Posts Tagged ‘slashers’

The House On Sorority Row

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

tn_houseonsororityrowThere’s a new horror movie out this week called SORORITY ROW. This isn’t that, it’s the original, which was called THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW. Or actually HE HOUSE ON SORORITY RO on the (out of print) full frame DVD, because the credits get cut off. (I noticed that when I set my DVD player to zoom out it was less cropped though. So try that if you watch it before the new DVD comes out in November.)

This is the story of six or seven sorority girls staying the week after graduating to have a big party. The house mother is a real bitch though and tries to make them leave. One of them gets mad and pulls a gun on her as part of a “practical joke,” then accidentally shoots at her and knocks her into a dirty swimming pool and kills her. (read the rest of this shit…)

Reader plug: Murder Loves Killers Too

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

tn_mlktThis is not an official review, but I wanted to give some attention to a low budget independent slasher movie called MURDER LOVES KILLERS TOO which just hit DVD and was written and directed by one of my readers, Drew Barnhardt.

Every once in a while somebody sends me their no-budget movie and I’m afraid to watch it because I know they put their blood sweat and tears into it and I don’t want to have to tell them “yeah, sure, I watched it… yeah, good effort, I liked the, uh, some of the lighting was very professional” or whatever. So I had this thing sitting around for months and forgot about it and then for some reason I decided to put it in.

To my surprise MURDER LOVES KILLERS TOO is a very solid (if somewhat home made) slasher movie that’s just to my taste because it follows traditional slasher formulas and gets the mechanics right (tense chases and cat and mouse moments) but has a very weird and darkly humorous but not postmodern twist. There’s some funny shit, some cool DePalmian camerawork and I am told this is the first ever slasher movie with a reference to BARRY LYNDON. There’s not a huge amount of gore and it’s obviously the work of people with no money, but I had a fun time and hope I get to see Drew make a movie with a bit of a budget, because he seems to have the right idea. He told me he had that idea many people have after watching crappy DTV horror movies that he could do something better, but unlike most of us he then went out and did it.

My apologies to other readers whose works I meant to plug and didn’t, but I really want this one to succeed because he told me the idea he has for his next movie and it’s right exactly down the center of my alley.

Friday the 13th (2009)

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

tn_fridaythe13thremakePREAMBLE

(you can skip down 4 paragraphs if you’re sick of me reiterating my stance on horror remakes)

Let me get my biases out of the way for any newcomers. I got a grudge against Michael Bay’s horror-recycling outfit Platinum Dunes and director Marcus Nispel for what they did to TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. I don’t think they understand what made these movies good in the first place. The producers (pictured left) talk a good game about being horror fans, but it doesn’t show. These movies seem like they’re made by cynical used car salesman douchebags who think horror is an easy genre to do and don’t give a shit if their movies are even watchable as long as they have enough sweaty people to show in the trailer and a title that sounds vaguely familiar enough to teenagers that they’ll pay money to see it on the opening weekend. It’s basically a scam, a mathematical equation to make short-term money with a movie most people will never want to see again. If they could do that with just a poster and not even have to make a movie they would do that too. Or if it was that profitable to sell bootleg t-shirts or engraved watches or something. They don’t give a shit.

On the other hand, they have pretty cinematography.

I’m the type of dude that pays to see all kinds of horror movies that I know I shouldn’t. But I got fed up enough with the Platinum Dunes remake spree that even though I wanted to see this one pretty bad I restrained myself and waited for video. I had to stop being one of the marks who keep them in business. They already got NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET on the hit list, ready to re-imagine it with extreme prejudice. I can’t stop the fuckers but at least I can divest my money from their dirty business and keep my soul clean.

I want you to know all that up front, but in all honesty I think I’m more open to a movie like this than alot of people. I like several of the horror remakes that everybody hates (most recently I thought LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remake was pretty good) and I actually think a Jason so-called reboot is not a bad idea. I never had a problem with calling it “FRIDAY THE 13TH” but skipping over part 1 and just doing a new Jason movie, and I got real tired of people whining about that. Nobody wants to see a remake of part 1 and pretend they don’t know who the killer is. No, if they’re gonna start over I prefer they do it this way, start with the bag on his head and move on to the hockey mask. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Friday the 13th Saga

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

SYNOPSIS: Upon the reopening of Camp Crystal Lake – a summer camp with a past so troubled it’s better known as Camp Blood – the new camp counselors (Kevin Bacon, et al) are murdered in increasingly gruesome ways. The killer turns out to be Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), a sweater-wearing fruitcake still upset because her son Jason drowned there years ago and then she had to murder people and then they closed the camp but now it re-opened so she got confused and thought the new counselors were the old counselors so she killed them. So one of the counselors chops her head off. But then a new set of counselors come and it turns out that Jason is actually alive and grown up and he lives in a weird shack in the woods with a shrine to his mother and he’s pissed off because her head got chopped off so he kills people for revenge. So an aspiring child psychologist puts on the dead mother’s sweater and pretends to be her to trick him and then she stabs him, etc. Then all the sudden it’s in 3-D and Jason gets back up and kills some more people. Some more people show up and some bikers and Jason puts on a hockey mask and then they hang him. But then little Corey Feldman is there and some other people and there’s deaths so Corey gives himself a terrible hair cut and tries to freak out Jason and stabs him in the head with a machete and then Jason trips and impales his own head and dies. Then it skips ahead 15 years, Corey Feldman (played by some other dude) is grown up and living in a halfway house with some other maniacs and he’s haunted by Jason, who is alive again. But then it turns out it’s just some asshole pretending to be Jason, so they kill him. But just to be sure, Corey Feldman (now played by yet another guy) digs up Jason’s corpse and he’s gonna burn it but it’s struck by lightning so it comes back to life and kills some more people so they chain that fucker up and throw him back into the lake where he belongs. But then a psychic accidentally uses her powers to bring him back to life and then fight him and then throw him back into the lake where an electrical accident brings him back to life again and he gets on a teen cruise ship where he bores everybody for 90 minutes before going to New York, fighting some silly punk rockers and turning into a little boy. But then he’s an adult in the woods again and gets killed by a SWAT team so a guy eats his heart and then he goes from body to body killing people and a bounty hunter you’ve never heard of before suddenly knows all this magical shit for killing Jason so he turns back into Jason and then some big goofy rubber hands pull him into Hell where he fights Freddy. Then it skips forward hundreds of years (Kubrick style) and Jason is unfrozen in space where he kills people and turns into a cyborg, etc. The end. OR IS IT? (read the rest of this shit…)

My Bloody Valentine 3-D

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

I believe there are different levels of slasher movies. There are the masterpiece ones like HALLOWEEN and TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE – ingenious, masterful works of art that happen to be about weirdos on murder sprees. Below that there are the perennial favorites, not necessarily on the same level but that I like to dig out every few years: FRIDAY THE 13TH sequels, SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, THE PROWLER, BLACK CHRISTMAS, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, THE BURNING, SLEEPAWAY CAMP, that kind of stuff. The best in that category are the ones that really master the mechanics of the form. They have great chase scenes, new and innovative forms of fake violence, spooky atmosphere and imagery. And then they usually have an unexpectedly weird touch or two, a few clever surprises, and maybe some laughs (usually unintentional, which is kind of better because I don’t like alot of clownin around in my horror).

Since almost all of the best are made in the ’70s and ’80s I have to admit that part of the appeal is a certain vibe, a nostalgia for that time period and a reaction to whatever modern form of slickness has developed in horror movies since. So I think for me and even moreso for alot of my horror purist buddies the old ones can get away with a level of crappiness that the new ones can’t. I got buddies who will go on and on about hating the characters in some modern horror movie and not believe me when I try to tell them that almost all of their favorite slasher movies from the ’80s were inhabited by characters who were just as obnoxious, but with different clothes and hair. (read the rest of this shit…)

Scream

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Producers of violent horror movies like to claim their movies are “controversial.” Here’s a more mainstream-acceptable horror movie that actually is controversial among movie fans. It was hugely popular at the time, but it seems to me like most horror fans today look down on it or sent it. Like it or not, SCREAM was an important landmark in the ongoing history of the horror. It singlehandedly resuscitated the rotting corpse of the slasher movie (at least in its whodunit form inspired by FRIDAY THE 13TH, SLEEPAWAY CAMP, PROM NIGHT, TERROR TRAIN, etc.) It made horror big business again, paving the way for an onslaught of low (and medium) budget horror that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. But alot of horror fans see themselves as outsiders, so it bugs them when a horror movie is popular with people who aren’t as into stabbing and monsters as they are. And in my opinion there is a certain amount of sexism there, because they get mad about teenage girls liking the same movies as them. (Don’t tell them that HALLOWEEN is about teenage girls, they might cry.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Sleepaway Camp

Monday, October 27th, 2008

SLEEPAWAY CAMP parts 1-3

There’s no way around it: SLEEPAWAY CAMP is a blatant ripoff of FRIDAY THE 13TH. It borrows the summer camp setting, the child with a tormented past and messed up guardian, and the unseen killer who’s unmasked in a crazy twist ending that nobody could’ve seen coming because it came out of nowhere. Alot of slasher movies take the same formula and put it in a different setting, this one takes the same formula and puts it in the same setting. It’s like DIE HARD in a building.

The reason it’s survived in the popular consciousness, though, is that it has its own weird brand of sleaziness that gives it a feel different from any other slasher movie, including other summer camp slasher movies. For one thing, the kids at the summer camp are played by actual kids. The vast majority of ’80s slasher movies were about teens played by actors in their early to mid twenties. And FRIDAY THE 13TH focussed on the counselors. Adrienne King, who played FRIDAY heroine Alice, was 20. Felissa Rose, the star of SLEEPAWAY CAMP, was 13. It makes it more uncomfortable. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Strangers

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman (Felicity) play a young couple who have come to town for a wedding and are staying at an isolated house Scott’s family owns. It’s a house with a long driveway and a lot of trees around, a place where people can get lost, he mentions. They’ve had a bad night and might be calling it quits with each other and then all the sudden, around 4 am, some girl knocks on the door asking for somebody they never heard of.

Out here? In the middle of nowhere? Where did she come from? Then Scott makes the mistake of going to buy cigarettes. While he’s gone the girl shows up again, and things start getting weirder. Basically this is the story of what happens when 3 people in Halloween masks show up at your house and try to get in, for unknown reasons. (read the rest of this shit…)

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

So here we are. The VERY LAST time we will ever see Freddy Krueger. Dead forever. Never, ever again will he appear in a movie of any kind, because this at last is the end of him. It says it right there in the title, twice. He is dead, and this is the final one. And what a journey it’s been. But thank God we have this precious last 89 minutes to spend with him.

I don’t know if all the New Line Cinema people were wearing funeral clothes when they made this, but behind the scenes it was kind of a family affair. Director Rachel Talalay had been working on the Freddy pictures since part 1, usually as a producer. This was her first time directing – she later did TANK GIRL. She’s also the only woman to ever direct a Freddy movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern Decides To RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP!

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Okay, let’s say it’s the year 2008, you are a horror fan, and the one thing that would really hit the spot for you in the near future would be a low budget FRIDAY THE 13TH (part 1) rip-off with a unique brand of in-your-face FUCK YOU AND YOUR MOTHER New York attitude. But not SLEEPAWAY CAMP, you already saw that one. Well then November 4th is your lucky day, dickwad, because that’s when original SLEEPAWAY CAMP director Robert Hiltzik returns to Sleepaway Camp with his sophomore directorial effort, RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP.

During the cheesy credits sequence (which I thought was a menu animation at first) your mind may slip away to imagine all the modern ways a new SLEEPAWAY CAMP could suck. You can easily picture the bland twentysomething soap opera actors going through the usual DTV horror motions. (read the rest of this shit…)