Horrorfest 2019 Presents: The Hills Have Eyes 2 (1984, Wes Craven)

There are some movies that do not deserve or need a sequel. The Hills Have Eyes 2 is a jumbled mess that lacks the raw energy of the first, brutal cult classic. Sometimes franchises are a bad idea, only this potential one died rather quickly. Wes Craven made this for some fast cash, only to abandon the movie when the money ran out. Funny enough this was finished before Craven hit it big with A Nightmare On Elm Street. Lucky for Wes Craven everyone remembers that movie instead.

I don’t recall hardly any of the cast, and if this was not on Shudder I never would have made it through the movie. The cast for this is not bad, and the main storyline is ok, yet the kills are boring and there is hardly any suspense. Skip this movie unless like myself you are dead set on going through all of Craven’s filmography. Luckily he rebounded later in the 1980s and he figured out how to tackle a franchise with the Scream series. Even good directors have one or two mistakes in their careers.

Horrorfest 2018: Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989, Michael A. Simpson)

Yep Sleepaway Camp III is an obvious cash grab sequel that was not good. Not even fun in a bad way, or even trashy. How the same people involved with the second one made this film is sad, mostly because its look screams low, low budget. The kills are lame, the special effects are poor or non existent, and Angela is even going through the motions. By the end of the 1980s the slasher genre had run out of ideas and felt stale, and I think Sleepaway Camp III reflects that, along with other bland horror cash grabs that also failed miserably.

Oh and this film lacks good characters, has a lame plot and lacks any of the fun meta and mayhem that made the sequel good. It doesn’t have the unique weirdness of the first film, either. Even though this was supposed to be the last entry in the series, more films were made. Count me out.

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: Ghoulies II (1988, Albert Band)

Unfortunately like many horror sequels this one is bad. I don’t even know why Ghoulies is a franchise in the first place seeing as the original was decent at best and it’s a pale Gremlins knockoff. Joe Dante ended his series while he was still ahead-too bad the creators of Ghoulies did not. Still there are some good moments in this movie and I’ll probably end up finishing the series up anyways just to be a completist. I must be a gluten for punishment.

I will say that the film has a pretty good setting: a down on its luck carnival under threat from the son of its owner. My problem with the main human villain is that he’s just not evil or sleazy enough for most of the movie. At first he just seems like someone trying to d his job until he goes all the mayor from Jaws and refuses to close the park after the danger becomes widespread. Most of the characters in this movie are thinly developed although that could be said of many movies that are still good. This film bounces from unfunny awful jokes to brutal not very scary violence.

Really though the biggest problem is the Ghoulies. I spent the entire movie wanting to squish some of them with lots of tissues, and calling an exterminator for the rest. The Gremlins have distinctive personalities and the Crites are wonderfully gruesome but the Ghoulies are boring. The first movie was enjoyable despite their presence. Skip this movie and watch a better creature feature.

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