Tag Archives: suck it

Today I love… Halloween: Resurrection (God forgive me)

Halloween: Resurrection… at the time of writing it has a 4.0 rating on IMDb and everyone moans how crap it is. But not me, no! I can’t help it, there’s just something about it that I like…

  • It’s not Busta Rhymes’ sorry excuse for acting;
  • It’s not the beyond-ridiculous Twist of Fury that is the explanation for Michael being alive;
  • And it’s not the stupid ‘murder’ of Laurie Strode (notice that her fall is partly broken by tree branches?)

It’s the slashtasticness of it… As a dead-teenager Halloween-set stalk n’ slash film, it’s just super fun.

  • The slayings are bloody and archetypal of the genre;
  • The final girl is remotely aided by a room full of over-acting teenagers;
  • The theme tinkers along when needed;
  • It’s more than well enough made;
  • And it’s still about 10,000,000 times better than the Rob Zombie films;
  • Tyra Banks makes this face:

There, pool your cash resources and get me therapy.

The 100 Greatest* Slasher Movies Part X: The Top 10

*According to me! Me, me, me! So expect to see some of your faves missing.

I’m both happy and sad to have reached the end of this mammoth task.

To reiterate the placings on this list, these 100 titles were picked from 631 slasher films I’ve seen over 20 odd years, so even to reach the ‘lower’ echelons of the chart means they’re awesome.

See full rundown of notes: #100-91

100. Slumber Party Massacre III (1990)
99. The Prowler (1981)
98. Tormented (2009)
97. Bloody Homecoming (2012)
96. Stagefright (1986)
95. He Knows You’re Alone (1980)
94. Sleepaway Camp (1983)
93. Intruder (1988)
92. Unhinged (1982)
91. A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

#90-81

90. Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
89. Madman (1981)
88. Child’s Play 2 (1990)
87. Camping Del Terrore (1986)
86. Final Exam (1981)
85. Club Dread (2002)
84. Boogeyman 2 (2007)
83. Wishcraft (2001)
82. Opera (1987)
81. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

#80-71

80. Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
79. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
78. 7eventy 5ive (2007)
77. Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
(1985)
76. Scream 3 (2000)
75. My Super Psycho Sweet 16 (2009)
74. Hellbent (2004)
73. Death Bell (2008)
72. Maniac Cop (1988)
71. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

#70-61

70. Coda (1987)
69. The Funhouse (1981)
68. Some Guy Who Kills People (2012)
67. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
66. Bloody Bloody Bible Camp (2012)
65. Pandemonium (1982)
64. Bride of Chucky (1998)
63. The Pool (2001)
62. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
61. Venom (2005)

#60-51

60. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
59. Tenebrae (1982)
58. The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
57. Killer Party (1986)
56. Fatal Games (1983)
55. Julia’s Eyes (2010)
54. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
53. Deadly Blessing (1981)
52. Sorority Row (2009)
51. Final Destination 5 (2011)

#50-41

50. The House on Sorority Row (1982)
49. Cold Prey III (2010)
48. Hot Fuzz (2007)
47. Psycho II (1983)
46. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
45. The Burning (1981)
44. Terror Train (1980)
43. Hollow Man (2000)
42. Session 9 (2001)
41. Anatomy (2000)

#40-31

40. Malevolence (2005)
39. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
38. Psycho Beach Party (2000)
37. Shredder (2001)
36. Flashback (1999)
35. Ripper: Letter from Hell (2001)
34. You’re Next (2011)
33. Scream 4 (2011)
32. Mask Maker (2010)
31. Cut (2000)

#30-21

30. Haute Tension (2003)
29. Wilderness (2006)
28. Final Destination 2 (2003)
27. Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)
26. Friday the 13th (2009)
25. Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)
24. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
23. A Bay of Blood (1971)
22. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
21. Prom Night (1980)

#20-11

20. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
19. Hell Night (1981)
18. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
17. April Fool’s Day (1986)
16. Wrong Turn (2003)
15. Cold Prey II (2008)
14. The Initiation (1983)
13. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
12. Scream (1996)
11. My Bloody Valentine (1981)

THE CRAWFORD TOP 10

10. Scream 2 (1997)

I know, I know… ‘Sequels suck’ might be the general theme of much of Scream 2, but in terms of everything I want out of a slasher film, this one brings it in droves, therefore making it just that tiny bit superior to the first in my eyes.

A couple of years after the Woodsboro murders, Sidney and Randy are at a handsome college when the premiere of the film-based-on-the-book-based-on-the-killings kickstarts a new series of slayings on and around campus. Dewey and Gale are on hand to posit theories, and Cotton Weary has been released from prison after his exoneration – but who is killing everyone and why?

Scream 2, like Final Destination 2, may lack the fresh originality of its predecessor, but sets the bar: Everything is that little bit more polished, the rules established, and the in-jokes more fitting. And for a film that clocks in just shy of 2 hours, it’s never boring (OK, that Greek-play scene maybe). By my decree, the best of its series.

Crowning moment: Sarah Michelle Gellar – surely THE icon of the era – is a sorority girl alone in the house when the weird calls begin…

9. Psycho (1960)

Where would we be without Psycho? Listen to some evangelists and they’d likely say in a better world, But fuck them. That Hitchcock was British means that the ‘American Slasher Film’ owes a lot to our fair shores. Anyway, Jane Leigh steals money on a whim, runs away from her life, but makes the fatal error of checking in off the beaten track at the Bates Motel, where she relaxes a little, has a sarnie with the manager, Norman, and takes a shower…

It just works. Considering how ‘small’ the plot is in correlation to the 104 minute (PAL!) runtime of the film, it’s completely engaging, flawlessly made, and one of the most important films in history. Just imagine if Hitch had been around to make an 80s slasher flick…

Crowning moment: THAT shower scene.

8: Final Destination (2000)

fd14

Average Joe high schooler Alex foresees a plane crash minutes before its departure and gets himself and a few classmates thrown off, only to see his vision come true shortly afterwards.

Later, as the seven surviving ejectees try to move on with their lives, a series of sinister accidents begin claiming them one by one, as if some supernatural dustpan and brush has come to sweep up the lost souls. Alex suspects that Death itself is balancing the books and now every surrounding object is capable of conspiring to take them out.

Comparing this film to its sequels reveals a stark contrast: The characters consider their own mortality, question greater forces controlling their fate, and radiate genuine emotions largely absent in the following movies, that just served up stupid characters to be annihilated, tits, and little to say on the fragility of life.

Crowning moment: The plane crash – at the time criticised for exploiting the huge similarities to the 1996 TWA800 disaster – is expertly realised and fucking terrifying.

7: Cold Prey (2006)

Norway might not carry much weight in international film production, but neigh-sayers be damned when it comes to this back-to-basics slasher that practically redefines the meaning of the word tension.

Five snowboarders drive into the mountains for a days’ shredding only for one to wipeout and break his leg. They take shelter in a closed-down ski-lodge and bed down for the night, only to realise that it already has an anti-social inhabitant who intends on shredding them.

While every trope gets a tick, Cold Prey executes them all the same kind of European style that put fellow Euro-slasher Haute Tension on this list: New landscapes, cultural difference, and language ‘freshen’ up the usual cliches and when it’s down to just the final girl versus the hulking killer, if you’re anything like me you’ll be yelling at your screen for her to run faster, hit harder, and avoid that swinging pick-axe.

Crowning moment: The first murder; brutal, necessary, but almost heartbreaking.

6: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

The brilliant simplicity of “Stay awake or you’ll die” is 90% of Elm Street‘s excellence: A quartet of teenagers discover they’re each having bad dreams about a fire-scarred guy with ‘knives-for-fingers’ who wants to kill them. Only Nancy (Heather Langenkampenschwartzenberger) takes it remotely seriously and her probing begins to uncover a dreadful secret that her parents have been keeping from her.

Like Psycho, Freddy Krueger’s impact on pop culture was phenomenal. People who’d never even seen the films were fans in the 80s: Throw in rap videos, toys, a TV series and all those sequels, Elm Street merched its way into the annals of horror history.

But the original film shouldn’t be understated. Though some of the acting and effects work is quirky at best, some of the nightmare themes are petrifyingly familiar, and Nancy’s vain attempts to get anyone to believe she’s anything less than crazy are as frustrating to witness as they are for her character to endure. Perfect horror.

Crowning moment: Nancy’s mom eventually folds and tells her daughter the horrible truth. In a scene cut from the movie, a deceased sibling once existed, a powerful motivator that would’ve added an emotional punch.

5: Urban Legend (1998)

ul7a

The controversial entrant. Those familiar with Vegan Voorhees will know just how much I stan for this film. Those who aren’t are likely saying WTF!? Third-tier 90s horror it might be, but everything in Urban Legend is cheese-tastically great: The ludicrous plot, the identity of a killer who could never hope to pull it off (but does!), a serious actress as the final girl having to utter the line: “It’s like somebody out there is taking all these stories and making them reality!” without laughing…

So, college kids at a haughty North Eastern campus are being tormented by a Parka-clad killer who bases their murders on those friend-of-a-friend folklore tales. These coincide with their class on the subject, taught by Robert Englund. Everyone thinks it’s got to do with a 25-year-old massacre at the school, although the audience knows for sure that heroine Natalie’s nasty secret is a more likely candidate.

A game cast of semi-knowns occasionally look a bit embarrassed about the material, but it only adds to the appeal of Urban Legend‘s unmatched ridiculousness. Alicia Witt was an ambitious and awesome choice for the lead, and that climactic scene out-bitches Mean Girls tenfold. You can try to dissuade me, but you’ll never do it.

Crowning moment: Couple in a car in the woods, guy gets out to relieve himself, takes a while, the girl starts to hear scratching on the roof…

4. Black Christmas (1974)

Girls at a sorority house being plagued by a series of bizarre and unpleasant phone calls during the festive season are soon targeted by a mystery killer who has taken up residence in their attic. Police and a worried parent are thrown into the mix when a pretty co-ed disappears, while heroine Jess (Olivia Hussey) finds herself with a personal crisis that may or may not be related to what’s happening (and is something you’d never see taken so seriously in such a lowly genre these days).

Once pulled from a TV showing for being “too frightening”, Black Christmas did first a lot of what Halloween ultimately got credit for. But the two are evenly matched, this one focusing in on the characters at the centre of the carnage over and above the horror, most of which comes in one big hit towards the end.

Excellent performances from all, especially Margot Kidder as the vulgar alcohol-fancying Barb, and John Saxon as, you guessed it, a detective, giving him two entries in this Top 10.

Crowning moment: A festive choir of angelic-voiced kids serenade Jess with a chorus of O Come All Ye Faithful while a murder is occurring in an upstairs bedroom. Expertly done, twisted beauty.

3: Halloween (1978)

You thought it was going to win, right? Will this is Vegan Voorhees, not Meat-eating Myers, so it’s bronze position for the most influential slasher film around. Why is it third? I would just rather watch the Top 2, that’s all. Nothing can be said to denigrate how fucking amazing Halloween is. I haven’t dared try and review it in case I screw up. It’s that important.

Nobody hasn’t seen it, but I’ll recycle the plot anyway: Boy murders sister on Halloween night. Fifteen years later, he breaks out of his institution and returns to the town of Haddonfield to do it again. And again. And again. His chosen targets are the friends of shy babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). Only she is cautious enough to pay attention to some of the weird things happening during the school day. And when night falls…

What else is there to say? Astounding brilliant in every possible way: Creepy, scary, never for a moment boring. Only gorehounds might object to the general lack of grue.

Crowning moment: Laurie’s gradual increase of paranoia – who’s the guy across the street? in the car? behind the hedge?

2. Friday the 13th (1980)

Camp Crystal Lake has been closed for over twenty years after an unsolved double murder and recurrent bouts of bad luck every time anybody’s tried to re-open it. When a group of teenage counsellors arrive to set up shop, they’re stalked and slain by a shadowy psycho with an array of cutting implements and a grudge to settle.

I first saw Friday the 13th in the early hours of a June night back in the 90s. It changed everything. That first month or so after I watched it twice or three times a week, literally obsessed with its rustic, isolated, ambience and almost self-parodying nature. It’s a badly made film by most standards but the technical flaws only emphasize an underdog appeal: There’s nothing arty going on, it’s just distilled stalk n’ slash.

Because it’s a fairly simple-minded creature, Friday is an open target for all manner of criticisms. There’s nothing much to think about and it was already hugely predictable within months after the scores of clones, which merged parts of Halloween and this, to try and conquer.

I love it, I never get bored of it, and there’s only one other film I’d rather sit down watch…

Crowning moment: Kevin Bacon’s neck-skewering is an amazing moment, but I love the following scene of Marcie alone in the bathroom cabin as the camera slowly creeps its way ever closer…

The Greatest* Slasher Film of All Time

1. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Five years after the Camp Crystal Lake murders, a nearby counsellor training center is besieged by a masked maniac with a hard-on for slashing up horny teenagers, which happen to be in plentiful supply. Only wisened-up assistant leader Ginny (Amy Steel) has the smarts to escape from the psycho.

A few weeks after discovering Friday the 13th, I made it my mission to repeat the experience. Jason Lives and The New Blood had been shown on cable but weren’t quite up to it, I had low-ish expectations for the £5.99 budget label video cassette I picked up in Portsmouth’s HMV.

Achieving the near-impossible, Friday 2 takes everything awesome from the first film, polishes it until it shines, and then adds half a dozen ejector-seat jump scares and Amy fucking Steel. Amy fucking Steel is the heart of this movie, a final girl forged in horror heaven who proves to be more than a worthy adversary to the B-movie axe murderer named Jason, who was supposed to have died years earlier.

Like Urban Legend, this one ticks all the boxes: Campfire story, pot-smoking, over-sexed counsellors, floating POV-work, a convertible VW Beetle! It’s only flaw is that the excised footage of Carl Fullerton’s makeup work has never been restored, never more frustrating than in the two-for-one shish-ke-bob kill lifted from A Bay of Blood.

An assembly of tweaked-to-perfection genre staples: This is the number one, THE best slasher film out there – deal with it!

Crowning moment: Ginny runs from the killer into a room and closes the door. Hearing nothing, she slowly reaches for the part-open window behind her… Reaches… Reaches… Glass shatters, he outsmarted her! So begins an epic chase to the end.

*

Where the hell is…?

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) I don’t hate it. I just don’t like it very much. Nobody would be stupid enough to deny its influence on the genre, but it does little for me. In a Top 631, I expect to see it around the #300 mark.

Halloween II (1981) The dizzying heights of the original film would be a tough act for anyone to follow. Halloween II is a good film, no more, no less. Carpenter’s inserts near the start are the highlight, but an hour of folks-with-no-names-nor-distinguishing-characteristics being killed before a horror-weary looking Jamie Lee Curtis gets out of her hospital bed wasn’t enough. Chart position estimate: #150

Any other curious absences? Let me know and I’ll tell you why!

The 100 Greatest* Slasher Movies: #100-91

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

Commencement:

100: Slumber Party Massacre III (1990)

Straight-up driller-killer cheese as an impotent loon lays waste to a gaggle of teenage girls gathered at a friend’s house for a sleepover. Over-acting, tits, death by vibrator – SPMIII has it all.

Crowning moment: The remaining few girls strike back with oestrogenic fury, throwing a mix of household chemicals in his face and beating him with crutches n’ stuff.

99: The Prowler (1981)

Gruesome early fare with “the first graduation dance in 35 years” crashed by a psychotic G.I. wielding a nasty pitchfork, who skewers, slashes, and shoots his way around the college campus. Tom Savini’s excellent effects work standout in an otherwise slower-than-hell flick.

Crowning moment: A toss-up between the opening murder (set in 1945) and the nasty-ass shower kill. Points lost for killing the nice teacher but allowing a horny couple to live. See Trade-a-Life II.

98: Tormented (2009)

The United Kingdom’s first theatrically released slasher film in some years: An undead suicide victim, bullied until he hanged himself, reaps his bloody revenge on the responsible group of nasty school kids, including death by pencils up the nose, guillotined hands, and shovel decapitation.

Crowning moment: A half-dressed jock chased across the school grounds and wedgied to his skewery death.

97: Bloody Homecoming (2012)

An attempted date-rape is thwarted, only to start a fire that burns the would-be rapist to death. At the Homecoming Dance of the  teenage friends and the near-victim, they are each stalked and done in by a maniac dressed as a fireman. The fact that the writer is a friend of mine has no bearing on its place here.

Crowning moment: A pleasant excess of chase scenes absent from the horrible Prom Night remake. Which didn’t quite reach the Top 100.

96: Stagefright (1986)

Michele Sovai’s Argento-inspiring gorefest: A famous serial killer hitches a ride into the rehearsal space of a play, dons a creepy bird mask, and proceeds to make cuts to the cast roster. Super gory and unflinchingly brutal, albeit often overrated.

Crowning moment: Ingenue final girl Alicia has to retrieve the key to her escape from beneath the killer’s feet.

95: He Knows You’re Alone (1980)

Amy (Caitlin O’Heaney) is a bride-to-be stalked by a bride-to-be hating killer in this brazen Halloween clone, even down to the tinkling piano score. More notable as an early role for Tom Hanks, there’s a lot of charisma in this tame affair.

Crowning moment: The murder-at-the-slasher-movie intro, which pre-dates the Scream 2 scene by 17 years, and features Russell Todd from Friday the 13th Part 2.

94: Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Not the only Sleepaway Camp film in this countdown, but this Noo Yawk shot Friday the 13th variant has a viciously infamous final shot that turns everything upside down as well as some of the most inventive murders in the genre.

Crowning moment: A group of teenagers run to the water’s edge and gasp, the camera pulls back, and there’s shy Angela, buck naked – and she has a cock!

93: Intruder (1988)

Scott Spiegel’s slasher flick on speed featuring his buddies Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. The teenage employees at a closing down supermarket find themselves done in by an inventive killer, who favours the gorier end of the teen-dispatch spectrum…

Crowning moment: The final girl’s crush having his head forced into a buzz saw in Evil Dead-esque graphic style… Or the head in the box-crusher… A lot of unforgettable slayings in this one.

92: Unhinged (1982)

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A constant cloud of dread hangs over this low-bud Psycho rip-off, which puts three stranded teenage girls into a scary old manor house after a car accident. Perturbed by the weird relationship between the man-hating wheelchair-bound matriarch and her repressed daughter, their time there is soon made worse by a mystery killer hunting them down…

Crowning moment: Shown in the still above, this murder really is a bolt from the blue. Despite appearing on the Video Nasties list, it’s not a particularly grisly one.

91: A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

Or ‘the gay one’. Freddy’s second outing (huzzah!) is littered with clear subtext as he repeatedly takes over camp 80s teen Jesse’s body and makes him kill folks. Such a departure from the winning formula that it’s largely hated, but Freddy was still pretty scary back in ’85…

Crowning moment: The school bus nightmare intro, which captures bad dreaminess perfectly, from Jesse’s inferiority complex to the earth caving in to a hellish underworld…

*

Come back soon for #90 – 81

Valley of the Cheapjack Franchises: SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT

This is about as high-budget as Valley of the… is going to get, parts 1 to 3 of the Silent Night, Deadly Night five-piece franchise. Part 4: Initiation (a.k.a. Bugs) is not a slasher film and Part 5: The Toy Maker, allegedly belongs alongside Halloween III in the kill-kids-with-toys subset.

So, une, deux and trois… Yule be sorry!

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT

3.5 Stars  1984/18/85m

“You’ve made it through Halloween, now try and survive Christmas.”

Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr. / Writer: Michael Hickey / Cast: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Robert Brian Wilson, H.E.D. Redford, Toni Nero, Britt Leach, Nancy Borgenicht, Randy Stumpf, Linnea Quigley, Leo Geter, Will Hare, Danny Wagner, Tara Buckman, Jeff Hansen, Jonathon Best.

Body Count: 13

Dire-logue: “Children, listen to me. I know that you’re very upset and I understand. But I want you to stop that moping. We’re gonna sing.”


There’s no such thing as bud publicity, they say. Well, rewind your mind back to Utah, circa Christmas ’84 and the release of this Santa-slasher certainly whipped up a shit-storm of angry parents who picketed and protested after TV commercials showed a scary Santa and a couple of kids cried. What does this teach us as a society? That it’s alright to deceive your own child by leading them to believe a magical old man visits each and every house in one night to leave presents before unveiling the lie a few years later but said lie cannot be exposed via a film for non-children…

OK, so the producers were stupid to include the killer Santa in the ads or play them too early in the day – but if parents are allowing their kids to be raised by the idiot box then they surely must take some responsibility if they want to continue spinning their ‘inoffensive’ lie.

While the film suffered from the backlash and was withdrawn, Silent Night gained cult status enough in the later years and is now freely available in all its uncut glory. Suck on that, puritans!

Billy didn’t just love Farrah Fawcett…he wanted to BE her

Anyway, the film itself – gadzooks it’s a sleazy little number! A nuclear Mom-Pop-two-kids family go and visit Grandpa at the rest home and he tells little Billy that Santa is evil and likes to punish and if you see him – run, little Billy, run to the salt flats! Unfortunately, Billy’s new-found Santa-phobia is compacted when an actual real life killer Santa shoots dad, rapes mom and slashes her throat and tries to kill him too.

Traumatic past-event in the can, we’d normally skip forward to the adult years where something triggers Billy’s psycho-spree but, instead, Silent Night somewhat refreshingly opts to build on Billy’s to-be-fucked-up mental state as he and baby bro Ricky grow up at an orphanage overseen by an immensely strict Mother Superior (Chauvin – who is all kinds of awesome evil). Mama Soop delights in punishing bad kids and forcing Billy to sit on Santa’s lap at the annual Christmas party, which doesn’t end well.

Another ten years later, Billy has grown into a tall, athletic teen (Wilson) who is found a job at a toy store by kindly Sister Margaret (McCormick) and a montage of happy smiling Billy working takes us to the festive season where he has to stand in for the in-store Santa and his psychosis unravels and he massacres his ‘naughty’ co-workers before going off on a murder spree, ‘punishing’ a pair of teen lovers and a nasty bully on route back to the orphanage to get even with the now-wheelchair bound nasty nun.

It’s reputation aside, Silent Night is actually a lot better than most other yuletide slasher movies (Black Christmas excepted, of course), it’s examination of the killer’s state of mind far more thought out than your common-or-garden wronged-nerd looney toon and the ensuing slay-fest is pure Friday the 13th, with grisly demises by fairy lights, bow and arrow and notably Linnea Quigley being impaled on a pair of deer antlers! The sweaty Wilson does it all with an impish sneer that would make even Jason envious.

The climax, however, appears rushed and doesn’t exactly pan out as you’d expect, although an indignant Mother Superior continues to chew up the scenery with her delivery and the kids at the orphanage are nothing short of adorable – though the poor angels were probably traumatised by seeing no less than two Santa’s gunned down before their eyes within minutes of each other…

The two-on-one DVD (with Part 2 on the flip) incorporates the restored cut footage with a little more gore and flesh.

* * *

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2

1987/89m  2.5 Stars

“Prayers won’t save you in the silent part of this night…”

Director: Lee Harry / Writers: Lee Harry, Joseph H. Earle, Dennis Patterson & Lawrence Appelbaum / Cast: Eric Freeman, James L. Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan [as Cayton], Jean Miller, Darrell Guilbeau, Kenneth Brian James, Frank Novak, Randy Baughman.

Body Count: 13

Dire-logue: “You tend to get paranoid when everyone around you gets dead.”


GARBAGE DAY!!! If nothing else, this bizarro sequel will be remembered for the almost viral status of those two words, which the killer shouts at some poor bit-parter who is gunned down whilst taking out the trash. It’s truly something that needs to be seen to be appreciated.

Often hailed as the worst in the series, Silent Night Part 2 began life as a project for the producers, who were asked to re-cut the events of the first film in an attempt to regain some of the revenue lost after all the moral guardians succeeded in eradicating it from theaters. Merging the footage with new film creates an awkward situation: the entire first half is made up of ‘flashbacks’ to Part 1 interspersed with scenes of Billy’s now as-traumatised little brother Ricky (Freeman), who tells his story to shrink Newman.

Some 40 minutes in, after we’re done recapping the events of the first film, little Ricky grows up with a fear of red things and Christmas and a low-tolerance for people who act like assholes, such as violent loan sharks, cinema blabbermouths, his girlfriend’s ex and, finally, a random selection of poor ‘burb dwellers who get shot down before the now immensely beefed-up Ricky is caught and carted off to the asylum, but that won’t stop him from going after the wheelchair-bound Mother Superior. Who is no longer played by Lilyan Chauvin. And is now hideously scarred. And no longer has her accent.

There’s far less Christmas-themed carnage this time around though, Ricky’s serial killing career doesn’t much relate beyond providing additional victims, who are killed by jumper cables in the mouth, being repeatedly run over and, most memorably, impaling someone with an umbrella, which then opens.

The DVD commentary from director Lee Harry, writer Joe Earle and actor James Newman only confirms that not too much on this project was taken seriously, although it’s worth noting that there’s a peppering of decently composed shots amidst the trash, which is plentiful as Freeman gleefully over acts with intense eyebrow acrobatics and a hilariously wicked laugh. This and some other (intentionally?) funny bits coupled with the unforgettable “garbage day!” moment, Part 2 is a weird viewing experience but nevertheless an entertaining one.

* * *

SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT III: BETTER WATCH OUT!

2 Stars  1989/90m

“When your nightmare ends, the real terror begins.”

Director: Monte Hellman / Writers: Steven Gaydos & Carlos Lazlo / Cast: Samantha Scully, Bill Moseley, Robert Culp, Richard Beymer, Eric Da Re, Laura Herring, Elizabeth Hoffman.

Body Count: 8


The final slasher flick of the series is stock late-80s stuff in which the comatose Ricky is revived to deck the halls with blood n’ guts thanks to his inexplicable psychic link with blind heroine Scully. Of course, when awake it is she he begins to stalk, doing away with hangers-on as he goes.

Not much to celebrate this Christmas, but it’s kind of satisfying to know that the moaning, whinging parents’ groups didn’t totally get their way as the series grinds on – although the distinct lack of Santa is disappointing. Instead, Ricky (now played by genre icon Moseley) wanders around sans clobber with a plexi-glass bowl on his head filled with fluid.

There’s some bloodshed to lap up and a variety of subtle jokes but it’s just not as fun as the first two. I saw it years and years ago just the once and have hazy memories of the psychic Grandma (extent of ability: “the phone’s gonna ring.”) and heroine’s brother’s girlfriend saying; “Chris tells me you’re psychic?” / “He tells me you give good head.” But that’s it for entertainment.

Santa’s coming! …For you!!!

Overall blurbs-of-interest: Robert Culp was in another Santa slasher, Santa’s Slay; Leo Geter was in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Elizabeth Kaitan was Robin in Friday the 13th Part VII and was a bit-parter in Silent Madness; Britt Leach was in Night Warning; Leonard Mann was in Night School; Bill Moseley turns up in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and the 2013 sequel, Home Sick and Blood Night; Linnea Quigley’s other slasher credits include Graduation Day, Kolobos, Jack-OSpring Break Massacre and a shower scene in Fatal Games.

Pant-Soiling Scenes #15: THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK

Not a horror film as such than a film with some horror elements to it. I actually really love the JP trilogy – yeah the effects look a bit shoddy these days but Spielberg, as ever, is capable of delivering some heart-stopping moments – and this particular scene from the oft-overlooked middle film of the trio could win an award for best thought-up shit-your-pants-predicament.

Here, as the T-Rex’s take revenge on a super-sized trailer for ‘kidnapping’ their baby, paleontologist Sarah (the lovely Julianne Moore) takes falls face first on to a glass window that’s the only obstacle in the way of a fatal fall several hundred feet to the rocks below. As she comes to, the glass starts to splinter, crack by little crack with every movement she makes to try and reach out for something to grab on to.

This is the standout scene in a movie that spans two hours without as much high-gear excitement as its sister flicks but even a slow script can’t stop The Beard’s perfect handling of a great idea here and, every time I watch it, it’s this very moment that defines The Lost World for me.

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