halloween.php is a collection of horror movie reviews made by Mike Hommel (and more recently his wife Solange Hommel, or Sol Hunt) in an ever-changing variety of formats, ranging from written reviews to YouTube videos to podcast episodes. It runs from October 1st to October 31st each year, occasionally cutting into part of November. Text-based reviews go under the title "Belittling Horror Excessively" while audio-based reviews are part of a "Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown". The format in which reviews are made switches each year, but always includes an out-of-five rating, usually with meaningless units such as "4 out of 5 Buzzsaw Hands".
- 2011: BHE (Belittling Horror Excessively). Review is split into many small sections, some of which are swapped in and out as the reviews go on. Most commonly Synopsis, Scariness Type, Rating, Good Stuff, Bad Stuff, Classic Rules Of Film, My Take, and Artistic Nonsense.
- 2012: HHHHH (Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown). Reviews are in the form of YouTube videos. The ratings come at the end instead of the beginning this time, and there's a humorous stinger at the end of each video.
- 2013: BHE. Similar to the 2011 reviews, but with more and different sections. Most commonly Synopsis, Scariness Type, Rating, Body Count, Fun Fact, Best Moment, Worst Moment, A Suspension Bridge Too Far, Horror Tropes, My Take, Missed Opportunity, and The Lesson.
- 2014: BHE. No longer split into topics, and ratings from here on come at the end of the review rather than the start. Mike draws a picture based on the film at the end of each review.
- 2015: BHE. These are split into three sections: My Review and My Rating, containing the actual review for the movie; and My Movie Idea, where Mike brainstorms an idea for a horror film based on what he just watched.
- 2016: BHE. This is where Sol Hunt's involvement begins. Instead of giving direct reviews, Mike and Sol watch a movie together, then interview one another on what they thought of it. Interviews of Sol are posted on the Hamumu site, while interviews of Mike are posted on Sol's personal blog (which has since went private). Hand-drawn pictures by Solange, usually relating to the film at hand, are attached to each review.
- 2017: BHE. After watching the movie, Mike and Sol talk about the movie with one another, podcast-style, and then compile a transcript of their conversation. The full transcript is available on both Hamumu's website and Solange's blog, instead of being divided between the two.
- 2018: HHHHH. Films are reviewed via conversation, like 2017, except in audio format instead of text. This year's reviews are also available as a podcast on iTunes and Google Play.
- 2019: HHHHH. Similar format to 2018. The conversational podcast became the norm here.
- 2020: HHHHH. Similar format to 2019 and 2018.
- 2021: HHHHH. Similar format as previously, but movies are frequently reviewed in pairs (two per video), such as original movies and their reboots.
- 2022: HHHHH. Similar format. Includes a "Fight the Horror of a World Gone Mad" section in most videos that explains what real-world lesson can be extracted from the movie. These reviews were started in August, are published weekly, and did not stop at Halloween. ("In 2022, the world is horror! Who needs to wait for October?")
- 2023: HHHHH. Similar format. Seamlessly flowed from 2022 - the first episode thus far was actually recorded in 2022 and released in 2023.
Some quotes below may spoil the movies being reviewed.
Tropes discussed in the reviews:
- 13 Is Unlucky: Parodied in the video review for 13B. Whenever Mike mentions how the number 13 blatantly ties into the plot, the screen flashes as a sound effect plays and the number 13 pops up in red.
- Agent Scully: Mike points out how the titular character of The Skeptic is made into one, even though skepticism should be considered a good thing."There's a very strong emphasis on, 'No, really! He's a skeptic!' [...] 'Let's point it out, and let's mock him for it!' which is horrible! Skepticism is what you need. Common sense, critical thinking, skepticism... please, use it all the time, apply it to everything, it's the only way you can live."
- Found Footage Films: In which the cameraman seems to film absolutely everything, even when it would be more logical (or less awkward) to put down the camera for once. In one 2015 review, Mike's movie idea is a found footage movie where the person inexplicably recording everything turns out to be the killer, and derives pleasure from watching his "friends" suffer.
- Poe's Law: A predicament that prevents Mike from enjoying The Stuff for its comedic value."This movie is hilariously stupid, except, there's this edge to it where I'm pretty sure they're trying to be funny, it's all jokes, I think, like I think they're not trying to be scary, they're trying to be funny... and it's really stupid, and so it's like, I want to laugh at how stupidly done it is, but at the same time I'm stopped from laughing by the fact that they're trying to be funny - or that I think they are, anyway. It's weird."
- Too Bleak, Stopped Caring: One reason Mike gave Wake Wood 2/5 Clutches."And lots of decapitations and severing of different things ensue, several people die, it's very sad, very violent... I don't know what to tell you, just your basic raise-the-kid-from-the-dead-and-they-kill-everybody movie - it's Pet Sematary. [...] So, what do I think about this? I think... I just, I don't really need to see that anymore. I get how it's gonna go, it's not very interesting, it's all very predictable and whatever."
- Willing Suspension of Disbelief: The 2013 BHE reviews feature an "A Suspension Bridge Too Far" category for moments in the movies that Mike felt broke said suspension.
Tropes actually used in the reviews:
- Broke the Rating Scale:
- Heartless's plot was so absurd to Mike that he couldn't come up with a rating even after watching it. He gives it a final score of "?/5" Drowsing Rods.
- Amy, a guest reviewer, gives two ratings to Little Evil: 2/5 if judged as a horror film and 4/5 if judged as a comedy.
- Mike gave The Tall Man either 4/5 or 0/5 Coffees depending on whether the antagonists' actions were envisioned by the writers as moral and justified. The grade for that review is currently listed as a 4/5 in the Movie Review Chart.
- The "Best Moment" section of the Fingerprints review is simply "None."
- The Amityville Haunting isn't given "Best Moment" and "Worst Moment" sections like the other 2013 reviews, but rather a "Best/Worst Moment" section, because "Best and worst have no place in an Asylum movie. It's all the worst, which makes it the best."
- Comically Missing the Point: In his review of Crows Nest, a found footage movie: "Whoever found this footage really should've edited it before releasing it as a horror movie (and how perverse are they to be profiting off of this tragedy??)."
- Crunchtastic: The introduction to BHE 2013 describes it as "Thirty-one screamtastic tales of terror picked apart to death over the month of October."
- Department of Redundancy Department: In the synopsis of Event Horizon, "[it] turns out that when you travel outside of normal spacetime, bad things ensue. Bad things ensue."
- Faux Horrific: Mike briefly jokes that The Tall Man is scary because it mentions a man who is tall."The Tall Man. Now what could be scarier than a man above average height? I can't even think of anything. I can't. I can not imagine..."
True Science Fact: Tall people loom over you, all creepy.
- Formula-Breaking Episode: A few of the drawings in the 2014 run don't actually match up with the movie. For example, Mike was not particularly inspired by Entity to draw anything, so he drew a pirate puppy.
- The Grim Reaper: Mike's first movie idea in 2015 stars Death himself killing people out of boredom in a society where almost nobody dies.
- Little Known Facts: The "Fun Fact" section in the 2013 BHE reviews tend to delve into this.Fun Fact: Steroids can make you grow dozens of times faster than normal. That's why you see pro football players that are 25 feet tall. And chew on people.
- Manipulative Editing: Played for Laughs. The stinger of the The Innkeepers review features a slowed down clip of Mike saying "It's the scare! Ohh, there's something!" followed by footage of him snarling at the camera, both clips taken out of context from earlier points in the video.
- Running Gag:
- The "Classic Rules of Film" section from the 2011 BHE reviews, loosely adhering to the snowclone "If you show [x] in Act 1, you better [y] in Act 3" and filled in with whatever foreshadowing was used in the movie.
- The "True Science Facts" that occasionally pop up during the 2012 HHHHH reviews. It's usually there to crack a joke or mock the logic in the movie, though from time to time it's just used to point out something that wasn't mentioned in the video otherwise.
- "[something] ensues" is frequently the final sentence for synopses in the 2013 reviews. "Bad things ensue," "soul-sucking ensues," "mass exposition ensues," etc.
- Shaped Like Itself: At the end of the Dread video review, "Mike Hommel's deepest fear is that somebody will find out his deepest fear, and then exploit it to torture him relentlessly. Mike Hommel is meta."
- Shout-Out: Mike parodies the opening of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air during his review of Uninhabited."This is a story all about how
A couple went to an island... somehow.
And just sit right back, 'cause a ghost... is there
And at no point does anyone become the prince of Bel-Air.
...Not really proud of that, but I'm just gonna leave that right there, and you're gonna hear it when you watch this video."
- The Stinger: Every video from the 2012 HHHHH videos includes one, usually spoofing a common setting or framing device in horror movies, such as the footage being left behind in an abandoned USB stick.
- There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: Played with.First off, let me say that there are two kinds of people in this world, plus a third kind that doesn't count. There are Nightmare On Elm Street people, and Friday The 13th people. And people who don't care, which don't count.