Wednesday, September 26, 2012
At long last, Jason X, the most infamous of the F13 series! Here we are propelled into the distant year 2455, a time when humans have destroyed the earth, outlawed hockey, repopulated a new planet, and generally just spend a lot of time hanging out in space. Instead of campers we have a group of students, who are apparently capable of running an entire spaceship on their own in an emergency situation, but still act like idiots and look like extras from a scene at The Bronze.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
What what WHAT is happening in this movie? We are off the beaten path here, folks. There is SO much crazy going on, I'm not sure where to start. I guess I'll start where the trailer starts, with the fact that this is now a New Line film, not Paramount like all of the previous F13s. I'm sure that purists prefer the Paramount films, and they would be right to do so because this movie (and I'm guessing the rest to follow) really don't feel like "Friday the 13th". However, since I'm SUCH a fan of New Line's Nightmare on Elm Street series, I am ready to embrace this outrageous installment in all its insanity. Probably the most ridiculous thing about Jason Goes to Hell is that it introduces the concept of what I will call *Jason Magic*. Jason Magic, which would probably be more accurately called Voorhees Magic, is the means by which Jason continually returns to life, and I'm pretty sure it's also inherently evil. This is not actually explained in any way, but is rather represented by some pretty flying sparks. We also discover, from some totally random bounty hunter, that only a Voorhees can kill Jason, AND that Jason had a sister (who has a daughter, and that daughter has a baby). This is, of course, reminiscent of both the Halloween series (family/sister issues) and Freddy's Dead (can only be defeated by his child). Here is a picture of Jason's neice Jessica and the magical dagger she uses to defeat him:
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Jason Takes Manhattan is probably the F13 movie I've seen the most. It's the kind of silly 80s slasher you can put on while hanging out with friends or doing whatever and only half pay attention but still enjoy. Given that this is the case, I've decided to sum this movie up with a series of stills that I think will pretty much cover everything you need to know. Enjoy!
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
This time I'm actually going to be brief, because this movie was sort of boring. It did have telekinesis, which was fun, but overall it was just kind of typical. Here's a bunch of crazy teens, now they've all been stabbed. The end. The only thing I really want to talk about here is the timeline, because it's starting to get pretty wonky. In this AND the next movie we have characters who visited Crystal Lake in their childhood, but the movie takes place when they are in their late teens. This timeline is really helpful. It seems like they maximized the overlap to try to keep the timeline as tight as possible, and I support that decision, but I wonder if there's any reason not to think these events weren't much more spread out. Regardless, even by conservative estimates, we have now entered the 21st century and apparently it involves a lot more hairspray and shoulder pads than I recall. Also, in spite of everyone telling me it's terrible, I'm still eagerly anticipating Jason X, especially since I accidentally noticed on that timeline that the sport of hockey was outlawed in 2024. How could this movie NOT be great?
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I know that trailer was a bit boring, but don't worry, I'll make up for it later. This is Friday the 13th Part 6, we've reached the halfway point! Hooray! Seriously though, there are so many of these damn movies, and they are just getting more ridiculous as they go. This one was made in 1986 and it really shows; we are in full-on 80s mode here, which is ironic since I believe if you're keeping count the movie is actually set in 1990. Jason has been accidentally brought back to life Frankenstein-style by--who else?--good old Tommy Jarvis. He is accompanied on his misguided mission to dig up Jason's body by Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter, who sadly just passed away a couple of weeks ago. Let's take a moment. Anyway, for all those who fussed about the killer not being Jason in the last movie, he's back now so you can settle down. In fact, in honor of his return, let's listen to this INCREDIBLE song by Alice Cooper, "He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)". I TOTALLY LOVE this song and have been listening to it for years without ever knowing which movie it was from, so I pretty much freaked out when I heard it in this one. Please enjoy: HE KNOWS YOUR HOUSE, guys. This song is really just the best. Key points about this movie, let's do it: -Long part at the beginning with some corporate paintball excursion that is kind of boring and just there to add to the body count. Whatevs F13! -Tommy Jarvis gets a girlfriend, sort of, which is nice because the poor kid's been through a lot. He could have had a really promising career in horror special effects if only Jason hadn't ironically intervened! -Speaking of Tommy, the actor who plays him in this part is Thom Mathews who was also in Return of the Living Dead, so that guy is now Officially Great (a title earned by being in two or more movies/tv series I like). -Return of the camp concept! And we actually get campers! I am convinced the little blonde girl named Nancy is a Nightmare on Elm St reference. -Ridiculous gags like this gem:
So here we are, F13p5 and not even halfway through the series. I'm going to try to keep this one brief [LIES] because there are still so many more to come and I've developed a tendency to ramble [TRUE]. This is one of the more controversial Friday films because it features a "fake" Jason, and apparently some people just HATE that. I, personally, am not so picky about my mass murderers, so I don't mind at all. It's also becoming very apparent that this series is focusing more and more on body counts, and the originality of the kills really suffers for it. However, this does leave a very nice window of opportunity open that A Nightmare on Elm Street fills beautifully with its super original and fantastic kill scenes. In case I somehow hadn't mentioned it, I absolutely LOVE Nightmare on Elm Street, but now is not the time for all that gushing. Soon. Anyway, in F13p5, Tommy Jarvis is back, all grown up and mentally disturbed. He's staying at some kind of halfway house that is supposed to transition mental patients from life in a hospital to life out in the big wide world, which would make you think that these people have their issues reasonably well-sorted, but if you thought that you would be completely wrong. One guy is so unhinged he brutally axe murders another guy for being sort of annoying. In the axe murderer's defense, the annoying guy was really reminiscent of that kid in Return to Sleepaway Camp who is just awful, so I can kind of understand. But really, rage axe murdering is a bit much when someone is just offering to help you chop wood, no matter how annoying they are. So long story short, Tommy Jarvis (who seems to have been abandoned by his sister, btw) keeps having visions of Jason still being alive and thinks he has risen from his grave and is committing all the murders that keep happening. However, he is just being crazy Tommy Jarvis and the killer is actually some random paramedic who also happens to be the father of the annoying kid who got axe murdered at the beginning. Also I guess he made himself look like Jason while he did it for whatever reason. But the point is that it was NOT Jason and people really don't like that (although theoretically Jason was still in the movie because Tommy's hallucinations/dreams were of the real Jason). On the subject of Jason being alive or dead: in this movie, Jason is absolutely, definitively dead. Going forward, anytime we see Jason up and moving about, he will be undead. Period. I still am unsure if this is his first, second (after the morgue), or third (after drowning in the lake AND the morgue) death. But we can really be sure now that Jason is 100% dead. So at least there's that. Now I said I was going to try to keep this brief, but that was obviously a complete and utter lie. We need to talk about this controversy around who gets credit for playing Jason in this movie. The credits list Dick Wieand, the actor who played the paramedic Roy, because his character was the masked killer perceived as Jason, but the actual actor wearing the mask is Tom Morga, who is only credited as Roy's stunt double. This is some bullshit. Tom Morga auditioned for Jason, he played Jason, and he should be credited as Jason. Period. To make matters worse, it seems this Dick Wieand guy has gone around signing & selling photos of Tom Morga as Jason, passing it off as himself. It may not have been done maliciously, he IS technically (if erroneously) credited for the role and so some people may want his autograph for that reason. But let's be real: Tom Morga was Jason in this movie, both imposter Jason AND real Jason in Tommy's visions. So please Tom Morga, do more conventions so people can meet you and get your autograph because you totally deserve the credit for this. Thanks. Finally, the only other things you need to know about this movie are this scene: And this girl:
Thursday, August 23, 2012
The Final Chapter is one of the two F13 movies I have seen the most (the other being Jason Takes Manhattan, for obvious reasons). It is also, as I'm told, the most common fan favorite, which is pretty understandable. Let's review the highlights of F13p4: -Crispin Glover! Seriously you guys, Crispin Glover is SUCH a weirdo, he's the best. Did you know he once sued Steven Spielberg and WON? He also made a surrealist film called What Is It? featuring only actors with Downs Syndrome (and himself). He has also released a spoken word album titled The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution = Let It Be. His middle name--for real--is Hellion. He is just the BEST. His role in F13p4 is a pretty typical hapless-loser-trying-to-get-laid archetype, but he does have a completely George McFly moment right before he dies that I just could NOT stop laughing about. This clip only shows a bit of it, but you get the idea: -Corey Feldman! Seriously, this movie is a star-studded event. This is only his second real movie role (first being Gremlins) and he is just adorable. His character, Tommy Jarvis, is also somehow an accomplished special effects artist and creates totally amazing monster masks. I find this a little unbelievable, but since it's Corey Feldman I'll allow it. -Weird vintage porn filmstrips! I looked for a clip online, but as you can imagine, it's a difficult thing to properly search for--especially at work. I would like to note here one low-light of the movie: there are several incidents of fat-shaming, most notably when one of the lovely vintage ladies is called a pig and when a hitchhiking hippie is shouted at and teased. Not cool, guys! -The return of using psychology against Jason! After the approach was abandoned in the last movie in favor of an axe to the skull, it was nice to once again see some clever exploitation of Jason's severe childhood trauma. Unfortunately, Tommy's impersonation of Jason mostly just serves as a distraction and actually winds up doing quite a bit of damage to Tommy himself in the end, that's really a topic for another post (the one right after this). In conclusion, I'd like to revisit the issue of when and if Jason is alive/dead/undead. After the last movie, he wound up in a morgue, suggesting all life signs were gone and seemingly supporting the theory that he did in fact die and in F13p4 is now undead. However, most medical professionals and other authorities in the series are pretty incompetent PLUS Jason's physical anatomy is certainly irregular, so this evidence is hardly conclusive. I know this issue is just going to keep getting more complicated with each movie, so I'll leave it at that for this post, but stay tuned for Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning!
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Congratulations folks, we have now reached the point in the series where we go from classic summer camp slasher to cheesy 80s gimmicky slasher! The most obvious gimmick, of course, being the 3D. F13p3 is just FILLED with moments that exist solely to remind you that OMG IT'S 3D! People are frequently killed with long protruding objects (harpoon, pitchfork, hot poker, knitting needle) and every time there's something gross on screen you just KNOW it's about to be in your face. The best example of this, and best use of 3D overall, is when one character gets his head squeezed until his eyeball pops out and flies directly at you. Also of note, this is actually the second time you get an eyeball in the face in this movie. The other gimmick is that there are 13 deaths* in Friday the 13th III. While it keeps the pace of the movie up to have people dying pretty much all the time, it also results in a lot of "why is this happening again?" moments. There is an opening sequence with a husband and wife who are killed by Jason that has literally nothing to do with anything that happens afterwards, plus a crazy biker gang that hassles the core group of victims for no reason other than to add to the movie's body count. Ridiculous as it is, it's really no big deal. The whole thing is pretty ridiculous, so it's best to just roll with it. This installment of the F13 series also marks an important landmark: Jason obtains his iconic hockey mask, swiped from some jerky kid who's always whining and feeling bad for himself and I was totally glad when he died. It's also the first time the victims were NOT camp counselors, just some kids having a good time out in the woods. And then they all get dead, for no clear reason. It's kind of odd, since they really played up the psychological angle of Jason's homicidal tendencies in the last movie, that they've completely abandoned it here. Jason's whole demeanor seems to have changed, in fact, and seems less confused and enraged and more calm and determined. It seems he has resigned himself to a life of brutally murdering young people in the woods. I suppose there could be worse things to do with your time. * To get a count of 13, you have to either count one of the bikers twice (seems dead, but comes back and gets killed again) or count Jason (also seems dead, but clearly will come back in the next film). In theory, you could infer from this that Jason has actually died in this movie; that previously he was alive but deranged and from this point forward he's actually undead. I'll try to return to this theory after Part 4.
Friday, August 17, 2012
I don't know why I'm even writing about this, there isn't much to say except that it's basically the best horror movie ever. If you haven't seen it yet, something is seriously wrong in your life. Joss Whedon, you are my sunshine. This movie makes me happy on at least 12 different levels. I don't even feel the need to talk about it because its awesomeness is so apparent. It's not often that I see a movie and say "I'd like to own that", but there's no question on this one. Coming out on DVD/Blu Ray Sept 18th. NOTE: It's ok to watch illegally downloaded Korean bootlegs if you ALSO buy the DVD and promote it on your blog.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
So here we are, part 2 of the Friday the 13th series. It opens with Alice, final girl from the first movie, who is predictably--but still entertainingly--killed within about 5 minutes. You know, to make a point. I did think it was a bit strange for her to show up just to get killed off before the movie even really begins because apparently she had to be coaxed to do this movie at all and immediately afterward left acting because she was being stalked and harassed, which I imagine is common with popular horror heroines. Once Alice is gone, we get a new crop of kids getting ready for camp. I think it's interesting that, in these first two movies at least, camp never actually happens. All of the counselors are killed off as they are preparing for campers to arrive. This gives Jason/Jason's mom a fairly small window of time in which to do their killing. Do they consult a brochure to find out when camp starts? Or do they just hang around and make their move as soon as someone arrives? Also, how did Jason find Alice? I doubt she lives anywhere near Crystal Lake, since she seemed awfully traumatized. There are a lot of logistics issues here. As I have already suggested, the killer here is Jason, not his mother as in the previous film (there's no such things as spoilers when it's a popular movie over 30 years old, btw). Near the end of the movie we get our first good look at him, and of course he's all disfigured in the face. He has yet to find his trademark hockey mask and instead spends most of the movie literally with a bag on his head, with one eyehole cut out. Why is a bag with one eyehole supposedly less scary than a disfigured face? This is one of the many F13 questions I cannot answer. Another is why Jason is now a large full-grown adult, although just 5 years earlier in Friday the first he appeared to be a little boy when he leapt out of the water and grabbed Alice. It should also be noted that since the first movie was set in 1979, this one is set in 1984, which at the time of its making was THE FUTURE. So then some camp counselors arrive and fool around and smoke pot and get killed. To sum up, here are some things I liked about Friday Part 2: 1. 1981 attempt at diversity = camp counselor in a wheelchair 2. New blonde final girl uses "child psychology" (and also a machete) against Jason 3. Nerdy redhead who acts like Abed and plays crazy 80s handheld video games 4. Does the dog Muffin get killed?!? THERE IS NO WAY TO KNOW. Thanks for letting me imagine it survived, F13p2.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Ok, so as of right now you are all jerks for not telling me about this movie. I KNOW you all saw it when Grindhouse came out, even if you were more interested in seeing Rose McGowan's gun leg. All I knew about this movie was that it involved Kurt Russell hassling some girls with his car and probably killing people. Little did I know this was a FEMINIST MASTERPIECE. Here's why. In a lot of horror movies, and in the lives of real serial killers, women are almost always the victims. To make this palatable, the women are objectified and dehumanized so we don't mourn them as real people but just accept them as a sort of cannon fodder. This is typically accomplished via hyper-sexualization, focusing attention on body parts, and limiting female characters to 2-dimensional stereotypes. And then there's Death Proof. Do you know what the Bechdel Test is? You definitely should. Go ahead and click the link, I'll wait.OK, so keeping in mind that I'm always looking out for what passes and what doesn't, imagine my absolute DELIGHT when Death Proof opens with a group of ladyfriends talking about where and how and from whom they are going to get pot for the night. It's not just that they were talking about it, it's that this and so many other conversations between ladyfriends in this movie sound VERY much like conversations I have been a part of and/or witness to. It's incredibly striking how REAL these characters feel. Seriously, I can't get over it. I'm not going to go through the whole movie breaking down the many ways in which it made me happy because that would be very very long, but just know that if I thought you had the patience and didn't care about spoilers I totally COULD do an in-depth critique and it would be AWESOME. In conclusion, Death Proof was shockingly fantastic. *NOTE: I originally planned to give this movie 4 stars, but upon reflection decided it gets 5, which means exactly half of my 5-star-rated movies feature Kurt Russell.
Over some non-specific near-future period of time, I will be recapping the Friday the 13th series in its entirety. Some of these I've seen many times, some I haven't seen at all. I'm even going to watch Jason X, so consider yourself warned. It's going to be awesome! But first things first: The original Friday the 13th! I'm actually surprised at how little I have to say about this. It's summer camp horror, solid all the way through. Numerous red herrings, surprise killer at the end. Pretty blonde final girl. You know how it goes. These are the only things that really stand out in my mind about Friday the 13th: 1. Kevin Bacon is so young he's all pink-cheeked. 2. The girl at the beginning is so overwhelmingly cheerful I really wanted her to get hurt. 3. These people would have been completely terrible at running a camp so perhaps it's all for the best. 4. This guy:
Thursday, July 19, 2012
When I see a Christmas-themed horror movie, I generally expect it to be ridiculous and gimmicky and sort of bad (though potentially in a really good way). Rare Exports was not what I expected. To take something that could have been really silly and make it come off so well is very impressive. It's suprisingly original and even the cinematography was just beautiful. Child protagonists in horror movies are always great, but this kid is particularly kick-ass. I don't really know what else to say except that you should definitely see this. Just brace yourself for a little full-frontal old man nudity. But only a little.
Monday, July 9, 2012
This movie is British, and I'm starting to wonder if that can get it an automatic stamp of awesomeness, or at least some extra points. I won't go on a rant about how much I've been enjoying British media as of late, but I WILL point out that Mickey from Doctor Who is in this movie and then I think you'll get where I'm going with this. Anyway, I would sum up Heartless as being kind of a British Donnie Darko, in that you don't always know exactly what's going on but it's still good anyway. Though it should probably be noted that I haven't seen Donnie Darko in about 10 years. It's that kind of unreliable-narrator movie where you're not totally sure what happened and what didn't, which totally works for me because I am just a deconstructionist kind of person and I don't care if there are definitive answers or not. But some people hate that, so you know. Be warned. Also, can someone please find me a transcript of everything the nephew character says in this movie? I think his accent is a bit more street than the others or something because I have NO CLUE what this kid is saying pretty much ever.
Apparently this movie is also called The Offspring, which I will assume is where the '90s band got their name. I could look it up, but I don't care. This is an anthology movie and I love those, so you know it get points right up front for that. PLUS it has Vincent Price in it so a few more points for that too. I really did not expect much from this; sometimes Vincent Price can actually be a bad sign that they're throwing in a cameo to lure viewers. I don't think he's exactly discriminating with the roles he chooses these days. I was, however, pleasantly surprised that all of the stories here were original, creepy, and even a bit gory. The frame story is pretty flimsy and predictable, but has a really unusual opening. A woman convicted of murder is shown being executed by lethal injection--I don't know if I've ever even seen a lethal injection scene before. The chair is generally considered more dramatic. The fact that it's a woman being executed just makes it all that much more unusual. *I was looking at IMDB reviews to remind myself about some of the details and it made me start to feel like I was being too callous by not pointing out that there's some stuff like incest and necrophilia in this movie that some people may find a bit too dark. So now you know.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
So obviously, this movie is meant to look like it was made in the early '80s, even though it was actually made in 2009. There are a few issues - characters that feel like they are from different parts of the decade and music that, even if it is period, wouldn't have been used in a movie like this. Despite the few out-of-place details, this movie does a really great job of matching the tone and pacing of this type of horror. What could have come off as a parody or just too gimmicky is instead a really effective homage.
That said, this is not my #1 most favorite ever horror genre, but it was still really enjoyable. There are some very classic "wtf why are you going up the stairs?!" moments, and an excellent scene of someone getting shot in the face. If you love late 70's/early 80s horror, you should definitely check it out, but even if you don't it's still worth your time.
Also of note: there is a part where the babysitter holds a pizza box completely vertically and clutches it to her chest, but then opens it later and the pizza is perfectly fine. THIS WILL NEVER STOP BOTHERING ME.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I have been deeply afraid of The People Under the Stairs since my childhood. When I say that, I mean I was literally afraid of the title. See, we had these basement stairs that were sort of ladder-like in that you could see right through to this dark pile of rubble behind them. Just the concept of "people under the stairs" was completely terrifying. Many times I bolted up those steps at night, imagining pale zombie-like hands reaching through and grabbing my ankles if I was just a second too slow.
Yesterday I actually saw the movie for the first time. It's an early '90s Wes Craven film and is pretty well-known, so I'm sure many of you realize how I felt in finally seeing that the movie is much more funny than it is scary. In fact, the awful representation of black people in the movie probably made me cringe more than anything else. In my defense though, there ARE creepy zombie-looking people who reach through walls and stuff, so my childhood fears were not completely unfounded. Still, it's a pretty fun movie and even has Rayanne Graff in it!
I now feel like I have fully confronted two of my four big childhood horror movie fears. All that's left now is Ghoulies and *It!
*It will never happen, that shit is legit terrifying.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Laid To Rest is a straightforward slasher, and who doesn't like that? The bonus is that the characters are a little less cliche and the action is a little less predictable than most slashers. The director is actually much more prolific in his work as a makeup and effects artist, so there are some pretty great gory deaths in there as well. Extra bonus for Sarah Connor Chronicles fans: Sarah AND John Connor!
Oh! This movie also gets points for being the first horror movie I have ever seen where they try to EMAIL the police. This movie will be about 5 times as amazing in 10-20 years.
Monday, June 18, 2012
I actually almost turned this movie off near the beginning, because it seemed like it might go in a Cheerleader Ninjas direction (ie incredibly unwatchably bad), but by the end I grew to love it. I think the most unsettling thing about this movie is how real it is. I can absolutely see this situation going exactly this way in real life, which is why there are some scenes that are just uncomfortably awkward. But it's ok! Because real life and weird situations are often uncomfortably awkward! The girls in this movie start out seeming like stereotypes but become more recognizable and real as they go along. The last scene of this movie is probably my favorite, perfectly punctuated by Ruth's line: "We're just girls to them". See it.
The premise for this movie is actually pretty original, something that never fails to shock me in modern horror. It does, however, have a significant flaw: the ending. Which I could get over if the whole movie didn't make me so "OMG what's going to happen at the end???" It's like they had all kinds of great ideas for the setup and then were almost finished with the movie and realized they had to have some kind of ending so they just shot something they thought of at the last minute. In fact, I would strongly recommend this movie to writers, as it's an excellent example of how sometimes no ending is preferable to a poor ending.
Also, the weird attempt at a New Hampshire accent is kind of distracting if you're from New England and hate that sort of thing.
Slugs! What can you say about Slugs? It's pretty much exactly what you expect, but in a comforting kind of way. You want to watch a poorly-acted ridiculous '80s monster-type movie? Here you go. Enjoy your afternoon.
NOTE: Apparently there is some uncertainty as to whether this movie was released in 1988 or 1987. I don't really care, so I'm siding with IMDB and saying 1988.
NOTE: Apparently there is some uncertainty as to whether this movie was released in 1988 or 1987. I don't really care, so I'm siding with IMDB and saying 1988.