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hal-resHALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION

3 Stars  2002/15/86m

“Evil finds it’s way home.”

A.k.a. Halloween 8

Director: Rick Rosenthal / Writers: Larry Brand & Sean Hood / Cast: Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ryan Merriman, Katee Sackhoff, Sean Patrick Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Daisy McCrackin, Luke Kirby, Tyra Banks, Brad Loree.

Body Count: 10

Dire-logue: “Great legs Donna, what time do they open?”


If somebody came to you and asked you to write a sequel to a movie where the main character’s head was chopped off at the end, what would you do? This must’ve been a dilemma faced by the screenwriters of this much-maligned follow-up to 1998’s ultra-successful Halloween H20, which raked in enough to make further movies a certainty. So how does Michael get his head back? Easy, he never lost it.

We begin impressively enough with the reintroduction of Jamie Lee’s Laurie Strode, now locked up in an institution with a dissociative disorder after she found out that the man whose head she axed off was in fact a paramedic dressed up in her brother Michael’s boiler suit and mask, his larynx crushed to ensure no speaking. Hmmm, we all say and move on. Michael comes to get Laurie at the asylum and duly does so when her confused state of mind prevents her killing him when she has the chance.

hr1This story arc done n’ dusted, we meet our final girl, Sara, a student at Haddonfield U (!?) who has been roped in by her good-time pals Jen and Rudy to entering a content to explore the Myers house during a Halloween night webcast for Dangertainment, a questionable production company run by Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks. Well, the characters they play at least…

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Rappers in horror films, eh? Several have turned up in the shores of the slasher genre; Snoop Dogg in Bones, LL Cool J in H20. Surprisingly, LL Cool J bypassed any issues of ego and did well in an undemanding role and has gone on to carve out quite an impressive on-screen CV, including techno-slasher flick Mindhunters and techno-shark cheesefest Deep Blue Sea. On the shoulders of Rhymes, however, is the nominal lead and to say he struggles with the task is somewhat of an understatement. Banks, on the other hand, has only what amounts to a cameo in a few scenes.

From Halloween to America's Next Top Model

From Halloween to America’s Next Top Model

Six teens enter the Myers house and begin tooling around, looking at dusty objects, all of which seem a little too obvious and easy to find in a house that, according to the let’s-continue-to-ignore-the-sequels policy, has been empty since the sixties. Never mind the family who inhabited it during Halloween 6. Anyway, they pair off and begin to get killed by Michael, who has been residing in a cave-like dwelling beneath the basement. Unlike the previous film, there’s an abundance of brutal bloodletting here with some grisly final outs for the budding cyber stars.

hr4When only Sara is left, she is aided by a group of teen partiers who are watching the show and communicate with her via web text thingies on a device I’ve never seen before or since. Eventually, she and Busta face off with MM, things wrap (thankfully no rap!) and there’s yer usual ‘he ain’t dead’ ending. For both actually as Busta Rhymes seems to be as invincible as Mike. Oh yeah, there’s that line, the one everyone in the cinema groaned at: “trick or treat…motherfucka!”

hr6Despite how ridiculous Resurrection is – and it’s really, really ridic. – and Rhymes sub-dreadful acting abilities, not to mention the martial arts sequence, there’s still some fun to be found here, all you have to do is look for it. Detach it from the rest of the story, pretend it’s a different film altogether, just a slasher flick in an old house with some webcams and Resurrection becomes quite an entertaining B-flick with some good kills, nice chases and the added touch of the remote guides who try to help Sara escape. There’s some decent casting at the teen level too, unfortunately overshadowed by Rhymes’ top-billing: Sean Patrick Thomas, Katee Sackhoff (pre-BSG) and Thomas Ian Nicholas look like they’re having a laugh, even if they might remove this title from their select filmography in the future.

hr5On the flip side, it’s obvious why it’s the likely most-hated of the Michael films, pre-Zombie remakes, there’s little to no respect for what went before, either in H20 or the mid-sequels. By 2002, the reality-TV based horror was already dated, which is unfortunate as the film was due for a Halloween 2001 release but returned for re-shoots when Miramax considered it too unscary.

Some have suggested that it would have been a good move to have Sara turn out to be Jamie Lloyd, not dead after all. I agree with this, it would have served as a good launching pad for the next film or two. Alas, they chose otherwise and when mainstay producer Moustapha Akkad was killed in 2005, all plans for Halloween 9 were washed away and the remake came to be. Bad times.

hr7Blurbs-of-interest: Rick Rosenthal directed the 1981 Halloween II and made a cameo in Lost After Dark; Ryan Merriman later took the lead in Final Destination 3; Daisy McCrackin was in A Crack in the Floor. If you don’t know what other slasher flicks Jamie Lee Curtis has been in then why are you here?

HALLOWEEN H20: 20 YEARS LATER

halloweenh203.5 Stars

1998/18/83m

A.k.a. Halloween 7

“Blood is thicker than water.”

Director: Steve Miner / Writers: Matt Greenberg & Robert Zappia / Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Adam Arkin, Michelle Williams, Josh Hartnett, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Adam Hann-Byrd, Janet Leigh, L.L. Cool J, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nancy Stephens, Beau Billingslea, Charles Durand, voice of Donald Pleasence.

Body Count: 7


Some things in life are inevitable; “death and taxes,” my dad always said. But let’s not leave out the commercial tendancy to ‘strike while the iron’s hot’ so to speak, or, cash-in on a trend. In this case it was Scream. Scream, Scream, Scream wherever you looked in the horrorsphere left in the wake of Wes Craven’s let’s-state-the-obvious slasher flick. As that film featured footage from Halloween, only survivalist recluses would be fool enough not to consider a big time return to form for the first born serial slasher. Yes, Michael Myers came back!

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In Halloween H20 (oddly pronounced H-2-O like, y’know, water…), we catch up with Jamie Lee Curtis’ final girl extraordinaire Laurie Strode, who faked her death and went into hiding, ending up as the head teacher at an exclusive prep school in California, miiiiiiiles away from Haddonfield. Unbeknownst to Laurie – masquerading under the name Keri Tate – the late Doc Loomis’ house has been ransacked, his faithful nurse and a couple of unlucky neighbours murdered and Laurie’s whereabouts discovered. Roll titles.

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While we reacquaint ourselves with Laurie/Keri, learn that she’s an alcoholic with a rebellious seventeen-year-old in Josh Hartnett, Michael drives across country in time for a Halloween reunion, complete with kitchen knife, boiler suit and freaky white mask. On the day itself, Hartnett and a trio of friends hide out in school for a private party that is, of course, crashed by Mike, who chases the survivors in Laurie’s direction for the ultimate showdown when she opts to stay behind and kill big brother once and for all, doing a neat 360 on Laurie’s mousy run-and-hide attitude from twenty years earlier.

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H20 was intended to be the last word on the subject and so ends with one of the most satisfactory resolves in the history of a genre infamous for loopholes and get-out clauses to allow for possible franchising opportunities. Effective as it was, watching it back now in the knowledge that we were cheated to satisfy the ridiculous concept used in Halloween: Resurrection four years later is frown-inducing to say the least. This, along with the script’s choice to ignore the story arc created in films 4-6, makes for a bit of a redundancy on H20‘s part, it’s rendered nothing but a handsome distraction. And that’s a little insulting to longterm fans of the series, who’ve invested in the unfolding saga of Myers tracking down and killing all his relatives only for it to be closed off, denied and then reverted to cut n’ dried slasher shenanigans in the next film.

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Nevertheless there’s much to enjoy here; Curtis is on fine form as Laurie, while almost nothing like her former self, she’s tough when the chips are down and really gives Michael a taste of his own medicine during the climactic one-on-one smackdown. Her supporting cast are good too, with Arkin amusing but underused as her lover, Michelle Williams – fresh from Dawson’s Creek at the time – as Hartnett’s girlfriend and even LL Cool J manages to squeeze some likeabilty out of his standardly foredoomed security guard character. Curtis’ mom, Janet Leigh, also turns up for a great cameo as a secretary, complete with her original Psycho car and hints of its theme as she requests of Laurie that she “be maternal” for a moment…

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There are some decent back-to-basics terror sequences on show, with Michael leering through windows in the background and spooking lost teens around the deserted school. This is only tripped up by a shrunken body count, which could have used another couple of disposable teens to add gravitas to Michael’s killing ‘spree’ at the academy. Things are amped when Hartnett and Williams flee from Michael and find themselves locked in gated vestibule, being slashed at through the bars.

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The film, based on a draft by Kevin Williamson, who was involved in almost all the slasher flicks of the period (and is credited as co-executive producer here), is positively littered with references to former films in lines of dialogue, musical quips (Carpenter’s theme still plink-plonks along nicely when called for) and visual motifs, all of which make H20 an enjoyable experience, even if it was made irrelevant soon after, indicating it sold out for a slice of the Scream pie. A solid sequel, not as honestly enjoyable as Halloween 4 and possibly Halloween 6 but one of the better entries in a great series.

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Blurbs-of-interest: O’Keefe played the sex-crazed killer of Teacher’s Pet; LL Cool J was in Mindhunters; Nancy Stephens was reprising her role from the first two Halloween films; director Miner helmed the first two Friday the 13th sequels.

September Face-off: HALLOWEEN 6 vs… Itself!?

October be comin’, October means Halloween, Halloween means Halloween, Halloween means Michael Myers and Michael Myers means sequels galore… As it happens, the sixth instalment, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers was one of the first films in the franchise I saw on cable back in the 90s and I’ve always liked it more than I probably should.

Then there’s The Producer’s Cut, a vividly different take on the story, which was meddled with until the version that was released came about. Some folks say it’s better, some folks say it ain’t, some folks don’t know what the hell you’re on about… Let us compare thy Halloween sixes and see…

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HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS

4 Stars  1995/18/85m

“Haddonfield is ready to celebrate Halloween… So is Michael Myers!”

A.k.a. Halloween 6; Halloween 666: The Origin of Michael Myers

Director: Joe Chappelle / Writer: Daniel Farrands / Cast: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Marianne Hagan, Mitchell Ryan, Kim Darby, Bradford English, Keith Bogart, Mariah O’Brien, Leo Geter, J.C. Brandy, Devin Gardner, George P. Wilbur.

Body Count: 14-ish

Dire-logue: “Relax your crack, sweetheart!”


At the end of 1989’s Halloween 5, little Jamie Lloyd – Laurie Strode’s daughter – was taken to Haddonfield Police HQ after escaping from Michael Myers for the 37th time. Michael was residing in a cell until a mystery ‘man in black’ came along and shot up the place, killing a load of cops and releasing Michael. The film ended with Jamie – upon discovering said cop corpses – quivering in fear at the prospect of her never ending sprint in the opposite direction of her psychotic uncle.

Now, Halloween 5 was a sucky one, second only of the originals in its ornate suckiness to the non-slasher Halloween III. Let’s just not comment on the Rob Zombie ‘re-imaginings’ here. The introduction of the Man in Black would’ve been weird and very annoying for long term fans as they had to wait six years for the next sequel. In this time, the franchise had been sold to Miramax and they decided to chuck out a quickie follow-up.

Jamie Lloyd (now played by J.C. Brandy after Danielle Harris walked away, reportedly insulted by the fee Dimension were willing to pay her), gives birth amidst scary druidy folks in the dismal surroundings of a sanitorium. A nurse helps her escape with the baby and Michael gives chase, killing her but not before Jamie took the opportunity to hide her newborn.

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In Haddonfield, relatives of the Strode clan are living in the old Myers house, where six-year-old Danny keeps having nightmares about the Man in Black. His struggling single mom Kara is trying to juggle school and her tosser-of-a-dad. To add to her problems, she thinks the guy across the street is perving on her. Not so, said guy is in fact a grown up Tommy Doyle (the kid Jamie Lee was babysitting in t’original) and he’s convinced Michael is heading back to town… Tommy finds Jamie’s baby at the bus station and happens to run into Doc Loomis at a hospital. The good ol’ Doc has been yanked out of retirement by his old cronie Dr Wynn (Ryan). Tommy spouts loads of bollocks about this Thorn Symbol thingy to Kara but even after multiple viewings I couldn’t tell you what it’s about.

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Michael returns and begins stalking and killing off the secondary characters while Loomis teams up with Tommy after Kara and her son are kidnapped by the Man in Black’s Druidy followers and events shift to the asylum where we’re privy to an awesome strobelight operating theatre massacre (which is great with the lights out) before the showdown between Loomis and Michael.

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HALLOWEEN 6: THE PRODUCER’S CUT

3 Stars  1995/96m

Body Count: 8

Dire-logue: “I tried to tell you in the hospital, I think Michael is under the influence of an evil rune…” – Tommy blames a pebble for two decades of death.


So what of The Producer’s Cut? Well, the first 80 minutes (up to the point where Kara leaps from the second floor window of Tommy’s house) is largely the same, give or take a few scene extensions – we learn Loomis had facial skin graphs – and the fact that Jamie does not die in the barn, but remains in a coma for about half the film until the Man in Black busts a cap in her ass head.

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So instead of Tommy and Kara running around the corridors of the asylum with Michael tailing them, we get some sub-Rosemary’s Baby Satantic rituals with people in hooded cloaks and Kara tied to a plinth awaiting sacrifice at the hands of little Danny until she blurts to Michael that he is the father of Jamie’s bub. More running ensues but here with Tommy dressed in one of the stupid cloaks that makes him look like a member of some 80’s sequin-glam-sparkle electro band, but he does some stuff with rune stones and makes Mikey impotent for the moment (“it worked, the power of the runes stopped him.”) It ends with Michael dancing off into the night dressed as the MIB.

Although there’s something a bit familiar about the Druid get-up…

untitled-1Ah ha!…Agnetha strikes again!!

VICTOR: THE THEATRICAL CUT

So more Thorn, less murder. The body count was dramatically enhanced by the reshoots, apparently at Chappelle’s insistence as he thought Donald Pleasence was ‘boring’. Bet he feels a bit shitty about it now, being that DP died shortly after filming wrapped. Subsequently, the cast were angry with the re-edit but, to give Chappelle his due, the theatrical cut is better. Halloween is a slasher series and The Producer’s Cut turns it into some sort of wannabe Omen offshoot, the final version at least has the sense to keep close to its body count routes.

There’s still much to like in both versions’ slow build, which return to a central Halloweenie theme, lots of pumpkins, trick or treaters, lightning and homages to the original: Kara’s frantic chase from the Myers house to hammer on the door for help across the street and her parents are named John and Debra – awwww. A pre-fame Rudd does well in a role he clearly despised and Hagan makes for a likeable heroine in Kara. It’s a shame that Halloween H20 decided to ‘clear the slate’ on the hard graft parts 4-6 put into the story as it could’ve been interesting to see where they took us next.

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Blurbs-of-interest: J.C. Brandy was later in Devil in the Flesh; Leo Geter was in Silent Night, Deadly Night; George P. Wilbur played Myers in Halloween 4; as well as the preceding Michael Halloween films, Donald Pleasence was also in Alone in the Dark and Phenomena. Marianne Hagan won the lead in BreadCrumbs in 2011.

#500

sorority-row-fb-poster2SORORITY ROW

3.5 Stars  2009/15/101m

“Sisters for life…and death.”

Director: Stewart Hendler / Writers: Josh Stolberg, Pete Goldfinger & Mark Rosman (original screenplay) / Cast: Briana Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Jamie Chung, Margo Harshman, Carrie Fisher, Julian Morris, Caroline D’Amore, Matt Lanter, Maxx Hennard, Audrina Patridge, Matt O’Leary.

Body Count: 10

Dire-logue: “You make being a bitch an art form.”


My celebrated 500th slasher flick! Yay or nay? Perhaps a dash of both.

The dreaded R word crops up again in a case of yet another early 80’s pseudo-cult-classic being – ugh, I even hate typing it – “re-imagined”, “re-tooled”, or whatever the hell you want to call it. Actually, I’m not so fazed by them, anything that draws attention to the (usually) superior originals is positive. 1982’s House On Sorority Row is a fairly elusive member of the slasher alumni, one directed with both care and flair by Mark Rosman (who signs on as Exec Producer here), it was another of the moral-dilemma slasher pics from the era, or as everyone on the internet seems to think of them now, films in the I Know What You Did Last Summer mould. ‘Tis true that many-a-film have featured the not-so-secret secret characteristic at their core and it’s a form I quite like, opening up lots of potential for realistic characters and their respective reactions that give us good insight into their persona.

Sorority Row, as it’s now called, is a remake only in that it follows this same basic guideline. The girls of the Theta Pi Sorority are out to teach Megan’s straying boyfriend Garrett a lesson and trick him into thinking she’s died after he slipped her a few roofies given to him by substance-abusing big sis Chugs. President Jessica takes Garrett, supposedly dead Megan, and four other girls away from the house on the promise of taking her to hospital when they take a ‘wrong turn’ and end up at an old mine where a freaked-out Garrett impales her with a tire iron after they discuss the best means to ensure the body doesn’t float.

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With a real body at their feet, the girls (and boy) bicker over what to do. Fortuitously, there is no cell phone reception and a nearby deep mine shaft. Only nominal nice girl Cassidy makes a real case for going to the cops but is out-voted, while nervy smart girl Ellie (we know she’s smart because she’s shy and wears oversized specs) is too broken up to have a say. Jessica convinces them to toss the body down the mine and forget about it. However, it’s nice that, for once, it’s mentioned that they will have to life with the dreadful secret for the rest of their lives.

Eight months later, the girls graduate and prepare to vacate Theta Pi to the tune of a hooj see-ya-later party. Spirits are soon lowered by the arrival of text messages that show the now ‘pimped-up’ tire iron in someone’s grasp. It’s a hell of a lot sharper… The girls assume Garrett is behind it and distract themselves with preparing for their party while a cloaked maniac begins a merry quest to set right their wrong. Could it be Megan’s sister, who’s just turned up out of the blue and wants to pledge? One of the girls themselves, wrecked by guilt? Megan risen from the grave?

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After a few introductory murders, which are not limited to those involved in the prank, the killer baits the remaining girls with further text threats until only they and a sprinkling of others remain at the sorority house, post-party for the home run. It’s this final third where Sorority Row starts to sink under its own weight. The mystery element, up until now, has been engaging, the murders fun without being too grisly and Jessica’s never ending witty retorts and lack of sympathy for anybody else have been continually amusing. There are a few totally unsubtle changes, Carrie Fisher going all Ma Barker with a shotgun and a bizarrely realised threat in the form of another party ‘in the know’ who may or may not be the killer…

Memories of the ill-conceived Black Christmas remake flood back towards the end, which also takes a stroll down Slumber Party Massacre lane towards the flat climax and a not-so-clear “twist” prit-sticked on to the very end. It’s a shame as things were going so well up until the regrouping at the mine, where it becomes clear that perhaps Sorority Row isn’t the straight-faced slasher flick it looked like it was going to be. Case in point: there are certain characters we want to die with an added dose of cruelty because of their abhorrent nature, instead, said individuals are done away with far too quickly and…comically? What’s that about? Where’s the long, harrowing chase before the fatal blow? There are a few too many gags once the killer is unmasked, their exposition pretty feeble and unconvincing – but when did these guys ever play with a full deck, eh?

Ultimately a confusing one, not least because of mixed intentions, but enough merit to engage for the running time, well written dialogue (although most of it belongs to something like Jawbreaker) and a cast of semi-familiar faces to horror fans, plus a good central figure in Evigan’s take on Cassidy and Pipes is great as super-bitch Jessica. Sorority Row is one of those films that probably needs a twice-over to make sure you totally understood where it was taking you. It graduates, but sadly without honours.

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Blurbs-of-interest: Leah Pipes was the heroine in Fingerprints; as was Margo Harshman in Simon Says. Julian Morris was in Cry_Wolf. Carrie Fisher had a cameo in Scream 3.

Everybody knows

ikwydlsI KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER

4.5 Stars  1997/15/97m

“If you’re going to bury the truth, make sure it stays buried.”

Director: Jim Gillespie / Writers: Lois Duncan (novel), Kevin Williamson / Cast: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr., Anne Heche, Johnny Galecki, Bridgette Wilson, Muse Watson.

Body Count: 5

Dire-logue: “Come into the back seat, I’ll let you do things to me.”


I used to post on a horror forum that spewed bile at the mention of most slasher flicks made post-1989, in particular this film. It was hated. Hated with the fire of a thousand suns. “You’re not a true horror fan if you like it!” I was once told. Yeah, cheers for that. This was a few years back, mind. Now it’s kinda old school, the film the next generation of slasher kids’ll say was from the good ol’ days when characters were likeable, plots made sense and you could go to town and back, have dinner and see a movie for under a fiver.

Me, I always liked this one, and when it came out I’d already OD’d on the 80’s flicks, so I wasn’t being, like, totally obnoxious, dude. The 90’s clutch slasher flicks came out in my prime years, I was about twenty, studying film, teen horror was exploding all over again thanks to Scream (or so Scream would say). In the UK it had the oh-so sensible release date of December. Winter. Off through the drizzle and freezing wind to see a film full of gorgeous people set in the summer. Hmph.

Shot as a reaction to Scream‘s success, Last Summer was, once again, scripted by Kevin Williamson and based on the 1973 novel by Lois Duncan – who reportedly hates the movie and whose name does not appear on the opening credits – in which a quartet of teen friends guilty of a hit and run accident the previous year are tormented by creepy notes and psychological games. However, in the book nobody is murdered, hence Duncan’s hatred of the film, which turned her morality tale into a hack n’ slasher. That said, Last Summer is a tame film by any comparison, with little on-screen violence and characters with sensibilites absent in most of the genre examples that preceded it.

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Celebrating their last summer of “immature, adolescent decadence,” smalltown couples Julie and Ray and Barry and recently-crowned beauty queen Helen, head out to a local beach where they drink, fool around, relay urban legends about hook-handed killers and drive back to town along a windy coast road where they mow down a midnight pedestrian. In shock, the boys convince the girls that nobody would believe Ray was driving pisshead Barry’s car and they’d all go to prison. Helen catches on but Julie wants to go to the police. She is outvoted and they toss the body off a dock, but not before he proves he’s not quite dead…

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One year later, a now sullen, miserable Julie returns home from college and receives a note with the title of the movie written on it. It turns out that the hopes and dreams of all four of them have been dashed and she tracks down Helen working at her father’s store, under the supervision of her bitchy older sister Elsa (maybe she knows what they did last summer?); Barry is also back from college and still a prize prick and Ray has become a fisherman. They discuss the note, what it means, and decide that it’s from Max, another local fisherman who drove by on the night they had the accident. He might know what they did last summer too…

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Well, actually he doesn’t as five minutes after an altercation with Barry, Max gets a big-ass fishhook through the chin. Sensing that notes aren’t enough, the killer cranks the harrassment up a notch and runs down Barry with his own car. Forced to reconsider their situation, the group soon find that their tormentor really means business as he edges ever closer to consumating their one year anniversary – July 4th, another calendar date to avoid! Helen has her ever important hair cut off while she sleeps and Julie finds Max’s body stuffed in the trunk of her car.

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Psycho killers are anal about commemorative dates, they never miss an appointment and Captain Birdseye’s Evil Twin is no exception. As night falls, the killings begin… This is where I Know What You Did Last Summer kicks in and kicks ass, peaking with the supremo chase scene where he goes after Helen. It’s highly reminiscent of Wendy’s never ending marathon of fear from Prom Night (which, you’ll note, shares several overlapping story aspects); in her lovely dress, Helen kicks her way out of a squad car, runs, stumbles, hammers on the door of the department store while Elsa faffs with the keys, drops from a high window and staggers bear-footed through some backalleys… It’s a long, drawn out, but very well done scene.

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Once Helen and Barry have been done away with (along with a couple of extras who got in the killer’s way), Julie’s investigating leads her right into the killer’s trap. Or, as it’s called in the trade, a boat. The trawler-set finale is certainly different and Julie goes through all the usual final girl things, hearing out the killer, hiding, screaming lots, all the Jamie Lee-set industry standards. Things end another ‘one year later’ with a cool jump scene right out of a Friday the 13th.

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Buffy didn’t begin on UK TV until the end of 1997 and nobody really knew who Sarah Michelle Gellar was at that point; in hindsight it’s easy to question why she didn’t just kick ass! But it’s good to see a genre icon adopting different roles – hey, JLC never got to play the slutty cheerleader! Jennifer Love Hewitt (at the time in Party of Five with Neve Campbell) makes an interesting, if yet obvious heroine who shrieks effectively and does all the things we expect her to. The boys play their standard-issue boy parts well but are overshadowed by their female counterparts. I tell ya, horror is the only genre where this goes on! Oh, and some reverse perving…

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I can see why some purists don’t warm to this flick; it’s big budget and full of surface gloss and has a preference to build characters and work on dialogue rather than bloodshed in a genre that trades on minimal-everything (except skin). Perhaps they saw it as an insult to the films they held so dear…? There’s no exploitation here, no girls running around naked, marking a point where slasher films became appealing to both genders… The suckiest thing I can say about it is that the DVD has no extras… Not one. Who knows, it works for me just the same as My Bloody Valentine or Terror Train. Can’t I love both?

Blurbs-of-interest: Hewitt and Prinze returned for the cheeseball sequel; Gellar had a cameo in Scream 2; Anne Heche played Janet Leigh’s role in the 1998 Psycho remake. Jim Gillespie later directed D-Tox and the Williamson-scripted Venom. Several of the producers worked on reams of similar films in the same era, including Urban Legend.

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