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!

Jul 31, 2007

welcome to the witching hour at KAB

For a very long period of time, I didn't have cable TV. Though this rendered me woefully behind the curve in all the shows everyone just luffs to talk about, it certainly freed me up for things I consider far more important than being...uh, in the midst of the curve: namely, making stuff and watching movies. I don't have anything against television itself, necessarily- I mean, we all know that Dallas and Melrose Place have made this world a better place in which to spend time. It's just that for me, I feel my time is better spent for the most part far away from TV's hypnotic glow (and yes, I suppose you could call me some sort of hypocrite because after all I do watch movies...but you get my point. Why must you always point out my foibles? Huh? What's with you, man?).

In the new Super Secret Final Girl HQ, however, my roommate (aka CoHabiTaTor 3000) has insisted upon having cable in the house. I'm trying so very hard to ignore it, but I've made a startling discovery: cable is much easier to ignore when you simply don't have it. Go figure. As I'm trying to use it as sparingly as possible, I'm still ignorant about all the shows the kids watch nowadays...but you know where cable shines sometimes? The late-night movie, oh my yes. Fuck sleep! By staying up until all hours I've caught a wide variety of cinema, from the Val Lewton/Jacques Tourneur classic The Leopard Man to Bloodfist IV, V, and VIII (starring Don "The Dragon" Wilson, 'natch) to a movie I recorded but haven't watched yet because in my mind it's almost the perfect movie, but I'm sure the reality of it just won't compare to what I've imagined: Mind Over Murder, starring Tori Spelling as a telepathic, crime-investigating prosecutor.

Anyway, my point is that remake of The Fog is on in a while and I'm going to watch it. Oh, yes I am. And you're kinda going to watch it with me, because I'm going to write about it while I watch it. Yes, it'll be exactly as if we're watching it together, except I won't have to share my snacks with you. Forgive me if the rest of this post is weird, but that may be the price we all pay for innovation. Oh, and there's bound to be spoilers, so ye be warned!

See, you should know by now that I love the original film. We all know that the remake was panned by everybody. I didn't pay to see it in a theatre, and I won't pay to rent it...but damn, this is what late-night TV is for, ain't it? It won't cost me any money to see The Fog '05, but it very well might cost me my soul...and I'm taking you all with me! I'll see you in hell!

Alright, people...let's get it on. I give you...The New Fog Which Everyone Hates.

Aww, man. This was one of the last films Debra Hill produced before she died. That sucks for many, many reasons.

Instead of the creepy campfire tale opening of the original (which really sets a tone, you know?), we get...some boats on fire and some dudes in a rowboat rowing away. Then a hand pops up out of the water and pulls one of the dudes out of the boat...are the guys in the boats lepers? They don't look like lepers, although I can't say I've ever actually seen a leper. I just assume they're missing body parts, such as noses and ears and maybe a chin. Or do the lepers in The Fog '05 live under the water? I sure hope all my questions are answered!

Oh good...a loud modern rock track as we pan past Antonio Island...wait, there's Selma Blair's voice as Stevie Wayne- ugh. Is KAB a rock station now? These damn kids and their loud music! It's all just noise! And I KNOW I can't simply keep comparing this film to the original, but for the record: Selma Blair's voice is no Adrienne Barbeau's voice. And now Stevie's related to a Founding Father?

We're 6 minutes in. Why the fuck are the credits still rolling?

There's Tom Welling, who seems to be the captain of a boat. We'll call him Captain Smallville. And there's...a black guy? A BLACK GUY? Umm, there were no black guys in the original film, fer chrissakes! Everyone knows there are no black people in Antonio Bay! GAWD.

That was a joke. See? It's just like we're hanging out.

Ohhhh...Captain Smallville is the Tom Atkins character. And he's boinked Stevie Wayne this go-round. This movie is suddenly making me feel very old. These damn kids and their loud music!

Uh oh. Some long-haired dude with a metal detector has found a pocketwatch which washed up on the beach. The music is indicating that I should be scared...ahh! A slimy hand has also washed up on the beach! I think it was a hand. Yes, let's call it a hand.

Birds are leaving Antonio Bay in huge flocks, and dogs are barking madly! And there's a dead...something on the dock! What the hell is that? It looks like a baby bear. Is there a baby bear on the dock? Here comes someone...oh, he's crying over the dead thing, but he doesn't indicate whether or not it's actually a bear. I'm going to assume it is. Mayhaps the circus is in town.

Oh, here's New Jamie Lee Curtis. She and Captain Smallville already know each other in That Special Way, it seems. You know, Captain Smallville has such nicely manicured fingernails for an old Salt O' the Sea...I wonder how he does it. Must be Palmolive!

Stevie Wayne plays house music. I.................

Metal Detector Dude gives New Jamie Lee Curtis the pocketwatch he found. It ticks! It ticks! OH GOD HELP US ALL, IT STILL TICKS!

New Charles Cyphers is telling Stevie Wayne about the big fat fog bank headed their way. But what about the kids partying on The Sea Grass? They're drunk and horny! They care not for the fog! Their carefree ways will be their ultimate undoing...their folly, if you will. HERE IT COMES!

Wow, that's some terrible CGI.

See! The fog enter the ventilation shafts of the boat! Cut! Away to a boring conversation between Captain Smallville and New Jamie Lee Curtis! Well done. Now we meet Father New Hal Holbrook- he's really drunk and really greasy and really sweaty. Oh wait, back to The Sea Grass.

OK, so the fog shows up and there's a ghost ship but then the ghost ship vanishes. One of the party girls does some automatic writing on a fogged-up window...look out, it's the scales of justice. That's so much more frightening than a piece of wood that proclaims "6 must die". Wait, never mind, I'm not comparing the films. OK, so...uh, everyone on The Sea Grass dies, I guess. The party girls get thrown through windows, Unnamed Guy gets stabbed in the eye (but this is PG-13 so it's not explicit), and The Black Guy is enveloped in the fog and he screams. So long, Sea Grass. So long, Black Guy.

Aww, New Jamie Lee Curtis doesn't get along with her mom. For shame. Now there's a smooth jazz-flavored shower sex scene between NJLC and Captain Smallville. Uh oh...someone's pounding on the door in a menacing wait, New Jamie Lee Curtis only dreamt it. And she's also having flashbacks to the burning boats from the beginning of the film. Oh brother.


Oh fucking brother. AND THE GHOSTS JUST MADE HER COMPUTER SCREEN GO ALL CUCKOO CRAZY. Wait, now there really is someone banging on the door in a menacing fashion...but nothing happens. New Jamie Lee Curtis goes out onto the beach and sees a single set of footprints disappearing into the sea, as if that poem about God that you find on wooden plaques at the Hallmark store is unfolding all around her. And...there's the worst jump scare EVAR. Seriously, it was a horn blat pulled straight from Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill" as Capt. Smallville grabs NJLC's shoulder. The fog retreats!

There's Stevie Wayne's kid, Andy. He finds something on the beach and brings it home- it''s...a barnacle-covered hairbrush. It's a hairbrush. That's gross! Gross, but not scary. How's it going to transform into a warning sign? Is it going to brush Stevie's hair into a big swirling ponytail that reads "6 must die"? I hope so.

NJLC and Capt Smallville just took a boat out and found The Sea Grass. Then they found all the dead bodies, and I found myself laughing at the horrendously bad acting. Wow. And why is NJLC wearing a coat that's right outta Sergeant Fucking Pepper? Oh, The Black Guy is frozen...but umm, still alive. And now he's being blamed for all the other deaths. But have no fear! Capt Smallville has stolen some evidence- a videocamera- which might prove The Black Guy's innocence! Good job, Smallville. It's certainly best to keep something like that out of the hands of the police. Wait, NJLC is watching the footage...yup, it sure proves his innocence! WHOOPS! NJLC fell in the water and the camera is ruined. Aw dang. And now she can't get out for some reason...but oh! She has found a book or something behind some bricks in the wall and this movie fucking sucks. If the contents of that waterlogged book are legible after 100 years or however long it's been, I swear I'm punching this movie in the neck.

OK, crazy stuff is happening over at KAB! There's weird windchime sounds and pounding and her computer screen is going nuts and god help me the fucking hairbrush caught on fire. I repeat: the hairbrush caught on fire. Then the wall caught on fire. Then Stevie put the fire out and...and...there are tiny scales of justice burnt into the wall everywhere.

Who thought that was a good idea? Or even a remotely frightening one?

NJLC brought the book to Father New Hal Holbrook and it's all totally legible. Excuse me for a moment.

OK, so someone is spray painting the scales of justice on tombstones. SPRAY PAINTING. I can't...

NJLC is wandering around the morgue (don't ask) and the guy who got a knife in the eye and is dead gets up from the gurney...and he's fully-clothed...and his eye looks fine. He says "Blood for blood" and collapses to the floor. Meh. This is getting really really bad.

The fog just pulled Metal Detector Dude out to sea. And now it's enveloping Mrs Kobritz's house. OK, it's also enveloped the weather station and now New Charles Cyphers is gonna get it. Hey, finally a black figure in the f- oh, now it's gone. New Charles Cyphers dropped his lantern and set himself on fire. Now, somehow, he's flying through the know, I don't think it should have been hard to update Carpenter's film and make it...ummm...scary. This blows. And so does Selma Blair. This is the only thing I've seen her in- is she always this bad? Or is it that the material is so awful? There's absolutely no tension here, and the fog itself doesn't seem like a threat whatsoever. And it's also pretty ridiculous for Stevie Wayne to get on the radio and say "This is an emergency! There's a fire at the weather station and New Charles Cyphers has been killed! Someone go and check on my son!" Selfish much, there, Stevie?

Ah, there's some lepers. I spotted a missing lip!, Mrs know, that scene in the original was so great- when she answered the slow knocks at the door and Andy was all scared and all the ghosts appeared and killed her. Well, I know I said I wouldn't compare, the new version...Mrs Kobritz was doing dishes and a hand reached out from the sink and touched her and she...I don't know, was suddenly charred to death. All that matters here is that a hand reached out of the kitchen sink.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Stevie Wayne has left the lighthouse! She's driving to get her, Selma Blair is dreadful. Oh, now some CGI fog has crept in through her airvents...oh! And she just got hit by a truck...over a cliff...and into the drink she goes! Please...I never thought I'd say this, but please...kill Stevie Wayne. Yay! Go, stupid CGI ghosts! Hold her under water! Almost there! Almost-- dammit! She escaped.

And Andy escaped some more stupid CGI fog ghosts thanks to Captain Smallville.

I can't...I can't even describe how ridiculous this is getting.

Lengthy flashback to Captain Blake and Company getting screwed over by the Founding Fathers. Everyone is gathered together in the Not A Church, and I'm desperately hoping this final siege will be brief. The ghosts are...see-through CGI. And they talk. And they set people on fire. And omigod NJLC is making out with the ghost of Captain Blake what the fuuuuuuuck? She turned into a ghost? Her ancestor was one of the lepers and so she made out with the ghost of Captain Blake and she turned into a ghost and the fog disappeared and that's it? SHE MADE OUT WITH CAPTAIN BLAKE AND SHE TURNED INTO A GHOST.

I really can't believe what I just saw. Were I speaking and not typing, I'd be speechless. But since I'm typing, I'll say that everyone who claimed this movie was a total suckfest was absolutely correct- and that has nothing to do with the fact that it's a remake and everything to do with the fact that it sucks. Fuck The Fog '05. Now get out of my house, I'm going to bed!

Jul 30, 2007

i am effing tired

Hello everyone! I've made it home from my first San Diego Comic-Con with most of my sanity intact. Good GAWD was it huge. Four days of virtually nonstop walking and I'm still sure I didn't see everything. I do, however, have blisters where I wasn't even aware that I had skin. But the suffering was entirely worth the experience, let me assure you. There was miles and miles of crap to see and hours and hours of events to attend, but undoubtedly the best part of the con was getting to spend days with some near and dear friends I'd never before met in person.


A very close second, however, was scoring these:

Yes, I made them write those things. Such good sports, Marc Singer and Linda Blair! But now, let us discuss some upcoming movies I heard all about:


Director Adam Green and most of the cast (including Kane Hodder, Robert Englund, and Tony Todd) were on-hand to discuss this "old school American horror" flick which opens on September 7. There's certainly a lot of hype surrounding this film- people were walking around wearing "Hatchet Army" t-shirts, and the crowd was whipped into a frenzy when someone came out to giveaway DVDs of slashers like Halloween and Sleepaway Camp. Before the dude would choose a winner, however, he made the crowd chant "Crowley! Crowley!"- Hatchet's killer is named Victor Crowley, and they're really pushing to make this guy the next Michael or Jason. A clever way to get the name in people's heads, but man...I was kind of grossed out to see people practically frothing at the mouth and clawing at their eyes to score a free copy of a $5 DVD.

Is Hatchet going to live up to the hype? If film festival awards are any indication, then yes, it certainly is. I saw a clip and a just-for-SDCC trailer, and from those few minutes...yeah, it looks like fun. There's no rape or torture, it's not drenched in CGI, and it's not a sequel or a remake- it's a total throwback to the slashers of yesteryear, which is fine by me.


Eric Charbonneau,

Jessica Alba made an appearance at the Lionsgate panel, unfortunately to talk about Good Luck Chuck. When asked about The Eye, however, she had this bit of amazing info to impart: "It's gonna come out, and it's gonna be scary!" WOW! I'm practically touching myself with excitement! She went on to say that the film will somehow "transcend the genre" and will be "anything we've ever seen before". I think she means unlike anything except know...the original Asian version.

Saw IV

Amidst all his hair gel and gum-chewing, director Darren Lynn Bousman spoke of Saw IV and how "sick" the film is going to be. No one would say how Jigsaw manages to be alive in this sequel, but Tobin Bell was on-hand so we all know that Jigsaw will be featured. They showed a lengthy clip from the film and it was really unlike anything we've seen in Saw I-III: two guys- one with his eyes sewn shut, one with his mouth sewn shut- were chained together by their necks. There was a winch in between them that started up, drawing them closer- ever closer!- to death, and the guys started hitting each other and there was blood. If you're a Saw fan, I'm sure you'll love this...since you've seen it 3 times before.


Clive Barker and Co. gave all the skinny on Midnight Meat Train, based on his Books of Blood story of the same title, though Clive was fairly...well, not incoherent exactly, but...well, not wasted exactly, but...err, let's settle for rambly, shall we? At any rate, the trailer shown looked pretty enticing. Director Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus) promises that the film will be on level with Candyman and Hellraiser, in his opinion the "only two good Clive Barker movies".


Coming direct to DVD this October is the sequel to Dark Castle's House on Haunted Hill (1999), which has a group of crazy kids (including the sister of first-film-survivor Ali Larter) heading into the crazy house for some more crazy ghost-riddled hijinx. Looking as if he just walked off the set of television's Miami Vice, producer Joel Silver introduced us to an innovation dubbed "Navigational Cinema"; in other words, Return to the House on Haunted Hill will be a choose you own adventure style movie with 96 storylines- if you get the HD-DVD or Blu Ray version. At certain junctures the movie will stop and a yes/no question will pop up- "Should Tad go through the door?" "Should Katie save Tad or the map?"- and you determine the outcome with your remote. Who lives, who dies? You decide! It's actually a pretty cool idea, though being HD and Blu Ray-less, I'll have to settle for whatever regular version they put out. Le sigh.

Oh, and yes, Jeffrey Combs returns...but no, they don't explain how the survivors from the first film get off the roof.


You might remember this one from a while back when I went all goo-goo over the poster; well, now I've seen a clip and a just-for-SDCC trailer...and I'm even more goo-goo. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman play an ordinary couple who come home in the middle of the night only to find themselves under siege and terrorized for no reason whatsoever by three scary-mask-wearing, knife-wielding strangers. First-time writer/director Bryan Bertino said he simply set out to make a scary movie because he loves scary movies and though it's tough to fairly judge based on 5 minutes of film...this one looks damn scary. My hopes are high.

I was disappointed yet amused by the audience questions during the panel; I wanted someone to ask about, say, Bertino's influences and whether or not that poster indicates that the film will be more classic than modern, but instead people concentrated on Liv Tyler, asking her things like "Can you say something in Elvish?" (she can and she did) and...I fucking kid you not..."Do you get sad when you watch Armageddon because you already know that Bruce Willis isn't coming back?" (she doesn't watch her own movies after the premiere, but...uhh, no...and that was a weird question). It was her first ever con appearance, and she was really sweet to all the drooling nerds.

And if you're thinking "Well, why didn't you go ask the questions you wanted answered, Ms Know It All Smarty Farty Pants?", the answer is "I was approximately 876645 miles away from the microphone".


Yaaaaaaaay Neil Marshall made an appearance to talk about Doomsday, his upcoming "dark action thriller", a tribute to those post-apocalyptic flicks we all know and love (Escape From NY, The Road Warrior). Scotland is quarantined after a deadly plague sweeps through the nation. 25 years later, the virus hits London and a team is sent into Scotland to find a cure from the survivors. Scotland, of course, has become an insane gang-and fire riddled wasteland. The trailer, I must say, was pretty intense and had everything you'd want in a post-apocalyptic thriller: car chases, crazy weapons, and mohawks. It's going to be different from anything Marshall has done previously, especially considering the fact that it has a cast considerably larger than 6. For more on Doomsday, CLICK.

Don't you feel like you were there with me? Let's go soak our barkin' dogs.

Jul 25, 2007


Please please please please please let this be as good as I want it to be:

OK, my babies, I'm off to Nerd Prom for a few days...Nerd Prom, of course, being San Diego Comicon. It's my first time- I hope it's gentle! It looks to be completely insane, or at least more insane than most years- Saturday is completely sold out. I'm tellin' ya, there's gonna be a total nerdquake.

I doubt if I'll be posting any updates from the show over the weekend, but you never know. There's so much stuff going on it's a bit mind-boggling, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little excited about the whole thing.

I'll be signing at the IDW booth (#2229) on Friday from 3-4, so if you're going to be nerdin' it up this weekend, stop by and say hi. And if you're not nerdin' it up (in San Diego, anyway), behave yourself and tell me about any good movies you watch while I'm gone.

NO, I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. If we're all patient and quiet and we don't draw any attention to it, I'm sure it will pass.

Jul 24, 2007

news day

From the NOOOOO department:

According to imdb Pro (via Bloody-Disgusting), the working title for the sequel to Neil Marshall's The Descent is The De2cent...which we all know is pronounced "The Detwocent" and is just plain silly. So how do we all think this sequel will go? Will another group of hapless cavers get trapped and eaten underground? Will a group of paramilitary commandos head into the caves to do battle with the crawlers? Will the crawlers emerge from the dark depths and wreak havoc above ground? Will they try to assimilate in a wacky fish-out-of-water style comedy? The possibilities are endless!

From the YAAAAY department:

Director Christophe Gans is still "guiding" Silent Hill 2, but screenwriter Roger Avary is not attached to the film. I've got my fingers crossed for this one that the script is a little tighter...and by "a little" I mean "a whole hell of a lot".


DVD Drive-In has the scoop on upcoming DVD releases, and can I just say that September is going to rock my face off? Check it out:

*Someone's Watching Me!- early John Carpenter with Lauren Hutton and Adrienne Barbeau

*The Hand
- who doesn't love a good disembodied hand story?

*Deadly Friend
- I know this Wes Craven flick is a stinker, but I was all over it in '86.

*Eyes of a Stranger
- I've been dying to see this slasher starring Lauren Tewes of television's The Love Boat, but the VHS is out of print and sells for approximately $5684930.

*The Burning- finally, an uncut super deluxe edition! Slasher fans rejoice!

*Food of the Gods- hmm...methinks me smells an animals run amok week a-comin'!

*Scarecrows- I've never seen this movie, but trustworthy people keep recommending it. I guess I'll finally see what all the hubbub's about.

*Tales from the Crypt/Vault of Horror- Yeah, the Joan Collins one! A two-pack of anthology flicks from the '70s? At the risk of sounding like Kool-Aid Man...OH YEAH!

From the NANCY WALKER department:

Jul 23, 2007

Film Club: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

In the world of Behind the Mask, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger are all very real psycho killers, and Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) is a man who aspires to be just like them. Leslie invites aspiring young documentarian Taylor (Angela Goethals) and her crew into his world as he plans his night of terror. As Taylor shoots her film, we learn how these cuckoo nutsos get the job done, from choosing the victims to booby-trapping houses. Ah, the days of reality TV.

Any horror fan worth his or her salt will most likely get a kick out of Leslie Vernon, as the first hour, in which we follow Leslie around in his daily activities, is full of homages and in-jokes from the genre. Hey! There's Kane Hodder walking into the Elm Street house! Chuckle! There's Taylor standing in front of the Rabbit in Red Lounge! That's Robert Englund channeling Dr. Loomis! Aw, lookit l'il Zelda Rubinstein! She's so damn cute I want to put her on a keychain.

Leslie breaks down all the slasher tropes for us as he maps out his plan of attack: he chooses a virgin to be the "survivor girl" (why the fuck they kept calling her the "survivor girl" and not the "final girl" is kind of beyond me), he knows when the horny teens will head to the bedroom, he nails windows shut, he rigs the weapons the fin--err, survivor girl might use against him so they'll break...he even goes so far as to commit a wacky microfiche-swapping scheme that draws the final--dammit! survivor girl into his mythology. She reacts as he thought she would, getting all spooked and panicked. Had she looked closely at the article, though, mayhaps she would have sniffed out the ruse.

Once Leslie's big night arrives, Behind the Mask switches from a documentary style to a more linear style; the film becomes a stereotypical slasher flick and we get to watch as Leslie's plans come to fruition. People react exactly as he anticipated they would, and all of his booby-traps trap the boobys.

Well, kids, I just don't know. I can't really say I was all that taken with this film...though I know I'm definitely in the minority on that call, so take my opinion as just that. As an homage/tribute to the slasher film, I think Leslie Vernon absolutely works- but having the audience wink wink and nudge nudge along with you doesn't make your film any more substantial than an in-joke. There's absolutely the potential in this material to make a real statement about our modern reality TV/consumer culture beyond the nods to horror; we're living in an age where people really do want to be just like Freddy Krueger, where there's no mystique to celebrity anymore, where the line between reality and fiction has blurred, and where folks collect serial killer trading cards.

Behind the Mask
doesn't dig that deep, however. Leslie Vernon is just an average doofus- and I don't mean in that "Omigod Jeffrey Dahmer lived right down the hall from me and how could I not know but now that I think about it he was always kinda weird" way...I mean in a "this character is really irritating and the actor is sort of overacting and channeling Jim Carrey Lite and he's getting on my nerves" way. While Leslie is very much making plans to slaughter innocent teens, the film crew never seems to be particularly torn up about it (and don't even get me started on Taylor and Leslie's tearful goodbye). Even when the blood begins to flow, Taylor and her crew only seem to be a little torn up about it. Again- the idea of the role and culpability of the journalist and the media in the information age might make for a meaty cinematic stew, but Behind the Mask is little more than a broth.

And you know, that's fine. Movies can be there purely for entertainment's sake...even in that regard, however, I wasn't overly thrilled with Behind the Mask. The documentary portion went on far too long, in my opinion, and the last 20 minutes was a nice pick-up in pace, but it certainly wasn't scary. If you want a film that manages to be simultaneously of and about the horror/slasher genre, watch Scream. If you want a film that's a disturbing black comedy about journalists trailing a serial killer, a film that does have a little more substance, watch Man Bites Dog. If you want to wow your friends with your horror hipness, though, look no further than Behind the Mask.

Thanks to the Film Club Coolies for participating, no matter on which side of the fence their opinions may lie...

Wi' me:
The Horror Blog

Ag'in' me:
Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind
7 Dollar Popcorn
Askewed Views

Jul 21, 2007

two great tastes

Listen, I'm not sure if it was the beer or what, but something made me make this little video...and no matter how many times I watch it, it still makes me laugh. If you don't think it's funny, then...I don't know. Try it with some Hefeweizen, maybe.

Angela rules!

Jul 20, 2007


Hey, what are you doing this weekend? Really? Wow, that sounds fascinating. Good luck with that...I hope it clears up.

Oh, me? Well, thanks for asking. Yeah, yeah, umm...I'm watching Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. See, it's my current Film Club pick, and I'm going to write about it on Monday, so, you know...I should totally watch it before then.

What? No, don't be silly- you don't need a card or a special jacket to join the Film Club. That's ridiculous (although between you and me, the idea of matching satin jackets sounds kinda hot)! No, see, the way it works is, I pick a movie and give a due date, and then people can join in and post about the movie on the same day or talk about it here. It's like we're on a cyberdate or something.

What else am I doing this weekend? Oh, a little of this, a little of that. Stuff. You know. I'd invite you along, but should have that thing looked at.


In other news, it's Roundtable Day at The Horror Blog. This week's question concerns horror film credit sequences...go forth, read, discuss.

In other other news, Flight of the Living Dead will see a DVD release on October 2. Though the title really tells you everything you need to know, here's the skinny:
On a routine flight from Los Angeles to Paris, a mad scientist on the run from the CIA brings aboard top secret cargo – a corpse infected with a deadly, genetically engineered virus. When the plane hits turbulence, the flesh-eating zombie breaks free and spreads its disease throughout the cabin. With no government allowing the infected plane to land, the terrified passengers are stranded in the air. The clock is ticking as fuel begins to run out, and the passengers must fight for their lives against the ravenous tormentors before they are all turned into the living dead!
You know, I just saw this same exact movie about a week ago, except it was called Destination: Infestation and it starred Antonio Sabato Jr and Some Woman I Saw On A Show Once and instead of zombies, it was a pack of wild, hungry, computer-generated ants loose on the plane. We all know how much I love my animals run amok movies, but come on. Zombies trump ants, Antonio Sabato Jr or no Antonio Sabato Jr.

Jul 18, 2007


Hey all you Jason Voorhees junkies! Do you cross the days off your calendar every night and think to yourself "How will I make it all the way to 2009 with no new Camp Crystal Lake adventures to soothe my soul? How? Hoooooowwwwwwwwwww?"? Do you weep softly when you realize that the numbers on your "Countdown to Friday" computer widget don't seem to get any lower? Are you thinking of using your birthday wish to hurry up the clock? Well, weep no more, you friggin' weirdo! I'm here to help soothe your jangled calm you by providing a cinematic salve comprising a hockey mask, some blood, this camp place, cocoa butter, and the lightest scent of rosehips...I give you...Friday the 13th: Mother's Day!

Mother's Day is a feature-length fan film based on the young adult novel of the same name. Picking up after the events of Jason Goes to Hell, a hunter out doing his thing at Camp Crystal Lake finds Jason's mask, gets infused with The Spirit, and goes all crazy-like. Enter partying teens, mayhem ensues.

There's clips and trailers at the site, and you can actually download the entire film for free...which I'll be doing shortly. I mean, it can't be worse than Jason Goes to Hell, right? And I give what the kids might call "mad props" to anyone shooting a feature-length film on the cheap. Fan film power, activate!

Incidentally, I have no idea whether or not rosehips are something you'd want in a salve. In fact, I think maybe they're actually something you eat. It sounded good, though.

Jul 17, 2007

I Know Who Something Something

Yahoo! Movies has the full-length trailer and a clip from I Know Who Killed Me, the Lindsay Lohan is some girl who gets kidnapped by some cuckoo nutso and she's either killed or she escapes but no matter which she wakes up and is all "I'm not Lindsay Lohan, I'm Dindsay Dohan" and there's a mystery or something and she strips, but I'm not sure if she strips when she's Lindsay Lohan or when she's Dindsay Dohan or what movie that opens on July 27th.

I don't know, y'all, it looks like some prime Sunday afternoon Lifetime shit to me...and that's a good thing. Who doesn't love a good thriller? Only jerks don't love good thrillers. Gawd I hope there's a scene with an incriminating box of newspaper clippings- those are my favorite kind of thriller movies.

Clicken ze big big

Now, I don't care what you say...I love Lindsay Lohan. I have this theory that once she know, acting like a 20-year-old and gets her shit together, she's going to shock audiences and all her critics- SHOCK THEM, I SAY- by proving herself to be some sort of amazing actress. Yes, that's my just wait! She's already really good, but no one seems to notice.

Someday I'll also tell you about my theory regarding the combining of ketchup and mustard.

Jul 16, 2007


So I got "tagged" with another "meme" by two "bastards", Dr Criddle and Squish, wherein:

1. First, those tagged must explain the rules, as I am currently doing.
2. Secondly, share no more or less than eight facts about yourself.
3. Thirdedly, tag eight of your unsuspecting blogger friends, who are thereby contractually bound by law to do the same. If you do not comply, you will be fed to the crocodiles.

Normally I avoid these meme things as if they're walking Ebola pies- not to mention that I keep Final Girl pretty personal-life free, but today I'm feeling a curious combination of laziness and magnanimity, so why the eff not? Besides, it's nice that people want to know eight things about me (thanks, ya bastards). Let's see if I'll have any readers left after revealing these Fantastamazing Eight Facts.

1. One of my rock star dreams (don't we all have at least one?) is to be the woman who sings back up on Black Oak Arkansas's's's's "Jim Dandy". I have no idea what she looks like for real, but in my dreams she's a total skank who does nothing but chain smoke, chug Wild Turkey, and sing "Jim Dandy" in cut off jean-shorts and some tassled t-shirt.

UPDATE: Oh. My. GAWD. Awesome reader pal Theron tracked down a picture of this woman and...well, see for yourself how close I was in my assessment. Call me Nostramuthafuckingdamus! Ladies and gentlemen...Ruby Starr!

2. When I was in 1st grade, my class took a field trip to the beach. I was collecting rocks and shells and stuff, and I found this one amazingly cool-looking rock that I was sure was a moon rock or a miniature meteorite or something- I couldn't wait to show my parents! When I got home and pulled the moon rock out of the bag, my mom said "That's an old peach pit! It's garbage! Throw it away!" Thankfully my child-like innocence recovered quickly.

3. I have this weird phobia thing about wet, loose hair- and I had it even before J-Horror hit it big. It's just gross, especially if it's not mine. Let's put it this way: should I ever be summoned to Room 101 of the Ministry of Love, there'll be some sort of device awaiting me that holds the contents of Kenny G's shower drain.

4. I don't know why, but when I get really happy/excited about something, I tend to cry...not like wailing and pulling my hair, know. I shed a tear or two. Still, it can be embarrassing, like the time I cried when I went to the circus.

When I was 30.

5. When I worked at Large Chain Bookstore in NYC, I was bookseller to the stahs, dahling! I sold fondue cookbooks to Heather Locklear, VC Andrews books to Sarah McLachlan, and I helped Sigourney Weaver pick out some fiction for a friend. The only person I actually said "Hey, I like your work" to, however, was Amanda Plummer. Oh, and this one time, I answered the phone and the person said "Hi, who's this?" and I replied "This is Large Chain Bookstore."...she said "I know, I mean, who's speaking?". I totally hated giving my name out to customers, and so for some reason I blurted out "This is Juice".

6. Someone should nominate me for What Not to Wear because my wardrobe is in a sad, sad state at the moment- when I moved recently, I only took enough clothes to fill a single large suitcase. It was an amazing show of control and prowess at the time, but now I have no clothes and I'm too poor to buy nice new things. And I don't know how to dress myself. I mean, I understand the concept of dressing myself, like, I'm not walking around with pants on my head wondering why everyone is looking at me all funny. I mean, I'm not sure exactly what I want to wear. Another reason to nominate me is that I think Stacy London is the shit.

Not that I watch TV.

7. Despite (or because of, maybe) my life-long penchant for watching horror movies, I have led quite a nightmare-free life. I remember, when I was maybe 2 or 3, walking past a movie theatre advertising It's Alive. The image on the poster scared me so badly that I could hardly sleep that night and when I did drift off, I had bad dreams. And once when I was in college, I dreamed that a homicidal midget dressed up like Where's Waldo? was chasing me around campus with murderous intent. But those are the only nightmares I remember at all.

8. I can juggle, 3 items max. I'm self-taught! It's not as handy a skill as you might think, however.

Whew. I'm glad that's over with. I know I'm supposed to "tag" some more people, but...crocodiles be damned, this meme- much like the cheese- dies alone.

Wait, the cheese only stood alone. Meh, whatevs.

Don't you feel so much closer to me now?

art day

OK, everybody...set your Wayback Machine for awesome VHS box art!

Yup, it's Slaughter High (1986), a delightful slasher romp set during a high school reunion. Who wouldn't want to see this flick after spying that box on the shelf?

I caught this movie last week and I'll probably right up a review of some sort, but all my mushy brain can handle today is posting a purdy picture. Slaughter High was a million tons of fun, though, I'll tell you now.


Jul 14, 2007

What the eff?

Hey, remember just the other day when I was all "Oh my God...All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and so do I!"? And how I was like "The ending was a bit of a bummer but the rest of it kicked so much ass that you should totally go see it!"?

Well, today Cinematical reports there's not simply a release date change in the works...rather, Weinstein/Dimension has dropped the film completely. Why? Whyyy? WHYYYYYYY?

Gee, it must have been all the buzz and positive reviews, for they surely portend disaster. At any rate, Dimension ditched a critically-acclaimed horror flick but they're keeping Who's Your Caddy? on their release schedule. WHYYYYYYY? The universe indeed moves in exceedingly fucked-up ways.

Apparently the film has been acquired by another outfit, and according to the official Mandy Lane MySpace page, the film will get a theatrical release at some point. I'll post more when I know more...otherwise, those of you into MySpace should probably keep an eye on it there.

Sigh. Maybe I'll go watch some other Dimension films to remind me of their high high standards...maybe that will clue me in as to why they dropped Mandy Lane. Yeah, that's it! I'll go watch Black Xmas, or perhaps Halloween: Resurrection.

Jul 13, 2007

Friday the 13th Blog-A-Thon

Can you feel the kismet, people? All 'round Ye Olde Internette, people are talking about the Friday the 13th films and giving Jason Voorhees and Company some well-earned props. It's glorious in a sort of Hands Across America kind of way, don't you think? Though this endeavor was my idea, I had a really hard time coming up with something to say about these movies. I reviewed all the Friday films during that ridiculous, ass-numbing marathon; I've talked about the awesome coffee table book dedicated to the series; Friday films have been mentioned here for ridiculous faces, various death scenes, the general badassery of Jason, and defenestrations galore. What else can I possibly say? I'll say what I can possibly say: Baghead Jason of Friday the 13th Part 2 is the most frightening and effective of any Jason in any of the Friday films.

There's obviously something frightening about later incarnations of Jason- the hulking, hockey-masked killing machine. But Baghead Jason isn't a hulking killing machine who's brought back to life time and again, an ooey-gooey corpse of unlimited powers. Baghead Jason, you see, is just some guy. He's a real human being who wears a bag on his head and will kill you. Like Michael Myers, he's a boogeyman. He's the type of legend kids talk about- the madman who lives in the woods, the deformed monster who's waiting for kids to wander too close so he can snatch them up and bake them into a pie or something. When I was young, there was a wooded expanse across the street from our house and all the neighborhood kids would head into there to play. There were bike trails and rocks to climb...and it was rumored that there was some crazy guy who lived somewhere in there, just like Jason. Let me tell you, the idea of it made hide and seek an exceptionally thrilling game to play. I think it's safe to say that the rotting zombified Jason of Part VIII isn't someone we're likely to encounter outside the confines of a TV or movie screen; but Baghead Jason? I'm still partially convinced that a guy just like him really did wander the woods of southeastern Connecticut. Baghead Jason is real.

Looking at the character in Part 2, it's kind of amazing that he'd go on to death and resurrection countless times over, becoming a sort of perverse Superman. In Part 2, Jason had a house. He had somewhere to live, a little lean-to that he built himself...a shack that had a toilet. He clearly loved his mother and was so traumatized by her death that he built a shrine to her- he even lit candles. He was so full of rage that he left the confines of Camp Crystal Lake and somehow tracked down Alice, the counselor who killed his mother; he brought his mom's head all the way to Alice's apartment as he sought revenge. Couple these very human (and yes, very insane) actions with The Ginny Theory- that being that Jason never drowned in Crystal Lake, but rather ran off into the woods to live his kooky lifestyle- and there's actually some...GASP...character development for Jason Voorhees. The smallest sliver of our brains might even be dedicated to feeling sorry for the guy.

In Part 3, Jason would go on to adopt the hockey mask and cement his standing as a horror icon. Never again, however, would he seem so real- and to me, he'd never again seem so frightening, either.

All right, I've said my piece. Now it's time to spread the wealth! I'm sure I'll be updating throughout the day, so check back often for all things Friday the 13th.

Edward Copeland on Film gives us a review of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan.

Brainbug over at The Celluloid Cesspool has a picture-laden post about Part 3-D.

Erich at Acidemic-Film remembers experiencing the dawn of the slasher age.

Valter of Documents discusses the meaning behind Jason's iconic mask.

Over at Aphorisms and Ectoplasm, Spazmo reveals some of his long history with the films.

Birthday Boy Chadwick Saxelid reviews Jason X: The Experiment at Clueless Observations. Happy birthday!

Filmsquish gets it on with a review of Jason Goes to Hell and a slasher study to boot.

Kimberly of Cinebeats keeps it hip, talking about the influence of Bava's Bay of Blood.

Curt gets the ball rolling on a gialli vs. slashers smackdown over at The Groovy Age of Horror.

Look Back in Anger, fondness, and a booze-fueled haze at John Barleycorn's Friday the 13th love affair.

Adam Ross gives us 13 reasons to own the Friday box set...with a little DVD Panache.

Yonder at Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot, Marty McKee's mad Friday-reviewin' marathon culminates today with Freddy vs. Jason.

Amanda By Night reveals the highs and lows of Idiot Man Child Cinema at Retro Ectero.

Dreamrot talks about his relationship with Friday...sort of...amongst the 7 Dollar Popcorn.

The Roundtable of Yon Horror Blog discusses favorite Friday kills.

Pat Piper casts his Lazy Eye (Theatre) on Friday the 13th and safe sex.

Sir Jorge's Macabre DVD looks back at the classic 8-Bit NES game.

Ross Horsley of Buon Giallo! shows us what Venerdi the 13th might entail.

Andrew Bemis of Cinevistaramascope posits that a fear of Jason is a fear of the developmentally disabled.

Over at Gatochy's Blog, Mariana reveals the frightening reality of the Friday films.

Josh DeSlasher gives us an episode of Big Brother set at Camp Crystal Lake for Body Horror.

Check out some free Friday theme songs (including the bitchin' discofied Part 3 intro), available at Harry Manfredini's website!

Joe of the awesomely-named Carrie White Burns in Hell! has a sweet gallery of Friday posters and lobby cards on display.

John gazes at all the not-Jasons of the films with The Blackest Eyes.

Bob the Wordless has some words about Kevin Bacon-ka-bobs over at Why Can't I Write?

Dan Coyle pointed me towards a hilarious video review of the 8-Bit game by The Angry Nintendo Nerd.

Remember what it was like to see Friday the 13th for the first time? Relive the experience with a liveblog viewing from Emma Blackwood and her Art Boy.

Step into the Undertaker's Lounge and chat about Part VI: Jason Lives and the "professional wrestling" horror era.

Here they are...all the kills from the Friday the 13th films in chronological order. Thanks to everyone who threw this mind-numbing piece my way!

Well, I think that about wraps it up. Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who participated for making this event a heeee-youuuuge success. After all, you can't spell "Blog-A-Thon" without "you". Let's do this again sometime, shall we?

from Christopher Bennett

The Top 13 Things That Come to Mind When I Think of the Friday the 13th Movies

It’s Friday the 13th. You all know that. And I wanted to do
something special to celebrate it. By ‘something special’ I mean
watch the movie series. Again. It seems that’s all my unmotivated,
unimaginative brain can muster every Friday the 13th. But this time
is different. I was challenged to take part in THE “Friday The 13th
Blog-a-thon” (for the uninitiated, try to make
a regular part of your information/entertainment diet). I’m not
saying that watching the F13 movie series on this every-so-often
pseudo holiday is a bad way to celebrate. Quite the opposite. I just
need some inspiration from time to time.

Now, in front of you is a list. I know, I know. You’ve already
looked ahead and you’ve noticed that this list has 13 entries. 13 of
them! You're thinking, "Chris That's just plain crazy!" But, this
being a special day and all I’ve decided to pull out all the stops.
This list contains the first 13 things that come to mind when I think
of the Friday the 13th movies. The entries are in no particular
order. I hope you enjoy this very special ‘Top 13 Things That Come To
Mind When I Think Of The Friday The 13th Movies.’

1. Near the end of “Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood” when
Dr. Crews and Mrs. Shepherd are looking for Tina, Mrs. Shepherd is
yelling “Tina! Tina!” I always wanted to tell her to stop, because
what a terrible sound she makes.

2. Grown-up Tommy Jarvis is some sort of kung Fu champion. He
really knows how to mix it up in “Friday the 13th Part V: A New
Beginning.” I’m always impressed.

3. During most of the 90’s I worked at a summer camp in Maine.
There was a “haunted camp” a few miles away through the woods. At
night we would go there and try to scare each other, of course
inspired by the Friday movies.

4. I always laugh at the end of “Friday the 13th Part 2” when
Paul and Ginny take off Jason’s mask and look at his face. After
being shocked at Jason’s deformities, Paul says “Jesus…” I always try
to picture it like a Scooby-Doo ending and when they unmask the killer
Paul says that because he thinks the killer WAS Jesus.

5. In “Friday the 13th” Annie is talking to you-know-who. “I
guess I always wanted to work with children. I hate when people call
them kids. Sounds like little goats. But when you’ve had a dream as
long as I have, you’ll do anything.” What the crap is she talking
about?! And what does she mean by ‘anything?’

6. The banana eating hitchhiker in “Friday the 13th: The Final
Chapter” is one of my favorite characters in any of the movies. And
her premeditated reaction to the insults she knows she’s going to get
from people is awesome.

7. I bet being picked up and slammed against a tree while in a
sleeping bag would really suck. So, I hope that never happens to me.

8. Once, my friend and I watched all the Friday movies and wrote
down a list of the ways everyone died. Man, after all these years I
still can’t figure out why we thought that was a good idea.

9. Crispin Glover is a wacky dancer. Is that the way he dances
in real life?

10. When I was 13 years old, my friends and I decided that we
looked old enough to get in to see “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason
Takes Manhattan“ in theaters. The plan was to tell our parents that
we were going to see “Weekend at Bernie’s.” Apparently, we forgot to
take into account the ticket booth guy’s common sense, because he
busted us. And because we got a ride to the theater and were stranded
there for the duration, we decided to go see “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

11. Another stupid conversation, this time from “Friday the 13th
Part 3.” Rick is talking to Chrissy as he’s putting bails of hay in
the barn. “I realize I’m just a dumb country boy and my feeling
really don’t matter, but this is the sweat of a worker on my forehead,
not of a lover. Now, I believe that there is a time and a place for
everything. And now’s the time, and now’s the place, if you know what
I mean.” No, Rick I don’t know what you mean. Who wrote your crappy

12. For whatever reason, “Friday the 13th Part 3” is a perfect
Halloween movie for me. I watch it every year.

13. At the beginning of “Friday the 13th Part 3” Harold walks
toward his house and accidentally knocks over a stick holding up the
laundry line. His wife immediately yells out the window at him, “God
damn it Harold! I spent all day yesterday washing your clothes. Look
what you’re doing to them. You know I work very hard around here
trying to keep up with you and all your sloppy habits. And I get no
help from you at all!” It’s just funny to me how quickly she is on
this poor guy.

Enjoy your Friday the 13th. I’m going now to watch the movies. Again.

Jul 12, 2007

Reading is Fundamental

I don't know about you, but with the advent of The Digital Age my personal motto became "Fuck books!". I mean, why spend time reading some stupid old book when I can be watching something on a screen? Why use my imagination to depict, say, an explosion when I can actually watch it unfold in badass CGI fakery? Isn't that better? Yes, it is. Trust me, if Henry James were alive today in the age of ILM, the portrait of a lady would be a hologram or some Cracker Jack lenticular shit. Or maybe Isabel Archer would turn into a big robot right before our very eyes and shoot lasers out of her fingertips, destroying all of America's precious national landmarks. Take that, Lincoln Memorial! Up yours, Largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere! It's time to extinguish the Eternal Flame! You know who's buried in Grant's Tomb? Everybody, that's who.

Wait, where was I? Oh yeah. The books I have on my shelves are either strictly for show or they're hollowed-out and contain nothing but jewels, fabulous jewels! I try to limit my reading to street signs and menu options; I certainly don't read any of the crap I write here. In the interests of time, space, the World of the Slasher Film, and Final Girl browsers everywhere, however, I made a concession and recently read the novelization for Halloween II (by Jack Martin, based upon the screenplay by Debra Hill and John Carpenter).

Ah, the novelization. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the novelization comes after the film. Reading the book, I suppose, lets you re-live the movie over and over as opposed to, say, simply watching it again. While these books might seem like a pointless notion, it should be noted that they tend to contain a lot more backstory about the characters than the films do. I remember finding the novelization of the first Halloween at the Paperback Trader when I was a wee bonny lass and being so excited I could just pop. It had pictures from the movie! It had a scary cover! And there were also lengthy passages chronicling Michael's time in the asylum, with scenes that weren't in the film. See? Novelizations are good for the film buff.

Hmm...perhaps I should also point out how excited I was to pick up the novelization for 9 to 5 when my local grocery store had it...that one, I simply can't explain.

At any rate, Halloween II does fill in a few blanks for us, such as providing the answer to the burning question "How does Michael Myers know that Laurie is at the hospital and how the frig does he get there?" See, there's this TV producer who's all hot to get the scoop and she takes off for the hospital; she gets a flat tire en route and...
A shape the size of a mountain on two legs unfolded inside the trunk. It rose up and up. Then it sprang. It took her head back by the hair. Her white throat was suddenly exposed. A flash of silver and her throat had been slashed, with such brutal force that her head was nearly severed from her shoulders. It happened like that and then it was over, more quickly than the eye or any camera could have recorded. Even in slo-mo.

There was a jingling of keys. A moment later the car was running again.
Eyyyaghhhh! Can you feel the terror through the oh-so complex sentences?

While the novel does not explain how Michael's hand remains unscathed while he repeatedly plunges it into the scalding water of the therapy pool, it does give us a bit more insight to Dr Loomis..namely, the dude is a pretentious dick. Who knew? In the films he's always portrayed as a bit...eccentric, perhaps, but sort of guilt-ridden over Michael's escape and desperate to save Haddonfield's children from The Evil while still maintaining a bit of psychiatric interest in his patient. In the pages of Halloween II, however, he's got an extreme hate-on for Michael and he's given to some rather colorful- and hilarious- thoughts about his arch-enemy:
I'll be here, no matter how long it takes. I defy him to show his obscene face once more to the world of the living. So that I can blow him into a thousand putrid pieces and scatter those pieces on the four winds. For even Lord Samhain is bound for the present into his human form. If you cut him, does he not bleed? You're damned right he does. I'll rip his death-eating heart into pulp with a load of burning lead...
Wow, easy there, Loomie. You're gonna give yourself an ulcer with thoughts like that! He goes on to call Michael "The Prince of Scum" and "Michael Bloody Myers of Evil Incarnate", a title which would be so much better if he added "Incorporated" at the end. He's also got some choice words for Sheriff Brackett, dubbing him "pathetically stupid" and a "midwestern pig".

We also get some more backstory for Laurie as she lays in her hospital bed all drugged-up. She thinks about all the time she wasted being the "good girl" ("All my studying didn't do me any good tonight") and laments the fact that no one can be saved from fate. Bob couldn't save Lynda, Paul couldn't save Annie..."They can't- they're waiting for someone to do the same for them. Don't you get it?" Diazepam makes one philosophical, no? She goes on to dream about visiting Michael in the hospital and her vaguely abusive parents. It's all fascinating, I tells ya.

Do they publish novelizations anymore? I have no idea, but I sort of hope so. It'd be rad if there's some future Final Girl out there nerding out because she just found the paperback version of Scream 3 or something.

For some more info and reviews of slasher flick novelizations, head over to the always-bitchin' Retro Slashers. Man, I'd love to get my hands on that copy of April Fool's Day...wait, I mean...uh, reading is for losers! I'm just gonna go watch it!

Don't forget, kids...tomorrow is the Friday the 13th Blog-A-Thon! I'm privy to what some of you have cooking, and let me just say...we're gonna blow the roof right off this INTERNET! If you're posting something on your own blog and I've yet to post (no, I still have no idea what I'm going to do), send me a link via email- it's available in my profile over yonder to the right. If you've written something but you're blogless and you'd like me to post it for you here, where my magic stardust might rub off on you a little, simply include the piece in an email. Huzzah and hooray!

Jul 11, 2007

with good reason

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a film that's quietly been generating buzz for a few weeks now...but not Snakes on a Plane overhype buzz, and not "Omigod, Rob Zombie farted on the set of Halloween today...we'd totally better post another news item!" super-saturating buzz. It's been a sort of subtle thing, as if horror fans everywhere had the same thought after viewing the trailer: "Hey, this might actually be good. Wouldn't that be swell? Don't make any sudden noises or movements- you'll scare it away! Fingers crossed for Mandy Lane"

I caught a sneak peek advanced screening of the film yesterday and yeah, my ever-optimistic hopes were high. Nine times out of ten, this optimism proves unwarranted as I shuffle out of the theatre ( know, off the couch) slowly shaking my head, the highest compliments coming to mind for the crapfest I'd just witnessed being "I've seen worse", followed by "Well, maybe the next movie will be good". Imagine my surprise then, about 20 minutes into Mandy Lane when I found myself enjoying the damn thing. I almost had a coronary when it was over and I wasn't disappointed. It felt and naughty, liking a new horror movie like that.
Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company, 2007. Photographer: Mike Osborne

Amber Heard stars as the titular Mandy Lane, a not-particularly remarkable girl who becomes the center of attention when, over one magical summer vacation, she "gets hot". Suddenly everyone in school is interested in Mandy: the boys want to get in her as-yet unsullied pants and all the girls want to be her friend; Mandy becomes popular by saying nary a word.

Red (Aaron Himelstein) invites Mandy and a small group of friends out to his family's ranch for a weekend of activity typical of the slasher subgenre: beer, drugs, and sex. During the course of the debauchery, each guy tries his best to get with Mandy...soon enough, the bodies begin to pile up. Who loves Mandy enough to kill to be alone with her? Will anyone survive the weekend? How much ritalin can a teenager snort in 24 hours?

Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company, 2007. Photographer: Mike Osborne

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is remarkable in that it's a throwback to a classic '80s-era slasher film- right down to the perfect title placard, which would be at home on one of those oversized VHS boxes- but it has an absolutely contemporary sensibility. Director Jonathan Levine and writer Jacob Forman achieve this rare feat by...wait for it...treating their subject matter seriously. That's not to say Mandy Lane is a straight-faced affair, because it isn't. There's ample humor found throughout the film (actual funny humor, gasp), but the humor is organic to the script. It's not a post-Scream nauseatingly self-referential flick, and you never feel as if the filmmakers are winking at you and poking you in the ribs. Mandy Lane gets back to the roots of the slasher film and it's refreshing.

The cinematography is gorgeous: this is the dry, spare, sun-baked Texas of Tobe Hooper's Chain Saw. Though the killer is revealed fairly early in the proceedings, the ample tension in the film doesn't let up until the credits roll. The characters are well-drawn and likable. When the killings come, they're brutal and bloody- enough so to make me wince- but your mind fills in the disturbing blanks. All the pieces for this film simply fall into line: right down to the kickass soundtrack (The Go-Gos? Yes, please), Mandy Lane feels like a labor of love, and that's what makes it successful.

My only negative comment about All the Boys Love Mandy Lane has to do with the ending, which felt a bit...forced. I felt the film could have been more by being a little less, if you know what I mean. On the whole however, it's undoubtedly a high-water mark for the post-Scream slasher film. Check it out when it's released nationwide on July 20. Hmm. It seems the release date has been changed but a new date hasn't been established yet. I'll update this when I know something.

Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company, 2007. Photographer: Mike Osborne