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!

Sep 6, 2007

secret ingredients

Slasher films are like chili.

Man, I haven't had chili in forever. I admit, I haven't much felt like having chili these last couple of weeks, as I've been up to my...up to my...whole body in a heat wave like nobody's business. Seriously, fuck that whole "fry an egg on the sidewalk" shit- it's been so hot you probably could have fried an egg on my neck. In fact, I almost tried that very stunt one afternoon when my brain went soft due to the heat. I stopped myself in time, but my haze o' delirium got me thinking that my Faster Pussycat...Kill! Kill! poster was laughing at me and I hurt my hand when I punched it.

The point is, today was the first day in about 2 weeks that the temperature fell under 5482649 degrees, and if the weather continues to know, live-in-able, I think maybe I'll make some chili.

No, wait! That's not the point at all. Wait...what was my point? Something about slasher films being like chili? Where the hell was I going with that? Hmm...

Alright, slasher films are like chili because while there are countless permutations in assembling the final product, essentially all true slasher films, like all true chilis, have similar ingredients.

Man, I just can't do it. This is awful. Let's start over.

One of the key elements in the standard slasher film, as I've mentioned before, is what is known as the remote location. Get your horny teens to a summer camp, to the mountains, to outer doesn't really matter so long as help is far, far away. This approach is fully realized in Harvest Moon (2007), a slasher film set in an eeeeeevil apple orchard tucked away in the mountains. Yes, folks, there finally exists a horror film that combines blood and pointy objects with the wholesome power of fruit.

Adam Baldini (Brad Ashten), heir to the Baldini Apple throne, has recently taken over the orchard after his father's suicide. He invites his girlfriend Alicia (Karen Corona) and her pals to the orchard to help him get things up and running- Adam and creepy caretaker Leonard (David Wilson) can't run the place all on their own.

Before long, Adam is acting like a douchebag, Leonard is muttering to himself and the voices only he can hear, couples are fighting, and people are dying. Will we ever find out the hideous secret behind the great taste of the famous Baldini Apple? Will anyone live to see another day, to taste another sweet delicious Baldini Apple? Will Leonard be crowned the winner of this year's Tor Johnson Lookalike Contest?

As I said earlier, the location in Harvest Moon is fantastic. Not only does the setting truly feels remote, the surrounding mountains and valleys gives director Brent Nowak (who also appears in the film as Mel, one of Alicia's friends) and cinematographer Matthew Boyd a chance to frame some beautiful shots.

While the film is largely a slasher, there are some supernatural elements thrown into the mix (See what I mean? That would be like putting zucchini in your chili!)- ghosts haunt the orchard, though their motivation is never quite clear. Do they intend to harm, or are they warning those still living to, in the words of the Amityville house, get ouuuuut? They're just sort of...there, and though it's a noble effort to mix the slasher with the supernatural, it's an effort that's not quite fully realized.

So how do the slasher elements stack up? Not bad. Though there's definitely some blood, the majority of the violence takes place off-screen. This isn't always a negative, however, as sound can often get your imagination working and can sometimes be more satisfying than low-budget gore.

I was impressed with the script, mostly because it wasn't...well, it wasn't dumb. The characters, though essentially simply fodder, were somewhat well-developed and there were some interesting relationships happening. It's not lowest-common-denominator writing, which is refreshing in an indie horror flick.

At times, fact, in virtually every scene that didn't take place outdoors in the daytime, the film was simply too damn dark to tell what was transpiring. I was watching a screener copy, though, and hopefully the print will be cleaned up for the official release.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go buy some beans.

And apples.


John Barleycorn said...

I love how "meta" this post is ... writing about writing it, etc.

David Lee Ingersoll said...

Apple sauce is good in chili.

M said...

I hope that's an apple bleeding blood in that photo...

Stacie Ponder said...

Mr Barleycorn, if you think this post was meta, you should hear me say "I am burping" while I burp. It's much more modern than "E.T. phone home", which used to be my standard.

Apple sauce in chili? I've never heard of such a thing...although it does seem to validate my argument, somehow.

Mariana, if that apple really was bleeding, I guarantee this film would have been 27% better.

Arbogast said...

you should hear me say "I am burping" while I burp. It's much more modern than "E.T. phone home", which used to be my standard

My default belch is "El Brendel."