Posts Tagged ‘slashers’

Stage Fright (2014)

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

tn_stagefrightI honestly thought this new-to-disc movie STAGE FRIGHT was gonna be a loose remake of the Italian STAGE FRIGHT directed by Michel Soavi, but after seeing it I don’t think they’re suppoosed to be connected. It’s just the logical title for a stage-performance-themed masked killer whodunit (or whoslashedit I guess). This one’s got completely different characters and backstory, it’s set at a camp for kids learning musical theater, and instead of a silent killer in a creepy as hell owl mask it’s a guy who sings rock songs in a kabuki mask that looks like that puppet from SAW.

See, that’s the thing about this, it’s a musical. And by “thing” I mean both “unique part” and “problem for me.” You know I don’t have a completely closed mind, I have appreciated a musical now and again. I loved the critically trashed THE MISERABLES, for godsake, I thought it was amazing. And you know how I feel about MARY POPPINS. But by my way of thinking “slasher movie with musical numbers” is kinda like BRICK‘s “hardboiled detective story, but in a high school.” I can admire the cleverness of how it’s put together, but that extra element is a drawback to me, not a bonus. I’d be more excited for the regular thing. I guess I still see room for great straightahead slasher movies in the world. The slots haven’t been filled yet, no need to start getting all fancy. (read the rest of this shit…)

Shallow Grave (1987)

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

tn_shallowgraveslashersearch13SHALLOW GRAVE – not the Danny Boyle one – is another mysteriously odd ’80s slasher movie to add to the list. This is about four Catholic school girls headed to Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break who get a flat tire in South Carolina and get stalked by a psychotic sheriff (Tony March) after they witness him murdering his mistress. Basically it all comes down to this girl Sue Ellen (Lisa Stahl)’s “weak kidneys.” If she didn’t have to piss they just woulda had ordinary car troubles to deal with and maybe would’ve missed out on the beach parties.

To me the strangest part of the movie is the opening. You have a long pan around a house, spying on these college girls through the windows. On one hand it’s a well-executed John Carpenter type shot like I love. On the other hand a horror movie that has a bunch of girls hanging around in their underwear for no reason generally does not have respect for its characters or viewers. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Prey (1984)

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

tn_thepreyslashersearch13Jackie Coogan is an iconic child star from the silent film era. He made his film debut at the age of 3 in the 1917 film SKINNER’S BABY. He played the baby. More famously he played the title character in the 1921 Charlie Chaplin movie THE KID.

His last movie to come out was 63 years later, and it was THE PREY. (If IMDb trivia is to believed, though, it was filmed in ’78, so it wasn’t the last thing he shot.)

I gotta admit, I kinda fell behind on Slasher Search here. I got into rewatching various horror classics, and I feel good about that. But I realized it was almost Halloween and I had done very few obscure slasher movies, so I got desperate. I rented 5 still-only-on-VHS movies that I knew little or nothing about, and by the time I got to watching them I didn’t even remember what most of them were. This was just on the top of the pile. (read the rest of this shit…)

Girls Nite Out

Monday, October 28th, 2013

tn_girlsniteouteslashersearch13GIRLS NITE OUT would’ve been a decent title for KILLER PARTY. I’m not completely sure how it applies to this one. It’s another college movie, and it focuses at least as much on male basketball players angry about their girlfriends leaving them as it does on the group of sweater-wearing girls whose idea of a nite out is to follow along with a scavenger hunt contest put on by the campus radio station for part of the movie until it gets cancelled due to murders.

This is a lower-mid-level Slasher Search find. On one hand, it’s definitely not good, and doesn’t even have any heads chopped off or eyeballs poked out or anything. On the other hand it’s watchable. It has credible enough acting and production values, including some pretty good scoring at times (possibly from library music) and a couple decent oldies on the soundtrack because of the radio station. And of course there’s a little bit of the weird shit, which is absolutely required to get through one of these. (read the rest of this shit…)

Sorority House Massacre II

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

tn_sororityhousemassacre2slashersearch13I didn’t like SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE, but man, SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE II is not SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE caliber. This one is a Jim Wynorski joint, so I guess it’s not really meant to necessarily be a real movie. This is one of the five movies he did between 1989’s RETURN OF SWAMP THING and 1992’s 976-EVIL II. Another one was SCREAM QUEEN HOT TUB PARTY under the pseudonym Arch Stanton. He has his thing he does. He churns them out and has fun and they usually have a little likable goofy humor in them, and then there is the rest of the movie.

In this one, five interchangeable college babes have to spend the night in an old house they have just purchased for their sorority house. The power and phones are not hooked up, there’s no furniture and also the reason they could afford the place is because a bunch of people were murdered there 5 years ago. But they have to stay in this scary place to meet the movers in the morning. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bloody Birthday

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

tn_bloodybirthdayslashersearch13Here’s a crazy movie. It’s pretty unique but it has many of the standard elements of a slasher movie. It takes place in the world of young people, with adults not really catching on to what’s happening. At the beginning a teen couple are making out in a cemetery and get murdered. At another point a couple we’ve never seen before are having sex in a parked van and get murdered. There is a Final Girl (and Final Little Brother) and like in HALLOWEEN she’s a buttoned up, responsible babysitter with a wilder best friend whose dad is the sheriff.

But there’s not some unseen slasher, or masked maniac, or supernatural force. There’s just three little ten year old kids who are total assholes and love to murder people. They are not quiet, creepy killers like VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, CHILDREN OF THE CORN or young Michael Myers. They’re seemingly normal kids. The only explanation given is that they were born on the same day, during an eclipse. The Final Girl Joyce (Lori Lethin from RETURN TO HORROR HIGH) studies astrology throughout the movie, so you assume it has something to do with that. They were just destined to go on a murder spree. And to rack up pretty impressive numbers.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Sorority House Massacre

Monday, October 14th, 2013

tn_shmslashersearch13Here’s a much dryer and less fun sorority-pledge-in-house-where-somebody-died-a-long-time-ago movie than KILLER PARTY. Actually, I’m not sure Beth (Angela O’Neill, ALIEN NATION) is technically a pledge. She’s a family friend of the house mother or something? Her aunt who raised her died recently, she’s staying with this lady who’s going out of town and leaving her with the sisters, who are very welcoming and keep saying she’ll like it and want to stay. Like they’re trying to sell her on their sorority instead of scare her away like in other movies.

In the KILLER PARTY review I talked about the fraternity/sorority movies, but this one is different. It might be trying for a more positive portrayal of sororities, but my guess is the rookie filmatists just didn’t put much thought into the story, or just wanted to have “sorority” in the title, because there’s no reason why these girls can’t just be friends or roommates. There is no hazing, no competition, no parties other than an upcoming “Pow Wow” with teepee that never happens, little drinking, less sex than HALLOWEEN. They’re not jerks, they look after each other, or at least after their guest. (read the rest of this shit…)

Killer Party

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

tn_killerpartyslashersearch13American movies of the ’80s were so fascinated with fraternities and sororities. Was that just an offshoot of the popularity of ANIMAL HOUSE? They saw that and realized the Greek system was a good way for a movie to have a bunch of young people drinking beer and having sex?

Maybe that’s all they wanted, but this world also has alot of built-in conflict in the rivalries between fraternities, or (as in this case) the new people going through hazing to try to get accepted. It’s a pretty good microcosm of the way alot of us remember the age of yuppies and Ronald Reagan: you got these good looking assholes in charge, coming from rich families, re-enacting weird fetishistic rituals of cruelty while excluding people different from themselves from their superficial, hedonistic lifestyle. Usually we’re supposed to identify with an underdog or outsider who’s trying to be accepted into this world, not opposing it. Here it’s two good looking girls (Joanna Johnson and Elaine Wilkes as Jennifer and Phoebe) and their quirky bespectacled friend Vivia (Sherry Willis-Burch, whose only other movie was FINAL EXAM) who the sorority sisters clearly don’t like. So there’s that tension that they might turn against her to get in, or after they get in. (read the rest of this shit…)

You’re Next

Friday, August 30th, 2013

tn_yourenextIn YOU’RE NEXT, a group of adult siblings and their significant others gather at their rich parents’ big ass, miles-from-where-anyone-can-hear-you house to celebrate their anniversary, but get invaded by 3 or more maniac killers wearing plastic animal masks. This is kinda the new subgenre, isn’t it? Faceless killer home invasion movies, like ILS (THEM), THE STRANGERS and THE PURGE. ILS was genuinely pretty scary, THE STRANGERS was for a while, and I didn’t watch THE PURGE but it looks hilarious. YOU’RE NEXT isn’t quite as tense as those other two I saw, but it’s more fun.

All of the web guys have been hyping this one up since it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest two years ago, so I’m not surprised that I’m seeing a little mini-backlash from people I know. But I don’t really blame anybody. It’s easy to see how people at a film festival see a brand new movie, are excited to tell everybody about it, it takes forever to come out, but they really want people to see it so they do everything they can to promote it, and by the time everybody else finally gets to see it it sounds like it’s supposed to be the Second Coming when it’s really just a fun horror movie. Which, in my opinion, is worth telling people about, so I appreciate the tip.

For me this was not a KICK ASS situation where it seems like you must’ve had to be there at that one midnight screening to have any idea how people could enjoy the movie that much. My smaller 7:50 multiplex audience for YOU’RE NEXT was laughing and enjoying themselves too. (read the rest of this shit…)

No One Lives

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

tn_noonelivesWWEstudiosI’m not gonna try to convince you that NO ONE LIVES is a new horror classic or anything, but I enjoyed it. It’s from the prestigious WWE Studios and it has a level of absurdity and audacity that makes it a worthy successor to their first horror production, SEE NO EVIL. The British advertising even uses an Empire quote calling it a “guilty pleasure.” They’re not trying to fool anybody.

This one has an obvious SAW influence, but it’s not a so-called torture porno. It’s kind of a horror-formula moosh-up, combining the super-genius-psycho-with-ridiculous-death-contraptions with more of a traditional slasher movie formula (people in cabin being picked off one-by-one) as well as a little LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (class tensions and abduction courtesy of a family/gang of greaser reprobates).

It’s got one of these prologues that begins mid-terror, a screaming blond named Emma (Adelaide Clemens) chased through some woods, captured by booby traps. Turns out later she’s from a rich family, but judging by these traps the kidnapper is not in it for the money. He just likes hanging girls upside down and stuff. (read the rest of this shit…)