Tag Archives: gore o’clock

“Jason” lives

fridaythe13th5FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING

3.5 Stars  1985/18/87m

“If Jason still haunts you… You’re not alone.”

Director: Danny Steinmann / Writers: David Cohen, Martin Kitrosser & Danny Steinmann / Cast: Melanie Kinnaman, John Shepherd, Shavar Ross, Richard Young, Marco St. John, Corey Feldman, Carol Locatell, Jerry Pavlon, Juliette Cummins, Tiffany Helm, John Robert Dixon, Debisue Voorhees, Vernon Washington, Tom Morga.

Body Count: 22


The parallel universe in which Friday the 13th exists is a place where ones build, height and entire facial structure can change over a single day, and where knowledge of current events is so minimal that folks vacation in the same spot where dozens of murders have taken place a matter of hours earlier. Time jumps along at a merry old pace as well, as shown here. Boy-hero of The Final Chapter Tommy Jarvis sprouts from a weedy 12-year-old into a super-buff teen of no determinable age, but I’d guess between 16 and 18 – and only one year in real time since his last outing!

A New Beginning is just that (unless you count the presence of old characters); Tommy is carted off to the Pinehurst Institute for troubled teens with bad hair:

bad-hair2

Naturally, Pinehurst is in the middle of the woods (pine, I guess), affording many a place for a masked, unhinged psycho to stalk mentally unstable kids.

No sooner does Tommy arrive then a particularly angry resident embeds an axe into the back of a porky fellow inmate. Shortly after, locals begin falling victim to a psycho killer: An utterly surreal couple of leather-clad boys are first, then the requisite horny couple, local rednecks, and eventually the Pinehurst kids.

Is it Jason, who Tommy seems to keep seeing all over the show? The Sheriff seems to think so too, much to the chagrin of the dreadful actor who plays the mayor.

fri7

Murders continue and when only staff member Pam and cook’s grandson Reggie remain, the killer is revealed to be the hockey masked, machete bearing legend that is JV. Can Tommy save them and stop his arch-enemy all over again? And here comes the spoiler

fri8

No.

Because it’s not Jason, just some schmuck donning a hockey mask (complete with different design), taking revenge on Pinehurst and all who dwell there for the axe-murder…of his son!!!

This is flawed for many reasons: if Dad was so local, why was there no relationship between them? Porky’s killer was already arrested and carted off – why kill everyone but the assailant? Why have a random photo of yourself in your wallet? Oh right, in case the audience are so fucking stupid they can’t put it together.

fri6

A New Beginning is commonly known as the worst of the Friday crop; which is a fair assessment on some levels – it’s one of the laziest films, with a body count so stupidly high (including dream sequences) that the killer virtually teleports his way around town, perfecting the chess game of slasher movie killers’ ability to always be hiding behind the right tree or picking the right bedroom to stalk a victim into…

fri1

According to the wonderful Crystal Lake Memories book, ex-porno director Steinmann’s intense paranoid moodswings made for a tense set and some questionable sequences: Are the leather boys supposed to be gay? One of them does get a phallic road flare rammed into his mouth… There’s a vicious streak to some of the homicidal dénouements, which personify abject cruelty as the troubled teens are brutally wasted without any care for their individual stories. They’re just wastable problem kids.

As with most of the earlier instalments, the MPAA insisted on several cuts, with the BBFC advising further shots removed.

It also has the worst score out of all the movies, a swirling attack of strings that belongs in a made-for-TV hurricane movie.

fri4

In the ‘for’ arena, Friday V showed a jump forward in terms of production quality; much of the grainy, underlit scenes of The Final Chapter have been replaced by clearer visuals. The pure 80s-ness of it all is irresistibly amusing and Kinnaman makes for a gutsy heroine with the help of Ross, of Diff’rent Strokes, and Shepherd is suitably traumatised as Tommy, even if he only utters about 20 words the whole 87 minutes.

fri3fri2

Probably the cheesiest Jason venture (in spite of his absence) but definitely a fun ride if you don’t care about that minor fact.

Blurbs-of-interest: Juliette Cummins appeared in Deadly Dreams, Slumber Party Massacre II and Psycho III; Debisue Voorhees was in Innocent Prey and Appointment with Fear; Tiffany Helm is the daughter of Brooke Bundy, who was in A Nightmare on Elm Streets 3 and 4; Dominick Brascia was in Rush Week and directed Evil Laugh; Mark Venturini (Victor) was in Mikey in 1992. Bob DeSimone (Billy) is the brother of Tom DeSimone, who directed Hell Night. Danny Steinmann directed The Unseen under the pseudonym Peter Foleg.

Here, there and everywhere

fridaythe13th4

FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER

3 Stars  1984/18/88m

“This is the one you’ve been screaming for.”

Director: Joseph Zito / Writers: Barney Cohen & Bruce Hidemi Sakow / Cast: Kimberly Beck, E. Erich Anderson, Corey Feldman, Joan Freeman, Peter Barton, Crispin Glover, Barbara Howard, Alan Hayes, Judie Aronson, Lawrence Monoson, Camilla More, Carey More, Ted White.

Body Count: 14

Dire-logue: “What happens if a psycho wanders in?”


Beginning with an awesome “Jason’s Greatest Hits” quick overview of the events from parts 1 to 3, The Final Chapter takes a rare turn for this series and picks up where the last film left off, with police and meat wagons clearing up the bodies from the ranch and taking them to the morgue – including Jason’s. Of course, it transpires that Mr V. isn’t so dead after all and he quickly does away with a couple of hospital employees before making the long walk back to Crystal Lake… A superb opening section.

At this point, rather than continuing the story in any way, it opts to repeat the events of the former by having a van full of kids – wait, it’s a car, they changed that! – vacationing at a house at Crystal Lake for the J-man to slaughter anew. As before, amongst the naive youth there is next to no mention of Jason, the recent murders, local paranoia, fear – just girly chats for the lovely females and sex for the horny guys, who include a pre-George McFly Crispin Glover and post-Hell Night Peter Barton.

fc1

Next door to the vacation house is a cabin inhabited by the Jarvis family: Mom, teen daughter Trish and 12-year-old Tommy (a pre-everything Corey Feldman), who has a thing for making scary monster masks. Also new to the area is Rob, who tells Trish he’s bear hunting in the locale. The other teens meet a couple of sexy twin sisters and invite them and Trish over for a party, which is interrupted when Jason comes a-callin’, quite possibly bummed out that they didn’t invite him too.

fc2

Teens start dropping all over the show: knife through the neck, cleaver in the face, axe in the chest and, most painfully, speargun in the balls! Meanwhile, Rob confides in Trish that his sister was one of the victims from Part 2 (although he doesn’t refer to it as that, which would’ve been cool) and he’s trying to find Jason for some good old fashioned revenge.

fc3

fc7Rob’s efforts prove futile when Jason swats him into the next realm like a fly and it’s down to Trish and Tommy to save themselves, which is doubtlessly aided by Tommy’s knowledge of all things scary and some handy newspaper clippings about Jason, again, posing the question why nobody local seems to be aware of what’s been happening on the very same lake!

fc9

fc4

The Final Chapter was the last Friday I saw out of the first nine films when I was first introduced to them in the mid-90s. Having crammed all of them in in less than a month, the form was a bit predictable and stale by the time I watched it and so it’s never ranked highly for me in the series. Zito’s technical direction is good but the film can only pale next to Parts 1 and 2 and, as in his earlier slasher film, The Prowler, there’s a streak of misogyny evident in the treatment and violent murders allotted to the girls in the film, notably only one of the two Fridays where female victims outnumber males. Bizarrely, according to Crystal Lake Memories, the casting process called for more ‘likeable’ victims in this outing, something that almost seemed to have achieved the exact opposite effect – I wasn’t fussed about any of them much.

fc5

Feldman’s presence is welcome as the first involved pre-teen in the series but in being so, Kimberly Beck’s turn as the heroine is made kind of redundant. In spite of throwing herself through second-floor windows, finding body after body and taking on Jason singlehandedly with a machete, she plays second fiddle to Tommy’s eventual ruse that distracts Jason for long enough for them to kill him. And kill him they do, in sensational style where Tom Savini’s excellent effects work is flaunted to maximum force, a highlight of this entry in a scene that was heavily cut in the UK until its 2001 DVD release.

fc6

Ultimately a bit of a non-event as far as I was concerned; the film holds up better than most slasher films from the same period but the summer camp setting of the first two films is missed, as are the goofy disco-antics of Part 3, the lighting in the final twenty or so minutes is abyssmally dark and the scenes jumble as Trish goes next door, comes back, goes next door, comes back… Jason does the same – kills someone inside, then seemingly goes outside, scales the side of the house to do the next one, and back to the scene of the previous murder to get a knife. And Gordon the dog? What the hell was going on there? Though I wonder if the rumour that one die-hard fan committed suicide (“If Jason dies…I die!”) is true…

Blurbs-of-interest: other than those mentioned, Crispin Glover played a set of twins in Simon Says.

SEED

seed1.5 Stars  2007/18/86m

Director/Writer: Uwe Boll / Cast: Michael Pare, Will Sanderson, Ralf Moeller, Andrew Jackson, Thea Gill, Jodelle Micah Ferland.

Body Count: 10


At the “world premiere” of Seed, much-critiqued director Uwe Boll told the audience he wanted to make a horror film “that was no fun.” Well, he’s done something right…

Seed begins with a warning that it contains “actual scenes of torture,” but the only ‘real’ footage is that of animals a pelt house, supposedly being watched by the killer. It’s gross, to be sure, as a soppy animal lover and immediately dragged my dog closer to me in protection from it’s icky grossness. Strangely – and possibly emphatic of the criticism levelled at Boll’s questionable skills – none of it has anything to do with the rest of the film, which is set in 1979, although we don’t learn this until we see the date written down at least one third of the way through!

The loon here, Max Seed, has apparently murdered 666 people in 6 years – which means 2.13 victims per week without being caught. Yeah, Uwe, “OK”. We see the killer’s cell where he starves various unfortunates to death, starting with a dog (mine is huddled ever closer), then a baby. Through time-lapse photography, they rot into skeletons. Fairly grim. I toy with ejecting the disc and skipping this one altogether.

“Fortunately”, things brighten up just a lil bit once he is caught and strapped into The Chair. There’s some gibberish about the chair not working properly and a bullshit triple jeopardy rule that states if a convict survives three jolts of electricity, he goes free! The prison warden, doctor and detectives conspire and bury Seed alive. A happy ending? Hell-to-the-no! Seed digs himself free and does away with those responsible.

On paper, the plot sounds familiarly acceptable (echoes of Welcome to Spring Break and Destroyer) but the film is half over by the time the stalk n’ slashing begins and is structured so unconventionally that the story is neo impossible to follow. Character names are unclear, as are their roles for the most part, hell they don’t even tell us when the damn thing is set for ages! The absence of any identifiable hero or final girl doesn’t help matters either.

A scene where Seed hammers an anonymous woman’s head in, shot entirely in one take and lasting several minutes, burrows new depths of ‘torture porn’ but thankfully features a level of CGI I could create with Microsoft Paint. That doesn’t work properly. With no mouse. And no hands.

This is the first Boll film I’ve seen, likely to be the last as well. Technically, there’s some negotiable ability there but a brief scan of the articles the detective reads reveals countless spelling and grammar errors – it’s like nobody even tried. Seed, schmeed, ‘PC game’ (!?) included or not. FAIL!

THE UNDERTOW

undertow1.5 Stars  2003/18/77m

“He’s an unstoppable killing machine!”

Director/Writer: Jeremy Wallace / Cast: Jason Christ, Julie Farrar, Trudy Bequette, Chris Grega, Emily Haack, Robin Garrels, Todd Tevlin, Doc Brown, Joseph Palermo.

Body Count: 12

Dire-logue: “That’s it! Nobody’s ever seeing us again.”


Junky shot-on-video fodder with what appears to be an am-dram group choosing to go camping in the wrong town and ending up on the receiving end of a mongoloid retard’s tantrum.

After the usual stop-and-search scene from an arsey deputy, who pours away all their beer, the “teenagers” begin a river canoe trip and learn from a sympathetic local that the Mayor of Old Mines has convinced the townsfolk that all outsiders are evil and therefore unleashes his son – known only as The Boy – on anyone who lingers too long. On this particular outing, The Boy has had enough of doing what Daddy says and turns on the town as well, offing some irritatingly backward extras before starting on the “teenagers”.

There’s gore-a-plenty in The Undertow, but it’s all a bit sloppy: one guy’s head is squeezed to the point where is brain begins leaking out in mushy chunks and another “teenager” has her innards ripped out and tossed aside like salad. But there’s a good head-on-a-spike that pleasantly echoes the Friday the 13th-wannabes of yore.

Easier to take than a lot of other SOV releases, there’s still a nasty case of crappus dialogus, possibly improvised by the “teenagers” themselves, who favour yelling profanities at each other, gunning down any important information in the verbal crossfire. A couple of nods to better slasher flicks can’t save this at the end of it. Just cross your fingers and hope that open ending doesn’t prompt a change in the tide…

X-RAY

xray3 Stars  1981/X/78m

“You have nothing to fear… Until they operate!”

A.k.a. Hospital Massacre / Be My Valentine…or Else! / Ward 13

Director: Boaz Davidson / Writers: Boaz Davidson & Marc Benim / Cast: Barbi Benton, Chip Lucia, John Warner Williams, Jon Van Ness, Den Surries, Gay Austin, Karyn Smith, Elizabeth Hoy, Billy Jacoby.

Body Count: 10


Like most of the slasher films from this era, X-Ray with all it’s also known as’s, the massacre to be is born out of the childhood trauma that opens the film. Gorky Harold gives his neighbour Susan a Valentine’s Card, which she laughs at and her brother David tears it up. Subsequently, Harold (having seen this through the window) sneaks in and murders David while Susan is out of the room.

Nineteen years later, Susan (now played by Playboy model Barbi Benton) stops by at the city hospital to pick up some test results, unaware that said results have been swapped for some really bad ones!!! The hospital staff, all demonstrating as much competence as a McDonalds trainee, practically imprison Suze in the building, telling her she needs an operation now. Now! NOW!!!

Elsewhere, doctors, nurses, receptionists and custodians are being stalked and murdered by a looney-doc, resulting in syrupy blood squirting all over the place. There’s a decapitated head in a candy box, a corridor-sized sheet that envelops a woman and a murdered administrator shoved hilariously into a closet on a wheelie chair.

Meanwhile, Susan’s doctor skulks about with a couple of slutty nurses, looking like an early Human League video gone askew and eventually enough people are dead so that only Susan and nice doc Harry remain. Are they seriously trying to fool us with that cunning cover-up? Was that the most subtle clue they had working for them? I kind’ve expected a championing twist but there…just…wasn’t.

As far as Halloween clones go, Israeli-shot X-Ray is hopelessly inept. Everything about it sucks and yet it was so much fun and never got boring, which is always a good sign for these flicks (Visiting Hours take note). That said, the version I watched may have been heavily cropped for the UK release, which was awarded an X-rating and never resubmitted.

Blurbs-of-interest: kid actors Hoy and Jacoby were two of the homicidal sprogs from Bloody Birthday; Jon Van Ness was in Tourist Trap; director/writer Davidson primarily works as a producer for Nu Image, who make cheaper-than-chips Sci-Fi DVD films with such imaginative titles as Crocodile, Octopus and Spiders as well as crud slasher flick Skeleton Man.

1 25 26 27 28 29 32