Tag Archives: I know whatcha did!

Legacies of the 90s: Stab-a-thon Stars

As Kevins Costner and Bacon, Holly Hunter, George Clooney and Tom Hanks paid their slasher movie dues in the films of the 80s, the 90s saw many a familiar face from teen-oriented TV shows rushing to board the terror train following Scream‘s unprecedented success.

Some have remained famous, lots of vanished from the radar and some probably didn’t expect any success at all when they signed on for three scenes and a murder in a video shelf flick they thought nobody would ever see. Bet they hope nobody asks about Teenage Death Camp Massacre VIII now…

stars1aSo, starting at the top left, Sarah Michelle Gellar, arguably the biggest teen star of the era thanks to her role as ass-kickin’ demon hunter Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she played the role of defenceless girly victim in both I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2. She was also originally to play Sasha in Urban Legend before scheduling conflicts got the best of her. Apart from appearing in the first two Grudge movies, after marrying Last Summer co-star Freddie Prinze Jr., she’s disappeared a bit…

Seann William Scott, known as potty-mouthed Stifler in American Pie, became one of Death’s first screen victims in Final Destination but his career has flourished since. Katherine Heigl, recently surfing a wave of rom-coms after the success of Knocked Up, donned final girl shoes in Bride of Chucky and then “the Drew Barrymore role” for Valentine, which she seemed less than impressed with…

Puck from Glee (Mark Salling) looked a lot different (and significantly less buff) when he played Naomi Watts’ little brother in Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering. He later had a small role in the dull The Graveyard.

Another big name from the teen flick circuit, Joshua Jackson had been a fairly successful child star in all three Mighty Ducks movies and a leading role in Dawson’s Creek; aside from his role in Urban Legend and a cameo in Scream 2 (sharing a scene with Gellar), he also starred with Gellar, Ryan Philippe and Reese Witherspoon (who avoided horror at the time) in Cruel Intentions and almost-horror flick Gossip. He’s now in Fringe.

Eva Mendes joins Salling as another Corn almnus after debuting in Fields of Terror, the fifth in the series. She moved on to Urban Legends: Final Cut before mainstream Hollywood success followed. And who could forget Jack Black’s uncredited cameo as Titus the dreadlocked dope-smoking pool boy in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer? I bet he wishes he could!

Rounding off this box, Jennifer Love Hewitt, co-star to Neve Campbell in Party of Five, took the lead in both Last Summer films.

stars2aMrs Liev Schrieber, sometimes known as “Naomi Watts”, yet another survivor of the neverending Children of the Corn franchise, playing Salling’s big sis and eventual heroine. Josh Hartnett was Jamie Lee Curtis’ annoyingly slappable offspring in Halloween H20, in which he was smug boyfriend to Dawson’s Creek star Michelle Williams.

The late Brittany Murphy was on the verge of stardom when she played the heroine of Cherry Falls; and mini Aussie pop queen Kylie Minogue – relatively unknown in the US but with over 30 UK Top 10 hits to her name – was the ‘big star’ to be offed at the beginning of Australian Scream off-shoot Cut.

Like Josh Jackson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a child star in 3rd Rock from the Sun, he turned up in many an art project and a strangely small and thankless role as an early victim in Halloween H20. The beautiful Kelly Brook, now better known to horror fans as one of the naked porn stars ripped apart by dodgy-looking CGI piranhas, was an unlikely criminal psychology student in Ripper: Letter from Hell.

Lastly, James McAvoy and Isla Fisher turned up in the strangely eclectic German slasher film The Pool, which starred Cherry Falls‘ Kristin Miller. Both were gruesomely dispatched fairly early on but can look back and laugh now they’ve had admirable Hollywood careers.

And lastly, I couldn’t get a good shot of the lovely Anna Faris, who, before she became a comedy queen thanks to doing all four (ugh!) Scary Movie‘s, turned up in the type of film they parodied, Lovers Lane, where she played Janelle the plucky cheerleader, who just wanted to make new friends but got gutted with a hook for her trouble. Here she is on the cruddy UK cover with it’s naff international title…

So there we have it, the biggest faces of the 90s horror scene, eleven of them died (one of those twice!), none of them went topless (well, some of the guys did), and only one came back for a sequel! Ha ha @ Jennifer Love Hewitt!

By Hook, By Crook & By the Book

I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER

 3 Stars  1998/18/96m

“Some secrets will haunt you forever.”

Director: Danny Cannon / Writer: Trey Callaway / Cast: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Brandy, Mekhi Phifer, Matthew Settle, Muse Watson, Jennifer Esposito, Bill Cobbs, Jeffrey Combs, John Hawkes, Jack Black.

Body Count: 9

Dire-logue: “This is the worst vacation of my life: I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’m fucking horny and personally I haven’t seen one Goddamn psycho killer.”


If I Still Know What You Did Last Summer were not so ridiculously bad, it’d be two-star city for the most ridiculously named sequel going. Even after it grossed about half the original’s box office, someone involved with the production (possibly Producer Neil H. Moritz) admitted that the wrong script was chosen.

I Still Know is a collage of Slasher 101 cliches, godawful dialogue and performances most of the cast members would likely wish to forget, most of them phoning in hammy recitals as everything unfolds in the most predictable of manners. Nevertheless, upmarket production values and some saving graces still make it better than most of the contemporary Scream pretenders that surfaced around the same time (The Clown at Midnight comes to mind).

Another year has passed and Julie James (Hewitt) is back in college, struggling with nightmares that eeeevilfisherman Ben Willis is coming back for her after she escaped the slashings of his oversized, rather phallic hook on July 4th, last summer. Phallic, you ask? Look at the artwork; pointy hook slashing towards Hewitt’s much-contemplated cleavage. Anyway, her boyfriend Ray (Prinze) is acting a bit arsey and her roommate Karla is pushing her towards the affections of dorky friend Will.

When Karla wins a radio contest that rewards her with four tickets to the Bahamas, Ray continues his arsey behaviour, neither confirming nor declining the free trip but telling Julie to go if he doesn’t make it. This is an especially fortuitous outcome for The Fisherman, who has gained psychic powers in his gap year and can tell exactly what highway Ray (plus an unlucky buddy) will drive along so that he can set up a faux road accident. He also knows exactly where the truck will stop. Ray escapes the hook but is too late to stop Julie going off to the Bahamas.

At the Tower Bay resort, holiday season is over and storm season is in, meaning only the “lucky” competition winners are there along with a skeleton staff, who will naturally be laid to waste to hike the bodycount as far as it can go. However, before people start dropping like flies, Julie becomes aware that all is not what it seems. The others blame it on her paranoia, but then, how do you hack into karaoke machine lyrics and change them to a sinister message…?

Sing it girl! Whether or not this was intended to be a hallucination of Julie’s is not clear but miraculously none of the other four people present notice the sudden change from I Will Survive’s chorus to “I still know what you did last summer…” A short time later, Julie finds a body in the closet, which is magically gone when she raises the alarm. Everyone ignores her again and even she gets talked into writing it off and going for a tanning session!

Eventually, the others are convinced when bodies begin falling out of washing machines and stuff and the chase is on. I Still Know kicks into gear at this juncture with a very nicely done chase as The Fisherman accosts three women through the attic of the hotel, cornering them at various times until they escape at the last second. Yes, it’s a complete retread of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s frantic rush from the first film, complete with the “hurry up and open the door!” moment.

Much material is repeated from numero uno; the body that Julie finds which then disappears without a trace of it ever being there. One must ask how Ben Willis is able to clean up so quickly? Then there’s the scene where she gets desperate and, as she yelled “What are you waiting for, huh?” last summer, this year it’s “Come and get me, I’m right here!”

What detracts from the horror is how laughable things become. The cliches come so thick and fast that it’s like Scream never happened. Gone is all of the intelligence of the first film, replaced by naivety and annoying behaviour: Karla finds herself on top of a glass roof and tries to stand up. The glass on one panel begins to crack so what does she do? She simply brings her other foot on to the same pane of glass, doubling the weight on the already splintering surface.

Add to this, there’s a sort of weird narration in the dialogue. Karla (again) goes to a door and sees it’s chained. She’s alone so why say aloud “damn, it’s locked”? Then Will appears, scaring the girls, steps into the light and utters a line of dialogue. Then Julie says; “it’s just Will.” FFS. Shouldn’t this be consigned to the commentary track?

So The Fisherman, now with a hook in place of the hand he lost at the end of the first film, is not only psychic but can teleport to precise locations around the hotel locus using his prior knowledge. When someone finds themselves alone, they tend to pause and listen for something (what they expect to hear is a question that’ll die with them) and the killer simply opens the nearest door and creeps up for the kill.

A half-decent twist is revealed at the end (though someone told me what it was before I saw it) and Ray and Julie are reunited to take on Willis, who advises a gun-toting Ray: “Think about is boooooy, you’re no killer – that’s my job.” Jesus wept.

Needless to say, I was left with questions:

  • Are we to believe the killer shelled out for four plane tickets plus accommodation just to get Julie to the island?
  • Why would the hotel accept guests during storm season and why does the ‘season’ last only about 18 hours?
  • When Julie is stuck in the tanning bed, why don’t they just turn it off – or at least down – before smashing it open with a barbell?
  • Where do the 50-odd other tourists all vanish off to minutes after the group arrives?

A film baren of any insight or intelligence but fun all the same with some nice visuals and that great chase scene. Prinze is given little to do and what he does get isn’t done very well; Brandy is surprisingly tolerable as the loyal BFF but talks as if she’s trying to hawk her latest album by reciting the lyrics and saying “girl” a lot. But the cast list is good with Jack Black in a bizarre uncredited role, pretty much playing himself. Hopes for a (related) third film effectively died along with the hotel staff and so unless the surviving characters sign on for a “15 years later”-style opus, their fates are uncertain. Instead we got I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.

Blurbs-of-interest: Jeffrey Combs was in Frightmare and Castle Freak; John Hawkes was in Night of the Scarecrow and Identity.

If you, like me, think the title sucks, other reported working titles for this film included:

  • I Know What You Did Last Summer 2 – ok.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer… The Story Continues – uuh…
  • I Know What You Did Two Summers Ago - yikes!


Legacies of the 90s: Mental Motives

While 90s slasher films attempted to intellectualize the dead teenager opus, there’s only so much you can with such generic material. One area where things shifted dramatically was the Why is this happening? element of the plot. Essentially, nothing had really changed from the pictures of yore: I Know What You Did Last Summer featured the same basic set up as Prom Night.

In the horror realm, there are limited reasons why killers go ape and slay a string of teenagers but after Scream‘s extended, smartified attempt at making the killer’s motive seem more than it was, the ensuing studio slasher films did their best to follow suit.

Without giving away the farm (yeah, sorry about the screenshots), here are some of the best 90s horror motives, simplified. Can you guess which films they belong to?

  • You ran me over and tossed me in the sea. Even though I wasn’t dead, this upset me somewhat.
  • Your parent is a person of loose morals who had sex with my parent, causing them to leave. Never mind my parent being of loose morals also, this is all about YOUR parent. Thus, I’m killing people.
  • I’m passing off this product as my own and so must kill everyone associated with it.
  • I am a force of nature and therefore cannot have a motive so to speak, I just am. Zen, huh?
  • You killed my offspring in self-defence. Nevertheless, this is my motive for wanting to kill you and several bystanders.
  • You ate the last biscuit at a business meeting four years ago and I wanted it!
  • I’m made of celluloid therefore cannot be responsible for my homicidal actions.
  • I am jealous of you and your life even though I’ve never actually met you.
  • You were in the car that caused an accident which killed someone I love. You weren’t driving but it’s still your fault and I’ve gone massively out of my way to set up all these elaborate murders to freak you out and frame someone else.

  • You said you wouldn’t dance with me in junior high then some boys kicked the shit out of me. Never mind that though, being told ‘no’ to a dance is far worse and therefore I’m killing you and not the boys.
  • I loved your mum but she didn’t love me, so I killed her and blamed someone else. Now you’re here, I will start killing again and blame someone else. Again.
  • I loved your mum but she didn’t love me, so I killed her and blamed… Hey, I’m totally ripping off the motive from another naff rip-off!
  • I am still pissed that you ran me over and got away with it, foiling my attempt to kill you in the process. Therefore I will try and kill you again.
  • I am a possessed doll who kills people – deal with it.
  • I like killing people.

…OK, I made the biscuit one up but you get the point.

Forward to the Past

In a sort of pre-emptive celebration of the release of Scream 4, March 15th to April 15th 2011 is 90s Horror Month on Vegan Voorhees.

This means that the next few weeks will be solely devoted to the love of Ghostface, The Fisherman, uh… Parka-killer-fiend and all manner of imitations, resurrections, sequels, wannabes and cash-ins. Yes, some have been reviewed already but there’ll be “new” and “exciting” things to say that weren’t said before. Or were and have been deleted by me in an effort to disguise the fact.

We’ll also be cheerleading the various little things that 90s teen horror gave us, from killers with super-personal motives to the total lack of boobs on screen and so-called homages that were little more than blatant rip-offs of films the producers thought nobody had seen.

For the pedants among you, “the 90s” will also include films released in 2000, as they were most likely conceived and shot while the 90s were still about.

So, prepare to get self-referential and in-jokey; 90s Horror Month begins at the chime.

…Chime!

Trade-a-Life III

Here we go again, playing God with the lives of hopeless slasher movie characters… As ever, contribute, criticise, shout n’ scream. Hell, it’s not like we can change any of it now…

Watch out for those ma-hoosive spoilers!

THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW

A double Trade to start off this time. The sorority girlies of the house on, y’know, the row (…assumedly of other sorority houses), were most definitely guilty of killing their acid-tongued housemother in a prank gone wrong and as such, they probably deserved what they got. Well, the ones who were in on the joke, for sure. Requisite nice girl Kate is the only one with a wise head on her shoulders but I was quite sad to see overgrown-child Morgan (Jodi Draigie) and ribbon-haired Jeanie (Robin Meloy) go out violently.

I’d have much preferred to see leading-bitch Vicki’s greasy man-toy (who supplied the very gun that was used in the gag-gone-bad) turn up willy-nilly and getting that creepy-ass walking stick through his head… Or there’s Kate’s dorky date-for-the-night Peter (Michael Kuhn), who is pretty much innocent in it all but could’ve been meanly killed off to add fire to Kate’s strikeback. He didn’t do much else that was interesting. May as well’ve died!

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES

This is a bit of a popular one as I’ve read a few times that people were sad to see Camp Forest Green counsellor Paula (Kerry Noonan) exit proceedings so brutally. Even the filmmakers seemed to think enough of her to give her an off-camera death (sort of). We see Jason burst into the room and the camera cuts to the exterior where a blood splash redecorates the window before Paula’s corpse is smashed through the glass. Yeah…still kinda mean for the nice girl whose only concern was the little kiddies.

Now, this was recently altered from a swap with surviving gal Megan (Jennifer Cooke) but it was pointed out that the kids at camp were far, far more deserving of Jason’s chop so it has come to pass that having failed to find a good group shot of all the kids at camp, I nominate about the only ones who get any lines of dialogue (bar the little girl who has a nightmare): Ty and Billy (played by brothers Justin and Tommy Nowell, one of whom later appeared in Sleepaway Camp II). They’re sarcastic and whingey for their cumulative two or three minutes on screen so they should die instead of Paula. Jason’s been far too liberal when it comes to kids in the past, he should’ve made an example of these two.

URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT

Urban Legends 2 is a strange little slasher flick but a pretty good one all the same: student/final girl Amy (Jennifer Morrison) finds her friends/crew being stalked n’ slashed one by one by a fencing-masked loon with some ridiculous motive up his sleeve (and it is really ridiculous). Strangely, not only she and her obligatory love interest are left at the end. Reese (Loretta Devine) is there, natch, but bizarrely two other random guys are left unscathed… Weird.

They’re red herrings, of course, but even once the killer is revealed they could’ve been done away with. Especially sleaze-merchant rich-boy Graham (Joey Joseph Lawrence), who hangs around on his phone to his producer daddy all day and commits the unforgivable sin of suggesting Amy should insert CGI gore into her film rather than old fashioned latex grue!

So, give him the chop and let’s save import-a-camera-guy Schorm ‘Simon’ Jabuscko (Marco Hofschneider), who turns up to help the gang out, makes their film look all nice and does it all with a sexy European accent – and is then gruesomely beaten to death with a lens.

And they let Blossom’s little brother live!?

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