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 9, 2017

Friday the 13th Part THE GAME: Final Girl vs Jason


As we all know, there's street smarts (gained via various life experiences) and and there's book smarts (gained via being a nerd), and it's not often the twain get to meetin'. "Sure, sure, maybe you know how to start a fire with nothing but two sticks and some hope," a nerd might say. "But do you know anything about the Teapot Dome Scandal?"

"Who cares?" the streetwise sassafras may reply. "I know all of the spots in my neighborhood where I can mooch off of someone's unprotected wifi. That's way cooler than something something quadratic equations."

My point is, as I have journeyed through life, as I have evolved from a nubile ingenue wizened crone into a full-on swamp hag, I have come to realize that I am severely lacking in street smarts, and nowhere is this deficiency more evident than in the realm of horror. Yes yes, I can talk about Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes all damn day (and I will, just try me)...I can bore dazzle you with some sweet-ass subtext analyzin' or maybe yet another list of obscure titles. But what good will all this nerd knowledge do me when I come face to mask with a deranged, homicidal wackadoo with copious mommy issues? Absolutely none.

You would think I'd know how to behave in Horror Movie Situations. You would think I'd be the last one alive, the one who gets away...geez, it's right there in my blog name.

You would think all that. But thanks to Friday the 13th: The Game, I've learned some cold, hard truths about myself. The biggest, perhaps, is that I should probably change the name of this blog to THE ONE WHO HAS TROUBLE OPENING DOORS AND MAKES BAD DECISIONS AND IS PRETTY MUCH ALWAYS THE FIRST TO DIE. It's not as catchy as "FINAL GIRL", but it's much more honest.

*record scratch* YES THERE'S A FRIDAY THE 13th VIDEO GAME.

*record scratch* YES THAT'S THE ACTUAL POINT OF THIS POST.


Friday the 13th in an asymmetrical 3rd-person survival horror game for PS4, Xbox One, and PC that attempts–and often succeeds–at capturing the spirit of the wonderful, terrible, long-running film series. You can play as Jason Voorhees and stalk all the jerks your mommy has told you to kill, or you can play as one of the counselors, desperately trying to find some means of escape. The game maps and Jasons are pulled directly from the films (for example, Part 2's Baghead Jason might chase you through Higgins Haven, as seen in Parts 3 and 4), while the counselors are more simple homages to movie characters, such as the designer impostor version of Violet from A New Beginning.


Jason has a plethora of skills and tools at his disposal: he can teleport throughout the map, lay down bear traps, and sense where you are. Counselors have varying strength and stats–things like stamina and repair–and can find weapons and first aid sprays scattered throughout the numerous cabins. There are several ways to make it out alive: fix up a car and drive on home, fix up a boat and boat on home, fix the telephone and call the cops, or simply survive for the entire 20 minutes of a match. Chances are, though, Jason is gonna get you. This is Friday the 13th, man! That's what he does! The movies feature a "Final Girl", not a "Final Everybody", after all.

As I intimated earlier, I'm pretty bad at this game. I die. A lot. Should I play as Jason (the killer is randomly chosen as the match starts), I bumble around and the body count is low. Sometimes, salvation is within my grasp and it still slips away, like in this clip, where some dude can't wait one second for me to get in the boat and he drives away, leaving me to my (eventual) fate:



And despite all of my ineptitude and horrifying win/loss record, every single match is so much damn fun. I have screamed and been startled so many times that I'm sure several years have been taken off my life. I've been creeped out, I've cried from laughter...it's just a grand ol' violent time, particularly if you play with friends. I mean, there's more tension in this gif than there is some of the later entries in the film series:


Critical reviews for the game haven't been kind; in fact, they've been fairly excruciating. Many of the criticisms are fair: Friday the 13th was not developed by a AAA studio, and it shows. When you die, you become a spectator–leaving a match early means you gain no xp, and if you die early, well...you're gonna be spectating for a while, and that might bore you. There are glitches, bugs, and server issues that crop up somewhat frequently. These issues are being addressed, however, and a recent patch improved wait times dramatically. Essentially, the game is only going to get better, and bigger: there's a story mode planned for release later this year, and you can be sure the game will expand via DLC. There is a shit ton of potential for this game to grow and improve and enjoy a long lifespan.


While the critical reviews have been damning, player reviews have been stellar, generally boiling down to yeah, it's got some jankiness but I don't care, I'm having a blast. As a Friday the 13th fan, there is so much to love here: I can play as a designer impostor Chris Higgins or a Baghead Jason. I can find Jason's cabin and put on his mom's crusty old sweater. If you die or escape early, there's a chance you can return as Tommy Jarvis. Jason can punch my head clean off à la Part VIII, or he can finish me off with the famous sleeping bag death from Part VII. It's frequently scary, frequently hilarious, always bloody, and often captures the essence of what makes slasher films so enjoyable. Honestly, I'd only be happier if I could play as Ethel Hubbard or the Banana Girl Hitchhiker. I've got my fingers crossed they'll be available eventually.

Knock Jason's mask off and reveal the grossness underneath!

I'm absolutely addicted to this game, I'm telling you. If you want to see it in action, to see me make a complete fool of myself and get murdered in any number of disgusting ways, I'll be livestreaming with my video game super pal Travis this Sunday, the 11th, at 7pm EST on my new twitch channel. To be honest, it's kind of all I want to do with my life at this point...so hopefully I'll see you at Higgins Haven! (For the ten seconds before Jason rips my jaw off, yay!)

Mar 8, 2017

Too Many Pazuzuzzzz

I'm sure that you think I sit here atop Mount Horror Blog, all exhausted from having seen every horror-flavored movie and read every horror-flavored book. I get it! Horror blogging is elite business, for 100% experts only. You can't just start a blog because you want to, it takes years of training and education. But here's the truth, dear reader: there's some stuff I haven't seen. There's some stuff I haven't read! For example, can you believe that I, in all of my 83 years on this planet, am only just reading William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist for the very first time? Much like me and a glass of Riunite on ice, the book is a bona fide classic...and yet here we are. Ah well, better late than never, there's a first time for everything, you're only as young as you feel, etc etc.

(aside: now I have "beautiful Mount Horror Blog!" stuck in my head to this tune)

Now then, my telling you all this isn't solely to brag that I do, in fact, know how to read. Nor is it to dazzle you with erudite insights like "Hey, The Exorcist is pretty good," oh no no. I'm telling you all this because the book got my brain all a-buzzin' with The Exorcist (duh) which got me watchin' the movie which got me thinking "Hey, there are way too many Pazuzus in The Exorcist Extended Director's Cut Version You've Never Seen."

The wholly terrifying subliminal demon face is used quite sparingly–and to great effect–in the original cut of the film. It scared me so badly that I really couldn't handle it. I hated it! It was great. Then along came The Version You've Never Seen and the floodgates were opened. Excised footage was unexcised, Friedkin got all George Lucas about it and added a bunch of stuff, like that awful Regan computer face when she grab's the doctor's junk. You know what I mean. It's bad. Heck, I'd just forever opt for the original cut, but I admit: I am a sucker for the spider walk. It's over-the-top and silly but I love it. So sue me.

Perhaps the worst, though, is that the latest editions of the film include a baker's dozen or more new subliminal demon faces. Let's face it (omg "FACE" it lol lol) once this shot happened...


...it was obvious that this was no longer your mama's Pazuzu. It's everywhere! And so it's really no longer scary. Less is more, more is way less.

On my most recent watch, though, I realized just how many Pazuzus are lurking. It is some Where's Waldo shit for real. Look at these screencaps!










Some of those aren't even subliminal! Yes, William Friedkin is a great director and a master of the craft and all that, but to be honest I don't know what he was thinking with all of this.

Jan 26, 2017

Sadako vs Kayako vs Alberto VO5 Hot Oil Treatment

That's right, folks, it's time to step into The Ring for The Grudge match of the century! HAHA GET IT?

Sorry, I had to get that out of my system right up front so we can all get through the rest of this post in peace.

Boy oh boy, horror fans sure love a fight, don't they? The genre landscape is littered with films wherein two evil ne'er-do-wells face off in a deadly game of death: Freddy vs Jason, Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, Chucky vs Madea, Alien vs Predator, and so on. Well. Those of you who were waiting for some J-horror entities to go to town on each other (yes I know how that sounds) can, like, stop waiting! Sadako vs Kayako is here to bring you a battle the likes of which have not seen since 1998, when Brandy and Monica sung at each other to the death over The Boy.

"The curse is mine..."

Going into this film, I had some serious questions in need of some serious answers. The largest, most troubling, perhaps: how could Kayako and Sadako hate each other so much that they'd rather fight each other than team up and fight the living and then spend their down time brushing each other's hair and trading care tips? While I am happy to say that most of my questions were eventually answered, I am sad to say that the film does not end with the two evil ghost ladies brushing each other's hair. (SPOILER)

Two college gals buy a VCR at a secondhand shop and discover that there's a copy of the infamous cursed tape tucked away inside. They watch it and as you might expect, a phone call from Sadako ensues. She'll be there in two days to kill 'em because...well, because that's just what she does.

A high school student moves next door to the infamous murder house and eventually wanders over to check it out. As you might expect, Kayako starts creepin' down the stairs because...well, because that's just what she does.

With their lives at stake, all the girls find an exorcist–a young, cool exorcist, mind–to help them. His big idea is for everyone to become cursed by all the curses, for this curseception will cause Sadako and Kayako to duke it out so that one curse may rule them all. It's the obvious solution, isn't it? Duh.

Pro tip: DO NOT DO

Really, though, who cares why the two evil entities brawl so long as they brawl, yes? It's right there in the title! It's what we came for! And oh my goodness, it takes a long time to get there. Storylines are developed, mythologies are explained for the three people who have yet to see a The Ring or a The Grudge...and I'm not saying I wasn't interested–I admittedly have a soft spot for ghost-flavored Asian-flavored horror–but for a large portion of the film you feel as if you're watching a so-so sequel in each franchise, and you're left wondering when you're gonna get to The Good Stuff.

And what of The Good Stuff? What of the title bout? While there are a few moments that evoke a visceral cringing in that wonderful horror movie way (ugh, SO MUCH HAIR), it's not nearly as outrageous as you think it's gonna be. Two angry ghosts fighting, right? What a ridiculous notion! But the final act lacks the ridiculous zeal or self-aware goofiness of something like Freddy vs Jason. Imagine a friend says they're coming over with a pizza, and then they arrive and it's a frozen pizza. When you're done eating you will probably say "Hmm, I thought you'd be bringing a real pizza and while I ate what you brought and I didn't hate it–in fact, I even sort of enjoyed it–to be honest, now that it's over I feel a vague disappointment as my expectations were not met."

And that is how Sadako vs Kayako is a lot like frozen pizza vs real pizza, the end.

 Yes, of course he's in it.

PS: Sadako vs Kayako is available exclusively on AMC's Shudder, which is basically a horror Netflix so you'd think I'd just have Shudder playing all the time, wouldn't you. WOULDN'T YOU.