Monday, November 25, 2013

Friday The 13th (1980)

This movie is a true slasher classic. What was supposed to be a cash-in on the highly-successful Halloween, became a american hit, spawning at least 12 sequels along the way. It's also one of the few slasher films to highlight the archetypical tropes that have many other slasher films done to death til this day: an attractive young cast, a setting in an anbandoned, isolated area, the old man who knows the truth, the truth behind the killer's motive, etc. And although Halloween was the first slasher and kicked-started the craze, Friday The 13th paved the way for many slasher movies in 1980's. Yes, some were pale comparisons but at least it was a cultrual trend of that decade. Friday The 13th stands high on one of my favorite horror films, along side Halloween and A Nightmare On Elm Street.
Now Let's begin The Story: In 1957, an 11 year old(supposely) drowned in the waters of Camp Crystal Crystal Lake.

The blame is quickly falled upon two careless camp counslers who were making love during the fatal incident. One year later, the same (alleged) two camp counslers were found brutally murdered.

So 21 years, after many attempts of opening and closing down the camp, Steve Christie heir to Camp Crystal Lake decides to re-open the camp, once again, bringing in a new nublie group of teens to fill in as camp counslers. As the night get darker and full moon rises, things get more intense, when an unknown on-looker terrorize the group where they all disappear one by one.

I thought the acting was mostly good. The majority of the cast is pretty likeable and relatable and just to put this out, although Annie is set up to be the main protangist, it could easily be any of the three main girls. You have future housewife Annie, sweet girl-next-door Marcie, motherly-level-headed Brenda, and The shy, creative Alice. And that's what's so effective about it. You never know who lives or dies. You never know who will be the hero or the heroine. This was way before certain horror films define the main characters based on thier stereotypical personality traits( the jock, the cheerleader, the prankster, the nerd, the virgin, etc.). In this the teens are not protrayed as stereotypical. They are seen as realistic people of that era. Just check out the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the First Halloween. They may not be fleshed out in terms of character development but there is a likeable and charming quality about these characters that when you see them die in such horrific ways, it's still shocking.

Clearly the strongest actor is Besty Palmer. She really brought on chilling performance and it was pretty ballsy for the filmmakers to have a female serial killer in american slasher film. I know it's been done before then, but not quite like this. I really felt that Ms. Palmer gave it her all and gave such a malicious approach to the character that actually came off as beliveable. And to only think she took the role to rent a car. Wow. Just wow.
Now what I heard about the behind the scenes casting is pretty suprising. I couldn't believe that filmmakers once considered.....

Sally Field as Alice. Sally Field (although come to think of it, Adrienne King does kind of look like a blond Sally Field). It's quite jarring to have an oscar-winning actress in a low budget slasher film. People might even say 'how she/he would be in such a repulsive movie'. it would often question the actor/actress credibilty into being in such a film. During some time, the career of that actress or actor would've fallen downhill in the middle somehwere. Now back then this wasn't a favorite genre for the critics. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had bad reviews when it came out and even Halloween opened to poor reviews before word of mouth regained it's success, which ultimately happened to Friday the 13th. This is why it is a best bet to cast a group of unknowns. Sure it's okay to shove in a few hollywood vetrans by the tail but it's only because they had their heydey in the spotlight way back when. It's a way for the filmmakers to play it safe....and probably it would cost less money for them anyway. But oh, Here is the casting of Ms. Voorhees, boy it is a hoot! The original actress to play Ms. Voorhees was.....

Estelle Parsons. It's pretty funny considering the fact that she's known for playing Roseanne's Mom but get this, not only would have Roseanne's sister (Laurie Metcalf) killing a bunch of college students in Scream 2, before that, you would have Roseanne's Mom killing a bunch of camp counslers in Friday The 13th. Roseanne's Family would be even more fucked up! lol.

Now let's get to the special effects, which are pure gold in this movie. It shows that Tom Savini is the master here. Behind The Scenes, the make-up were used of simple contractions without making it too fake-looking. Yes, less is more. And it's a shame that these filmmakers are so lazy these days that they would have CGI blood instead of using practical effects. And the killings are quite realistic. They are never shown to be over-the-top or cartoony-looking. It's quite cringe-worthy.
The suspense is top-notch. I know it takes a while for something to happen already, But I think the build-up to those moments work. The movie is also known for it's point-of-view camera shot, which are popular with films like Black Christmas and Halloween. In the golden age of slashers, this particular camera shot works becuase it makes it look like were inside the mind of that killer. Very effective.

The cinematography is beautiful, capturing the peaceful, quiet scenery of Camp Crystal Lake but also the dark and ominus. It definitely blended in well in the climax. But oh let me get to the climax.....

This is pretty much the moment that started it all, including the surprise ending that will set Jason up for the rest of the series....

Now before I end this review, let's place two scenarios in both Friday The 13th and Halloween. In Halloween, it is set in a suburban neighborhood. Yes, I know, It's the scarier movie but in any given situation, Laurie could've been helped and in the end, she was saved by Doctor Loomis anyway. Whereas in Friday The 13th, it is set in the middle of the woods where no one can hear you scream and in the end, Alice saves herself. In real life, Friday The 13th's situation would be the more scarier.
Oh and just to put this out.....Kevin Bacon in a speedo.

So those are my thoughts, it may not be up to anybody's standards, but at least it holds up as a slasher classic til this day.
My Last Word: Yes, Watch it!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Nightmare On Friday The 13th

Now the time has come to review one of my two favorite horror movies, Friday The 13th and A Nightmare On Elm St. I know it's a little late in the game to do these reviews now since Halloween is way past over but i think it's the perfect time considering there about 18 films all together. Now that's a lot of work! I know I've worked on these reviews on my 80's movie reviews but I never really put any much thought or emphasis on them. So, I'm going to stretch out a little history, including copying information from the docoumentaries, such as Never Sleep Again and Crystal Lake Memories, Which I both enjoyed.
I will not. I will repeat NOT re-review the remakes. The Friday The 13th remake was shit and The Nightmare On Elm Street remake was shit. Maybe in the future I might but for right now, no. Just no.
And finally, I would like to inform you all that these special artists work nail to bone on these films and trust me, it's a hell of a lot better than the computerized CGI piece of shit we get these days.
P.S. I am proud to say my birthday was on FRIDAY THE 13TH!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Carrie Saga

Just to let you guys know, I'm not really a big fan of remakes. Especially Horror movie remakes. I know there are some exceptions and some are really that good. But when it comes to hollywood producers tampering classics just to make a few bucks, that's a problem. With the reamkes of Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on elm street and a recent rehashing of Hellraiser that went straight to video of course, I've been swimming in a sea of disappointment.
So since the reamke of Carrie came out last friday, I thought I should put a little insight  on the new and imporved and my shared memories of the original.

First of all the casting is phenomenal. Chole Grace "hitgirl" Morez as the lead role will be awesome, and then you have Julianne Moore. JULIANNE MOORE as Ms. Margret White. This is going to be....KICKASS! I promised myself not to anticipate, like i did with the aeforementioned remakes, but now....I can't wait for a second!
Okay, now let's take a look at my childhood memoires of this 70's classic.

When I first saw Carrie, I really never thought it was a horror movie. I thought it was more of a tragic drama character study and it's pretty good build up of what the movie is known to be. As a kid, I had so much sympathy for the character because I was that shy, awkward kid. Always had my head down, always dreaded going to school.I'm still that shy, awkward kid but a little more advanced.
I really saw Carrie as a tragic character, struggling to like herself and for people to like her. I almost had tears in my eyes when I seen what she was going through. It really digs deep into the dark world of bullying and this movie is one of them.
Some people would say the villian of the movie is of course, the kids who constantly tormented Carrie or the biggest one of all, Bitch On Wheels, Chris Harggasen. But in my opinon, the true villian is Carrie's crazed-christian mother...Margaret White.

When I first saw her on screen, I thought she was a witch. Some kind of black, evil sorceress strolling down the surburban streets to cast a spell on her would-be victim but only that would-be victim was Carrie White. It takes a lot for  an abusive parent to make a kid snap and unforenately, what it took was that one line of dialouge: they're all gonna laugh at you.

Now that prom night scene really freaked me out back then. Carrie, standing  there in her blood-soaked prom dress, looking out while people are dying in a blaze of fire is one of the most iconic horror images til this day. But the scene that really got me was the dream sequence.

That one-two punch of an ending really tramuatized me as a kid and inspired such shock endings like Friday The 13th(which also scared me as a kid).

After that, there was a sequel called The Rage: Carrie 2, released 23 years later. In my opinon, I think it's a pretty decent movie, it's not perfect but it's at least watchable. I think the reason why everybody hates it because it's called Carrie 2. Originally, it was supposed to be a stand alone movie, but some smuck saw the similarites to Carrie and decided to make it into a sequel, even though it looked like the original film didn't even leave an interpatation for a sequel. It was also a cash-in for a more supernatural take on teen horror films instead your usual scream copy-cat. Big Mistake.

Then there was the T.V. Remake, which I liked at first but later realized how cheesy it was. Not only with the crappy special effects, bad acting, or lack of drama the original had; it was to ambitious for it's own good. Everything, along with some of the acting and special effects, is too over-analyzed, too overused. I do give it points for being more faithful to the novel and....Spoiler Alert! Carrie Lives! After all that mayhem and destruction and she gets to live for it! It's kind of interesting actually. Nowaday's, I see it as a guilty pleasure I guess. It was slated to be a 4-hour pilot for a planned T.V. series, which explains why they spared Carrie. It was probably decided that they shouldn't make into a series but let's just say it was for the best.

So there you have my fond memories on one of my all-time favorite horror films. I just hope that the remake would capture the magic of the original unlike how the other two films didn't.
So have a safe and happy halloween. Oh and I will also do reviews on all of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on elm street films. So peace out!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Tripper

You would say this is the first political slasher, with the George Bush references, the clash between social circles, and lastly, a physcotic killler dressed as Ronald Regan slaughtering hippies. It tries to convey a message but with no deeper meaning to it. You'll never know if it's a parody or a cautionary tale about drugs. But what we do get though is an Avant-grade mind-screw.
The story: after a tragic childhood incident in the late 60's, a mentally ill man goes on a killing spree years after President Ronald Regan declared a release for patients at a local mental hospital, as he heads towards his way at a drug-fueled hippie festival.
The acting is mostly good but sadly there were only two characters i cared about. the rest of the characters are one dimensional stoners who spend most of their time goofing off or doing various types of drugs. Although there are some exceptions: like Paul Ruben's funny cameo and the adorable Lukas hass as the final girl's caring boyfriend. But mostly what we see is a group of hippies tripping out on drugs.
The two aforementioned characters who are the meat of the story are Jamie King as Samantha and Thomas Jane as Officer Buzz. Jamie King really brought on the intensity and the vulnerability she needed for her character. She plays a woman with a broken past and gains the maturity to swear off drugs and getting away from her extremely hostile ex-boyfriend. Ms. King is clearly the star of the movie and knows how to tell a story without the plot doing so itself. Thomas Jane is also a showstopper, playing a cop that's actually smart in these kinds of movies. Not only he puts a comical and likeable approach to his character, he actually figures out what's going on and see the characters for their stupidity. He was the definite hero of the movie.
There are quite a few suspenseful scenes to be found here but the one that really stood out was the climatic chase where the final girl is tripping out on acid. Nothing is scarier than having someone(or something) coming after while you're zoning out of your mind.
The violence is exploitative-style, giving that throwback vibe from the splatter films of the 80's.
The directing is very avant-garde which matches well with the tone of the film since it's centered around drugs. The setting in the woods along with the atmosphere makes for some great suspense scenes.
Overall, this was a very entertaing watch, it maybe a little out of the norm for some people but it has a different look and feel than your usual slasher film.
My Last word: A fun time to watch on a boring Saturday night.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wrong Turn 2

Whoa, was this movie extreme or what? This is the more action-oriented sequel to the 2003 movie Wrong Turn. It is everything opposite of what made the original great but somehow I still enjoyed it.
Here's the story: So you have your typical standard horror movie characters: The black leader guy, The sullen Goth girl, the diva wannabe, the jokester, the butch girl, the slut, etc. who seemed to fit right at home in a reality show which they are filming in the outskirts of West Virginia. It isn't long until a family of cannibalistic mutants come in their way, looking for the next meal.
The acting is very excellent, especially for a direct-to-dvd movie.  But all my kudos goes to Erica Leerhsen for playing a kickass heroine. She brought on a emotional driven performance, took the movie and run with it. Texas Battle was also excellent in his role of the jock with the heart of gold. Not to mention he is very pleasing the eye. Kimberly Caldwell was actually good in her little cameo. But all bets go to Henry Rollins who was very convincing as an army sergeant and would definitely make a great action star one day. Also he seems to be looking sexier with age. Ken Kirzinger was good in Freddy Vs. Jason and he's certainly good in this movie playing one mean mutant dad. The violence in this movie is spot on. Much of the gore you didn't see in the original is in-your-face extreme in this sequel. Practically what was so subtle in the 2003 movie is hyped up to 11. To me that could be a hit or miss thing. However, it's always fun to watch in a slasher film.
My last word: It wouldn't hold a candle to the original but it's the more entertaining none-the-less. A definite good watch for Halloween.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hatchet 2

I just couldn't quite put my finger on this one. It does have high action, an informative(though bizzare) backstory, and an awesome performance from Danielle Harris, who is by far the best thing in this movie. But unfortuntely, it doesn't match up what was so great abou the original.
Here's the story: After the events of the first movie, Marybeth has survived Victor Crowley's attack. Grief-stricken, she goes to Reverned Zombie, a phony voodo practioner, who decides to help her find the dead bodies of her father and brother. Along the way, Zombie recriuts a group of hunters to track down Victor Crowely. Needless to say, the group is no match for the homicidal Crowely filling the Louisana swamps full of blood and guts on his trail....
The acting was alright for the most part. Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, and Tony Todd were the only actors that had potential but the rest of the cast fell flat. I don't know if it was the script that had the characters badly written or the actors not doing a good job. I would rather go with both. But again, my full praise go to Danielle Harris. She really knew how to convey the emotional grief her character felt and pretty much develop her role without the script letting her. And so my kudos goes to her. The suspense fell flat for me and the deaths were pretty much predictiable because quite frankly, I didn't care who died. And just to add something to the mix, when you cast directors as actors, it's usually a love it or hate it thing. Wes Craven tried it in New Nightmare and he was...Alright. It wasn't his best acting debut but at least he was good. Now the directors in this movie trying the acting bug aren't quite AS good. John Carl Buelcher(Friday The 13th part 7) was okay in little cameo by death bit, however, Tom Holland(Child's Play) should've stuck with a cameo.
So It's not as thrilling nor Funny as the original but at least it's still watchable.
Last Word: Not particually the best sequel, though, quite entertaining.

Yet Another Long Delay

It's been such a long time since i've been here and now i'm back with two new reviews at hand. All this time i've been spending writing and going over my novels. You see writing novels isn't as easy as you think, you really have to make time for it. Between having a job, paying the bills, and also making next year's plans, there hasn't been enough time for this blog. So now i'm back with fresh reviews, though I may promise you, there will be another long delay, cause you know, i'm novelist, but don't worry, I will always come back and serve you delicious treats....l