Jason Lives…

jason

The first time I watched Friday the 13th, I laughed at the scared Alice barricading the door of the window-filled cabin against her unknown assailant. I was fourteen but even I knew that the killer could just as easily come through any of the multiple windows in the room. As you might guess, I wasn’t a fan of the franchise.

I always considered myself more a Elm Street girl–I loved how Nancy studied up on traps and booby trapped her house to catch Freddy. This was someone I could admire. Not scared Alice running around aimlessly. Which is why growing up I’d only see random scenes from the various Friday the 13th movies. I’d never sat down and tried to watch any more from the franchise.

Until this week. After reading an article in Fangoria about Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, I decided to give Jason and his final girls one last shot. I sat and watch the entire franchise–the good and the very bad. And yes, there were a few that I enjoyed, like Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.

To my surprise, similar to the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, there was a story line pulled through several of the movies–they weren’t just standalone hack ‘em and slash ‘em flicks. Yes, at times there were inconsistencies with the story (like the sudden appearance of Jason’s sister), but it was there: Jason was a child that almost drown at a summer camp and his mother set out to punish the camp counselors who weren’t paying attention. After his mother is killed, Jason grows up in the wilderness all alone, though haunted by his mother. When campers fail to learn from their predecessors and return to Camp Crystal lake, Jason starts killing in revenge and then what I deemed must be for pleasure.

While the story is at times silly, Jason is always creepy (kudos to Kane Hodder for his portrayal of Jason). If I encountered Jason in the forest, I’m pretty sure I’d lose it. However, I never felt like I was given a final girl I could appreciate. For the most part, they were weak and/or annoying characters. But at least now I see value in the Friday the 13th franchise. I understand why it has such a fan base.

However, I will always be an Elm Street girl.

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Hello Again

tim curry

It’s been awhile, but I haven’t stopped being a horror fan. In my hiatus, Get Out won an Academy Award for best original screenplay as well as increased the debate of “what is a horror movie,” Fangoria magazine made a comeback, and we have another Halloween movie.

Currently I’m counting down until Texas Frightmare Weekend (TFW) this May when I will finally get to meet two of my favorite horror icons: Tim Curry and Bruce Campbell. They have been on the top of my list ever since I discovered horror conventions about ten years ago.

I would like to pretend that I will greet Mr. Curry and Mr. Campbell with some awesome phrase and thank them for help shaping my love of horror–but let’s face it. I am not that cool. Most likely I will stand there with a stupid grin and the inability to get two coherent words together while my awesome friend rescues me with her kind smile and ability-to-say-the-right-thing superpower. My superpower is awkwardness.

My friend was the first to introduce me to horror conventions. It was Fangoria in Chicago, very small in comparison to TFW of today. However, this was back when your ticket to the convention included your autographs–perfect for a first-timer who wasn’t sure what to expect. It was here that I was able to meet George Romero for the first time, and I discover my inability to talk when meeting horror icons. The only blessing was that this doesn’t show in the picture I took with him–instead I look a sane fan meeting an awesome director.

But despite my awkwardness, I will still stand in the long autograph lines and purchase photo-ops with these horror legends. I’ve just learned to drag my friend with me. She is the perfect icebreaker and most of the time I can just slide into the conversation with nods of agreement and thank-yous–cool by association. However, I have a feeling we will both be gushing like school-girls when we meet Tim Curry. Who wouldn’t?

The Legacy: the things we inherit

The Legacy (1978) directed by Richard Marquand (who also directed Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi) and starring Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott reminds us that inheritance isn’t always a good thing, especially when people keep dying because of it.

 

Maggie Walsh, an architect, gets hired by a mysterious person in England. Excited at the idea of traveling to England, she convinces her significant other, Pete Danner to go with her.  While traveling by motorcycle through the English countryside, they have an accident and end up having to stay at the estate with her new employer.

 

Featuring a Doctor Who cat/nurse, this movie is great with suspense and a cast of crazy-creepy characters and large, old English estate.  It also co stars a young Sam Elliott, who I believe, stole the show.  The ending also somewhat surprised me, choosing a lighter path than the darker, more sinister one I imagined.

 

Quick side note:  Katherine and Sam met and fell in love during the making of this film. They got married shortly after in 1984.

 

 

What we do in the shadows or vampires make the worst roommates

If you’ve ever wonder about the daily lives of vampire and other night creatures, than this next vamp film is for you. From New Zealand, What We Do in the Shadow (2014), directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, moc-documents vampires as they go about their daily–or more accurately–nightly routine.

 

Deacon, Vladislav, Viago, and Petyr are all vampire roommates, and encounter typical roommate problems, such as washing the dishes and keeping the house clean.  The mockdoc gives audiences a glimpse into difficulties of being a vamp in the modern world.  The documentary builds up to the Unholy Masquerade–a ball for night creatures, where we meet various other creatures.

 

This film is full of laughs throughout as it paints an honest picture of the typical lives of vampires.

 

Turn sparkling vampires into glitter for that next craft project

While the modern vampire has put a foul taste in my mouth for vampire movies in general, there are a few that have reminded me that vampires can be fun dark beings to watch on the big screen.

Recently there have been two such films that reminded me that not all modern vamps are sparkling wimps. The first I’ll discuss this week is Blood Sucking Bastards (2015), directed by Brian James O’Connell. Starring Fran Kranz, who you might recognize from Cabin in the Woods, and many, many others, BloodSucking Bastards is Office Space meets Fright Night.

If you ever thought your work place was full of soul-sucking individuals cramped into tiny artificially lit cubicles, this is the movie for you. Unlike a movie series I will not name here, the vampires within this film do not sparkle. These vamps are not friendly or redeemable; however, there are still immensely fun.

This movie is full of great laughs and a clever storyline that will keep you entertained all the way through.

Side note: be prepared for tons of fantastic gore.

Candyman: sweets for the sweet

There is a horror movie about almost every holiday, even Labor Day.  For Valentine’s Day, we have the original My Bloody Valentine (1981) and the horrible update, My Bloody Valentine (2009)–sorry Jensen Ackles, not even you could save that feature.  There’s also the 1999 feature, Lovers Lane, which features a hook-wielding villain, and Valentine (2001), a stalker/slasher Valentine’s Day feature.

 

While these films are in their own ways entertaining, this Valentine’s Day the movie I’ll be watching is Candyman (1992).  Based on the story “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker, this movie looks into the power of urban legends with the Candyman legend, a darker urban legend than most.

 

Why Candyman on Valentine’s Day?  Besides the man behind the myth being killed for love, the main female character, while investigating the myth of the Candyman, discovers that her husband is cheating on her, and then she gets framed for murder. This is kind-of an ultimate anti-Valentine’s Day horror flick.

 

Did I mention that Tony Todd plays the Candyman? Yep, and he is 6’5” of awesomeness.  His  portrayal of the Candyman is both mesmerizing and terrifying. As far as villains go, Candyman is both mixture of victim and villain–one of the few slashers you feel for during the course of the film.

 

As far as slasher flicks go, this one doesn’t follow the typical plot device of the survival girl, screams, and loud score to indicate when to get scared. Philip Glass created the simple, hypnotic score for this flick, which gives no clues as to when the scares will occur.

 

If you haven’t checked out Candyman yet or if you haven’t seen it a while, I recommend giving it another go, perhaps this Valentine’s. It’s worth the scare.

 

 

The Woods: Lions and Tigers and Witches, Oh my!

As Glinda from Wizard of Oz asks Dorothy, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”  Like The Craft, this week flick seeks the answer to that question and tries to make a distinction between witches that might be ok and witches you shouldn’t mess with.

 

The Woods (2006), directed by Lucky McKee, makes my must-watch-list not only because it stars Bruce Campbell–love him!–but also because its story.

 

Set in the 60s, Joe Fasulo and his wife Alice Fasulo drive their troublesome daughter, Heather, to a private school out in the middle of nowhere. Joe, not knowing what else to do, hopes the school will be good for Heather while his wife just wants her daughter to be gone.

 

Heather, with her serious anger issues towards her mother, at first finds it hard to adjust to the strict structure of the school. But soon she makes a friend and starts to feel ok about the school. However, she cannot completely ignore the strange things she keeps hearing and seeing.

 

When a girl disappears from the school, everything begins to crumble around Heather.  Soon she discovers the school is more than it seems.

 

Unrated and not as recognizable as The Craft, The Woods is an enjoyable flick with some great characters and creepy setting.