Tag Archives: sequel city

Blame it on the boogey

boogeyman3BOOGEYMAN 3

2 Stars  2008/15/91m

“She left for college and terror followed.”

Director: Gary Jones / Writer: Brian Sieve / Cast: Erin Cahill, Chuck Hittinger, Mimi Michaels, George Maguire, Matt Rippy, Nikki Sanderson, Elyes Gabel, W.B. Alexander, Jayne Wisner, Kate Maberly.

Body Count: 9


Boogeyman 2 successfully managed to untangle the wretched mess left by the 2004 original film by turning the crappy CG-laden horror-for-kids premise into an on-point slasher film with some brutality to it. Unfortunately, Boogeyman 3 enters the party, trips over the table and sends all the nicely rearranged apparel over the floor before slipping over and landing on it, crushing anything good that may have survived.

OK, so it’s still better than the first one but out goes the guy-in-a-mask and in steps another ‘genuine’ monster (looking like a zombie Alice Cooper), which has followed Tobin Bell’s daughter back to the college dorm where she lives (and subsequently dies) and proceeds to kill off her group of friends.

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The trick here is that the moment you believe in the curse, you become susceptible to it and so the only way to survive is not to believe – difficult when your pals are turning up dead. Even with the body count scenario, this is a lot more like The Grudge films than a slasher movie with the usual stereotype characters led by ex-Power Ranger Cahill’s not-so-competent final girl, atrocious special effects work and wobbly acting, making it a chore to sit through.

A couple of minor chills shouldn’t prevent you slamming the closet door shut on this franchise.

Blurbs-of-interest: Brian Sieve also wrote the previous (better) instalment; Gary Jones directed Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter’s Cove and Axe Giant.

“I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly.”

f13-6FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES

 4 Stars  1986/18/83m

“Nothing this evil ever dies.”

Director/Writer: Tom McLoughlin / Cast: Thom Mathews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, Kerry Noonan, Renee Jones, Tom Fridley, Darcy DeMoss, CJ Graham, Vincent Guastaferro, Ron Palillo.

Body Count: 18

Dire-logue: “Don’t piss me off, Junior, or I will repaint this office with your brains!”


The general rule of sequels – not least horror sequels – is that they get progressively worse. Although, it’s also worth pointing out that the more you make, the more likely it is that as quality spirals, there’ll be a pleasant bump along the way. Of course, loving slasher films means that I don’t subscribe to either of these theories and will watch any Revenge of, Return of, Rise of, Re-Return of sequel going, no matter what numerical suffix it has.

Friday the 13th Part VI is a case in point of the multi-sequel that takes its rinse-and-repeat formula and manages to make familiar territory interesting, thanks to director/scribe Tom McLoughlin’s energetic script, which was intended to feature an apt thirteen murders (extended to accommodate studio wishes and probably pad out the running time – it’s the shortest Friday).

jason1Sometime after the events of A New Beginning, Tommy Jarvis (this time played by Thom Mathews), drives to Crystal Lake, now re-named Forest Green, to incinerate Jason’s corpse in an attempt to gain closure on his awful past. His nervous friend Hawes tags along to offer words of discouragement as a familiar storm blows in. In a fit of fury, Tommy jabs Jason’s corpse (strangely un-cremated as we were told in Part V) with a steel pole that is subsequently struck by lightning, reanimating the J-man yet again!

With his buddy becoming Jason’s first victim in X number of years, Tommy races into town to alert the cops and instantly makes an enemy of no-shit Sheriff Garris, who locks him away, assuming the boy is just acting out on his traumatic psychosis. Meanwhile, Jason takes out a few more people, including some dorky paintballing execs and the head counsellors of the recently re-opened Camp Crystal Lake, I mean, Camp Forest Green.

jason2Yep, camp is back on and this time there are even kids about! This is one element that richly enhances the likeability of Jason Lives. While Parts 1 and 2 were set at camp, neither were operating and, summer camp is what Friday the 13th is all about. Trees, cabins, pontoons and open fires – it’s all here.

It just so happens that one of the four remaining counsellors is the Sheriff’s daughter Megan, who, unlike pop, takes an instant liking to Tommy, who is released and flees back to the cemetery to try and prove that Jason has risen, only to find the grave covered up, albeit now containing Tommy’s friend Hawes. Garris ejects Tommy from town and warns him to stay away permanently while Jason collects additional victims on his way back to the camp.

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The murders are discovered and blamed on Tommy, who joins forces with Megan to entrap Jason and send him back to the bottom of Crystal Lake where he belongs. Once Jay finally encounters some horny teenagers, things kick in to gear. There are some creative murders and back to basics stalking sequences and, although the bloodletting is comic-styled and of reduced effect (despite still being cut down), the film plays well to its simplified approach.

friday the 13th part vi jason lives darcy demoss nikkiCase in point is with the murders of counsellors Sissy and Paula. Jason is lurking around camp, scaring some of the little kids who inadvertently wake up and see him. We know he’s there. They’re paranoid that something’s up… They play a card game called ‘Camp Blood’… After Sissy disappears (snatched out of the window and beheaded), one of the campers discovers a bloody machete and brings it to Paula, who escorts her back to bed and returns to her own cabin to find that the machete has vanished and the phone is out… Then the door swings open…

It’s an excellently directed scene featuring a sympathetic character versus the boogeyman.

Obviously, Tommy and Megan return to save the kids and fight Jason, the Sheriff learns the truth and an Alice Cooper rocker plays out over the credits: He’s back! The man behind the mask! One of several Cooper songs to feature on the soundtrack.

Jason Lives is the (intentionally) funniest film of the series; wisely avoiding out and out parody – save for the ‘Jason does James Bond’ opening – and opting for a classic gothic feel to its horror opus: floating mists, the lightning storm, the creepy cemetery and the shadowy trees. Oddly, it’s about the one entry to feature no nudity but you’d hardly notice, even during the requisite sex scene. The characters are drawn much more sharply than other instalments, where they exist only to die gruesomely. McLoughlin largely avoids stereotypes, squeezing nice attributes out of even the bit-parters, although Cooke’s heroine isn’t ultimately successful in her role.

My third favourite of the series after the original two, things went serious again for The New Blood as theatrical grosses dipped further. But this one is 80’s slasher perfection: big hair, pop metal, and a horror icon.

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Blurbs-of-interest: Tom Fridley was in Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge; Darcy DeMoss was in Return to Horror High; Renée Jones was in Deadly Lessons.

Valley of the Cheapjack Franchises: CAMP BLOOD

Camp Crystal Lake was known as Camp Blood by the locals, ‘cos of all the, y’know, DEATH. A film called Camp Blood peaked my interest over a decade ago when browsing the bottom shelf of the horror section. It’s time to avoid that section no more once again as I save you from suffering through another stack o’ shite slash…

campbloodCAMP BLOOD

1 Stars 1999/18/73m

“Wide open with nowhere to run.”

Director/Writer: Brad Sykes / Cast: Jennifer Ritchkoff, Michael Taylor, Tim Young, Bethany Zolt, Courtney Taylor, Joe Hagerty.

Body Count: 11


If I’d made this film, I’d forgive you for calling it a pile of shit. I would, honestly. Whether Brad Sykes would forgive you – or indeed me – is another matter…

The title alone informs us that this is going to rip of Friday the 13th to some extent, but there’s also some Blair Witch in there too. Within two minutes we’re privy to some gratuitous nudity and the obligatory slashing that occurs everytime somebody disrobes in the woods. Try it and see!

Four city folk drive out into the woods to spend the weekend at Camp Blackwood but are, of course, stalked and slain by a clow-masked, machete-toting loon. Every predictable element is tossed into this shit salad: the insane old man who declares them to be doomed, a crappy legend that’s about as frightening as goldfish (but still manages to necessitate dialogue such as “I just can’t stop thinking about that story…”), characters who jog as slowly as possible away from the looming killer, cell phones fail, walking near a twig means you’ve sprained your ankle and therefore you can’t walk… It’s unrelenting.

By far the worst thing occurs when the final girl escapes and is accused of being behind it all and the other actors who played her now-dead friends don new roles as cops and nurses etc with barely any attempt to alter their appearances. Jason wept…

*

campblood2CAMP BLOOD 2

2000/18/75m  1 Stars

“It’s not over!”

Director/Writer: Brad Sykes / Cast: Jennifer Ritchkoff. Garett Clancy, Missy Hansen, Mark Overholt, Jane Johnson, Timothy Patrick, Ken X, Lisa Marie Bolick, Courtney Burr.

Body Count: 9

Dire-logue: “Sometimes it feels like I’m dead too.”


Before torture-porn there was torture-quality. As if one of these films wasn’t bad enough, the same ‘production’ team return for another helping of the same with absolutely no lessons learnt from their previous outing.

One year after surviving the Camp Blackwood slayings, a director with as little talent as Brad Sykes invites sole survivor / prime suspect Tricia – who has been locked away in an asylum that has an inch-thick wooden door to keep her confined – to be the ‘technical advisor’ on his screen immortalisation of the events according to her statement.

Without any explanation whatsoever, the doctors just let her leave without a chaperone, an electronic tag or a T-shirt that says “Hi there! If I go mental and try to kill you, return me to Loonsville Asylum!”

So she goes along on the shoot and another clown-masked nutter, who’s already done away with some horny teens, comes a stalkin’. Tricia, three actors and the entire crew of three become the victims of more dreadful killing, including machete in the mouth and a person who dies from a severed hand.

More attempted in-jokes – one character is named Adrienne Palmer – and a rushed open ending, in which the killer survives first degree burns that don’t even singe their hair and multiple machete slashes and then gives the clown mask to Tricia who wanders off into the woods with it. That’s the freakin’ end!

There is a third movie, which is called Within the Woods. I point blank refuse.

Blurbs-of-interest: Courtney Taylor played Mary Lou Maloney in Prom Night III, hence one of the characters is called Mary Lou. Tim Young was in Scarecrow, the other cheapjack franchise!

Valley of the Cheapjack Franchises: SCARECROW

Call me good, call me bad, call me anything you want baby… Today, lazy will do. Yes, it’s three reviews in one hit. Why? Well, is there any point in really going into detail over a trio of films with about as many distinguishing features as Tom Sizemore’s career prospectus? Avoid thy Blockbuster bottom shelf no more – it’s the Scarecrow “trilogy”…

scarecrow

SCARECROW

2.5 Stars  2003/18/87m

“You’ve never been stalked like this…”

Director: Emmanuel Itier / Writers: Jason White, Emmanuel Itier & Bill Cunningham / Cast: Tim Young, Tiffany Shepis, Aristide Sumatra, Todd Rex, Jen Richey, John Moore, Jason Simon, Roxanna Bina, Mark Irvingsen, Belinda Gavin, Sonja Ecker.

Body Count: 17

Dire-logue: “This town…this place…evil lurks here.”


Lonely teenage dork Lester is to his school what a Rubik’s Cube is to a cow: useless. Possibly because he looks 35, he is tormented by the popular kids until be makes a friend in Sheriff’s daughter Judy, played by Pink-lite Shepis. But when Lester sees her kissing one of his bullies, he storms home and picks a fight with his mom’s trailer-trash boyfriend, who ends up strangling Lester in a nearby cornfield, beneath its scarecrow centrepiece and setting it up to look like a suicide.

A short time later, a back-flipping, wise-cracking scarecrow, now possessed by Lester’s vengeful spirit, returns to town to get his own back. Most of the murders are sloppy sickle deaths but there’s also a spade in the neck and death-by-frying-pan. Curiously, there’s only one female victim, Lester’s nasty teacher who gets a board-pointer in the head, odd considering the abundance of female characters.

The Troma-rooted production department do their best to make this outing look good and for the most part they manage to paper over the budget cracks efficiently enough, but poor acting and odious retorts from the rather piss-poor looking foe turn it all into a damp squib. All the same, it’s a cheap night out kinda deal (considering it was shot in 8 days!), which gives thanks to Dario Argento and several famous horror icons in the credits! Bless.

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SCARECROW SLAYER

2003/18/87m 1 Stars

“He cuts to the chase.”

Director: David Michael Latt / Writers: Bill Cunningham, David Michael Latt & Joel Newman / Cast: Tony Todd, Nicole Kingston, David Castro, Steven Schultz, Scott Carson, Todd Rex, Jessica Mattson, Elizabeth Perry, Steven Glinn, Scott Stepp.

Body Count: 17

Dire-logue: “You know, you have a real small penis for a guy who’s a real big dick!”


Scarecrow uno may have been cheap but it looks like a billion dollar project compared to its skid row follow-up, with which was shot back to back. Tony Todd – appearing purely for the paycheque, I must assume – is a nutty farmer who saw his daddy impaled on a pitchfork by a scarecrow when he was a sprog and has since guarded his own ‘crow with a frenzied grin on his face.

When two frat pledges show up with the intention of stealing it, he accidentally shoots one of them dead. Dead dude’s soul is sucked into the scarecrow and he spends the rest of the film following around his Jennifer Love Hewitt-after-bad-reconstructive-surgery girlfriend, killing randoms for no identifiable rhyme or reason. Maybe when you become a scarecrow that looks as convincing as a nine-year-old’s homemade Halloween costume the trauma is just too much to take?

Dorky Lester had motive but the scarecrow here, mercifully devoid of one-liners, has no reason to do anything it does. The other frat boy, Karl, who’s a little bit special in an eerie way, spends most of the time trying to persuade people to go back to the field and fails to react credibly to almost everything that occurs. Karl sacrifices himself and somehow becomes another scarecrow and the film ends with the two of them duking it out like two kids making a home movie tribute for their WWF fandom.

CGI gore-jobs, horrible acting and some of the most stupid characters on celluloid digital ass-rape any enjoyment out of this one, although Jessica Mattson supplies a couple of light chuckles as the ditsy girlfriend of a frat brother. But that’s it.

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SCARECROW GONE WILD

2.5 Stars  2004/15/88m

“He’s the death of the party!”

Director/Writer: Brian Katkin / Cast: Matthew Linhardt, Samantha Aisling, Caleb Roehrig, David Zelina, Ken Shamrock, Kristina Sheldon, Tara Platt, Jeff Rector, Lisa Robert, Travis Parker, Lindsay Douglas, Sean Flynn, Eric Forte, Steve Worley.

Body Count: 15

Dire-logue: “If I hear the words “let’s split up,” I will bitch-slap the both of you.”


The ropey plastic scarecrow returns for its third and final outing and manages to improve on the horrendous effort that was Scarecrow Slayer: a college football team initiate four new players by carting them out to a cornfield…blah blah blah…mythical killer scarecrow…blah blah…one of them lashes out…blah blah blah…slips into diabetic coma…blah…becomes the scarecrow…blah blah…

The rest of the team and their bimbo girlfriends head off to the beach for Spring Break where carnage of a pavlovian extent unfolds as the scarecrow turns up (yes… it’s a scarecrow on the beach) and sickles them all. The duo of good kids figure out that they need to bring their friend out of his coma to stop all the killin’ but for everyone else it’s just too damn late.

Like the first two films and many other cheapo efforts, the script is hampered by annoying melodramatic altercations between the testosterone-fuelled cast members (“who are you calling bitch, bitch?”) but thankfully they all die. The scarecrow even runs one of them over in a truck! The overlong finale tries to add some tension and fortunately the happily-ever-after ending is skewered in a barrage of gory violence a few (screen) weeks after the massacre (which everyone else has forgotten about).

No more Scarecrow films have turned up yet, but when you’ve sent the damn thing to a beach and had it drive a fucking pickup truck, what can you do next? Scarecrow on the Moon? Scarecrow at the Louvre? For a good scarecrow slasher film, seek out Night of the Scarecrow (not to be confused with Dark Night of the Scarecrow) or if you want something even worse than Scarecrow Slayer, try Dark Harvest.

Blurbs-of-interest: Tim Young was in Camp Blood; Belinda Gavin was in Final Examination; Mark Irvingsen was in When a Killer Calls; low-end horror queen Tiffany Shepis has also been in Bloody Murder 2: Closing Camp, Dead Scared, Home Sick and had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role in Detour. Tara Platt was in Back Slash. Tony Todd was also in Hatchet, it’s sequel, and the first two Final Destination films (as well as contributing a voice to the third) and also iMurders and Jack the Reaper. Brian Katkin also directed Slaughter Studios.

Light up your Crack-O-Lantern – it’s Emo-ween

halloween2HALLOWEEN II

 2.5 Stars  2009/18/118m

“Family is forever.”

Director/Writer: Rob Zombie / Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Scout Taylor-Compton, Sheri Moon Zombie, Tyler Mane, Brad Dourif, Danielle Harris, Margot Kidder, Mary Birdsong, Brea Grant, Angela Trimbur, Betsy Rue, Chase Vanek, Daniel Roebuck, Weird Al Yankovic.

Body Count: 20

Dire-logue: “Bad taste is the petrol that drives the American dream…”


When you collect slasher films you resign yourself to seeing your expectations dashed time and time again. Promo will attempt to convince you that, say, Teenage Death Camp Massacre Part VI is the best horror film in years, only for it to be about as pleasurable as rectal surgery. Annoying as this is (and do I learn? No.), the law of binary opposites means that occasionally a film will be bad-mouthed so much that you hold off watching it, only for it to turn out to be not that bad…

Rob Zombie’s Halloween II is certainly no worse than his 2007 effort to ‘re-envision’ the yarn of Michael Myers. In fact, by choosing not to remake any elements for his sequel, H2 is slightly more bearable in those terms. Be not fooled, this is by no means a great film, it barely flirts with competence at times but I was at least engaged for the most part.

Laurie and Michael are collected from the scene we left them in at the end of the 2007 film. She goes to hospital with Annie and his body is carted off in the direction of the morgue, only to be lost when the ambulance hits a cow (!) and Michael is reanimated and scoots off in search of Laurie. This is about as close as we get to 1981’s Halloween II as we’re going to find ourselves as he turns up at Haddonfield Memorial, kills some poor schmucks and chases Laurie – and then she wakes up. Was this a dream? A flashback? We’re never clear.

What is unfortunately clear is that – two years later – Laurie has become a gothic, potty-mouthed rebel who now despises Annie and Sheriff Brackett (with whom she lives), hates her shrink (Margot Kidder’s cameo), hangs out with ‘less desirables’ in a conspiracy bookstore and eventually finds out that she’s Michael’s sister, thanks to Dr Loomis’ book on Myers being promoted locally. Loomis has also changed, he’s now a self-obsessed egocentric touting his book on TV and being ridiculed by Weird Al (!!). And finally Michael, now in full hobo garb – complete with Santa-beard – follows around a vision of his Mom, his younger self and a horse (!!!) as they lure him back in the direction of Haddonfield to reunite the clan. In English, go kill Laurie.

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Wah wah wah, no one understands meeeee!

Yes, kill her. She’s a bitch! Really, she is. Whether Scout Taylor-Compton is cursed to forever appear in crappy horror remakes and their various offshoots is a mystery and she’s not entirely at fault for how the character has been written but she’s a shoo-in for most unlikeable final girl, like, EVER! Come Halloween, Laurie decides to get drunk and go partying with her scuzzy friend Harley and her quite nice friend Mya, all dressed as Rocky Horror characters. Michael comes too, kills a couple of people at the party and then chases after Laurie all over again. Thankfully, this chase doesn’t go on as long as the one in the first film but is complicated by Laurie sharing Michael’s visions of Mom and young Mikey. What? No, seriously, what???

What is good in the film is the sense of the consequential: so few movies in the genre ever look into the recovery of the survivors, their families, the profiteering that goes on. Loomis’ book-signing is good and Annie finally telling Laurie what a cow she’s become is good – she survived too! Speaking of whom, Danielle Harris is great in the role and would’ve made a far more appealing heroine this time around, hell, even Brea Grant (as Mya) racks up more sympathy in her meagre screentime.

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I expected ultra-violence here and some of the kills are needlessly protracted; there’s as much sleaze as before – strip clubs, topless girls randomly littered around the place, aggressive attitudes towards sex and nonchalant attitudes towards death, possibly Zombie’s intention, note the Direlogue choice. Halloween II is a tad amoral; but it’s okay. No more, no less. Tolerable. Michael being reduced down to a maskless nobody by the end – who frickin’ speaks - could be why so many individuals feel the series has flatlined. The announcement of a Halloween III for 2011, which is rumoured to be another reboot, means that whoever takes the reigns from here on out (and I hear it’s Todd Farmer – oh God) has their work cut out for them if they’re going to resuscitate the Myers’ franchise.

Blurbs-of-interest: Actors carried over from the first film were McDowell, Taylor-Compton, Dourif, Mane, Harris and Rob’s wife (whose role is pretty much crow-barred in); see the blurbs here for their other appearances. Brea Grant was in Midnight Movie; Margot Kidder was in Black Christmas and The Clown at Midnight; Betsy Rue was in My Bloody Valentine 3D and Groupie; Angela Trimbur was later in The Final Girls; and Daniel Roebuck was in Final Destination.

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