"I'll just get my gear."

Posts Tagged ‘slashers’

Trick

Thursday, October 28th, 2021

I figured I should see another Halloween-set film this season, and I knew this one was from director Patrick Lussier (DRACULA 2000) and writer Todd Farmer (JASON X), the team that brought us MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D and DRIVE ANGRY 3D, so I’d been wanting to see it even though it was filmed in a pathetic 2 (two) dimensions.

TRICK is a mystery slasher set not just on Halloween, but on multiple Halloweens from 2015-2019. It begins at a high school party during a game of spin the bottle. Well, spin the knife. The camera focuses on the reactions of Cheryl (Kristina Reyes, Blindspot), who seems uncomfortable with a guy in a pumpkin mask (Thom Niemann, The Deuce) who is not speaking or responding to anyone. When it’s his turn she calls him “Trick,” which does turn out to be his name. He spins and it ends up on a boy and he tries to re-spin but they tease him and tell him he has to kiss the boy. As he leans in to do it, suddenly he grabs the knife and stabs the guy.

(Though this inciting incident implies some sort of homophobia-related motive, that does not turn out to be a theme of the film.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Macabre (Rumah Dara)

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

MACABRE (RUMAH DARA) is a 2009 Indonesian cannibal movie. It’s the first feature directed by “The Mo Brothers,” a.k.a. Kimo Stamboel (THE QUEEN OF BLACK MAGIC) and Timo Tjahjanto (THE NIGHT COMES FOR US). It starts out confident and unassuming and by the end has accumulated a DIE HARD level of injury and a nearly EVIL DEAD amount of blood.

In the grand horror tradition, a group of young people get stranded somewhere bad and have to escape. It goes down when Adjie (Ario Bayu, GUNDALA) and his pregnant wife Astrid (Sigi Wimala, SATRIA DEWA: GATOTKACA) take a road trip with their doofus friends. Jimmy (Daniel Mananta, A MAN CALLED AHOK) is pretty straight-laced, but Eko (Dendy Subangil, SANG DEWI) is the horny loud mouth who embarrasses them and makes them uncomfortable, and Alam is kind of the crazy one. That’s established when he threatens some guys at a bar for sexually harassing their waitress, Adjie’s sister Ladya (Julie Estelle, “Hammer Girl” from THE RAID 2!). It seems like a very successful stare down until he turns around and gets a bottle smashed over his head. So for the whole movie he’s wearing a large bandage on his head that’s completely unrelated to the horror movie stuff that happens. (read the rest of this shit…)

There’s Someone Inside Your House

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE (2021) is a horror movie that played Fantastic Fest this year and then came to Netflix. It’s a solid teen whodunit slasher very much in the post-SCREAM vein, but with some 2021 themes and concerns. I like that because it shows that this is a worthwhile format even when it’s not a remake, a sequel or a retro-styled throwback.

The title doesn’t describe the premise (unless in some poetic way that I’m not picking up on), but it does apply to a few of the suspense sequences, including the first one. It’s a SCREAM-like cold open but with a macho football player named Jackson (Markian Tarasiuk, CHRISTMAS JARS), talking to his friend on the phone and noticing odd things that make him think someone else is in the house. At first it’s things subtle enough to dismiss (what is this doing on the table?), but they escalate until he finds a trail of photos of himself punching someone bloody in a possibly homophobic bullying incident. Then he comes face to face with his killer – who is wearing a mask of his face. Yes, the killer wears 3D-printed masks of his victims, a technology invented by Darkman, but given new meaning here as the killer seems to want people to face their ugly selves. A very cool masked slasher gimmick because it has meaning, hasn’t really been done before, and looks creepy as fuck. Wouldn’t that freak you out even more than seeing Ghostface? As soon as you see it you know that you are the target and that some serious prep time has already gone into it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Halloween Kills

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

HALLOWEEN KILLS is the controversial new film from director David Gordon Green (YOUR HIGHNESS). It is a sequel to his 2018 film HALLOWEEN, which was a sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 film HALLOWEEN, but not any of the other nine HALLOWEEN movies. It’s in the unusual (unprecedented?) situation of being a slasher movie that’s the middle chapter in an already planned and greenlit trilogy – I see it as part 2 of Green’s HALLOWEEN II series.

When I went to the first show on Friday I had already seen enough comments online to sense that many or most people disliked, strongly disliked, or flat out despised HALLOWEEN KILLS, in many cases sounding like they were prepared to live for decades as recluses building traps and practicing firearms on mannequins to prepare for when it comes for them again. I clearly don’t have my finger on the pulse of what other horror fans are looking for these days, because I’m positive had I seen it before hearing anything about it I would’ve figured it would go over well. As a guy who enjoys all but one of the HALLOWEEN movies on some level and will keep watching them over and over forever, I feel like it’s plain as day that KILLS has more on its mind than most of them, looks way better than most of them, and finds an approach that’s very different from what we expect or are used to, feeling fresh and new despite being more reverent of the first film than any previous sequel. It’s the kind of thing where if I didn’t like it so much I would have to at least respect it. But many people obviously don’t see it that way. (read the rest of this shit…)

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…)

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

“Jason belongs in Hell. And I’m gonna see he gets there.”


JASON LIVES: FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI opens with some lightning, a full moon and fog rolling across Crystal Lake. And as Tommy Jarvis drives by with his institution buddy Hawes (Ron Palillo, SNAKE EATER) they scare away a dog who was in the street munching on some roadkill that I’m pretty sure used to be a rabbit. And you know my theory on that. Rabbits protect us from Jason. With rabbits being treated like this of course Jason is gonna fucking live.

(Note: Hawes is clutching Jason’s mask in his lap, for no reason I can ascertain other than the narrative requiring it to be returned to its original owner. Er, I mean, to its second owner, the one after Shelly but before Tommy. But remember, at the end of A NEW BEGINNING Tommy put the mask on and seemed to have  snapped. So I’m glad that he has, for whatever reason, forfeited custody of the thing. As crazed as he is now, he seems to be in a better place.)

This time Tommy has been recast with Thom Mathews (Freddy from RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD), who frankly is much more appealing than the last version (sorry, John Shepherd – not necessarily your fault). This time he’s convinced if he digs up Jason’s grave and destroys the body he’ll stop having hallucinations about him. Hawes goes along for support even though he says he doesn’t “get the therapy here.”

The grave is a professionally made tombstone this time (here’s someone who researched how much that would’ve cost whoever sprung for it), which I think confirms my suspicion that the Corey Feldman scene from A NEW BEGINNING was a completely fictional dream and not a memory of something Tommy really witnessed. This time he finds the body thoroughly rotted, more worms and webs than man. He hears his young Corey Feldman voice killing Jason as he watches them wriggle around. (read the rest of this shit…)

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

“This is a small town, and small towns are supposed to be safe!”


FRIDAY THE 13TH PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER made almost as much as its predecessor so – Ah, hell, who are we fooling? Let’s make another one so immediately that it can be released in less than a year!

To restart the series they went to director Danny Steinmann, whose horror experience was THE UNSEEN (1980), and who’d just done SAVAGE STREETS starring Linda Blair. Steinmann gets a writing credit alongside part III co-writer Martin Kitrosser – because they used his early attempt at the part III script that would’ve been about Part II’s Ginny in a mental institution – and newcomer David Cohen, who rewrote that script (and would go on to write and direct HOLLYWOOD ZAP [1986], about “two friends, one searching for his father, the other searching for the ultimate sexual video game competition.”)

FRIDAY THE 13TH: A NEW BEGINNING cold opens with the type of storm the original FRIDAY THE 13TH had to build to. Part IV’s pre-teen Jason-killer Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) is visiting a cemetery (not the same “old cemetery” from the last installment) where there’s a makeshift grave for Jason (who buried him?). Tommy watches as two idiotic, cackling fuckos dig up Jason’s worm-covered, still-masked corpse just for laughs. And then, for some reason (or none at all – you know how these resurrections go) Jason sits up and kills them. (read the rest of this shit…)