Tag Archives: remake

The 100 Greatest* Slasher Movies Part VI: #50-41

According to me! Me, me, me! So don’t be surprised to find a few ‘classics’ missing.

See: #100-91 here // #90-81 here // #80-71 here // #70-61 here // #60-51 here

50: The House on Sorority Row (1982)

Seven college girls play one final prank on their strict housemother before they leave, which culminates in her accidental death. While they spend the day of their graduation party trying to cover up the crime, housemom’s psychotic son, secretly squirreled away in the attic until now, takes matters of revenge into his own hands using Mom’s iron walking cane. Understated, but tense, bloody, and even a little bit heartbreaking.

Crowning moment: Scaredy-cat Jeanie’s frantic chase through the empty upstairs of the house.

49: Cold Prey III (2010)

As the film industry is obsessed with trilogies, and with no way to undo that very final ending of Cold Prey II, it’s prequelville for the third (and so far final) film, which winds back the clock to 1988 and a group of youthful campers stalked through the Norwegian wilderness by the burgeoning killer.

Crowning moment: Fleeing teens find an empty house and take refuge in a hidey-hole under the floor, but they have to venture out sooner or later…

48: Hot Fuzz (2007)

“Should Hot Fuzz even be here!?” you may caw, but while primarily an action comedy, the subplot of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s follow up to Shaun of the Dead concerns a cloaked mystery killer doing away with the less favourable residents of the small English town of Sandford, where Pegg’s by-the-book bobby is the only one who thinks the deaths are anything more than accidents.

Crowning moment: Middle-English archetypes – all cucumber sandwiches and deerhunters – brandishing all manner of firearms during a shootout in the quaint village square.

47: Psycho II (1983)

The courts think that 22 years in prison has ‘fixed’ Norman Bates and release him back to his old home, with a job at the local diner. However, some people are less than satisfied with this resolution and, when murders and disappearances begin again, he is naturally the primary suspect. But nothing is ever what it seems at the Bates Motel… is it?

Crowning moment: The magnificent crane shot that floats from Norman, trapped in an attic room, to an aerial of two teenage lovers sneaking into the basement below. Even Hitchcock would’ve been dumbfounded by the pristine composition.

46: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

On one hand, this film is to blame for the glut of Hollywood horror remakes that polluted the 2000s, on the other it refused to compromise on the brutality of the story, while dipping it in glitter with slick production polish. Not being a fan of the original at all (sulk now, you won’t be seeing it appear later), and it hurts me to ‘yay’ anything with the Michael Bay stamp on it, but this is legitimately awesome.

Crowning moment: Jessica Biel and minor scream queen Eric Leerhsen are attacked in a mortally-wounded van by Leatherface, who has no problem tipping it over and going at it with his favoured weapon.

45: The Burning (1981)

Part Friday the 13th clone, part urban legend, part nihilistic gorefest: Five years after being burned beyond recognition in a joke-gone-wrong, a summer camp janitor decides to reap his revenge by pruning the kids at an upstate New York camp with a scarily huge pair of shears. A veritable dictionary of before-they-were-famous actors, look out for Holly Hunter, Jason Alexander, and Fisher Stevens amongst others.

Crowning moment: The grisly raft-attack is shocking, but the first murder is practically quivering with tension as a skinny dipper finds her clothes have been scattered about the woods…

44: Terror Train (1980)

The motivation of choice for 80s slasher movie killers was the prank gone awry… Here, a shy frat boy returns three years after a misfired gag put him in a hospital to punish those responsible as they celebrate their graduation aboard a chartered train. While you know who the killer is, there’s still an excellent mystery element at play as to just who the killer might be dressed as at any moment… And then there’s who it was all along!

Crowning moment: The maniac finally gets Jamie Lee Curtis alone in a drawn-out, tension brimming chase scene through the abandoned cars of the train.

43: Hollow Man (2000)

Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi/slasher sees arrogant scientist Kevin Bacon perfect a process that can turn animals invisible. Lacking governmental permission to move on to human trials, he takes the stuff himself. Successful though it is, the failure to get his visibility back slowly drives him insane and he embarks on a killing spree, targeting his team. Amazing FX underscore this one.

Crowning moment: Hollow Man’s first venture outside since his invisifying, and the two kids who ‘see’ him in a traffic jam.

42: Session 9 (2001)

A team of asbestos removal workmen take a job at an old mental hospital with a dodgy past. While dealing with their own issues, the venue takes its toll on each of them psychologically, and one becomes obsessed with the audio tapes of a schizophrenic former inmate. And then it’s not so long before they begin dying…

Crowning moment: Josh Lucas’ hunger for purported riches takes him back to the hospital after hours to look for riches… but there’s somebody already there…

41: Anatomy (2000)

Franka Potente is the new girl at an exclusive German medical school, where she begins to suspect something that would not adhere to the Hippocratic Oath is going on. When a recently-alive classmate appears on the slab in front of her, she begins to investigate and uncovers a bizarre sect operating at the school and taking their pick of students to experiment on.

Crowning moment: A girl flees her boyfriend’s murder with a needle-jab to the leg, which slowly freezes up her muscles until she collapses and seizes up. The killer tells her if she can crawl to a doorway inches ahead of her he’ll give her the antidote… will she? (No).

The 100 Greatest* Slasher Movies Part V: #60-51

*According to me! Me, me, me. So there’re bound to be a few classics missing.

See:
#100-91 here
#90-81 here
#80-71 here
#70-61 here

60: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

After Scream made teen slasher movies cool again for about 25 minutes in the 90s, the Halloween franchise re-grouped, ignored everything after Halloween II (upsetting fans in the process) and brought back Jamie Lee Curtis as the lovely Laurie Strode, hiding out in California. Her big bro tracks her down and slashes his way to the prep school where she works.

Crowning moment: Without a shadow of a doubt the finale in which axe-toting Laurie finally gets Michael where she wants him, until Resurrection shit all over it with its stupid-as-fuck retcon. The triple-slaying that opens the movie is pretty good too.

59: Tenebrae (1982)

Possibly Dario Argento’s most slashy work; Anthony Franciosa is a famous American writer on a book tour which, when it arrives in Rome, comes accompanied by a series of gruesome murders. Typically adorned with giallo flair, mean-spirited borderline misogynistic kills (“Male heroes with their hairy, macho bullshit” a feminist critic spouts… guess what happens to her?), and B-movie fixture John Saxon as the writer’s kitschy agent.

Crowning moment: Death-by-modern art is where it’s at.

58. The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Feminist writer Rita Mae Brown scripted this corny flick as a send-up of the genre, only to see much of it altered to ‘suit the demographic’ as a girls’ basketball team hold a slumber party that’s crashed a power-drill favouring killer. Stupid as it is, there’s a lot of fun stuff at play and some of the original intent still seeps through the holes in the cheese.

Crowning moment: There are three final girls in this film, who all strike back at the killer together in a frenzy of awesome oestrogenic rage.

57: Killer Party (1986)

A sorority girl is possessed by a vengeful spirit at an abandoned frat house during an April Fool’s pledge party, dons a deep-sea diver suit (!?) and begins killing everyone. Dumb as it sounds, there’s a lot of fun in this well scripted, good humoured gem, which was heavily cut prior to release and is yet to see a restored version surface.

Crowning moment: The trick beginning is amusing, not least for the awesome White Sister song April (alluding to the original title The April Fool), but this one is at its best before most of the killing starts as we are acquainted with characters so likeable it’s sad to watch them die.

56: Fatal Games (1983)

A select group of promising young Olympians known as ‘The Magnificent Seven’ at an exclusive athletic academy are being done in by a hooded loon who tosses a mean javelin. White largely hated and pretty badly made, Fatal Games has an early 80s charm and would be great on a double bill with Graduation Day.

Crowning moment: The unmasking of the killer, given away in a lot of reviews, is a surreal yet awesome moment, that kicks off a great, if too short, chase scene.

55: Julia’s Eyes (2010)

Guillermo del Toro co-produced this atmospheric chiller about the titular young woman whose blind sister has mysteriously killed herself, just as Julia begins developing symptoms of the same degenerative sight disorder. In addition to this nightmare, somebody is hanging around and killing people who can provide answers to her sister’s death.

Crowning moment: A blind woman tells the Julia: “There’s someone else with you – he’s right behind you.”

54: Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Parent groups picketed theaters showing this Utah-shot festive hacker, resulting in it being pulled completely. A young man traumatised by the murder of his parents at the hands of a robber dressed as Santa and the harsh Mother Superior at his orphanage, goes mental when he is forced to don a Saint Nick costume by the toy store he works in… Death by fairy lights and antler-impalings ensue.

Crowning moment: Nasty bullies snatch sledges off a couple of kids and find that their route down a dark hill is fraught with swinging axes.

53: Deadly Blessing (1981)

An early Wes Craven slasher flick that’s often overlooked in between the vast shadows of The Hills Have Eyes and Elm Street. A series of murders occur around a sub-Amish commune where a young city woman married a member of the flock, much to the chagrin of their leader Ernest Borgnine (check that beard). Could it be a mythical incubus?

Crowning moment: Again, the left field revelation of who the killer is elevates this from a standard whodunit to a whatthefuck!? moment with some debt to old pal Sean Cunningham’s breakthrough film of the previous year.

52: Sorority Row (2009)

One of the better slasher film remakes, this overhaul of 1982’s The House on Sorority Row is like Mean Girls with a body count. After a prank goes tragically wrong, a gaggle of college girls end up tossing one of their number down a mineshaft and live with the secret until their graduation party several months later, where a cloaked maniac begins doing away with anyone who might know the truth…

Crowning moment: Bad-ass housemother Carrie Fisher with a shotgun actively hunting down the killer, and bitchy sorority president Leah Pipes’ never ending tirade of quips and put-downs.

51: Final Destination 5 (2011)

A young office worker has the foresight to save a few of his colleagues when he has an accurate premonition of a huge suspension bridge collapse. Shortly after, those who should’ve died find themselves meeting nasty ends in bizarre ‘accidents’.

Crowning moment: Sadly, the final act of this film was correctly predicted before release, softening the awesome punch of its twist, but it’s still a great full circle climax IF the producers can keep their hands off churning out more sequels.

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Christmas turkey

SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT: THE HOMECOMING

1.5 Stars  2013/18/79m

Director/Writer: James Plumb / Writer: Andrew Jones / Cast: Melanie Stevens, Alan Humphreys, Philip Harvey, Victor Ptak, Rosemary Smith, Gary Knowles, Simon Riordan, Ceri Mears, Matthew Batte, Adrienne King (voice).

Body Count: 14

Laughter Lines: “Butler House in an evil, evil place! Once it’s gone this town will finally be able to move on.”


A UK remake of a forty-year-old US proto-slasher film, the suffix of The Homecoming may fool some into believing this is a sequel… but no, it’s curiously a straight up over-do – but set in good ol’ Blighty.

So the story and the characters are pretty much the same: The Butler House stands in the town of Fairwood. In 1987, Wilfred Butler tumbled aflame from a second floor window. TO HIS DEEEEATH. (Or did he?). Twenty-five years later, his last living relative (son or grandson, can’t recall) offers, on Christmas Eve, to sell the house for £250,000 cash.

A selection of locals want the house in order to tear it down and rid Fairwood of its legacy, and so on Christmas Eve each receives a call from a hissing weirdo (who is, in fact, Adrienne King from Friday the 13th of all people) who invites them to the house and there they are chopped to bits by the axe wielding loon, who has also done away with an orderly at the asylum he broke out of, a guy dressed as Santa, and a couple who snuck in for nudies.

The Mayor’s daughter, Diane (Mary Woronov in the original, Melanie Stevens here), is later visited by the vendor Jeffrey Butler, and she apparently takes an instant acceptance to him, in spite of all the stories she grew up with, and drives him to the house, where they are attacked by the bandage-masked killer.

There’s a drawn out flashback where I really began to wane and everything that was happening sort of drifted by while I enjoyed a short trance, but the gist of it was that bandage-face thinks Diane is his daughter, and wants a nice family Christmas.

OK, so why only a star-and-a-half? In short: Budget and acting. The film looks incredibly cheap, which isn’t always a setback, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn this was filmed over a weekend using a few local theater group players. That old nemesis of mine ‘the under-reactor-actor’ is present and accounted for. If someone is attacking you with a fucking axe, SCREAM!

A couple of decent scenes, the chase through the woods for instance, do little to repair the damage.

It’s disappointing that there hasn’t been a major British slasher movie, we of Hammer Horror and freakin’ 28 Days Later…, yet we can’t seem to master a ‘simple’ body count flick, which proves that slasher films aren’t the through-the-motions piece o’ piss most detractors would claim.

D3ath 8y Numb3rs

I recently marked my 600th slasher movie with the odd Irish quickie Stitches.

Thus, what better time to recap some of the other landmark films that only a geek with too much time on his hands would keep.

#555
The made-up area code in so many movies and, considering the film it corresponds to, kinda freaky…

fd5-poster2Final Destination 5 (2011)

So #555 was the fifth film in a franchise about freaky coincidences… Sing that Twilight Zone theme for this is just such a creepy occurrence. Creepier still, the film is odds on the best sequel out of the lot.

#500

sorority-row-fb-poster2

Sorority Row (2009)

A rare straight-up slasher film that got a theatrical release in the UK was a nice treat for my 500th flick, and Sorority Row was an absolute blast from start to finish!

#400

The Tooth Fairy (2005)

My backpacking trip to Asia in 2006-07 reaped dozens of DVDs that still haven’t received a UK release more than half a decade later. Fortuitously, The Tooth Fairy was one of the more entertaining ones.

#300

Club Dread (2004)

Yet another likeable landmark; Broken Lizard’s only really fun film takes a stab at slasher cliches and Club 18-30 culture. Bill Paxton is superfun as Coconut Pete.

#200

My Little Eye (2002)

Though I got to see this on the big screen, as with FD5 and Sorority Row, I didn’t think a whole lot of it. A slow, ill-thought out sort of slasher Big Brother, which is riddled with more holes than Bonnie & Clyde’s car.

#111

fatalgames2

Fatal Games (1983)

Why? 111 is a cool number. I *HEART* this unloved old school flick, which is like Graduation Day was shot with a glitter cannon: A javelin-toting killer, lesbianism, transsexuals, buck naked midnight chase around an empty school. It has everything.

#100

Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge (1989)

The first big landmark was this oddball Valley-Girl-Comedy-Slasher-Flick with some fairly well known cast members. It’s cheap, but it’s entertaining.

#1

nightmare_on_elm_street_three2

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

Recently crowned best threequel; I was petrified when I first saw this at a camp with several other (younger!) kids one rainy afternoon around 1990. But it’s unquestionably awesome.

#700 coming in about… 2-3 years.

Belated gift

SILENT NIGHT

3 Stars  2012/94m

“He knows who’s been naughty.”

Director: / Writer: / Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, Ellen Wong, Brendan Fehr, Rick Skene, Andrew Cecon, Curtis Moore, Courtney-Jane White, Erik Berg, Tom Anniko, John B. Lowe, Cortney Palm, Adriana O’Neil, Lisa Marie, Mike O’Brien.

Body Count: 17

Dire-logue: “What you think this is, Glee?


A mooted remake of parent-upsetting 80s B-movie Silent Night, Deadly Night had been on the cards for some time, and at the tail end of ’12 it finally arrived. Week 2 of 2013 if you’re me.

While it could just as easily pass for another sequel rather than a cover version, Silent Night maintains the core elements of the original film and its shoddy sequels: Killer Santa lays unpleasant folks to waste with mucho seasonal mirth.

Here, the small Wisconsin town of Cryer is the stomping ground for the Saint Nick-clad loon, who kicks things off by electrocuting a poor chump with tree lights, and then heads into town for some much needed Scrooge-pruning.

Among those on the naughty list are a group of amateur pornographers, a corrupt reverend, some horny un-festive teenagers, and – surprisingly – a bratty fourteen-year-old girl, who is killed quite brutally early on, possibly as an attempt to renew the ‘controversial’ elements of the 1984 original film.

Picking up the pieces in Santa’s wake is undecided deputy Aubrey, who is recently bereaved and can’t stand up to the pissy demands of Sheriff Cooper (McDowell, camper than tinsel). He wants to keep quiet about the growing body count so’s not to disrupt the annual Santa parade, where, naturally, there’ll be five-hundred blokes dressed the same.

Silent Night tosses aside any trace of the orphanage prelude to Billy’s rampage from before, heading straight into the killing field and revealing everything about the killer as almost an after thought once the violence is over. It’s not a bad reveal, though I was left wondering just how Santa knew who to kill and where to find them.

The film is a bit of an empty vessel, loud and in your face but insubstantial otherwise. It has just as much in common with the more recent Santa’s Slay as it does the film it’s allegedly a remake of. The deer-antlers impalement returns, as does the looney sub-catatonic grandpa, as well as an allusion to the infamous “Garbage day!” moment from Part 2, but otherwise we’re skiing on fresh bloody snow. The gore is indeed gory, more than enough to please claret lovers, who will surely love the sight of a topless babe being fed into a woodchipper and there’s also a squishy axe to the face for a light-fingered teen.

The Grinch in all this gooey delight is the film’s attitude to Christmas itself: Fair enough, the film is set in a town suffering the loss of its major industry (echoes of My Bloody Valentine) and Psycho Santa is only after the nasty folk, but there’s a definite lack of Christmas spirit to offset the misery, leaving only snarky dialogue, less than pleasant characters, and bloodletting. It doesn’t feel Christmassy like the films it apes – even if they also ended in a stack of cadavers.

Logue is largely wasted as a Santa with a bad attitude, but King manages to keep a straight face as the put-upon heroine and Ellen Wong (from Scott Pilgrim) is a nice diversion in her rather marginalised role, and McDowell simply chews his way through every scene, relishing the assholery of his character.

Fun, but fleeting and slight – like most things about Christmas, really, with that sort of plastic won’t-last-till-January feel to it.

Blurbs-of-interest: McDowell played Dr Loomis and Rob Zombie’s Halloween re-dos and was also in The Surgeon; Jaime King was in My Bloody Valentine 3D and The Tripper; Lisa Marie was in Sleepy Hollow.

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