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 17, 2006

Happy Trails to me...

When you are me, something happens in your head and suddenly you've quit your job and you're about to embark on a mega-vacation with naught but an atlas, a camera, and a dream.

OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. It's true, however, that I did quit my job and I'm about to embark on a mega-vacation. In addition to the atlas, camera, and dream however, I'm also bringing clean undies and sunscreen. I burn easily!

Here's a bit of the madness planned on the...

Final Girl World Tour of the Southwestern United States

-Las Vegas
-The Extraterrestrial Highway!
-Death Valley
-Joshua Tree
-Los Angeles
-Carlsbad Caverns
-The Grand muthafuckin Canyon
-every damn ghost town I can find

...and lots LOTS more. I've never been out that way before, and I'm so excited I can't think about much else. I'm going to be meeting some cyber-friends at long last and doing alot of driving.

When I return I'll have you all over for chablis, crudites, and a slideshow. I'll also have baseball jersey-style tour shirts for the Final Girl World Tour of the Southwestern United States available for purchase with the dates and locations on the back and some snazzy something on the front. Because I'll be unemployed, the shirts will cost $200 each. I expect you all to buy many.

So there you have it, folks. Bright and early tomorrow morning I'm fixin' to get on a plane and head out of town for a lengthy sojourn. I'll be returning around Labor Day and I'll be incommunicado in the interim. Whilst I'm away, I want you all to behave and make me proud. I implore you to check out the sites linked in my sidebar if you haven't already...they all get the FG Stamp of Approval times 50, for whatever that's worth. Just remember who loves you the most.

Here's a little photo parade I've assembled from past entries to entertain you if you forget I'm gone and check back from time to time. I think these sum up Final Girl quite nicely.

Incidentally, I'm really into writing things on my fists right now, so don't be surprised if it becomes a recurring feature.

See you soon...unless I get abducted-n-probed along the ET Highway.

Aug 14, 2006

visions of the future

Bloody-Disgusting has a review up of the workprint of the forthcoming remake of Black Christmas. It's super wicked spoiler-heavy but I read it anyway. It's a review of a mere work in progress, but I read it anyway. Why? Because many moons ago when I first read about this movie I think I could already smell it...and it smelled bad, baby. Perhaps it's not fair to judge a film on an interview here and a production still there and a plot synopsis over yonder. But hey, who says I have to be fair? And anyway, if you read the scathing review, you'll see my early onset of middle finger-flipping was most likely justified. Point #1, from the review: "It's too jokey." Sigh. I hate too jokey in my horror! Unless it's supposed to be jokey, which I'm pretty sure this film is not.

There's no denying the hilarity of this production still, however, which I have dubbed Coal Miner's Daughter Senior Portrait:

She's ever so thoughtful and innocent and sooty!

As I said, it's just a workprint so things may change before I lay my grubby eyes on this puppy, but it matters not. I'm already working up a list of post/review titles for when Black Christmas hits the screen:

Blecch Christmas
Bah Humbug!
Black ChristmASS
Was I Naughty, Santa? Is That Why You've Wrought This Upon Me?
The Worst Noel
Jingle Smells
This Movie is a Piece of Shit

What gets your vote? I'm really into The Worst Noel despite its lack of profanity.

Aug 12, 2006

Ridiculous Faces of Death 2

I think we can all agree that John Carpenter's Halloween is a classic of the horror genre and a pioneering film in the slasher sub-genre. Even if you're not a fan, the film deserves its props, yo. While the film is still spooky after all this time and remains a favorite of mine, there's no denying the moment when one can only think..."Wow! Now that's a ridiculous face of death!"

I'm referring, of course, to my beloved Nancy Loomis as Annie. On her way to pick up her boyfriend Paul- yes, it's true...she can no longer stall- she's accosted by the backseat boogeyman Michael Myers. He pops up suddenly and chokes Annie, ascary scene made all the more frightening by the layer of foggy glass Carpenter puts between the viewer and the action.

Annie gasps and gaks and writhes until eventually Myers cuts her throat and puts her out of her misery. Terrifying...until Annie does her famous cross-eyed slide down the foggy windshield.

I'm noticing a people really go cross-eyed when they die? It never seems to happen in something like Terms of Endearment. Or Steel Magnolias...did Julia Roberts pull a face like that? How odd.

In other news, there's a new Horror Roundtable up at The Horror Blog, a fine fine site if I do say so myself. The question this week is "What is your favorite horror weapon?" There's some great answers up there...go forth, read, and comment. I love participating the Horror Roundtable. I feel like Dorothy muthafuckin Parker, y'all!

Aug 11, 2006

Ridiculous Faces of Death 1

I'm sure as fine connoisseurs of horror you've all experienced this phenomena at one time or another: the Ridiculous Death Face. It occurs when the actor or actress portraying the hapless victim pulls...well, a mighty ridiculous face when they're being shown what for by the film's psycho.

Having never been killed or killed someone in real life, I have no idea if people actually make faces like this when they're dying. Frankly, I don't want to know because that's a little morbid. Having never acted in a horror film, I don't know if the director tells these actors to...uh, emote this way or not. But when watching a movie, whether a good or bad one, whether I'm sucked into the action or not, these silly faces bring everything to a screeching halt, if only for a minute.

So, to introduce this new feature to the hallowed halls of Final Girl, I give you the eeeevil Dr. Crews (Terry Kiser) from Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. After meeting the business end of Jason's mighty yard trimmer:

This is what we get:

Dr. Crews, I knew you were a jerk when you used Tina's mother as a human shield...and sad to say, it's therefore fitting that you die looking so stupid.

Aug 10, 2006

call me Richard Dawson

If you've ventured out to places on the Information Superhighway besides my humble blog here, chances are you've come across one of those surveys or quizzes the internerds seem to enjoy posting and sharing with everyone. Come on, you know the ones I'm talking about. There'll be 99 absolutely fascinating questions like "How many cans of soda did you drink yesterday?" and "Do you like puppies or kittens better?", or an insightful quiz along the lines of "Which Eight is Enough character are you?" or "Which kind of bread are you?".

In case you didn't know, by "fascinating" and "insightful" I meant "not fascinating" and "not insightful". As a rule, I assiduously avoid both reading these things and engaging in them myself. One came to my cyber-mailbox today that I thought was a little OK, if a little dull. I'm going out on a limb here and I'm gonna answer these questions. If you've read Final Girl for any length of time you can probably guess my answers, but what the hell. You can even answer the questions in the comments section if you want to make this a sharing is caring session. And don't worry, I'm laughing at myself for answering these enough for the both of us. Now then...SURVEY SAYS...!

1.) Favorite Black & White Horror Movie Character?
Hmm. This is ambiguous...I mean, are they talking about black and white films so only one answer applies, or is this a race question and I need to give two answers? I guess we should assume the former. It's a tough question, really. There's no denying the delicious awesomeness of Rhoda in The Bad Seed, but then I'm totally in love with Claire Bloom as Theo in The Haunting ('63). Oh, and what about Johnny in Night of the Living Dead? I always like a smartass in a polkadot tie, horn-rim glasses, and driving gloves who turns into a zombie. Bah! Too many to choose just one.

2.) Favorite Horror Author?
Overall, probably Shirley Jackson. I quite like Brian Keene's work as well. I'm not terribly well-versed in horror literature.

3.) Freddy or Jason?
Crazy backwoods sack-n-overalls sportin' Jason by a wide wide margin.

4.) If you had to pick one which would it be?
A) Stay in a haunted house alone overnight.
B) Camping at Camp Crystal Lake
C) Swimming in the waters on Amity
Haunted house! Haunted house! I LOVE scary buildings.

5.) Favorite Cheesy Horror Movie?
Again, how can I choose just one? Can I really say that I love Killer Workout more than I love Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers? Is my love for Halloween III greater than my love for House on Haunted Hill ('99)? It's akin to asking if I like my left arm more than I like my left leg. Can't I have and love all my limbs?

6.) RingU or The Ring?
Call me an ugly American if you will, but I'd say The Ring. I'd say that even if it didn't feature Naomi Watts, so there.

7.) Alien or Predator?
Alien, doy.

8.) The more gore the better or a great storyline?
Guess what I'm going to say here! Heh. This question is a little apples and oranges, but umm...I prefer a great storyline. A gore fest with no story is a little...I don't know. It's just not what I dig.

9.) New horror, old horror, or classic horror?
What's the difference between 'old' and 'classic'? There's good and bad entries in all three categories, anyway. Instead of being a picky picky smartypants survey ruiner, I'll just go with "old"...while stressing that I am in fact young and hip and "with it", whatever "it" is.

10.) Sequels or Remakes?
Again, both categories have their winners and losers. Overall, I think sequels have a better track record.

11.) Zombies or Creatures?
What's a 'creature'? Aren't zombies creatures? Damn the vague-osity! I say all that knowing that zombies will always win for me.

12.) Best way to watch a horror movie?
In a wig.

13.) Favorite Horror Icon?
Real person: Adrienne Barbeau
Fake person: Michael Myers

14.) Favorite remakes or sequels?
Remakes: The Thing, Dawn of the Dead, The Fly, Invasion of the Body Snatchers ('78)
Sequels: Friday the 13th Part 2, Aliens, Day of the Dead (does that count?), Sleepaway Camp II, Halloween 2

15.) Movie that gave you chills or scared you?
Let's see...The Haunting, The Blair Witch Project, Event Horizon, Halloween, The Ring, Don't Look Now, The Brood, Ju-on...those all still get under my skin. Yeah, and the highly debatable The Exorcist. What's fun is remembering stuff that scared me to death as a kid- things like Track of the Moon Beast, Phantasm, and the poster for It's Alive. I mean, Track of the Moon Beast?? I'm still good at finding something effective in most every horror movie, though. Sometimes you can see the intent or there's a little flash of scary in mediocre movies, movies I love that aren't overall particularly frightening, or even outright bad movies. Not always, but sometimes you can find films like Madman, Night of the Demons, April Fool's Day, or Just Before Dawn.

There you have it. Tune in tomorrow for the exciting results of the internet quiz "What flavor douche are you?"!

Aug 9, 2006

The Descent

I'm hoping some of you out there ventured forth from your homes to partake in this installment of the Final Girl Film Club and went to see The Descent. I know, I has proven that fresh air is bad for us. I'm also aware that ass grooves on the couch won't make themselves, but sometimes we must sacrifice a little to get a little, my babies. Yes, it was a scary couple of hours outside of the house; lucky for me it was mostly due to the movie, but there was also that dog staring at me on my way to the car.

For those of you who were unable to check out the flick, you may want to consider turning back now and returning to this post after you've seen it. There's bound to be spoilers in the post and the comments, and I care so much that I don't want anything ruined for you. I avoided everything about The Descent save for the trailer prior to seeing it, and I think that was a good move. You can always come back later. Go on now, git! It's time for the cool kids to talk about you the movie.

Oh my GOD, I'm so glad they're gone...can you believe what they were wearing?

OK, if you're still with me, then chances are I don't need to go into a huge rehashing of the plot. 6 women enter uncharted territory on a weekend spelunking expedition. When their route back to the surface is blocked by a cave-in, the women must find another way out. As they travel deeper into the blackness of the underground maze, they soon discover that there's something very horrible and very deadly lurking in the dark.

While it's easy to spot some of the influences writer/director Neil Marshall taps into (Deliverance, The Shining, and Alien, among others), The Descent is refreshingly original. Marshall has delivered a monster movie that's so much more than a monster movie; throughout the film, he expertly exploits some of the most primal universal fears- the dark, the unknown, and small spaces- to deliver a story that's as serious as it is terrifying.

Yep, I said serious. While there are a few tension-easing lighter moments here and there, this is not a horror/comedy. It's not a parody or a self-referential ironic effort sprinkled with jokes and zingy one-liners. OK, there's one- "I'm an English teacher, not fucking Tomb Raider!"- but that line kicks ALOT of ass and you know it.

In fact, The Descent is so serious that it pays far greater tribute to the gritty horror classics of the 1970s than any other current film that purports to; you see, it's not the kids singing "Sweet Home Alabama" (as in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake) or the helter-skelter gore and violence (House of 1000 Corpses) that capture the vibe in films like the original TCM. Those lame attempts smack of the superficial, and they nearly always miss their mark. Marshall's work recalls that of John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper because on a base level Marshall knows how to craft a scary movie: he keeps the pace slow and he keeps things dark.

Visually, the film works because Marshall uses the underground setting to full effect, generally keeping it dark but also washing the screen with blues, greens and reds's eerie, but it also serves to remind us of the beauty in places like this and maybe show us why anyone in their right mind would want to go caving in the first place. While The Descent takes place in the Appalachian mountains, the film was shot both on location in Scotland and on elaborate sets. With the exception of a few clunky CGI moments, I was hard pressed to find any fakery.

As I said yesterday, Carpenter's approach to storytelling is the slow-burn method that allows the tension to build to the breaking point- then he whales on us with the climax. Marshall takes that same approach here, and the result is a rich atmosphere dripping with dread. That's not to say there's nothing much happening in the film's first reel; rather, there are several jolts and shocks that had me involuntarily slapping my hands to my cheeks in a decidedly Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone fashion. No, I'm not exaggerating...and yes, I felt like an idiot. But it happened and there I was, a happy little simpleton having the time of my life while being creeped out of my mind.

I was just so damn happy to be watching a horror movie made for adults, starring adults. The female cast was definitely nice to look at, but there weren't any big Hollywood names or artificial Hollywood bodies. They were real women and, shock of shocks, they acted like women- not girls, not teenagers, and not cliches. Even more shocking was the fact that this group of friends acted like friends! What a novel fucking concept! There was the awkwardness and the snappish moments and things unsaid you get when friends don't see each other often, but all in all they got along and seemed to actually like one another. The characters were well-drawn, the acting was far above par, and for once I found myself wanting them all to survive this journey. Well, maybe with the exception of Holly...but I knew from the moment she was introduced that she'd be the first to die. It's a staple of the horror genre: don't be cocky and brash, because your cocky brashness will lead to a quick demise...or in Holly's case, a quick demise preceeded by a long interim of pain. Man, that leg break was nasty!

This brings us to the gore content: The Descent gets two great big "eww!"s up. Once things start to go to hell for our heroines, the movie gets downright grosstastic. There's biting, chewing, ripping, cutting, slicing, smashing, tearing...and by the end of it all, lone survivor Sarah is covered in enough blood to make Carrie look like an amateur.

The film was released in the UK in 2005 with a longer, different, slightly more downbeat ending. Check it out right here. Test audiences in the US preferred the idea that Sarah actually makes it out of the cave, but I wouldn't call it a happy ending by any stretch. While she may have eluded the physical dangers that brought down the rest of her group, any way you look at it it's obvious that Sarah is now completely 100% batshit insane. I dig a movie that has the balls to screw with our expectations like that, to make even the winner a loser; think Sally in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Chris in Friday the 13th Part III. Sometimes making it out alive might not be the best option.

Hey! I finally picked a winner for the Film Club! Hooray for us all. I can't think of anything I didn't like about The Descent. We might just have a modern classic on our hands, kids. See? Maybe we should leave the house more often.

Here's the Film Club Coolies. Give them mad props, yo:
Mermaid Heather
7 Dollar Popcorn
The Horror Blog
Media Kitten
Minor Annoyance

Aug 8, 2006

I Heart: The Fog

Midnight 'til one belongs to the dead.

Insomuch as that my last name is "Ponder", I feel it is my birthright to ruminate, to mull, to dwell, and to philosophize. It then follows that I spend a good amount of time staring at the wall, asking myself such questions as "What is the nature of man?"..."What is art?"..."What time is it?"...and "If I were to be executed, what what would I request for a last meal?". Then I ponder, I stroke my metaphorical goatee, and I try to answer myself: "The nature of man is to be good and productive, free to act according to himself"..."Art is intent"..."It's 7:42" (or, if I'm feeling sassy, "Time to buy a new watch!")...and "Hmm, let's from Adriatico's, Rachael's lasagna, malai kofta from that place on 27th & Lex, Nutter Butters with Nutella on top, and mint chocolate chip ice cream". Sometimes I also think "Given the seriousness with which I take the meaning of my surname, the world should be thankful that my name is not Stacie Killandeatallbabies". My rivers run deep, you see. Deep.

Folks, I promise...I'm only a little drunk and I will get to a point eventually. Wait, I think it's coming...ah yes, here it is.

I was watching The Fog (the 1980 version, of course) recently, and a few minutes into it- during the credits- I thought "Wow. The Fog is so awesome. In fact, there are so many of my favorite people in it and so many kickass elements throughout, it just may be my perfect dream movie. It is totally exactly like what my last meal before my execution would be- made up of a little bit of everything I love. OH MY GOD THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER METAPHOR FOR ANYTHING IN THE HISTORY OF EVER!"

In case you don't know what I'm talking about (since that metaphor doesn't seem so great after the crack high wears off), I'm talking about all these ingredients that make The Fog like a spicy jambalaya from heaven:

*The writing/producing/directing wonder twins John Carpenter and Debra Hill doing their thing!

*Oh, honey, the cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Atkins, Hal Holbrook, Nancy Loomis, John Houseman, Janet Leigh, Charles Cyphers, and...Adrienne Barbeau!

*ghost ships and drippy dead sailors that come out of...the fog !

100 years ago, the elders of the coastal fishing village Antonio Bay sent out a false light signal on a foggy night, sealing the fate of the sailing vessel Elizabeth Dane and the merry band of lepers she carried. As Antonio Bay celebrates its centennial, the long-dead Captain Blake and his crew from the Elizabeth Dane emerge from an otherworldly fog to claim their vengeance by taking six lives.

John Carpenter has stated that The Fog is his attempt at telling an old-fashioned EC Comics-style ghost story, plain and simple. While it certainly gives off a sweet let's huddle together under a blanket near the campfire for a scary story vibe, the movie is also undoubtedly 100% USDA prime John Carpenter.

Carpenter's earliest works, such as Halloween, Assault on Precinct 13, The Thing, and The Fog are a slow, slow burn. As a filmmaker, he is (or is that was?) a man of patience, unafraid to give audiences a slow and steady climb to the film's climax. Rather than being hit head-on with bombast from the get-go, Carpenter's audiences need to settle in for a long drive, and the resulting effect is simple: dread. Simple, I say, yet it's an element largely absent from most modern horror films. I don't know if audiences have changed over the last 25 years or if Hollywood has simply convinced audiences that they've changed, but horror is all jump cuts and gore now. Halloween went on for about an hour before the action really started- an hour that slowly filled audiences with tension as Michael Myers stalked Laurie Strode on the streets of Haddonfieldto the tune of Carpenter's haunting score. I'd hazard a guess that that patience on Carpenter's part is what you can expect to be missing from Rob Zombie's upcoming Halloween revamp. Instant gratification doesn't leave the viewer drowning in fear, but anticipation surely does. What I consider to be some of the finer modern horror films (The Blair Witch Project, Session 9, The Ring, and yes, The Descent) use this same slow approach to great effect.

However, this reliance on mood and atmosphere doesn't mean that The Fog is lacking in visceral thrills. While there's nothing explicitly shown in the movie, the ghostly crew of the Elizabeth Dane are a vicious lot. The crew of The Sea Grass are dispatched in short order by knives and hooks, and the fact that the audience sees virtually nothing doesn't make the scene any less brutal. The same can be said for the scene where poor Mrs. Kobritz answers the tap tap tap at her front door as the fog rolls in...the eerie black figures raise their weapons and it's bye bye Mrs. Kobritz! I tell ya, that sequence filled me with absolute terror when I was younger and it still gets under my skin now.

Visually, The Fog is a Carpenter masterpiece. Using his trademark anamorphic widescreen Panavision, Carpenter and cinematographer Dean Cundey immerse and surround the viewer in Antonio Bay. Whether it's a sweeping shot of the coastline, a wide shot of Stevie Wayne (Barbeau) driving her righteous VW Thing, the glowing fog rolling into town, or the lighthouse where WKAB is located, the movie is simply beautiful to behold.

Is The Fog a perfect movie? Certainly not. There's some major plot holes and general "What the-?" moments that can only be explained away by cries of "It's supernatural, dammit!" But the movie does have style, and it works for me. I could go on and on about The Fog and all the reasons I love it, from Nancy Loomis's typically smartass turn as Sandy to Hal Holbrook's turn as the drunken Father Malone to the final showdown between Father Malone and Captain Blake over the bling.

Instead, though, I'll just leave it to the chilling words uttered by Stevie Wayne at the film's end. It's best if you try to imagine Adrienne Barbeau's sultry voice while you read it, trust me.

I don't know what happened to Antonio Bay tonight. Something came out of the fog and tried to destroy us. In one moment, it vanished. But if this has been anything but a nightmare, and if we don't wake up to find ourselves safe in our beds, it could come again. To the ships at sea who can hear my voice, look across the water, into the darkness. Look for the fog.

Aug 7, 2006

potpourri for 500 please, alex

ITEM! I did my Film Club homework and caught The Descent today, though I'm not going to write about it in depth until Wednesday. I will say, however, that I loved it. I thought it was absolutely fanfrickintastic and I hope lots and lots of you go see it, even if you miss the Club's Wednesday due date. It's very tense, very bloody, and very very good.

ITEM! Before The Descent started, the six audience members (hey, it was a matinee. Yeah, I'm an old lady, so what? I had to catch the Early Bird Dinner special at 4:00, ok?) were treated to trailers for The Wicker Man and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning amongst a few others. My judgments based on these minute-long promos? Well, The Wicker Man couldn't look more silly, dull, or plodding, and surprisingly, that's not only due to the fact that Nicolas Cage is playing the lead. Yes, you see, while I try to avoid Nicolas Cage movies (with the exception of Raising Arizona) as if merely viewing them will cause my entire body to break out with genital warts, I can't solely fault him for the unappealing trailer. It was overwrought, confusing, and looked boring as all h-e-double-hockey sticks. I'll have to showcase, please!

What of TCM: The Beginning, you ask? As the trailer played, I could literally feel my face scrunch up, completely beyond my control. My eyes got all squinty like Mr. brow furrowed like Eliza Dushku when she's acting "concerned" nose wrinkled like someone blasted a stinky in my face, and my mouth puckered like a cat's butt. Sorry for the graphic imagery there folks, but it was soon apparent that my face was about to collapse in on itself like a little black hole in a "fight or flight" reaction to save the rest of me from Michael Bay's latest crapfest. I just couldn't for the life of me figure out the point of this movie. If it's supposed to give some sort of history to The Leatherface Family, well, guess what? THEY'RE FUCKING CRAZY! That's all we need to know, and guess what again? I figured that out when Tobe Hooper showed me these cuckoo nutsos the first time 30 fucking years ago! I swear, this movie looked no different than the TCM remake from a couple of years back. No, I take that back...Jessica Biel and her white tank top were sadly no where to be found. full of sweaty kids stranded? Check. Said kids lured to house under false pretenses? Check. Crazy wacko dinner scene? Check. Girl with long hair, bloody and screaming? Can I get a CHECK here? It was completely derivative and I could find no reason, no matter how deep down I dug, to hand over my bucks to watch it. I mean, the Friday the 13th films are derivative, but hey, think about it for a second. Jason has avenged his mothers death, traveled into the mysterious "third dimension", caused some kid's brain to break, been resurrected from the dead, and gone to New York City and to outer motherfucking space. In the future. He doesn't just keep having grody family dinners over and over again...he's out there trying new and exciting avenues. Leatherface and Co. need to bring their A game, people, and I just don't see it here.

ITEM! I'm trying to upload a lovely picture of Jason for your viewing pleasure and Blogger is being a buttmunch. I'll try to add it tomorrow when, hopefully, Blogger knocks off the attitude. Well, it seems Blogger finally buckled under the pressure induced by my namecalling. And so, here is one of the greatest pictures you will see ever, anytime, anywhere, for the rest of your lives. It fills me with glee every time I look at it. I had no idea that Jason and Alice cut a 70s soft-rock duet single! I'm so glad this album cover photo was unearthed.

ITEM! Here's a PSA for all you fruity California types. Check this out...if you dare!

Begin transmission...Next Tuesday night, August 8 will be the 37th anniversary of the Tate murders. To acknowledge this event, you are invited to the El Coyote at 8pm, where Sharon et all had their "lastsupper." Afterwards, a trek up to Cielo Drive, with a possible surprise instore. Feel free to attend - though seating isn't guaranteed - we're wingin it.


(August 2, 2006) – The 37th anniversary of the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders at the hands of the Charles Manson family continue to be a fascination, and will be commemorated in typical death hag style by DearlyDeparted Tours, with a special three + hour “Helter Skelter” theme tour the weekof August 8, 2006 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Besides the murder residences, Michaels will include on the tour sites that relate to the day-to-day aspects of life of the victims, such as victim Jay Sebring’s hair salon, the El Coyote restaurant where the Tate group had their “last supper”, the bicycle shop where victim Abigail Folger purchased her yellowbike the afternoon of her murder. On the other side of town, we retrace the final steps of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca, victims of the second night ofmurders. “These sites make the whole thing seem more real and give life to thevictims as everyday people,” said Michaels.

Additionally, guests will see where the murderers threw their clothing and hosedoff after the murders, and where they threw the murder weapon out the window oftheir car. You’ll see a house that was “creepy crawled” by the Manson family. Many sites have been altered since 1969 and with the help of photographs and home video footage, guests are able to relive them on Scott's 13-passenger bus.

The tour will also include a multimedia presentation made up of film and audioclips surrounding the murders and their victims, and a soundtrack playing theTop 20 of August 1969.

The price of the tour is $50, with five dollars of each ticket being donated to The Doris Tate Crime Victim Foundation, a California-based lobby & crime victim’s organization focusing on victim’s rights and criminal legislation named in honor of Sharon Tate’s mother who became a crime victim activist until her own death in 1992. The price also includes a piece of memorabilia – a rock from the actual fireplace of the Tate house, which Michaels himself obtained when the original house was razed in late 1993.

The Helter Skelter Tour runs Tuesday (the anniversary) August 8, through Friday August 11th at 10am, and at 1pm Saturday and Sunday August 12, 13. More datesannounced to be announced. Reservations are required: to book ahead, please call 1.323.466.3696. For more information, visit Dearly Departed Tours...end transmission.

I think the notion of a tour following in the "last footsteps", as it were, of murder victims opens an interesting can of worms for discussion. Perhaps I'll speak my mind on it later, but for now, well...frankly I'm a little wiped out from all that Texas Chainsaw ranting and raving.

Aug 2, 2006

Film Club Field Trip

I know it's been a while since there's been a new selection for the Film Club, but I think the August 4th opening of The Descent is the perfect time for a little experiment, don't you? An experiment in leaving the house and terror! Yes, kids, how about a little cyber-field trip?
I haven't been talking much about this upcoming British spelunking-gone-bloodily-awry but I've been quietly excited about it for sometime. I've got a general idea of what goes on in the movie, but I haven't read too much about it so, one hopes, there will be plenty of surprises when I see it. It's even on the cover of the most recent Rue Morgue magazine and I've barely glanced at the pictures I'm avoiding it so much. I've seen many a high rating for it, however, and heard it's quite deliciously good.

So! Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to go see The Descent this weekend...or before, oh, say next Wednesday, August 9. I'll do a writeup that day and encourage any of you who participate to do the same and we can discuss and link to each other and have a successful Film Club Field Trip. And remember, the Final Girl Film Club is so on the edge, we don't even need permission slips for this trip! Bust out the Twizzlers and let's rock this fucker!

The movie: The Descent, opening August 4
The due date: Wednesday, August 9

Aug 1, 2006


Hey kids- I just got back from a top secret meeting with one of my informants- let's call him "John of the awesome site Retro Slashers", shall we? I think it was him, at least, though his face was obscured in the shadows of the parking garage and I think he may have been using a voice scrambler because he had that gurgly robotic voice some people have on shows like Cheaters when they don't want to be identified.

All right, fine...he sent me an email, OK? I just wanted to jazz things up a little, that's all. Don't blame me...this wretched heat is doing things to my brain. ANYWAY, John pointed me right here to a little show on YouTube called Meet Cleaver Theatre wherein the trailer for the first Sleepaway Camp is up, so go check out the lo-fi goodness. It's some primo, Grade-A 80s slasher fare.

If you watch the segment, you'll notice that the host guy talks about me. Me! ME! MEEEEEE! Or this site anyway. I'm truly humbled by the video shoutout! Thanks to the folks at Meet Cleaver Theatre...incidentally, I checked out their site briefly and there's a mind-boggling amount of information and videos there that will ensure many visits from moi.

What perplexed me, though, is that I'm referred to as "mysterious". Am I mysterious? I don't really think so. Man, the internerd is weird.

"But Stacie," you say, "the host is holding a pipe, and the pipe adds validity to anything he has to say. I therefore agree with him and you are, in fact, mysterious."

Hmm. Perhaps you're all right. Maybe if I post a picture of myself and you can finally put a face to a name you'll see I'm but a simple girl who likes to write about horror movies. There's no mystery, there's no wizard behind the curtain...I'm just like you. We are the world, my friends...we are the world. But if you need proof to believe me, well then, behold! Here's your hostess with the mostess.
I don't want to sound too cocky here, but damn I'm hot. Make that hott. know what? I'm confident enough to say it right here...I'm hawt. This picture is a little embarassing, I'll admit. Had I known my friends were bringing a camera on our hike, then surely I would've worn undies that day.