Finally

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Watch enough Horror films and you notice Trends. Trends eventually become tropes, which eventually become cliches. Cliches lead to parody which begets apathy. Once things went down this road, most fans and critics wrote off the slasher genre as outdated and passe. Then something interesting happened. Wes Craven brought self awareness to the game. The Scream films, and even his earlier New Nightmare, to some extent, allowed audiences to revisit old territory with new twists. Whether you are a fan of the Scream films or not (personally I am not), it cannot be denied that  their self awareness revitalized and preserved the sub-genre. Final Girl has much of that same spirit, though applied much differently.

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The concept of the Final Girl appears in almost every slasher film, depicting the one girl virtuous enough to avoid the obvious death traps of sex and drugs and overcome her vulnerabilities in an empowering battle of wills with the killer, whom she will ultimately triumph over (more or less). Director Tyler Shields tells us a visually entrancing story of an orphan girl who is trained to fight maniacs by a man who has lost his family to “Bad Men”. Veronica positions herself to be the perfect bait, then the swiftest of executioners by beating them at their own game. The film appears to be set in the 1950s, or at least is borrowing heavily from the look for the sake of visual appeal. Further adding to the appeal is a pseudo-surrealist set design with stark white lighting, improbable use of spotlights and framing reminiscent of a stage play. It’s not style over substance, but both style and substance make very bold statements in this film.

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The killers are a curious quartet of young men who get together and hunt pretty young girls in the woods. Led by Jameson, a charismatic boy born with a silver spoon in his mouth, it is implied he is used to getting his way in every scenario. To him, there are no limits. Whatever whim he has will be indulged, even those of a violent nature. Shane appears to be the Beta of the group, he is the only one with a long term girlfriend, but it is his insecurities with this relationship which feed his violent impulses. Nelson is the bland Momma’s Boy of the group. He has, what we are lead to believe is a complex, possibly dysfunctional relationship with his Mother and like many before and after, this fuels his violence towards women. Lastly we have Danny Boy. Danny is the frantic ball of unfocused energy that in later decades would be a poster-child for ADHD, but in the 50’s was just known as a Wild-Child. He is always on, can’t sit still or keep his mouth shut, and requires constant stimulation. The rush of the kill seems to be his drug of choice.

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Abigail Breslin makes it very easy to forget her days as a chubby yet adorable oddball in Little Miss Sunshine. She’s grown into a gorgeous young woman as well as a damn fine actress. Her portrayal of Veronica is subtle yet intense when the mood calls for it. She is as focused and calculating as she is dangerous, but can slip into a disguise of vulnerability at will. Her relationship with her mentor William is complex as well. Their Sensei/Pupil relationship complex, similar to a father/daughter kinda deal…but not without its share of sexual tension. They are both pretty fucked up, but its clear that they need each other. It’s a fun dynamic that I enjoyed watching and enjoyed thinking about even more. Final Girl doesn’t reinvent the wheel, because it doesn’t need to. What it does is shows us a different side of the wheel that allows us to appreciate it in ways we may never have before. This highly stylized, self aware Slasher receives my highest recommendations!

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#31DaysOfHorror: Oct 28

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Halloween. The franchise that some (including some of the creators) say should never have become a franchise. After the runaway success of the first film, John Carpenter returned to lend a hand in writing the sequel as well as produce, even though he never intended for a sequel to be made in the first place. For the Third installment, Carpenter serves as producer only. The Intention was to drop the Michael Myers story and turn the franchise into an anthology with each film telling a separate story taking place on Halloween. Great Idea! Halloween III: Season of the Witch was ultimately a flop as fans clamored for the return of Myers. Well be careful what you wish for, fuckers…

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The ensuing three film arc was really only good for two things. Starting Danielle Harris on her path to becoming one of this generations greatest Scream Queens, and bringing back the always wonderful Donald Pleasance to reprise his role as Dr. Loomis. The plot involved Michael stalking and attempting to kill his Niece(Harris playing the young Jamie Lloyd) while Loomis tries to foil him. Part 5 sees the introduction of The Curse Of Thorn plotline which was fully explored in part 6 in an attempt to explain why Michael cannot die, and what compels him to kill his family. The concept behind the Curse of Thorn is that Michael had been under the influence of an ancient Celtic curse that drove him to  murder all family members in his bloodline. Once this task is complete, the curse would be passed to another small child. Right from the beginning of production, the film was waylaid by Jackassery on the part of Producer Paul Freeman and Director Joe Chappelle.

These two reportedly rewrote the ending on-set, sometimes even from shot to shot, all with deadlines looming. Freeman would do stupid things like send the crew home when crucial scenes needed to be shot, deleted scripted scenes indiscriminately, rewrote dialogue and action sequences, decided to direct second-unit shots as well as supervise the post production. Eventually his many fuck ups and bonehead decisions resulted in Miramax stepping in to take control of the film, and order reshoots.

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After filming and editing was completed, the film was given a test screening and in the ensuing Q&A, one viewer expressed displeasure at the ending. So Naturally, Miramax decided to excise the intended ending and a new one was shot, an ending which almost completely dropped the Curse Of Thorn Plot Line. Not only that, but 20 additional mins of footage was removed creating several glaring plot holes and resulting in the disappointed piece of shit we’ve known as Halloween 6 all these years.

For years, bootleg copies of “The Producers Cut” have been floating around. This version of the film contains all the cut material as well as the original ending. On Sept 23rd, the Producers Cut finally saw official release as part of the Halloween Complete Blu-Ray collection, and this is the film I watched. Its hard to erase the stink of the original release, however the restored version feels like a much more cohesive story. Things make more sense and the loose ends are tied up. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not crazy about this ending…But for Fuck sakes, just about ANYTHING would be better than the original release. Even with the restored footage, I still feel it’s a weak film…it’s just better than it was before. I know I’m very much a minority in that I wanted the anthology concept to take off instead of telling more stories about Michael Myers. What made the first Halloween work so well is that we had no idea what Michael was, or why. We were to project our worst fears onto him as he became a living Bogeyman. The more films you make with him, you are faced with a problem: You have to either keep doing exactly the same thing as before, or you have to define what he is. That is what killed the Halloween series to me…and to put it into perspective just how bad this was, the next Halloween film, H20, completely ignored films 4-6, rendering then non-canon! Would I recommend this film? Absolutely! If for no other reason than to see the final performance of the late Donald Pleasance.

This one time, at Bible Camp…

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“Jesus probly had a big penis, so I think it would only be Christian of us to have sex with guys with penises like Jesus.”

This is the actual opening line for the film, recited by a couple of idiotic sluts who I assume are supposed to be in their late teens, but look much closer to 30. This is EXACTLY the kind of ridiculousness you can expect over the next 90 mins. BBBC is yet another 80s slasher throwback that will never be accused of taking itself the least bit serious. The plot concerns a pastor taking a group of 80s rehash cliches to a weekend at the Happy Day Bible Camp, only to be warned by a local yokel that it is famously known as the Bloody Bloody Bible Camp and was the site of a rampage by a crazy Nun in a Devil mask named Sister Mary Chopper. Naturally, these warnings fall on deaf ears and…I bet you can literally guess EVERY detail of the plot that follows. It makes use of every cliche and stereotype possible…and I love it!

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For as simplistic as the film is, it’s surprisingly well thought out and makes great use of limited sets and what I assume is a very limited budget. While each character is a blatant cliche, each is played well enough that we never have to ask ourselves what their deal is. They are easily identifiable, because we’ve seen them in countless other films before. Why waste time on character development when there are Gore-gags and sex jokes to get to?

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And there are PLENTY of both. Naturally since there is a priest, there are going g to be many many jokes about priests getting frisky with young boys. I can’t help but wonder though…you hear an awful lot about Priests fucking young boys…but you don’t seem to hear much about them fucking young girls. Is it just that it doesn’t happen? I would think young girls would be better than young boys…because if you want, you can flip them over and pretend they are young boys…holy shit this got off track… Uh…GORE!

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This is never going to be called a “good” film, but that doesn’t stop it from being an AWESOME film! I love that the market is seemingly flooded with films like this. Fun films made BY Horror fans, FOR Horror fans. I will likely watch this one again and again for years to come, and I urge you all to check it out as well.

…Oh yeah, I almost forgot…A GIRL GETS BUTTFUCKED WITH A CRUCIFIX!!!!

Till next time, creeps!

Let’s Get Nasty: The Burning(1981) and, Cannibal Apocalypse(1980)

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The Burning is and shall remain a part of my regular rotation of films, because it is a virtually perfect slasher film…even though it is a total rip off of Friday the 13th…which itself was a total rip off of Italian Giallo films. For anyone who is getting tired of me making references to Giallo films, seriously…GO WATCH GIALLO FILMS, and see where North American Slasher films found their mojo. I already reviewed the film for my #31DaysOfHorror project: (https://doctorhavok.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/31daysofhorror-october-2nd/), so I thought this time i would delve into the censorship history.  Most films on the Nasty list as reasonably self explanatory in why they were targeted. Usually these films have Cannibals, Zombies, Rape, and other assorted perversions…and they generally seem to be European-made. How then did an American-made slasher make the grade? It seems the whole thing was due to a mix up. The uncut version has two scenes which the BBFC asked to be trimmed,  specifically,  Cropsy’s frantic mass-murder spree in the raft massacre sequence and the sight of a pair of scissors piercing a woman’s flesh in the post-title sequence. The Brittish Video Label Thorn-EMI was happy to release a trimmed version in order to receive certification, but released the uncut version by mistake, leading to this being one of the films that was successfully prosecuted.

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2001 saw an uncut version released in the UK, and Scream Factory has released a special edition Blu-Ray/DVD (http://www.shoutfactory.com/node/216909). As expected, nobody Stateside seemed to have much of a problem with the film and it has been available uncut since it’s initial release. If you enjoyed this film and want a thought provoking companion piece, check out the 2009 Documentary “Cropsey” (https://doctorhavok.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/cropseys-gonna-getcha/)

 

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Cannibal Apocalypse is better known as Apocalypse Domani, and most accurately as Invasion of the Flesh Hunters. If anything can be said of the events in this film, they certainly aren’t Apocalyptic. Sounds like someone was trying to cash in on Cannibal Holocaust.

The film opens with a Flashback to the Vietnam war, where a soldier named Hopper(John Saxon) is bitten by a POW named Bukhowski, who happens to be infected by a virus which makes those infected crave human flesh.

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Years later in Atlanta, Hopper is haunted by nightmares of the war. He is contacted by Bukhowski out of the blue. Hopper blows off his old buddys request to go for a drink so he can almost bang the slutty neighbor girl. Meanwhile, Bukhowski pulls the crazy Vietnam Vet routine, goes nuts, fucks shit up, and the craziness spreads.  In a lot of ways, it kind of reminds me of the plot of First Blood… Moral of the Story: Leave Vietnam Vets the fuck alone!

The biggest crime in the film is that the slutty little neighbor bitch didn’t get exploited more. all she gets is a little nibble on the leg? C’mon! At least fuck her to death then eat her corpse! What a waste. Well, not a total waste. The film definitely has it’s charm and is well worth a look.

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Visually, the film looks great. The technical side of things is top notch, and the gore is awesome, even by today’s standards. Saxon was cast due to his initial interest in the unusual story twist. Unaware it was an Italian exploitation movie on cannibalism, he soon lost interest when made aware but had already signed and committed to the picture. He has claimed never to have watched the movie and was fine with its banning in the UK, claiming it was foul and in bad taste. It is also claimed that Saxon’s subdued performance in the picture was due to his recent divorce and financial strain thereof. I think it was disappointment at not getting to fuck the neighbor slut.

 

Return to Crystal Lake: The Legend of Jason Voorhees Pt 1

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At 12 films (and a 13th confirmed for 2015), the Friday the 13th Franchise is one of the most prolific in cinema history. It’s tropes and trademarks have become an integral part of Pop Culture, and it’s chief slasher has become about as recognizable around the world as Bela Lugosi’s Count Dracula. The odd part is that the films really didn’t hit their stride until much later in the series, and that a series was never in the cards in the first place.

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The beginnings of Friday the 13th were intended to be a legitimately scary, if not somewhat tongue in cheek takeoff of John Carpenter’s Halloween. Director/Producer Sean Cunningham even went and purchased the above advertisement in Variety magazine, having only the title, a tagline of “The Most Terrifying Film Ever Made”, and NO FINISHED SCRIPT! Curiously enough, a working title during the writing process was “A Long Night At Camp Blood”, but Cunningham stuck to his guns and committed to Friday the 13th.

Screenwriter Victor Miller crafted a tale that begins with two randy Councilors at Camp Crystal Lake sneak off from their group to go fool around. They are interrupted by an unseen presence whom they seem to recognize and are bashful towards. Wordlessly, this unseen person slaughters the two, and the narrative jumps forward 21 years. Camp Crystal lake has long been closed, and local kook “Crazy Ralph” tells anyone who will listen that the nicknamed “Camp Blood” is cursed. Steve Christy, the son of the original owner is attempting to re-open the camp, and has several employees joining him to put the finishing touches on fixing up the grounds. One of these employees is Annie, who stops in town to ask for a ride to the camp, and is greeted with warnings of Doom (Fuck you, Crazy Ralph), the history of the Murders, stories of fires, water poisonings on the grounds. Clearly the Town of Crystal lake knows something is up… But their warnings are ignored. Meanwhile, the rest of the staff arrives at the camp and begins to lazily go about the remaining repair jobs, while also making time for lounging by the lake, drinking, smoking pot, and of course…fucking. Annie manages to hitch a ride with someone driving a Jeep whom we don’t see and who does not speak. After ignoring the turn off for Camp Crystal Lake, Annie realizes something is very wrong and bails out of the vehicle, only to be chased into the woods by the driver where she is eventually caught, held against a tree, and her throat is slit with a hunting knife.  On the hand of the Killer, we see a Mans Senior Class ring. remember that…

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Back at the Camp, Steve Christy heads to town for supplies, leaving the rest of the staff unsupervised and vulnerable. Crazy Ralph makes an appearance to once again tell everyone they are doomed, but this time adds that he’s a “messenger from God”. After Running Ralph off, Jokester Ned follows a mysterious presence into one of the Cabins, and is killed off camera. Jack and Marcie take shelter from the rain in a cabin, and have sex in one of the bunks…not knowing that the Mutilated corpse of Ned lies in the bunk above them. After leaving the cabin to clean up, Jack is stabbed through the throat from underneath the bed with an arrow, then the killer follows Marcie unseen to finish her off with an axe to the face.

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That’s right…Kevin Fucking Bacon!

Meanwhile, Steve Christy returns to the camp on foot after car troubles, and meets the killer. He knows this person and is not alarmed by their presence…well, until he is killed like all the rest. Alince, Brenda and Bill are in the midst of Strip Monopoly when Brenda decides to head to bed, but is lured to the archery range to investigate what sounds like a child’s cries…you can guess what comes next. Only just now becoming suspicious of the strange goings on of the evening, Bill and Alice are unable to find any of their friends. Laughing it all off as a joke, Alice goes to sleep in her cabin and Bill tromps off to re-start the Camp’s Generator. Awakening soon after and venturing to find Bill, Alice finds his body impaled to a door with arrows. Fleeing in terror back to her cabin, she is further tormented by Brenda’s bloody corpse being hurled through the window.  Horrified, Alice bolts out of the cabin just as a vehicle pulls up, driven by Pamela Voorhees, who identifies herself as a friend of the Christys. At first she seems kind and willing to help Alice, but soon things take a turn for the worse.

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Mrs. Voorhees tells a story of a young boy who drowned in the lake a year before the murders all those years ago. His name was Jason. She explains with mourning in her voice that Jason was not a very good swimmer and should have been watched. But the counselors were off screwing around, leaving Jason, who we realize was her son, to drown. Reeling from Psychosis and speaking to herself in “Jason’s” voice (Kill Her Mommy…Kill Her), Mrs. Voorhees brandishes a knife and attacks Alice. After a long game of cat and mouse, Alice is able to decapitate Mrs. Voorhees with a machete and then collapse in a canoe which floats to the middle of the lake. Alice wakes in the morning just as Police arrive on the scene. As she breathes a sigh of relief that her ordeal is over, suddenly the decaying corpse of Jason rises from the depths of the lake and pulls her under the cold dark water,  which is in reality a dream. She awakens in the hospital and discovers her friends are all dead, but remembers and asks about the boy. The sheriff tells her that no boy was found, and Alice says “Then he’s still there…” as the final shot shows the lake in peace. Bubbles can be seen erupting from the bottom, before the screen fades to black.

Alright, So here we have the beginnings of one of the greatest sagas in Horror history. Obvious comparisons leveled towards this film at the time were to to works of Giallo masters such as Bava and Argento, but also that of Halloween, and Carrie (mostly for the last second nonsensical scare). We all know that the series would shift to be focused on Jason as the killer who had somehow survived his drowning as a child, but are never told just how he survived and what happened since then. I’ll discuss what I think happened…but first we need to get through the Next Chapter.

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Part 2 is where shit really starts to get weird. We know that Jason drowned in the Lake as a child. The entire plot of the first film is set into motion by his death all those years ago. Somehow, Jason is alive, and has been for some time, long enough to grow into Manhood and resume the Murderous work of his Mother…More on this later.

Two months following the Massacre at Crystal lake, Alice, the Lone survivor, is struggling to put her life back together and is tormented by nightmares of her ordeal. While feeding her cat, she opens her fridge only to find the severed head of Pamela Voorhees inside. Reeling in shock, she is gripped from behind by an unseen assailant who rams an ice-pick into her head.

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Fast Forward two years, and Paul Holt is setting up a training camp for Camp Counselors on the other side of Crystal lake. Despite its infamy and the police frowning on the location, Paul collects a group of would-be counselors to train. Good girls Terry and Vicki, prankster Scott, and wheelchair bound Mark, despite warnings from local Crazy Ralph, also arrive. Paul’s girlfriend and assistant Ginny Field arrives late, much to his chagrin. As the Day progresses, Crazy Ralph tries to go about his usual Crazy Ralph routine, but is quickly Garroted against a tree with a piece of Barbed-Wire. I nspired by the legend of Jason Voorhees whose story was told at a camp fire the night before, Sandra and Jeff sneak over to explore the abandoned camp(Idiot kids will be idiot kids, afterall) , only to be caught by the sheriff and hauled back to camp. After being read the riot act by the Sheriff, Paul informs the two explorers that they are in hot water. It seems that the towns people are aware that the threat associated with camp Blood is not yet passed and make sure that nobody goes near it. While driving through the woods, the Sheriff witnesses a man running through the woods and chases him to a dilapidated shack where he makes a particularly gruesome discovery (unseen to the viewer) before a claw hammer tears through his skull from behind.

That night, Paul and Ginny take the counselors for one last night on the town; Sandra and Jeff, being punished for their excursion earlier are volunteered to stay behind; Terry decides to stay behind and look for her missing dog Muffin while Scott volunteers to put the moves on Terry. Wheelchair-bound Mark decides to stay as well and Vicki, smitten with Mark, decides to stay. Just think…If only everyone had gone out partying, they might have all lived. How often does that ever happen?  While searching for Muffin, Terry apparently decides that the dog is no longer important, and goes Skinny Dipping.  Scott plays a prank on her by stealing her clothes before being caught in one of Paul’s survival traps. It’s some border line Wile E. Coyote shit. He steps in the trap, a rope cinches tight around his ankle, and then hauls him upside down into the air. Terry goes to get a knife to cut him down, Leaving Scott easy pickins for our Machete wielding killer, who then Kills Terry off screen after she returns and finds Scott’s body.  At the bar, Ginny imagines what Jason would be like if he were alive. Wondering aloud if the legend is true, she makes a few very intuitive leaps in logic, deducing he had seen his mother murdered and would be a vengeful creature unaware of the meaning of life and death. Paul dismisses her concerns and tells her that he is only a legend, his insistence hinting that Jason is the one responsible for the killings. How much was Paul told about Camp Blood by the people of Crystal Lake? How much do they know, in the first place?

As it begins raining heavily back at the camp, Mark and Vicki are about to get it on, before the killer murders Mark with a machete to the face and pushes his chair down a flight of stairs. Nobody is allowed to get away with having a good time at Crystal Lake. Not even the crippled guy.

f1323“Oh, what’s that? you were gonna go have sex? BAM! Machette to the FACE! Fuck You!” That’s how it went. I’m sure of it.

The killer then moves upstairs and kills Jeff and Sandra as they are having sex by double impalement with a spear.

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Both of these last two kills were heavily influenced by, or straight-up stolen verbatim, from the 1971 Italian film Twitch of the Death Nerve (aka, Bloodbath, and Bay Of Blood)

When Vicki returns for Mark she finds Sandra and Jeff’s bodies and is then stabbed by the killer, who is revealed to be wearing a sack over his head with an eyehole cutout. This look was heavily inspired by the “Phantom Killer” who had terrorized Texarkana(see the film: The Town That Dreaded Sundown”)  decades before.

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Paul and Ginny return from town to discover the grisly aftermath. Paul is attacked by the killer, who then chases Ginny through the camp. She finds her way to the shack and enters to find an altar with Mrs. Voorhees’ mummified head on it, surrounded by the bodies of the victims. The killer is revealed to be none other than Jason himself, who apparently didn’t drown after all. Just as Ginny had taken a wild stab in the dark and guessed…

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Using her child psychology to her advantage, which was mentioned once in passing at the beginning of the film,  she puts on Pamela’s sweater and manages to convince Jason that she is his mother…fuck sakes… The ruse fails when he spots his mother’s head, but Paul intervenes, distracting Jason long enough for Ginny to take the machete and bring it down several inches into his shoulder. Jason falls over, presumably dead. Ginny and Paul uncover his disfigured face before taking shelter in a nearby cabin. Muffin then appears at the cabin door, and while Ginny reaches down to pick her up, Jason (now unmasked, with long stringy hair and a fledgling beard, and the machete still in his shoulder) bursts through the window behind her and attacks her. Ginny wakes up the next morning, confused and being pulled aboard an ambulance with no recollection of how she escaped. She calls for Paul, who is nowhere to be seen, and she is driven off to the hospital. The final scene then switches over to show Mrs. Voorhees’ head, before ultimately fading to black.

Waaaaaay more unanswered questions, and What-The-Fucks now, right? Just wait…We’ll go through Part 3(D) and then examine things…

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It doesn’t get much more campy in 1982 than to film your movie in 3-D, and to have a disco theme song, having said that, it produced some of the most funny and inventive gags in slasher film history, and the theme turned out to be awesome! (http://youtu.be/ODm01T3zY-w)

The film itself opens up by recapping the last few minutes of Part 2. Ginny tricks Jason with the sweater, Jason Brawls with Paul, Ginny Machetes Jason in the shoulder and he collapses. Ginny pulls the sack off Jason’s head and then she and Paul leave.  We next see Jason pull the blade out of his shoulder then start crawling away, so we know the Jumping-through-the-window scene is a nightmare of Ginny’s, which still leaves the question of what happens to Paul. Also of note is that Jason now appears completely bald and with no stubble on his face. The only explanation for this is that Ginny only got a glimpse of Jason after being unmasked and created the hairy image in her mind because of her earlier assessment of Jason as a confused savage living by himself in the woods. What a condescending bitch. Can’t even get a proper look at the guy when he’s right in front of her! Anyway…

Jason apparently decides that his clothing is too shredded, or that the Over-alls look is dead, so he makes his way to a back-woods general store nearby and steals clothes from the laundry line outside. The live-in couple who run the store are watching a news report on tv which describes the unfolding events we’ve seen from the previous film, firmly establishing that Part 3 takes place one day after the events of Part 2. Edna catches a glimpse of Jason outside, but thinks it’s her husband Harold, who is in the store, sneaking food and tending a a scared rabbit what is hiding in the produce racks. That’s actually what happens. Jason dispatches them both amid a flurry of hit-or-miss 3-D gags then moves on to Higgins Haven,  a nearby lakefront cottage, where he hides in the barn to heal his wounds. Meanwhile, Chris Higgins and her friends Debbie, Andy, Shelly, Vera, Chili and Chuck come to visit the cottage, so Chris can get a handle on a tragedy that happened two years prior. Of this group, Debbie is pregnant with Andy’s child, Chili and Chuck are Stoners out of a Cheech and Chong film, and Shelly is the Misfit. Not blessed with good looks, Shelly is overweight, and has a curly afro, as well as plenty of insecurities about himself. He feels that the only way he will be accepted by his peers is if he can make them laugh, but he overcompensates and frightens them, leaving him labeled an obnoxious pain. In a complete fluke, this Misfit would leave the greatest contribution to the legacy of Jason. Shelly and Vera(who at first is none to thrilled to have been set up with Shelly) go to town for some shopping and run afoul with a local gang of bikers; Ali, Fox and Loco. Pushed too far, Shelly stands up to them and runs over Ali’s motorcycle, impressing Vera. When they return, Chris’ boyfriend Rick is upset by the display and the pair of them leave together. Jason, recovering from his injuries, kills Fox and Loco with a pitchfork as they attempt to set fire to the barn after siphoning gas from Chris’ van. Ali attacks Jason and is beaten unconscious. As night falls, Andy and Debbie go off alone to have sex while Shelly attempts to come onto Vera, but he is rejected. After scaring her with a harpoon gun and hockey mask, he ventures into the barn after who he thinks is Chili and Chuck while Vera accidentally drops Shelly’s wallet into the lake.  In the wallet, she finds a picture of Shelly with a woman we are to assume is his mother. For a split second, we see Vera’s expression change…Is she now able to see Shelly for the sweet guy he is deep down inside? We’ll never know…As she goes to retrieve it, Jason, now in the hockey mask, shoots Vera through the eye socket with the harpoon gun. Fun fact, as Jason prepares to fire, you can actually see the actor hooking the gun onto a nearly invisible wire, then fire the harpoon straight at the camera…looks great in 3-D.  Inside, Debbie goes to take a shower and Andy, while walking on his hands is unexpectedly bisected by Jason.

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This’ll teach you to do circus tricks, ya lil bastard!

Debbie goes to lay down and discovers Andy’s body in the rafters just before she is impaled through her neck from underneath the hammock, eerily similar to the death of Jack from the original film.

 

Meanwhile, Chris fills Rick in on what happened two years prior when she ran away from home, and was attacked by a horrible, disfigured man in the woods…We are left to assume the man was Jason, and even though this is never specifically stated, the implication is that Chris was raped that night. Whether this plot point was intended to be expanded on or not, is anyone’s guess . Later, Rick’s car breaks down and the two begin to walk back. At the same time, the power goes out at the Haven and Chuck goes down to the cellar to check on the power. Shelly, whose throat was slashed, falls down dead in the kitchen in front of Chili, who, having fallen for his “Hatchet-In-The-Head” gag earlier, thinks he is playing a prank on her. Chuck encounters Jason in the cellar and is thrown against the fuse box and is electrocuted. Chili discovers that Shelly’s death isn’t an act, then finds Debbie and Andy’s bodies upstairs. She tries to escape but Jason appears out of nowhere and impales her with a red-hot fireplace poker. Rick and Chris return to discover the house in disarray. Rick wanders out alone. Chris goes outside to call out to him, but Jason keeps his hand held over his mouth just a few feet away. Chris goes back inside and Jason kills Rick by crushing his skull with his bare hands, causing his eye to pop out…IN 3-D!!!!!. Now alone, Chris faces Jason, who chases her through the house and the barn. She stabs him and hangs him, but he remains alive. When she recognizes him as the man who attacked her, Ali awakens from his earlier attack only to be dismembered and killed by Jason upon attacking him. Chris picks up an axe and brings it down on his skull.

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Terrified after he staggers after her for a few steps, Chris then watches Jason fall to the ground presumably dead at her feet. Harkening back to the first film again, Chris pushes a canoe out onto the lake, where she falls asleep before awakening, frightened. She sees Jason, now unmasked and bloody,  in the house and tries to flee when he comes after her, only to realize that his coming after her was just a hallucination.

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The decayed body of Pamela Voorhees suddenly leaps from the lake and pulls her under the water, which also turns out only to be a dream. A period of time later, the police arrive and take a clearly hysterical and disturbed Chris from the property as the camera pans over to Jason, dead on the floor of the barn, and showing the lake is at peace again.

 

 

Okay…time to recap!  We know Jason was thought to have drowned in the lake as a child, but somehow he survived, growing to manhood. We know his mother committed the first Murders at the Camp, effectively closing the camp, and presumably also committed the vandalism and water poisonings to keep people away. We know that after the death of Pamela, Jason returned, fully grown to continue killing those who came to Crystal lake as well as others. What are we missing? how is it all possible? There seem to be two things we can establish for certain. Jason appears to be able to regenerate damaged or dead tissue, including reviving himself after dead, and also, there is a tremendous amount of Psychic energy in and around Crystal lake, which seems to manifest at it’s strongest in relation to Jason Voorhees. Mrs. Voorhees refers to Jason as a very special boy, and due to his appearance, we are to assume she means his is handicapped. While this may be true, I believe she knew at least to some extent that Jason healed quickly, and maybe even had displayed some degree of psychic ability. When Jason drowned in the lake, It seems that a piece of himself was left in the lake, almost like his spirit were haunting the lake. When his Mother commited the first killings, it is likely she had already begun hearing the voice of her child, asking him to kill those responsible for letting him drown. Had Jason actually risen from the Lake by that point? Or had he returned sooner? Either way, for the next 20-some years, Camp Crystal lake remained closed as Jason grew to adulthood in the surrounding woods. His mother likely knew about this and made sure the Camp never opened again so that Jason would remain hidden from the world. In several Documentaries on the franchise, Betsy Palmer (Mrs. Voorhees) describes how she will immerse herself in the roll by creating an off camera back story for each character. She describes that Mrs. Voorhees wore a Male’s class ring because back in those days, for a girl to wear her fellas ring, was considered a sign they were going steady. Pamela became pregnant by her fella, who when told of this decided he couldn’t handle it, and dumped Pamela. She goes on to describe how Pamela would then have been disowned by her family and an outcast in her own community, Pamela would have lost everything by getting pregnant. After moving to Crystal Lake to make a fresh start for her and her son, Jason grew to be her whole world. Her Special little boy. Now imagine your special Boy drowns in a lake, while those who were supposed to be watching him were off getting wasted and fucking… who wouldn’t be of the mind to kill those responsible?

I imagine that Mrs. Voorhees likely spent quite a bit of time at the now closed camp, yearning to feel closer to her sweet Jason, only to learn that he was in fact still alive, scared and confused in the woods. How do you go back to a normal life when you have become a killer to avenge the death of your only son, only to find out that he has risen from the dead? You don’t. You live in seclusion with your son. This is why she worked so hard to keep the camp closed, so she and Jason could be at peace. When Pamela got word that someone was going to open the Camp Proper after all those years, she had to take brutal action. As she carries out the killings she seems to hear the voice of Jason commanding her to kill, but by this time she must have known Jason had survived his death in the lake…

Before I go any further, I feel I should establish that these recaps are purely my own speculation at connecting the dots, so take it for what you will. But since you read my Blog I assume you have some interest in what I have to say…so…on with it!

Throughout the series, Jason never speaks, and although not a specific part of the script, Tom Savini portrayed the young Jason as a “Mongoloid”. Could Jason have had some form of latent psychic ability hidden beneath a mental handicap? I’d say it is quite likely. It could explain his lack of speech, as well as how his labeling as “Special” by his mother. It would also stand to reason that he would have a type of psychic bond to his Mother in place of traditional communication. But when Jason drowned in the lake, a part of Jason seems to have remained behind, haunting Crystal Lake and those in close proximity. This would account for the dream sequences at the end of all three films. In each one, the survivors dreamed they were still being pursued by Jason, or some cases his Mother, despite some having no knowledge of them. Jason’s Psyche is constantly reaching out and trying to kill. Not just to avenge his Mothers murder, but to take out his anger in a very childishly irrational fashion. He died because his caregivers were off fucking, drinking and getting high…so in his limited mental comprehension EVERYONE who does these things must die.

In the upcoming 3 films, we see more manifestations of Jason’s murderous Psyche and we meet who might just be our Captain Ahab to this story. Oh, and I promise that going forward the examinations won’t be so damn long and boring. I just needed to establish 2 things… Jason regenerates at an alarming rate, and there’s all kinds of psychic bullshit around the lake. Got it? Good. Fuck off now.

My Sleigh Ride To Hell pt:4 (Or, Fuck Chritmas)

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What’s worse than Christmas? It’s not the hangover that follows… Nope, It’s having to re-watch one of the films in your list because no matter what, you just can’t remember the fucking thing, even when sober.

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A pointless remake that nobody asked for manages to cock up nearly everything in the film, while adding more sleaze and retaining none of the charm of the original. This time we have an faceless Santa who gets right to work killing people in the opening moments. He’s set up a bizarre Holiday Electric Chair that uses Christmas lights as both restraints, and as a means of roasting his victim. Inventive, yes, but it feels like a low rent Jigsaw. The first moment that made me scratch my head is when Santa makes his disguise. He chooses to wear one of those plastic masks that is nearly transparent but has expressions painted on. Creepy, right? He then cuts the bottom of the mask off just below the nose, puts it on, then puts the Santa beard on over top. What the fuck was the point of removing the bottom if he was just going to cover it up anyway? Fuck sakes… *pulls out flask and takes a long pull*

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The killer stalks around a sleepy little town that has fallen on hard times, and somehow the Santa knows what everyone has done wrong…it’s never explained how he knew how much of a snotty cunt that little girl was, or that Porn was being filmed in that Hotel room, but somehow he just knows! He sees you when your sleeping…he knows when you’re awa…aw fuck it! The film clearly tries very hard to be engageing to the modern audience by ramping up the violence and brutality from the previous film, but overall the film lacks depth. Aside from the scene where Santa stuffs a nearly naked porn actress into a wood chipper, the film is almost unwatchable. Only Malcolm McDowell can save it!

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Yes, good ole Alex 6Double5321, is the Towns Sheriff! While inept as all small town Sheriffs are in horror movies, he feels compelled to deliver bizarre one-liners that aren’t particularly memorable, nor do they make sense. It’s impossible for me to hate anything this guy does. The other hidden gem is when one of the Deputies references one of my favorite moments in cinema history. As he takes out the trash from the Sheriffs office, he grumbles “What is this? Garbage Day?” A few other references to the original are slipped in, but it’s just not the same. It’s like hearing some one sing a Meatloaf song for karaoke, The original may be cheesy and fun, but when anyone else tries to do the same thing, it’s just lame.  Overall, this movie is pretty bad, even by my standards, and just doesn’t need to exist.

Well, it’s only fitting that I finish this lil series off by delving into a true classic of the genre: Black Christmas (the good one)

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Released in 1974, Black Christmas predated the slasher boom of the 80s and along with John Carpenters Halloween, served as a template for the genre. The plot is simplistic enough, depicting a sorority house full of girls who receive obscene and harassing phone calls from a maniac who unbeknownst to them, is hiding out in their attic and stalks them in secret. The film is partially based on popular Urban Legends of the time, most notably “The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs”, and contains the now famous cliche “The calls are coming from inside the house!”

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What i find most interesting about this film is that despite a very simplistic plot, it still brings a seriousness to its delivery that would often be lacking from later day slashers. We have pregnancy conflict, Red Herrings, Characters developed quickly and effectively, and a lack of real gore, leaving the real terror to our imagination. The ending also is possibly the most frightening of all, almost to say that “You are never really safe, the Monster will always come for you”.

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Even though the season is well and truly over, don’t let that stop you from watching this gem. Sure, it’s very dated, but Black Christmas really does stand as a true classic of the Slasher genre, and has helped set the tone for hundreds of films that followed. One of the films that was heavily influenced by Black Christmas, was Friday the 13th…keep your eyes on this page as very soon you’ll see my film by film breakdown of the Friday the 13th Franchise!

My Sleigh Ride To Hell pt. 3 (Or: Sifting through the drunken writings of a Drug Fiend)

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Well, apparently i overdid it a bit. In my quest to review Christmas horror films while drunk, I thought i had gotten so drunk that i forgot about the project all together, but after a few days of sobriety, i have determined that i DID watch the rest of the films on my list, and had written some semblance of a review. I say semblance, because most of it is nearly illegible as i decided to write them on napkins, my writing is even more fucked than usual, and I’m pretty sure at one point, i was high on laughing gas! More on that later…I’ll try to make this work.

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SNDN opens with Billy, his infant brother, and his parents are on a Christmas Eve roadtrip to visit his catatonic Grandfather. While the parents step into a private room to speak with one of the Doctors, Ol’ Gramps turns his head and cryptically warms Billy that “Christmas Eve is the scariest Night of the year” and that Santa comes to punish anyone who hasn’t been good ALL YEAR. Holy fuck dude! Grampa is an asshole! Is he referring to the ancient Germanic legend of the Krampus? Are these the ramblings of a demented old man? Is this temporary break from Catatonia just a figment of Billy’s imagination fueled by the irrational fear of Santa Claus that many children have? Or is Grampa just a giant prick who is faking it all and likes scaring little kids? Who can say? All we know is that the family leaves for the long drive home with Billy scared shitless about Santa. Even going so far as to be upset that his Mommy said a bad word, fearing Santa will punish her too! Poor lil scamp…could it get any worse? Yes it could. and it does. Seems that close by, some lowlife in a Santa suit holds up a convenience store and shoots the clerk. After his car breaks down, Billy’s family happens to stop and offer Santa a ride, despite Billy’s loud protests. Naturally Santa tries to jack the car, but then settles for brutally murdering the parents in front of Billy who flees the crash. Fast forward a few years, and Billy and his lil bro are living in an Orphanage run by sadistic nuns. Well, not really…just one Mother Superior who has a hard-on for Dicipline and believes that punishment is absolute, and neccesary. couple this with the lingering Yule trauma Billy manifests every year, and we pretty much know he’s either going to be heavily into BDSM or become a mass murderer.

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Aw fuck, he became a murderer! The BDSM thing would have also made an interesting film.  After being talked into portraying Santa at the toystore he works at, Billy starts unravelling until he finally snapps and stalks around town punishing those he feels have been naughty. We know this is his motivation because he keeps yelling out “PUNISH” and “NAUGHTY”…y’know, just in case the complex plot turns had us confused.  As silly as some aspects are, this film has a lot more depth than your average slasher, not only in the back story of the killer, but in how we can empathize with him and what he is doing. Also of note is that there was a Parent Group who decided to take heat with the film after seeing the trailer and deciding that the idea of a Killer Santa was too traumatic for their children and as such that NOBODY’s children should watch it. They fought to have the film pulled from theaters, but were unsuccesful.  Siskel and Ebbert hated it, but fuck those uptight cunts!

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and of course, Linnea Quigley showed up just to get naked and die horribly. I fucking miss the 80s!

Moving right along to…

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Now,  my notes get a little sloppy here, because apparently i got even sloppier. All there is is a bunch of scribbles then i wrote across the whole page: “GAAAAAARBAGE DAAAAY”. Sounds about right…also about this time i had discovered my parents had one of those pro level whipped cream dispensers that takes cartridges of Nitrous Oxide. So naturally I helped myself to a few canisters. If you’ve ever huffed nitrous oxide, it tends to make you feel fuzzy and floaty, but if you do enough of it, you’ll pass out…but not before behaving like an excited retard and yelling out “ANG-ANG-ANG-ANG-AAAAAANG!!!”

If you’ve ever seen SNDN pt 2, you’ll know they make liberal use of footage from the first film. I mean they take literally every bit of important footage and re-use it. The story follows Billys little brother Rickyas he recounts the events of the first film as if he was there for them, when he clearly wasn’t. All this is to set up the fact that lil Ricky is now CRAY-ZEEEH! He goes on a murderous Rampage complete with awkward dialogue and a horrible villain laugh.

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Infact, just watch this clip…it illustrates the only merit the film has at all: http://youtu.be/O5CtOCZxrpc

When Ricky turns his murderous rage towards the punishment happy Mother Superior from the first film, We find that for some reason she has some new horrible facial disfigurement…I guess that’s ONE way to try and hide the fact that Lilyan Chauvin couldn’t be secured to reprise the role…

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Now here’s the really weird part…As bad as this sequel is…it was followed by 3 more! Part 3: You Better Watch Out, Part 4: Initiation, and Part 5: The ToyMaker. I haven’t seen any of these yet, but i feel a terrible compulsion to seek them out…and i’ll probly watch them while fucked up as well. It’s a thing now.

 

I have 4 more films left in the series, and i debated putting everything in 1 big post…but I’m way lazier than that. So stay tuned…or logged…or whatever…

 

NEW POSTS COMING SOON!