Tag Archives: Oz

Girls school confidential

BLOODMOON

3 Stars 1989/18/101m

“The last full moon you’ll ever see.”

Director: Alec Mills / Writer: Robert Brennan / Cast: Leon Lissek, Christine Amor, Helen Thomson, Ian Williams, Craige Cronnin, Hazel Howson, Christophe Broadway, Suzie MacKenzie, Anya Molina, Samantha Rittson, Jo Munro, Michelle Doake.

Body Count: 10


Soppy Neighbours-esque romance is married to some Friday the 13th shenanigans in this fairly impressive Aussie flick that has the one major flaw of revealing the killer’s identity about a third of the way through the film.

The girls of St Elizabeth’s boarding school are being offed by a shadowy killer, who uses a length of barbed wire to garrotte them, along with the occasional boyfriend. Pretty daughter-of-someone-famous Mary is unknowingly high on the killer’s list.

The stalk n’ slash scenes are well handled, a standout being when two girls sneak into the school to steal an exam paper and run into the killer, who quickly dispatches one and chases after the other.

bloodmoon2

Bloodmoon, however, commits that cardinal sin of allowing one particularly unpleasant character to live, when hoards of comparably innocent ones have been laid to waste. Elsewhere, excess T&A negates some of the up-market style, but for an alt perspective teenie-kill film, it hits enough of the right notes. Just ignore some of the crimes against hair.

Sucks to be Soles

INNOCENT PREY

3 Stars  1983/87m

A.k.a. Voyeur

Director: Colin Eggleston / Writer: Ron McLean / Cast: P.J. Soles, Kit Taylor, Grigor Taylor, Martin Balsam, John Warnock, Susan Stenmark, Richard Morgan, Debisue Voorhees.

Body Count: 11


Poor P.J. Soles… As if being saddled with the worst perm in Texas isn’t enough, one night she spots her new husband’s car at a motel and decides to creep outside the window and find out if he’s cheating on her.

Her suspicions are confirmed when she sees him doing a young hooker, and then made worse when he produces a knife and slashes the girl’s throat as they climax. At home, she confronts him and as he makes a move to do away with her, the police spring up and cart him away.

Later, hubby escapes from prison and returns to the house to finish off P.J., doing in a few luckless cops as he goes. She evades him again but this time he flees, so she sees fit to take some time out down under and visits her friend Gwen in Sydney.

The Sheriff back home (Balsam: Arbogast! ARBO-FUCKING-GAST!!!) later informs her they found a burned body with hubby’s signet ring and all is well again. Only we know better: hubby set it all up and has hopped a ship to Oz, ever committed to his cause.

Rodeo P.J. – everybody loves her

As if this isn’t enough, the sub-Norman Bates landlord at Gwen’s place has hidden cameras all over the girls’ house and watches their every move, obsessed by the new arrival, and jealous of her burgeoning romance with single dad, Rick. When the first loon arrives, what will second loon do, I wonder?

Early on in the film, P.J. ponders that if there such a thing as a habitual criminal, perhaps she is a habitual victim. Hell yeah, sister! From the arms of one psycho into those of another! Innocent Prey should be suffixed The Misadventures of the World’s Unluckiest Woman. Nothing goes right for poor P.J., and when Gwen disappears, well, where else could she go!? These wackos gravitate towards her. And just wait for that final freeze frame. Come to my house, Peej, I won’t kill you! Promise!

Mass sludge of conveniences aside, Innocent Prey is a solid little thriller, sort of a proto-Sleeping with the Enemy by way of Terror Train, possibly explaining why it was released in 1991, seven or eight years after it was made.

P.J.’s always likeable charisma carries much of the weight, but director Eggleston – who later helmed weird arty-farty slasher Cassandra - builds up some palpable tension here and there, most notably in the scenes where Hubby comes back to the house.

A ridiculous film by any measure, but an entertaining one for sure.

Blurbs-of-interest: Aside from her role as Lynda, Soles was also in The Tooth Fairy and Uncle Sam. She also narrated the documentary Halloween: 25 Years of Terror; Martin Balsam was, duh, Arbogast in Psycho; Kit Taylor was in Eggleston’s other film Cassandra; Debi Sue Voorhees – playing the hooker – was Tina in Friday the 13th Part V and was also in Appointment with Fear.

Before Wolf Creek, there was…

HOUSEBOAT HORROR

1 Stars  1989/79m

“Something is about to happen on Lake Infinity.”

Directors: Kendall Flannigan & Ollie Martin / Writer: Ollie Martin / Cast: Alan Dale, Christine Jeston, Craig Alexander, Des ‘Animal’ McKenna, Gavin Wood, John Michael Howson, Louise Siversen, Peppie D’or, Steve Whittacker, Julia Tompson.

Body Count: 13

Laughter Lines: “You watch it – or I’ll kick you where your mother never kissed you!”


Back in 1989, Britain was in the midst of its obsession with Australian soap operas: Neighbours was at the top of the tree, while Home & Away perched a few branches below. I preferred Sons & Daughters - so many Mafia-like plots within a small cast, poisonous snakes in the safe, shark attacks… it had it all.

Thus, when sitting down with Houseboat Horror recently, that nostalgic era of Scott and Charlene, Helen Daniels, Madge and Harold, Bouncer the dog, and Ramsay Street – surely built on crossing Ley Lines for all its bad luck – came a-floodin’ back. So much so as Alan Dale, who played Jim Robinson in Neighbours for years, was somehow roped into appearing in the floating turd that is this movie. Ants may elect to make a houseboat out of said turd and the cycle begineth again.

A crappy rock n’ roll band and a film crew head out to Lake Infinity to shoot a music video. Naturally, the lake was the scene of a tragic fire (or some murders, I’ve already forgotten) X-years earlier. A newspaper tells us a child was horrifically burned. See where the course has been set? So laboured is this point, that early on when the group stops at a gas station, one of the attendants turns to the other and says: “Brings back memories over those movie killings a few years back…” and the world’s most obvious this-sounds-creepy synthesiser note is struck.

The group hire three ugly-ass houseboats and, after a day of fooling about with the really shitty band, are stalked and slain by a shadowy chap who lurks in the trees a lot. People are sliced with his machete, axed in the head, shot with spearguns, and even killed by a horseshoe in the eyes.

There’s very little more to say about Houseboat Horror. It’s cheap, it’s brimming with Aussie sayings of yore (people referred to as ‘dags’ who might’ve ‘shot through’) and it’s dated by an appearance of the world’s largest cell phone, which Alan Dale says into: “The two-way doesn’t work so if you want to talk to me you’ll have to do it on this walkabout phone thing.”

Some gory dispatchments and the mild distraction of different accents and vernacular highlight an otherwise awful vessel (ho ho ho) before it sinks under its own weight of crap.

Blurb-of-interest: John Michael Howson was in the 1980 Aussie horror Stage Fright.

The 100 Greatest* Slasher Movies Part VII: #40-31

*According to me. Me, me, me! So don’t be surprised to discover some classics are missing.

See #100-91 // #90-81 // #80-71 // #70-61 // #60-51 // #50-41

40: Malevolence (2005)

Slow, brooding, and with a low body count. Normally the stuff I hate in a slasher film, but Stevan Mena pulls off a minor miracle here: The Bodycount Art Film. A botched bank robbery sends a gang of criminals and their mother/daughter hostages to a dilapidated farmhouse inhabited by a bag-masked psycho who may or may not be the local boy who disappeared in the 80s. Tsuyoshi Kimoto’s pristine photography paints a bleak Americana and is the brightest jewel on display. Forget the shoddy prequel, Bereavement though.

Crowning moment: One of the fugitives goes to ‘look around’ outside the house. In the dark. Alone. Behind her, we see the killer lurking in the peripherals. Pure stalker stuff and excellently done.

39: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Likely an unpopular addition, this Halloween sequel was one of the first I saw and, while it was hampered by production nightmares, it holds together quite well, and captures the ‘Hallowe’en atmos’ better than all of those that’ve followed. Michael Myers reappears in Haddonfield six years after disappearing with his niece, who has just had a baby, and now he wants it back and will kill all who stand in his way, including pre-stardom Paul Rudd, as the grown-up Tommy Wallace.

Crowning moment: “There’s someone else in the room! He’s right behind you!”

38: Psycho Beach Party (2000)

A screen adaptation of a campy stage musical (!), Lauren Ambrose is a plucky 50s teenager with multiple personalities who just wants to surf with all the hunky beach boys. But who is murdering folks with varied impairments? The surf kids, a B-movie actress, and a strangely butch female police chief are all trying to find out. One of those slashers-on-the-side affairs adorned with some recognisable faces.

Crowning moment: The Lu’au dance-off that makes the choreography of Grease look second-rate.

37: Shredder (2001)

Teenagers staying at a cabin on an out-of-bounds mountain are done in by a snowboarder-hating killer. While Iced may have been there and done that, Shredder is a cute, relentlessly likeable little slice of paradise, stocked with interesting characters who you, for a post-2000 film, surprisingly don’t hate.

Crowning moment: The recurring gag of a hanged snowboarder going around and around on the chairlift all day.

36: Flashback (1999)

Germany’s response to Scream is a ludicrous farce that is inexplicably awesome at the same time. As a young girl, Jeanette witnessed the brutal slaying of her parents (and dog) by a dress-wearing maniac. X years later, she lands a job teaching French to a trio of rich siblings while their parents are away and the killings soon begin again. While things don’t necessarily tie together come the reveal, and the dubbing on the DVD is horrific, Flashback contains enough carnage to make Jason proud. Though I can’t say I’m a fan of all the domestic pet slashery.

Crowning moment: The ‘past event’ trauma (pictured), the camera keeps with that sickle as the killer moves in on young Jeanette as she tries to reach the key suspended on a hook above the door.

35. Ripper: Letter from Hell (2001)

College students majoring in criminology are being stalked and slain by a lunatic recreating the murders of Jack the Ripper, right down to the placing of each and every stab wound. About halfway through it turns stupid (they decide going to a cabin in the woods is the best course of action) and the ending is clouded by ambiguity – in accord with the real life crimes – but Ripper can at least boast polished production, gruesome slayings (including Kelly Brook, above), and decent acting, even if it does grind on for nearly two hours.

Crowning moment: Though Jack the Ripper never killed anybody that way, a couple tumble on to a log saw conveyor they cannot escape from and look doomed to plunge face first into twin buzz saws.

34: You’re Next (2011)

Home invasion movies were briefly ‘a thing’ and they don’t come with much more ballistic action than You’re Next: A family reunion (again, in a house in the middle of nowhere) is crashed by a team of masked assassins and the besieged Davison clan have to do all they can not to die. What neither they, nor the killers, counted on was one of the guest’s innate survivalist training…

Crowning moment: I saw this at a horror festival and the blender-on-the-head moment got the biggest cheer for a reason.

33: Scream 4 (2011)

Arquette, Campbell, and Cox were all back to check in with Woodsboro a decade after the events of Scream 3: Sidney is in town promoting her self-help book, while Gale is trying to write one, and teenagers around town are falling victim to a new Ghostface-clad killer who is well-versed on the remake and reboot culture of Hollywood. The pairing of Williamson and Craven elicited mixed reviews – due mainly to the slack middle third – but the self-awareness is fully intact and the blood free-flowing.

Crowning moment: The pre-title slaughter, arguably defined by Scream and copied by everyone else, now reclaimed with chucklesome flair.

32: Mask Maker (2010)

I’ve long held the view that if you carefully selected the best parts of other slasher films and sewed them together, you’d have one awesome film: Mask Maker is it. College kids renovating an old farmhouse accidentally resurrect the undead psychopath who once dwelled there and has a penchant for slicing off people’s faces and wearing them over his own deformed features. Almost every scene is a recreation of moments from every killer-with-a-blade pic since Psycho but done very well.

Crowning moment: Final girl Jen steps into the heroine’s shoes with veritable gusto and gives the killer a real run for his money.

31: Cut (2000)

As Flashback was Germany’s answer to Scream, so Cut is Australia’s. Seems that anyone who tries to complete cheesy unfinished slasher flick Hot Blooded ends up dead. But this urban myth doesn’t stop a team of film students from hiring Molly Ringwald’s bratty actress and giving it the old college try. Expectedly, the curse strikes again and the film crew are soon being laid to waste by a wackadoo dressed as the on-screen killer. Dry Aussie humour failed to resonate for most and the film has an unfairly bad reputation.

Crowning moment: Tiny superstar Kylie Minogue’s cameo as a tyrannical film director.

The 100 Greatest* Slasher Movies Part IV: #70-61

*According to me. Me, me, me. So there’re bound to be a few of your faves missing…

To provide some context, this batch all scored around 7 out of 10.

See #100 – 91 here
#90 – 81 here
#80 – 71 here

70: Coda (1987)

A music student at an exclusive conservatory is murdered and her classmate becomes hell bent on solving the mystery, thus making herself the next target of the masked killer. This Australian TV thriller comes equipped with a lush classical soundtrack and spooky Halloweenie stalking sequences, plus one of the actresses was in Prisoner: Cell Block H. Also known as Deadly Possession or Symphony of Evil.

Crowning moment: Remember when you were young (or in my case well into my 30s) and you ran along with a shopping trolley and rolled across the parking lot? In Coda, the killer does that down a corridor brandishing a sharp weapon.

69: The Funhouse (1981)

Tobe Hooper’s Halloween-inspired creeper follows two teenage couples when they dare themselves to spend the night in the funhouse of a travelling carnival, only to discover that the Frankenstein-masked attendant of the ride is a mongoloid who wants to kill them all! Surprisingly scary and in terms of the horror-at-the-carnival sub-sub-genre, it’s unbeaten.

Crowning moment: Jittery final girl Amy spots her Dad outside, picking up her traumatised kid brother, and shrieks for her life but is muted by the cooling fans between them.

68: Some Guy Who Kills People (2012)

Ken Boyd (Kevin Corrigan) is a simple-living malt shop worker not long out of an institution when the gang of bullies who pushed him to the edge years earlier begin showing up dead all over town. Meanwhile, he acquaints himself with his estranged daughter, but even she becomes suspicious… How can he balance fatherhood with killing folks? A rare thing: A slasher flick with a big, soppy heart.

Crowning moment: Ken has an amusingly clunky date with Lucy Davis and tries to stick up for his daughter to humiliating avail.

67: Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Crazy Jason is still killing kids up at Crystal Lake, this time a gaggle of vacationing friends fall foul of the maniac and he finds his trademark hockey mask for the first time – and all in 3D! Crap acting is buffered its camp appeal and some awesome demises, including the infamous ‘eyeball pop’.

Crowning moment: Jason follows shrieky final girl Chris (Dana Kimmell) into the barn for the epic final showdown, consisting of several take-downs that prove ultimately un-fatal.

66: Bloody Bloody Bible Camp (2012)

In 1977, horndog teenagers at a Bible Camp were laid to waste by homicidal nun, Sister Mary Chopper. Seven years later, another van load of religious teens stop by and the killings begin again. Friday the 13th collides with elements of Sleepaway Camp, lots of crude, sometimes stupid gags, and Ron Jeremy appears as Jesus.

Crowning moment: The opening kill-fest set in ’77, including doggy-style with a decapitated camper.

65: Pandemonium (1982)

Probably the most fun slasher parody (Scary Movie will not be gracing us with its presence): Bambi’s Cheerleading Camp reopens after it was plagued by unsolved murders and attracts six new recruits (Candy, Mandy, Randy, Andy, Sandy, and Glenn) who are soon the targets of the returning killer. Most of the jokes were hugely outdated by the end of the 80s, but it’s way better than Wacko, Student Bodies, and Class Reunion. Carol Kane plays the telekinetic final girl, and Judge Reinhold and Paul ‘Pee Wee’ Reubens appear in early roles.

Crowning moment: A toss up between the cheerleader shish-ka-bob that starts the film off or death by super-charged toothbrush.

64: Bride of Chucky (1998)

The dead and buried Child’s Play franchise was sparked back to life by this post-Scream reboot that pushed the comedy in front of the killing (in the wake of the falsified bad rep the previous film had in the UK) and paired Chucky with Jennifer Tilly’s excellent Tiffany doll, who is almost as homicidally motivated as he is.

Crowning moment: Either when Chuck n’ Tiff take out John Ritter’s slimy, crooked cop, or the moment they succumb to their carnal desires after offing a couple with the help of an over-the-bed mirror (“Honey, I’m all rubber!”).

63: The Pool (2001)

The private graduation party of a popular high school clique is foiled by the arrival of a masked and machete-swinging psycho. A joint venture of several European countries (shot in Prague) gives this one some cultural flavour and characters of varying nationalities. Though the identity of the killer was a bit naffly obvious. Future megastars James McAvoy and Isla Fisher are among those skewered.

Crowning moment: Easily the [pictured] waterslide kill, as a boobular babe slides towards a splash pool containing her lover’s corpse and notices a machete pierce the bottom of the chute and slides uncontrollably, legs akimbo, towards it. As my friend Kerry commented upon seeing the aftermath: “It looks like the period from hell!”

62: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

At the time, Elm Street 4 was a phenomenal box office hit, keying into the MTV generation and cranking up Freddy’s one-liners – and thus beginning the decline of his character as remotely frightening – he gets rid of the surviving Elm Street children and moves on to their friends, using the dream-joining power of dreary new heroine Alice.

Crowning moment: Freddy focuses in on Debbie’s (Brooke Theiss) bug-phobia, first letting her arms fall off before turning her into a roach. Eww.

61: Venom (2005)

Kevin Williamson wrote, and I Know What You Did Last Summer‘s Joe Gillespie directed this swamp-set slasher in which a mechanic is bitten by snakes belonging to a voodoo-priestess and possessed by the souls of various killers. He sets about slaying a bunch of local teenagers who stand in between him and the surviving granddaughter of the voodoo chick.

Crowning moment: Unpleasant teen Bijou Phillips is caught stealing from the killer’s cash register, gets trapped under a car, and is sand-blasted to death.

 Like ‘em on Facebook

1 2 3 4