Siskel and Ebert really hated iconic 80s horror movies. A recently unearthed clip of the duo reviewing Halloween II heaps more evidence on the fact that they really weren't into the 80s slasher genre at all. Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel are icons in the world of movie criticism and it should be noted that they loved John Carpenter's original Halloween and wished that he would have been back to direct the sequel, as they both note in their review. It should also be noted that Halloween II is still a mixed bag, even for hardcore horror fans.
Appearing on their iconic show At the Movies, Gene Siskel begins the review of Halloween II by pointing out how much he didn't like it because of how predictable it was. Siskel went on to say that the sequel offers "nothing new" except for "repetitive" views of Michael Myers' "disgusting chalky face." Roger Ebert was more upset over the fact that Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode doesn't seem as resourceful as she was in the original Halloween. It's fascinating to see the duo reviewing the 1981 sequel and to see how animated they get about it. However, this was far from the first, or last, time that they tore into an 80s slasher movie.
While they loved John Carpenter's Halloween, Siskel and Ebert hated his supernatural horror movie The Fog and trashed it. That was rather tame when compared to the time that they dedicated a whole 30 minutes of their Sneak Previews show to "Extreme Violence Directed at Women." They went on to tear the 80s slasher genre apart throughout the episode, bemoaning the fact that the movies objectified women, even though Roger Ebert would later go on to co-write a few softcore features with Russ Meyer.
When it comes to the slasher genre in the 1980s, the Friday the 13th franchise might be Siskel and Ebert's biggest, and most talked about, beef. The reviewing duo went so far as to try and shame actress Betsy Palmer for appearing in the first installment, which doesn't sit so well these days. Gene Siskel once said that director-producer Sean S. Cunningham is "one of the most despicable creatures ever to infest the movie business." He went so far as to encourage his readers to write letters of complaint to both the chairman of Gulf + Western, then-parent company of Paramount Pictures and Palmer.
In 1984, Roger Ebert called Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter an "immoral and reprehensible piece of trash." In 1985, Ebert called Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, "more leftover, recycled garbage." Siskel and Ebert would even go further, mocking executives at Paramount and calling them "geniuses" for putting out these movies. They would go as far as to lump regular horror movies like The Howling into the slasher genre, even though Siskel didn't even really watch it. Silent Night, Deadly Night was another slasher that appeared on their radar, which elicited quite a response from Siskel and Ebert. "I would like to hear them explain to their children and their grandchildren that it's only a movie," said Ebert at the time.
While Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert never really liked 80s horror or 80s slasher movies, they never called on them to be banned, which is something that seems to happen every other day now. They are two respected film critics who had what they liked and what they did not like. FROkDkQ1GFE0RX|Horror and slasher movies weren't as big as they are today and one has to wonder what Siskel and Ebert would have to say about the latest resurgence. Regardless, you can watch them tear apart Halloween II below, thanks to the Horror Ads Twitter account.
Siskel & Ebert trash Halloween II in 1981 pic.twitter.com/PUCVHYVgvD— Horror Ads🔪 (@horrorads) January 27, 2020
Roger Ebert trashes Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter in 1984 pic.twitter.com/ZwiyHzchPv— Horror Ads🔪 (@horrorads) December 13, 2019
Siskel & Ebert are disgusted by Silent Night, Deadly Night in 1984 pic.twitter.com/NgfJ4EIdKH— Horror Ads🔪 (@horrorads) December 26, 2019