcoming heist.  Knowing his family’s history, though, no one takes him seriously, not even the beautiful Diane Kruger, a bigwig at the National Archives.  (In her case, he actually uses a fake name hoping in vain for a more supportive response.)

Despite her skepticism, though, Cage makes a connection with her regarding her treasured collection of George Washington campaign buttons.  She only needs one more to complete the set and he just so happens to have the missing button at home.  Score one for the nerds.

Realizing he has to steal the DOI in order to save it, he conjures up a plan that depends very highly on lax governmental security, weak passwords, the full support of the initially reluctant Bartha and a whole lot of luck.  As admittedly clever as it sounds in theory, there’s no fucking way it could work in real-life.  The restoration room surely isn’t left this unguarded in the real National Archives, even during special public events.

While waiting for his meeting with Kruger, Cage peruses a brochure for the NA’s upcoming 70th Anniversary gala.  He correctly figures that Bean will make a play for the DOI document that night so his hope is to grab it first.  But there’s a big problem.  He’s not on the gala guest list.

No worries.  Thanks to technology and a really out-of-it security guard, he’s let in as a fake maintenance guy and then, after a quick change in the can, Cage is able to blend in with the actual invited guests dressed to the nines.  He once again encounters Kruger and it’s clear something is stirring between them.  Still, that doesn’t stop her from asking someone if he’s even on the guest list.

Meanwhile, Bean & his band of burglars arrive on the scene, so the race is on.

This sequence alone is one of the many reasons why National Treasure, for all its improbabilities, is such cheeky fun.  Skillfully plotted, acted and directed, it’s far more thrilling than the Ocean’s Eleven remake.  We hope Cage gets to that restoration room where the protected DOI is waiting to be freed long before Bean & his thieving comrades get there.

A thoroughly predictable plot twist (that I still thoroughly enjoyed) sees Cage, Bartha and an understandably pissed off Kruger band together when the original plan inevitably goes awry.  (Should’ve brought more cash, Cage.)  After some expected bickering (why does Kruger have to shut up, exactly?) they end up at Jon Voight’s house and let’s just say he’s not too thrilled to see his son Nick Cage.  (Amusingly, he thinks he knocked up Kruger.) A longtime skeptic of the treasure hunt, our heroes are crushed to learn that some crucial letters he once had have since been donated to a museum in Philadelphia.

After confirming the DOI treasure map theory and getting an important clue, it’s off to look at those letters.  But Bean and his goons are there as well, and they’re not stupid.  A careful examination of the displayed historical documents leads to the acquisition of an important piece of equipment.  Cage, Bartha and Kruger have little time to savour their progress, though, as the heels close in on them.  The chase is on so they split up.

Unfortunately, Kruger and Bartha, through a rather avoidable contrivance, lose the DOI to Bean, and Cage gets nabbed by FBI agent Harvey Keitel who is determined to put him in prison for a very long time.

Right from the beginning, National Treasure has to immediately hook you.  That’s why the first scene is the most important, so crucial to its overall success.  With its promise of a big pay-off once this long lost treasure trove is finally unveiled, if the five-minute backstory setting it all up isn’t compelling to start with, then the next two hours and five minutes will feel a lot longer than they should.  Thankfully, Christopher Plummer is an excellent salesman and Cage is a supremely zen hero with equally likeable allies.  Their obsession becomes our own.

Our patience is thankfully rewarded with an ending that would feel right at home in an Indiana Jones movie, not an easy feat for a PG-rated Disney flick with no intense violence or overly elaborate special effects that lead us to that moment.  (The bloodless action sequences are, for the most part, well executed, especially the church scene in the third act.)

National Treasure is smart enough to recognize it can’t be taken too seriously so its preposterousness is wholly embraced by mostly well-timed quips and frequent skepticism from a very funny Jon Voight who is constantly annoyed by the seemingly endless amount of clues set up by the forefathers to protect their historic treasure.  (They wisely believed the massive collection shouldn’t be owned by any one person, especially kings & tyrants.)

Cage & Kruger have a nice chemistry, mainly because they have so much in common.  Equally fascinated with American history & antique artifacts, despite her early attempt to flee (because she’s worried about getting shitcanned from the National Archives), once she’s sees for herself that Cage was right with his hunch, she’s all in.  From the second they meet, the movie establishes them as intelligent equals, especially when it comes to their dating histories.

As for the villainous Bean, one wonders if he would really fall for Voight’s deception considering he, too, is as smart as Cage.  (They always seem to be in the same place at the same time for the exact same reason.)  Regardless, his dialed-down performance is effective, despite his level of cruelty being greatly limited by the PG rating.  From the moment he turns on Cage in the Arctic Circle, we want him to fail.

National Treasure may have divided critics during its profitable 2004 theatrical run but I had too good a time to dismiss it like an arthouse snob.  I liked the cast, I laughed at most of the jokes, I enjoyed most of the action and I fell for its fantastical story.

You got me, Jerry Bruckheimer.  You fucking got me.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, August 29, 2015
5:11 p.m.

Published in: on August 29, 2015 at 5:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Why Did The National Post Secretly Cut Parts Of Margaret Atwood’s “Hair” Column?

Earlier today, The National Post published this piece from legendary Canadian author Margaret Atwood.  (It’s well worth reading.)  In the midst of poking fun at the Conservative government’s relentless fixation on Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s “nice hair” (because that’s the only nice thing they can say about him), Atwood makes some serious points about Prime Minister Stephen Harper:  how he wastes taxpayer’s money on his personal appearance; his party’s history of vicious, personal attack ads; his secret benefactors; and, of course, his role in the Mike Duffy scandal.

But just hours after the piece first surfaced, it was mysteriously yanked from the website.  (For a time, you could only access the Google cache version.)  This did not go unnoticed online.

Then, just as mysteriously, the piece returned.  Unfortunately, changes have been made, changes that have not been acknowledged by the Post at all.  (According to Buzzfeed, it was “management” who demanded these changes, not the editorial department.)

So, what’s different about the reposted “hair” column?  All told, not much, with the exception of a few suspicious deletions & one curious addition in its second half.

The first change comes in paragraph 11.  It originally began thusly:

“Next: Why should the taxpayer foot the bill for the micromanagement of Harper’s hair?”

Now it reads:

“Next: Why should the taxpayer foot the bill, even in part [my emphasis], for the micromanagement of Harper’s hair?”

The first deletion occurs four paragraphs later.  Paragraph 15 begins the same way in both versions:

“Don’t go there, Cons! Because then we’ll all start thinking about ‘hiding.'”

These next two sentences are not in the revised posting:

Why is Harper still coyly hiding the 2-million-dollar donors to his party leadership race?   Don’t we have a right to know who put him in there?  Who’s he working for, them or us? [my emphasis]”

Instead, paragraph 16 from the original version begins right where the second line of paragraph 15 left off.  But then, this line, the second-to-last from the original paragraph 16, has been excised:

In his [meaning Harper] earlier quoted comment, ‘I don’t care what they say,’ who are they? [my emphasis]”

The last line of that paragraph – “Aren’t you agog to know if you’re on Harper’s hidden ‘enemies list’? – remains intact.

Moving on to paragraph 17.  The final omission occurs at the end.  These two lines are missing from the revised posting:

“[Regarding Harper’s reaction to the Duffy scandal] He’s given four mutually exclusive answers so far.  Is there a hidden real answer? [my emphasis]”

All that’s left of the second-to-last paragraph is this line from the original:

“Why is he hiding what he knew about the Duffy cover-up, and when he knew it?”

Both versions end with the same line in a separate paragraph:

“And if he’s hiding all this, what else is he hiding?”

So, has there been any explanation from the Post about why they felt the need to post the piece, disappear it for a time and then repost it with these changes without notifying readers at all?

Gerry Nott, the vice-president of Postmedia, the parent company of The National Post, told The Toronto Star, “The column was taken down because the necessary fact checking had not been completed…Senior editorial leadership at Postmedia also had not concluded whether the column was aligned with the values of the National Post and its readers.”

This sounds like bullshit.  If Buzzfeed’s reporting is correct and management demanded these changes, and not the editorial department, then fact checking isn’t the problem.  It’s political embarrassment.  It’s no secret that the Post, founded by ex-con Conrad Black, has always been a right-wing newspaper, like its tabloid competitor, The Toronto Sun.  Are the paper’s meddling managers planning to urge the editorial board to endorse Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a Conservative, for reelection in the coming weeks as we approach the October election date?  Is this why the Atwood column lost four significant lines just hours after it was first posted without incident?

It’s also no secret that the Post remains a money loser.  Who knows how much more financial hemorrhaging it can take after nearly 20 years in business.

Regardless, this looks bad, really bad.  I mean if there really were mistakes made that weren’t caught before the “hair” column was first posted, obviously correcting them as quickly as possible (with an added note acknowledging such changes) is imperative.  But there weren’t any mistakes, none that I can see, anyway.  Instead, we get this somewhat sanitized version of Atwood’s work (which apparently first appeared on Walrus Magazine’s official site before the Post reposted) with no explanation whatsoever.  That’s not acceptable.

The Post needs to immediately address its readers and explain why the above-noted changes I laid out were made in the first place.  Whether we will accept their reasoning, if they even address this at all, remains an open question.

As for Atwood, the controversy has done nothing but helped her piece.  As I write this, #hairgate (terrible name) is trending at number three on Twitter.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, August 22, 2015
12:44 a.m.

UPDATE:  Unbeknownst to me, hours before this was posted, Toronto journalist Jonathan Goldsbie had already noted all the differences between the two columns as I eventually did on Twitter.  Meanwhile, Canadaland reporter Jesse Brown has an excellent story on how Postmedia VP Gerry Nott played a major role in the censorship of Atwood’s now widely read piece.  He asks several pointed questions about why it ever happened in the first place.  We’ll see if he gets any good answers.

Additionally, he reveals that contrary to what Nott told The Star, the “hair” column was properly edited and vetted before its first posting on The Post’s website.  Nott ordered the changes made without first notifying Atwood.  Brown also notes an additional change made before the column’s original publication:

“…a reference to Harper’s ‘enemy stakeholders list’ was changed to ‘enemies list.'”

Unlike the post-publication alterations made when the original column was pulled, Atwood approved the edit.  You can read Brown’s full story here.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, August 22, 2015
3:43 p.m.

Published in: on August 22, 2015 at 12:44 am  Comments (1)  

Angry Conservative Supporter Earl Cowan’s Facebook Postings

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not having a very good week.  Former chief of staff Nigel Wright just concluded five days of testimony at Senator Mike Duffy’s bribery trial which revealed a whole lot of collusion from various members of the Conservative party including the inner circle of the PMO.  Instead of being asked by reporters about his election platform, he’s being grilled on a daily basis about his involvement in the scandal which has led to routine deflection, outright denial and robotic, easily discredited talking points.

But, cheer up, Dear Leader!  Earl Cowan is here to defend you.

Who’s that, you ask?  It’s this guy.  This past Wednesday, after another round of tough questioning from the press, Cowan went right up to a pack of reporters and let them have it.  He downplayed the significance of Senator Duffy’s questionable expenses and, in an infamous moment, referred to them collectively as “lying pieces of shit”.   (You may have seen the video on the news or online.)

Ever since, he’s become known as the “Angry Con”, the unfortunate face of an increasingly corrupt, authoritarian, right-wing government.  Parody accounts have already started popping up on Twitter.

So, who is this maniac, anyway?  Well, according to his LinkedIn page, he’s a farmer from Etobicoke.  MacLean’s Magazine reported last year that he was the heckler who told then-Toronto Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow to go “[b]ack to China” because he claimed she wasn’t Canadian.  And on Facebook, he’s had plenty to say about Sun Media stories particularly when they involve Conservatives he supports.

As it turns out, he’s long been a proud defender of Mike Duffy and Stephen Harper.  In an October 22, 2013 Facebook posting, he wrote:

“If we had honest media in Canada the Prime Minister would not have to waste his time on trivial issues.
We want Senators to have residences in the areas they represent, and they must also have residences in Ottawa to attend sittings of the Senate.  Duffy claimed the best residence as an expense.  He did nothing wrong…We have the government that we deserve.”

While complaining about pipeline protesters in another posting on October 23, he played the role of Conservative apologist:

“Everybody tries to maximize their expenses, and the Prime Minister is not a tax auditer.  The protesters against gas exploration in NB are putting the economy of Canada at risk, and deserve 15 articles to expose their hypocrisy.  Duffy’s expense claims are insignificant, and have no effect on the national economy.”

A week later on October 30, Cowan claimed:

“Our Prime Minister Harper is doing an excellent job of governing Canada, and our Senator Duffy has not done much wrong…no serious person pays any attention to this silly affair.”

For some reason the comment (also seen on the defunct sunnewsnetwork.ca website, like all his publicly available Facebook offerings) was posted three times.

Besides being a die hard Harper and Duffy supporter, Cowan is also a major fan of the Ford family.  When Rob & Doug Ford were about to do their one & only broadcast for the now-defunct Sun News Network on November 14, he exalted:

“This breaks the Toronto Star’s strangle hold on the truth.”  (He has a real problem with the CBC, too.)

Three days later, he complained about the “the Toronto Council Lynch Mob” and how their “attacks” would “hurt the whole city”.

On December 16th, in response to a Sun News article about then-Mayor Rob Ford dancing with a church choir, while directly addressing a fellow commenter, he claimed:

“To John Nador:  I have, actually, spent time with criminals, crack, and pot users, and drunks, and I once had Christmas dinner with a drug dealer.  He was cold.  Next week we celebrate the birthday of a guy who hung with tax collectors, questionable women, and Samaritans.  Do you relate to the words: ‘unctuous fool’?”

On May 1, 2014, regarding Rob Ford’s numerous drug addictions, he suggested:

“Put all Toronto politicians and media people into rehab somewhere in Greenland, and let Rob Ford run the city.”

Cowan also defended Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson (he called him Phil “Anderson”) on December 19, 2013, criticized the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to strike down our antiquated & dangerous prostitution laws on December 20 and defended the use of robocalls during elections on April 24, 2014:

“Robo-calls are an excellent way for politicians to speak directly to the voters, without being censored, distorted and ignored by the Media Party.”

On April 25, Cowan posted this incoherent rant about the Canadian Senate comparing it to a fire department that “sit[s] around doing nothing except waste money until the day your house is on fire!”, and noting that the “only consistency” about five listed Prime Ministers (“Diefenbaker, Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien, and Harper”) is “they were all better than Hitler, Stalin and Mao, so the Senate never had to act.”

Curious how he includes two Liberal PMs.

“The Senate works pretty well now,” he continues, “it is cheap insurance against tyranny but the important thing is that after they are appointed Senators must be independent of the Government, and that means no restrictions on them.”

So, why does he support Harper when he doesn’t believe in an independent Senate?

On May 1, 2014, the same day he suggested everybody but Rob Ford go to rehab, Cowan revealed himself to be a proud feminist while discussing the Donald Sterling case:

“The moral of the story is this:
The relationship that any man has with a woman, his wife, girlfriend, mother, doctor, etc., is a BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP.
Men should not say anything that they would not say in court, or a news conference.
Men think that the women they love, love them back.  Maybe, but ‘love’, means something different to modern women.”

And on September 17 that same year, Cowan defended Apartheid Israel’s horrific assault on Gaza by questioning the innocence of Palestinian civilians through questionable logic:

“I would like to consider the issue of ‘innocent’ civilians, – women and children, in Gaza.
If some extremists built a rocket launcher under a Toronto hospital, and fired rockets into Buffalo, would the American army invade Canada?
Certainly not!
The Buffalo Police would phone the Toronto Police, and the perpetrators would be arrested in minutes. Later, American prosecutors would meet with Canadian prosecutors and decide who would lay which charges.
The point is, that in order for civilians to be considered ‘innocent’:
1) The civilians must be in control of their government, and
2) Their government must be able to maintain law and order, sufficient to prevent people living inside their borders from attacking other countries .
Why have the ‘innocent’ civilians of Gaza, themselves, not stopped the rockets?”

Because they were too busy trying not to get killed by relentless Israeli bombs & military assaults, all funded by the US & Canadian federal governments, while locked helplessly inside an open prison.

Anyway, because of privacy settings, it’s not certain if Cowan is still active on Facebook.  Only his comments on Sun News articles are visible and the last one was posted in early February.

Regardless, if this is the kind of supporter who gets vetted and approved for Conservative campaign events, the Harper Administration should be very worried about its reelection prospects.

(Special thanks to Twitter user @marionetta for the tip.)

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, August 20, 2015
4:21 a.m.

Published in: on August 20, 2015 at 4:22 am  Comments (1)  

The New Nixons

A shared sense of paranoia
A deep hatred for exposure
A sinking feeling of failure
A desperate need for closure

Proponents of ruthless aggression
Supporters of widespread spying
Enablers of horrific abusers
Champions of the innocent dying

Determined to silence the righteous
Terrified of what they know
Committed to destroying their good names
Worried what the media will show

Fooling themselves into thinking
These growing storms will pass
Hoping their hidden crimes
Won’t anger the middle class

The original fell on his petard
When reality was closing in
The others are fighting like hell
But running out of spin

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
12:26 a.m.

Published in: on August 11, 2015 at 12:26 am  Leave a Comment  

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