Tag Archives: before they were famous

Obligatory Before-They-Were-Famous Post

We all know Johnny Depp made his debut in A Nightmare on Elm Street, that Kevin Bacon was skewered with a spike in Friday the 13th, and Brad Pitt avoided a blade to the face in Cutting Class, but budding thespians are still paying their dues in B (and C!) movies before the big time calls… Spoilers follow.

 

Amy Adams in Psycho Beach Party

amy adams psycho beach party

Legit Hollywood royalty Amy Adams had already been in the awesome Drop Dead Gorgeous before playing bitchy Marvel Ann in obscurely amazing stage-adaptation Psycho Beach Party, where she gets to take part in the best dance-off this side of Grease. And way more enjoyable than either of the recent Superman movies.

Fate: Despite her love rival role, Marvel Ann does not the business end of a knife, as the killer in this one only goes after those with physical imperfections.

*

James McAvoy & Isla Fisher in The Pool

james mcavoy isla fisher the pool

Playing a couple in the 2001 Prague-set actually quite fun slasher-in-a-swimming-pool, McAvoy would later play Professor X and land lead roles all over the show (including the objectively shit Wanted) and Fisher starred in Wedding Crashers, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and Now You See Me.

Fates: She runs straight into a machete, which is later used again to skewer him as he’s crawling through an air duct in hope of escape.

*

Finn Jones in Wrong Turn 5

finn jones wrong turn 5

Future star of Marvel’s Iron Fist and Loris Tyrell in Games of Thrones, the British actor was one of many countrymen shipped off to Bulgaria to fill out one of the straight-to-DVD Wrong Turn sequels.

Fate: I can’t remember, but apparently he doesn’t croak.

*

Anna Faris in Lovers Lane

lovers lane 1999 anna faris

Shortly before she headlined the Scary Movie franchise, led The House Bunny with a pre-stardom Emma Stone, and married Chris Pratt, Anna had a rare straight role as nice cheerleader Janelle in the straight-to-video flick that came at the height of the genre resurgence.

Fate: Gutted with a hook.

*

Kaley Cuoco in The Hollow

kaley cuoco the hollow

Before she was Penny in The Big Bang Theory, Kaley was Kevin Zegers’ object-of-lust in low-end, but kinda fun, The Hollow, also with Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, Stacy Keach, and Judge Reinhold. She later also appeared as a ditzy actress in Killer Movie, dying in neither.

Fate: Survives to fall in love with Zegers.

*

Rebecca Ferguson in Drowning Ghost

rebecca furguson drowning ghost

Still on the rise in Hollywood thanks to her recurring role opposite Tom Cruise in the Mission: Impossible movies, Rebecca started out in dull killer-at-a-posh-school chiller from Sweden, Drowning Ghost as a bitchy rich kid.

Fate: Dies, but I can’t remember how.

*

Olly Alexander in Tormented

olly alexander tormented

Olly may have played geeky Jason Banks in the British 2009 revenge-from-beyond slasher, but he went on to front BBC Sound of 2015 winners Years & Years, scoring a string of chart hits in the ensuing years.

Fate: Pencils placed up nostrils and head pushed down on to desk. Ouch.

*

Kate Mara in Urban Legends: Bloody Mary

kate mara urban legends

Before landing big roles in House of Cards and as Sue Storm in the 27th attempt at a Fantastic Four movie franchise, Kate Mara – sister of Rooney, who went from the Elm Street remake to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake – was cast as the plucky heroine in made-for-DVD Urban Legend threequel Bloody Mary.

Fate: Final Girl! Saves the day!

*

Bradley Cooper in My Little Eye

bradley cooper my little eye

I can’t remember much of My Little Eye because it was boring as fuck. Bradley Cooper, not one of the main five protagonists, went on to find major Hollywood success with LimitlessThe Hangover trilogy, and, uh, that A-Team movie. And let’s not ever discuss that woeful Limitless TV series.

Fate: I think he’s one of the bad guys in on the conspiracy?

*

Naomi Watts in Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering

naomi watts children of the corn iv

Mrs Liev Schreiber and star of a gazillion hit movies, Watts played the heroine – and Karen Black’s daughter – in the barely-related-to-the-others sequel, as big sister to disgraced (and now dead) Glee star Mark Salling.

Fate: Final Girl! Saves the day!

*

Eva Mendes in Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror

eva mendes children of the corn 5

From model to actress, Mendes was packed off for the straight-to-video fourth sequel to the Stephen King adaptation. She thinks it’s a load of crap, but as far as this series goes, it’s at least gruesomely fun, and she got to star opposite the late Alexis Arquette.

Fate: Reads a thousand-page book in one night and voluntarily jumps into a silo!?

*

Paul Rudd in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

paul rudd in halloween 6

We all know this one. On the brink of his big break in Clueless, Rudd played a grown-up (and slightly unhinged) Tommy Doyle. The Judd Apatow staple reportedly doesn’t think much of the movie, but he’s effective in the role, giving Tommy a can-he-be-trusted edginess lacking in most final boys.

Fate: Final Boy! Saves the day… with help from Dr Loomis, and Laurie’s cousin.

*

Clark Gregg in When A Stranger Calls

clark gregg when a stranger calls

The leader of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., all round zaddy Clark Gregg played Camilla Belle’s dad in the 2006 remake of When A Stranger Calls, which mainly just entailed telling her she’d gone over her allotted minutes on her cellphone.

Fate: N/A – supporting role. Zzzz.

*

Billy Nighy in Phantom of the Opera

bill nighy phantom of the opera

The Freddy Krueger-inspired remake of the horror classic featured a young(er) Bill Nighy, later staple of British comedies, including Love ActuallyThe Boat That Rocked, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as well as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

Fate: I saw this 20 years ago. Once. I remember nothing.

“Do you really think it’s a slasher?”

10 to midnight 1983

10 TO MIDNIGHT

3 Stars  1983/18/98m

“A cop… A killer… A deadline…”

Director: J. Lee Thompson / Writer: William Roberts / Cast: Charles Bronson, Lisa Eilbacher, Andrew Stevens, Gene Davis, Wilford Brimley, Geoffrey Lewis, Jeana Tomasina, Kelly Preston [as Kelly Palzis], Iva Lane, Ola Ray.

Body Count: 7

Laughter Lines: “If anybody does something like this – his knife has got to be his penis.”


The title of this could be 25 to Four or Quarter Past Eight for all the relevance it has to the film’s content, but perhaps it relates to the time this kind of 80s cop-vs-killer flick always seems to play on late night cable.

Like every other thriller of this ilk, 10 to Midnight pushes forth a rather maverick cop, who has an estrange daughter we know will be targeted by the maniac before the credits roll.In a sort of meta-slasher way, things begin with a crank confessing to murders, stating that when he “catches ‘em breaking the Lord’s Commandments, I slash ‘em with a razor!” while Charles Bronson’s grizzled detective Kessler clacks away at the typewriter.

10 to midnight 1983

Meanwhile, we’re introduced to our skeezy killer, buff young office plod Warren Stacey (Davis), who torments two girls at the movies to serve as an alibi while he creeps out of the bathroom window and drives into the woods where he attacks a pair of lovers going at it in their van, killing the guy straight off, and chasing the nude girl through the trees until she just kinda gives up and cries a lot. What is notable about 10 to Midnight is that the killer is also buck naked when he slashes, so as well as the T&A we expect, there are also some fleeting cock shots, although most of the time his appendage is hidden by branches, bed frames, and other objects in the foreground. Like Austin Powers.

Kessler meets his young new partner, McCann (Stevens), and learn from the victim’s roommate that she kept a diary of every guy she slept with. This information reaches Stacey, who worked with the victim and suspects she may have written about him in her diary, when he attends her funeral. There, he bumps into Kessler’s nursing student daughter, Laurie, who asks if they’ve met before. Stacey breaks into the apartment of his victim to steal the diary – awesomely kept in a a box with ‘My Diary’ emblazoned all over it – and ends up knifing her roomie, who comes home.

10 to midnight 1983

WHAT COULD IT BE???

The cops eventually get to Stacey for an interview and Kessler immediately suspects him, in spite of the cinema alibi, and goes all out to prove it. Stacey takes to stalking Laurie, plaguing her with sexually-explicit crank calls, which leads to McCann hanging around to protect her and them eventually falling for each other, as always happens. This enables the slow repair of father-daughter relationship. There’s a trial, a dismissal, Kessler bugs Stacey until he goes after Laurie and her bouncy nurse friends at their dorm, in the film’s slashiest scene.

10 to Midnight functions entirely predictably when watched anytime after 1990, tidily checking off almost every cliche you could hope for in a Charles Bronson thriller, and is really only memorable for being a bit more exploitative than most, with the liberal attitude to nudity throughout, and the pervy stuff Stacey utters to Laurie during his phone calls.

10 to midnight 1983

It’s clear the character is an amalgamation of Ted Bundy and slayer of nurses Richard Speck: Stacey stalks his nubile victims in his VW Beetle, is athletic and handsome, and ultimately ends up slaughtering most of his victims in their dormitory. When Bundy advised that the cops stage a slasher movie festival to catch the Green River Killer in the mid-80s, he probably would’ve creamed his pants over this one, which borrows heavily from his documented crimes.

Bronson, then 61, looks a little tired out going through the motions, but Eilbacher is a hoot as his sarcastic daughter: “Maybe we should check your prostate?” she says to McCann; “Oh, you’ve got to stop being so shy,” he responds. The other female characters are sketchy at best: Victims who either cower and squeal and make no attempt to fight back, an off-the-shelf mouthy hooker, and the over-acting manager who takes the call informing her of the first murder.

10 to midnight 1983

There’s some surface visual flair, but compared to Thompson’s previous slasher outing, Happy Birthday to Me, which stood out amongst its peers, this seems quite a pedestrian affair. “Do you think it’s a slasher?” someone asks when the murders are being discussed, alluding possibly to early production meetings about what film they were making.

Blurbs-of-interest: Carmen Filpi (the hotel clerk) played the kooky priest who gives Donald Pleasence a ride in Halloween 4; Geoffrey Lewis was also in Out of the Dark and Fingerprints; Wilford Brimley was in Death Valley.

Lyin’ on a prayer

cry wolf 2005 dvd

CRY_WOLF

2 Stars  2005/12/87m

“BeLIEve.”

Director/Writer: Jeff Wadlow / Writer: Beau Bauman / Cast: Julian Morris, Lindy Booth, Jared Padalecki, Jon Bon Jovi, Kristy Wu, Sandra McCoy, Paul James, Jesse Janzen, Gary Cole.

Body Count: 2

Laughter Lines: “Tonight you could’ve gotten laid, but instead you got fucked.”


As usual, a young blonde woman runs through the woods at night, heaving in her breaths, a flashlight behind indicating her hunter isn’t far behind. She hides, the mystery maniac loiters, produces a cellphone and calls ‘Becky’. The victim’s phone rings, revealing her whereabouts to the killer. Gunshot.

Like so many other teen horror films of this era, an aerial shot of autumnal trees reveals a posh looking, secluded school: Westlake Prep. Here, we’re introduced to Owen Matthews, a British transfer student. His first encounter is with doll-like flame-haired Dodger Allen, and later inducted into her group of friends, who meet after hours in the school’s chapel to play a game centred around lying: Who can be the most deceptive. This is Cry_Wolf‘s main thing – deception. Spoilers ensue.

cry_wolf 2005

Infatuated with Dodger from the off, Owen and she concoct a newer, better version of their game, selling a big lie to the entire faculty for the lolz. Remember 2000 campus thriller Gossip? Yeah, it’s that all over again but with knives.

Owen, Dodger, and the others invent a campus-cruising psycho called The Wolf, who wears a camo jacket and orange ski-mask, and slashes up students around Halloween. Tying it to the disappearance of the girl from the beginning only helps create an atmosphere of paranoia across the campus. Media teacher Jon Bon Jovi – yes, really – sees through the ruse and cautions serial-school-changer Owen about his behaviour.

cry_wolf 2005

A mystery game player begins sending IMs to Owen, claiming to be the actual killer, and threatens the group, his room in tossed, there’s a stranger following him and Dodger in the library, someone deposits a knife in his bag that tumbles out during class… Who is doing it? Why, etc…

Needless to say, somebody dressed in the camo and ski-mask clobber starts offing those in on the joke in the precise scenarios they dreamt up when they created their work of fiction.

cry_wolf 2005

Cry_Wolf is one of those films that thinks it’s way smarter than it actually is: Some moderate fanfare surrounded its US release that it packed an amazing twist. Well, it doesn’t. Nobody is dead beyond the girl from the start and Bon Jovi, who is Owen’s main suspect and, it turns out, the apparent slayer of woods-girl. The rest is written off as a joke on the new boy.

As it happens, Dodger has manipulated eeeeeverybody to cover up the fact that she is the killer, insanely jealous of an affair between woods-girl and Bon Jovi, she went the long way round to fool Owen into killing him. The rest of the story, The Wolf, the others being in on the gag, is all by the by.

cry_wolf 2005

So it’s ultimately one big lie of a slasher film, not a slasher film at all, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Hey, does that make it über smart? No, it makes it über fake and thus über annoying. At least April Fool’s Day was able to trade on likeable characters, not obnoxious, schemey teens who all seem to hate each other. There’s nobody really to root for: Owen’s not particularly sympathetic and drools after Dodger like a lovestruck puppy, while she is textbook bitchy girl material, and the others fulfil various SBC-101 roles with little to add.

Nicely made and casting a British lead was brave, but the amount of contrivances required for the idea to float is ridiculous to the point it makes Brenda’s big plan from Urban Legend look totally doable.

cry_wolf 2005

Blurbs-of-interest: Julian Morris was also in Sorority Row; Lindy Booth was in Wrong Turn and American Psycho II; Jared Padalecki was in House of Wax and the Friday the 13th reboot; Gary Cole was in The Town That Dreaded Sundown (remake-quel thingy).

Sexyvil

american psycho 2 all american girl mila kunis 2002

AMERICAN PSYCHO II: ALL AMERICAN GIRL

2 Stars  2002/18/85m

“Angrier. Deadlier. Sexier.”

Director: Morgan J. Freeman / Writers: Alex Sanger & Karen Craig / Cast: Mila Kunis, William Shatner, Geraint Wyn-Davies, Lindy Booth, Robin Dunne, Charles Officer.

Body Count: 10

Laughter Lines: “I’ll make sure to get you home in time for Murder She Wrote.”


Burgeoning starlet Mila Kunis is apparently not fond of her involvement in this bizarre sequel to Mary Harron’s adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel. Where that film examined the vicious world of capitalism, where male swagger competing eventually spills over into serial murder, AS2 is a straight up slasher flick.

Kunis is college freshman Rachael, whose babysitter took her along on a date with psycho killer Patrick Bateman and became his last victim before Rachael stabbed him dead with an ice pick. Undetected in this incident, Rachael successfully gets on to a criminal profiling course run by ex-FBI officer Robert Starkman (Shatner) whose one career black spot is the Bateman case.

In the week before Spring Break, Starkman is set to elect a teaching assistant for the following semester, and there’s no task Rachael won’t undertake to ensure she gets the job, which will lead her to her destiny – FBI training at Quantico. Firstly, her goal entails offing the three most likely contenders: Rich boy Brian, roommate Cassandra, and brainy Keith. Matters are further complicated by her interfering shrink who, after one session, diagnoses her as a ‘textbook sociopath’ and Rachael finds herself killing excess individuals to get her own way.

Sanger and Craig’s script shares more in common with the likes of Ripper: Letter From Hell and obsessed-femme-stalker sequel Teacher’s Pet than its predecessor. Kunis is a good soap opera style bad girl, but her narration of events severely tugs at the rug of credibility, and without the killings this would play more like an episode of Clarissa Explains It All than a serial-slasher pic.

Handsome production values go some way to distracting the viewer from what is really a wafer thin cash-in, probably rewritten to awkwardly tie in with the Bateman plot in order to get the greenlight. Still, seeing William Shatner traumatised is good for a laugh.

Blurbs-of-interest: Shatner was in Visiting Hours back in 1981; Lindy Booth was in Wrong Turn and the lead role in Cry_Wolf; Robin Dunne was in Scarecrow.

 

Scream if you’ve had enough of these parodies

shriek if you know what i did last friday the 13th

SHRIEK IF YOU KNOW WHAT I DID LAST FRIDAY THE 13TH

2 Stars  2000/15/83m

“It’s a scream!”

Director: John Blanchard / Writers: Sue Bailey & Joe Nelms / Cast: Majandra Delfino, Harley Cross, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Tom Arnold, Danny Strong, Julie Benz, Simon Rex, Aimee Graham, Chris Palermo, Coolio, Shirley Jones.

Body Count: 10

Laughter Lines: “I killed my cousin, my heart’s broken, and my sister’s dead.”


In a race against the Wayans’ Scary Movie (originally titled Scream if You Know What I Did Last Halloween), you could feel a bit sorry for Shriek… as it didn’t make it past the cutting room quick enough and was consigned to a video release, while Scary Movie inexplicably carried on to generate several increasingly cringe-worthy sequels, not to mention Epic MovieDate MovieDisaster Movie ad infinitum.

Regardless of whomever got there first, Shriek… is largely a Xerox of its competitor, as we’re thrown into the lives of the exaggerated stereotypes who go to Bulimia High, who did something last summer that they’d rather forget about.

Ergo, much silliness ensues and death abounds – but not at the hands of the killer, which only makes it more annoying. In a (failed) attempt to try and be funny and original, the characters actually die from other things before the nutter has a chance to get them: Bee stings, coronaries, etc.

So there’s no murder count and 88% of the jokes are the same as in Scary Movie. To its credit though, there is an inspired parody of VH1’s old Pop-Up Video during the final chase scenes, and a couple of other almost-laughs along the way, but it all weighs down under the forehead-tappers of fart jokes, erection jokes, gay jokes, and a killer with absolutely no motive, most likely thought up at the last second.

Blurbs-of-interest: Delfino was in RSVP; Simon Rex was in several of the Scary Movie sequels.

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