2014 Horrorfest Presents: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991, Rachel Talalay)

This title is a lie although at the time of the film’s release it was the truth. After two decades and six movies the successful Freddy Krueger series was coming to an end. It’s strange because you don’t expect something like this to end and still you know that this is the end. Of course that turned out to not be the case. Which is a good thing since Freddy’s Dead sucks.

Too bad this was the worst installment in the series as the concept was decent. Freddy has succeeded in killing off all of the children in Springfield save for one, which is supposed to free him to kill children everywhere. This leads him to a crumbling institute for troubled kids, and a long guarded secret that finally shows up only in this movie. A secret that I really didn’t end up caring about, and which was poorly disguised for most of the movie. Worked at by the sister of Billy Zane, Lisa Zane, which is a fun bit of trivia I guess.

The creepy childless town is not properly utilized and the characters in this film are largely boring. Save for the great Yaphet Kotto who is not used enough, although I did like some of the cameos and it also stars a really young Breckin Meyer. Also the flashbacks are unnecessary since previous films covered Freddy’s backstory. Luckily for us fans this was not the last entry in the series and in my opinion it’s the only poor film out of the entire bunch.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: The People Under The Stairs (1991, Wes Craven)

Young Brandon (Fool as he’s called) has a massive problem: his family is in danger of being evicted from their crappy apartment in the ghetto. Also his mother has cancer and his sister cannot provide for the family, so Fool goes along with Leroy’s (Ving Rhames in a typical quality and humorous performance) plan to rob the slumlord of the building. Rumor has it the man lives with his sister and they have gold coins, coins that would pay for Fool’s mom’s operation and also prevent the family from becoming homeless. So Fool desperately goes along with the plan, not knowing that it will lead to him becoming trapped inside a house of horrors, forced to try to survive in a hostile environment. After all there are People Under The Stairs.

Wes Craven’s second 90s movie is very 80s, particularly since it covers 80s America: its class and race divisions, the fact that white people were moving into the suburbs to avoid minorities. I liked this film even though Craven, like many other horror and non-horror directors doesn’t bother with being subtitle, as the film’s social, economical and political commentary is really obvious. Everett McGill and Wendy Robie’s creepy brother and sister slumlord duo are religious fundamentalists who hate minorities, the police, and anyone else they feel are not God fearing people. That includes the poor, who they are trying to drive out while still exploiting them to stay wealthy. Not to mention the fact that what they have trapped in the basement are, well…I won’t say but it’s not pretty.

Even though the last act is a bit heavy-handed (mobs sure pop up really quickly in movies) People Under The Stairs combines campy bleak humor with an eerie and freaky atmosphere. Also Roach is a weird yet also sympathetic character, someone who shows up in plenty of horror movies. McGill and Robie steal the film yet I was surprised that Brandon Quintin Adams was really good in this, as too many films have featured bad child acting. I found this to be one of Craven’s better movies, and I’m a fan of his because his movies never seem to be boring at least.

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