Horrorfest 2017 Presents: Urban Legend (1998, Jamie Blanks)


Yeah I know its almost time for Horrorfest 2021. Go figure. Anyways I am glad that Urban Legend popped up on Crackle last year, as it is a fun, mostly sharp, killer targets college kids slasher film that the 1990s featured a lot. Despite getting plenty of hate I actually like this movie quite a bit, particularly since it dives into one of my favorite subjects: urban legends and how they get spread. In this case however the group of young people better know their stuff, considering a murderer is on the loose and is using those famous legends to kill people. Off the top of my head the ones featured include the girl hiding in the car as the boyfriend gets murdered, the dead roommate (“Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?” Spooky), the dog in the microwave, pop rocks and soda being mixed together, and others that are only mentioned, not shown. What a great list. Oh and this film has a cast that fits the material well, for better or for worse. Really its so weird seeing Jared Leto play a seemingly normal guy, although he really pairs up well with the film’s Final Girl, Alicia Witt.

Plus the movie features Danelle Harris and Robert Englund in neat small parts, as well as Tara Reid, Loretta Devine and Michael Rosenbaum in good, notable parts. Despite the film being a bit too flashy at times and certain aspects not working as well as I would have liked, I rather enjoyed Urban Legend. Maybe it’s largely due to how much I like such tales, and in this case who the killer turns out to be is a great twist. One that I will actually admit I did not see coming, although perhaps I should have due to having viewed so many slasher movies over the years. Although back when I saw Urban Legend I still was not as familiar with the genre as I am now. Hurray for reviewing a movie four years later!

Slasher Sequel Fest


Inspired by numerous movie marathons over the years, I was thinking about doing one for only sequels of slasher films. My list would be:

1. Scream 2 (1997)
2. ANOES 3: The Dream Warriors (1987)
3. Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)
4. H20 (1998)
5. Leprechaun 2 (1994)
6. TCM 2 (1986)
7. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 (1987)
8. Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984)
9. Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
10. Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)
11. Slumber Party Massacre Part II (1990)
12. Hellraiser II: Hellbound (1988)
13. Final Destination 2 (2003)

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: You Might Be The Killer (2018, Brett Simmons)


Even though it comes a little late in the game and is not as clever or as inventive as The Cabin In The Woods and Tucker & Dale vs Evil, You Might Be The Killer is still a nice time waster and a decent take on the slasher genre. I did like that the mask is pretty wicked and actually freaky, and what happens is pretty gory and at times even surprising, although that is due to the film trying to subvert slasher cliches. The movie also embraces those cliches fully, as the summer camp setting and the camp counselors getting horribly butchered is a time honored tradition when it comes to such films.

Sam (Fran Kranz, who was also in The Cabin In The Woods) is a nice guy who is stuck in a bad situation: he has memory loss, and people keep dying all around him. He calls his friend Chuck (the usually awesome Alyson Hannigan), who gives him advice but also asks a question that the audience is thinking: is Sam actually the killer? Maybe….maybe not! I can’t say further, although this film does make me think of that one time I took a Facebook horror movie quiz and it said I was the villain. Whoops. Perhaps I should ease up on the horror movie watching for awhile. Nah, I’m good and besides Shudder is a wonderful service that I can’t stop enjoying…

Slash This! (I Got Nothing)


Favorite Slasher Movies Cause Why Not

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American Psycho (2000)
Scream (1996)
My Bloody Valentine (1980)
Halloween (1978)
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Deep Red (1975)
Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2005)
Terror Train (1980)

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Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors (1987)
Return To Horror High (1987)
The Burning (1981)
Popcorn (1991)
Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)
Torso (1973)

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: Summer of 84 (2018, François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell)


Channeling a mix of Stranger Things and Stand By Me, the Canadian horror flick Summer of 84 also reminds me of Monster Squad. I liked how it’s a solid mystery thriller featuring a group of likable kids. One of them is played by Judah Lewis, who seems to be in a good number of horror movies these days. The leader of the group, Davey, is played by Graham Verchere, who offers up film noir style voiceover narration.

A serial killer of kids is loose, and Davey in true Rear Window fashion suspects his neighbor. Problem is that neighbor is a cop, and a well respected one at that. Gathering up his friends, Davey decides to investigate despite the possible consequences. I rather liked the use of walkie talkies to spy on someone, plus the film’s excellent, very 1980s score.

Even though Summer of 84 moves a bit too slow at times, it’s still a really good and enjoyable movie. The last act works incredibly well and there are scenes that are very suspenseful. “Even serial killers live next door to someone.” A rather chilling line, and all too sadly true.

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: The Babysitter (2017, McG)


Finally lying down, beer in hand, I watched The Babysitter last night. This was my kind of late night modern slasher film-savvy, fun, really violent, channeling the 1980s. In fact this movie would have been right at home during the slasher heyday, and if it was older many would regard The Babysitter as some lost cult classic. As it stands it is a really good modern day horror film, one with a good cast and snappy one liners.

Young Cole doesn’t realize until it’s too late that his super gorgeous babysitter, Bee, is the leader of a devil cult. One that sacrifices lonely losers and then uses the blood of the innocent to achieve power. Or, something along those lines, that aspect was not important. Once the group finds out that Cole knows, the poor kid has to run and this movie turns into Home Alone on steroids. Bonus points for the Foghat hanging out montage that is oddly adorable.

Sure I have seen this kind of movie done before, yet pure slasher cinema is apparently Bella Thorne crying about getting shot in the boob. Also Samera Weaving and Judah Lewis have that nice bit of chemistry that was just not meant to last. I wouldn’t mind if this became a franchise, although it is unlikely to happen. Even though it is cool that this is on Netflix, getting to see it on the big screen would have been more satisfying. Oh well.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: The Bat (1959, Crane Wilbur)


Playing out as part mystery, part early style giallo, The Bat (1959) is a solid and enjoyable remake of a film I have never seen. Having Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead anchor a reliable cast is a good move on Crane Wilbur’s part, and Price’s character exists in a gray area this time, unlike his usual villainous roles. I liked that The Bat was this shadowy killer, and in giallo/mystery fashion the viewer has to guess who he or she is throughout the movie. I also dug that in the 1950s era of sci-fi monster horror and aliens that a movie such as this one exists. Even if the movie is a tad by the numbers, although back in the 1950s viewers were probably freaked out by a mad killer ripping out people’s throats.

Also the make and look of The Bat reminds me of some later horror and action movies featuring a killer operating in such a manner, and even an episode from The Avengers’ TV show. There is even the breaking of the forth wall from Moorehead’s mystery writer who ends up in a meta experience, something that has been since used quite a lot in cinema. I recommend this movie, if only because it’s a nice and mostly fun movie that would be a good introduction to horror for younger audiences and those who cannot handle gore or too many frights.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988, Michael A. Simpson)


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While I liked the first film quite a bit, Sleepaway Camp II is better. There are a few notable changes, particularly having Angela, the villain of the series, go from silent to wise cracking. Naturally a new camp is set up, and Angela (now played by Pamela Springsteen, in a great performance), is hiding her identity and has gone back to killing anyone who crosses her. This film also has references to other slasher movies and a bleak sense of humor, elements that were needed since by the late 1980s slasher fatigue had set in.

Unlike the first movie, where most of the characters were awful people, this one has some okay folks. However when it comes to Angela, she doesn’t care: be annoying, do foolish things, or cross her path and things end badly. Two sisters find out the hard way, as do numerous other campers. The body count is higher, a characteristic of most horror sequels, and the kills are more gruesome.

Although it sometimes comes off as really campy, Sleepaway Camp II is mostly fun, even meta at times. If you like slasher films that are humorous and self aware, this one is for you. Viewed thanks to TubiTV, a good resource for movie fans. Oh and I think I hear the happy campers song echoing off in the distance…

 

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Curtains (1983, Richard Ciupka)


Despite some noticeable issues with its production, Curtains still has enough good moments to make it worth viewing. John Vernon is wonderfully sleazy while Samantha Eggar comes off as both obsessive and vengeful as the muse Vernon betrays. The women who gather at his mansion to obtain the role that Eggar feels was promised to her all fall under the threat of a creepy mask wearing killer. This film even throws in a memorable ice skating scene for good measure, a scene that is the film’s highlight.

Based on what I have seen, Canadian horror has some good slasher films, and despite its faults Curtains is decent enough to consider viewing. Also Lynne Griffin and Maury Chaykin make notable appearances. I guess anyone desperate enough to make it in Hollywood would literally kill for a major role. Show business is a tough one, indeed.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Don’t Go In The Woods (1981, James Bryan)


I never thought I would view a slasher film that is so trashy and bad it makes the Friday the 13th series appear to be cinematic art by comparison. Yet here we are with Don’t Go In The Woods, a really dumb and mostly poorly made excuse for a gore fest that never quite works. Instead James Bryan sets out to show as many horrific killings as possible by some crazed backwoods hillbilly, thus sacrificing everything else. I mean the Friday the 13th series at least had likable people to root for. This film has none of that.

Nope skip this lame flick and watch The Final Terror instead. Or go enjoy a slasher film such as Friday the 13th which is at least fun. Forget not going in the woods, how about not watching this movie? Yet I still viewed it anyways, because it was controversial and I am a sucker for 1980s slasher films. Oh well.

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