Sunday, June 30, 2024

Junesploitation 2024 Day 30: Slashers!




    For anybody who ever wondered what Jason was doing in the downtime between "Friday the 13th" movies when he wasn't chasing after promiscuous teens, writer/director Chris Nash posits the idea he (aka Ry Barrett's 'Johnny') was living (not playing) the Hideo Kojima videogame "Death Stranding" after he's awakened from his underground slumber. Tons and tons of walking through the Ontario wilderness, which the now-overused 1:66:1 aspect ratio turns into serene moments of Zen-like calm. Surprisingly the only moments of genuine tension and anticipation happen during the last act of "IAVN," when the filmmakers have earned enough cred from the first two thirds delivering the horror goods to go indie and try to make an artistic statement. 'Johnny' stalking his victims is mostly slow going (with barely audible dialogue to match his distance from the action), but the handful of kills compensate for their infrequency with intensity and unflinching, almost detached perspective. Half my theater audience was audibly disturbed by the grossest kills, which means Shudder and its production partners were wise to release this unrated. For genre savvy fans "IAVN" is an unmissable proposition. 4 NEW YOGA POSITIONS (out of 5).



    There are a couple of moments on "A Quiet Place: Day One" where Lupita Nyong'o's Samira is either watching a theatrical presentation with an audience or being part of one that nobody watches (the latter to defuse the stress of trying to stay alive) that feel lifted straight from John Krasinski's "IF." Guess the man just can't help himself with the whimsy, but at least it feels more appropriate in the flick with sound-sensitive killer aliens than the one where Deadpool is neutered by PG children's narrative requirements. After a very rough opening setting up Samira's trip to NYC as part of a field trip with other convalescent patients the title card comes up, and afterward we're back to the mostly silent, dialogue-free storytelling the first films excelled at. Djimon Hounsou shows up at the start and end to tie "Day One" continuity with "Part 2," which feels like a waste of the man's talents.

    "Day One" is basically the Lupita Nyong'o Show, which highlights the woman's screen presence when her character is constantly sidelined by the need for medicine to keep her going (same as the kid in the first two "AQP" movies). Ballsy ending, telegraphed early on but still one that got to me and feels daring for a mainstream Hollywood pic. I don't get Eric (Joseph Quinn) or why Samira's cat makes him want to follow her, but whatever. Without him there is no way for Samira to complete her quest, yet Eric feels like a load. The PG-13 alien violence remains unchanged, with new director/co-writer Michael Sarnoski content to expand the opening of "Part 2" (which did it far better) into an alien invasion highlight reel. Worth seeing in theaters to realize how awful it sounds when people eat/drink food at the most inappropriate times. :-P 3.45 FULLY-CHARGED IPODS (out of 5).

    Produced by Ridley Scott, "A Sacrifice" feels like a really good episode from a procedural TV series. Eric Bana plays Ben Monroe, an American-in-Berlin social psychologist and successful author whose college-age kid (Sadie Sink) comes to visit from California. Recently-divorced, Monroe uses his connection with a friendly Berlin detective (Stephan Kampwirth) to get field experience with a recent string of cult-related deaths. A Brit forensic psychologist (Sylvia Hoeks) takes a liking to Ben, the same way a young man (Jonas Dassler) falls for Monroe's kid. Surprise (not!), Ben's kid falls in love with a follower of the same cult he's helping the police with but doesn't make the connection because (a) parenting is hard and (b) he has the hots for his female colleague. 'It's fine,' but feels far beneath Ridley's talents. 3 DEATHS BY DEMOLITION EXPLOSIONS (out of 5).

  2. I want to thank Patrick Bromley and the many site contributors for again providing an excuse to delve deeper into genre and exploitation cinema. All good things must come to an end, however.

    This is my seventh full participation in Junesploitation and has been one of the best ones. This year I really needed it. Only sharks day was missed, something I might make up for later today. Unsurprisingly, my watches turned out considerably different than my initial plan. There were more watches from the DVR, for example. I never did get to anything from my Vinegar Syndrome collection, but five Mondo Macabro releases are in my 2024 list. That is how it goes. This year I crossed the 300 films mark for total Junesploitation watches.

    My slasher pick is a first-time watch, the original PROM NIGHT from 1980. Though I grew up in a time when there would always be a Friday the 13th marathon on some channel when the 13th would fall on a Friday, I was never enamored of the genre and still find it hit-and-miss. Prom Night 1980 is a little of both. It is always interesting to watch these early slashers because they all have their quirks. The formula had not yet been fully established. Prom Night has more on its mind than providing a a lot of kills. The drama between the characters takes up most of the first hour, and there is a relatively small number of victims by the end. The mystery element is set up very early, with plenty of red herrings presented. The references to popular films of the day (Saturday Night Fever, Carrie, and, of course, Halloween) made me smile. The kills are tame compared to today's standards, and I did not feel that they generated much suspense. It was the characters that I like the most. The emotion behind the killings was the most unexpected part. Got to admit I was fooled.

    It is amazing to think about the slasher genre going back almost half a century now. Watching Prom Night, it was difficult not to ponder how dated certain aspects of the film have become. Just as the 1960s and early 1970s horror films are now staples on the horror shows that still remain, will the 1980s slashers be the "quaint" horror programming of the future?

    1. ACL: Thanks for your participation, your observations, and all your comments. This was my second Junespoitation, and getting feedback on my posts made me feel like I was part of something. I appreciate you and the many others who contributed to this. Hope to see you around F This Movie! during the rest of the year!

  3. Madman (1981, dir. Joe Giannone)

    A summer camp, camp counselors, and a crazed killer with an axe.

    Not the most original of slasher plots, but it looks great and the gore gags work. Just a solid, impeccably directed slasher.

    Gaylen Ross's filmography as an actress is short but impressive. Before becoming a documentary filmmaker, she acted in only three movies: Dawn of the Dead, Madman and Creepshow!

    Malevolence (2004, dir. Stevan Mena)

    Set in 1999, a gang of incompetent bank robbers on the lam hold a woman and her daughter hostage in a remote house, but a knife-wielding killer, traumatized as a child and left to fend for himself, messes with their plans.

    I generally like my Junesploitation slashers silly and fun rather than bleak and realistic, but this was an effective thriller with a little slasher thrown in. Impressive considering the reported $200,000 budget.

    Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982, dir. Steve Miner) (rewatch with FTM commentary)

    I couldn't leave my Junesploitation total at 49, had to squeeze in one more. The movie is comfort food, the commentary by Patrick, Doug, Mike and JB even more so.

    I'm kinda sad Junesploitation is over, but look on the bright side, only three months til Scary Movie Month! Thank you everyone for another awesome month!

  4. Wes Cravens New Nightmare (1994)

    Wildly original idea to do a complete meta take on Freddie with key original players playing their actor selves making a Nightmare movie. I found the pacing and tone to me kinda off but the final house-of-horrors nightmare sequence was freddie fun.

    WOO HOO!! Its the final day of Junesploitation. HUUUUGE thanks to Patrick, the F This crew, and all who participated here, on twitter, and in general! I set out to watch/post at least one movie per sploition day and did it!!!!! So much fun and cinema discovery. Also served as another great reminder that theres a HUGE amount of movies out there yet do discover. Thanks again team..y'all are the best.

    1. The more movies that you watch, or observe people watching, the more impossible it seems to ever see every worthwhile movie. My watch list is never shrinking.

  5. Just Before Dawn (1981)

    This classic early slasher with an uncharacteristically brightly-colored poster is another blind spot I'm glad to be able to knock out today. Slashers day is just a perfect way to finish the month off. 

    1. That was my slasher watch last year. It has a good atmosphere as the characters get deeper into the woods.

  6. Prey (2022): it's been 2 years since it came out already? Why did i wait so long to watch it? This is way better than i expected. I'm a little pissed at the french guys because their accents is all over the place and their dialogues are just bad, but that's just a nitpick, the whole sequence is kinda awesome. I love reading the complaints about how "a 100 pounds girl can fight a Predator". It's a freakin' movie, just enjoy the show darn it.

  7. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

    I know the retcon has nothing to do with THIS movie, but picturing a fat paramedic doing all that stuff at the end is very funny. Anyway, this is fine.

  8. Hoping this posts because I wasn't successful on Westerns Day...

    Curtains (1983)
    Might need to give this another shot on Blu. Every streaming version is the ugliest thing I've ever seen.

    Thanks for a fun Junesploitation, everyone. My favorite first-time watches were Rock 'n' Roll High School (New World Pictures), The Intruder (Roger Corman), Larceny, Inc. (Gangsters), Lifeguard (1976, Beach), and Cash Out (Free Space).

  9. In a Violent Nature (2024)

    Had to mix one new movie into my Junesploitation jambalaya. And man, this was a good 'un. Really dug the simplicity of the story and the measured pace. I also appreciated the semi-detached perspective: yes, we follow the killer, but it's generally from behind him, so we AREN'T him, we just witness his acts. And his acts, I must say, are pretty freaking gruesome. You won't be disappointed if you come for the kills and stay for the rest. And the final act was really suspenseful (in a way that's very surprising).

    I highly recommend this film: it's a very mindful massacre. I understand it won't be everybody's bag, but it puts a new slant on the old slasher template, and these days, originality is a real virtue for me in genre films.

    Thanks so much to F THIS MOVIE! for another killer edition of Junesploitation! This was my second year participating, and I got a film in 25 out of 30 days. I solid grade of B! I made up for a couple lost days by switching those days to the free spaces. All the films were first-time viewings, too!

    Along the way, I watched more studs than duds. A synopsis:

    Best movies: Irreversible, In a Violent Nature. Also, two of the most disturbing films I watched. I will watch both of these again. Definitely also want to catch the Irreversible Straight Cut.

    Craziest movies: The Dragon Lives Again, Cat in the Brain. These were both a blast, for very different reasons. I urge you all to check out Dragon Lives Again, it's such an insane mash-up of 70s popular culture. Cat won't be for everyone, but it was Fulci at his Fulci-est!

    Bad/good: Grotesque (1988) was hysterical due to the hysterical punk rockers and the crazed ending(s). Dead Heat balanced a swift pace with Joe Piscopo's cringeworthiness.

    I also really dug Caged Heat, Hell Comes to Frogtown, Humanoids from the Deep, and Wild Zero. But I had a good time with most of the movies I watched, and as I hope from all exploitation-type flicks, they all had at least one WTF moment or two.

    Thanks again to all y'all! See you next June if I don't see you around the F THIS MOVIE! blog before then!

  10. DOOM ASYLUM (1987)
    I thought that I’d plateaued, and that I’d seen everything that ‘80s slasher movies had to offer. And then this freakin’ miracle of a movie dropped on my lap this morning. A group of 20-somethings break into an abandoned asylum, only to get picked off one by one. It’s very much a parody of slashers, poking fun at the tropes and doing the “bad acting on purpose” thing. But then the gore is wonderfully nasty. If you’ve seen all the Jasons, Freddys, and Michaels, and you want to know what else is out there, this one is definitely recommended.

    DEVIL STORY (1986)
    In the movie’s opening shot, the knife-wielding disfigured killer emerges from a tent, only to get his foot caught in the tent ropes. This sets the stage for the type of horror parody we’re dealing with. Except only the first part is jokey, with the killer roaming the woods and slashing various characters he meets. Then it goes all artsy-supernatural with talk of a shipwreck and ghost horse wandering around. This was a low-budget French-German indie, hoping to create a new Friday the 13th, but doing it all European style. It’s plotless and baffling, but at least it keeps you guessing as to what’ll happen next.

    Bonus Universal Monster-sploitation: THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (1956)
    Basically a remake of Frankenstein, the Creature is experimented on to become half-human. After a rampage, he wanders about while questioning his own existence. The ending shots of the Creature looking out over the ocean is as nice an end to this series as any.

    Thanks again to Patrick and co. for another amazing #Junesploitation. It's been a joy to read everyone's picks and comments, and I've added a lot to my to-watch and to-revisit lists. Roger Corman forever!

  11. #JUneSPLOItaTION Day 30: Slashers!

    After realizing I wouldn’t be watching SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE III because it’s not available anywhere, I switched gears to fill a crazy hole in my EW filmography and then end JUneSPLoiTAtion with my all time favorite slasher movie (and really one of my favorite movies) of all time:

    DEAD RIGHT (1993) 39 mins
    a film by Edgar Wright

    A serial killer is hunted by any even crazier cop. Prob made for less than the Hot Fuzz craft services budget. Lots of cheeky fun. Makes me wish I’d tried to make a movie with my friends when I was 19.

    HOT FUZZ (2007) dir. Edgar Wright

    Timothy Dalton is the MVP of this movie… and that’s really saying something considering how stacked this cast is.

    “Lock me up, I’m a slasher… of prices! Catch me later!”

    ***Thank you to Patrick and all the amazing people at F This Movie for the awesome columns, podcasts, recommendations and encouragement.

    Thank you to all the other F This Movie fans for the great reviews, comments and recommendations.

    Roger Corman is now my most watched director of 2024. Unsurprisingly SHARKTOPUS was the worst movie I watched. PAPER MOON is a questionable exploitation movie but is unquestionably the best movie I first time watched this month. I only missed four days because I was vacationing in with my family in Oregon (go, it’s gorgeous). And the biggest surprise for me is that Dorothy Malone is my newest celebrity crush. She was captivating in two Corman movies I watched: The Fast and the Furious and Five Guns West.

    Have a great summer everybody!

    1. Oregon rules! Next time you're out this way, let me know. There's some awesome movie theaters in Portland!

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  13. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

    G'boy Beast!

    American Psycho (2000)

    Hadn't seen it a while. Still bizarrely and uniquely captivating.

    1. And oh yeah, hope everybody had a great Junesploitation. I wasn't particularly adventurous this year, opting for a lot of rewatches, but I was still able to make a few fun new discoveries. I really enjoyed reading through everyone else's comments and reviews (as always), which helped inspire a lot of my own choices, and gave me plenty of titles to add to my watchlist.

  14. The Last Matinee (2021)

    This must be why kids aren't going to the theater anymore.

    I've been meaning to get around to this one for a while, and I'm glad I did. A very obvious homage to Opera, this one starts out very strong. The characters aren't terribly strong, but they're a lot of fun. Then, they're all dead. And that's the movies major issue, the back end is a bit of a slog. But the kills are fun, and the film is gorgeous. That's all it really needs to be. Check it out.

  15. Thanksgiving(2023 Dir Eli Roth)
    There are some good gore gags but the mystery was so predictable the Scooby Gang could have solved it without a chase scene and musical interlude.

    Open 24 Hours(2018 Dir Padraig Reynolds)
    After years of watching his misdeeds a young woman sets her serial killer boyfriend "The Raindrop Killer" on fire. Still suffering from her guilt and trauma she is released from prison and secures a job working overnight at a rural gas station. As the night progresses she stats eeing more and more things. Not knowing whats real and or delusion the terror amp up. Is the killer back or is she just losing her mind all the while confronting her own guilt of the role she played in the original victims deaths. Its not a hidden gem but its a pretty good flick with a few issues that hold it back.

    So ends another Junesploitation. I watched 43 movies this month. 25 new. I missed a couple of days but tried to make up what I could. On a more personal note thank you FthisMovie Crew and Community for always being awesome.

  16. The final tally for the month is 44 films, of which only two were not new watches. 19 were seen on physical media. The balance in the decades was likely the best ever. The 1970s always tends to dominate Junesploitation, with the 1980s not far behind, but this year there were 13 films made before 1970 in the list. Five were made after 2000, which is relatively high compared to previous years. Twelve countries were represented during the month.

    My Top Five watches

    1. Godzilla Minus One (2023)

    2. Reform School Girl (1957) - Watched for AIP day, I have thought more about this film than any other this month. The drama about a juvenile delinquent was surprisingly nuanced for the time.

    3.Purana Mandir (1984) - It had the most interesting mix of genres of the entire month. Though not my first experience of Bollywood horror, the film engaged me in more ways than I expected.

    4. The Professional (1981) - Jean-Paul Belmondo shows what being a movie star is all about in this French political thriller.

    5. Streetwalkin' (1985) - As a pure exploitation experience, nothing was as memorable as this scuzzy story of street p-r-o-s-t-i-t-u-t-i-o-n (Blogger might not like that word). The acting and direction went beyond what is generally required for such a film.

    Honorable mentions: The Gang's All Here (1943), Conquest (1983) The 10th Victim (1965), Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975), and Stunt Rock (1978)

  17. Terror Train (1980)

    Great movie to end the month. I managed to watch a movie a day, with a Terminator 2 as a bonus movie one day. So 31 in total. Some standouts were Money Movers, The Endless Summer, 48 Hrs, and Winchester '73. Thanks to Patrick and all the Fthismovie contributors for making this month the best month of the year.

    1. There were a few movies I wish I had gotten too, but there's no rule that we can watch these movie only in June. I watched half of One Million Years B.C. (1966) but never got around to finishing. The past 2 years I kind of stopped during the last week of Junesploitation (with kids ending school, and usually going on a trip somewhere), so I was quite pleased to be able to participate for the whole month this year. I didn't get "burned out" at all, but there are a few personal responsibilities that got side-lined to make time for movies. Very much worth it though!

  18. In a Violent Nature (2024)

    I’m glad this movie exists and that people are loving it, but unfortunately I’m in the “appreciate but don’t love it” camp. Fun concept and some great set pieces, but apparently the vacuous machete-fodder that make up most standard slashers mean more to me than I realized because without even that minimal connection to the victims, I just couldn’t get into it.

  19. Halloween (1978)
    Wow. You know… that’s a William Shatner mask.