"CAN JASON COME OUT TO PLAY-YAY?!?" DOUBLE FEATURE!FRIDAY THE 13th PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN (1989, 100 min.) on DVD.The last entry in "Generation 1" of the "Friday the 13th" movie saga feels like the diminishing-returns trainwreck that would prompt Paramount suits (who were only attached to the high-return-on-low-investment profits the series generated) to unload it. After anchor-slices-electrical-wire resurrection (yawn) and dispatching teens doing it aboard a houseboat (YAWN!), Jason boards the Lazarus steamboat chartered by the graduation class of Lakeview High. Several students (more like walking 80's stereotypes) and grown-ups (including the ship's version of "Crazy Ralph" and assorted chaperones) get got by Jason before the ship sinks. The remaining survivors make it to V̶a̶n̶c̶o̶u̶v̶e̶r̶ Manhattan, where the local thugs and nightly toxic chemical dumps below Gotham streets (WHAT!?! XD) are as likely to kill them as the brute zombie with a machete that has followed them to Times Square.Even by the non-existing quality standards the franchise was known for back in the 80's, "Jason Takes Manhattan" feels held together by pins on multi-colored script pages. Supernatural elements (Jensen Daggett's Rennie seeing visions of child Jason) share the narrative with supporting characters (Peter Mark Richman's Charles McCulloch) who act as if the story revolves around them. Worse of all is how toothless, sanitized and gore-free (except for V. C. Dupree's epic punch-out with the masked one) many of the kills are. You know you're starved for epic slasher mayhem when the second best death in your eighth "Friday" sequel (after Julius') is Jason strangling a girl with his bare hands. Strictly for completists.JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY - UNRATED (1993, Approx. 90 min.) on DVD.New management (New Line Cinema), the series' original producer/director ("House's" Sean S. Cunningham) and a couple of young, hungry filmmakers (director Adam Marcus and co-writer Jay Hughley) give the first entry in "phase 2" of the Jason Voorhees saga a jolt of much-needed energy. Someone that is often overlooked for helping make "Jason Goes To Hell" entertaining is John D. LeMay, the only actor to have appeared as the lead in a "Friday the 13th" TV series and a "Jason" movie. Whether it's pulling an epic handcuffed jump to grab a gun or putting up with broken finger abuse from Creighton "your-lady-ain't-had-a-taste-of-me-yet" Duke (Steven Williams), LeMay's Steven Freeman is a rare thing for a slasher: a "final girl" with a penis that goes mano-a-mano with the monster and lives to tell the tale.While it upsets many fans to lose G1 Jason in the first 10 minutes to kick-off the body switching mayhem, the weird-for-weirdness'-sake moments (a coroner eating Jason's beating heart, would-be Jason victim Billy Green Bush getting an S&M restraint just to get a shave), above-average kills (naked girl in a tent getting penetrated twice during her climax... ouch!) and self-aware-vibe-without-crossing-into-meta fun factor (which harkens back to "Ft13th Part VI: Jason Lives!") never fails to entertain. Yes, Harry Manfredini's bang-the-Casio-keyboards score is garbage, Erin Gray is wasted and the tease for a Freddy Krueger showdown took a decade from actually materializing (for which "Jason X" was an adequate consolation prize). Not until the 2009 reboot would we get a slasher with as much gore, mayhem and personality as "Jason Goes To Hell: The [Not-Quite] Final Friday." Recommended if you can see it unrated.
HELL NIGHT (1981, dir. Tom DeSimone) Having no expectations of this, and generally not being fond of slasher films, Hell Night turned out be an entertaining surprise. The most important aspect of the film for me is that the characters are not complete jerks. They actually seem like a real people most of the film, too. Linda Blair is adorable – I hate to use that word but it applies here- as one of four college pledges who have to spend a night at an abandoned mansion where a family was killed. Could one of the family still be there? The mansion and its grounds add a lot atmosphere to the film. Despite following a formula, Hell Night keeps you guessing about what happens next. I was fooled on a few occasions. With a good script and some effective suspense, Hell Night is worth checking out. A good late-night movie.
Toursit Trap (1979 - David Schmoeller)I have always been creeped out by talking dolls and mannequins. So not surprised this is one of my favourite sub genre in horror.I liked it. Even though at 1 hour and 30 minutes long it over stays it's welcome a little. But it was fun. It's an odd and surreal movie, the way the movie uses the mannequins and the killer keeps everything off kilter. And the fact that it feels rough around the edges, the weird choices of score that comes close but never matches what's on screen, adds to that feeling.It's an odd little movie. Not at all surprised this is a Charles Band joint. He liked playing with dolls even back then :).
Serial Mom (1994, dir. John Waters, First Time Viewing) I've seen most of John Waters' early landmarks, so it was cool to see his grungy style mixed with a glossier Hollywood sheen and bigger name actors. It works. Kathleen Turner is hilariously great. Waters pulls no punches. Loved it.
Night School (1981, dir. Ken Hughes)A nice surprise. I've wanted to see this since hearing about it on Shock Waves. Even though slasher fans can guess the killer pretty quickly, it still is a pretty good thriller. Also, Rachel Ward is radiant. However, the last scene is DUMB. But the movie as a whole is definitely recommended.
Just Before Dawn (1981) Dir: Jeff LiebermanThis turned out to be both different and better than I expected. Saw Patrick's article on it awhile ago so added the blu-ray to my Junesploitation watch list.The setup is pretty familiar for a slasher: a group of young friends go camping and are terrorized by a killer in the woods. What sets Just Before Dawn apart is the skill Lieberman brings to the table. Rather than just loading up on blood as later 80's slashers would, the film feels firmly planted in the 70's. Strong emphasis on characters who are more than just cyphers, and a moody atmosphere, it's closer to Deliverance or Southern Comfort than Friday the 13th. I don't want to say much more for fear of spoilers, but this one is a winner. Just go in expecting a moody character drama more than a balls out horror film.
Just Before Dawn (1981)My wife and I got back from vacationing in Nashville last night around 11pm. I had found this in a second hand shop called, The Great Escape, on dvd for 6.99. I started it around 12:30AM and despite being on the road all day, I was glued to the TV. The best scare comes early, and involves a few characters around a fire. Very effective when you are exhausted but still invested in the film.
Silent Night (2012)So, this is sort of a remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night, but not really. All it has in common with the original (outside of a couple of jokey references) is a killer Santa and a woman getting impaled on reindeer antlers. There’s no mention in the credits of it being based on any preexisting material, so let’s just say it’s a Christmas slasher “inspired by” the infamous SN, DN.It’s also not a particularly good Christmas slasher, no matter what its inspiration was. The biggest issue for me is that the tone is all over the place, one moment it’s a silly holiday slasher, the next there’s a too-brutal-to-be-fun murder straight out of the Rob Zombie playbook. It’s spectacularly uneven, and that makes it kind of a slog to get through. Watch the first two SN, DNs instead, they were icky but at least they managed to be icky in a fun way, this one’s just ugly and mean-spirited.
changing the subject again to mention that i received my XTRO Limited Edition copy today, from amazon.co.uk. fantastic packaging. i can't wait to dig into this.
April Fool's Day (1986, dir. Fred Walton)A pretty fun mystery/slasher, although it's a little light on the actual slashing. Amy Steel (obviously) and Thomas F. Wilson (aka Biff Tannen) are the highlights. Just one note: if you haven't seen this one yet, do not go on IMDb. I did and got majorly spoiled, which severly hampered my enjoyment of the movie. I just spent most of the movie waiting for... you know.
HATCHET (2006) New Orleans tourists on a swampland boat tour run afoul of a monstrous killer, Victor Crowley. This movie is criticism-proof. I can’t say it has a thin plot and hacky jokes, because the thin plot and hacky jokes are intentional. Everybody involved is diving deep to recreate the look and feel of a classic slasher movie, but they’re doing it without any winking irony. A fun nostalgia item. HATCHET 2 (2010) The survivors of the first movie reunite, teaming up with a bunch of hunters to bring the fight to the killer. This sequel dives deep into Crowley’s backstory, confirming supernatural freakiness only hinted at in the first movie. More of the same, although Tony Todd and Danielle Harris are national treasures, so having them share dialogue makes it all worth it. HATCHET 3 (2013) This time it’s Crowley versus a bunch of cops. Do I dare suggest FIRST BLOOD was an influence? The movie begins strongly, suggesting that things are going to get dark and serious this time, only to revert back to more hacky jokes as it goes along. On the plus side, it has one of the best endings of any of these. VICTOR CROWLEY (2017) A plane crashes in Crowley's swamp, and he pursues the survivors. This one is pretty much entirely comedy, with meta jokes about filmmakers wanting to make a Victor Crowley movie. We also spend a ton of time with people aboard the wrecked plane bickering with each other, which is supposed to be hilarious, but was tedious. I liked the first three plenty, but this one was a big drop in quality. I know, I know, this fourth one is in “it’s for the fans only” territory, so I shouldn't talk.
Madman (1982)During a late night at a campfire the old Counsellor Max tells a group of young teens the story of Madman Marz. Richie a young counsellor not afraid of the story, yells his name out and throw a rock at Madman Marzs house, thereby summoning the axe wielding maniac. He soon starts killing the campers one by one. It’s pretty much a standard of the mill slasher, with some nice camerawork, and som great kills. The first kill is quite well made. But a lot of the kills a done off screen, which is a bit unfortunately as this is why I watch these movies. The ending I different and interesting for the genre. It has some nice camerawork.
I saw this for the first time not too long ago and could NOT get that Madman Marz song out of my head!
This is a personal favorite, I own the Blu Ray. The characters are blast; a little more charming than the usual run of the mill. The killer is awesome (his behind the scenes interviews are so good; he was truly grateful to have this cult favorite role). And like Cullen said, the song...the song makes it all special.
Surprised none of you mentioned that Gaylen Ross is the final girl of the movie. She only appeared in three movies, but what a horror hat trick: "Madman" plus Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" and "Creepshow." Quality over quantity. :-)
Oh damn, I never realized that. That's a powerful hat trick!
Slumber Party Massacre III (1990) It’s about a slumber party where everyone get’s massacred. Surprise! It started off a bit shaky but when it finally gets to the massacre proper it won me over. There is certainly a high body count and driller killer does a good job of playing crazy once we get the reveal. While it may have come out in 1990 it is definitely an 80’s slasher. I give it 3 out of 5 drills.
Office (2015)The South Korean thriller/slasher, not the Chinese musical/comedy from the same year and the same English title...This had kind of a slow pace, so when the slasher elements did come about, they seemed even more shocking and brutal.
Graduation Day (Herb Freed, 1981)So many slashers during this era, and it was tough to stand out (or be watchable)...and I think this one does, in a lot of ways. Opens with a really bizarre (slo-mo, almost surreal), but enjoyably so, HS track meet montage. A young lady dies...from exhaustion? Heat stroke? And someone wants revenge months later...on Graduation Day.The kills are super solid, and there are some fantastic sequences with editing. The one that stands out most cuts back and forth between a school band/dance and killer/prey chase.On Amazon Prime, and recommended.
Nice, I've never seen this one. I'm definitely going to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.
"Graduation Day" is an odd duck in that (a) it's the rare Troma movie that feels professional and well made, plus (b) it made $23+ million at the box office... in 1981 dollars! That's an insane amount of dough for a cheaply-made slasher, which means (a) a lot of Troma crap got financed by "Graduation Day's" profits and (b) it's curious why it's been forgotten and/or didn't spawn any sequels or follow-ups. Hmm...
In fact, Patrick's picture for today is actually from "GD." :-)
J.M. you are dropping the knowledge today. :) That settles it then todays the day for me to watch Graduation Day. Hitting play now(ish).
The Final Terror (1983, dir. Andrew Davis)I think this "camping in the woods" slasher is really solid. The acting and characterization are great, which obviously is not always the case for these kinds of movies. It's easy to get a good handle on who each of these people are. The first half is a fun hang-out movie, and then the second becomes a pretty desperate, frighting story about being lost in the woods with someone trying to kill you. The ending is way rushed, and there's nothing very special about the kills. Still, I totally recommend this one.
My Bloody Valentine (1981)Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it’s off to get murdered we go. A fun slasher that lacks any real scars or gore but keeps you entertained nonetheless.
My Bloody Valentine is one those slashers that stands out because of its setting. I cannot think of any others about mining. There is also a strong sense of place in the film, too. A good pick for canuxploitation as well.
Huh. It definitely had enough gore for me, but I admit it ain't no Blood Rage in that department.
The Initiation (1984) Dir: Larry StewartPretty typical 80's slasher, but it's slightly, so slightly, above average. Daphne Zuniga and her fellow sorority initiates have to spend the night in a department store being. At the same time a killer escapes from an institution and begins killing off the group. Nothing really outstanding here.The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018) Dir: Johannes RobertsSo I'm not the biggest fan of the original Strangers. I thought it was tense but the characters were just far to dumb for me to go along with the movie. So imagine my surprise when I absolutely loved this belated sequel.A new family is randomly terrorized by the masked killers, but Roberts opens up canvas here. Instead of a single house, we have a trailer park, which allows for more interesting chase sequences. The characters were less irritating to me and I was more invested in their plight. The soundtrack adds a nice touch, and as others have said, the pool sequence is an all-timer. Roberts is clearly a lover of Carpenter and it really shows.
I'm sorry but the outstanding thing about The Initiation is Daphne Zuniga. :)
I love The Initiation! I even watched it with my fiance, who usually isn't into these movies, and she was totally into it. In addition to Daphne Zuniga being outstanding, I remember there being one kill in particular towards the end that was crazy brutal and terrifying. That scene is an all-timer.
Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood, or because it was between two movies that I thought were truly excellent but it just didn't do much for me. Don't get me wrong it wasn't bad at all. I just wasn't feeling it. Glad you both like it so much though!!!
Totally just kidding around, to each their own my friend. I also watched The Strangers: Prey at Night a couple weeks ago and completely agree with your take away. It was a lot of fun. On a side note the bad girl daughter has played an elf in a couple hallmark Christmas movies. For whatever reason that fact had me cracking up the whole movie. The girls got range! I don't know what it is but the line in the first movie "is Tamara home" just scares the shit out of me. I was happy to see that is her go to move!
Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)If you are into the summer camp kills this one delivers. I’m onboard with the craziness this movie delivers but I always have such a tough time believing Springsteen can overpower absolutely ANYBODY. Oh well, it’s a stupid nit to pick. I tend to really enjoy the first kill, the woods scene with Freddy & Jason cosplayers and the ultimate outhouse swirly. Long live campslaughtersploitation!
My Bloody Valentine (1981, dir. George Mihalka)Wheerree has this movie been all my life? I knew this was a slasher classic and I needed to see it, but I had no idea I'd love it so much. First off, it has such an amazing, crazy, WTF opening scene. Then it's just one of the best looking '80s slashers ever. It's so beautifully shot, I love how much all the colors pop. As Casual Listener pointed out above, it has an amazing sense of place and location. The actors are all great as well, and I admit it doesn't hurt how stunning the girls are here. But the more slashers I see, I notice how many of them get lazy when it comes to the killer. Not so here. The killer looks incredible and has a terrific legend behind him. He's so menacing, and I was so down for the unexpected twist at the end.This movies RULES.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)Was going to find something new, but this turned into a watch sleepaway camp kind of day.
Hatchet II (2010)I wanted another Adam Green flick after watching DIGGING UP THE MARROW earlier this month. HATCHET II may be my favorite of the series. Tony Todd and Danielle Harris are great as usual, but the big surprise for me was Tom Holland, who I think gives a really good performance.
Graduation Day (1981)Holy spiky pole vault pit! This was a fun movie. I loved the killers weapon of choice. Seriously, who wouldn’t go with a fencing sword?? Had some pretty great kills and… well a unique plot but really who cares. None of it really took place on Graduation Day but, again, who really cares. We do need more slasher’s with Olympic sporting event back drops. Glad to see it got some representation here…kinda.
Glad you enjoyed! I was feeling some pressure :) The football with a ...spike/blade/needle/sword? attached to it was inspired.
What are you talking about?? I thought all footballs came that way? Fun movie, super glad you turned me on to it. 80's slashers are the gift that keeps on giving! Much Mahalo's!
Satanic Attraction (1989) Dir. Fauzi MansurBrazilian insanity that's all over the place with great gore and kills. Probably my favorite watch of the month so far! On to the last of Mansur's Horror films, "Ritual of Death".
Chaybee, no need to lie. I'm sure you just watched Geostorm for the 5th time. Super awesome right. :)
Haha, Geostorm, I already forgot that movie exists.
The Ranger (2018, dir. Jenn Wexler)Crazy park ranger kills obnoxious punk kids in the woods. Jenn Wexler's first movie is all rough edges but has a lot of energy and spirit, plus the lead actress and the Ranger are both really good. I know it's getting mixed reviews, but I dug it.
This was not on my radar. VOD?
Slumber Party Massacre (1982)I’ve always put these movies off because I was under the impression that they were exactly what you’d expect - shallow, boring, predictable, and only slightly more salacious than the posters. After hearing several people discuss them in the last year, my curiosity was peaked so I decided to give them a try for today. I’m not a huge fan of the slasher genre. I find many of them to be all the things I described previously, overly slow, predictable, etc. I’m glad to say that I enjoyed this movie considerably more than I was expecting to. The script is definitely pitched to comedy but the movie is made like a serious slasher, which creates a fun, set-aware tone that’s very unique. I enjoyed the fact that there was never a huge exposition dump explaining who the killer was or what his motivations were. Like the shark in ‘Jaws’ or The Shape in the original ‘Halloween’, he just is. The girls are all great and their characters are much more three dimensional than anyone you’d see through most of the genre. I’ve heard the second movie is especially bonkers, so I’m excited to catch it soon.
Toursit Trap (1979)It's not bad. Like Lindsay mentioned, the running time might be a little bit long. Also sometimes it feels like it might have worked better if they had just gone with supernatural killer mannequins or if they had just gone with crazy old man makes killer mechanical mannequins. Of course Schmoeller would strike a better balance 10 years later with Puppet Master so I guess it all worked out.
Laid to Rest (2009, dir. Hall)God, this was terrible. A disgusting vehicle to show off some disgusting effects. And I watched it with a group of friends, so if I was going to get anything out of its lack of charm, this would have been the time. Blech.
Serial Mom (1994):This counts, right? Because I love it.
Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) - first watch - SlashersAlthough it's best known as the homoerotic one (and it is in spades), it should be known as the damn good one! Not being a fan of the later NOES movies (5-6), I loved this one. It's intense and genuinely "scary" for much of it. The soundtrack was top notch.