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, 2008

remake shmremake part 2

Holy fucking shit, it's as if it's Remake Week around here, eh? Don't worry, it'll all be over soon. Just close your eyes and think of England, dear.

Next up in the trailer parade: the direct-to-DVD rehashing of April Fool's Day (clicken ze trailer). According to the folks at Bloody-Disgusting, this version looks "very similar to the original". According to me, however, "The folks at Bloody-Disgusting must be smoking some serious something because this version doesn't resemble the original film whatsofuckingever".

It seems to me that The Updatening of the love-it-or-hate-it (and we all know how much I love it) 1986 slasher flick has rendered it a (perhaps) serviceable thriller. Honestly, it doesn't matter to me if the new version is completely unrelated to the original or if it's a shot-for-shot copy, because the original film boasts something the remake can never hope to match:

Yes, April Fool's Day boasts the awesome power of the combined forces of Deborah Foreman and Amy Steel. See, they're mighty and badass and untouchable and unstoppable- not at all unlike The Soul Patrol.

Holy crap, I fucking love Deborah Foreman and Amy Steel and G.L.O.W.

Jan 30, 2008

remake shmremake

By now you've probably already heard the news that Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes lackeys have sunk their filthy claws into the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and somethin's a-brewin'- whether remake or prequel, no one is yet sure. Whatever happens, it's become obvious that Bay intends to shit on as many classic horror properties as he possibly can. Yay!

I realize, of course, that I tossed the notion of a Nightmare remake around not so terribly long ago. Now that the possibility is actually here, though, I find that it's a bit like your wedding day when the doors open and you look down the aisle and spot the person you're about to marry and they're totally nice enough but, let's face it, not all that attractive and you have that sinking feeling like "Oh dear, I have to look at that for the rest of my life?" and you decide that it wasn't that great of an idea to begin with.

Or something like that.

Anyway, there's no point in getting up in arms about remakes because they're just not going anywhere; it is always fun to get up in arms over Michael Bay, however. I will say that both Mr T and I pity the poor fool who steps into the role of Freddy Krueger- Robert Englund has left a pretty big knifey-glovey to fill.

Or something like that.


Jan 28, 2008

they're all gonna laugh at you

So have you seen the trailer for the Prom Night remake yet?

Obviously it bears very little resemblance to the original film, which is fine but begs the question "If this 'remake' bears so little resemblance to the original film, why not come up with a new title and make the movie totally fresh and exciting?"

The title doesn't really matter, however- I couldn't be less anticipatory about this PG-13 effort. Judging by YouTube comments such as "now im scared to go 2 prom", though, it seems that the target demographic may, in fact, be excited about it. I am so not Prom Night's target demographic. I know that horror films have virtually always catered to the teen market, but that doesn't make me any less bitter about it...nor does it make the film look like any less of a stinker.

I realize that it's not really fair to rag on a movie before one has seen the thing, but I just have this feeling, you know? That it'll be lame. Making a positive out of a negative, though (as I always do), I've come up with two ways in which the Prom Night remake can be rendered significantly better.



Jan 26, 2008

last night rules!

SCENE: a bar

ME: I totally loved you in Friday the 13th Part VIII.

KELLY HU: Oh my God! Who are you?

It's highly possible that I was the first person to mention Jason Takes Manhattan to Ms. Hu in quite some time, to say the least. She told me all about the shoot and when I suggested she consider bringing back the criss-crossed suspenders look, she replied "What was I thinking?"

She's kind of awesome.

In other news, so is beer.

Jan 25, 2008

awesome movie poster friday- the GOBLIN edition!

You may notice that these aren't technically movie posters- rather, they're LP covers. However, when searching for Argento posters last week I came across many a sweet Goblin soundtrack cover and they just wouldn't be ignored, so there. I do what I feel like!

Middle three Dawn of the Dead and the razor wire Suspiria for the win.

Jan 24, 2008

eye shmeye

Once upon a time, I saw The Eye. I then tried to write a review and found that I simply...couldn' it. Nothing positive came to mind, nothing negative came to mind; in fact, just a bunch of nothing came to mind. Usually I find I have something to say about a film, but in this instance I couldn't muster much more than "Well, I saw it."

A couple of days ago I caught a screening of the American remake starring Jessica Alba as the violinist who, upon receiving dual corneal transplants, sees dead people. I had largely the same reaction I had to the 2002 Hong Kong version: "Well, I saw it." This time, however, I think I can at least put my finger on why the movie most people seem to find oh so scary doesn't do it for me.

The secret ingredient in any delicious roast is YELLING.

See, there's no sense of urgency or danger during the film. Yeah, Sydney (Alba) sees ghosts. But...they don't threaten her or anyone she loves. They don't hurt her. They don't really do much of anything except freak her out- which works, maybe, three times for the audience. Essentially The Eye is 80 minutes of jump scares and then, once Sydney figures out what's going on, there are ten decent minutes of action and plot.

In The Ring and Ju-on, for example, you really don't want to see ghosts because the ghosts want to kick your ass dead. In The Eye, the ghosts simply hang out. The first time a dead boy asks if you've seen his report card, it's creepy. The fifth time he asks, it's fucking annoying.

The last ten minutes of the film, when Sydney deduces that her 'curse' actually allows her to see the future and so she goes about attempting to prevent death and destruction has been done before to much greater effect in films such as The Dead Zone and Final Destination. Here, I find it's too little, too late.

As best as I can remember from the original, this remake seems to be almost a carbon copy with the exception of those last ten minutes. Jessica Alba is serviceable as Sydney, I guess, but her character is so underdeveloped that a pretty sock puppet would probably be equally as serviceable. In fact, the whole affair is serviceable...yet ultimately forgettable. While the original version didn't thrill me, it did have a bit more gusto- but there's no surprise there.

I've seen you twice now, The Eye, and we just didn't hit it off. It's not you, it's me...other people seem to think you're lovely, and I'm sure you'll have plenty of suitors when you open on February 1. Sorry, though, babe- this bird's gotta fly. You get no strike three with me!

Jan 21, 2008

it's the end of the something and i something something

Wow, MySpace really is good for something besides glitter graphics and horny sluts! Neil Marshall has posted some beee-yoo-tiful behind-the-scenes stills from Doomsday, his upcoming armageddonflick, in his MySpace blog. When I say "beee-yoo-tiful", I mean "Gawsh, they shore are purdy".

You may remember me talking about Doomsday way back during that magical month called "July". Well, the film is finally almost here: it's due to be released on March 14. The trailer was recently released online, so now you can see what I was so excited about at Nerd Prom:

If I were a geek or, like, obsessed with The Descent or something, I might point out that yes, that's a brief glimpse of MyAnna Buring (one of the faboo Van Ney sisters) you may have caught. know, I don't even care about The Descent so why would I bother to bring it up? It's not like I'm this guy or something.

Anyway. Doomsday. Can't wait.

Jan 19, 2008

It's quizzenin' time!

Approximately 4000 years ago, the wonderful Dennis Cozzalio of the you really ought to be reading it blog Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule posted a gigantic Christmastime Quiz for the movie-lovin' masses. I consider myself part of the movie-lovin' masses, so hey...why not come exceedingly late to the party, you know? I'm nothing if not a follower. And besides, I know you're all in the throes of desperate desire to know more about me, right?


Yeah, I thought so. You know what makes me cringe with a sort of uncomfortable, unbearable embarrassment? When crowds of people all clap along with music, especially, say, at an ice skating show. I'm not sure why, but it just mortifies me beyond all reason. If I ever (lawd fawbid) find myself in that sort of crowd, I literally have to hide my face until it's over.

I have no idea why I brought that up. Something about the word "masses" made me think of it. Anyway, onward to the quiz!

The air is electric with the prospect of answers and the scent of fresh pine

1) Your favorite opening shot

Hmm. I'm going to go with two answers here: first, the opening sequence (which is one continuous four-odd minute shot) from John Carpenter's Halloween. I've seen that film so many times that I'm virtually desensitized to it, but the opening still amazes me.

And I still think the opening shot of Star Wars (Ep IV) is just kickass. That Star Destroyer just keeps growing and growing until it fills the entire screen and completely dwarfs the Tantive IV (and yes, I said the Tantive IV because dammit, I grew up on Star Wars and I've seen it a million times and I had all the toys and I've done Star Wars art and for a while I did a Star Wars comic and no I'm not at all insecure or embarrassed by having a bit of semi-random knowledge about something in a science fiction film and why would you ask?) and it puts you right in the middle of the action. It still feels new and fresh and groundbreaking to me.

2) Tuesday Weld or Mia Farrow?

About a week ago, I came home to find my roommate sitting in front of the TV looking all sad. Before I could ask what was going on, she quietly said "I wanted you to be here for this". She had turned on the TV only to find a message stating that somehow, someway, our DVR hard drive was "corrupted". The only option was to completely reboot it- a process that would entirely erase everything we had recorded, and CoHabitTron 3000 wanted to make sure I saw that message and didn't blame her for screwing anything up. We tried to save stuff, but it was impossible; everything- around 100 hours worth of movies- went bye bye just like that...and the majority of the films were things I hadn't seen yet. The remake of I Saw What You Did and I Know Who You Are with Shawnee Smith and Tammy Lauren? Poof. Baby Monitor: Sound of Fear starring Josie Bissett of television's Melrose Place? Vanished. Mind Over Murder, featuring Tori Spelling as a psychic prosecutor? Bye bye. I was saving them all for a "special time", as one would save a bottle of Riunite...but they're all gone now. The lesson, I suppose, is "seize the day and watch the damn movies", although I think the bigger lesson here is "fuck you, Dish Network".

One of the movies I had recorded but hadn't yet seen was Pretty Poison, starring Tuesday Weld and Anthony Perkins. This broad I know won't stop going on about it, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Well, now I can't give it a shot without renting it and paying for it! Had I watched Pretty Poison before it vanished into the ether, it would have...well, it would have been my way of losing my Tuesday Weld cherry- that's how special it was! Like Riunite in a crystal decanter special! Siiiiigh.

Even with my Weld-O-Meter remaining firmly at zero, however, I can still say that I prefer her over Mia Farrow. I like Mia to a small extent...I dig The Purple Rose of Cairo and Rosemary's Baby is alright (yes, I said "alright"- I'm not goo goo over it, though, Ruth Gordon or no Ruth Gordon). But she always seems so slight and weak and teary-eyed and frail and rheumy, I'm not sure whether I want to hug her and make it all better or crush her and get it over with. So, Tuesday Weld for the win.

Had the question been Tuesday Weld or Tisa Farrow?, however, my answer to this would have been a lot shorter.

3) Name a comedy you’re embarrassed to admit made you laugh

Anyone who's read my profile knows I have this thing about Jumpin' Jack Flash, so obviously I'm not too embarrassed about that one. I honestly think that everybody has that one movie that's theirs and theirs alone. Maybe you saw it at the right time, maybe it reminds you of something, or maybe it's unexplainable. Regardless, no one seems to share your sense of mystique about this film, and people tend to question your sanity when you talk about how much you like it. Case in point: I've got a friend who thinks Saturday the 14th Strikes Back is the greatest movie ever. I do not concur.

To answer the question, however, I'm gonna go with The Hot Chick. I tend to steer clear of the words "Rob" and "Schneider", but I really have a weakness for this movie. I don't know if it's just me, or if it really is funny and no one wants to admit it. Though it's worth watching for the Anna Faris factor alone, it's really the Korean mother that seals the deal for inappropriate as that may be.

4) Best Movie of 1947

Lady From Shanghai. It's not all gold (damn studio tinkerings), but what is gold is...uh, super gold. The funhouse shoot-out immediately springs to mind, but there's plenty of beautiful, tasty camerawork to be found, and Rita Hayworth is gorgeous.

5) Burt Reynolds was the Bandit. Jerry Reed was the Snowman. Paul LeMat was Spider. Candy Clark was Electra. What’s your movie handle?

Shouldn't someone else give me a handle? Or do people come up with their own? Hmm. Maybe "Final Girl"? That seems dull. "The Sperminator"? No, that's not right. "Glitterazi"? Meh. "Power Sauce"? Ding ding, I think we have a winner!

6) Robert Vaughn or David McCallum?

I'm sure it's the unpopular, uncool answer, but I'm gonna say Robert Vaughn. For one, I loathed David McCallum in Dogs- he really irritated me for some reason. And two, Robert Vaughn's voice has been burned into my brain because of all of those commercials he does for personal injury lawyers. You know, the ones where two lawyer-looking types are in a law-looking library and they represent the insurance companies who simply don't want to pay and you can just tell they're pure evil- they're practically twirling their handlebar moustaches- and then a clerk bursts through the door carrying some paperwork and desperately says "They've got Trantolo and Trantolo on the case!" and one lawyer-looking type turns to the other lawyer-looking type and says "Trantolo and Trantolo? Let's settle this one!" because they're all, like, so totally afraid of the mad lawyering skillz of Trantolo and Trantolo. Then Robert Vaughn appears and says "Insurance companies won't settle? Tell 'em you mean business. Call Trantolo and Trantolo right now" and you feel compelled to do so. I've seen Vaughn in these commercials- only the names of the law firms change- in every city I've lived in.

Now that I think about it, these commercials sort of unite the country in a way that Hands Across America never could. Oh, Robert Vaughn...thou art truly a Real American.

7) Most exotic/unusual place/location in which you've seen a movie

Your mom!

Wait, I mean...I don't really think I've gone anywhere exotic or unusual to watch a movie. Drive-ins, multiplexes, and restored theatres, but that's about it. I did watch some stuff at my friend Scott's house, though, and he was pretty weird.

8) Favorite Errol Morris movie

I fell asleep during Mr Death. Beyond that film, I'm a Morris Ignoramasaurus.

9) Best Movie of 1967

Mmm...let's say Bonnie and Clyde because Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were beautiful and stylish...while Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow certainly were not. Movie from 1967 I'm most dying to see: The Deadly Bees.

10) Describe a profoundly (or not-so-profoundly) disturbing moment you’ve had courtesy of the movies

Tricky question. Does it refer to a scene or moment that profoundly unsettled me, or does it refer to that rare occasion where a film so impacts your life that you actually feel profoundly disturbed at a time when you're not watching it? If it's the latter, well, I'd probably just have to recount the tale of the night I saw The Ring the first time. Palpable, real terror long after the movie ends...a notion which, as you know, is the reason why some people hate horror films (and is exactly the reason why I love them).

Runner-up: I've spent a lot of time up at the cabin of a friend's family in Vermont. It's delicious up there- no phone, no TV, virtually no nothin'. Once upon a time there was a rinky-dink theatre sandwiched between the IGA and the hardware store at the one shopping plaza somewhat near the cabin. The theatre's been gone for years now, but it's probably for the best as the place was a bit gross: stained seats, a popcorn machine so coated in "golden flavoring" that you couldn't see the popcorn inside, etc etc. A real grindhouse that, unfortunately, was showing crap like Dunston Checks In instead of sweet grindhouse-y horror flicks. Anyway, a group of us went to see...something one night- the name of the movie escapes me- and we found a pair of underwear on the floor (nasty) and a $20 bill (awesome). Profoundly disturbing, indeed.

11) Anne Francis or Julie Newmar?

I'm sure the popular answer is Julie Newmar...I mean, she was Catwoman, ya know? But Anne Francis was so damn adorable in Forbidden Planet...but if that weren't enough, she's been on virtually every awesome TV show ever, including a little something called Dallas, wherein she played Mitch's mom. Anne Francis, baby!

12) Describe your favorite one sheet (include a link if possible)

Ahhh! How can I pick but one? I post sweet horror movie posters every Friday, so I won't bother with that genre. I've always loved the Fargo one-sheet (also one of my favorite films)- it ties in with the one of the film's themes (finding awful things in the most innocuous places) really well. For purely aesthetic reasons, I'm currently into 1960s illustrated posters (such as Dr No and Breakfast at Tiffany's, for example- which is why I'm completely in love with the work of comic artist Phil Noto, FYI) and vintage smut.

13) Best Movie of 1987

Blearrrgh. Focusing strictly on the horror genre, I'd have to say that 1987 was a bit of The Year of USA Up All Night. It seems as if there were plenty of middling-to-crap titles available at the video store that year: stuff like The Outing and Silent Night, Deadly Night 2- you know, movies that I might enjoy at 3am when I'm 14 and I'm having a slumber party and we're all hepped up on Cheetos and Mountain Dew, but nothing necessarily "good". Eh, Hellraiser's pretty good, I guess. Evil Dead 2. Lemme tell ya something, 1987- you're certainly no effing 1981, that's for sure.

Non-horror, it's totally Raising Arizona.

14) Favorite movie about obsession

Carrie. I don't know if it was actually supposed to be a major theme in the film (or the book, for that matter)- part of me highly suspects it wasn't- but Chris Hargensen was completely obsessed with Carrie White.

15) Your ideal Christmas movie triple feature

Gah. Black Christmas, Home for the Holidays, and Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, which is really the ultimate gift and a great way to honor Jesus and all that.

16) Montgomery Clift or James Dean?

John Saxon.

17) Favorite Les Blank Movie

Umm...I haven't seen any.

18) This past summer food critic Anton Ego made the following statement: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize that only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Your thoughts?

No doy.

19) The last movie you watched on DVD? In a theater?

On DVD, a wonderful movie called Caramel which was at times extremely depressing, at other times extremely funny, and constantly well-acted and beautifully shot. I couldn't help but think of what the American equivalent of this film would have been, and one word kept running through my mind: "cloying". Maybe I have no faith in Hollywood, but I can't imagine Tinsletown producing a film about female friends and their lives and their beauty parlor and not including a musical montage featuring the women singing into their hairbrushes.

Last week I took in a series of short films for the 3rd annual Focus on Female Directors in a real, live movie theatre! Some were quite good (Jennifer Aniston's Room 10 was a nice surprise) and some were quite not.

20) Best Movie of 2007

Geez. Best? I don't know from "best". There are too many movies earning rave reviews that I've yet to see (No Country For Old Men, for starters...hell, if it's on a critic's Top 10 of 2007 list, you can pretty much guarantee I didn't see it. I'm not trying to be contrary- I'm just broke.) to declare a winner. What did I like of the few movies I saw? That, I can answer: Bug, 28 Weeks Later, Hatchet, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, and the first two-thirds of In the Valley of Elah.

21) Worst Movie of 2007

Halloween can still kiss my ass.

22) Describe the stages of your cinephilia

AS A KID: horror movies (especially Hammer), Star Wars, Clash of the Titans, Airplane!
AS A TEEN: horror movies (especially slashers), Jumpin' Jack Flash
IN COLLEGE: indies, foreign films, Scorsese
IN MY EARLY 20s: animated films, Coen brothers, bad horror movies
AS A CAPTIVATING W.O.M.A.N.: I will watch just about anything. Though horror is my favorite genre, I'm a film fan across the board. I'm not hoity-toity, I'm a movie monger.

Okay, I just wanted to say "hoity-toity".

23) What is the one film you’ve had more difficulty than any other in convincing people to see or appreciate?

Well, as I mentioned in question #3, no one but me likes Jumpin' Jack Flash, but then I don't try to convert anybody. I'm sure there must be movies I love that people question, but...I don't know. I can be very persuasive, especially if you're drunk.

24) Gene Tierney or Rita Hayworth?

See #4

25) The Japanese word wabi denotes simplicity and quietude, but it can also mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole. What film or moment from a film best represents wabi to you?

There's a little moment in Harold and Maude during Harold's date with Sunshine Dore (the actress) that I completely cherish. I have no idea if it's a flub or intentional, but either way it's sublime to me. As Harold and Sunshine round a corner on their way to the library (or study or what have you, before the hari-kari bit), Sunshine slips, stumbles, and twists her ankle a little, but keeps on going. It's just...perfect. I love that movie.

26) Favorite Documentary

Hmmm, that's tough. I love documentaries and there are so many varieties, it's exceedingly tough to choose only one. I'll go with American Movie because it's just so fucking entertaining.

27) Favorite opening credit sequence

I answered this in a horrific fashion for the Horror Blog's Roundtable a while back. I'm stickin' to that answer. But you know, I also adore the credit sequence from Airplane! 'cause man...the jokes just start, you know?

28) Is there a film that has influenced your lifestyle in a significant or notable way? If so, what was it and how did it do so?

Yeesh. Harold and Maude reminds me what's good when things aren't so good. I suppose you could say that every horror film I'd seen prior to starting Final Girl influenced me in some way. They all added to this cumulative twine ball of passion, which led to my starting this blog, which has led to some extremely significant changes in my life. Someday I'll bore tell you about them over a beer.

29) Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews?

Ignoramasaurus Rex.

30) Make a single prediction, cynical or hopeful, regarding the upcoming Academy Awards

The writer's strike will continue into Oscar season. There will be no ceremony- there'll be another Golden Globes-style lightning-fast press conference instead, and somehow...the world won't end. Everyone realizes that life will continue on and no one really gives a fuck about whatever couture dress Katherine Heigl (or whoever the current hot thing is) chooses to wear to some overblown, overexpensive, passe ceremony. It's like being obsessed with American Idol or something- you're all wrapped up in it, and you can't miss a single episode...then, somehow, for whatever reason, you do miss an episode and the love affair is over and you realize that you don't actually care and you find something else to do with your Tuesday nights. The Oscars will be forever changed, even after the strike has been resolved. Oscars 2.0.

31) Best Actor of 2007

See #20. I'm really not qualified to answer this.

32) Best Actress of 2007

I could answer the same, but I'd be shocked if someone turned in a better performance than Ashley Judd in Bug.

33) Best Director of 2007


34) Best Screenplay of 2007

Wah wah.

35) Favorite single movie moment of 2007

Putting on my 3-D glasses as the theatre lights dimmed just prior to Friday the 13th Part 3.

36) What’s your wish/hope for the movies in 2008?

Dear Movies,

Just be awesome, dammit. And release some smaller horror films on the big screen, please.