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 28, 2011

awesome movie poster friday - the VIRAL edition!

Overnight, Satan choo choo-ed the Flu Express from my sinuses to my lungs, which is fine because that's usually the last stop it makes before either wellness or death. To celebrate, I thought AMPF would be a lovely place to feature movies that generally make me want to take a Silkwood shower and hermetically seal myself away from the world.

In related news, is that actually a picture of Jessica Biel in Texas Chainsaw Massacre on that poster for Cabin Fever?

In my restless dreams, I see that town.

Hey! Just thought I'd mention, if you're into Silent Hill- the series of video games, that is- I posted a fairly exhaustive retrospective over at Jill Sandwich, including a couple o' caps and a tune from the forthcoming Silent Hill: Downpour. Hooray!

Jan 26, 2011

i wish

The Scare-ening...

...will not be on this week. I know you find this greatly upsetting. There, there, ol' chum, chin up. It'll return next week!

This took me forever to make and it's STILL awful.

However! Next week we will be moving to a new night- TUESDAYS! The Scare-ening will be on Tuesdays from here on out. The time, 8pmPST, remains the same. But! The live show will only be 30 minutes from now on. We may go longer and you can hear the rest if you download, but we'll only be live streaming for a half an hour. Things change, my friends. Things change.

Next week, then. Tuesday!

Jan 25, 2011

The Year in Horror: 1986

I can't do math. I know, this is not at all shocking. After all, I'm a girl and it's just a fact that girls can't do math. However, I took that concept to moronic new highs (or lows) recently when I had a bright idea for a post topic. See, the idea had something to do with choosing a movie released 25 years ago- I figured it'd be easy, as 25 years ago was, what...1967? '68? Something like that. Maybe I'd write about Night of the Living Dead or Rosemary's Baby or something else equally ca-lassic. Just when I smushed my face up all thinking really hard-style about which movie to choose, however, my brain slapped me across the face. What kind of time-warp shit was going on? My brain was all, "Bitch, 1968 is more than forty years ago. Where are you getting this "25 years" from? 25 years ago, it was 1986. Idiot! Now ice me up some cream."

Apparently in my world, the last decade or so has not occurred. 1986! Nineteen eighty effing six! It doesn't seem possible that it was 1986 25 years ago- especially since I am only 23 myself- but I assure you...I have consulted my science calculator and it is most certainly the case.

Then I got a bit whiny. 1986? No good movies came out in 1986. Nothing good whatsoever came out of 1986! The mid-eighties were a cultural wasteland! They were nothing but a big, dark pit filled with Glass Tiger cassettes, snap bracelets, and Z Cavaricci pants. Why, it's shudder-inducing, I tells ya!

This line of thinking was interrupted by yet another wallop from my brain- "1986 was actually a damn good year for horror, you dolt. Now where's that ice cream?" My brain is right about that, mostly. Take my hand, won't you, and let's travel back a whopping 25 years to 1986!

The sequels

Okay, the sequels that hit in '86 were very comme ci, comme ├ža if you know what I mean. Some are classics of cinema- such as Aliens, in which one Ellen Ripley became a bona fide example of the elusive "strong female character" and my burning dislike of Paul Reiser was born.

Then other sequels...well, the Friday the 13th series pooped out its sixth entry, Jason Lives, a film that is more beloved than it deserves simply because it had the good sense to be released after the dreadful Part V: A New Beginning. I cannot speak knowledgeably on Lamberto Bava's Demons 2, but someday I hope to rectify that. That's right, someday! Someday I'll see it, I just know I will! Verily, I brought a big bag of hope to this blog post.

Poltergeist II is...well, it's there and it's worth a watch, not the least reason why is the tequila worm scene (if you haven't seen it, I'll leave that up to your imagination). 1986 also brought us The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which is not like the first one, I'll give it that. Psycho 3 brought about a bit of WTF-ery with its "Oh, this a black comedy?" approach, and the less said about Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf, the better...but Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 is another matter entirely. Friends, it's always Garbage Day in my heart.

The slashers

While the films of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers would be churned out for years to come, by 1986 the slasher film was in its death throes and original films within the genre were scarce. Mind you, if the so bad I forgot I even saw it 1986 flick Terror at Tenkiller is any indication, the demise of the slasher was probably a good thing. On the other hand, April Fools Day also hit in '86, and we all know how much I love that movie. I SAID WE ALL KNOW.

Ahem. Oh yeah, and remember that time I made a whole bunch of you watch Slaughter High for Film Club? That was fun. Shut up, Slaughter High is the best movie ever even though it stinks. I mean, "C'mon you guys, let's par-deeeeeeee!" can you not want to marry it?

The sci-fi-ers

I'm not sure why, but sci-fi/horror movies were big, big, big in 1986. I mentioned Aliens, but let's not forget David Cronenberg's The Fly, which holds up remarkably well despite the dueling fluff-mullets of Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. In the words of Pauline Kael, "That shit be classic, yo." Besides, I'm pretty sure that disliking Geena Davis in any capacity will put you on Homeland Security's radar as probably a terrorist.

Stuart Gordon rode the freaky train to H.P. LovecraftTown (I don't know what that means) with From Beyond, which scarred my young brain in several capacities. Critters did their thing in Critters, Martian invaders invaded in Invaders from Mars (from Tobe Hooper!). There were wicked huge gorillas running amok in Link and King Kong Lives (which, the particularly astute among you may notice is also a sequel). And then there was Night of the Creeps. Thrill me, indeed.

More, more, more

Look, I have no idea if Wes Craven's Deadly Friend is good, bad, neither, or somewhere in between. I have not seen it since I saw it 50,000,000 times when it came out and all I really remember is this: Kristy Swanson getting pushed down the stairs by her father was some high fucking tragedy, and Anne Ramsey gets her head blowed up real good by a high-speed basketball. Other than that? I have no idea. Those memories themselves may be erroneous! I suppose I could watch it again to see, but I'd almost rather have it live in my memories, only brought to the fore about when someone says "Have you seen Deadly Friend?", to which I will emphatically reply "I LOVE THAT MOVIE!" even though that should probably be in the past tense. Loved. I loved that movie.

Man, The Hitcher, amiright? Good, good stuff. And that scene. You know the one. This one, which also qualified as high tragedy to my young mind:

I can't believe I never really thought about it much before my recent math...problem, but y'all, 1986! It gave us gold, it gave us crap. Witchboard, House, Gothic (I frickin' hate Gothic. I've tried and I've tried, and I just do not like it. Is it me? I feel like that movie is beloved, at least on a cult level, though the reasons for this obviously escape me), Maximum Overdrive (!!!), Trick or Treat, Troll...those really were the days and this journey down Memory Lane sure was fun. Next up, I'll celebrate the 5th anniversary of 1978!

Jan 21, 2011

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

I like to pretend she's listed in the credits as "Banana Girl" instead of "Hitchhiker", so there you go. Also, Jason came out looking sort of like Meatwad, I just realized. Also also, there's a lot of defenestrations in this film. Also also also, Jason is very (literally) hands on with almost everyone in The Final Chapter, so we get plenty of looks at his Lee Gross-On Nails.

Other F13 Illustrated Guides:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Jan 20, 2011

The Thursday Bee

Hello, friends. It's time for this mid-afternoon edition of The Thursday Bee! (Bear with me please, I've had some sugar today)

Over at AMC, by bi-weekly Column with No Name continues apace as I talk about vigilante movies and some differences found in those with a male protagonist and those with a female protagonist. Check it out! It makes my heart happy. And the clicks make my editors happy. Oh, won't you let us be happy?

Today I noted- noted with interest, even- that I've got to pick another movie for the Film Club to get it on with. I choo-choo-choose...Frozen! It's one of those movies that "does for [fill in the blank] what Jaws did for swimming!". Some folks like it, some folks don't...but I say we Film Clubbers should check it out and decide for ourselves. It's on DVD and Netflix Instant Watch, so you have no excuses for not joining in. NONE. You probably know the deal, but if not...

The movie: Frozen (2010)
The due date: Tuesday (that's right, Tuesday), February 22
What you do:
  1. Review the movie on your site. Add a link to Final Girl in there somewhere. If you've reviewed the film before, that's fine- but you must retrofit your review with a link to FG to be included in my round-up.
  2. Email your link to me at stacieponder at gmail dot com. Put 'film club' or some such in the subject line.
  3. Bask in the warm, glowing, warming glow of Film Club Day. Easy, breezy, et cetera et cetera.
"This totally does for sitting here what Jaws did for swimming!"

Last night on The Scare-ening, I was joined by writer/director/cool person Jovanka Vuckovic. If you missed it, check it out here or on those "iTunes" the kids seem to like so much these days.

Some of you may be unaware that because I loves me some video games, last month I started a small video game blog called Jill Sandwich. I'm not saying you have to read it or anything, I'm just saying that it's there.

Hmm, what else? Oh yeah, this.

Jan 19, 2011

There are no words.

Okay, so the post title is "There are no words.", but clearly there are words as there is a post that follows. Just thought I'd clear up that little semantic shenanigan right away.

Can "shenanigan" be singular? I've really only ever heard of "shenanigans", but I suppose the singular is also correct because there's no YOU SPELLED THAT WRONG, ASSHOLE red line under it and we all know that spell check is infallible. I like the word "shenanigans" as it's Irish-sounding and olde timey-sounding...yes, I like it even if it's also name of a restaurant with crazy crap on the walls sounding.

Anyway. You know how pictures of dead chupacabras pop up in the media fairly frequently? Well, I should clarify that they're pictures of what are supposed to be chupacabras- but the point is, these pictures pop up, inevitably after some farmer has wandered out into their field and found this dead...thing. They take a picture, the picture is all over the place- you know, this picture:

...and for while, you think (or I think, anyway) "Could real? Could it? It looks real enough, but it's so impossible, it can't be real! No, it's a joke, a hoax, a ruse or a shenanigan! it real? it?" Inevitably it's not real- commenters point out it's some dessicated Mexican hairless dog or some mangey coyote or some such, but that's not the point! The point is about the feelings of unsure-osity and doubt that plague you (me) when first confronted with the photo. That is the point because those are also the feelings that plagued me whenever I saw box art for or a mere mention of American Psycho 2 (2002).

"Is that...? No, it couldn't be. With Mila Kunis? That can't be real. A sequel? To American Psycho? That's impossible. Starring Mila Kunis? That's so impossible it's unpossible. But there's a must be a hoax! A fantastic shenanihoax!""

But...there were no commenters to put my mind at ease with "That's some mangey Photoshop shit." No one cried "Falsehood! Lies! Blasphemer!" and that, my friends, is because American Psycho 2 actually exists. It does! I saw it with my own four eyes! I'm somehow survived a viewing of it, even, and I'm here to tell you, dear reader, that there is life before you have seen American Psycho 2 and life after you've seen American Psycho 2. You come out the other side changed. I've already started drinking heavily in the hopes of staving off PTSD.

During a ten-minute voiceover, Rachael Newman (Kunis) tells us just how this sequel came to be (in the fictional world, I mean...we all know that in the real world, Satan shat this thing out), because the very idea of it is so...well, there I go again. UNPOSSIBLE. When Rachael was a young'un, her babysitter took her along on a date with Patrick Bateman, the meticulous psychopath from American Psycho. As Patrick set about killing the babysitter, Rachael untied herself from a chair and killed Bateman. From that moment on, Rachael decided to become an FBI agent specializing in Behavioral Science, and she'd do anything to achieve that goal- anything, even going to college!

Is you mouth hanging open in sheer whatthefuckisthisareyouserious?-ness? Because mine was, literally. Hanging open. For ten minutes. Patrick Bateman is just so...casually offed here, it's ludicrous. As Christian Bale doesn't reprise the role, we don't even see his face! Just "Oh yeah, I killed him. Anyway..." and we're off to school with a grown-up Rachael.

What follows, to be honest, is not completely unlike a bad Lifetime movie plot: girl is actually cray cray! Girl wants teaching assistant position, and she'll do anything to get it, including studying and murdering! Girl really makes us question just who the American Psycho is, here. Wait, no girl doesn't. It's girl!

To be more honest, if this was, in fact, a Lifetime movie and it starred Tracey Gold, I'd probably be all over it (I actually really like Mila Kunis a lot, but I'm talking Tracey Gold). This is not a Lifetime movie, though. This is American Psycho 2, the very title of which banks on our knowledge of American Psycho. There are expectations when you're going to be so audacious- audacious I say!- to call yourself a sequel to the 2000 film.

The film fails in spectacular fashion to meet any expectations...well, except any expectations of suckage and disaster. The writers don't understand satire- if that's actually what they were going for here- nor the "black" in "black comedy". It's a mess set to an insufferable calliope-riddled soundtrack. Actually, American Psycho 2 isn't merely a failure or a mess. It's an affront. However, if you've ever wanted to see a movie in which Mila Kunis gives William Shatner a neckrub, then this is the movie for you!

Mila Kunis: finding her happy place, far away from this fuckery

In related news, if you've ever wanted to see a movie in which Mila Kunis gives William Shatner a neckrub...what the hell is wrong with you?

Jan 18, 2011

Daddy's home and boy, is he bland.

Hey, do you guys remember that time in 2009 when they remade The Stepfather and everybody kind of ignored it and then I totally forgot that it existed? Me too! But then there it was all over Netflix instant watch and I was all, "Ohhh yeaaahhh...The Stepfather. Huh." And I watched it, and lo- it was terrible.

I looked it up on imdb to find out who was responsible for this dreck and when it turned out to be the writer/director duo behind that other pile of a remake, Prom Night, it all made sense. The OG Stepfather (1987) is of a Lifetime Movie ilk, to be sure, but at least it has some fucking bite to it, largely thanks to Terry O'Quinn in the lead role. The dude is intense! He puts on a smiling face for his new family, but it's easy to see there's a psychopath lurking juuuust underneath the surface. I can't say that the eunuch-i-fication of the film is solely the fault of Dylan Walsh as the titular stepdad- he's just working with what he's given, after all, and what he's given is a big, fat nothing.

I know "eunuch-i-fication" doesn't really make sense, but for serious- it's as if writer J.S. Cardone and director Nelson McCormick took the original film and castrated it. Then they lobotomized it and sent it off into the world in a daze. The Stepfather is everything horror fans hate about PG13 remakes- a boring, generic "rock" soundtrack used way too often; boring, generic TV actors,...a boring, generic plot...and boring, generic violence without a drop of blood. I don't mean to imply that I need my horror movies to be full of graphic violence, because I don't. In my review of the original film, here's what I said about the topic:
The violence in The Stepfather is shocking. It's not explicit per se, nor does it permeate the film...but when it comes on it comes out of nowhere with a viciousness that's really sold by O'Quinn. He doesn't just hit someone with a piece of wood- he lets loose and beats them to death. Jerry doesn't hold back, and in a sense he's far more depraved than even Jason Voorhees.
In the remake, there's none of that viciousness. Without it, The Stepfather is nothing but a tepid, sub-par made-for-TV movie, akin to eating a white rice on Wonder bread sandwich.

One thing that anyone with eyes will notice while watching The Stepfather, however, is the curious nature of Amber Heard in this film- basically, that she is straight-up exploitation eye candy. Her character is the girlfriend of the boy who does battle with the stepfather...nothing noteworthy in this type of film, to be sure. But it's been a while since that type of throw-away character has been so blatantly objectified, it's actually amusing. At least it adds the slightest dash of salaciousness to this boring affair. As one imdb user put it:
The plot isn't worth discussing. There's nothing here that we haven't seen before. What IS worth discussing is the director's obvious decision to exploit Amber Heard's lovely figure in one long never ending cheesecake sequence. You could make the argument that the ONLY reason this film was even made in the first place was to launch Amber into the stratosphere of blogworthy sex symbols (not unlike what Michael Bay managed to do with Megan Fox). You'll see Amber in her underwear lounging in bed, Amber in her itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini, gratuitous close-ups of her splendid anatomy, etc. This exploitation becomes so flagrant that it distracts from the story itself, which is probably a good thing.

This is seriously the only time she's fully-clothed in the film, doing some High Tension shit! Don't worry, there's no blood.

Hey, do you guys remember that time in 2009 when they remade The Stepfather and everybody kind of ignored it and then I totally forgot that it existed? Me too! Let's go back to that.

Jan 17, 2011

Film Club: The Church

Has anything good ever come from the wholesale slaughter of witches, pagans, or villagers possessed by demons? No! Has anything good ever come from the constructions of buildings and/or neighborhoods over burial grounds? No! Has anything good ever come from tampering with protective seals created to keep evil at bay? No, no, a thousand times no! The dummies in The Church (1989) don't know any of this, however, so by the time it's all said and done, they've brought plenty of demon-flavored tomfoolery (and death) down on their own heads.

In a nutshell: the Teutonic Knights laid waste to a village thought to be full of evil demons and demonic evil. After some holy rituals, the evil is entombed in the ground and a church built over the spot. A bored librarian deciphers a parchment that ain't meant to be deciphered and the next thing you know, all Hell sort of breaks loose. An odd assortment of teenagers, school children, old people, and fashion models are trapped within the church (gotta love Italian horror movies!) as visions of sugarplums Teutonic Knights, demons, and demonic fish-creatures dance in their heads. It makes a marginal amount of sense, but I was expecting it to make none whatsoever, so that's a plus!

As The Church is also known as Demons 3, I was expecting some crazy gore on par with Lamberto Bava's Demons- both are (co)written and produced by Dario Argento, after all- but director Michele Soavi keeps things rather restrained and tasteful. Yes, I say this about a film that features a woman clanging the church bell with her husband's decapitated head and a full-on horned/winged goat demon - naked lady sex scene!

It's obvious that Soavi was trying to aim a little higher than the average horror film, at least in terms of visuals. The Church is frequently pretty to look at and interestingly choreographed, the bodies rising from the pit en masse scene stands out in particular.

There's a chance, though, that the film is a bit too restrained at times. Certain passages are a bit plodding and could've used a bit of that foamy green demon drool used so liberally by Bava. On the other hand, The Church expands the Demons mythology nicely and explains just enough to satisfy.

A young Asia Argento appears throughout, though I'm not quite sure what function the character, Lotte, really serves. She was also present during the Teutonic raid, but this notion isn't really explored until the movie's final act and even then, it's only touched upon. Does she have some special significance? Is she a reincarnation? She plays a role in the finale, but her "I'm all OG with this church!" shit doesn't really have any bearing on events. Oh well. Who cares? It's Asia Argento! I was rather distracted the entire time because once I noticed her striking resemblance to Kimmie Gibler, I couldn't get it out of my head.

Of course, she no longer looks like Kimmie Gibler. I suppose you could say that she's grown up quite nicely. I suppose you could also say that I wonder why Asia Argento and I are not married, or at least having a dalliance. I'm sorry if you're reading this and that embarrasses you mom, but the fact is, the whole entire world wants to have sex with Asia Argento. Back me up, people!

Wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, The Church. I liked it!

Film Club Coolies! Give 'em love!
Dave's Blog About Movies and Such
Maynard Morrisey's Horror Movie Diary
Undy a Hundy
I Will Devour Your Content
strange spanners
Thrill Power!
This girl digs horror
The Horror Section
Horror Gore and More
The Agitation of the Mind
hold onto yr genre
Cinema Gonzo