Tag Archives: Friday the 13th

Lesbian camping trip – and not a powertool in sight

MAKE A WISH

2.5 Stars  2003/18/99m

A.k.a. Lesbian Psycho (DVD reissue)

“Be careful what you wish for.”

Director: Sharon Ferranti / Writer: Lauren Johnson / Cast: Moynan King, Hollace Starr, Virginia Baeta, Melanie Freedom Flynn, Amanda Spain, Lava Alapai, Nora Stein, Neil Wilson, Eric Vichi.

Body Count: 8

Dire-logue: “I just don’t like to see ladies bothered by people who’re bothering them. It’s…bothersome.”


A lesbian camping trip slasher film immediately sounds like blood-coated porn for 15-year-old boys, stocked with silicone-boobed blonde bombshells making out with each other. Well think again, Pizzaface, Make A Wish is about proper lesbians.

In what was most likely the first gay-centric slasher flick (despite what the producers of HellBent might say), a group of gal-pals gather for Susan’s birthday camping trip where they become the victims of the customary off-camera psychotic. Could it be the jealous boyfriend of the gone-straight hasbian? A horny hunter who keeps turning up to perv? Or the escaped patient being tracked by a private detective?

Sloppy murders ensue and the running time is padded out with intermittent sex scenes that would look exploitative if the director weren’t herself a family member. At least she creates an interesting group of gay women, which includes a childlike wiccan and a tree-hugging vegan and almost all of the group have had liaisons with birthday girl, Susan and all have an array of sensible shoes. Ferranti doesn’t force any issues of sexuality or feminism, much as it’s gay-boy brethren HellBent, the orientation of the characters is more or less incidental.

Now, I’ve been camping with lesbians and they’re nothing if not prepared for the wilderness. I hoped the last chick standing would go all A-Team on the killer’s ass with a gadget she’d been previously had no use for, or at least throw a cat at them.

Essentially, it’s nothing more than Friday the 13th‘s gay cousin with a confusingly inconclusive finale that’s lacking in the clarity department. All the same it’s a fairly diverting product worth a once over.

Disturbingly re-titled Lesbian Psycho for a later DVD release.

13 things to love about Friday the 13th

It’s that day again… The time of year when a gazillion Jason groupies shove their old VHS into the player and pay tribute to the family Voorhees and all of their unfortunate teenage victims. A bit luckier than Halloween fans who have an unmovable date but once a year.

Anyway, let’s share in my favourite 13 things about Friday the 13th and all glow with a sort of inner harmony. Or just go and watch one of them.

1. CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE

campcrystallake1aOh how I love the very notion of Camp Crystal Lake. What a fucking amazing name for a summer camp. None of this patronising theft of Native American words to make it sound all rustic and wildernessy, pure and simple and yet just a little bit spooky, living up to its reputation as Camp Blood.

2. FLOATY HEAD MRS VOORHEES

Surely no one can deny the coolness of the blurry, floaty head of Mrs Voorhees at the climax of Part 2; “it’s all done, Jason… You’ve done your job well and mommy is pleased.” And poor, lost puppy-like Jay buys into it for a few moments, reminding us all that he’s only doing what he does because he misses his mommy.

3. REPETITION

friday-repBodies are tossed through windows, blades shoot through bunks into victims and, seen here, trussed corpses spring from trees, but only when the final girl is about…

4. TALES ‘ROUND THE OLE CAMPFIRE

f3aA favourite ingredient in the genre of mine, rooting from here I imagine, the scary tale around the fire, a telling of the creepy local legend. I was happy to see that they resurrected the scenario in the 2009 reboot.

5. AMY STEEL

THE Friday final girl of choice for many, Amy perfected the role of Ginny in Part 2, using her skills as a child psych major to best Jason and ultimately survive. Subsequent heroines of Crystal Lake were good but they paled in comparison to the powerhouse of final girl-dom that is Amy.

6. TITS! TITS! TITS!

f13-boobsI’ve never much seen the reason for the endless toplessness at Crystal Lake but it offends me not. I quite like the ridiculous scenarios that initiate the quick removal of blouses and bras. A New Beginning and the reboot are tied with the most nudity and, conversely to those only casually familiar with the films, there’s no skin at all in Jason Lives and only fleeting glimpses in the original, Part III and Jason Takes Manhattan. How the hell do I know this shit!?

7. RIDICULOUS METHODS OF RESURRECTION

So he can survive a machete in the shoulder and an axe in the head but once he was properly ‘killed’ by Tommy Jarvis, Jason found some obscure methods of coming back from the dead over and over – or rather these ways found him: lightning bolt, underwater electrical current and even psychic chick, proving you can’t keep a good psycho down.

8. THE SACK

Baghead_jasonBefore the iconic hockey mask, there was the sack. Hell, it creeped me out big time when I first saw it. That lone eyehole combined with the dungarees and the check shirt making Jay look like some sort of mutant potato sack head farmer.

9. FACES OF THE FUTURE

f13-futureConsidering there are 12 films in the franchise to date, it’s a curiosity that there are only a handful of well known names dotted throughout its history… Kevin Bacon is likely to forever remain the most famous actor associated with the series prior to his fame ‘kicking in’. Little Corey Feldman debuted in The Final Chapter alongside Crispin Glover and sorta-famous Kelly Hu played Eva in Jason Takes Manhattan.

10. INTRINSIC 80’s STYLE

The 80s were littered with unique self-styling, from the mullets scarcely seen through the Jason movies to this, a whole look best summed up by punk guitarist JJ (Saffron Henderson) in Jason Takes Manhattan.

11. JUMP SCARES

Yet again I defer to Part 2 - my favourite – for the short, sharp shocks that punctuate it: this is a great case in point… Ginny (that lovely Steel woman again) shuts herself inside a small bathroom and waits…listens…slowly leans away from the door to try the window and then… ARGH!!!

12. THE LEGACY

legacyThe Burning, Madman, Sleepaway Camp (and its sequels), Cheerleader Camp, Bloody Murder (and its sequels) and Camp Daze all replicated the summer camp setting to slightly different effect. Some even had kids at the camps and opted killing them off. Proof of just how influential a critically panned $500,000 B-movie is.

13. JASON

Where would we be without Jason himself? The malformed 11-year-old who reportedly drowned in Crystal Lake in 1957 because the counsellors weren’t paying any attention, they were making love while that young boy drowned etc… He’s a true icon for a bunch of twisted reasons but who cares… Jason, we love you!

All you can do is step back in time

campdazeCAMP DAZE

1.5 Stars  2005/95m

“The only way out is death.”

A.k.a. Camp Slaughter (DVD)

Director: Alex Pucci / Writers: Alex Pucci & Draven Gonzalez / Cast: Anika McFall, Joanna Suhl, Matt Dallas, Eric McIntire, Jon Fleming, Kyle Lupo, Miles Davis, Bethany Taylor, Ashley Gomes, Jessica Sonneborn, Jim Marlowe.

Body Count: 45+

Direlogue: “Backwoods…scary noises… Haven’t you heard of Jason?”


Idea. Excellent. Setting. Perfect. Costumes. Authentic. Execution. Uhh… Can I grab a hall pass?

On paper – or indeed the webpage – Camp Daze reads flawlessly: a quartet of teenagers driving to Maine find themselves stranded at kooky Camp Haiwatha, which is stranded in the summer of 1981, perpetually reliving the night when a psychopathic killer went on a bloody rampage. Fucking awesome.

As an homage to a certain groundbreaking summer camp slasher film, complete with a block-like title card smashing through a pain of glass before it was renamed Camp Slaughter for DVD, mixed with a Groundhog Day riff, this takes some amusing pot-shots at the most famous franchise in slasherama but ultimately chokes on its shoestring budget, which make it look unwatchably cheap and badly made. Y’know, worse than the films it apes.

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Most of the film’s problems lie in the visual: careless edits and amateurish gore effects work don’t pack a punch and appear odd under the impressive orchestral score. Slot this in next to terrible acting and poorly conceived characters who suck the fun out of it all, with no real central figure to root for. The eventual sole survivor, Jen, is the sassy black girl who says ‘fuck’ a lot and keeps bringing up Jason, much to the confusion of the camp counsellors.

Even with the strange, not-quite-sure homoerotic undertones and a ballistic body count – possibly a sign of a poorly thought out script – nothing stands out and the obnoxious twist ending just induces rage at the laziness of the plot.

With a better collection of actors and shot with more care, this could’ve been a minor classic but it’s destined to become just one more post-millennial DTV slasher film that claimed it was recapturing the old school methods but failed miserably.

Blurb-of-interest: Jessica Sonneborn returned to camp in Bloody Bloody Bible Camp; director Pucci and actors Fleming and Taylor all contributed to Frat House Massacre.

Crystal Lake revisited. Without the lake.

bgoiBIKINI GIRLS ON ICE

3.5 Stars  2009/18/82m

“These girls are so hot, a maniac killer must put them on ice.”

Director: Geoff Klein / Writers: Geoff Klein & Jeff Ross / Cast: Cindel Chartrand, Danielle Doetsch, Ivan Peric, Christina Sciortino, William Jarand, Caroline Faille, Jarek Gader, Kerri Taylor, Suzi Lorraine.

Body Count: 12


The very basic outlay of a slasher film is something so generically simple that there’s no shortage of camcorder toting idiots around who think they can make one with a gaggle of nubile hotties, some tits, some blood and a hulking retard for a killer. It’s little surprise most of these films suck. What most of these budding filmmakers seem to miss is that even the cheapest of the early 80s progenitors contained a degree of workmanship and talent, a genuine enthusiasm for the project and not just the chance to get half a dozen girls to strip under the illusion it’s art.

A film with the word ‘bikini’ in the title should really adhere to this parade of shitness and yet, even before I’d seen the box or the trailer for Bikini Girls on Ice, I had a feeling it would be different…and it is.bgoi1

What BGOI has that these other misfires lack is a splash of colour and functions as an apparent love letter to your average Friday the 13th sequel, something it resembles in tone and composition from time to time. The best analogy I can make is to that film itself – the scene where Marcie is stood in front of the sinks and the camera slowly approaches was what won me over. Bikini Girls reminds me of that scene.

An all-female college soccer team on their way to a charity bikini car wash break down at the abandoned garage where, just the night before, an unrelated bikini chick was murdered. With repairs to their bus likely to take some time, the group decides to have the car wash there, once in a while wandering off, calling out the name of someone they cannot find and falling victim to the greasy homicidal mechanic who resides out back and looks like Sawyer from Lost after a particularly bad run in with The Others.bgoi2

After some of the girls decide to leave, the remaining numbers quickly shrink until clear heroine Jenna and her friend are the only ones left and then it’s botched escape attempts and into the killer’s lair.

The girls are largely indistinguishable from one another and I identified them only via bikini-top colours: black boobs was the bitchy nasty one, blue boobs was Jenna’s BFF, yellow boobs and heart-pattern boobs were faux lesbians. There are a couple of horny guys chucked in, some French tourists, an old man who warns them they’re doomed if they stay, some sporadic sex between heart-pattern boobs and a patron and very little actual boobage – something many of the other reviews I read seemed peeved about. Were I not such a big ‘mo it might bug me too, I guess.

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Anyway, why did it earn three n’ a half, uh, bigguns? I was more than likely overtly generous because it reminded me of how I felt about the early Jason films: the setting, lush colours, dumb behaviour that isn’t too idiotic, largely likeable characters and back to basics filmmaking that works. Slow tracking shots, fragmentation, claustrophobic meandering through shelves, hidey-holes, a full moon above. But mostly, no pretenses, it’s straight down the line, making the most of what it has rather than striving to appear as something more.

There’s always room for improvement: I’d have liked the killer to have worn a creepy mask and maybe have a motive and it was a little light on bloodletting, with most kills obscured by the camera placing or off-camera completely. These are minor flaws, it’s certainly no drier than the cut editions of Fridays we had here in the 80s.

bgoi5Ultimately it sounds like I’m championing it too much probably but it hit the spot for the most part: fun without being glib or downbeat, amusing without resorting to parody and sometimes tense without looking like every other DTV bodycount flick of the last ten years.

Psychic vs. Psycho

friday7newbloodFRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD

3.5 Stars  1988/18/85m

“On Friday the 13th, Jason is back. But this time someone’s waiting.”

Director: John Carl Buechler / Writers: Daryl Haney & Manuel Fidelo / Cast: Lar Park Lincoln, Kevin Blair, Susan Blu, Terry Kiser, Kane Hodder, Susan Jennifer Sullivan, Elizabeth Kaitan, Diana Barrows, Jon Renfield, Jeff Bennett, Heidi Kozak, Diane Almeida, Craig Thomas, Larry Cox, William Butler.

Body Count: 17


It’s important for me to emphasize when reviewing Jason films just how important they were to my transition from aimless dork into slasher flick dork back the 90s – y’know, a decade after everyone else was over it. Friday 7 was the third film of the series that I saw, thanks to a Sky Movies mini-marathon over three nights. At the time I was a bit disappointed (after all the original and the half of Jason Lives I’d seen are both a lot better) but as the years have worn on, I’ve found New Love for New Blood, as you will see…

First though, a quick plot overview: a little girl with telekinetic powers called Tina causes the death of her jar-tapping pop at their summer house on the shores of Crystal Lake. Some years later, the now teenage girl (Lincoln) and her frizzy-haired mom return to the house with sleazy shrink Kiser to ‘get to the route of’ Tina’s mental problems.

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Next door a gaggle of all-American teens have gathered for a surprise party for a buddy which is thwarted when Tina accidentally resurrects Jason from the watery grave he was sent to at the end of Part VI and a new massacre ensues until she calls upon her diet-Carrie powers to put Jay back where he belongs…

For my squillionth viewing of the film, I decided to take notes as I went. So here, in geek-tastic form, are the highlights of my love affair with The New Blood:

00 min – I love this prologue so much. Best part of the film in many ways. Voiceover by Crazy Ralph… “there’s a legend ’round here…” Good choice clips, slightly off edit during one of Thom Mathews’ lines but otherwise a perfect opener

03 min – what does The New Blood actually mean?

friday7-1

13 min – …what’s that giant train about?

21 minStarlacon sounds wicked. Though I’m not sure what protozoa is/are

28 min – just where would Ben like his coffee?

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31 min – uh…pastels don’t blend with trees

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32 min - this is the film known as Fri-gay the 13th for a reason

33-45 min - *too busy thinking about what I could do with Kevin Spirtas to pay attention*

46 min - David was inside the house before – what’s the point of going into the woods, Maddy? Why the hell would David be there?

47 min - funny how anybody who wears glasses in a horror film is almost entirely blind without them

53 min - how many American teenagers’ last words are “stop screwing around!”

62 min - shadow of the boom guy’s arm in the window’s reflection!!!

63 min - now David is possibly in a closet! What’s with all these chicks looking for him in stupid places? Is he a hide and seek champion or something?

63.5 min - yes, Robin, he brought a cat on vacation with him… Dear Lord

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66 min - what is that bladed hockey stick thing for?

69 min - Jason has a lot of time to make repeated returns to the toolshed in this one.

71 minmore running around amongst trees

75 min – Tina could perform top notch furniture deliveries – she could re-style your living room in minutes!

79 min - If Jason asked me out…I think I’d accept

83 min - does nobody bother recovering bodies from the lake?

84 min - uhh…that ambulance looks a lot like a hearse

I have a lot of questions obviously…

friday7-6

The lovely Maddy sporting the makeover only Jason would get to see

But I truly enjoy this instalment – it tanked a bit and much of the amazing gore was scissored out by our old pals the MPAA – but I really dig some of the characterisations, it’s as if they tried just a little more to carve out a handful of interesting bit-parters.

Maddy, of course, is my choice favourite. Far more supportable than weepy ol’ Tina – she wanted David’s ass big time but got trounced by Robin. Then there’s sci-fi geek Eddie with his B-movie ideas who got manipulated by the evil Melissa, she of steely glares and Hamptons-ready pearl necklaces (“she’s like that with everybody…except boys.”) Finally Nick, the obvious co-survivor who doesn’t get much to do but tag along but does it with an effervescent beauty. Shame Blair and Lincoln didn’t really get along on set.

There are problems; it doesn’t look very summery and the ending is all kinds of desperate but they’d made it to Part VII, man! How much originality or invention can we realistically expect? In truth, the film probably sucks and is direly predictable, but I love it from prologue to creepy ambu-hearse fade.

A cut frame from Buechler's workprint footage

One of many cut frames from Buechler’s workprint footage

Blurbs-of-interest: Buechler has done make-up effects on tons of horror movies and later directed Curse of the 49er, also appearing as an actor in the first two Hatchet movies. Kane Hodder made his first of four appearances as Jason and has turned in cameo appearances in countless genre flicks. Blair had been in The Hills Have Eyes Part II; Terry Kiser was later in Mask Maker; Kaitan was in Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 and was the skateboarding chick in Silent Madness; Heidi Kozak was in Slumber Party Massacre II (along with Juliette Cummins); Bill Butler was in Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III and later directed Madhouse.

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