FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Aug 30, 2008

VHS Week, Day 4: Humongous

I don't think I'm supposed to like Humongous quite as much as I do.

The main arguments against this 1982 film, director Paul Lynch's follow-up to Prom Night, are that it's boring, derivative, and devoid of scares. I can see how those would be valid criticisms or how one might end up with that opinion of Humongous, and yet- that's not how I view the film at all. Does that make any sense? It's a bit like seeing Fabio and thinking "Yes, I understand how people might find him attractive, but I myself do not."

In related news, I wonder whether or not anyone's been able to convince Fabio that the delicious, cholesterol-free, buttery spread he so enjoys is not, in fact, butter.

Back on topic! Humongous. It opens in that most predictable way: with a rape. It's Labor Day Weekend in 1946 and a drunken reveler forces himself on a young woman whose family is hosting the party. Her trusty German Shepherds come to her rescue and attack the attacker; she finishes him off with a rock.

I was checking out some reviews of the film earlier, and virtually every one railed against Lynch for shooting the rape scene from the victim's POV. Apparently this technique makes viewers uneasy. Uncomfortable during a rape scene? Good. Why is that a problem?

36 years after that night, a small group of...err, teens, I guess, are leaving a house where I...uh, guess they were staying all summer and they're boating to...uh...well, it's all a little vague. Listen, picky, all you need to know is that this is a horror movie and all the major food groups are represented: the nice guy, the final girl, the slut, the nerd, and the jerk. The nice guy (Eric), the nerd (Carla), and the jerk (Nick) are siblings; the nice guy and the final girl (Sandy) are dating, as are the slut (Donna) and the jerk. Carla, meanwhile, is considerate enough to sport glasses in keeping with the film's title. I do so love a theme!

Whilst slowly navigating through heavy fog at night, our gang comes across Bert, whose motorboat has given up the ghost. They take him on board and when dogs begin to howl in the distance, he tells them the tale of The Weirdo Old Lady of Dog Island. It seems there's a mysterious woman who's secluded herself on an island and lives with a gazillion dogs. The locals don't know much about her- she only heads to the mainland twice a year for supplies, and no one dares set foot on the island for fear of her dogs.

Hmm...I wonder who she could be? Though we, the audience, know that The Weirdo Old Lady of Dog Island is the rape victim from 36 years back, the telling of the tale is spooky. It's creepy. What can I say? I get sucked in easily.

A few plot contrivances later and our gang's boat goes boom- man, the jerk is such a jerk- and everyone swims for...wait for it...the shores of Dog Island! It's all so very unpredictable...and as such, you probably know where all this is headed, right? The rape victim had a baby, the baby grew up to be humongous, Mr Humongous is deformed and hasn't been socialized, Mr Humongous kills teenagers for food- you know the drill.

As I said earlier, I'm not going to argue that Humongous isn't terribly derivative (one crucial scene apes Friday the 13th Part 2 like nobody's business); somehow, though, I find it effectively derivative. Lynch utilizes odd camera angles to disquiet the viewer and- for better or for worse- keeps Mr Humongous almost completely hidden throughout the film. This has the curious effect of making the film one about survival rather than one about killing. The focus is on the teens, who are trying to find a way off the island. While exploring the ol' Humongous Homestead, they come across photo albums, diaries, and dessicated corpses and they get their Scooby Gang on, piecing together the puzzle to figure out what they're up against. They even develop a grudging sympathy for the lurking monster, and so do we. The characters are, unfortunately (yet expectedly) drawn too thin to really care about, but it helps that the performances, while not spectacular, are rather understated for a slasher-style film. They're essentially stereotypes, but they're not broad caricatures.

The biggest shame about Humongous is that it's so damn dark...I mean really, really dark. So much so that you can't figure what's going on for...oh, I'd say at least 1/4 of the movie. It's definitely a problem, and some viewers may not have the patience to endure it. As for me, I plan to buy up all the Our Lady of Guadalupe candles in the Spanish food section at my local Ralph's, light 'em, and create a shrine with the hopes that this will bring about a DVD release of Humongous- a nice, cleaned-up-n-brightened version so I can see what I've been missing.

I like this movie. I honestly enjoy it, and not in an ironic way- although there are plenty of early '80s chunks of cheese (headbands, dancing, cassettes, and...uh, using one's bare boobs to keep someone warm) sprinkled throughout. I like the exploring of the run-down house, I like the stalking sequences, I like the atmosphere...I just like Humongous. Your results, however, may vary, as the 2.3/10 rating on imdb suggests.

Aug 29, 2008


- While you were sleeping, I went to see Disaster Movie and reviewed it for AMC. I think it was only because the hellish experience that was Demon of Paradise was still coursing through my veins that I didn't want to kill myself. So for that, I thank you, Demon of Paradise. Now get the eff out of my life forever! I seriously need to watch a quality movie before I find the nearest Grand Canyon and go all ten kinds of Thelma and Louise.

- Go visit my ol' pal Arbogast and check out his quasi-tribute to America's Next Top favorite caver, Beth, from The Descent. To avoid fainting, I must keep repeating, there are good movies out there...good movies out there...good movies out there...good movies out there...thanks for the reminder, Arbo! Beth rules and she rules hard.

- From the I weep for the children who are supposedly our future department: The Internets are all up in arms over the kinda sorta news that Vadim Perelman (The House of Sand and Fog) maybe kinda might helm the super possible Poltergeist remake. It's a fowl story, indeed, that Bloody-Disgusting has related. No one expressed their trepidation at the prospect more poignantly than commenter horrorchick81, however:
they need shot! y remake a GOOD classic horror/supernatural movie? who would star in it anyway everyone dies from them movies anyway bc of the poltergeist curse. there is noo way that this tupid ass remake will live up to the original even if they did get craig t nelson to reprise his role as stephen. anyone know what ever happened to that kid who played robbie in one an two?? i am soo signing it. never even seen house osf sand and fog so cant bitch bout the directer dude.
Verily...they need shot. And in case you were unaware of all the rumors of hauntings and curses surrounding the original Hooper/Spielberg production, horrorchick81 goes on to shed some light:
uh ya there is a thing as curse, how do you explain heather orourkes untimley/mysterious death??? the orignal cane/julian beck!? umm doninique dunnes (cant think of her name but she was robbies and carl annes sis in the first) death when she was strangeled by her boyfriend when i guess a friend/neighbor was litening to the poltergeist soundtrack?? taylor dying? that mysterious light when tangena got her pic. taken in the photograph?? to me that aint coincidence that is a curse so idk what u are talkin bout when u say there is no curses.
Maybe that's why I'm suddenly mired in bad movies when my week started out so well: there is a thing as curse. Who knew? I mean, besides horrorchick81, natch.

Now if you'll excuse me, I suddenly feel a burning desire to make some parse trees.

Aug 28, 2008

VHS Week, Day 3: Demon of Paradise

As you may have noticed, I review a lot of movies here at Final Girl. Some of these movies are made of awesome, some are made of lame...this is to be expected. You take the good, you take the take them both and there, my friends, you have the facts of life. It's a rare film that crosses my path, however, that is so bad that I want to go back in time and stop myself from pushing play on the VCR. Even more rare is the film that makes me want to go back in time and stop myself from seeing the movie on the shelf...or further back in time so I can stop the filmmakers from beginning production. Or even further back so I can prevent the filmmakers' parents from having "intimate" "relations" so I can ensure the film will never get made.

This is how I feel about the 1987 Creature from the Black Lagoon wannabe Demon of Paradise.

Blah blah blah legend of prehistoric underwater lizard-man Akua blah blah oh no, he's really real blah blah blah let's follow the standard animal attack movie formula: we can't cancel the annual Parade Festival blah blah blah the scienceologist will save the day blah blah fucking blah.

Trust me, that description is way more exciting than what happens on screen. What happens on screen? NOTHING. So much nothing that when I looked over at one point and my viewing pals were asleep, I thought that maybe I was actually the one who fell asleep and I was having the most boring dream ever dreamed.

Let's take a look at some of the things I wrote whilst taking notes for this review:
  • Reporter = die, please
  • nothing happens. nothing happens some more. badly acted nothings happen.
  • music = horrendous, always inappropriate
  • more nothing happening = kill myself
  • testing my resolve as a human being to overcome adversity and boredom
  • why won't it end?
  • hell = this
  • when will it end?
Finally, it did end and I was left feeling like I'd just completed ten tours of 'Nam. Demon of Paradise was so bad then when the credits finally rolled I nearly went apoplectic, ranting and flipping it off so hard I'm surprised my middle finger didn't explode. There's no doubt that in those few moments, I could have legally been deemed a fire hazard- such was the white-hot intensity of my rage. I'm only shocked that lasers didn't shoot out of my eyeballs.

Oh, how Demon of Paradise angried up my blood! Why did Satan himself have to shit this movie into existence? Why did I have to see it in the 3-for-$5 bin at Video Hut? Why did the filmmakers not realize that a man in a rubber suit popping up out of the water every once in a while to wave at people off camera does not induce terror? Why did it have to be so boring that I couldn't even laugh at the waving monster?

Clearly, Demon of Paradise hates me as much as I hate it.

Originally, I didn't even want to bring the tape home with me: I really, really don't want this movie in my house. Since last night, however, I've reconsidered that stance and I think some good may actually come from this steaming pile of dook.

Some outreach program should take Demon of Paradise to all the Ebola clinics of the world and show one-minute clips to patients. Then they can say "See, Ebola patient? Your internal organs are liquifying and your face is being eaten away, but at least you don't have to endure the other 86 minutes of Demon in Paradise!", to which the Ebola sufferers will say "Hooray! I may have Ebola, but clearly my life could be a lot worse!"

Aug 27, 2008

VHS Week, Day 2: The Blood Spattered Bride

That right there, friends, is radness in a clamshell. Yet again I fell victim to the doesn't describe anything description on the back of the box and figured I was in for an over the top slasher flick. Instead, I was treated to a sublime gothic take on Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla with director Vicente Aranda's The Blood Spattered Bride (1972).

Yes that's right- much to my shame I had no idea what this movie was about until I popped it in the ol' VCR. Bad horror fan! Bad! Go sit in the corner and think about what you've done!

Now that my shortcomings as a walking horror encyclopedia are out of the way, let's get to it. Carmilla is, of course, the 1872 novella that spawned a genre: the lesbian vampire tale. From Blood and Roses to The Vampire Lovers to Daughters of Darkness and beyond, there have been numerous cinematic interpretations of Le Fanu's work over the years with varying amounts of blood and smut. The Blood Spattered Bride falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum- though the blood flows, at times, copiously, the film is never as lurid as its title suggests; though there's ample (body-double) nudity on display, the movies's most erotic moments happen off-camera; and though you may roll your eyes at the thought of yet another lesbian vampire movie (though I can't imagine who would!), The Blood Spattered Bride is an intelligent take on feminism and sexual politics that's got atmosphere to spare.

Newlyweds Susan (Maribel Martin) and her nameless husband (Simon Andreu) honeymoon at his ancestral estate after an aborted stay at a modern hotel- Susan was understandably uneasy there after she...endured? suffered? indulged in?...a violent rape fantasy. She becomes only more high-strung after they arrive at the sprawling mansion, mostly due to her husband's boorish behavior. He is continually (and I really do mean continually) in lustful pursuit of his young bride, so much so that Susan attempts to lock herself away from him. Her sexual anxiety reaches critical mass when he follows her into the woods, grabs two handfuls of her hair and lifts her off the ground, then tries to coerce her into fellating him. I can't imagine why she'd be reluctant!

Susan begins to have dreams of a woman in a bridal gown who gives her an ivory-handled dagger. Eventually she finds a faceless painting of the same woman tucked away in the basement; Susan's husband relates the story of a distant relative, Mircalla Karstein, who murdered her husband on their wedding night when he wanted her to perform "unspeakable acts". The husband then proceeds to open Mircalla's crypt, conveniently located right on the estate grounds. Is Mircalla the woman in Susan's dreams? If she's only dreaming it all, why does Susan now possess the ivory-handled dagger? What does it all mean? According to a psychiatrist, it's simply a typical case of a woman's excitable nature- the only cure for which is a series of injections and a big dose of bedrest, during which she's more than welcome to stare at the yellow wallpaper on the walls.

The husband decides to dispose of the dagger once and for all; he buries it on a remote beach where he encounters (in what has simply got to be one of the strangest character introductions in any film in the history of ever) a mysterious blonde woman (Alexandra Bastedo). Naturally, he takes her home.

As you may have guessed, the mysterious blonde woman (who remembers nothing but her own name, Carmilla) is the same woman who appears in Susan's dreams. She disappears from the mansion the next morning, but she and Susan continue to meet each other- at the crypt, in the woods- anywhere so they can engage in neck biting, sexy times, and plenty of kill your husband pillow talk.

Events escalate to a bloody, bizarre, and ultimately downbeat ending that leaves plenty of questions hanging in the air: is Carmilla a vampire, or does she simply fancy herself to be one? Is she the reincarnated spirit of Mircalla, or is she simply, as Susan's doctor puts it, a "dominating lesbian" and a "paranoid pervert"?

Questions regarding plot aside, The Blood Spattered Bride also raises more political questions for the audience as the focus shifts during the course of the film. There's no question we're meant to sympathize with Susan early on- her husband is a callous jackass who is quite possibly the most annoying person on the planet. He knocks her around, teases her, and all but forces himself on her until she finally admits that she hates him. Once Carmilla enters the scene, however, and her relationship with Susan blossoms into something resembling love, the men of the film become the protagonists, hunting down and ultimately destroying the women. Are the filmmakers endorsing the patriarchal order by eliminating the feminists? Do the filmmakers really consider homosexuality to be "perverted", and thus heterosexuality must win out in the end?

Or is this just a lesbian vampire exploitation flick? I guess it's up to you to decide.

Regardless of how much thought you want to put into The Blood Spattered Bride (or how much though you think went into the making of it), there's no denying that the film looks and feels gorgeous. Aranda opts for slow tracking shots and long takes, imbuing the film with a sense of the gothic and an atmosphere that's positively languorous and unsettling. Bride meanders along as dreams and reality intertwine, and the pace of the thing will undoubtedly make it or break it for you. The cinematography is fantastic, and it's impossible to grow weary of gazing at Susan and Carmilla.

Though I caught this on VHS (duh), it's currently available as a bonus on the 2-disc special edition of Daughters of Darkness, released a couple of years ago by Blue Underground. If you dig gothic tales of lesbian vampires (and who doesn't, duh), I highly recommend it.


- Look at me, posting a link to my latest AMC column all timely-like! Head over and check out my 10 Reasons Why Phantasm Rules. Yes, of course the Lady in Lavender is on the list. What am I, some sort of rube? Some of my reasoning for including her didn't make it past the editor's steely gaze, but such is life.

- It's a great friggin' time to be a horror video game fan! First, when September 30 rolls around and Silent Hill 5: Homecoming is released, you can just kiss me goodbye. Pyramid Head and knifey nurses, and melty bathrooms? Ba-ring 'em on! Bloody-Disgusting has the creeptastic trailer for you to get creeped out by. Is it just me being a nerd, or is that Travis from Silent Hill: Origins making a cameo in the truck?

Bloody-Disgusting has also got a bunch of lo-down regarding Resident Evil 5, including 2 gameplay trailers that are totally drool-inducing. Uh, the awesomely scary bane of my existence- chainsaw baghead guy- makes a return. Guhhhhhhhshmlehhhhhhhhhhhh. I'm just thankful it's not being released until March 13, 2009- I'd hate for RE 5 to have to battle with SH 5 for my affections. It's like choosing a favorite spoonful of mint chocolate chip ice cream from a single bowl: it's just not possible.

Aug 26, 2008

VHS Week, Day 1: Night Warning

I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, exactly, from "the best horror movie of 1982" (that's Night Warning, folks), but whatever it was I expected...I'm pretty sure I didn't get it. Actually, I do know what I was expecting- some sort of slasher flick. After all, part of the lengthy description on the back of the box reads as follows:
Numbed by this deadly chain of events, each person seeks to escape the mounting terror, only to find they're racing headlong toward the guilty party.
Yeah sure, it's a bit vague, but still, it gives one a certain slasher-y impression. Had I seen the box art for this movie under its original title Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker, however, I would have had a far more accurate impression of what the film would entail.

Well, no matter. It just goes to show, you simply can't trust a wily VHS box!

So, Night Warning. It's a bit like Mommie Dearest on crack with a bloody twist of Psycho- in other words, it rocks! I knew it would rock within the first fifteen minutes, when young Billy's parents drive off, leaving him in the care of his Aunt Cheryl (Susan Tyrrell), only to die in a car accident moments later. This wasn't any old car accident, though- this was a low-budget Final Destination-style sequence de resistance! The brakes go out, then Billy's dad is decapitated when the car rams into a logging truck, then the car pitches over a cliff, then it explodes- all ensuring that Billy's parents are wicked dead. Consider my mouth open and my cheeks slapped in a decidedly Home Alone fashion!

14 years later, Billy is all grown up and Jimmy McNichol-ized. He's still living with Aunt Cheryl, who creepily and consistently crosses the line into don't ever do anything like that with your nephew territory. When Billy wants to have a girl over for his birthday dinner, Cheryl says no, insisting she'll be his date. She watches him sleep and wakes him by purring in his ear and scratching his back like a perverted cat. It's all very unsettling, and it's only the beginning.

I swear, it's like Cheryl thinks she's Judith Light of television's Who's the Boss in the made-for-TV movie Too Close to Home (also starring Rick(y) Schroeder of television's Silver Spoons), the way she does anything and everything to keep Billy in her home and her clutches. When simply trying to convince Billy that he won't make it in college ("It's for rich kids and people with brains- you wouldn't fit in!") doesn't work, Cheryl drugs his milk so he passes out at the big basketball game and ruins his chance at winning an athletic scholarship.

Things heat up when a TV repairman pays a visit and Aunt Cheryl puts the creepilicious moves on him...or rather, things don't heat up, much to Cheryl's dismay. He deflects her gropings and come-ons until he finally relents and suggests she give him a blow job. Despite the fact that she's agreed to do "anything", Cheryl flips out and stabs the repairman to death. Billy walks in and ends up covered with blood, clutching the knife. This can't be good, right? Right!

Cheryl fully admits to killing the repairman, claiming that it was self-defense as he was attempting to rape her. Detective Carlson (Bo Svenson) is unconvinced, however- he's sure Billy is the murderer. And the motive? Psychosis homosexualia, of course! The repairman was actually bisexual and was having a love affair with Billy's basketball coach- and Carlson just knows that Billy was the c-squared to their a-squared and b-squared. It's a murder most Pythagorian! And gay!

Yes, gay. 1982 was a year when homosexual characters started inching their way out of the celluloid closet (see also: Best, Personal). Carlson is a homophobe and a rascist painted with a wide, wide brush: he uses the word "fag" the way the Smurfs use the word "smurf". "Are you a fag? I bet you're a fag. He's a fag. Fag fag faggity fag. PS: fag!" Aunt Cheryl is no better: when Billy continues to treat his coach a human, she quips "Do you know that homosexuals are very sick?" Eh. At least all the homophobes are kookadooks.

Eventually, Aunt Cheryl goes completely off the rails, by which I mean "completely off the fucking rails". She cuts her hair off a la Jodie Foster in The Accused, she kills everyone who gets between her and Billy, she kills everyone who comes close to discovering her secret, she has a secret which may or may not involve a corpse in the basement. Susan Tyrrell gives an unbelievable, balls out performance that simply needs to be seen. She. Is. AWESOME.

Though it wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be, Night Warning was absolutely a delight- even if I still have no clue what exactly a "night warning" is. Man, Susan Tyrrell! She fucking owns this movie. There's a DVD release rumored for later this year so you can check it out for yourself- this is a real VHS gem, an underrated psychological horror flick. The only thing that would've made it better is if it'd been Kristy McNichol in the lead instead of her brother Jimmy. Sure, that would've added a whole 'nother layer to the psychosexual drama, but that's okay. Kristy McNichol makes everything better. Even the Gardenburger I had for dinner- delicious as it was- would have been tastier if Kristy McNichol had made it for me. It's, like, totally a fact.

things I learned today

- the sister with no mouth briefly glimpsed in the kid with eerie powers segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie is Cherie Currie. Cherie Currie! Of The Runaways! WOW!

- Mint Newman-Os are delicious. This was a far less shocking revelation than the whole Cherie Currie is the mouthless sister in Twilight Zone: The Movie thing.


Dudes, Stuff on VHS Week will begin momentarily! Thanks to all who voted. I was hoping that VHS would come in first...and since hope is a wish your heart makes (or something like that), my heart was psyched to discover it won by 3 votes! Whilst I work on the inaugural post, here are a couple of things to tide you over:

- It's possible that I need to link to my AMC columns in a more timely fashion. However, you can go back in time and read last week's column by clicking this link! Such is the magical power of The Internet. It's kinda sorta about stuff that shouldn't be scary, but is- unexpected horrors and the such. You know, like Pee Wee's Big Adventure. What innocuous movie do you find frightening? Don't say Showgirls, because Showgirls is effing awesome...although I'll admit, the violent hot tub humping is rather scary.

- Recently I conducted a brief phone interview with Shawnee Smith, she of the Saw franchise, she of Summer School (I inexplicably love that movie), she of the music duo Smith & Pyle.

- Over at Shock Till You Drop, there's a big fat report from the set of The Descent 2. I didn't read it because I intend to remain blissfully ignorant, but I figured I'd pass it along. That's just how I am.

- For reasons unknown, I've been thinking a lot about the movie Pieces lately. I suppose I should just watch it again to get it out of my system. Here's a...well, I don't think it's a trailer, exactly. Featured amongst the clips, however, is the skateboarding into a big mirror sequence. It's radness.

Aug 15, 2008

I haven't been doing nothing, I swear

Man, I went to a midnight show of Alexandre Aja's Mirrors last night so I could get my review to AMC first thing this morning, and now I feel like I've been run over by The Car. Seriously. I know all my Crystal Pepsi and Mountain Dew drinking gives me a fine patina of youthful vigor, but I'm wiped out today from my almost all-nighter. I wring my hands in shame! The question is, was Mirrors worth the now when I'm dealing with a honk...honkhonkhonnnnnnnk-style hangover?

Well, I guess you'll just have to read the review to find out, lazypants! Nyah!

I've been such a lame that I've neglected to mention my last two columns at AMC, so if you wanna read all about Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Linnea Quigley and Michelle Bauer, or Bette Davis's work in the horror genre, then knock yourself out whilst you're over there.

So basically, I've been writing for another site and neglecting FG, which makes me feel like a cheater. I swear, baby, I'll never do it again! Too woo you back, I've just this very minute decided to have an EVENT WEEK next week, huzzah! In fact, I'm going to put up a little poll so you can help me decide what kind of movies to watch & review next week. The choices would include "crap on my DVR", but once again Dish Network went all ten kinds of nutcake and all my recordings were wiped clean. Once again, I say: FUCK YOU, DISH NETWORK. Sadly, Crap On My DVR Week will have to wait. Fuck technology.

edit: the poll is up! Vote, bitches!

Aug 8, 2008

greetings from Camp Arawak part 2

In the midst of all of the hullabaloo surrounding the upcoming Return to Sleepaway Camp, the fourth film in the series, I thought I'd take a moment to make a list I've decided to call

Some Things I Love About Sleepaway Camp

Christ, that's clever! And yes, I know there's no "hullabaloo" surrounding Return to Sleepaway Camp. First off, "hullabaloo" was today's highlighted word on my Word-A-Day desk calendar and I wanted to use it in a sentence- I mean, how else am I going to remember it? Secondly, I just wanted to pretend there's some hullabaloo going on to add a little spice to this boring Friday afternoon. Is that so wrong? To want some pizazz? To want to turn this post from the equivalent of dull, rote calisthenics to the equivalent of exciting, death-defying Jazzercise?

And no, I don't actually have a Word-A-Day desk calendar, but I don't really see how that makes any difference. Get off my fucking back already!

It goes without saying that there are bound to be spoilers on this list. It also goes without saying that if you've yet to see Sleepaway Camp, you should probably leave right now and not come back until you've seen it. We don't want your kind around these parts, unseer!

Some Things I Love About Sleepaway Camp

1) Ronnie (Paul DeAngelo), the jacked-up counselor who wears super-tight tops, super-short shorts that create disturbing crotch bulges, and matching tennies.

2) "You're just jealous!" Omifuckinggod, Judy, yes we are! I love Judy and her sour attitude, her massive side-ponytail, and the shirt she wears with her name on it. I want one...yeah, one that says "Judy".

3) Death by bees, death by hot water, death by boat, death by curling iron...despite the low-budget, there are some rather creative kills going on here- and the effects aren't half bad!

4) Gay, gay, gay. From the bizarre black box theatre performance of Men, Petting to the homoerotic baseball game to the homoerotic night swimming to the homoerotic water balloon fighting, there's just a lot of...homoeroticosity going on in this movie.

"Homoeroticosity" is totally a word- I saw it on my Word-A-Day desk calendar last Tuesday.

5) Ricky's foul mouth. As you may have noticed, I do so love a good swear word, and Ricky manages to bust out with some choice ones: dickface, asshole, prick, cocksucker, chickenshit, fuckin''s almost enough to make my gramma blush.

6) "Hey, bob-a-ree-bob..."

7) The cop who shows up early on, then returns later sporting THE BEST WORST FAKE MOUSTACHE IN THE HISTORY OF EVER. You can tell I feel strongly about it because I used all those capital letters.

But really, is that shoe polish?

8) "Oh my god, we hit a boat!" This girl tries so hard at the acting thing, it's awesome. I love her, whoever she is. Also of note from the opening scene: the Noo Yawk accents. "Did not, you lie-uh!"

9) "The name is Meg. M-E-G." I totally want to cop Meg's attitude and spell my name out when meeting people from now on. I also totally want to know exactly what it is that the girl in the red shirt loves. Maybe Meg's headband! I mean, H-E-A-D-B-A-N-D.

10) Ricky's hat, which he wears unironically. Look at that strut! He totally pimps around in that thing like he's George Jefferson.

11) The many stares of Angela. Whether she's watching Judy unpack, getting pelted with water balloons, coming dangerously close to being raped by the sleazy cook, getting yelled at by Judy and/or M-E-G, or simply sitting on a bench, the girl is indeed a "nutcake". A stary, stary nutcake.

12) Umm...

No one saw that one coming. Anyone who says they did is a lying liar. Sure, maybe you guessed the killer's identity, but there's no way you guessed that the innie was actually an outie.

There you go, some things I love about Sleepaway Camp. Don't you feel that we've grown closer during this process? I do.

greetings from Camp Arawak

This October 14, everyone's dreams (yes, everyone's- even Betty White has been waiting for this) are coming true: Return to Sleepaway Camp will be released on DVD! Hooray! As the French might say, "Voila, le trailer":

I AM SO READY. As much as I love Parts II and III with cute-as-a-button, righteous, post-op Angela (Pamela Springsteen), I'm psyched for the series to get back to its roots in the hands of writer/director Robert Hiltzik. Angela (Felissa Rose), Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) and Ronnie (Paul DeAngelo) all return for the fourth film and though they're only glimpsed in this trailer, I can't wait to see what's become of them. If only Judy and Meg weren't dead...if they could be brought back somehow, I'd be in heaven. Again, as the French might say, "Voila, le box art":

I can't wait for October!

Aug 5, 2008

the time has come

It's new Film Club pick day, huzzah! This movie is one I know you're gonna be excited about...and if you're not, then quite frankly I wonder what you're doing here in the first place! KA-BLAM:

Damn straight, skippy! Not that I need to list any reasons why I'm choosing this movie, but let me say this anyway: giant animals vs Ida Lupino and Marjoe fucking Gortner. It's time for the Film Club to do this shit up good!

Click here for Netflix info, which includes a magical insta-download. For those of you who live in Los Angeles, you can see the BIG animals on the BIG screen at 10pm Saturday August 9 at the Silent Movie Theatre. Omigod, life is so good!

The movie: The Food of the Gods
The due date: Monday, September 8

go, Marjoe fucking Gortner, go!

In other news, JA has written a magnificent guest post over at The Film Experience, listing his Top 10 Leading Ladies of Horror. It's a thoughtful list, and I agree with his choices- especially considering it's more about the performances than about the characters. I'm glad to see someone else giving Shelley Duvall some love- I was getting lonely in my love of Wendy Torrance.

Because he's awesome, JA then heads back to his home turf My New Plaid Pants and gives us 10 runners up...or is that runner ups? Meh, either way, it's all about the blondes.

Hooray cool blog-types!

Aug 4, 2008


The Powers That Be have finally posted the newest episode of Ghostella's Haunted Tomb, "The Tape". It's my Rope! Kind of, in a way. You'll see. Maybe. Or not. Geez, what's your problem?

In other news, I wanted to post this painting I did for a friend's birthday- I've briefly spoken about the amazingness of Weng Weng in the past, so it was only a matter of time before I found an excuse to immortalize him on canvas. He's such a petite potato!

As always, you can see more of my paintings in my MySpace gallery, and I'm free for commissions. Well, I mean I'm free when I'm not out doing exciting, danger and intrigue-filled things. Doy.

Film Club: The Car

"We've got a crazy on our hands."

Why yes, officer...yes you do. Honk...honkhonkhonnnnnnnnnnk! That sound can only mean one thing- it's...THE CAR! What does it want? Why does it kill? Will it ever stop? Who's driving it? Who's Johnny? You'd might as well relax right now, Asky McGee, because none of your questions will be answered. All you need to know is that AutoJaws hates you and will run your ass over faster than you can yell "Cat poo!"

Don't worry, I'll explain that in a minute.

This 1977 awesome-piece of cinema opens with an All American-looking couple (the female half of which is Melody Thomas, who you may know as Melody Thomas Scott of television's The Young & the Restless- dazzle your friends with trivia!) giggling as they ride the roads of New Mexico in their short shorts. What could go wrong on such a beautiful blue day? Plenty, that's what, for here comes...The Car!

Director Elliot Silverstein only shows us fleeting images of the car- mostly he keeps it hidden or utilizes evil red car vision cam as it hurtles through Looney Toons-style tunnels towards the unsuspecting bikers. He treats the car like it's a monster and sets up some Friday the 13th style tension, which is the last thing I'd expect in a movie about a killer car.

The car wastes no time taking down the bikers by knocking them off bridges and cliffs, then speeding away with a puff of exhaust in search of more victims- at this point, I believe I turned to my friends and solemnly stated, "This has the potential to be the best movie ever made." Then the next five minutes happened, and I was no longer sure what to think.

Wade Parent (James Brolin) and his girl toy Lauren (Kathleen Lloyd) flirt and wrestle and engage in weird accents and nut play and I suppose we're supposed to find it charming or something, but my thoughts only turned to "I can't fucking wait until Lauren gets run over." Wade heads off to his job at the police department, Lauren heads off to her job doing something that I hope will put her immediately in the path of an oncoming car, and we head off to an even weirder five minutes.

Some French Horn-clutching, Leo Sayer-looking dude is ostensibly hitchhiking when he breaks up a domestic violence situation. I applaud the French Horn-clutching, Leo Sayer-looking dude for helping out the abused wife, but then he has to go and be all annoying, almost more annoying than the wife beater. Once the French Horn-clutching, Leo Sayer-looking dude quips "Wouldn't that be fantastic? Farting music for a year!", I get the feeling that he spends a lot of time in the exclusive company of his French Horn...and I get pretty excited when I see the plume of dust down the road. The plume gets bigger- 'tis the car, natch, on a mission to run over the annoying French Horn-clutching, Leo Sayer-looking dude! This car is all right by me, even if I happen to agree with French Horn-clutching, Leo Sayer-looking dude's views on farting music.

The police force (which is fucking huge considering that the town only has one street) is baffled by all the dead bodies. Witnesses, including the wife beater and some old Indian broad, say all sorts of crazy things- the car has no license plate! The car has...honk driver! No matter, though- like all good animal attack movies (see: Jaws, The Swarm), the townsfolk in The Car refuse to cancel the...the...parade festival or whatever the hell it is just because some cuckoo nutso guy is on the loose mowing people down in his sedan.

Boy, will they rue that decision! At a parade festival rehearsal, a positively unearthly wind heralds the arrival of THE CAR, which tries to run over young and old alike.

The group takes refuge in a cemetery and stupid Lauren tries to act all tough. She starts taunting the car, calling it an "upside-down bathtub" and spouting other equally scathing put-downs. Again I think, "I can't fucking wait until Lauren gets run over", but the car can't seem to do anything but get mad and do donuts- the cemetery, you see, is hallowed ground, and the eeeeevil sedan cannot enter!

I'll tell you who can enter the graveyard, however- the most awesome lady I've seen in a movie since the Poole sisters, that's who! In a moment of pure cinematic glory, this woman shakes her fist at the car and yells...well, it sounds like "Cat poo!", although I've been told that in subtitles it's said she exclaims "Tadpole!" Neither makes much sense, and so I'm sticking with "cat poo". I love this woman- and when I get older, you can bet your ass that I'll be busting out some flip-top glasses and standing at bus stops, shaking my fists at people and calling them cat poo. Hitch your wagon to a star, I say!

The police continue to be baffled, although they're at least attempting to catch the car by setting up roadblocks and the such. James Brolin manages a face off, but soon discovers that bullets do no damage to the satanmobile. Windshields remain intact, tires remain inflated, and the car remains mysterious and evil. James Brolin approaches the driver's side, and the door suddenly opens and whacks him unconscious. Why the car doesn't run him over and finish the job, I have no idea. Another mystery of life, I suppose.

James Brolin wakes up in the hospital, and there he remains as Lauren heads home before spending the night taking care of his young daughters (played by Kyle and Kim Richards of Halloween and Escape to Witch Mountain respectively- how rad is that?). She stands in the kitchen whining to James Brolin- she can hear the engine of that damn car!- when finally- FINALLY- she gets taught a lesson about sassin' the devil's sedan. The car drives through the house to run that bitch over, and I believe I let out a cheer.

James Brolin, of course, does not cheer...and now, his battle with the car is personal. He comes home and finds the car in his garage, just sitting there. Eyaagh! The scene is absolutely reminiscent of vampire movies like 'Salem's Lot, when our intrepid heroes come across the eeeevil bloodsuckers slumbering in their coffins. Everything gets all tense, and we're just waiting for the bad guy to spring to life- and The Car doesn't disappoint...mostly.

Again, rather than simply running over James Brolin, the car just sits there, honking and revving its engine; apparently it either wants to kill him slowly via carbon monoxide poisoning, or it wants to annoy him to death with noise. Just as I was getting ready to shake my fist and yell "Cat poo!" "Enough with the fucking horn already!", the car busts out of the garage and speeds off.

The police have gotten their shit together and they've come up with a plan to lure the car into a canyon and explode it with explosives; after much car versus motorcycle chase action and men running with wires running action, their plan comes to fruition. There's a massive explosion and eeeevil devil faces appear in the fire as...I guess as the eeeevil devil spirits are released from the car!

One thing's for sure, though, the scene features overacting of a caliber I haven't seen since Silent Film Zombie! Awesome. Except, that is, for the dude on the upper left, who looks a bit bored with the devil fire clouds.

The Car ends rather ambiguously as we see tires barreling through city streets and hear the ominous honk...honkhonkhonnnnnk. Did the car survive? Does the devil have a massive fleet of evil sedans, a la Elvis and his Cadillacs? Isn't it funny when the devil has cars and dogs doing his bidding? It seems as if he's taking the really hard approach to world domination.

But no matter! The Car is awesome, surely the finest film of its kind. My only wish- and it makes me feel a bit funny to say it- is that there was more explicit carnage. I really wanted to see Lauren and Leo Sayer get run over but good.


Film Club Coolies, y'all!

The Blood Spattered Scribe
The Good, the Bad, and the Wonky
Awesomeness for Awesome's Sake
Dinner With Max Jenke
Evil on Two Legs
That Will Teach Them To Be Bad
The Horror Section
Film Experience
Acheter et entretenir sa tronconneuse (c'est French ca!)
Zombie Cupcake
Monstruos Calientes
Askewed Views
Overthinking It
House of 1000 Courses
Lazy Eye Theatre

Aug 1, 2008

tiny awesome movie poster friday- the SDCC 08 edition!

Despite the fact that I walked around with a camera for 5 days, I took nary a photo at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. Now, looking at other websites which have posted all manner of cool pics, I wonder what the hell I was thinking. No matter! I'll simply pinch a few photos from Shock Till You Drop of posters that I like. Nevermind photographing these posters- I didn't even see them at the show. SDCC is insanity.

I love Eric Powell's The Goon. It's funny, there are monsters, and the art is so delectable I frequently have to stop myself from licking the pages of every issue. So- a CGI movie directed by David Fincher? Uh, yes, please. NOW.

3 MPAA-rejected posters for that movie I really ought to be more excited about, Alexandre Aja's Mirrors. I can see why these posters wouldn't fly with censors or with a marketing team, but I think they're purdy and quite unlike most of the movie poster crap unleashed upon the world nowadays.

Yes, a Saw videogame. I have a friend who's working on it, but the bastard has been mum from the get-go; stupid lousy non-disclosure secret-keeping crap! I have no idea what the game will entail, but I have to admit I'm incredibly curious to see how they pull it off. As for the poster, I understand they need to keep it sort of generic with regards to consoles, but that's about the worst game controller I've ever seen. At least the generic controller on the Stay Alive poster had some fucking buttons on it! This Saw controller looks as if it's been microwaved on high for 90 seconds.

Again I say, no matter. I'm just thankful the folks at Shock Till You Drop have their shit together more than I do and they remembered to take some pictures.

Late-breaking non-poster news! I've got a bonus column up at AMC this week, although it's sneakily published in their SciFi Scanner blog. How ninja-like of me! In The Future's So Bleak, I Gotta Wear Crazy Eye Makeup, I give my thoughts on our post-apocalyptic futures using info I've gleaned from all manner of dystopian flicks. It's so enlightening!

Don't forget, Monday is Film Club Day, so set your peepers on The Car (honk...honkhonkhonnnnnnk)! I think the whole wide world is excited about this month's pick. I'm hoping that "By Brolin's beard!" earns its rightful place in society's vernacular when all is said and done.