Tag Archives: Canuck

Canadian Horror Story

slasher guilty party 2017


2 Stars  2017/394m

Director: Felipe Rodriguez / Writer: Aaron Martin / Cast: Leslie Hope, Lovell Adams-Gray, Paula Brancati, Jim Watson, Kaitlyn Leeb, Rebecca Liddiard, Christopher Jacot, Joanne Vannicola, Paulino Nunes, Madison Cheeatow, Sebastian Pigott, Ty Olsson, Melinda Shankar.

Body Count: 18

Laughter Lines: “Why do I always get stuck with the Jason Voorhees types?”

It’s a whole new story for Season 2, although one or two actors return for new roles. Some spoilers follow.

Camp Montega, 2012: Six camp counsellors drive into the woods to party at the end of their summer tenure, but instead of good times, five of them decide to put the sixth on trial for being a manipulative bitch. The girl, Talvinder, is charged with screwing the boyfriend of one, ruining the chances of a summer romance of another, and teasing another into doing her work for her. The situation escalates, an assault occurs, and poor Talvinder ends up with her skull smashed in with a rock.

Five years later – never four, never six – the threat of a development unearthing the hidden skeleton spurns an awkward roadtrip back to the area to move the bones before they’re discovered. The camp, closed down in the wake of Talvinder’s unsolved disappearance, has been transformed into the ‘We Are One’ commune, home to a small group of people with various emotional issues who live outside of society.

slasher guilty party 2017

In the dead of winter, they allow the newcomers to stay in a cabin for the weekend, and it’s not long before a parka ski-jacket and be-goggled lunatic shows up on a skidoo and begins laying waste to everyone in a variety of gruesome ways. Really gruesome: One guy is chainsawed to pieces while naked, another is drilled with an auger, eyes are gouged out, people are immolated, run over with the skidoo… There’s also a fairly graphic male-on-male rape scene.

With victims not limited to the five responsible for Talvinder’s disappearance, the episodes take a sort of sub-Lost tack and go into flashback territory, revealing bits about the lives of various characters before coming to the area, and pretty much informing us that virtually all of them are murderous assholes, one way or another. The commune folk number amongst them an ex-con who killed and took the place of a new resident, a nasty lawyer, and the victim of a gay bashing who fatally turned the tables on his attacker.

slasher guilty party 2017

The main problem in Slasher is that almost none of the characters are likeable. Guilt-racked Peter comes close to becoming our first black final guy, but is overshadowed by the actions of those around him, who are purely selfish and hell-bound.

I also pegged the identity of the killer by the second episode. I mean, the only semi-known in the cast who has lingered virtually in the background for all episodes and excused a flashback scene of their own… The misdirection is feebly handled and things grind uncomfortably into Identity waters, which is almost clever, but having seen that film – and several like it – obvious to the literate viewer.

The first series may have been a bit clunky, but it felt like a series. Guilty Party has the plot of an 87-minute B-movie stretched to its limits over six-and-a-half hours, pumped with more filler than a warehouse full of battery farm chickens. The gory killings are well done and shocking, but that really is all it has going for it. Uneven writing results in characters who act like asshats one episode then switch to being practical and pleasant for the next two and depriving us of any real central hero figure to root for.

slasher guilty party 2017

This was a chore and a half to get through. I’d imagine a shrinking budget from the move to Netflix from the defunct Chiller network threw a spanner in the works to some extent, but what achievements the first series had over its smallscreen rivals has been pummelled to dust. Or rather snow.

Those Friday the 13th-in-the-snow hi-jinks we want are not to be found here.

Love is pain

prom night iii last kiss 1989PROM NIGHT III: THE LAST KISS

3.5 Stars  1990/18/96m

“Alex thinks he’s died and gone to heaven. He’s half right.”

Directors: Ron Oliver & Peter Simpson / Writer: Ron Oliver / Cast: Tim Conlon, Cyndy Preston, Courtney Taylor, David Stratton, Jeremy Ratchford, Dylan Neal, Brock Simpson, Juno Mills Cockell.

Body Count: 9

Laughter Lines: “Experts agree his psychotic killing spree could be the result of bad dietary habits, rock n’ roll lyrics, and too many horror movies.”

Despite being as far removed from the original 1980 film as humanly possible, this second outing for prom queen from hell Mary Lou Maloney (now played by Taylor) actually ranks as a witty and often hilarious Elm Street Xerox.

After escaping from hell once again, Mary Lou sets her sights on high school Mr Average Alex Grey, who complains to his brainiac girlfriend, Sarah, that he’s average height, with average shoe size, and will most likely live on a street named after a tree (Elm Street, perhaps?) This feeling is compounded by his guidance counsellor telling him he’ll never get into med school.

But then it’s a case of Hello Mary Lou, Goodbye Heart. Or rather, goodbye various staff and students, as she goes to the zany place of psycho in love and begins offing anybody who threatens his success of their deranged love affair. Krueger-inspired sequences include killer ice creams, a blender in the mouth, exploding pacemaker, a battery acid bath, and the football toss from hell.

prom night 3 1990

As ever in these man-falls-for-demon-woman opuses, Alex eventually realises Mary Lou’s predilection for murder is a road to hell and tries to rid himself of her and get back with Sarah, but ML won’t give up easily and sets about framing Alex for murder after bodies buried on the football field are unearthed, and turning up everywhere to remind him of her power.

It wouldn’t be a Prom Night without a prom, though it’s almost an afterthought as Alex breaks out (and kidnaps a cop played by series-regular Brock Simpson) to rescue Sarah, which culminates in both of them taking on Mary Lou in hell. Out to save her man, Sarah encounters zombies, and the jukebox from hell, which fires 45s at lethal speed.

The incidental music from the original creeps in during one scene, which provides a brief echo of the central death-at-the-prom motif as a victim-to-be totters naively away from supervision to investigate a strange sound.

prom night 3 1990

The Last Kiss succeeds where the previous film faltered with a mix of sarcastic and goofball comedy, Conlon’s appealing Bruce Campbell-esque charisma, a good dose of 50s nostalgia and tunes, and the establishment of Mary Lou as a fitting female counterpart to Freddy. The film went to video outside of Canada and the storyline was abandoned for a return to slasher fundamentals for Prom Night IV two years later, but by the 90s things were looking bad even for Freddy, so it’s likely for the best they laid Mary Lou to rest hereafter.

Blurb-of-interest: Courtney Taylor was in 1999 cheapo flick Camp Blood.

Mortu- no wait… Funeral Home!

funeral home 1980


2 Stars  1980/93m

A.k.a. Cries in the Night

“Some things never rest in peace.”

Director: William Fruet / Writer: Ida Nelson / Cast: Kay Hawtry, Lesleh Donaldson, Barry Morse, Dean Garbett, Stephen Miller, Alfred Humphries, Peggy Mahon, Harvey Atkin, Jack Van Evera.

Body Count: 4

Excuse me if I confuse this with Mortuary

Psycho rip-offs don’t come much more blatant than this tame Canadian stalker, an early film for William Fruet, who later directed several episodes of the Friday the 13th TV series, as well as underrated campus horror Killer Party.

Goodie-goodie teen Heather (Donaldson) goes to visit Grandma for the summer and help her out at her guesthouse, previously a funeral parlour occupied by the grandmother and her late husband. Heather thinks she can hear voices coming from the cellar, where she has been forbidden to ever go.

When a businessman and his mistress check in but refuse to leave when asked, their car (with them inside) is shunted into a local quarry by a mystery truck. Then Mr Davis is murdered after confessing he’s in the area looking for his missing wife, who was reportedly having an affair with the late undertaker, who also disappeared some time earlier. Heather becomes more and more paranoid that there is somebody living under the house and eventually, spurned on by her love interest, snoops where she shouldn’t…

Material lifted from Hitchcock’s masterpiece is prevalent: the location, the cellar, even the killer’s twisted logic when eventually revealed and it’s clear that it was made primarily in response to Halloween rather than Friday the 13th. Unfortunately, slack pacing for the first two thirds makes it a bit of a chore to sit through, although it’s nice to see a few faces from other genre films dotted amongst the minimal cast.

Blurbs-of-interest: Lesleh Donaldson was also in Curtains and Happy Birthday to Me; Jack van Evera and Alf Humphries were both in My Bloody Valentine; Harvey Atkin was in Visiting Hours; Stephen Miller was in Matinee and The Stepfather.

Prom Trite

On my zillionth viewing of Prom Night, I thought some stuff. Not just “my God, is that how they danced in 1979!?” or “that’s her dress?” but plotty things like:

  • The Halloween influence is so heavy: The street Jude crosses looks exactly like the one Laurie and friends walk down in Haddonfield.
  • How can Kelly and Jude be friends with each other, let alone the sister of the girl they killed?!
  • And Nick – dating her???
  • It’s pretty obvious who it is from ten minutes in.
  • Kim’s prom queen dress makes Molly Ringwald’s one from Pretty in Pink look like Chanel.
  • Are Leslie Nielsen and his missus supposed to be suspects? Where are they at the end?
  • Drew should’ve been murdered. Gruesomely.
  • Nick, although nice, deserved to go too

prom night 1980

  • Wendy’s chase scene is still the best. Ever.
  • Nobody heard a van explode? Nobody was outside smoking, making out, or getting air?
  • The killer should’ve turned out to be Kelly, guilt-ridden over what they did.
  • The disco choons really are awesome. Time to Turn Around was stuck in my head all last night.
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