Posts Tagged ‘Slasher’

Crowley LTD Poster

Directed By: Adam Green

Starring: Parry Shen, Kane Hodder, Laura Ortiz, Felissa Rose, Tiffany Shepis, Dave Sheridan, Krystal Joy Brown, Brian Quinn, Chase Williamson

Synopsis: Victor Crowley returns to wreak havoc on trespassers in his swamp.

Thoughts: Adam Green pulled off the seemingly impossible and filmed Victor Crowley, or Hatchet 4 in secrecy, and even debutted it with the crowd thinking it was an anniversary screening of Hatchet. Since then, Green announced a nationwide tour, with Green and guests in attendance in select cities.

I had the chance to catch Green in his stop in Houston, the 2nd city on the docket. Sadly, the theatre wasn’t sold out. It was a Monday, but I still thought the place would be packed! The crowd that was there had a lot of fun. There were laughs, groans, and a few screams throughout the night, which you would expect from Crowley.

Green spoke about a lot of things and is a very genuine and funny guy. First, he spoke about the genesis of his Hatchet series. Green likes to have fun and in the mid 2000’s, the horror genre wasn’t all that fun. Torture Porn, big studio remakes and PG-13 horror ruled. Green set out to make an over-the-top slasher flick that brought the genre back to where he thought it should be. While his on-screen kills are some of the goriest things imaginable, they illicit more laughs than stomach-churning winces.

The second thing that really resonated was how piracy affects him and his cinematic family. I know a lot of people don’t think twice about illegally streaming or buying bootlegs, but it’s detrimental to the genre. The saddest part is that a lot of people don’t realize it’s negative impact. Green mentioned that he often has someone brag about streaming his movies when he meets them! It’s because of this piracy that we are not likely to see a sequel to Digging up the Marrow.

There was also the option to buy some very cool merchandise at the show. I picked up the limited edition print and had Adam sign it, as well as a book that was featured in, and written specially for the movie. They also had replica prop Victor Crowley skulls and Hatchets that are made to order and even little dolls that are featured in the movie!

As far as the movie, Adam Green implored the audience to keep details to a minimum, so I’ll honor that request. Victory Crowley is very much a Hatchet movie. The kills are over the top, there is comedy throughout, and there are plenty of horror genre veterans throughout. I will say that this feels more like the first movie than the last one. By Hatchet III, there was so much on screen carnage that it was hard to keep up. In the 4th installment, there are fewer kills, but each is memorable, including one that belongs in the outrageous kills Hall of Fame!

I encourage Hatchet fans to get out and support Adam Green, Victor Crowley and the independent horror genre! You can find tour dates here, courtesy of Bloody Disgusting.

 

 

 

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The-Windmill-Massacre

Directed By: Nick Jongerius

Starring: Charlotte Beaumont, Noah Taylor, Patrick Baladi, Ben batt, Fiona Hampton, Tanroh Ishida, Bart Clever, Adam Thomas Wright, Kenan Raven

Synopsis: A bus load of tourists run afoul of a vengeful spirit in the Dutch countryside.

Thoughts:

Sometimes, it’s best to stumble upon a movie without hearing about it and without the hype that is often associated with it. While scrolling through Netflix, The Windmill caught my eye. I must admit, I’ve always been a huge slasher fan, so right after seeing the killer, and just as importantly, the first kill in The Windmill, I was all in.

I thought the storyline was unique, but at the same time, played off the familiar tropes of a slasher. The guilty must die, whether they are smoking weed, having premarital sex, or in the case of The Windmill, are running from past transgressions. There is plenty of foreshadowing to the premise, although the bulk of the character development is fleshing this out.

Now, I thought The Miller looked great, although they did manage to keep him in the shadows quite a bit. He looked like a cross between Cropsey and Victor Crowley and wielded a massive scythe and chains that reminded me of Ghost Rider.

The real star here was the FX. The kills were all creative and the pacing was enough to keep me interested in the movie. I was also impressed with the cinematography, especially when The Miller was brought into the scene.

I’d recommend The Windmill to slasher fans. I wouldn’t call it a hidden gem, but it was a pleasant surprise in the often terrible landscape of movies found on Netflix.

Absurd-1981-movie-3

AKA: Anthropohagus 2; Monster Hunter; Horrible; The Grim Reaper 2

Directed By: Joe D’Amato

Starring: George Eastman, Annie Belle, Katya Berger, Kasimir Berger, Hanja Kochansky, Charles Borromel, Ian Danby, Ted Russoff

Synopsis: A psychopath with a healing factor escapes and goes on a killing spree.

Thoughts:   Absurd is short on plot, but goes the extra mile with the gore. Although it is often referred to as a sequel to Anthropophagus, there is very little tying the movies together. Both feature George Eastman as a homicidal maniac, both were written by Eastman and both were directed by Joe D’Amato. I’ve read that critics accused Absurd of being nothing more than a Halloween rip-off upon its release. The basic premise is the same, with a silent killer stalking his prey, being near impossible to kill, and both films feature a babysitter. As I was watching Absurd, I didn’t feel like it was a Halloween rip-off, or at least any more so than other slasher films from the 80s.

It’s easy to see why Absurd landed on the BBFC’s radar. It had the pedigree of Anthropophagus and Joe D’Amato and is filled to the brim with gory deaths. Other than that, I find Absurd to be unremarkable. There isn’t an overly notorious scene like one from Anthropophagus, the story is straight forward and the acting isn’t memorable. 88 Films released a good-looking version of the film in their Italian Collection if you want to check it out, and if you are a completest like me, you’ll pick it up because they numbered their releases.

Fans of the Video Nasty list will surely check this one out, as will people exploring the filmography of Joe D’Amato, but frankly, there are better examples of Italian horror and splatter films.

How Nasty is it? The gore starts from the very beginning here as George Eastman eviscerates himself climbing over a fence and his intestines are hanging out and doesn’t relent until the end.

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.