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Posts Tagged ‘Kane Hodder’

Jason X

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

“Guys! It’s okay! He just wanted his machete back!”


JASON X came out almost 20 years ago, and I reviewed it here (well, on Geocities) at the time, which means I too am a frozen relic of the distant past awakened by somebody having sex and destined to be upgraded with a cool metal mask and robot body parts. Or at least I hope so. That would be cool.

I was in a minority at the time who loved the movie (“Definitely my favorite in the series although I also enjoyed the 3-D one,” I wrote). I also correctly predicted that HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION (which apparently had its trailer playing on JASON X) would not be as good.

I gotta say, Jason’s eyes in closeup are prettier than I expected.

It opens with SE7EN-inspired credits over what looks like the Hell from fellow New Line Cinema movie SPAWN (fire and chains and ancient ruins) that transitions into veins and fluids in a bloodshot eye on which is reflected a doctor with a syringe that plunges into the rubbery rotten flesh of Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder, STEEL FRONTIER), before the camera passes into the interior of his brain as the drug enters his bloodstream. I much prefer the title sequences of the earlier films, but this is an elaborate digital age one, and a fun way to set up the premise that Jason has been sedated, strapped and chained in an underground facility. (“Crystal Lake Research”!) We later learn they gave up after electrocution, gas, hanging and other execution methods proved inadequate for ending Jason’s life. (read the rest of this shit…)

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

Monday, October 18th, 2021

“I don’t think so.”

In the early ’90s, FRIDAY-THE-13TH-part-I-only director Sean S. Cunningham found himself stuck again. More than a decade after intentionally not sticking around to make FRIDAY sequels (instead directing movies including THE NEW KIDS and DEEPSTAR SIX and producing HOUSE I-IV) the director-turned-honcho was moving the chess pieces around to set up his dream of a FRIDAY THE 13TH / A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET crossover. But New Line wasn’t ready to play yet, so in the mean time he was gonna have to keep Jason in shape.

A couple of problems: the audience seemed kind of sick of Jason. And Cunningham (who had only really worked with Jason’s mom) had never really liked him anyway. So he hired 23-year-old recent film school graduate Adam Marcus, who did like Jason, but was excited to do a drastically different chapter – easily the least FRIDAY THE 13THy of any FRIDAY THE 13TH movie. Marcus has often claimed that Cunningham asked him to get rid of the hockey mask (an allegation Cunningham denies). Whatever the truth of it, the movie manages to have mask-wearing Jason in the opening and closing, but for most of the movie he body hops between ordinary non-scary-looking people wearing ties and stuff. Instead of working like the other FRIDAY THE 13THs, it’s sort of a re-enactment of THE HIDDEN with considerably less momentum, tension, style, production value, atmosphere, characterization, story, entertainment value or creature FX. But 100% more some parts with Jason. (read the rest of this shit…)

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Friday, October 15th, 2021

“Don’t be a lightweight, this is top dollar toot!”


FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN ends the ‘80s on a sour note. It opens with footage of New York skylines, traffic, billboards (including a BATMAN symbol, so we know exactly what year this is) and street punks (one with a mohawk) laying in empty concrete planters passing around cigarettes. We hear some AM radio guy grunting quasi-poetic nonsense…

“It’s like this: we live in claustrophobia. A land of steel and concrete, trapped by dark waters. There is no escape, nor do we want it. We’ve come to thrive on it, and each other. You can’t get the adrenaline pumpin’ without the terror, good people! I love this town.”

…and the credits continue over a song called “The Darkest Side of the Night” by composer Fred Mollin and Toronto singer Stan Meissner’s band Metropolis, who were asked to make something that sounded like the Robert Plant song they wanted to use but couldn’t afford. I guess in a way that’s a good summary of where we were at culturally. (read the rest of this shit…)

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

“There’s a legend ‘round here. A killer buried, but not dead. A curse on Crystal Lake. A death curse. Jason Voorhees’ curse.”


On paper FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD seems very promising. It has a wild premise: what if instead of just having to contend with a bunch of young people having sex in a cabin, Jason has to contend with a bunch of young people having sex in a cabin and also the next door neighbor who has CARRIE-like telekinetic powers? HUH? THEN WHAT?

And it’s directed by John Carl Buechler (TROLL, CELLAR DWELLER), who’s an FX makeup legend (FROM BEYOND, DOLLS, GARBAGE PAIL KIDS THE MOVIE, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4, HALLOWEEN 4). But it doubles down on all the sins that started in part IV and got worse in V and VI. We’ve returned to part IV’s “two stories about two cabins next door to each other” format, with even more assholes in this sex cabin than ever before. And according to the late Buechler in many interviews before he died, the movie got completely screwed by the MPAA, who by this point saw this series as their arch-nemesis. They were forced to lose most of their gore, throwing off the rhythm of every important beat in the movie. It definitely seems that way – lots of killing, but either the camera doesn’t point at it or it cuts after a couple frames. And tragically the original footage was not preserved in such a way that there can ever be a restoration. Thanks alot, Movie Prude Asswipes of America. (read the rest of this shit…)

Alligator II: The Mutation

Friday, July 16th, 2021

July 5, 1991

ALLIGATOR II: THE MUTATION is a surprisingly decent sequel – especially considering it was made for TV! It didn’t register as that when I was watching it (and there does seem to have been some sort of limited theatrical release), but an article that I found in my Fangoria collection while researching T2 quotes director Jon Hess (THE LAWLESS LAND, WATCHERS) as saying “more or less, it was made for ABC-TV.” Fangoria’s David Szulkin speculates that may be because “despite its nonperformance at the boxoffice, ALLIGATOR placed in the top 20 for network airings of theatrical films the year it first aired, outdoing such broadcast premieres as CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.” But Hess maintained that returning producer Brandon Chase (THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER) was “a really strong independent producer, so ABC wasn’t looking over our shoulder, examining all the dailes. We shot on a very tight schedule with a feature sensibility, but at the same time, we knew we were going to hand the film in to ABC.”

Now that I think about it there’s not as much gore or especially sex as you would normally get in a ‘90s horror sequel, but like SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK earlier in the summer it has enough severed limbs to throw you off the TV movie scent. More importantly it has a real Larry Cohen sort of indie horror feel to the type of actors and characters that show up, giving it a personality that’s at least in the spirit of the original. (read the rest of this shit…)

To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

TO HELL AND BACK: THE KANE HODDER STORY is an above average horror movie doc, partially in filmatistic execution but especially in subject matter. I mean it has its share of generic talking head interviews and convention footage, and a questionable interview choice or two – the brief clips of “hip hop duo Twiztid” praising the man of the hour create a sinking feeling that we horror fans might be on the wrong side of history. And there’s lots of repetition that seems to me like it could’ve been trimmed to strengthen this 104 minute story into a fierce 80. But the movie’s emphasis on the vulnerabilities of a legendary movie slasher, contrasted with his menacing qualities both on and off screen, make for a fascinating story at times.

Hodder is, of course, the guy who portrayed Jason Voorhees in FRIDAY THE 13THs 7, 8, 9 and X. We hear about how being stunt coordinator on Renny Harlin’s PRISON accidentally led to wearing monster makeup (and putting bugs in his mouth) and impressed makeup genius/part 7 director John Carl Buechler enough to get him the role of his life. And they get into what he added to the character, how his suggestions and fearlessness spruced up the movies, what his family thinks about it, how much fans like to be choked by him, how devastating it was to be replaced for FREDDY VS. JASON, even some tidbits about doing stunts on AVENGING FORCE (actually a pivotal moment in his life, you’ll find out, and not because the movie is so cool). (read the rest of this shit…)

Victor Crowley

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

VICTOR CROWLEY is part 4 of the HATCHET series. Despite the title it’s not any kind of a reboot or a prequel or anything. Part I-II director Adam Green made it secretly and surprised fans with it at an event advertised to sound like a tenth anniversary screening of the first one, and it’s very much designed as a fun time for dedicated fans of the series and the people who buy t-shirts of Green’s dog  and stuff.

So the fact that I didn’t love it shouldn’t scare fans off, because it’s not really for me. I really liked part III, a final girl vs. slasher standoff cranked up to 11. This is more in the tradition of parts 1 and 2, with the quirky character business, broadly cartoonish performances and occasional over the top chopping and splattering of bodies, done with a scream and a wink. Also you got your cameos by horror people, though some of them just in cell phone footage this time. (read the rest of this shit…)

Check Point

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

I don’t think any of you would disagree that I’ve been neglectful of DTV action lately. I’ll always try to see the new Scott Adkins and what not but I don’t get down in the dirt like I used to. I mean I’m proud of the other stuff I write about, but I do have some concerns about the state of my mojo. And to be honest I’ve been feeling a little down worrying that too many of my proudest moments are now associated with skeezy people. It’s like, I mention the guy I wrote a book about, the websight I started out at, the place where I did my first public appearance, I gotta distance myself from three different sexual harassment scandals. And as I’m about to post this I just found out about allegations against an iconic hero for most of us around here, and it’s absolutely crushing me.

I’m gonna have to start hiring detectives to do background checks on these people before I start writing books on them. Pretty soon the fictional characters in my novel are gonna turn out to have secrets. I’m gonna have to write strictly about inanimate objects, because people always turn out to be creeps.

I know it’s more important to expose scumbags than to make sure I feel good about my legacy, but it’s kind of a bummer. So while I process all this I’ve decided to put more effort toward seeing probly-gonna-be-shitty-but-hopefully-not DTV/VOD type action movies like I used to, to see if it brings me back to full strength.

So far the results are inconclusive. I started with CHECK POINT, a film from this year, directed by Thomas J. Churchill (LAZARUS: APOCALYPSE). I chose it based on the following signs of b-action legitimacy in the cast: professional wrestler (Bill Goldberg), horror star (Kane Hodder), professional wrestler turned horror star (Tyler Mane), blaxploitation icon (Fred Williamson) and great character actor (William Forsythe). The lead turns out to be Kenny Johnson, who I assumed was also a wrestler because in close-up he looks kinda like present day Mickey Rourke, but in fact he’s an actor who I would’ve recognized if I watched The Shield or Sons of Anarchy. (read the rest of this shit…)

Hatchet III

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

tn_hatchet3Ever since I was a little kid (give or take decades) I’ve always wanted to like the HATCHET movies. They talk a good game about bringing back “old school horror,” they’re throwbacks to the ’80s slashers I’m in love with, they have Kane Hodder as a deformed hillbilly swamp maniac and some funny gore ideas. I also kinda liked writer/director Adam Green’s other movie FROZEN, which of course is sweeping the nation and capturing the hearts of little princesses of all ages who want to see a thriller about people stuck on a ski lift.

On paper HATCHET and HATCHET II are right up my alley, but in practice they took a different street. They’re not comedies, but I found them too self-conscious, too jokey, not atmospheric enough, not structured correctly to be an effective slasher story. I remember the first one as a bunch of actors walking around in a big group on a small, fake-looking swamp set pretending to be lost. I just couldn’t get into it.

So I’m proud to announce that I finally pulled it off. I really liked a HATCHET movie! Part III specifically. Maybe we can credit new director BJ McDonell (promoted from steadicam operator on the first two in the series), but to be fair I-II director Green did write this and was very hands-on as a producer from what I’ve read. Maybe practice makes perfect. After 10,000 hours of making HATCHET movies you get really good at it, like Malcolm McDowell says. (read the rest of this shit…)

House

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

tn_houseThat’s a good feeling when you watch a movie that you don’t remember being all that special back in the ’80s but now it seems like a gem. Last Halloween that happened to me with FROM BEYOND, this year it was HOUSE (1986).

All I remembered was haunted house, George Wendt (and/or John Ratzenberger), something about Vietnam. Maybe kinda funny. All those things are true except for Ratzenberger, who is in part 2. But the star is 10-years-after-CARRIE William Katt as Cobb, a Stephen-King-level-popularity novelist who’s going through some troubles. First we think it’s just that his old Auntie who raised him (Susan French, JAWS 2) hung herself. Then we find out he’s still hurt by his divorce from a soap star (Kay Lenz, DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN). And writing his memoir is dredging up painful memories of Vietnam (“The war?” a fan asks). And he still hasn’t given up on finding his missing son.

Jesus, that’s alot of problems. (read the rest of this shit…)