Posts Tagged ‘slashers’

Hell High

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

tn_hellhighslashersearch'11Released in ’89, but filmed in ’86 by one-time director Douglas Grossman and writer Leo Evans, neither of them horror fans, HELL HIGH is a befuddling story about a group of kids harassing and sexually assaulting their biology teacher because she told them to be quiet and take their test. But what they didn’t bargain for is that she’s a traumatized nutcase and the source of “the Legend of the Swamp” they keep talking about.

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Savage Weekend

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

tn_savageweekendslashersearch'11Well, it’s October again so it’s time to start up my annual tradition of Slasher Search, where I spend the month trying to find a good ’70s or ’80s slasher movie that I never saw before. Every year it gets harder because the pool keeps getting smaller and sadder. It’ll be almost impossible to match last year’s winner, the legitimately great Canadian hospital-set slasher VISITING HOURS, but hopefully I’ll at least get some laughs.

I take recommendations and everything but my favorite part is digging up these random ones that are so obscure I can only find them on VHS. I mean I haven’t had much success with this method, but I enjoy the hunt, you know? The idea that eventually I could find the holy grail, the lost ark, the crystal skull or the tasty monkey brains. Or at least the stone or the jewel of the Nile or something.
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Scream 4

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

tn_scream4The SCREAM movies had their day in the sun. They arrived at the end of 1996, during what seemed like a horror drought. “Horror” was so out of sorts that the characters just call it “scary movies.” The actors, while promoting it on talk shows, called it a “thriller.”

We all remember that, but I thought it would be interesting to look up the specifics. According to my research there were only six other scary movie thrillers released theatrically that year: CANDYMAN: FAREWELL TO THE FLESH, THE DENTIST, THE FRIGHTENERS, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE* and THINNER. DTV releases included TREMORS 2: AFTERSHOCKS, CARNOSAUR 3: PRIMAL SPECIES and CHILDREN OF THE CORN IV: THE GATHERING.
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My Soul To Take

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

tn_mysoultotakeI don’t know if “good” is an adjective I would apply to Wes Craven’s little-seen latest horror movie (his first writing/directing joint since NEW NIGHTMARE). Other than the synonyms for “strange” there aren’t many adjectives that really do the job here. So it’s hard to explain what this movie is like, exactly, but I’ll try.

MY SOUL TO TAKE looks like a pretty typical glossy teen horror movie, with characters that could be in FREDDY VS. JASON or a FINAL DESTINATION, plus your standard Marco Beltrami score infused with an occasional rock song. Although it’s not a remake, a sequel, a prequel or a prequmake it does fit your modern mainstream horror mold by being released in last-minute-post-production-3D (LMPP3).

Yeah, it looks normal from a distance, but when you get up close it’s clear that something’s off here. (read the rest of this shit…)

Hatchet II

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

tn_hatchetiiHATCHET II is at least more fun than HATCHET I. Both are maybe too tongue-in-cheek, but at least they’re kind of slasher throwbacks, nothing meta-y or postmodernish or self-reflexable about them, and I appreciate that. They got Kane Hodder from FRIDAY THE 13TH parts whatever playing Victor Crowley, a Madman Marz-type ghost-of-a-murdered-deformed-guy chopping up trespassers in a Louisiana swamp. (read the rest of this shit…)

Cold Prey 2 (Fritt Vilt II)

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

tn_coldprey2COLD PREY 2 picks up right after part 1 at a nearby hospital that’s in the process of being shut down. If more of the crazy mountain man’s victims had gotten away with injuries instead of getting tossed into the crevasse then I’m sure business would’ve been booming. But no, he’s too god at what he does, leaving these poor doctors and nurses without much to do except sit around using the internet to look up how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.
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Cold Prey (Fritt Vilt)

Monday, November 8th, 2010

tn_coldpreyhalloweenleftoversThe last couple Octobers I was on the hunt for undiscovered slasher gems. I would go through the video store where they keep all the slasher type business, looking for ones I never noticed or never bothered to pay attention to, especially VHS since if it’s not on DVD yet it’s gonna be pretty obscure. This led to some really shitty ones and a few minor discoveries. Last year I also learned to look in the murder mysteries, it turned out there were a few good ones like EYES OF A STRANGER that cross over into that territory.

This year I hit gold right at the start (yeah, I know – ’cause you guys drew me a map). After that there was no pressure so I got some non-slasher ones and dipped into some of the horror sections I usually don’t look at. But while browsing the Euro-Horror I spotted this 2006 Norwegian slasher movie. It drew my attention by being next to its part 2, so that seemed like the type of shit I might like. You know how I am, I’m a sucker for the legitimizing power of the series.

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Madman

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

tn_madmanThe year after FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 and THE BURNING and the year before SLEEPAWAY CAMP there was another summer-camp-slasher movie called MADMAN. It takes place on the last night at a camp for gifted children when a campfire story seems to summon an undead killer who proceeds to butcher the counselors one by one.

The head of the camp tells the killer’s legend as a ghost story to scare the kids. His name is Madman Marz, he was a wife-beating alcoholic farmer who went nuts, murdered his wife and daughter, got hung for it but his body disappeared. On the other hand it’s mentioned that he once got part of his nose bitten off in a bar fight and he didn’t even notice. So that part of the story makes him sound pretty cool. We’re all human, we have our good traits and our bad traits. Leatherface, for example, is very good at sewing.
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Visiting Hours

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

tn_visitinghoursslashersearchwinnerVISITING HOURS is up there with the best slasher movies I’ve seen. You think you’ve pretty much exhausted them and then you find out a gem like this that was sitting there all throughout the 1980s, its distinctive VHS box staring at you from the optical illusion eye sockets of its hospital room windows lit in skull formation. I knew that image like I knew my own hands but it never once occurred to me to ask “What is this movie? Should I watch it?” Not until you guys recommended it to me for the hundredth time. So thanks for that.

Some might consider this more suspense thriller than horror. It’s different from a HALLOWEEN or a FRIDAY THE 13TH because there’s nothing supernatural, there’s no mask, we know alot about the killer and he’s not a monster or a legend. He’s just a crazy weirdo who’s slipped through the cracks so far. But I consider it a slasher movie because it has a whole lot of the classic tropes: woman-hating maniac with sexual hangups on a knife rampage, suspenseful stalking sequences, upsetting murders, strong female victims-turned heroes. Carol J. Clover must not’ve known about this one either or she would’ve been all over it in Men, Women, and Chain Saws. (read the rest of this shit…)

Sorority Row

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

tn_sororityrowBruceSometimes when we talk about all these horror remakes it seems kind of senseless, you can’t even tell what they’re thinking when they pick which movies to remake. But the reasoning behind this one is clear: HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW is one of our culture’s most recognized and beloved stories ever. The name recognition alone is invaluable, even if you change the name, like they did here. But the idea of a killer going after sorority girls to avenge a prank gone wrong, you can’t just make something like that up. You gotta remake it up. You buy the rights to it, then you change what the prank is and who is accidentally killed and who gets revenge and how they do it and why, and you change the title and most of the characters and events.

I trust I’ve made my case. This young generation was hungry for a movie that is not named after but is slightly similar to a whole bunch of movies they never heard of including HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW. These producers and filmatists could feel that hunger, they could hear the growling stomach of the zeitgeist, and they delivered it this pizza. And we, as a culture, used a coupon and didn’t tip. (read the rest of this shit…)