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!

Feb 6, 2006

Lists Rule!

I got an email from enterprising reader John Seibert pointing me to an article on MSN, wherein film critic Kim Morgan lists her choices for the Top 10 Best Slasher Flicks. I must say, despite the fact that it's an article purely timed to coincide with the release of When A Stranger Calls, I'm surprised: it's not a bad little list.

For you, dear readers, a tip: when a stranger calls, just hang up! That's my advice. Hang up that phone and save yourself a world of trouble. If the stranger asks if you've checked the children, tell him to mind his own beeswax, then hang up. Easy, breezy, beautiful.

Let's run down Morgan's list and see how I feel about the choices, hmm? I've got nothing better to do today than to throw my opinion around, I was going to make a joke there that would've gone way too far. You'll have to fill in the blanks if you can.

10. The Slumber Party Massacre I think I want to like SPM more than I actually do. It walks a very fine line between satirizing slashers and becoming an exploitation flick, and it raises a few interesting questions- this movie's got more boobage than about any other slasher I've seen, yet it's written and directed by women, so what does that say? Is it still "misogynist trash", or is it "empowering"? Does the fact that the writer (Rita Mae Brown) is a lesbian have any bearing on that answer? Whatever you want to read into SPM, first and foremost, I ask- does it belong on the list of Top 10 Slashers? Remember now, the killer is an inductee into the Final Girl Hall of Infamy...that's not a good sign. Ultimately, SPM doesn't thrill me's not good enough to be great and it's not bad enough to be good. Middle of the road, my friends, is a bad place to be. And one is the loneliest number.

9. Scream This movie's been out of the limelight long enough now for it to get the "props"(as the kids would say) it deserves as a horror movie. Forget the spoofs, forget Jamie Kennedy's 'horror movie rules', forget, if you can, David Arquette. Scream is a damn fine slasher movie. The kids might even call it "dope". "Dope" means "cool", silly- I'm not talking about drugs! Hugs, not drugs, I always say.

8. Friday the 13th Well, duh. What is there to say about this movie? Without a doubt it belongs on this list.

7. April Fool's Day Now we're talking! I fucking love April Fool's Day. Love it. Love. It. First and foremost, it's got Amy Steel. And to me, horror movies with Amy Steel are like bottles of Night Train in brown paper bags are to travellin' hoboes...gimme gimme gimme! It had a twist ending- a good one- before M Night Shamalamadingdong made them all the rage. Deborah Foreman creeps me out through this entire movie, and the whole thing has a wonderful air of unpleasantness about it. Maybe that makes sense if you've seen it. Or maybe it only makes sense to me, as does the bald cap I recently converted into a thinking cap. One of these days I'll do a proper review of AFD, but for now, I commend Kim Morgan for having this on the list.

6. A Nightmare on Elm Street Yeah, OK. But just the first one. It's far more dated than you'd think it'd be, but it still rocks pretty hard. Freddy hadn't become the Henny Youngman of Horror yet, praise Jebus. He was kept in the dark, he mostly kept his mouth shut, and he was scary. Nightmare had a totally original concept- he can kill you in your dreams? - that has yet to be surpassed in the genre. If only he'd kept his damn mouth shut!

5. Cabin Fever Umm...okaaaaaay. I must confess, I haven't seen this yet. It's on my Netflix list, but I have sooooo many episodes of BJ and the Bear to get through before Cabin Fever arrives- it's gonna take forever! But from my understanding of the genre, this...isn't...really a slasher, is it? It doesn't sound like it, judging by Morgan's plot summary. There's a few entries on this list that are pushing the boundaries of the definition, but Cabin Fever sounds like a horror movie to me, not a slasher.

4. Black Christmas Well, y'all should know how I feel about this movie by now. Me like! My best friend Margot Kidder plays a damn fine foul-mouthed drunk, and I've mentioned Olivia Hussey's shiny shiny hair many times. I love Black Christmas, and of course it belongs on this list; I'd put it higher up, though. This flick is probably going to get frequent mentions and wider recognition everywhere as the remake release approaches. Hopefully people will seek out the source material. I myself plan on sticking up my middle fingers at the remake several times- I may even go so far as to moon it. I don't know who's going to star in it yet, but her hair will look like straw next to Olivia Hussey's! Straw, I tells ya!

3. The Funhouse I watched this movie (for the who-knows-how-many-th time) a few months ago, and I still like it quite a bit. Tobe Hooper uses the setting (inside a carnival funhouse after hours) for maximum effect and there's some real shocks to be found. There's no way I'd put it this high on my Top 10 list, but hey. This ain't my list, now is it?

2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Wow, Tobe Hooper in the number 2 and 3 slots. TCM pushes the boundaries as to what can be considered a "slasher"...I'm more apt to call it a "horror movie", where undoubtedly it'd be near the top of my list of the best. This movie is really really unsettling. It's visceral, it's relentless, it's disturbing- even today, 30-odd years after it was made.

1. Halloween I've never heard of it. I'll add it to my Netflix list, but like I said, it won't be here for a while. I've got BJ and the Bear, Cabin Fever, and the entire first season of 227 to slog through first. I'll let you know what I think of it when the time comes, though- promise.


John Barleycorn said...

Cabin Fever has no place - NO PLACE! - on that list. First, it's not a slasher movie. Second, it's no good. It's exploitation done poorly. Eli Roth wants to do the gore thing, and he wants to do the tongue-in-cheek thing, but mainly he wants to bore you for an hour and forty-five minutes until you're shaking your fists in a rage and shouting, "END THE FUCKER ALREADY!"

Des said...

Cabin Fever is a steaming pile of shit.

A mediocre horror movie that ends in a joke. Pure Cleveland steamer.

The Retropolitan said...

I'm going with the crowd on this one: Cabin Fever has about as much reason to be on that list as Groundhog Day.

On the other hand, I'm totally with you for April Fool's Day. Not only did it have Amy Steel, it had Clayton Rohner from Just One of the Guys, and that creepy ass soundtrack. The icing on the cake was my 1985 girlfriend, Deborah Foreman.

John Barleycorn said...

I actually think Groundhog Day should be on that list just because it's an excellent movie.

Still, I don't know how I feel about April Fool's Day. Why couldn't those obnoxious teens just die? And what's with the impromptu dance sequence at the end? There was one just like it in Strange Behavior - post upcoming.

Marty McKee said...

How can APRIL FOOL'S DAY be on the list? There's NO SLASHING IN IT!

The Retropolitan said...

Well, there's some suggested slashing in it.

Dude. Deborah Foreman as insane twins. That should be enough to get on ANY list.

Stacie Ponder said...

Ah, you don't KNOW there's no slashing until the joke is revealed. And yeah, Deborah Foreman and Amy Steel.

Deborah Foreman is so good as she really starts to act, she's my 2006 girlfriend!

Anonymous said...

Please tell me that the "I've never heard of 'Halloween'" comment is just a joke I don't get. I'm pretty sure I've heard you discuss Michael Myers on this blog before...

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone about Cabin Fever. I so happy folks are giving "Black Christmas" the props it deserves. That movie still freaks me out and yes, Olivia Hussey has great hair.

Stacie Ponder said...

Heh, yeah, sorry Adam...I forget that sarcasm isn't always evident through...well, type. I've certainly seen Halloween many times (and posted about it many times).

I should also add that neither BJ and the Bear nor 227 are on my Netflix list. :P

Joshua said...

I love the episode of "227" where JackEE! falls down and twists her ankle right before the big ball and can't go with her new boyfriend and he dumps her for someone with a more sensible name.

Incidentally, your grudging acceptance of "Nightmare on Elm Street" makes me sad. For one thing, you're clearly forgetting how funny even that first one is. I mean, I know this isn't intentional, but it does star Johnny Depp as a high school jock wearing one of those football jerseys that's torn off to reveal his hot abs. And his name is "Glen." Furthermore, after Freddy kills Glen in his water bed, he calls up poor Nancy and his tongue shoots through the phone while he says, "I'm your boyfriend now, Nancy!" That's hilarious and scary!

I love Freddy Krueger.

John Barleycorn said...

Josh is right and wrong at the same time. The original Nightmare had humorous portions, but overall it's definitely a fright flick. The humor is incidental; all horror films have some kind of humor in them. Even Texas Chainsaw is funny at parts, especially when the wheelchair-bound whiny motherfucker eats it. I laughed and cried and cheered. I hated that piece of shit - no offense meant for anyone physically disabled, but Christ, he gave all y'all a bad name.

Name one horror film without bits of humor in it and I'll get a bowl cut and wear tie-dyed t-shirts to work every day for a week.