FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Aug 31, 2020

SHOCK it to me

It's been a while since I posted here and boy, that while sure was somethin', ain't it? It was and it continues to be! 2020 sure is a pile of nothing good...but then I probably don't need to tell you that. Unless you are maybe one of the billionaires who has gotten billionaire-ier during pandemic times? The billionaires are fine. We should eat them.

Anyway. The point is, we are going through it! Pandemic, the fall of democracy in America, climate catastrophes, Kyle Richards getting the villain edit on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills...the hits just won't stop coming! And while everyone is talking about how Halloween is a year-round mood and Halloween is a way of life and Halloween, like the groove, is in the heart. But let's be real, that whole plague thing is really going to put a damper on the spooky celebrations this year. It's getting to be that time of the year when I should be browsing aisles and marveling at the fake eyeballs and fake severed hands and rubber spiders and glow-in-the-dark skeletons, but this year the only thing I'm browsing is Shudder (which I will browse for 35 minutes before deciding that there's nothing I feel like watching). So I guess it's up to SHOCKtober to make this year's celebration a little more...well, a little more of a celebration.

SIDE NOTE: Lately I've had a really weird urge to re-watch the two Rob Zombie Halloween movies. I wonder if time will have tempered my feelings about one or both of them. Surely there are better ways to spend my time? Someone talk me out of it before I do something we'll all regret!

In the interests of "lifting" "spirits" (or at least giving everyone a distraction for ten minutes), I'm going interactive with SHOCKtober this year and I'm bringing back the stunt of SHOCKtobers past, the reader Top 20 lists!  This is the stun where you--yes, YOU--submit a list of your 20 favorite horror movies. Not necessarily the ones you think are best or classics or films everyone should see before they die or whatever...I wanna know your favorites.

Then I'll get out my science calculator and tally up those lists and make a super huge megalist. During the month of SHOCKtober I'll count down that list from number whatever to number one. John Carpenter's Halloween earned the top spot in both 2010 and 2017...will it be #1 again this year? I'm on the edge of my seat already! There have been a shitton of great horror movies released in the last few years (or, like, three at least), and I'm curious as to how the list will or will not differ from the last two go-'rounds.

But! One cannot submit a list all willy-nilly like. There are rules for this grand experiment and they must be adhered to lest I go mad. Here they are! Please heed them!

  • email me a list of YOUR TWENTY **FAVORITE** HORROR FILMS at stacieponder (at) gmail (dot) (c) (o) (m)
  • put "my list" or "list" or "list-o" or something in the subject line so I know what's up
  • DO NOT submit your list here in the comments or via Facebook message or Facebook comment or any other social media or anything like that. EMAIL ONLY BLESS YOU THANK YOU
  • Remember, it doesn't matter if these movies are considered the "best" or classics, they just have to be your faves. Final Girl is strictly a NO JERKS ZONE, and I don't truck with making fun of peoples' loves. Not in my comment section, buster!
  • Unless you indicate otherwise, if there is more than one version of a film I will assume you mean the original. So if you mean The Fog (2005) and not The Fog (1980), please tell me.
  • Honestly I would be shocked if anyone preferred The Fog 2005 to The Fog 1980, but that is your business.
  • If you write something like "The Saw Series," I am just going to include Saw. Specificity is better!
  • No short films and no TV shows, please! Feature films only. Made for TV movies are a-okay!
  • You don't have to submit a full list of 20! Maybe you only have one favorite horror film. Again, that is your business. But 20 titles is the max.
  • The list order doesn't matter! You don't have to rank them.
  • You don't have to comment on any of your choices, unless you want to! But they're always welcome and I like to read 'em.
  • The deadline is the end of Wednesday September 23rd. After that, submissions will go directly in the ol' cybergarbage, sorry.
That's it! This is harder than it sounds; I started making my list and after writing down six or seven movies right quickly I have a big pile of others I need to whittle down to round it out. Pro tip: put on your best thinking wig for this task. I look forward to your lists! Yeah SHOCKtober!

Jun 17, 2020


I tells ya, I don't know how many unfinished posts I have sitting in my drafts, but it surely numbers somewhere around a metric fuckton. Since we last spoke (with our eyes), I have started posts about movies I love, movies I do not love, and movies I have no particularly strong feelings for one way or the other. Every single one of those drafts immediately devolved into what I will generously call pandemic feelings, because how could they not? It is something that everyone in the world is dealing with--even those dum-dums who won't wear a fucking mask--so of course it must be acknowledged. And in case you haven't noticed, in addition to a GD pandemic, the world is on fire in other (vitally important) ways. Hundreds of people are marching every day, even if algorithms and the media have decided not to show us the protests anymore.

See how it happens? Now I have a paragraph of acknowledging the acknowledgments.

I mention all of this not only because it (sort of) explains that I haven't completely forgotten about this place, but because if you're a regular Gaylords of Darkness listener, then you may have noticed we've been absent a couple of weeks. This was a conscious decision, as a podcast talking about horror movies would just be taking up space and diverting from more worthwhile causes. We've been using our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to boost other voices. There's often a dissonance when we talk about politics and the world at large on our show--like, there are literally children in cages at our border, while we sit here chatting about Nail Gun Massacre--and that dissonance has never been as pronounced as it's been lately.

Of course, there are a handful of horror movies that are extremely relevant to the current political climate, and one of those horror movies is Suspiria. You may have heard me mention it around here once or twice or 31 times.

Today, Gaylords of Darkness returns with our fourth episode about this masterpiece...and this time, Anthony and I are joined by Suspiria screenwriter David Kajganich and director Luca Guadagnino.


You can listen to it here, or find Gaylords of Darkness wherever you kids conjure your podcasts--Apple, Spotify, whatever.

To say this opportunity and conversation mean absolutely everything is obviously the hugest of understatements. We chat for about an hour about revolution, representation, Final Girls, lesbian sex covens, and so much more. We talk about the film in ways I've never heard or seen it discussed! There are revelations! Revelations, people!

I don't know where we could possibly go with Gaylords after this (or heck, with Final Girl), but we're going to try. As we mention at the end of this show, we've got a small plan that makes us feel okay about continuing to record and publish episodes as the world rages. Consider following us on one of those social media platforms, because that's where we'll be announcing and updating in the next few days. I'll try to post about it here, too, but you'd probably have to read a paragraph of pandemic feelings to get to the good stuff, and who wants that?

Mar 17, 2020

A Wee Streaming Guide for These Troubled Times

Things sure feel weird right about now, don't they? I don't know about you, but I'm vacillating between It's just temporarily different! Everything will be fine! I'm feelin' good and I'm gonna get stuff done and I'm gonna watch all the movies and read all the books! and being completely consumed by a vague, existential dread/anxiety that leaves me unable to do much of anything. Oh well. We will all get through this together, by which I mean sealed away alone inside of our own homes. I used to pine for a real swamp hag cave or cottage, but now I'm thinking I'll end up in a big swamp hag hamster ball, rollin' around safe from germs, just cackling away. Something to look forward to!

But for now, we're all living that shut-in life. A kind Gaylords of Darkness listener wrote and asked if Anthony and I have any streaming horror movie recommendations for all of us in This Time of Plague. We sure do! And we've gone and made lists of 'em. This is not completely comprehensive, of course, but it ain't a bad place to start. Most subgenres are covered. There are classics that perhaps you haven't seen in a while and there's some you might not have seen yet. If you're looking for a particular film, I highly suggest checking JustWatch. It's a streaming service database that will tell you everywhere a film is streaming, whether for free or for rental. Oh! And also, Shudder is currently offering a 30 day free trial, if you use the code SHUTIN. I love Shudder.

Now how about some recommendations? Some of these we've discussed or mentioned on the show, some I've talked about here, and some we just enjoy.


THE BYE BYE MAN (haha jk just wanted to see if you were actually reading this)


BUG (cockroaches that fart fire, you can't go wrong)





Got a fave you don't see listed? Feel free to drop it in the comments! I know times are strange and stressful, but hey, if Angela Vidal can make it through [REC] then surely we can make it through this. Take care of yourself, take care of each other. Let's watch some horror movies.

Mar 10, 2020

News you can...well "use" seems strong, but

It's been a while. How are you? Are you too worried about the grippe, or not worried enough? Have you bought all of the toilet paper available in your neighborhood? How are you spending your quarantine? I will not lie, my swamp hag shut-in lifestyle actually lends itself quite well to this whole early-apocalypse scenario! It's those poor fools who enjoy things like "sunshine" and "fresh air" that have to worry. I always knew those things would ultimately be bad for me, and trust, my rickets and I are ride this one out just fine.

But! As the world burns and our lungs fill, there are other matters at hand. Important matters. Final Girl matters! Here are some of them:

Okay, fine, I haven't been posting here nearly as often as I should. But that ain't mean I don't still got lukewarm opinions sitting/dissolving under a heat lamp! They just require visiting places besides this website, which I know is hard. You've had this site and only this site open since what, 2005 or so? And your refreshes hardly ever bear cyberfruit.

However, if you've picked up issues of Rue Morgue in the last few months (and why wouldn't you? RM is the best), then perhaps you've seen my name, for it is there I've been a-reviewin'. One film I've seen and talked about for the magazine is Blood on Her Name, which SPOILER ALERT I dug a whole bunch. It's more neo-noir thriller than horror for sure, but who cares? It's intense and anchored by Bethany Anne Lind's fantastic performance. Rue Morgue posted an exclusive clip, which I'm posting here! Highly recommended.

The podcast I co-host, Gaylords of Darkness, continues apace with new episodes every Wednesday. We spent all of February (and then some) on a series we call Great Value Slashers, wherein we discuss slasher flicks that fall outside of the major franchises. Mind you, Great Value Slashers can and do vary wildly in quality--sure, we talk about the greatest of the Greats, like My Bloody Valentine, but we also talk about...whatever the fuck Nail Gun Massacre is.

I love them both! I love every movie we talked about, from Curtains to Don't Go in the Woods...Alone! to everything in between. In fact, the Great Value Slashers really reignited my love of the subgenre. Slashers are the reason I started this dang blog in the first place! They're the formative horror films of my youth! Rewatching the slashers of yore is a terrific way to spend some time. I admit I'm reticent to watch many (most) (all?) of the modern ones, but revisiting classics and trash-ics alike still holds a thrill. I'm looking at them with new eyes (or, to be more exact, older, worse eyes) and it's often a bit like seeing them for the first time. My tastes have changed since Final Girl was born, and I'm a different kind of viewer. A better one, I think. Or, at least, I want a little more out of horror movies than a demand that it scares me or I can make fun of it.

We'll be dropping a Great Value Slasher episode from time to time--there are so many movies to talk about, and my co-host Anthony and I have such fun with them--so give us a subscribe if you like! Gaylords of Darkness is available wherever you find podcasts, or you listen to episodes right on our website.

Lastly, Final Girl is nominated for a Rondo Award! Wholly unexpected, super wholly flattering. Here's a link to the ballot. It's all done by email (ballots are due by March 29th) and the list of nominees is a bit daunting. I'm down under Best Website. If you feel Final Girl deserves that, then gimme a vote why don'tcha.

Is that all the news? I think it is. I didn't like The Lodge. Maybe I would have if I hadn't already seen Goodnight Mommy and really disliked its last 20 minutes or so. Oh well. I'm excited for Saint Maud next month! Aren't you glad you know that now? Scratch this post title...this is all news you can definitely use.

Jan 30, 2020

A Tale of Two Caretakers

"I watched you go down, just as I watched her a year ago. Even in the same dress, you couldn't compare."

I felt a strange wave of affection towards the messy 1978 film The Legacy the other night. It's a very strange movie–probably not "good," if you care about that–but every time I watch it, I love it just a little bit more. I mean, it's got the smoldering babe coupling of Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross, wealthy Satanists, so many cats, an evil Frenchman, a sensitive 70s horror movie theme song, a fey Nazi, crossbows, black magic rings, beef jerky's really something to behold even when it's not.

This time around I was really struck by the sinister Nurse Adams, the caretaker of the deathly ill, reclusive millionaire Jason Mountolive. If there's a main "villain" in The Legacy, it's her. She's mysterious, she prevents our heroes from going where they please and/or leaving the estate, and when death occurs she always seems to be nearby, whether in human or cat form. (Yes, she can shape-shift into a cat. What, you can't?)

More than anything, however, I was taken aback by the subtextual similarities between Nurse Adams and another sinister cinematic caretaker–possibly the most famous sinister cinematic caretaker of them all–Mrs. Danvers of Rebecca (1940).

(Side note: please forgive any janky-looking screenshots in this post...I have no way to get good captures from a Blu-ray.)

(Another side note: the limited edition Blu-ray of The Legacy from Indicator is stunning and jam-packed with bonus features.)

Mrs. Danvers is perhaps the most memorable thing about Alfred Hitchcock's take on Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca. (Stephen King even named a (benign) housekeeper after her in the "Father's Day" segment of Creepshow.) She haunts Manderley as much as the ghost of Rebecca does, looming over The Second Mrs. de Winter and cruelly pressuring her to kill herself.

There's been miles and miles of column inches devoted to Danvers's motivations and inspired debates over whether or not she's a lesbian. Yes, the film is nearly 80 years old and her sexuality is still a point of contention. Danvers is instantly recognized in a "gooble gobble, we accept her, one of us" kind of way by gay audiences who are accustomed to finding themselves and their stories in the subtext of a film. (If you don't understand or know anything about the concept of queer coding in cinema and you care to learn more, I suggest you give the 1995 documentary The Celluloid Closet a peep. It's a good enough place to start.)

Quite simply, straight people simply have never had to read anything into a movie to see themselves. They're just...there, front and center, and they always have been. Because the need for subtext has never been a concern, they also often can't see it, regardless of how obvious it can sometimes be, and they refuse to be convinced of a character's sexuality (well, more to the point, a character's non-heterosexuality) if it is not blatantly stated and explicitly displayed. Essentially, necessity has spurred evolution, and gays have developed a kind of Predator-vision when it comes to looking at films, know what I mean? Cinephile allies may develop this to a lesser extent, or at least they might not refute a suggested gay outright.

Love doesn't have to be requited in order to exist, and it's obvious that Rebecca de Winter wasn't obsessing with her housemaid the way the housemaid was obsessing with her. Danvers waxes rhapsodic over the dead woman's clothes and beauty and manner of being. She reminisces about all her time spent brushing Rebecca's hair, about Rebecca calling her "Danny." Whatever fantasy she had in her mind about herself and Rebecca is destroyed when the truth about Mrs. de Winter is revealed: she wasn't a paragon of saintliness that maybe felt a connection with Mrs. Danvers...instead, she was sleeping with a lot of men. Danvers sets Manderley on fire and dies in the flames, echoing one of her taunts to The Second Mrs. de Winter: "He never loved you, so why go on living?"

Which brings me, at long last, to Nurse Adams in The Legacy. There's a lot of shared DNA between her and Mrs. Danvers, but their arcs are strikingly different.

In case you have no idea what The Legacy is about, here's what it's about: American couple Maggie and Pete find themselves in dotty old England after a mysterious, lucrative job offer. One motorcycle accident later, Maggie and Pete find themselves stuck in dotty old Mountolive Manor alongside six other folks who reveal themselves to be Satanists. Their patron, Jason Mountolive, is dying and is going to bequeath his legacy–get it??–to one of them. One by one the six die until there is only Maggie, who inherits Jason's super Satan powers and fortune. It's...complicated.

We first meet Adams as she watches Maggie and Pete embrace heterosexually when they arrive at the Manor. Adams and Pete are immediately at odds with each other. Pete wants to skedaddle ASAP, but Adams insists they stay at the Manor overnight, prompting Pete to sarcastically call her a "nice lady." Maggie convinces him they should stay.

How dare they!

A white cat is frequently spotted lurking around the Manor, meant to be a harbinger (if not the direct cause) of evil and death. By the end of the film we know that it's a shape-shifting Adams, and looking back at all of the appearances of this white cat gives us a rather informative glimpse into Adams and her...let's call them "interests."

Here is the cat, hanging out at the pool, watching something intently.

Here is Pete, hanging out at the pool, watching something intently.

What are they both watching with such intent, you ask?

Why. it's just a Lady Satanist, taking a relaxing, sexy dip in the pool.

You see, as "heterosexual" is considered default, it's automatically assumed that Pete is gazing at Lady Satanist with lust. So why can't Nurse Cat do that as well? Perhaps she'd like to gaze as plainly as Pete does, but she can only do so in her feline form. Lest you refuse the notion of queer coding and think sure, and later that Lady Satanist ends up dead in the pool! Nurse Cat was just watching her with a sinister gaze, not a lusty one, I offer a later scene, wherein Maggie is alone in bed and thinks she spies Nurse Adams watching her from the doorway:

When she pulls back the gauzy curtain, however, it's just that innocent ol' white cat again.

Maggie then brings the cat into bed with her, and they spend a lot of time cuddling. I mean, it's a cute cat, I'd cuddle it too.

But that's not just a cat, that's Nurse Adams, and she is literally just there to chill in Maggie's arms. In a stellar performance, that cat actor is really selling the bliss Adams is feeling! You can practically hear kd lang's "Constant Craving" playing softly in the background.

This bliss is viciously shattered when Pete enters the bedroom very heterosexually and clam jams it all to heck. Nurse Cat is immediately outta there, and as she jumps down she gives one of those guttural growls that cats do, you know, where they are royally pissed off and about to fuck shit up.

Near the end of the film, Pete attempts to stop Maggie from claiming her Satanic superpowers, but Nurse Adams blocks him from entering Jason Mountolive's medical chamber. Finally the hatred that's been brewing between the two of them boils over and they have a physical fight over, essentially, Maggie. Though she's in human form, Adams hisses and growls, and it's bonkers and hilarious–even more so when Pete throws her down the stairs and she meows all the way down. But! Nurse Adams is dead, and Pete, the walking personification of pure mustachioed heterosexuality, has won the day.

Or has he? Maggie, imbued with those Satanic superpowers, picks up Adams's lifeless (and once again feline) body and lo, Nurse Cat lives again. Maggie holds onto her, and Pete...well, he is so mad about it you guys.

Maggie is now the head honcho at Mountolive Manor and all of the servants line up to pay their respects. Nurse Adams decides this is the perfect moment to give Maggie a flower, as if they are both nervous 14-year-olds at a cotillion. Pete glowers (of course), but Maggie is into it.

In the film's final moments, all seems to be hunky-dory for Pete and Maggie. She has fully accepted her powers and her place, giving him one of the black magic rings to binds them together. While they sure chuckle about it, Maggie may not have the best of intentions: the ring cannot be taken off. This could mean that someday Pete will inherit Maggie's powers, or it could mean that someday she will kill him. (I told you, this movie is messy.)

Whatever the future holds for Pete, however, Nurse Adams will be there the entire time. Unlike that other sinister cinematic caretaker, when the truth about her mistress/obsession is revealed, Adams doesn't burn down the manor and die in the flames. Instead, she dies at the very heterosexual hands of her mistress's boyfriend...and then her mistress brings her back to life. Move over, Mrs. Danvers. Meow!

Jan 22, 2020

Every victim in DON'T GO IN THE WOODS...ALONE ranked

This week on Gaylords of Darkness we dissect the rotting corpse of the 1981 slasher flick Don't Go in the Woods...Alone. I reviewed the movie once upon a time–I mean, as much as a "movie" such as it can be reviewed–but it's been playin' in my mind something fierce as of late, so we gave it a go on the show. In fact, it's kicking off our Great Value Slashers event, wherein we're going to tackle non-franchise slashers of varying budgets and quality.

I've come to develop a real fondness for these oft-terrible movies over the years. The way they play by their own rules, eschewing our preconceived notions about what constitutes, you know, "narrative" and "story" and "structure" reveals true maverick "filmmaking." The folks behind these movies looked at the big boy franchises and said "Why not me? I can do that" and they did do that, even though they clearly cannot do that.

Don't Go in the Woods...Alone hits these Great Value hallmarks and many more of them besides. The gore is never convincing, but it is abundant; limbs and too-bright red blood fly liberally. The massive cast comprises crew members, crew friends, and, well, I'm not sure any of them qualify as "actors" beyond the strictest definition. But that's part of the joy of a Great Value Slasher: anyone can be an actor.

More than most horror films I've seen, characters in Don't Go in the Woods...Alone exist solely to be killed. If you thought the victims in the Friday the 13th franchise were shallow, well, you ain't seen nothin' yet. These often unnamed folks rarely speak a word. We don't know who they are or why they are in the woods, alone or otherwise. There is very little, if any, buildup to the murders. They show up on screen, they get killed–and not always in that order. Every one of them is a gift from the bad moviemaking gawds but some of these gifts are gift-ier than the rest, so why not rank 'em?

15. Camper

This guy shows up solely as a dead body hanging from a tree at a ransacked campsite. Oh, you thought the "body gauntlet" trope could only consist of victims we know? Don't Go in the Woods...Alone says guess again, you fool.

14. Hiker

This guy shows up solely to be stabbed by Final Boy Peter, who mistakes the poor fellow for the killer. To his credit, Final Boy Peter apologizes profusely. Then the hiker gets speared by the real killer. Whoopsie!

13. Craig

Craig is ostensibly one of the four main characters, leading a trio of hikers into the woods for some reason. He's a bit of a pill and even his death scene, wherein he is stabbed, is a bit boring.

12. Running Girl

Running Girl, as she is listed in the end credits, is the first death in the movie. She runs, falls in a stream, and then the water turns red. That's it! That's her whole role! I love this movie.

11. Sleeping Bag Man

Sleeping Bag Man is in a sleeping bag (sleeping? we do not know) and then he gets stabbed to death. Again I say: that's it!

10. Sleeping Bag Woman

Sleeping Bag Woman is ranked higher than Sleeping Bag Man because she has some dialogue. Their death scene literally begins with her saying "Where are you going? Don't leave me alone!" To whom is she speaking? We don't know. No one is going anywhere. It doesn't make sense. She says this, then–still in her bag–gets hoisted up a tree and pummelled-n-stabbed to death.

9. Cherry 
8. Dick

The deaths of "sexy" couple Cherry and Dick constitute what is perhaps the closest to an actual "horror movie sequence" this movie has. Cherry is nervous about having sex with her–husband? boyfriend? fwb?–Dick for some reason. Then she sees something outside, or so she says. Dick wanders off to investigate, gets killed, and then their VW bus is rolled over a cliff. Unfortunately, Cherry is still inside! She burns to death when the VW catches on fire for whatever reason.

7. Fisherman

Fisherman is merely another wordless, nameless victim who went in the woods...alone. But! He gets a bear trap in the face, which you must admit is...sure something.

6. Dale

Dale has gone in the woods...not alone to take photos "of the train coming in." Do we see the train? No, of course not. Dale is next to a waterfall and river, in the middle of the woods! Where would there be a train?? I think it's in our hearts. The real train is the friends we made along the way.

5. Birdwatcher

Birdwatcher has no name or dialogue (I mean, that's pretty much par for the course, so why do I keep repeating it?), but he sure does dress snazzy for his sojourn. And he gets an arm whacked off–look at that blood gush! Tom Savini would be proud, wouldn't he? WOULDN'T HE?

4. Dale's Mom

Dale's Mom has an awful death scene, even by this movie's standards: we don't see anything happen to her, then she crawls along the ground moaning as some drops of blood fall from her. We can't really tell where her wounds are because the shot of her crawling is an extreme closeup...we just see a part of her arm and the drips. So why is she ranked so high? Because look at her outfit! A muumuu, several Marge Simpson-style necklaces, those cool-ass shades and that hat. She is a delight. And if her visual appeal weren't enough, trust me: once you hear her shriek-bleat "Dale? DALE!" repeatedly, her shriek-bleating "Dale? DALE!" will echo in your mind forever.

3. Wheelchair Hiker

It takes forever for the Wheelchair Hiker to roll himself up the mountain, which should be a surprise neither to him nor to us. Such hard work! Such a struggle! At one point, he even falls out of his chair, but he is not deterred. In true inspirational fashion, he ever-so-slowly he inches his way to the top. He takes in the view for approximately two seconds before he is decapitated. That's a metaphor for the absurdity of human existence, ain't it? A depressing one, but still.

2. Lady Painter

The enigma of Lady Painter, as she is so named in the end credits, will never end. She has driven to the middle of the woods to engage in some landscape painting, but she does not paint the landscape before her. She brings along her toddler–daughter? sister?–then wraps the child in a sling, then ties the sling to a tree a good distance from where she is painting. She gives the child a jar full of dirty water to drink. She wears high-heeled boots and mirrored aviators. She does not speak a word, not even a "Huh?" or a "Whazzat?" Then, she is killed. She rules my world!

1. Joanne

Like Craig, Joanne is one of the four main characters. Unlike Craig, her death is noteworthy! In fact, it's by far the most brutal in the film and largely the reason became one of the UK's infamous "video nasties." Of course, this is Don't Go in the Woods...Alone, so "brutal" is somewhat relative. Joanne is hacked repeatedly by a machete, but the wounds/impacts aren't explicit. There's a shit ton of blood, but it looks like tempera paint. Her clothes are torn, but there is no nudity. But still, her death counts as "elaborate" for this movie, so of course it's number one.

There you have it, the world's definitive (only) ranking of every victim in Don't Go in the Woods...Alone. They're all perfect. Their only mistake was going (or rolling) in the woods alone! Or with other people.

But! We know that the true queen of this movie is Rollerskates.  She rolls by the sheriff with an "Okay, thanks a lot!" when he tells her to be careful. And you know what? She doesn't get killed at all. She's too fast, look at her go.

Who says you can't hike in rollerskates? See, it's like I said: these Great Value Slashers play by their own rules. We're all going to learn so much during this event.

Nov 13, 2019

BLOODvember Day 13: FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 (1981)

As you may know by now, I am nuts–NUTS I SAY–about the Friday the 13th series. I love the (relative) risks it's taken, I love its unabashed weirdness, I just...I don't know, at some point I really fell hard for this franchise. I'm not some big Jason fan, either! (At least, not after Part III.) I think maybe spending so much time with it when writing and drawing Death Count gave me some kind of Stockholm Syndrome or something because I feel a weird affection for the films in the series that I don't like...and trust me, the number of Friday films I don't like vastly outweighs the number I do (aka 1-3 and 5, if you must know).

For all the zillions of hours of Jason and Co, however, there's really only a small handful of moments that I've ever found legitimately scary. The biggest occurs near the end of Part 2, when Ginny is on the run from Jason and she comes across his little lean-to in the woods. She goes inside, thinking she might find help:

And boy oh boy! That's a terrible screencap, but seeing Jason through the window behind her, running toward the building, is downright terrifying. I love that he didn't disappear and they didn't try to build any mystery–you know, is he still following? Where will he appear? He's not trying to keep quiet. He's not trying to hide. He is still coming, running right at her. He knows exactly where she is. He's going to get to her, and he's going to kill her. It's just a really effective shot! That she's stumbled into his lair makes it even more frightening...and the fact that it's Baghead Jason chasing her makes it worth at least 100 chef kisses, for as all good people know, Baghead Jason is the best Jason.