Sunday, December 1, 2013

Movie Review: Friday The 13th Part 3

Now the moment you've been waiting for....Jason finally puts on his iconic hockey mask. This was a more of a fun addition to the series, that dosen't have to take itself too seriously. Some say this was the more dumber of the series but I generally liked this one. It has funny and likeable characters, good special effects and quite a few suspenseful moments. Jason is much more gusto in this one, showing his superhuman strength to many levels (I guess it's the power of the hockey mask). This is the movie that made Jason popular, though I think he still has a long way to go.
So here's the story: After the events of part 2, Chris Higgins and her group of friends go to her family lodge, just a corner near by Crystal Lake. She goes to face a dark past and rekindle her first love, but little do Chris and her friends know that something menacing is lurking. and that something is a product of Chris's haunted past....
The cast is quite the quirky bunch in this one.

We have the innocent, resourceful heroine Chirs

Her muscular love interest Rick

A sexy, young couple(whom are expecting) which consists of loveable jock Andy and nice cheerleader Debbie

Spicy Latina Vera

Insecure goofball Shelly

And The Stoner Couple, who looks too old for their age, while spending the rest of the movie getting high off their asses.
I liked how the actors blended into their roles, especially Larry Zerner as Shelly, who actually had character development than your usual prankster in a horror film. And the actors seemed to have fun in their roles, almost like they're playing themselves. But I guess the most challening parts to play were the biker gang, who didn't seem that all convincing really. Then there's false hero Rick, who seems like a tall, big strong guy who could take on Jason, right? unfortanately no. Jason gets him pretty easily, which will result in one of the coolest deaths in the movie. Now, let's talk about Chris. She is one of the first few heronies to have a history with Jason and it's a implication that she may have come back to her summer vacation home to face her demons.

Chris also inhabits the classic final girls tropes: She has a girl-next-door charm, She is resourceful, and she also has a sense of paranoia that something's not right. It was actually Dana Kimmel's suggestion to make the character should be in the purer side of things. And it works. It makes us feel scared for the character, since Jason is veering towards being indesctructible.

And yes, let's get to Jason. He is much more stronger and broader than the klutz he was in the second film. And he seems to be much more intense with his kills:

The highlight of this is the scene where Jason crushes one of his victim's head until his eye pops out into the camera:

This movie is also memorable for having Jason don his hockey mask for the first time:

It is Pure Awesome!
It really brings out Jason's character and it has been a staple of many slasher films that ripped it off from time and time again.
From what I remember, this was actually one of the more conterversial of the Friday films. There is a scene where one of the character mentions that she is at least three months pregnant. So technically, Jason just killed a soon-to-be teen mom and a soon-to-be teen dad. Just to be honest, I wouldn't be so non-chalant about being pregnant in college. Then there is the implication that Jason might of raped Chris but it's never disclosed during her monolouge. The mystery of the whole thing just makes it more disturbing and makes Jason more like this wild animal/caveman.
There was an alternate ending used at the last minute but due to creative differences it was cut out for a re-shoot. Here's a little snapshot:

A Rumor was speculated that Dana Kimmel called foul on the ending because she felt her character shouldn't deserve the treatment she recieved after what she'd been through. But in reality, it was all a dream. So her character would still be alive then, right? So instead, we have a retread of the first movie's ending but not with much impact:


Now to put some thought into this, I really thought the ending would be more scarier and definitely more original. It would actually have more impact than you're usual jump scare in an 80's slasher.
Again, I think this is quite an enjoybale addition to the Friday the 13th series. Although, it can be cheesy in some moments, it makes up for it by making Jason this ferocious madman, along with some pretty suspenseful sequences.
My Last Word: a definite favorite for all slasher fans.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Movie Review: Friday The 13th Part 2

Here is Jason's first appearance in the movie and I must say it's worth a watch. I loved, loved, loved this movie when I was a kid and it really put archetypical slasher tropes into motion before everybody copied the hell out of it. I really liked how they use Jason as campfire legend which will slowly have him becoming a pop culture icon in the works. Now this movie is not perfect and it will set many logical questions further but who cares, this is Jason's first movie!
So here's the story: Five years(let's just say two in my opinon) after the events of the first movie, camp owner Paul decides to re-open camp crystal lake YET AGAIN with the help of his spunky assistant/girlfriend Ginny, bringing along yet another hot group of teens as their camp counslers. But little do they know that something menacing is afoot and sooner or later, they will soon learn that (newly reborn) Jason is out there waiting for them.

Most of the cast is a mixed bag for me. Some are good with what little roles they are given and on the other hand, I was too distracted of how hot they are, especially wheel-chair bound Mark.

Boy Howdy! is he a stud or what! Such a beautiful man! Then there was that one scene where one of the female counslers is hitting on him. I mean yeah, he is a goregeous guy but it goes beyond that. It's like she has some fetish for the handicap. Weird.
So lets get to the true star of the movie:

The beautiful Ms. Amy Steel. What I like most about her is that she brought much more personality to the role than most final girls in that era. She's spunky, intelligent, and likeable. She also gets to understand the history and backstory of Jason by using her pyschology knowledge. Very clever girl.

Ginny is one of those memorable horror movie heroines, alongside Laurie Strode, Ripley, and Nancy Thompson. She is badass. Enough Said.

Let me just squeeze in Paul for moment. I mean he did fill out the expostion for Jason and he is sort of the dad of the group with Ginny being the mom, So that would make him the hero, right?.....I'll get to him later.
Now the special effects are quite different than the first movie. That's because Tom Savini felt a little weird about the filmmakers bringing back Jason, since you know Jason was well....dead. So he quietly backed out of the project because it just didn't make any sense to him. Which brings us to that million dollar question: Did Jason really drown in Crystal Lake? Again, I'll get to that later.

I really didn't like how they just killed off Alice. It was like her character wasn't important. According to the behind the scenes scoop, all of Alice's scenes were improv. I mean the nightmare she had, her taking a shower, her conversation with her mom. All of it was improv. It was all thrown in there just to get rid of her quickly.

Oh well, At least Jason got his revenge and it did set up the story well. Now let's get back to the special effects. It's actually pretty good. It may not be ultra bloody like Tom Savini's effects were but it's still quite burtal.

The most famous death in the movie is when the teen couple is impaled whilst making love. Some giallo fans weren't too happy with that saying the flilmmakers ripped off the scene from the italian horror film Twitch Of The Death Nerve.

This was unknowbest to the filmmakers since they haven't even seen the film. But as a kid, I really thought that was a cool, original kill. I also heard that some of the additonal sequence of this particular scene was cut out due to being so graphic. Here's a snapshot:

The reel is still missing til this day....
So let me get to the topic at hand. Which is how on earth did Jason suddenly resurface?

My answer is....I honestly don't know. It was sort of an idea the creator's cooked up when they thought of making the sequel. and trust me, after the ending of Friday The 13th, it had to have a sequel (therefore, many sequels to come). So here's my theory, even there is no sense in logic for an 11 year boy to survive his own drowing, maybe Jason did survive. Somewhere deep in the woods, he was some wild woodsman protecting his turf. But hell I don't know, this movie was set for at least two, or according to the movie, five years, so he might've been reborn somehow, I don't know. So apparently, Jason's resurrection will remain until the movie Jason Goes To Hell clears it up but will get to that later. Now let's get talk about Paul, another debate that's on everybody's mind. Again, in my theory, Paul is ding dong dead. There was probably another scenario where he supposedly lived but since the actor arubptly left the set, well there's nothing I can say, Paul is dead.

And possibly that annoying redhead guy but who cares.

So again, the suspense is just as good as the first. It also shows that Jason is kind of klutz. He's not the hulking over-powering presence that he will soon become.
I love this movie. Heck, I grew up with this movie. Not only because it's Jason's first movie but it stands as one of the few classics in the golden age of the slasher genre. To me, the Friday the 13th series is like a continuation of a story and this is the one that surely opened Jason's first chapter.
My last word: A must see!




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.