Tag Archives: spoilers

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!

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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

somebodySOMEBODY HELP 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

illalwaysknowI’LL ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT I STILL THINK I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER

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!??

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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.

Drink yourself dead

slaughteredSLAUGHTERED

1.5 Stars  2009/18/76m

“You’ll be legless… Armless… Headless…”

Director/Writer: Kate Glover / Cast: Chloe Boreham, Christopher Tomkinson, Cassandra Angelia Swaby, Steven O’Donnell, James Kerley, Erica Baron, Michael Lewis, Tudor Vasile.

Body Count: 10


Britain and Australia share a pub culture like no other, different from trendy bars in the city, “the local” is the choice meeting point for all kinds of folk to sup on a pint, or – in the case of many – down so much that you fall asleep and later stagger on home.

A local pub is the setting for this Australian indie flick, which couldn’t have cost much more than a round of beers. With a plot so simple it was doubtlessly scripted on the back of a beermat, Slaughtered‘s got some problems alright with amateur night acting, a crap sound mix and an obvious killer who has absolutely no motive.

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Yeah, that’s right! There’s no big unmasking or soliliquy of why-I-killed-y’all at the end, it just pretty much stops! Where are the cops? Why aren’t they clearing up bodies and collecting evidence? Why did everyone keep working despite the fact they’d found bodies strewn all over the joint?

If it was intended to be a parody, it doesn’t work. It’s funny but not in the right way and suffers from a major case of predictablosis with a second string of budgets disease. Although it must be said the gore jobs aren’t bad at all, despite that in the scene where a girl is forced to ingest shards of broken glass it’s clear as day that there’s nothing in the liquid!

Silly but inoffensive stuff, notable only for being one of the few slasher films directed by a Sheila.

Before you die you see…The Cow

psycho98PSYCHO

3 Stars  1998/15/100m

“Check in. Relax. Take a shower.”

Director: Gus Van Sant / Writers: Robert Bloch & Joseph Stefano / Cast: Vince Vaughn, Julianne Moore, Anne Heche, Viggo Mortensen, William H. Macy, Philip Baker Hall, Robert Forster, James Remar.

Body Count: 2


With all the horror community hoo-hah over the endless stream of remakes n’ such ruining our favourite classics, it’s easy to forget that the most classic of classics got refunked back at the arse end of the 90s.

Although calling Psycho ’98 a remake isn’t strictly true, it’s more like a cover version without any stamp of ownership. You know when Simon Cowell drones on about “you made that song your own” (even though they quite clearly bastardized it), Gus Van Sant’s strangely hollow project to simply re-shoot Psycho in colour with very few modifications of era is similarly perplexing. Cowell, of course, would’ve made it into a musical and cast Leona Lewis as Marion Crane so she can keep bleeding, keep, keep bleeding… OK, crap joke. I’ll slap myself in the face with a custard pie for that one.

psycho98-shower

And so it came to be… Various filmians moaned before the project even went into pre-production and now it’s all but forgotten and it’s easy to see why – it’s been asked a gazillion times but, Mr VS – what was the point?

Besides being in colour, and updating some dialogue and the amount of money Marion Crane makes off with, Psycho ’98 re-treads the boards down the composition of shots, angles, effects work (Arbogast’s backward tumble down the stairs) and characterisations. All I remember of the “new-ness” was that Norman Bates cracks one out watching Marion take a shower and Julianne Moore utters the batty line “hold on while I get my Walkman,” upon which the audience decided to start laughing.

Curiously, Van Sant adds a surreal little montage right before Marion is stabbed, which, I assume was supposed to represent life flashing before her eyes, which included a cow (or possibly a sheep?) in the road. Whassat about? Did she run it over? Was it a foreshadowing? Is it Psycow?

Norman's moo-ther? Har-de-har-harrr

Norman’s moo-ther? Har-de-har-harrr

Otherwise, things otherwise clunk along in a Xerox of 38 years before but the dialogue now sounds out of place (Walkman line excepted) and the almighty cast of players is reduced to imitation rather than expression, making me wonder why any of them would’ve signed up to star in something where there’s so little ‘acting’ for them to do…

Vince Vaughn wasn’t the big star he now is (and possibly now was) back then and does okay with the role but is simply too hulking and broad to play a cross-dressing mama’s boy convincingly. While les hasbian Anne Heche (where’d shego?) is acceptable as Marion and the always lovely Moore is equally fine with being Lila, as is Macy as the detective. Herein lies the blandness of it all – they’re all just fine. Nobody’s gonna win anything for tracing a masterpiece and then painting by numbers.

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That said, a ‘re-imagining’ would’ve only incited more wrath. I recently read an amusing analogy on the IMDb where somebody wrote: “If I put balls on Grandma, that doesn’t make her a ‘re-imagining’ of Grandpa!” I’m not sure what his point was but the carbon-copying does not make the story any less intriguing – it’s still a good yarn and therefore I award ye, strangely pointless remake, three stars.

Blurbs-of-interest: Heche played Missy in I Know What You Did Last Summer; Viggo Mortensen had been in Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Robert Forster was also in Uncle Sam and Maniac Cop 3; James Remar (Dexter’s dad!) was in coma-inducing med-stalker Exquisite Tenderness.

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