"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Posts Tagged ‘slashers’

Christmas Blood / Alien Raiders

Wednesday, December 21st, 2022

Whether Christmas is a religious holiday for us, or just a way to celebrate giving, or whatever, we can all agree that it’s mainly about trying to find more movies we haven’t seen that are about a killer Santa or some shit. That’s the true and sole meaning of Christmas, is what it says quite clearly in the Bible, and if you don’t believe me I challenge you to tell me which verses it’s not in. You can’t do it, can you? Case closed. Anyway the point is this year I saw CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS but for those of you who would prefer to have the same title but shorter there’s also CHRISTMAS BLOOD (Juelblod), a Norwegian one from 2017.

IMDb lists it as a horror comedy. It really doesn’t read as one to me, but maybe it’s an exceedingly dry sense of humor – there is certainly some absurdity to it, which is what I liked about it. It’s very openly a Santa Claus version of HALLOWEEN. It opens in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, 2011, when a little girl and her parents get killed by a guy dressed as Santa. The police show up in time to shoot the Santa, and Detective Thomas Rasch (Stig Henrik Hoff, THE THING premaquel), who’s been chasing this guy for 13 years, unloads his gun into him while he’s down. (read the rest of this shit…)

Slasher Search: Axe / The 7th Hunt / Slaughtered / Trail of Blood

Friday, November 4th, 2022

I only managed to do one Slasher Search entry in October of ’22, SAVAGE LUST a.k.a. DEADLY MANOR. In that review I mentioned that I didn’t know if there was much of anything left that fit the qualifications I was looking for in a Slasher Search title: a slasher or slasher-esque movie, preferably from the subgenre’s heyday in the ‘80s, that has never had much of a reputation or been rediscovered. Over the years I’ve mostly found these by looking at the dwindling number of titles that are still only available on VHS, but Arrow, Vinegar Syndrome and other great blu-ray labels have diminished that pool even more than I have myself.

I’d like to thank everyone who encouraged me to continue the series in some form, even if it meant changing the type of titles I cover. I’m happy to hear that there are people besides me interested in spelunking through the splatter, so I’m gonna take your advice. Today I’d like to share with you a selection of no-name slashers of the 2000s I tried out.

I’ll start with the one I got the most out of: AXE (2006), a.k.a. AXE – KILLER BIKER GANG, a.k.a. GREED. It is not a remake of AXE (1974), a.k.a. LISA, LISA, though I believe both have people being terrorized by fugitives. This one starts out pairing decent atmosphere with the narrative bluntness of a porno: a couple is making out outdoors on a car seat next to their trailer, the radio they’re listening to reports that there’s been a prison break, they joke about it for a minute, and just then the escaped prisoners in question walk right up to them.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Terrifier 2

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

TERRIFIER 2 is a genuine little-slasher-sequel-that-could phenomenon manifesting right here in the excellent horror year of 2022. This is the $250,000, ultra-gory evil clown movie that not only finagled an unrated limited theatrical release, but did so well (and got so much press from reports of puking and fainting at screenings) that they added more showings the week after that, and the week after that, and the week after that. It was the movie that finally nudged TOP GUN: MAVERICK out of the top ten, and Variety says it “shocked the industry” doing so well with “next to zero mainstream marketing.”

It’s now made almost $8 million, which is tiny compared to any blockbuster, but it’s about five times what last year’s best picture winner CODA made. So unless I misunderstand how this works, writer/director Damien Leone better make room for five best picture Oscars on the shelf next to part 1’s trophies for ShockerFest Audience Choice Award and Louisville Fright Night Film Fest “Best ‘Grindhouse’ Film.” And I try to watch all the most classy and acclaimed motion pictures so I set aside my belief that evil clowns are corny to watch TERRIFIER, and I liked it enough to go see TERRIFIER 2 when it came back to Seattle last Friday. (read the rest of this shit…)

Savage Lust a.k.a. Deadly Manor

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022

“Motherfucker, there are coffins in the basement!”


SAVAGE LUST (1989) is a terrible title, and I’m not gonna claim the movie is much better. But as far as a first Slasher Search title of ’22 – and maybe the last if I can’t find anything else that seems to fit the bill – it’s surprisingly watchable. I got through it in one sitting!

This is not an official announcement of an ending to Slasher Search – just a realistic assessment that there aren’t many more of what I’m searching for out there. So I’ll share them with you when I find them, but I hope you won’t be disappointed if they end up being few and far between.

I’ll always be open to recommendations for good slashers and other horror I’ve missed from any era. But the idea of Slasher Search is to discover things too obscure to be recommended to me. But the window for finding vintage slasher movies that I haven’t already seen, and that haven’t already been dug up by somebody else, gets narrower by the week. (read the rest of this shit…)

Halloween Ends

Monday, October 17th, 2022

HALLOWEEN ENDS, the conclusion to David Gordon Green’s HALLOWEEN trilogy, and part 4 in the HALLOWEEN series (timeline 3), is not what I expected. It’s not what anyone expected, or could’ve predicted. The trailers made it seem like they completely ran out of material. Oh yeah, Laurie fights Michael again. She already tried that in 2018 with 40 years of preparation, hidden weapons and a dungeon. She wanted to do it in HALLOWEEN KILLS but a riot started at the hospital, some asshole bumped into her and the staples on her knife wound tore open. But now it’s years later so she’s gonna do it spontaneously in her kitchen, looks like. Seems redundant.

Oh well. I had faith, because I’ve liked these movies, I like this director. And it paid off. That stuff is in the movie, but it works because it’s about so much more.

(You know I have to dig in deep with a new HALLOWEEN movie, so this is a HEAVY SPOILER REVIEW.)

The cold open takes place in Haddonfield on Halloween, 2019. A young man named Corey (Rohan Campbell, SANTA BABY 2: CHRISTMAS MAYBE) is called last minute to babysit for some rich couple. The kid (Jaxon Goldenberg) is a smartass. They watch John Carpenter’s THE THING together – an obvious but too-perfect-to-pass-up nod to watching THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD in Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN. Fears of Michael Myers are discussed. The kid points out that Michael kills babysitters, not kids. But Corey goes to the kitchen, hears a thump, comes back and can’t find the kid. The mansion is huge. A door is open. A knife is missing. The kid is screaming upstairs. (read the rest of this shit…)

Terrifier

Wednesday, October 12th, 2022

There’s this slasher sequel TERRIFIER 2 that just had a limited 4-day theatrical release, with some positive reviews. I didn’t see it, but it made me pay more attention to the existence of the TERRIFIER intellectual property brand. I had previously not paid much attention because I had seen pictures of the ugly clown it stars. I respect and support Killer Klowns from outer space, and IT is pretty cool, and I liked THE LAST CIRCUS if that counts, but in general I think an evil clown is about the corniest, most obvious, off-brand Halloween mask bullshit there is. Especially this type where he has a demonic face and teeth trying hard to do the work that the clown makeup is supposed to do on its own by accident. Wasn’t the idea that clowns are scary in the first place? When you have to turn them into monsters isn’t that admitting you don’t really believe that?

Anyway, this writer/director Damien Leone has made a career out of his “Art the Clown” character, first in a series of shorts that he turned into the anthology ALL HALLOW’S EVE (2013), then the two TERRIFIERs. TERRIFIER (2016) is the shortest at 86 minutes, so I decided to start there. (read the rest of this shit…)

TEXAS CHAINSAW Re-Massacred

Friday, August 12th, 2022

For those of you who missed it when it was a Patreon exclusive in June, here’s my Vern’s Appeals Process revisit to the 2003 remake of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. And if you’re interested in something else to read I just put up a new Patreon exclusive (for now) where I do the same for Stephen Sommers’ DEEP RISING.

INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY

When I positively reviewed this year’s sequel to THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974), coherently titled TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2022), I wasn’t quite prepared for how controversial that would be. Not nearly as controversial as when I loved the 2013 EVIL DEAD remake directed by the producers/writers of this new CHAINSAW (I stand by that), but my appreciation for it really threw some people for a loop. What I came to understand was that people remembered how fiercely protective of Tobe Hooper’s creation I was when I went scorched earth on Marcus Nispel’s remake in my 2003 Ain’t It Cool News review, which I proudly titled “Vern massacres THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.” At least a few people wished I had come at this unpopular sequel with that same kind of righteous fury.

My perspective: of course I didn’t. That was a long time ago, I’ve changed, circumstances have changed, the franchise has changed, this one is more my style than that one was, and even if none of those things were the case, I’d still have different expectations for the — what, fifth? — sequel than the first redo. But I had been thinking about the remake, because I’d been seeing people on Twitter – possibly a generation younger than me, who saw it at a different stage in their life and horror fandom – saying that it was a classic in its own right, and they couldn’t believe there were people who disliked it. I ferociously disagreed with that assessment at the time, but like I said, I’ve changed, things have changed. And It’s been so long. (read the rest of this shit…)

Stepfather 3

Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

On June 3, 1992, historians will tell you, Bill Clinton played saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show. Arsenio made his usual big entrance, and sitting in with his house band The Posse was the former Arkansas governor, then presidential candidate, wearing sunglasses, taking a solo on “Heartbreak Hotel” and later “God Bless the Child.” Whatever you think of his playing (or politics, or whatever), Clinton’s willingness to campaign outside of the accepted outlets and methods may have helped end 12 shitty years of Republican rule.

Have you considered, though, that a more important factor might’ve been STEPFATHER 3, which premiered on HBO the very next day, June 4, 1992? Maybe its trashy mockery of phony Reaganite assholes gave the pendulum that extra push it needed. And by maybe I mean definitely, I bet. Citation needed.

Part 3 is from yet another set of filmmakers – writer/director Guy Magar (a veteran of TV shows like The Powers of Matthew Star, The A-Team and Hardcastle and McCormick) and co-writer Marc B. Ray (Lidsville, New Zoo Revue, SCREAM BLOODY MURDER, Kids Incorporated) – but this time Terry O’Quinn did not return. Accordingly, there is an escalation in tawdriness. It’s supposed to be the same character, but now he’s played a little more broadly by Robert Wightman (AMERICAN GIGOLO), the guy who took over as John-Boy for the last two seasons of The Waltons. That’s a reference I remember people making when I was a kid but honestly I never saw the show to verify my hunch that it’s pretty good stunt casting to have him play this corrupted version of a family sitcom character. (read the rest of this shit…)

Stepfather II

Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

“You will NEVER find a better family man than me, Pumpkin!”


This is a flashback within my current retrospective series. STEPFATHER II: MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY was a theatrical release in November of ’89 that got itself a made-for-cable sequel in ’92. I reviewed the original THE STEPFATHER way back in 2005, but I hadn’t revisited part II since around the time it came out on video, so I thought I should do that before part 3.

THE STEPFATHER is (like POISON IVY) the template for about forty thousand made-for-cable domestic suspense thrillers, but it’s a damn good movie. Terry O’Quinn (SILVER BULLET) is outstandingly creepy as the family values loving psycho who serially creates new identities, marries suburban single mothers, loses his shit when life isn’t perfect, massacres the family and starts over.

This first sequel comes from different filmmakers. It’s actually the first sequel by director Jeff Burr (FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM), who would go on to direct LEATHERFACE: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III, PUPPET MASTER 4 and 5, and PUMPKINHEAD II: BLOOD WINGS. It’s produced by Darin Scott (who later produced TO SLEEP WITH ANGER, FEAR OF A BLACK HAT, MENACE II SOCIETY and TALES FROM THE HOOD) and written by John Auerbach (sound editor on Jim Jarmusch’s STRANGER THAN PARADISE and DOWN BY LAW?). (read the rest of this shit…)

X

Thursday, March 31st, 2022

X is the new horror picture from writer/director Ti West, his first movie since the 2016 western IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE. The fastest way I know to describe it is “what if THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE was BOOGIE NIGHTS?” It takes place in 1979 and it’s about a group of people from Houston who decide to make their first porno movie, and rent a small house on a remote farm to film it. In the process, their strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language is met with strong bloody violence and gore.

That’s from the actual MPAA rating, but it’s misleading. Though X is hardly tame, it doesn’t strike me as particularly extreme either. You gotta say this in hushed tones in these parts, but this is West’s first collaboration with A24, and I would consider him one of the pioneers of the style of 21st century slow burn horror that has become one of that company’s trademarks. I enjoyed his movies THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and THE INNKEEPERS, from 2009 and 2011, before A24 existed. This is in a similar vein, but being a slasher movie it’s a little more generous in its pay off, so I enjoyed it too. (read the rest of this shit…)