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!

Jun 28, 2012

I warned you not to join the Film Club!

No, wait...I told you the opposite of that!

Yes, my pretties, it is FINALLY time for another Film Club. If you are my fake cyber-friend, then you know that I've ben both hemming and hawing over the choice for some time. Lo, but then! One of you awesome fake cyber-friends was all...what about Maniac? And in my head, I was all...yes.

This notorious 1980 slasher flick had me flipping my lid* way before I even saw it, way back when it was just a series of gruesome black and white pictures in Fangoria magazine. Those pictures affected me to the point that I completely avoided the film for decades.

Then I finally saw it and hey, it's really good! It's incredibly sleazy and yes, gruesome, and yes, you will want to brush your teeth repeatedly when it's over, but it's also essential viewing. And besides, if nothing else, Maniac features one of the best songs in the history of ever: "Showdown" by Don Armando's 2nd Avenue Rhumba Band. This video has stills from the film and the such, so close your eyes and get down if you don't want to be spoiled about anything.

Oh my goodness, it's so good.

And just think! If you've never seen this movie, after Film Club you'll be able to join the "They cast ELIJAH WOOD in the Maniac remake? What." Club, too!

Okay, here's the deal.

The film: Maniac (1980)
The due date: Monday, July 9
The deal: Write your review or anything pertaining to the film, linking to Final Girl somewhere in there. Email a link to me at stacieponder at gmail dot com. I post a link to you in my review. Easy, breezy, beautiful!

Hey and look at these newspaper ads! I totally pinched them from one of you on Facebook, too. Fake cyber-friends are the best!

*"flipped my lid" is kind of a Maniac-flavored joke, right? Not a good one, but still.

Jun 15, 2012

awesome movie poster friday - the P.O.V. edition!

In light of my recent review of Chernobyl Diaries, which...hold hold HOLD A MOMENT. As I uploaded the posters from that film, I noticed the taglines for the first time: "Prepare for the fallout"? "Experience the fallout"? Really? REALLY? That is the tackiest, most inappropriate shit I've seen in a long, long time- and I was recently subjected to an episode of Family Guy. Wow.

Anyway, what? Yes, in light of my review of I can't believe those GD taglines, here are some posters from the always-divisive subgenre known as P.O.V. horror. You know I love it!

A few things: geezaloo, those Paranormal Activity posters are really a product of their time, aren't they? They're just so...viral ready. Posters have long employed the critical quote to engender interest, but dayum- a whole block of text from Bloody-Disgusting? Okay, Paranormal Activity, we get it. People like you and think you're scary. You don't have to be so desperate about it. And the Japanese poster for Paranormal Activity 2, with the scanny thing right smack in the center- the Q code or whatever they're called?- I don't know. It doesn't exactly entice me, but I suppose I should just be thankful it's not a Myspace URL.

My favorite of the bunch is the Poughkeepsie Tapes poster with the mask- it does what a horror movie poster should! It's got a simple, intriguing tagline and an image that grabs you by the fill in the blanks with terror.

Now I really want to see "It grabs you by the fill in the blanks with terror!" on a poster someday. Dare to dream!


Jun 12, 2012

The Chernobyl Diaries Diary

People of Earth, I am just as surprised as you are- uh, assuming you are, in fact surprised- that I went to see Chernobyl Diaries. Let's face it, the odds were not stacked in favor of this movie and I living together in perfect harmony. It required a trip to the theater, which seemed unlikely at best; I mean, far superior films have come and gone (NO, I have not seen Cabin in the Woods so SHUT UP) and I couldn't get motivated know, leave my house for 'em. Then there's the fact that I'm not terribly into real-life tragedies being exploited for the purposes of shitty horror movie plots. Chernobyl Diaries seemed prime for a spot in my Netflix queue where it would languish forever- I'd add it because of a morbid curiosity and a sense of duty, but I would never, ever be in the mood to watch it. But watch it I did, at the thee-ay-turr! I'm still unsure how it all happened; maybe I was chloroformed and brought there, and upon waking I was too groggy to make the effort required to find my way home. No matter!

A group of fresh-faced-n-bland American young-uns on a whirlwind vacation 'round Europe and the such stop off in Ukraine to visit the expat older brother of one of said fresh-faced-n-bland American young-uns. This older brother is fresh-faced-n-WILD-n-RECKLESS, and as such he suggests they spend the day on a tour of Pripyat, the town abandoned in the wake of the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl nuclear plant. For thos of you who may be wondering, yes, this tour is something you can actually do, and truth be told, it is something I would actually do. What that says about me, I don't know.

After much hemming, hawing, and truly, truly dreadful and obvious "Hey, isn't Chernobyl where that nuclear disaster happened?" expository conversations, the group decides that like me, they are the type to visit a radiation-scarred wasteland.


This sign says "Pripyat". I know this because...well, not only is it easily deduced from the goings-on in the film, but because I took a whole year of Russian in college. Yes, I did! All that work, leading up to this very moment, when I would find a use for it.

And so, our group of Americans (and a couple of...Aussies? Swedes? I couldn't figure it out) climb aboard tour guide Yuri's rickety van and head off into Pripyat...EVEN THOUGH THE GUARDS AT THE GUARD POST OUTSIDE THE CITY LIMITS SAID NOT TO. Why, that seems downright... ominous. But heck, what's the worst that could happen- they'll need to take Silkwood showers later on? Big whoop! Tally ho!

The gang spends a couple of hours checking out all of the grand sights of Pripyat: the rusty ferris wheel, the abandoned apartment blocks (complete with items left behind by tenants during the evacuation and...a bear roaming around), the abandoned this that and the other, before heading back into civilization. BUT...omigod, no one ever could have seen this coming...Yuri's van won't start! It's been sabotaged. BUT BY WHOM? Was it the bear? Has the rampant radioactivity caused the bears to become sinister and intelligent?

We're walkin' on radiation...and don't it feel GOOD!

The answer, sadly, is no. Still, we can hold out hopes that there will be intelligent, sinister bears in the sure-to-come Asylum ripoff The Pripyat Journals.

When I first heard about Chernobyl Diaries' existence, I wondered both aloud and aquiet: will the "bad guys / monsters" in the film be mutated victims of the disaster? I wondered this as if it weren't an inevitability! Silly me.

As the sun disappeared and darkness descended upon Yuri's van, the gang got to frettin'. Frettin' turned to a wee spot o' panic when there were noises all around Pripyat- wasn't it supposed to be totally, like, abandoned? You know, except for that bear?

You can probably guess what happens next- the gang is picked off one by one. Some of 'em leave the van in the hope of finding help or another mode of transportation, etc etc. At least the filmmakers had the good sense to keep the CRAZY CANNIBAL MUTANTS (yup, radiation sickness will do that to ya) largely obscured. Folks concerned that Oren "Paranormal Activity" Peli's involvement means that this film is another P.O.V. horror flick can hush up and rest easy, because the conceit is dropped quickly.

Hey, remember in the 80s when everyone was kind of weird, and all the sitcoms took "vacations" to various places? You know, when The Facts of Life went to Paris and Growing Pains went to...I don't know, Disneyland or whatthefuckever? Chernobyl Diaries is basically Wrong Turn Goes to Ukraine, all leading up to a WTF? ending that is almost as WTF as the ending to Pieces- you know, where the corpse comes back to life for no reason whatsoever? It's that laden in WTFosity.

Holy crap, I love Pieces.

Despite the fact that the basic plot of Chernobyl Diaries is in terrible taste...despite the fact that the plot is entirely predictable...despite the fact that I didn't give two shits (or even one shit, really) about any of the characters or even bother to learn their names...despite the ending that makes no sense and is slapped on as one of those generic "horror movie endings" because as we all know, a horror movie MUST end with a jolt...despite all this, it wasn't quite terrible. In fact, I would put this film squarely in the serviceable category. It's got a few scares, some gore, and...I didn't hate it. Had it wasted away in my Netflix queue for all eternity, my life would not be any poorer; but, as something to look at while drinking an outrageously overpriced Diet Coke, well, I've looked at worse, no doubt.