Babes, Blades & 80s Parades

pool party massacre 2017

POOL PARTY MASSACRE

2.5 Stars  2017/18/80m

“Worst pool party ever.”

Director/Writer: Drew Marvick / Cast: Kristin Noel McKusick, Margaux Neme, Crystal Stoney, Destiny Faith Nelson, Alexis Adams, Jenifer Marvick, Nick Byer, Mark Justice, Drew Marvick.

Body Count: 11

Laughter Lines: “How about any killer from every horror movie in the 80s? You couldn’t open anything back then without a dead body falling out of it.”


At first glance – both from the cover art and the trailer – this looks like just another sub-bargain basement production to get hot girls to remove their bikini tops, but there’s a little more than meets the eye. But also hot girls removing their bikini tops.

Spoiled rich girl Blaire has run of the roost while her parents take off on vacation, but they’re glad her sensible childhood friend Nancy is there to keep the calm. Soon, Blaire’s vacuous friends Tiffany, Britney, Jasmine and Kelly show up, plus a boyfriend and his horny brother.

Who is the hulking face-off-camera loon who starts doing away with the guests, the neighbours, and the pizza guy with a new weapon each time? It’s actually fairly obvious who it might be from early-scene dialogue, but Pool Party Massacre‘s last few minutes open the curtains to an interesting and amusing revelation.

pool party massacre 2017

It’s not a twist that we haven’t seen before, but the script suddenly switches into witty gear, and fears that this would turn out to be on the same level as Spring Break Massacre are mercifully put to bed. It’s a bed with a severed head in it, but a bed all the same.

Given the approach, there’s surprisingly actually only a few topless shots, no annoying girl-on-girl scenes, and some likeable banter between characters who aren’t entirely objectionable, plus some decent camera work reminiscent of the genre films of yore. This isn’t to say I’ll ever watch it again, but it’s a refreshing change from what’s expected and had Marvick used the same level of incisiveness displayed at the end for the first 70 minutes, this could’ve been a fun little companion to The Slumber Party Massacre.

The DVD comes with an awesome reversible sleeve, that has an 80s VHS-style cover on the back.

5 more things I wish they’d stop doing in horror films

In 2011 (!) we enjoyed a good long moan about the shitty tropes that keep cropping up in horror movies. Well, now that I’m officially in my 40s I’d better get used to moaning more… Here are another five things that need to fucking fuck off:

Conveniently named towns and/or psychos

hell-town-name

A killer who goes to work ridding the local area of virgins in a town that happens to be named Cherry Falls? Or the Tooth Fairy who can’t go into the light torments the townsfolk of Darkness Falls? Gimme a break!

Oh, but then we have loons ‘ironically’ named Marty Sickle, Jack who uses a Jackhammer, and Bobby Carver who likes to carve people up.

Waiting patiently for Bob Knifewielder to start offing the residents of Murderville, Missouri.

Grindhouse homages

The House of the Devil looked the part alright, but suddenly we’ve got all these ‘back to basics’ or ‘lost classics’ tumbling out of the sky: The Sleeper, Lost After Dark, The Final Girls, Terrifier, Pool Party MassacreSummer of ’84Party Night…  Rough-around-the-edges production attributes are one thing, but missing reels? Rubik’s cubes and Cabbage Patch Kids everywhere while Girls Just Want to Have Fun and Karma Chameleon blast from the radio?

Give your cast short-shorts, big hair, and make them say ‘rad’ a lot, but the biggest giveaway though is always the eyebrows: So preened, so post-millennial. No one is fooled!

5, 10, 20 years later…

It's not that hard, is it?

It’s not that hard, is it?

Some killers wait a year for their revenge, Kenny Hampson waited three years, Alex Hammond waited six, Mrs Voorhees waited 21… but most appear to be so crippled by OCD that they can only work in multiples of five, with a 10 year wait being the most common anniversary for sexy teens to go hangout at the olde rollerdome.

“What? No nudity!?”

This is more a complaint about the short-sightedness of some genre fans who flock to various forums and boards to complain that any given film is “the worst ever” because it doesn’t feature a pair of tits, seemingly living under the illusion that slasher movies have to have them. Hell NightMy Bloody ValentineHappy Birthday to Me… all nudity free. Hell, even the original Friday the 13th shows nothing but a fleeting, under-lit glimpse.

Invincible killers

Randy told us: “This is the moment when the supposedly dead killer comes back to life for one last scare!” Unless your surname is Voorhees or Myers, or you exist beyond the plain the rest of us live on, being shot, impaled, burned in an explosion should kill you. Loons who successfully avoid death more than a couple of times are becoming a little too prevalent – Mick Taylor, I’m looking at you here, mate.

Disturbifier

terrifier 2017

TERRIFIER

2 Stars  2017/18/82m

Director/Writer: Damien Leone / Cast: Jenna Kanell, Samantha Scaffidi, David Howard Thornton, Catherine Corcoran, Pooya Mohseni, Matt McAllister.

Body Count: 10

Laughter Lines: “What if he’s out there watching us right now?” / “Show him your tits.”


Halloween night: A very creepy looking clown torments two young women stuck outside an old warehouse.

Characters who largely don’t make stupid decisions, some awesome camera and FX work, and a genuinely unsettling figure in Art the Clown, all eclipsed by a scene where a young woman is suspended upside down, naked, while he saws her in half from between her legs to her head, which plays out like some incel jerk-off fantasy found on the dark web.

Elsewhere, it’s women cowering, women tied to chairs, women being beaten and shot, while the male victims (albethem greater in number) are almost all killed from behind without even seeing their attacker and always fully clothed.

I thought and hoped we were past this kind of overtly sexualised violence. Without it, this would’ve had an extra star-and-a-half and a much longer review.

Hellraiser Fundraiser

scream park 2016

SCREAM PARK

2 Stars  2012/18/81m

“Death is the new attraction.”

Director/Writer: Cary Hill / Cast: Wendy Wygant, Steve Rudzinski, Alicia Marie Marcucci, Kyle Riordan, Tyler Kale, Kailey Marie Harris, Dean Jacobs, Doug Bradley, Nicole Beattie, Brian McDaniel, Ian Lemmon.

Body Count: 10

Laughter Lines: “Sometimes, when I’m here at work, I just fantasize about being crushed in the gears of a ride.”


Be not fooled by that artwork, this cheapo production is littered with issues that plague low-budget filmmaking, but is at least worth a look at for fans of the early, grainy Friday the 13th instalments, which appear to have influenced a fair whack of its aesthetic. Spoilers ensue.

The youthful employees at Fright Land work their final shift before the closure of the park for good, due to low ticket sales. They decide to stick around and have a party, which is soon crashed by a pair of masked lunatics who waste no time in hanging, slashing, and deep-frying them one by one. This is one of the few films where the black guy literally does die first.

scream park 2012

Obvious final girl Jennifer is concerned about where her missing boyfriend might be, while dragging the dead weight of the wimpy park manager around everywhere she goes, eventually finding out that the park owner (Hellraiser‘s Doug Bradley) has decided to try and turn around their bad fortunes by staging ‘an incident’ that will drag in the crowds.

Mucho dialogue of the “quit screwing around” variety ensues, and the rather dilapidated look of the park pleasantly echoes Camp Crystal Lake’s grubby, rundown cabins. However, there are sound and visual problems throughout, debuting with the frankly bizarre pagination-from-hell title card:

scream park 2012

I mean… why???

Scream Park isn’t a good film, but beyond the low-end presentation and amateur-night performances (the survivor is interviewed by a cop, who finishes talking with her by saying “Thanks – take it easy.” Dude, she just saw eight people die!) there’s some fun to be had – and it’s great to finally see someone go for the eyes after years of shouting at the screen for them to do it!

Blurb-of-interest: Doug Bradley was in Wrong Turn 5.

Children update: Still evil.

bloody birthday 1981

BLOODY BIRTHDAY

2.5 Stars  1981/18/85m

A.k.a. Creepers

“The nightmare begins with the kids next door.”

Director/Writer: Ed Hunt / Writer: Barry Pearson / Cast: Lori Lethin, Melinda Cordell, Julie Brown, Susan Strasberg, K.C. Martel, Bert Kramer, Billy Jacoby, Elizabeth Hoy, Andy Freeman, Jose Ferrer.

Body Count: 7

Laughter Lines: “All her brains are in her bra!”


If you can force the ludicrous reason for the madness like a piece of vile birthday cake down your throat, this cheesy little Halloween wannabe isn’t half bad.

A trio of children born on the same day, during a total eclipse of the sun, are all missing empathic emotions and so embark on a killing spree as they turn ten. The brats-from-hell – Debbie, Steven, and Curtis (the most evil one) – are diagnosed by Lori Lethin’s astrology-loving heroine, Joyce. Joyce, really. Is that the best kick-ass final girl name they could come up with? She and her little brother, Timmy (…of course!) are high value targets due to this knowledge.

Up for the chop are grump teachers, horny teen couples, interfering siblings, and even their own parents who, up to the point where it’s too late, only believe their little darlings are angels from heaven. Regrettably, all three minions are spared the deserved axe in the face, in the hope of a sequel that never came to fruition due to a lack of box office success.

Don't fall for that sweeter-than-sweet bullshit - they want you DEAD!

Don’t fall for that sweeter-than-sweet bullshit – they want you DEAD!

Shoddy production values are responsible for most of the damage, leaving the film looking cheap and tacky, as well as gutless for not knocking off at least one of the evil little fuckers.

Blurbs-of-interest: Lori Lethin was also in fellow clunkers The Prey and Return to Horror High; Susan Strasberg was in Sweet Sixteen; Elizabeth Hoy and Billy Jacoby were in X-Ray.

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