Posts Tagged ‘Slasher’

slumber-party-massacre-double-feature

 

Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

 

Directed By: Deborah Brock

Starring: Crystal Bernard, Kim McArthur, Juliette Cummins, Patrick Lowe, Heidi Kozack, Joel Hoffman, Atanas Illitich, Scott Westmoreland

Synopsis: Courtney and her bandmates rent a condo for the weekend, looking to play music and party, but little do they know that they are being stalked by a drill wielding killer.

Thoughts:

This movie is the perfect example of a sequel being made on premise alone. The first movie, while somewhat iconic, really isn’t that great of a move. I wrote that that movie had a bit of an identity crisis, not knowing whether it should be serious or not, but the sequel goes for the comedy side of things, as well as some musical numbers (yes, you read that right).

The first time I watched this was after a long day of drinking, and honestly, I had to rewatch it again the next day because all I remembered were nonsensical flashbacks, dream sequences and a very non-threatening killer with a ridiculous guitar singing and prancing around. Much to my surprise, I witnessed the same thing sober!

I can’t say I’m a big fan of this movie. It’s just too silly without actually being funny. The characters can be off-putting at times, especially TJ (Hoffman), who I was just waiting to get the drill. It does star Crystal Bernard, who would go on to star in Wings throughout the 90s, among other things, but other than that, the cast is pretty barren.

Unless you have a desire to be a completist, skip this one and skip right to the third.

Slumber Party Massacre III (1990)

 

Directed By: Sally Mattison

Starring: Keely Christian, Brittain Frye, Michael Harris, David Greenlee, Brandi Burkett, Hope Marie Carlton, Maria Claire, Maria Ford, Yan Birch, Ron Smith

Synopsis: A slumber party goes awry as a killer shows up, wielding power tools in inappropriate ways.

Thoughts:

After a sequel that went in a different direction, the third entry goes back to a prototypical slasher formula, a move that I think was very successful. Gone are the crazy dream sequences and, most importantly, the dream sequences.

Although formulaic, I found this to be one of the more enjoyable of the series, even more so than the first movie. There was a plot, although paper thin, and the kills were pretty outrageous. The cast was larger than the last movie, which created more kills, and made the movie move along at a faster pace.

Although not memorable in any sort of way, this is one of those movies that would be fun to watch on a weekend with friends. It’s not going to rival the top slashers of the era, but this is worth a watch.

silent-night-deadly-night-3

Directed By: Monte Hellman

Starring: Bill Moseley, Richard Beymer, Samantha Scully, Eric Da Re, Laura Harring, Robert Culp, Elizabeth Hoffman

Synopsis: Ricky awakens from a coma, going on a killing spree and stalking a blind psychic girl.

Thoughts: It turns out Ricky survived the end of the previous movie, and doctors have reconstructed his head, placing a plastic dome over his brain. They’ve also decided to use a psychic to try and reach him, because that is always a great idea with a psychotic killer. Interestingly enough, this came out the year after Friday the 13th introduced a psychic twist to their franchise with A New Blood.

When I first set out to watch this, I was excited to see Bill Moseley had taken up the role of Ricky, but honestly, I was pretty underwhelmed with his performance here, as I was with the entire movie. It wasn’t dreadful, but it sure wasn’t good either. It is the last in the series to follow the story of Billy and Ricky as the Santa Claus killers. The final two movies in the series take a completely different turn.

The Silent Night, Deadly Night series is infamous for its iconic imagery of a killer Santa Claus and the controversy around the first film, but the reality is that the series is not very good. It’s a testament to the power of home video in the 80s that 4 sequels were made in fairly quick succession. If you don’t check out the sequels, you won’t be missing much, but I do know that many people consider them essential viewing during the holiday season.

Destroyer

Directed By: Robert Kirk

Starring: Lyle Alzado, Anthony Perkins, Deborah Foreman, Clayton Rohner, Tobias Anderson, Jim Turner, Pat Mahoney

Synopsis:
Serial Killer Ivan Moser is being executed via the electric chair, but a prison riot breaks out during the execution and Moser disappears. Years later, the abandoned prison is being used as a movie set. Carnage ensues.

Thoughts:
I’m not sure what was going on during the late 80s, but in less than a three year span, there were four horror movies released that all centered around a convict being sent to the electric chair and coming back for revenge in one form or another. We had Prison, Shocker, The Horror Show and this little gem, Destroyer. Interestingly enough, all have been released by Scream Factory, so the theme is just begging for a marathon at your local home theater!

Of the four, Destroyer is probably towards the bottom of the totem pole, but I still found it enjoyable, mostly because of the over the top performance of former NFL madman Lyle Alzado, who played the killer and Anthony Perkins as the Director of the exploitation movie being filmed at the prison. It’s a women-in-prison flick, and there is even the requisite shower scene being filmed, so I thought that was a great nod to the genre. Destroyer is rife with ridiculous lines and not great acting, but it is throwback to the heydays of 1980s VHS, and who doesn’t love that.

Destroyer is part of a Scream Factory Double Feature with Edge of Sanity, both featuring Anthony Perkins, but as I mentioned before, this pairs perfectly with a couple of other movies. I used its release as an excuse to revisit Prison, one of the first VHS horror movies I remember watching. It’s by no means perfect, but it features a couple of cool deaths, especially the jackhammer scene and some over the top 80s style action. Alzado should have done more movies, maybe even teaming up with Bosworth in something (a guy can dream I guess).

Destroyer is a must see for 80s slasher fans, and is a worthy entry into the Scream Factory canon. I really enjoy their double features, allowing movies that might not support a full blown release to make their way onto Blu, and into my collection.

Childs Play

Directed By: Tom Holland

Starring: Brad Dourif, Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Dinah Manoff, Tommy Swerdlow, Raymond Oliver

Synopsis: A doll possessed by a serial killer makes his way into the home of Karen Barclay and her son, Andy.

Thoughts: Everyone knows Chucky as the foul-mouthed, wise cracking killer doll, but in the first movie, he was a pretty dark character. Sure, he swore like a sailor, but he was actually pretty frightening. The original Child’s Play was steeped in Voodoo and possession, making it much darker than the rest of the series.

Chucky was one of the later slasher icons to join the party in the 80’s, following in the familiar path that Michael, Jason and Freddy all started in years prior. Chucky’s look, along with the eerie voice of Brad Dourif, all but guaranteed that we would see much more of Chucky after the first movie. On top of an iconic killer, the cast was great as well. Cathering Hicks, who played Karen Barclay, the mother, played the downtrodden mother who would do anything for her son very well. Her character reminded me of someone you would see in something more dramatic. Andy was played by Alex Vincent, who convincing, if not a little annoying at times, although most kids that age can be pretty annoying. I suppose he gets a pass for being stalked by a voodoo created killer doll stalking him. Last, but not least, Chris Sarandon plays the Detective that not only killed Charles Lee Ray prior to him possessing Chucky, but also is the one to investigate the first murder at the Barclay home. Sarandon is no stranger to the genre, having played the antagonist in Fright Night, as well as a handful of other roles through the years.

Tom Holland is a man that loves the horror genre. He is active in social media and helps promote the movies we all love. In addition to Child’s Play, he’s directed the first two Fright Night movies and Stephen King’s Thinner. He wrote and directed in the Tales from the Crypt series over the years, as well as helmed a Masters of Horror episode. He’s also comfortable in front of the camera, appearing in The Stand and The Langoliers, as well as a couple of Adam Green features (Hatchet II and Digging up the Marrow). It’s people like Tom Holland that keep this genre alive.

It had been a while since I sat down to watch Child’s Play and actually pay attention to it. It’s been on in the background over the years, but it’s not a movie that I watch often. I forgot that the first movie does have some pretty scary parts. I can’t say the same for the rest of the franchise, but this movie is a classic and must see and own for horror fans.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Slew Poster - V115 - Stockholm(1)A local rite goes frightfully wrong when a group of teenage boys encounters a sinister hunting party, a bloodthirsty tribe and a mythical beast in the backwoods of New Hampshire.

Midnight Releasing has announced that American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire – starring Dayo Okeniyi (The Hunger Games, Terminator: Genisys) – will be released via Video-On-Demand, streaming content providers and select Redbox kiosks throughout North America beginning in JUNE.  A brand-new full-length trailer and poster designs are now available for public consumption, while additional artwork AND exclusive clips will be released in the coming days and weeks leading up to the street date.

TRAILER:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YE9pRK6WBk

American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire – which was awarded “Goriest Scene of the Year” by Rue Morgue Magazine and nominated for Best Feature, Best Actor and Best Editing at the 8th Annual Shockfest Film Festival – will also be available on DVD on June 9th.  Bonus Features include 5.1 Surround Sound, Gag Reel and Audio Commentary by writer/director Flood Reed and seven cast members.  Pre-orders are currently available through Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/American-Backwoods-Hampshire-Dayo-Okeniyi/dp/B00RW5AFV0

In addition to rising talent Okeniyi, the ensemble cast also boasts the likes of underground horror maverick Michael Todd Schneider (August Underground’s Mordum), Jeremy Isabella (Ghoul), French television actress Gaya Verneuil and a whole slew of majestically bearded actors.

American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire has not been rated, but is intended for mature audiences due to graphic violence, profanity, nudity and sexual content.

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/slewhampshire
Twitter:  @SlewHampshire

Terror Train (1980)

Posted: October 24, 2014 in Movie Review
Tags: ,

Terror Train

Directed By: Roger Spottiswoode

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Johnson, Hart Bochner, Sandee Currie, Tim Webber, Derek MacKinnon, David Copperfield

Synopsis: Three years after a prank puts its victim in an insane asylum, the members of the fraternity that planned the prank are the targets of revenge.

Thoughts: Jamie Lee Curtis cemented her status as a scream queen in a span of three years when she starred in Halloween. Halloween II, The Fog, Prom Night and Terror Train in a span of three years from 1978 to 1981. Each of these films is considered to be essential horror viewing, and for good reason. You could do a lot worse than a marathon session of these movies.

Like many of the horror movies of the early 80s, Terror Train was made on a miniscule budget and was filmed in Canada. The cast is filled mostly with unknowns, with the exception of Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Johnson and David Copperfield, who was added to the movie by a fellow Canadian Producer. The original script did not include a magician, but one of the producers was a big fan, and David Copperfield was a fellow Canadian, so his role was added. Sometimes it’s all about who you know!

It’s not surprising to find out that Curtis carries the movie with her presence. The rest of the cast (victims) really don’t do a lot to invoke any empathy. As a matter of fact, most of them are pretty much world class assholes, which is what got them into trouble in the first place.

As the movie takes place during a costume party, the killer changes his appearance quite often. I thought this worked against Terror Train, as so many 80s slashers are remembered for an iconic killer. Had the killer here maintained a “look”, this movie might rank higher on the 80s slasher list.

Terror Train also throws out more than a few Red Herrings, trying to keep the viewer from guessing the identity of the killer. I rather liked this approach in Terror Train, as it kept the movie from getting stale in the absence of more visually interesting killer.

Director Roger Spottiswoode is better known as an action director and this was his lone foray into the horror genre. He’s also directed Turner & Hooch, Air America, Tomorrow Never Dies, The 6th Day, and many others. He was an editor on the original Straw Dogs as well. Terror Train was his first feature film and he obviously used it to work on more main stream movies. I can’t blame him for that and at least he gave the genre a classic to look back on.

As I mentioned, I consider this to be a real 80s classic and essential viewing for horror fans. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, there really isn’t a better time of year to rectify that. Scream Factory has an outstanding release of this if you are looking to pick it up for you collection.

Texas Chainsaw

Directed By: John Luessenhop

 

Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Tremaine Neverson, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Shaun Sipos, Thom Barry, Paul Rae

Synopsis: Decades after the first Chainsaw movie, Edith, thought to be the lone surviving Sawyer, inherits her Grandmother’s estate, and all that goes with it.

Thoughts: It’s always dangerous revisiting a classic, and this wasn’t the first time in recent years that the classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre was given the sequel/remake treatment. Prior to seeing this, I heard absolutely terrible things about it, so I went in expecting something epically bad. However, what I found was a decent slasher with some major continuity issues.

The cast is essentially the same that we’ve seen since the 80s. Young victims surrounded by some (sometimes) interesting supporting characters. The main character, Alexandra Daddario, is a very attractive young actress, but I have to admit to being a bit creeped out when I discovered she played Annabeth in the Percy Jackson movies (favorites of my son). Her acting here was a bit uneven, but I thought she did a decent job. Dan Yeager, who plays Leatherface, manages to portray a fair amount of emotion behind the mask.

Director John Luessenhop doesn’t have much of a resume, in fact, Chainsaw is his third feature. I did think his vision was solid, and he also had some pretty well constructed chase scenes. I’m not convinced we’ll see Luessenhop back in the horror genre, as is style seems to fit better in action movies (Takers is another of his films).

I do have to credit Luessenhop with attempting something different with Leatherface as they attempt to make him more sympathetic and almost something of an anti-hero, but it falls flat here. The story even attempts to portray the entire family (from the original) as victims of the nearby town. For me, I didn’t want to see the villains of this franchise humanized and made out to be victims. I kind of liked them as the killer cannibal rednecks from Texas.

The timeline is also poorly portrayed. Heather, the descendant of the original family was an infant in 1974, but appears to be in her early 20s in current day (note the use of iPhones and other cultural references). Normally, this sort of thing doesn’t bother me, but the movie made it a point to make the connection and show original newspaper clippings, so it grated on me.

The culmination of all this is an average slasher flick that suffers from its family name. When you apply the name Texas Chainsaw to a movie, certain expectations are sure to exist. This movie misses those expectations, but I felt it wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be. I found it worth watching, but temper your expectations.