Tag Archives: spoilers

Stock Background Characters 101: Doomed Security Personnel

In this feature, we examine the lesser beings of the slasher movie realm, which, if you’re making your own slasher film, could provide a good cast roster for you.

No killer or final girl profiles here, this is a celebration of those underlings who made the most of their fleeting flirtation with stardom. And usually died.


Overview: Doomed security personnel (DSPs) are as old as the hills in the slasher realm. They’re the cop or security guard, hardly ever credited with a name beyond something like Officer Bob, who just happen to get in the way during the killer’s tantrum and commonly end up near the top of the body count list, crumpled and forgotten in the corner with a barbecue fork sticking in their eye.

Linguistic Snapshot: “Hello? Who’s there? This abandoned roller disco, which is rumoured to be haunted after the murders ten years ago tonight, is off-limits after hours!”

Styling: Almost all DSPs are adult males who wear uniforms with epaulets, sometimes hats, the faithful flashlight, buckled belts and – if they’re lucky – holstered weapons (fat lotta good they’ll do). Security guards are quite often overweight and usually seem to bear facial hair of some description.

Hallmarks: A lackadaisical work ethic is a must, there’s no time for motivation in this job. Just hang around with your coffee and doughnuts and dismiss the hysterical teenage girl who says everyone is dead… Hey – she’s a pretty lil thang!

Downfall: Despite being a full grown man, DSP is often more naive than the teenagers who will later die, though it is his job to go and check out that weird noise, but he’ll also squat down to feel for the killer’s pulse and ignore the final girl’s pleas to turn around or follow her in the firm belief she’s just mental and he can best the bastard!

Genesis: The first DSP I can think of is probably Jennings the cop in Black Christmas who is supposed to guard the sorority house but instead is found in his car with a cut throat.

There’s Mr Garrett who makes the fatal error of investigating the basement in Halloween II; Todd the country music loving security guard in The Initiation; the cop who shoots the wrong Santa in Silent Night, Deadly Night (“so far all you’ve done is harm!”) and the campus security cop, Mitch, who we don’t know if is dead or just asleep in Final Exam.

Wake the hell up!

Legacy: In the late 80s, DSP turned up all over the show, such as the ill-conceived ‘comedy cops’ from Halloween 5 who were given their own clown-theme every time they bumbled on to the screen before Michael answered our prayers and did them in with a pitchfork.

When Scream pushed open the floodgates for the 90s rebirth, we all cooed “Noooo!” when Sarah Michelle Gellar’s ride home got out to help a stranded stranger fix his truck in I Know What You Did Last Summer, knowing well in advance of him that this cop was about to eat some hook and even the assigned agents in Scream 2 were swatted away like flies by the killer.

However, there were a couple of exceptions made in both Halloween H20 and Urban Legend where the campus security guards not only lived but were also instrumental in the heroine’s escape and apprehension of the killer. LL Cool J may have survived multiple bullet wounds when mistaken for Michael Myers (they look so similar with their pasty white- …uhhh) but he returned to drag Jamie Lee Curtis away as she stabbed her brother and Loretta Devine’s blaxploitation loving rent-a-cop saved Alicia Witt’s ass, also surviving being shot, and got to kick some major killer-ass in the sequel, and she did it all with sassy one-liners and attitude.

There’ve been plenty more failed attempts of rescue by police academy failures – the poor schmuck ranger who utters but a handful of words to Desmond Harrington in Wrong Turn before an arrow goes through his eye; the nightwatchman of the haunted fairground in Dark Ride who might’ve just saved the day were it not for the head-splitting blade the killer thunked in his noggin and lest we forget the Valentine horndog, Detective Vaughn, far more interested in Denise Richards’ slender derriere than solving a murder case that he quite literally loses his head over.

Yes sirree, anyone considering a career in security should pick their assignments carefully, ‘cos you’re not safe at prep school, university, the woods, the old abandoned fairground, the mall, your squad car, hospitals, dilapidated hotels, factory yards, or even space…

It kind of reminds me of that scene in the first Austin Powers where the poor, unnamed henchman’s wife is informed of his untimely passing… Poor schmucks just trying to make a decent living – let’s hope they’re all drinking buds in the next life, comparing wounds and playing trumps over how prolific a maniac it was who got them in the end… RIP, not-very-good security dudes, if only you swapped shifts with Bob.

13 things to love about Friday the 13th

It’s that day again… The time of year when a gazillion Jason groupies shove their old VHS into the player and pay tribute to the family Voorhees and all of their unfortunate teenage victims. A bit luckier than Halloween fans who have an unmovable date but once a year.

Anyway, let’s share in my favourite 13 things about Friday the 13th and all glow with a sort of inner harmony. Or just go and watch one of them.


campcrystallake1aOh how I love the very notion of Camp Crystal Lake. What a fucking amazing name for a summer camp. None of this patronising theft of Native American words to make it sound all rustic and wildernessy, pure and simple and yet just a little bit spooky, living up to its reputation as Camp Blood.


Surely no one can deny the coolness of the blurry, floaty head of Mrs Voorhees at the climax of Part 2; “it’s all done, Jason… You’ve done your job well and mommy is pleased.” And poor, lost puppy-like Jay buys into it for a few moments, reminding us all that he’s only doing what he does because he misses his mommy.


friday-repBodies are tossed through windows, blades shoot through bunks into victims and, seen here, trussed corpses spring from trees, but only when the final girl is about…


f3aA favourite ingredient in the genre of mine, rooting from here I imagine, the scary tale around the fire, a telling of the creepy local legend. I was happy to see that they resurrected the scenario in the 2009 reboot.


THE Friday final girl of choice for many, Amy perfected the role of Ginny in Part 2, using her skills as a child psych major to best Jason and ultimately survive. Subsequent heroines of Crystal Lake were good but they paled in comparison to the powerhouse of final girl-dom that is Amy.


f13-boobsI’ve never much seen the reason for the endless toplessness at Crystal Lake but it offends me not. I quite like the ridiculous scenarios that initiate the quick removal of blouses and bras. A New Beginning and the reboot are tied with the most nudity and, conversely to those only casually familiar with the films, there’s no skin at all in Jason Lives and only fleeting glimpses in the original, Part III and Jason Takes Manhattan. How the hell do I know this shit!?


So he can survive a machete in the shoulder and an axe in the head but once he was properly ‘killed’ by Tommy Jarvis, Jason found some obscure methods of coming back from the dead over and over – or rather these ways found him: lightning bolt, underwater electrical current and even psychic chick, proving you can’t keep a good psycho down.


Baghead_jasonBefore the iconic hockey mask, there was the sack. Hell, it creeped me out big time when I first saw it. That lone eyehole combined with the dungarees and the check shirt making Jay look like some sort of mutant potato sack head farmer.


f13-futureConsidering there are 12 films in the franchise to date, it’s a curiosity that there are only a handful of well known names dotted throughout its history… Kevin Bacon is likely to forever remain the most famous actor associated with the series prior to his fame ‘kicking in’. Little Corey Feldman debuted in The Final Chapter alongside Crispin Glover and sorta-famous Kelly Hu played Eva in Jason Takes Manhattan.


The 80s were littered with unique self-styling, from the mullets scarcely seen through the Jason movies to this, a whole look best summed up by punk guitarist JJ (Saffron Henderson) in Jason Takes Manhattan.


Yet again I defer to Part 2 - my favourite – for the short, sharp shocks that punctuate it: this is a great case in point… Ginny (that lovely Steel woman again) shuts herself inside a small bathroom and waits…listens…slowly leans away from the door to try the window and then… ARGH!!!


legacyThe Burning, Madman, Sleepaway Camp (and its sequels), Cheerleader Camp, Bloody Murder (and its sequels) and Camp Daze all replicated the summer camp setting to slightly different effect. Some even had kids at the camps and opted killing them off. Proof of just how influential a critically panned $500,000 B-movie is.


Where would we be without Jason himself? The malformed 11-year-old who reportedly drowned in Crystal Lake in 1957 because the counsellors weren’t paying any attention, they were making love while that young boy drowned etc… He’s a true icon for a bunch of twisted reasons but who cares… Jason, we love you!

Lock the door when you’re on the throne

psycho-iiiPSYCHO III

3.5 Stars  1986/18/89m

“Norman’s back to normal. But mother’s off her rocker!”

Director: Anthony Perkins / Writer: Charles Edward Pogue / Cast: Anthony Perkins, Diana Scarwid, Jeff Fahey, Roberta Maxwell, Hugh Gillin, Robert Alan Browne, Juliette Cummins, Katt Shea Ruben, Gary Bayer.

Body Count: 5

Direlogue: “I must have left the bathroom in a real mess…” / “I’ve seen it worse.”

Back to the Bates Motel for Round III, this time directed by Perkins himself and set a matter of months after the events of Psycho II, which saw Norman bludgeon friendly old waitress – and closet psychette – Mrs Spool to death after she claimed she was his real mother.

The local cops are still looking for Spool, who is placed in her window seat in the Bates house, and bolshy reporter Maxwell has turned up, intent to do a story on Norman about rehabilitated offenders.

psycho3-2To further complicate matters, a young Novice (Scarwid) comes to the motel after a dramatic crisis of faith caused the death of her Mother Superior – it doesn’t help Norman’s twitchy state of mind that she looks like a doppelganger of Marion Crane…and is called Maureen Coyle!

Mother, of course, takes an instant dislike to Maureen and decides to do away with her, only to find that Maureen has already tried to do away with herself. Saved from suicide, everyone thinks Norman saved a life, with the exception of the nosy reporter chick, who tells all to the Bates Motel’s untrustworthy new assistant manager, Duke (Fahey).

People soon begin to die: Duke’s one-nighter in a phone box recreation of that shower scene and one very unfortunate girl who comes to party with a truckload of college football players who suffers the indignity of getting her throat slashed while on the can!


Nosy reporter chick’s digging on the vanished Mrs Spool soon unearths a connection to Norma Bates and she decides that she needs to get into the Bates house for answers, where we’ll find out once and for all who’s dressed up in a wig, dress and hefty shoes and brandishing a shiny kitchen knife…

…And it’s Norman. But then, who else could it be this time around? There are no other suspects to pick from, unlike Psycho II, which functions more as a mystery. Although this unmasking is both unsurprising and a tad disappointing, it does allow for us to see Norman dressed up as Mom for the first time in 26 years and we get to witness this once in a lifetime expression of insane glee…

psycho3-1Psycho III is an underrated entry; it’s almost as good as its predecessor and in some ways it’s more fun. At a lean hour and a half, it never becomes tiresome and there’s a defined thread of humour running through it, with some great lines and nods back to the original. Perkins directs more than competently and his cast support him well, with a nice twist on who we expect to become the heroine at the end. Although number four provides some interesting insights, it’d have been better if things were left here.

Blurbs-of-interest: Perkins appeared in Destroyer two years later; Gillin and Browne both returned from Psycho II; Juliette Cummins was Robin in Friday the 13th Part V, Sheila in Slumber Party Massacre II and was also in Deadly Dreams; Jeff Fahey was in Fallen Angels; and most interestingly, Katt Shea – toilet victim – actually directed both Stripped to Kill movies and The Rage: Carrie 2.

Somebody Hostel Me


1 Stars  2007/18/98m

“There are worse things than dying.”

Director/Writer: Christopher B. Stokes / Cast: Marques Houston, Omari Grandberry, Brooklyn Sudano, Alexis Fields, Sonny King, Brittany Oaks, Chris Jones, Jim Wilkey, John Wiltshire.

Body Count: 6

Dire-logue: “I didn’t expect this when I came here.”

Wow…there was so much wrong with this one. That tagline is spot on, there are worse things than dying, and watching Somebody Help Me - surely a hidden message regarding You Got Served director Stokes’ incompetent storytelling ability – is one of them.

In fact, when I sat down to watch it last week, it induced one hell of a headache that Ibuprofen couldn’t combat. When I caught the second half a few days later, I realised that some higher force was simply trying to warn me.

The only notable aspect of this film is that the primary cast members are black. And there’s this cliche that “the black guy always dies first” in slasher films. Now, I thought about this while the film ground on in the background. Somebody Help Me was my 530th slasher film and of all of those, the only occasions I can think of where this happens are Elm Street 4 and Scream 2. That’s not to deny the mortality rate for black characters in the genre – they rarely survive, but they also rarely buy it first. Same goes for slutty cheerleaders.

Anyway, two couples head out to Lake Arrowhead to celebrate nauseatingly sweet Serena’s 21st birthday. They meet some friends and party overnight and into the next day. Then they all disappear until only two guys are left standing. Everyone else has been nabbed by a loony surgeon who keeps them in cages and carries out various fatal procedures on them one by one… Yes, it’s Somebody Hostel Me, For I Am A Lost Turista.

My dog has a cage like this. He can escape from it in 5 minutes.

My dog has a cage like this. He can escape from it in 5 minutes.

An ear is cut off (fatal?), eyes are plucked out, a girl is scalped, another seemingly dies from being denied her inhaler. It’s soon down to Brendan (Houston, the now-grown-up twins’ neighbour from Sister Sister) to save everyone, aided by a freaky little blonde girl who sings “Ring Around the Roses” whilst on swings.

Final boys rarely work and this is no exception: we just don’t worry about a big guy hiding behind trees or under tables, there’s no fear attachment to his plight. One of several fatal errors the film makes.

Somebody Help Me goes on to pour out cliche after cliche and bothers to explain next to nothing. Who is the little girl? How can the killer survive being stabbed and shot with absolutely no impediments? Why was the phone out of order but working five minutes later?

The “race switch” ensures that all the black kids survive and their white friends all die (bar one who was alive but absent in the obligatory wrapped-in-blankets-outside-ambulance epilogue). The film attempts to make this some kind of running gag: when asked by the sheriff what their missing friends look like, one of them replies “white” having previously been against calling the cops because “we a bunch of black folks in a white town, we don’t want to scare everybody.” Like, seriously, that’s the pinnacle of your creative aptitude?

Agenda or not, I wanted them all to die: black, white, old, young, male, female, transgendered. Save for the weird girl, nobody evoked the slightest bit of interest or empathy and Stokes’ dreadful screenwriting seems only concerned with issues of skin colour over tension, credibility or coherence – it’s like he rented a handful of slasher films and banged out a script in a spare afternoon. Somebody needed help alright and it’s pretty clear it was Christopher Stokes.

Forget him not


2 Stars  2006/18/89m

“New summer. New secret. New slaughter.”

Director: Sylvain White / Writer: Michael Weiss / Cast: Brooke Nevin, Ben Easter, David Paetkau, Torrey DeVitto, Seth Packard, K.C. Clyde, Michael Flynn, Clay Taylor, Don Shanks, Star LaPoint.

Body Count: 7

**WARNING** MAJOR-ass spoilers follow

So, news of a third Last Summer stirred around 2003-ish and soon it was confirmed that there’d be no Hewitt or Prinze returning to battle Captain Birdseye’s evil twin one last time and that things would start anew elsewhere.

Well, that’s mostly true. Unfortunately, the decision to resurrect The Fisherman as the choice villain tosses one fucking huge spanner into the works and thus summons up one of the worst reveals in horror movie history.

Far away from the fishing port of South Carolina and even further from the Bahamas, Broken Ridge, Colorado, is the setting for round 3, in which a quintet of teens-about-town share the legend of The Fisherman who hunts down teenagers on July 4th if they’re keeping naughty secrets. This occurs at the top of a Ferris wheel for some reason. About two minutes later, The Fisherman appears at the carnival and chases them away.

iakwydls5No… it’s all a prank, which was supposed to end with their bud PJ ‘falling’ off a building roof on to some pre-positioned mats. Instead, he lands on a tractor and, y’know, dies. His four friends decide to let the police go on thinking that a killer was on the loose, burn the costume and toss the hook into a lake.

One year later, they’re largely estranged in a retread of themes from the original film. Then evident heroine Amber receives fifty I Know What You Did Last Summer text messages, which serves to reunite the group to track down who sent them. More torment follows, one of the four apparently slashes his own throat with a hook and The Fisherman attacks Amber from on top of a moving cable car. Or gondola as they refer to it!??


Come July 4th, the teens decide to stay in town so that Zoe can mime to Weapons of Pleasure’s admittedly rockin’ Daredevil in the hope of attracting the eye of a talent scout, instead only attracting Mr Slicker, who begins doing away with the rest of them and anyone else who gets in the way.

OK spoiler time: with two major suspects deadified, who is it? Angry girlfriend? Boyfriend? Mom? Dad? Sister? Dog? No. It’s no one. It’s just… The Fisherman. It’s the legend that kills. He’s some mouldy looking supernatural fella who can pretty much teleport where he wants and not die.

Observe the film’s final shot, which I did not do anything to:

iakwydls1Who the fuck thought people would be happy with this ending? The whole winning aspect of the premise is that you don’t know who’s fucking with you, what they might do and when. Screw that, let’s make it a ghost of somebody with no stake in what actually happened. To make things worse, there are a couple of extra girls who appear a few times early on, either of whom would’ve been acceptable over this! One of them’s even on the cover and she doesn’t do anything except say things like; “He’s so cute; oh my God; I love your dress; Facebook!; Jay-Z’s so talented!”

Breathe. Until this disastrous turn, I’ll Always Know functions predictably but passably as a revenge slasher film. It’s palpably cheaper than its fore-bearers and the continual flash edits are annoying attempts to jazz up pedestrian direction and photography. The characters are largely anodyne fodder: good girl, bad girl, asshole jock, nice guy, backed up by a group of red herrings.

Persistent rumours of a fourth film may well have been ass-raped by how maligned this stupid film is. My tolerance for crap means it garnered a more than generous two stars for being just about competent for a once over – but I wouldn’t fork out on the box set if you’re only really interested in Jennifer Love Hewitt’s boobs.

An early draft of the next sequel

The next sequel will see the killer use a time machine to make pre-accident threats

Blurbs-of-interest: Paetkau was the ladder-eye victim in Final Destination 2; DeVitto was in Killer Movie; Don Shanks played Michael Myers in Halloween 5 and was in Sweet Sixteen.

1 20 21 22 23 24 27