Category Archives: Twists of Fury

Twists of fury: Haute Tension

In this feature, Vegan Voorhees examines those jaw-dropping revelations that the slasher film loves to bat our way from the blue, like a pushy parent tossing softballs at a kid who doesn’t want to learn baseball.

Today, we look at the much-divisive ending to French gore-a-thon Haute Tension (a.k.a. Switchblade Romance). If you’ve not seen it, then beware yon SPOILERS

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Set Up: Student Marie (Cecile de France – perfect name, given she is French!) goes with her friend Alex (Maiwenn) to Alex’s parents for a stay. On the first night, a overall-clad killer pulls up and begins offing the family one by one, kidnaps Alex, and Marie sets out to rescue her, resulting in THE tensest game of cat and mouse ever put to film.

Twist: It’s all in Marie’s head – there is no overall-clad killer at all. She’s done it all because she’s in love with Alex and is batshit crazy.

Problems with this revelation: Unlike the other Twists of Fury, Haute Tension‘s doesn’t so much crash through a wall of logic flaws earlier in the film that render it senseless; instead, it simply pulls the rug of terror out from under the feet of the audience.

In effect, the film has been one big lie and the reveal that Marie is a psychotic lesbian is a betrayal of everything that was – up until that point – good about the movie. The whole “Dead/Evil Lesbian” cliche is wrung dry and a little insulting. Marie, already seen ‘pleasuring herself’ to thoughts of Alex, would’ve been a great gay heroine otherwise.

Likely explanation: The need for a twist, as all mainstream horror groped for in the dark after The Sixth Sense in 1999. A simple “the killer is still at large” ending no longer original or scary, Alexandre Aja and his co-writer made the debatable error of opting for this revelation rather than let the film lie with Marie defeating the loon and saving her friend.

Haute Tension is otherwise an outstanding exercise in tension; bettered later by Cold Prey‘s trip down a similar lane of suspense over shocks and without a last second curveball. It’s really bloody, almost to the point where I don’t ever want to see it again. But I still need to review it.

Twists of fury: Cut

In this feature, Vegan Voorhees examines those jaw-dropping revelations that the slasher film loves to bat our way from the blue, like a pushy parent tossing softballs at a kid who doesn’t want to learn baseball.

This week, we observe the brow-creasing revelation that Australia’s answer to Scream – the thoroughly fun Cut – spits up when it clearly runs out of ideas near the end… SPOILAGE follows.

Set Up: Film students decide to complete Hot Blooded, a slasher film allegedly cursed after the stuntman playing the killer murdered the tyrannical director (Kylie Minogue, y’all!) and was, himself, killed by one of the actresses. Further attempts to finish the film have ended in death – why should this be an exception? To an old mansion house they go where they are stalked and slain by the shears-toting maniac…

Twist: There is no killer per se. The killer – Scarman – is “a product of the creative energy put into the film.” Thus, whenever the film is screened or toyed with in any way, Scarman hitches a ride with it and kills folk. Destroy the film stock, destroy the killer.

Problems with this revelation:

  • OK… like, HOW does this happen? There’s no evidence of otherwordly goings-on in Cut, which, up to this reveal, is a standard, amusing, and liberally bloody slasher film.
  • Did the electrical current that fuzzed when the stuntman was originally impaled suck him into the film?
  • An old woman – widow of the original producer – stops by to inform everyone that there is a presence at work that is inherently evil. How she knows this is also a mystery. It didn’t stop her writing a cheque to the filmmakers to get the picture finished earlier in the film.
  • If Scarman is the film and the film is Scarman (or something), why does he have Brad’s (the stuntman) face under the mask?
  • Why does nobody explain anything in normal terms???

Likely explanation: Some would say the writer just penned himself into a corner and came up with this ludicrous turn of events, however I prefer to believe that Cut is parodying those late-80s slasher films that tried to climb aboard the Elm Street wagon with all manner of stupid outcomes such as killers travelling through plug sockets n’ stuff… Shocker comes to mind.

All the same, I do *heart* this movie. It’s dumb, sure, but it feels like it was SUPPOSED to be.

Twists of fury: Halloween Resurrection

In this feature, Vegan Voorhees examines those jaw-dropping revelations that the slasher film loves to bat our way from the blue, like a pushy parent tossing softballs at a kid who doesn’t want to learn baseball.

Today, let’s share in the absolute disbelief laid at our feet by the truly spectacular revelation at the beginning of Halloween: Resurrection, a.k.a. How Michael Got His Groove Head Back. As ever, SPOILERS ensue…

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Set Up: Laurie Strode (Dame Jamie Lee of Curtis) is holed up in an asylum after it turns out that, at the end of Halloween H20, she DIDN’T lop loon-brother Michael’s head off with an axe at all… He returns, kills her (!) and then sets about terminating a group of teenage ghost hunters participating in a webcast at the olde Myers house.

Twist:  You remember the end of H20 don’t you? Jamie Lee commandeers the meatwagon with Michael’s body in it, knowing full well he won’t actually be dead. He ain’t. There’s a struggle, a crash, and Michael is pinned long enough for Laurie to take an axe and off with his head! No. This is what Resurrection tells us REALLY happened…

It wasn’t Michael. Michael attacked a paramedic, crushed his larynx so he couldn’t speak, and put the mask and boiler suit on him so he could hot-foot it outta there. JLC decapped the wrong dude!

Problems with this revelation:

  • Where the hell to begin? Why didn’t Michael just kill the paramedic, thus giving himself more time to escape before medical examiners found out it wasn’t him?
  • Why would the paramedic move and act EXACTLY like Michael?
  • Why wouldn’t he take the mask off?
  • Busta Rhymes!? No no no no no.

Likely explanation: Desperation. Sheer, greedy, corporate desperation. H20 did much better than predicted and Miramax couldn’t just leave it be with its perfect round-trip-ticket ending could they? They just had to meddle, coming up with the worst resurrection idea since a dog pissed on Freddy Krueger’s grave!

A pitiful twist if ever there was and then followed up by the death of the genre’s most iconic final girl. I’m surprised JLC agreed to take part at all.

However, the rest of Resurrection isn’t half bad – aside from Busta Rhymes of course – providing a workman-like slasher flick trip through to its pointless ending, which was cock-blocked by Rob Zombie’s remake, which just rebooted the whole franchise, making the whole project even more redundant than it already was.

Twists of fury: Ripper

In this feature, Vegan Voorhees examines those jaw-dropping revelations that the slasher film loves to bat our way from the blue, like a pushy parent tossing softballs at a kid who doesn’t want to learn baseball.

This week, we look at the frankly bizarre last few minutes of Ripper: Letter from Hell. If you haven’t already scratched your head over it, beware yon SPOILERS that lie in the road.

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Set Up: Criminal psychology students are done in by a loon aping the crimes of Jack the Ripper. The more they investigate the deaths of their friends, the closer to final girl-cum-survivor-of-earlier-massacre Molly the murders come…

Twist: Molly is the killer. Then she’s delusional and thinks she’s in 1888. Then she’s in a psych ward.

Problems with this revelation:

There’s no specific list of faults with the ending of Ripper, only that it piles on additional revelations like a fat guy at an all you can eat breakfast buffet:

  • The detective tells Molly that the Professor is the killer.
  • The names of the victims contrivedly match the initials of the Ripper’s victims and spell out ‘Teacher’.
  • Molly has flashbacks indicating she is the killer. And didn’t realise.
  • She stabbed the killer in the hand at the beginning – the detective wears gloves. Nobody else does.
  • Molly thinks she’s the reincarnation of the Jack the Ripper.
  • Molly thinks it’s 1888.
  • Molly wakes up screaming strapped to a hospital bed.

So, which is it? And who would go to so much trouble to group together students with initials that match Jack the Ripper’s victims? Why is requisite weirdo Aaron not included on the list? Why does he turn up at the cabin?

Likely explanation: On the DVD commentary track, John Eyres says he “didn’t get the end he wanted” due to budgetary constraints. Or the script wasn’t thought out all too clearly.

There’s a decent theory on the IMDb message boards about the Detective being the actual killer. Don’t expect the sequel to clear any of it up either, it only makes matters worse.

Twists of fury: Friday the 13th Part V

In this feature, Vegan Voorhees examines those jaw-dropping revelations that the slasher film loves to bat our way from the blue, like a pushy parent tossing softballs at a kid who doesn’t want to learn baseball.

This week, we look at the much-unloved “twist” from Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning. If you haven’t had the pleasure, big SPOILERS ensue…

Before we explore though, I should say that I didn’t see the Friday films chronologically so, when I got to A New Beginning, I hadn’t yet seen The Final Chapter, so this “twist” was actually a surprise to me.

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Set Up: Surviving character from Part IV, Tommy, is packed off to a halfway-house for troubled teens. Soon after his arrival, someone starts killing off various locals and the other residents. Jason, right?

Twist: No. Not Jason. Some other guy, Roy, who appeared in like two scenes earlier on.

Problems with this revelation:

  • The killer, when seen unmasked, is already dead. So there’s no “gasp! it’s you!” moment to mop up the looming pile of questions stacking up as quick as the corpses.
  • Roy’s apparent motive – backfilled by the sheriff – is that his estranged son was axed to death at the beginning by a fellow inmate with anger management issues. That guy gets carted off by the cops. So why kill everyone else who wasn’t responsible?
  • Yeah, yeah… blame, I know. When are these guys ever rational about who’s accountable for what?
  • Roy goes to great lengths to disguise the crimes of those of Jason Voorhees, but why not dress up as Tommy, as Jason’s been “cremated” according to the bad actor playing the mayor (a fact retconned in the next film)?
  • If he was so heartbroken by his son’s death, why the hell hadn’t he established contact? He lived in the same goddamn town!

Having missed a couple of films, I didn’t see anything hinky in keeping the killer largely off-camera for the most part, but it’s clearly prodding at some form of mystery perpetrator at work. On subsequent viewings, they don’t half make it obvious thanks to sudden changes in incidental music and glowering stares as the screen fades to black.

I actually like Friday V, but it is undeniably shit when scrutinised like this. It’s like nobody even tried to disguise the loon’s actual identity, and trampled all over the ending of the previous film where it’s suggested Tommy will inherit the mask.

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