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!

Jan 31, 2007

Animals Run Amok Week: Day 3

Once in a blue moon, a movie comes along that feels as if it sprung fully-formed from my forehead, not unlike Athena from that of Zeus. One such movie is today's feature, Night of the Lepus (1972), a movie that has so much in it I enjoy that it's hard to believe it's not a dream. A movie with a line like "There's a herd of killer rabbits headed this way!" just seems too good to be true, doesn't it? Rest assured, though, the film actually exists- and it features Rory Calhoun, Janet Leigh, and a mustachioed DeForest Kelley. Life is so good sometimes.

Arizona's very existence is threatened by an explosion in the rabbit population. Rather than simply poisoning the little bastards (for fear of throwing the entire ecosystem out of whack), the very scientific, very married team of Roy and Gerry Bennett (Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh) are called in to come up with a nature-but-not-rabbit-friendly solution.

Back at The Lab, Team Bennett starts injecting bunnies with various serums in an attempt to curb the population. Thanks to their stupid daughter (Melanie Fullerton), a doped-up bunny is released into the wild. Somehow the serum causes the rabbit to grow to a massive size and develop a taste for human flesh. How one bunny became hundreds in a day (that's fast, even for rabbits, I'm pretty sure) and how these docile herbivores became ravenous carnivores isn't explained, but I don't care! the important thing here is that there are herds of massive rabbits roaming the desert terrorizing towns and looking for humans upon which to feed!

Night of the Lepus was made in those heady pre-CGI days, and I'm ever-so-thankful for it. While I can't say the effects are "great", I find that there's something inherently charming in the approach here: regular-sized rabbits tromping through miniature sets. What it amounts to are lots of shots of rabbits running intercut with shots of rabbits leaping and maybe a big, fake rabbit paw smacking someone in the face. The secret here, the filmmakers seem to think, is that is you play weird mood music and show the rabbits running in slow motion, they'll seem big. It's hokey, to be certain, but it's also the sort of movie magic that makes me feel like a kid again. That's a rare treat, my friends.

While there is a surprisingly large amount of blood in the movie, by far the most horrifying thing onscreen is this unfortunate attack of male-pattern baldness, which I have decided to call The Dollop:

Poor thing.

Night of the Lepus is about as simple and straightforward as you can get: big rabbits attack! It's the perfect Saturday afternoon movie, to be viewed right after a morning full of cartoons. I give it 6 out of 10 footie pajamas.

Jan 30, 2007

Animals Run Amok Week: Day 2

"You know, this ozone thing has got something to do with it. I don't know what it is, but I can feel it!"

Why settle for only one kind of animal running around wreaking havoc when you can have them all? That's my philosophy, anyway. It's a good thing the late William Girdler (the man behind such genre fare as Abby, Grizzly, and Three on a Meathook) feels the same way, for it is he who brought the world the 1977 every- animal-runs-amok-fest Day of the Animals.

As we all know, those Jersey girls and the spray they use in their high high hair have caused a massive hole in the earth's ozone layer. What Day of the Animals shows us, however, are the (possible, natch) startling repercussions of such wanton aerosol use: without the ozone layer to protect them from the sun's rays, all the animals at elevations above 5000 feet go totally cuckoo nutso and kill kill kill! Al Gore doesn't know whether to laugh or to cry.

A motley assortment of hikers (including super-70s husband and wife combo Christopher and Lynda Day George, Andrew Stevens, and Leslie Nielsen) ends up stranded in the Mountaintop Animal Death Zone and must fend off raving hordes of birds of prey, wolves, snakes, mountain lions, bears, and...uh, German Shepherds. With their limited supplies running out and their disparate personalities clashing, will they make it out alive?

While Day of the Animals largely consists of animals glaring whilst ominous music plays, it's not without its cheesy charms, the biggest of which is Leslie Nielsen, whose performance is worth the rental price alone.

Nielsen's racist ad exec is an absolute hoot to watch- he insults everyone, he shoves both women and children to the ground ("Get outta here, you cockroach, or I'll throw you off that cliff!"), he tries to rape Andrew Stevens's girlfriend, and then he kills Andrew Stevens when he's attempting to save his girlfriend from said rape. By the time Nielsen's bare-chested ozone rampage is finished, he's railing against God and wrestling bears in the rain.

When a swarm of rats leapt onto the sheriff's face, I wanted to marry Day of the Animals- and I did, in a quickie ceremony down at the Town Hall. Things were going great- Christopher George was punching dogs, people were falling off cliffs...I thought Day of the Animals and I would be together forever. But then...then the movie had to go and fuck things up with that ending. All the animals suddenly drop dead. They drop dead. THEY DROP DEAD! End of story- and the end of us as well, Day of the Animals. No one likes a cop out!

Still, though, flying rats and a bear-wrestling Leslie Nielsen...oh, who am I kidding. I can't hate you, Day of the Animals, but I really think we should just be friends. I give it 5 out of 10 torrid love affairs ending in ill-advised, short-lived marriages.

Jan 29, 2007

Animals Run Amok Week: Day 1

…or, Final Girl and the Spiders From Mars.

There are several reasons why the 2001 movie Arachnid came home with me. First and foremost, this is Animals Run Amok Week here at Final Girl and a flick with oversized spiders in it is exactly the kind of amok I’m looking for. What I was hoping would really separate Arachnid from the rest of the eight-legged pack, however, are the names attached: the film is directed by horror veteran Jack Sholder (The Hidden, Alone in the Dark, Nightmare on Elm Street 2), written by Mark Sevi (who also wrote the movie with probably the best title EVARRRR: Excessive Force II: Force on Force) (I take that back; it’s the second or third best title evarrrr, right behind Baby Monitor: The Sound of Fear (starring Josie Bissett of television’s Melrose Place) and Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? (starring Tori Spelling of television’s Bev Niner)…but I digress), and stars Alex Reid (‘Beth’, my favorite caver from The Descent). I’d have been a fool to pass this one over- a fool, I tells ya!

Of course, Jack Sholder and Alex Reid notwithstanding, the beauty of a movie like Arachnid is firmly in the eyes of the beholder. Depending on which way your tastes run, a B-Grade monster movie is either a Ronstadt (it hurts so bad) or a Mellencamp (it hurts so good); and make no bones about it- Arachnid is strictly a B-Grade monster movie. Yes, I’ve coined some sweet (if…odd) new terms there, and in my humble opinion, this flick is a total Mellencamp. Whether it was intentional or not, Arachnid is a total throwback to those monster movie heydays, the 1950s. Had it appeared on the scene then, it would’ve been in black and white and there’d be an exclamation mark in the title, like this- ARACHNID!

Our tale begins as a bad-CGI stealth fighter is zooming out over the ocean to investigate a bad-CGI waternado. When the bad-CGI stealth fighter arrives on the scene, however, the bad-CGI waternado turns invisible and the plane has a total system failure. Suddenly there’s a bad-CGI explosion, but our fearless pilot has ejected himself and thus has avoided the explodening.

Despite being far far out over the ocean, our fearless parachuted pilot has drifted over to a tropical island where he lands safely in the jungle-esque environs. As if he wasn’t having a bad enough day, he encounters a bad-CGI alien, who flickers in and out of sight and emits a sort of “wah wah wah” sound. As our fearless pilot stands and stares all mouth-agape-like, the bad-CGI alien is attacked and killed by a giant spider. The bad news is, our fearless pilot is next on the spider's menu. The good news, however, is that the spider is not a bad-CGI spider. It’s all rubber, baby, and it’s all good.

The scene shifts to another island where a man is dying from some sort of insect bites. The typical motley assortment of stock characters sets out to find out what bit the dude: Valentine (Chris Potter), the ex-marine who I think might now be a doctor but I never knew for sure…Dr Leon, the head of the island clinic...his lovely assistant, Susana…Valentine’s crack squad of gun-happy military hotheads…and the resident nerd- a scientist who’s written a handy book called Arachnid Fun Facts. Flying them down the highway to the danger zone is Mercer (Alex Reid), an ex-Navy pilot with a chip on her shoulder so big that she only needs one name, dammit. She’s a hardened woman, on some sort of solitary mission out here in the islands of the South Pacific. Will her heart melt for the “hunk” so appropriately named Valentine? Not a chance! When he tries to make small talk, she tells him in short order: “I’m not interested in companionship, a relationship, or even a hump buddy.” Ouch! Hey, Valentine- I smell smoke. Someone got BURNT!

Incidentally, I’ve added “hump buddy” to my ongoing list of completely unsexy terms and phrases, a list that also includes classics like “manpurse” and “fish mitten”.

The waternado is notably absent, but regardless Mercer’s plane undergoes a system failure not unlike that of the stealth fighter at the film’s beginning. The bitch has mad piloting skillz, though- she crashes the plane but she crashes it well and no one gets hurt.

With both the plane and the radio on the fritz, the group sets off to…well, I don’t know why they set off, but they set off nonetheless. As they’re trudging along, one of the gun-happy military hotheads gets bitten by a tick, which quickly burrows under his skin and…multiplies. Suddenly he’s very ill and he’s got all these bumps moving under his skin and it’s gross. The scientist nerd is called over to give his expert opinion, but he’s never seen anything like this before. It’s some sort of poisoning, he says, but the tick must be some sort of new species. The gun-happy military hothead then gives a response quite common in Arachnid- that is, a Completely Inappropriate Response; he pulls out a pistol, points it at the scientist nerd, and yells, “If you don’t shut up, I’LL KILL YOU!” Come to think of it, though, maybe that’s NOT an inappropriate response at all. In fact, I did the same thing just the other day when the UPS guy knocked on my door and was all like, “Sign here, please”. I mean, what the fuck, you know?

Eventually our intrepid band comes across a small village which is all empty and totally eerie and shit, and they decide to set up camp. The scientist nerd busts out his microscope to examine a strange-looking spider (yes, he brought along a huge microscope for their jungle trek- so?) and surmises that the weird arachnids on the island are alien in origin. Like…aliens from outer space. Isn’t that the first hypothesis any good scientist would throw out there? No, you say? Well, no matter- the idea is never revisited anyway. The bite victim is getting sicker by the second and he's moaning and groaning and being a general nuisance. Soon he starts puking up some wormy egg things in a way that reminded me of the egg-puking scene in Airplane!…but much gooier. Things escalate quickly as the medical team stands around doing nothing- the dude’s eyeball explodes and huge ticks start bursting through his skin. Finally another military hothead shoots the poor bastard and put him out of his misery….this means it’s time for a Group Inappropriate Response! Essentially, the man was just exploding giant ticks everywhere and then got shot in the head, but no one in the group seems overly perturbed.

Later that night, the group is huddled around the campfire. Mercer is deeply engrossed in Arachnid Fun Facts, and I get an inkling that her newfound arachnid knowledge will come in handy at some point down the road…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here! There’s more important matters at hand, namely: GIANT CENTIPEDE ATTACK! Yes, my friends, the tranquility of the campfire is interrupted when the centipede leaps out of the darkness, makes a high-pitched “WHEEEE!” sound and flies across the screen. Now, I hate to be crude here, but it looked not unlike...a giant poo. Or maybe a big grinder. At any rate, there was a 3-foot poo flying across the screen going “WHEEEE!”. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I rewound the DVD six times to watch it again and again…and that’s when I fell in love with Arachnid.

The next morning, the group decides they’re going to stop doing whatever it is they were trying to do and they’re gonna fix the plane and get off the island. Mercer, however, wants to stay behind; now we get a glimpse into her soul, an idea of what’s happened that’s turned her heart to ice cold ice. Remember that super stealth pilot who escaped the bad-CGI waternado and the bad-CGI explosion and then saw the bad-CGI alien but unfortunately he didn’t escape the big rubber spider? That was totally Mercer’s brother! His plane went down and the Navy eventually stopped looking for him…but not Mercer. Mercer will never stop looking. She’s gonna stay on the island until she finds out what happened to her brother…then Valentine reminds her that she was hired to fly them around and Mercer says OK. Lucky for her, however, that she doesn’t have to go far to solve the mystery of her brother’s disappearance- on the way back to the plane, they find his body all webbed up in a tree. After burying her brother in the jungle, Mercer, ever the tough and noble sister, vows revenge: “I’ll find the son of a bitch who did this to you!”. The best part of that vow is that she’s talking about a GIANT SPIDER.

Meanwhile, the scientist nerd has gotten distracted by something shiny and has wandered off. He's found another giant centipede, but he's stumbled directly into the giant spider’s lair! Egaaahhhh!

By the time our group finds him, the nerd is completely cocooned up between some trees and he’s near death- he calmly explains that a giant spider injected nerve toxin into his spinal column and webbed him all up. He can’t feel anything, and won’t they please put him out of his misery? You know what that means- it’s Completely Inappropriate Response time! Upon hearing all this and seeing the nerd all webbed up, Dr Leon calmly says, “This is truly astounding.” When the nerd is finally dead (after having been injected with nerve toxin from a giant fucking spider!), again, our group is largely unperturbed.

Hanging out for long in the spider’s lair is not a good idea; sadly, the group figures this out too late and it’s time for GIANT SPIDER ATTACK! So long, Dr. Leon…truly astounding, indeed.

The group’s numbers dwindle; people do stupid things or just plain disappear. I don’t care, however, because there’s a giant spider running amok and THAT’S what I came here to see!

Eventually our very few plucky survivors head into the real lair of the spider- the underground lair. Mercer, having boned up on Arachnid Fun Facts, knows that spiders are susceptible to poisons; with a blowgun and a little moxie, the nasty giant spider problem is solved.

You know that in a movie like this, the hero (or in this case, the heroine) has to have their last line, their cool send-off to the beastie recently dispatched. The best of these quips (in fact, probably the only good one ever written) comes from MacReady (Kurt Russell) in John Carpenter’s The Thing, when he shouts “Oh yeah? Well, FUCK YOU TOO!” and ka-boom goes The Thing. Mercer’s last line is…decidedly less effective: ”Fuck. I hate spiders.” Oh well- at least she was spunky.

Let’s lay it on the table, folks: Arachnid is NOT a good movie; in fact, it's probably terrible. It’s got that 1950’s monster-movie plot that makes little sense: people go somewhere to do something and they get killed by a monster. The effects range from decent (exploding eyeballs!) to "decent"-is-a-pipe-dream (bad-CGI everything and giant flying poos), the script is nonsensical, and the acting is largely atrocious. Your enjoyment of this film will be in direct proportion to how much you like watching a giant fake-looking spider scuttle after Alex Reid down a fake-looking rock tunnel. Me? I like that… I like that a lot. It’s Animals Run Amok Week, baby! I give it 6 out of 10 hump buddies in a pear tree.

Jan 28, 2007

Film Club Classic

Let's admit it- I totally screwed up with the last Film Club choice. There, I said it. Most of you couldn't play along and take part in watching The Initiation because the film is largely unavailable. Sigh. I know those of you who missed it are sorry you couldn't take in all the Daphne Zuniganess of it, but trust me when I say you're not half as sorry as I am.

To make up for my major suckage the last go 'round, I've decided to pick a film for this installment that should be available EVERYWHERE. Hell, you probably have a copy of it right now.

Normally I try to choose films most of us- and certainly I- have never seen. Not this time, though! This month we get a Film Club Classic selection, kids. It's the movie that still kind of terrifies me, it's the movie I was too freaked out to watch alone late at night last October...the 1973 possessothon The Exorcist!

Yeah, it's time for all of us to watch it again and talk about it. I'm hoping it'll be the first time for some of you. This is the Netflix page for it- and I promise it's available. Be sure to get The Restored Version, also known as The Version You've Never Seen. There's loads of extra scenes in there, including one scene in particular that's worth the ticket price alone.

Even if you're somehow not particularly frightened by The Exorcist- I don't know how that's possible, but I know it's true for some of you out there- it's a film that bears plenty of discussion and analysis. As I said, I'm still scared to death of this movie; for some reason, it really gets under my skin. I'll soldier through it late one night for the sake of the Film Club, though, and I hope you will, too.

The film: The Exorcist- The Version You've Never Seen
The due date: Monday, February 19

Jan 26, 2007

News You Can Use!

Who loves Event Weeks? I do, I do!

That's right, next week is ANIMALS RUN AMOK WEEK here at Final Girl, and I must say, I'm wicked excited to explore one of my absolute favorite subgenres. I love Animals Run Amok movies, I really do. I hope you do, too, because that would make you cool. And just so we're clear, bugs and slugs and the such totally count as animals.


Over at the super sweet and brand spankin' new Final Girl Forum, Chadwick Saxelid posted a link to an article at Fangoria; it seems Rob Zombie has begun shooting Halloween and...Jesus H Louiseus...hardcore fans are literally protesting. Protesting! A movie shoot! It makes me proud to be an American, I tells ya, when today's youth gets off their duffs and speak out about important topics that will impact the present and future of this know, the health care crisis, the war in Iraq, equal rights for all people, and horror movie remakes. Norma Rae would be so proud.

The Fangoria link also shows off some poster artwork for the Halloween remake. Observe:

Now, I don't mean to be nitpicky, but I'm honestly that grammatically correct? "The night he came home is the night you die."- aren't those mixed tenses? It doesn't matter, I'm just a big fat word nerd. But anyway, I'm sure we can all come up with a better tagline than that! Come on kids, play along:


Jan 25, 2007

One of us! One of us!

Gooble gobble, baby.

The mob has spoken! The Final Girl Forum is now active and awaiting YOUR presence! Go, register, be good, and enjoy. It's totally like we're all going out to a bar together to have a beer and talk about stuff, except actually we're all staying home, sitting in front of computers, and getting drunk by ourselves when we do it. Yay! This reduces my chances of hearing a Spin Doctors song by 100%.

L'il Forum was just born and I'm sure it will change as time goes on- there's a place for suggestions, so if you strongly feel that the forum needs...oh, I don't know, a section devoted to Charlotte Rae or something, well, go ahead and suggest it.

Otherwise, I hope it ends up being a rad little community. We're like hippies now! Everyone stop bathing!

Jan 24, 2007

Brother, I feel your pain.

Gather 'round, children, and listen to a little tale from the life of Final Girl.

Once upon a time, I lived in New York City. Life was indeed grand as I soaked up everything I possibly could (except, of course, communicable diseases) in the greatest city in the world. With a spring in my step and a camera in my pocket I set out to conquer...and then Dan moved into the apartment above mine. I'd managed a few lucky years in my home with no one living above me, and it was only natural that the apartment wouldn't stay empty forever. I knew I had a new upstairs neighbor when I heard the loud CLOMP CLOMP CLOMP of footfalls- so loud, in fact, that I said to myself, "Wow. I can't get mad about that noise- it's obvious that my new neighbor walks so heavily because he weighs 500 pounds. Poor guy!" When I finally saw my new neighbor, I was shocked that he looked completely normal-sized.

You're probably thinking that a few footsteps from above shouldn't really matter- just ignore it and get on with things. It wasn't just squeaky floorboards,, you see, Dan pounded on the floor so much that my hanging picture frames got crooked. I could hear every single step he took in that apartment, always- I knew exactly when he came home because I could hear him pounding down the apartment hallway.

His repertoire soon moved beyond heavy steppin', however, to include turning the stereo up to full volume, blasting (Can't Get No) Satisfaction when he was getting ready to go out. Eventually, Dan got a girlfriend who came over every night. Hearing the squeaking bedsprings and the yelling was a novelty at first, but soon it was simply an annoyance as the girl got the ol' morning poke every single day. I began to feel as if my apartment wasn't an apartment at all, but rather an hourly room at some cheap motel like The Creative Pines.

I was moving heavily into making a go at working from home as a freelance artist and Dan made it virtually impossible. He was always home, and he was always loud. He became an invisible roommate who never paid any rent. New York City really is the city that never sleeps- there's constant noise, constant traffic, and you're always surrounded by people. That's fantastic- if you can get a respite once in a while. I don't think that's too much to ask- a little quiet in my own home. After Dan moved in, though, I never got a break. The noise simply wouldn't let up and I couldn't get away from it- it was some sort of sonic water torture. If I stayed in that environment much longer, I would've given up art, gone crazy, or killed my upstairs neighbor. None of those sounded appealing and I simply beat feet. My mental state is much better now and I'm living life as a freelancer, but I still can't bear (Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

The point to all this is that I could very much relate to the protagonist of Abel Ferrara's 1979 art-house slasher flick The Driller Killer. Ferrara (appearing as Jimmy Laine) is Reno, a temperamental painter living with his bisexual girlfriend Carol (Carolyn Marz) and her lover Pamela (Baybi Day). Money is extremely tight and the three are constantly on the verge of being evicted. Reno is struggling to complete his "masterpiece" in the hopes of selling it to gallery owner Dalton (Harry Schultz)- if Reno can make a name for himself, they'll all have it made. Bills will get paid and Pamela can get those snakeskin boots she's been jonesin' for.

Things get tougher for Reno when a punk band- Tony Coca-Cola and the Roosters- moves into the apartment below. The band is really, really awful and they practice virtually non-stop...the same riffs over and over and over as they attempt to get the songs right. Reno becomes increasingly irascible and distant with Carol...not to mention the fact that he's been sneaking around the streets of New York at night, using a power drill to dispatch members of the city's derelict population.

Eventually Reno manages to finish his painting but it doesn't evoke the reaction in Dalton he'd hoped it would. In fact, upon seeing it Dalton can barely contain the bile: "No no no! This is shit! Where's the impact? This is just a goddamn buffalo!" This failure is the last straw for Carol, who promptly moves in with her ex-boyfriend Stephen (Richard Howorth). Reno has a complete mental break and kills both Dalton and Stephen. The screen fades to red for the final minutes, leaving the fate of both Carol and Reno unresolved.

The Driller Killer is one of those movies I could sort of appreciate without actually enjoying, if that makes any sense. I could very much relate to Reno's plight- the economic strife and the frustration caused by the invasive sounds from the neighboring apartment. At the same time, however, I don't think the film really conveyed that frustration effectively- Reno spends a huge amount of time just hanging out- or even more strangely, actually going to see Tony Coca-Cola and the Roosters perform at a club- rather than trying to paint. The dialogue (which feels largely improvised) and the acting (atrocious pretty much across the board) certainly don't improve the drama.

The fact that Reno uses his drill almost exclusively on homeless men is interesting; rather than killing the sources of his frustration, a tactic we'd expect in a slasher flick, Reno kills those he fears he will become. The kill scenes aren't as notorious as the film's reputation would have you believe; in fact, they're rather silly. Reno runs around darkened streets and alleyways holding a huge power drill, randomly attacking street people. They say "Ahhhh!", there's some blood, and Reno runs away.

The Driller Killer works better as a glimpse into the late 70s New York lifestyle than it does as a particularly effective horror film. Everyone is delightfully smelly-looking and skanky in that way that really defines an era...back when 53rd & 3rd was a Ramones song and not the location of the CitiBank headquarters , or when Times Square was home to grindhouse theatres instead of The Disney Store.

I'm completely fascinated by that dirty and dangerous New York, so I'm gonna dig any movie that can capture it. If that's your bag as well, check out The Driller Killer; if you're looking for a great horror film or slasher flick, though...keep on truckin', baby. I give it 5 out of 10 hey, that coulda been me!s

Jan 23, 2007

Who's been reading my diary?

Via The Horror Blog (via Filmstalker via...something else, I guess) comes news of a low-budget Welsh horror flick in the making, called...err, Flick. The premise sounds a bit like it was assembled with magnetic poetry...
Dunaway plays one-armed detective Lieutenant McKenzie called in to investigate a murder after a fight at the Memo - the Newbridge Memorial Hall - in the 1950s.

The murder victim - a local boy - is brought back to life in modern times and tries to find his teenage sweetheart, by then 65.

...but I don't care. Faye Dunaway as a one-armed detective, a time-traveling dead boy, and the words "supernatural" and "horror" all in one movie? I've been waiting my entire life for this!

White. Hot.

Even Faye Dunaway is shocked by how awesome this movie sounds.

Jan 22, 2007

Readers Poll


Please answer the following questions to the best of your ability. We at Final Girl want to serve you better!

1. If I created a free forum where we could talk about whatevs, would you register and use it?

2. LEPRECHAUN (circle one): In da hood / In space

3. Do you love a rainy night? Yes / No

4.PRONOUNCED: "Fudgsicle" / "Fudgicle"

5. Terrycloth: Yay / Nay

6. Favorite Jason...

A) pillowcase Jason
B) hockey mask Jason
C) Super Space Jason
D) black goo/ penis monster Jason essence

7. GHOSTS OF MARS: Yay / Nay

8. Do you really want to hurt me? Yes / No

9. Do you really want to make me cry? Yes / No

10. Cutest thing ever: one / two / three

11. Final Girl:

A) hinky
B) ginchy
C) boss
D) gear

12. Swearing: Heavens, no! / Fuck yeah!

13. (fill in) Friday the 13th Part 59274648325695:

Jason vs.

14. Will you be my Valentine? Yes / No

15. Have you seen VALENTINE? Yes / No

16. It's not as good as MY BLOODY VALENTINE, is it? Agree / Disagree

17. Chapstick: Apply with finger / Apply from tube

18. "Caribbean" PRONOUNCED: "CARiBEEan" / "caRIBian"

19. _____ of the Dead:

A) Night
B) Dawn
C) Day
D) Land
E) Shaun
F) Box Social


Lecter: What did the man in the cell say to you?
Starling: He said, "I can smell your ______".


Your cooperation is appreciated!

Final Girl

Jan 21, 2007

The Descent reconsidered

Remember back in August when we all went on a Film Club field trip to see The Descent and I was all goo-goo over it? Well, I finally managed to get the movie on DVD (thanks, Renae!) and after watching it again months later, I must say...

I still want to make out with it.

The DVD release is the unrated version with the original unedited ending, wherein **uh, MEGA SPOILER ALERT!** Sarah does not make it out of the cave. Is it a more downbeat ending than what American audiences got in the theatres last year, where she emerges into the sunshine and escapes the crawlers? Depends on how you look at it, I guess. If she escapes the cave, Sarah might survive physically but she's obviously gone completely cuckoo nutso. She'll be dealing with the loss of everything and everyone she held dear for the rest of her life. Is that better than death? Remaining in the cave, she's "with" her daughter...and that's something- a little peace at the end, maybe. Either way, let's face it- she's royally fucked.

There's gobs of goodies included on the DVD, such as 2 commentary tracks, behind-the-scenes documentaries, interviews, and more. If you haven't seen this flick yet, you've got no excuses now. And if you haven't seen it since it was in theatres, watch it again and raise your glass to Neil Marshall.

Jan 20, 2007

Ridiculous Faces of Death 5

Check it, kids- from Casey at the superfine blog Cinema Fromage comes this Ridiculous Face of Death...I give you a shot from Frankenhooker!

Now, I haven't seen Frankenhooker since a midnight showing back in college so I can't tell you this dude's name- in fact, all I remember is the line "Oh, Jeffrey...jumbo heaven!" 'cause that's a line you just don't forget. I know that movie is goofy as hell, but even so I'd think Emperor Palpatine-style lightning shooting through your head might make you do more than frown and cross your eyes.

Jumbo heaven, indeed!

Jan 19, 2007

What he said!

SuperDude Craig Moorhead read my rant the other day and took matters into his own hands. Behold, people!

If you want to join in the fight against Bloggers Who Think They're All Big, then you can get your own t-shirt right here.

That there's fuckin' ginchy.

Jan 18, 2007

Some great...


John (Woody Roll), Pranks

Jimmy (Lance Guest), Halloween II

Phyl (Andrea Martin) and boyfriend, Black Christmas (1974)

Shelly (Larry Zerner), Friday the 13th Part 3

Jan 17, 2007

Hey jerk- speed kills!

What did we all do before Al Gore invented The Internet? No, really- however did we manage to live without a constant stream of information, or without being able to voice our opinions under an assumed name? How did movies get made...nay, how did Hollywood even exist without the chorus of a billion cybervoices saying "No! Not like that- like this!"? It's a curious thing, this Internet.

I'm not claiming to be innocent of this, to be sure. Obviously I give my opinion all the time here at Final Girl; in fact, I must say...I'm not crazy about what you're wearing at the moment. I do, however, realize that my opinion is just my opinion- I like what I like, I don't like what I don't like, and while none of this means you're any less of a jerk if you disagree with me, I'll gladly discuss anything with anyone..."discuss" being the key term here. In case you're wondering where I'm going with this, don't worry- I'll get there. I guess I'm simply tired of people who seem to think that because they can figure out how to sign up for a free blog, their opinion should somehow be taken as gospel. I'm happy if people come here and read my posts and enjoy them; I'm even happier when people keep coming back and there's a dialogue created. Honestly, though, I'm just someone who really likes movies- particularly horror movies- and I love having a place to talk about them.

I promised you a point, right? Right. Ain't It Cool News ran a post about an early draft of Rob Zombie's Halloween script, going into quite a few details. We'll get to that in a minute. For now, check out this post at Movies Online, wherein Mr. Zombie responds, presumably to the Ain't It Cool post as well as the rest of the internet concerned about the movie.
I notice that so many people get crazy when someone you don't even know posts an opinion about what they think HALLOWEEN will or won't be. This is crazy. Do you really go through life influenced by the thoughts of others that easily?
The dude's got a point. While I can't say that- going by what I've read- I'm at all excited about the new Halloween, it's still not here yet. The movie is a long ways from being released and we'll just have to wait to see what ends up onscreen.

What really got me in the Movies Online post, however, was this bit of commentary from the author:
Halloween has gone through the ringer in the last few days as a bunch of blogs run news that the new film is not true to the original. I think that is a blogs job. I think people should speak their minds, put filmmakers on the spot and more importantly help mold filmmaking.
Whoa whoa whoa whoa WHOA. It's my job to help mold filmmaking because I have a fucking blog? Since when? Anyone out there with any kind of a blog or website who read that and said "Right on!" to themselves needs to read this and get a fucking grip. I consider myself to be fairly knowledgable about movies (because I like them and therefore I read about them and watch complex) and I have both acting and directing experience, mainly in the theatre. Couple those with the fact that I made a blog and now I should help steer the course of Hollywood? Bullshit. I'm sitting here in front of a computer typing a blog entry, pushing my cat out of the way, drinking a Diet Coke and listening to Julie London...what fucking authority does that give me? You know, John Carpenter somehow managed to make Halloween without the help of The Royal Order of Geeky Film Bloggers...

No wait, what I mean to say is that I'm always right about everything and I know exactly what Hollywood should do despite the fact that I've never written a full-length screenplay or directed a full-length, multi-million dollar motion picture. I do have a blog, after all. Heed my word, people, heed my word!

Really, it's a fine line. I suppose that this little rant may seem hypocritical of me with the way I'm always spouting off about bad movies and they could've been good if they'd only changed this one thing. I just want to see good movies, that's all...or movies that are so bad they're good...because I love them. I guess I simply want people to know that I realize that having a blog doesn't make me an authority- just someone with an opinion and a place to post it. I'm not jaded, I'm not cynical or bitter or a frustrated filmmaker- I'm just a horror movie fan. Maybe I'm making too big a deal out of all this, but the Movies Online thing made me feel all gross and apologetic. Blogger's guilt, perhaps.

But let's end this on a happy note, OK? By popular demand, I give you....


Jan 16, 2007

I made it just for you

In honor of Mr. John Carpenter, who celebrates his 59th birthday today...


What better tribute could there possibly be?

Go to Pictaps to waste time and make your own.

Jan 15, 2007

Film Club: The Initiation

Here we are at the 4th meeting of the Final Girl Film Club. I have a feeling this will be a very, very lonely meeting, and it’s all Netflix’s fault. OK, it’s MY fault for not reading the ENTIRE Netflix entry for the club selection, The Initiation (1983). I realize that offering up a film that’s essentially unavailable at most rental outfits is akin to taking back an engagement ring- it’s equally as soul-crushing, to be sure- but what can I say? Jesse Ventura ain’t got time to bleed and I ain’t got time to read. A word of warning if you couldn't catch the flick this time 'round: this post will most likely be all ten kinds of spoileriffic, so if you care about that sort of thing…don’t let the door hit ya!

A young girl walks in on her parents making The Beast With Two Backs. As can be expected, the girl pulls a knife and stabs her father in the leg. Suddenly, a strange man in a suit bursts in the door. There’s a tussle; the girl’s father pours some liquid over the stranger, the stranger falls down by the lit fireplace, the stranger catches fire. The girl screams—

--and it’s all one of Kelly’s (Daphne Zuniga) nightmares! Phew! It seems the poor girl has been plagued by this same nightmare for some time now…but there are more pressing matters at hand. It’s Hell Week at Delta Rho Chi sorority, wherein the nubile pledges must perform feats of derring-do and obey their elders if they hope to become full-fledged sisters. Everyone all together now, get monotonous!



The crazy prank demanded by the bitchy sorority leader Megan (Frances Peterson) is classic 80s shenanigans, baby: the pledges are to break into the mall owned by Kelly’s father and steal the hunky security guard’s uniform…”Right down to his skivvies!”

Don’t get too excited though; there’s still a few days yet until Prank Night. In the meantime, Kelly’s nightmares are getting worse. She visits “The Dream Factory”, the domain of graduate student Peter (James Read) and his glamorous assistant Heidi (Joy Jones), whom I found oddly…fascinating. Don’t YOU find Heidi oddly fascinating?

Peter and Heidi hook Kelly up to all manner of machines to get her REM readings and the such. Upon waking, Kelly recounts her nightmare in great detail, to which Peter replies, “That’s beautiful. You’ve got all the classic symbols there: mom, dad, fire…a strange man…” Wow, Peter really knows his shit! Good luck with that thesis, Peter- not that you’ll need it. The resourceful Heidi interprets things a little more scientifically, however, and surmises that Kelly’s not experiencing nightmares…she’s experiencing hidden memories. See, Kelly can’t remember much of her childhood…she’s got amnesia that conveniently blocks her memories prior to age nine. Heidi is very excited by this discovery!

Have you fallen under Heidi's spell yet? I bet you have.

Anyway, Kelly’s parents (Vera Miles and Clu Gulagher) are NOT excited about the Dream Factory and forbid her from continuing the therapy, to which Kelly basically replies “Up yours, I’ll do what I want!” Sheesh, parents- all uptight and whatnot. And hey, why are they so concerned with a breakout at a mental hospital that’s 300 miles away? Hmm. Who knows. It doesn't really matter; soon enough Dad finds himself meeting the business end of a gardening fork- yowee!

But why dwell on such unpleasantries? It’s time for that 80s cinematic staple, the Party Which Serves No Purpose! Yes, it's off to a frat party wherein a band plays- one so perfect for the job that the keyboardist pogos and plays with one hand, mind you- and everyone is dressed as their “favorite suppressed desires”. Everyone gets their Freud on and we’re treated to someone in bad KISS makeup, someone in a giant penis costume, and Daphne Zuniga in a leather miniskirt and studded collar. Speaking of Freud, let’s pause to take another look at the poster art for The Initiation, shall we? Is it just me, or do you also get a…deeper meaning here?

Now THAT’S Jungtastic!

OK, FINALLY it’s time for Prank Night. Kelly and her fellow pledges Marcia (Marilyn Kagan) and Alison (Hunter Tylo) get into the mall with no problem 'cause Kelly stole the keys from her dad. Megan promises to let them out when they’ve scored the uniform and locks the door behind them. As the pledges go off to do their thing, however, Megan and three doofy frat guys head inside as well. Their goal? Something I’ve never before seen in a horror flick- they’re gonna scare the pledges! By “I've never before seen”, of course, I mean “I've seen 50,000,000 times”.

What no one knows is that a shadowy, garden fork-wielding figure has ALSO snuck into the mall…probably NOT with the intent of getting an early start on Macy’s Super Door Busters Sale. First on the chopping block is the hunky security guard, who dutifully checks out a strange noise. Man, I don’t know who this guy is, nor does he have any lines, but he really gives his all for his big death scene. That’s called screaming with gusto, or Le Scream-Scream, as the French like to say.

Now that we’re at the mall, The Initiation kicks it into high gear. Hunter Tylo puts on roller skates, the shadowy figure dispatches teens with your usual assortment of slasher weapons (including a hatchet and a bow and arrow), and there’s some spooky stalking sequences.

Meanwhile, back at The Dream Factory, super sleuth Heidi has pieced together Kelly’s past through the power of microfiche: when Kelly was young, she walked in on her mom and dad having sex…only it wasn’t really her dad! The man in the suit was Kelly’s dad, and after he got char-broiled he was shipped off to…a mental hospital! He recently escaped the hospital, however, and Heidi is sure that Kelly’s in mortal danger. Peter fires up The Dream Factory Mobile and heads off to save Kelly.

Heidi is totally right- Kelly IS in mortal danger! Bodies are being discovered and Daphne Zuniga acts totally scared.

She’s chased up to the roof by the shadowy figure who turns out to be…her burn-scarred original dad! Oh noes! Have no fear, though, because Kelly is totes resourceful and conks him on head with a pipe. Burn-Scarred Original Dad falls to the ground and lands with a thud. Before you can say “Wow, that was intense!”, however, Kelly heads back into the mall to find…her EVIL TWIN SISTER stabbing Peter and staring back at her! Oh. My. God.

Then Daphne Zuniga has the best I just saw my evil twin sister that I didn’t even know I had totally stab my new boyfriend right in front of me! reaction EVER.

The twins square off and…maybe one of them lives. I’m not going to tell you the outcome, precisely, but let’s just say that The Initiation ends with a freeze-frame and a saxophone. “Good night, sister darling!”

OK, The Inititation is really nothing more than an average mid-80s slasher flick; there’s gratuitous nudity to be sure, but the gore pretty much amounts to copious amounts of...shall we say Karo-esque blood. The storyline is at times hokey (despite your Heidi-ness, I’m looking at YOU, Dream Factory) and hackneyed- how many times have we seen the Evil Twin scenario? I’m not complaining- I love me some evil twins- but it’s not exactly new ground being tread here.

For what it is, however, The Initiation certainly excels and I kind of adored it. It’s got a sort of…quiet enthusiasm about the subject matter that sets it apart from its contemporaries. The acting is much better than the typical genre fare- particularly from Vera Miles (who seems to forget she’s in a low-budget slasher flick and does a great job) and Daphne Zuniga. The title sequence claims, with a big “Introducing…”, that this is Ms Zuniga’s first on-screen role. We here at Final Girl know that her REAL debut came a year or so earlier in Pranks (aka The Dorm that Dripped Blood); truth be told, however, I’d probably want Pranks off my resume as well.

Another advantage The Initiation has over the competition comes courtesy of Charles Pratt’s screenplay: there’s actually some characterization going on here. Particularly of note is a story told by Marcia; when she’s teased about being a virgin one too many times, she reveals that she’s not, in fact, a virgin- she was sexually assaulted by her violin teacher when she was 12 and she’s never told anyone, not even her mother. It’s an odd moment in a slasher flick, to be sure, but when Marcia falls victim we’re maybe just a little bit sad about it. Audience investment heightens the effects of any movie, and it’s especially true of horror films.

Charles Pratt, of course, would go on to meet up with Daphne Zuniga again a few years later on a little project called Melrose Place. You may also recall that one Hunter Tylo was fired from Melrose Place prior to filming for…well, basically for getting pregnant. See? The world- even the realm of slasher flicks- is just one big Aaron Spelling-flavored Moebius Strip. And honestly, wouldn’t we all like the world a little more if there really WERE two Daphne Zunigas? Yeah, even if one was evil- that’s a chance I’d be willing to take. I give it 7 out of 10 I’m sorry, I’m sure “Aaron Spelling-flavored” probably ruined your appetites.

Mermaid Heather managed to catch this Club entry; click the link to read her thoughts. If anyone else saw it, leave a link in the comments and I'll add it here. Next time I'll get something easier to get a hold of, I promise.

Dreamrot saw it too!