Trade-a-Life II

Sometimes when watching a slasher pic there’ll be a nice person who dies and I’ll be sad about it for ten or twelve minutes. In recent years horror’s insistence that all people bar heroes are tossers has meant this is rarely the case anymore but way-back-when it wasn’t uncommon for sympathetic victims to pile up along with their more promiscuous, pot-smoking, more sinful buddies. It smarts more if someone who damn well should’ve been turned into a giant pin cushion makes it out unscathed.

Hence, here are three such examples where I’d gladly play God and swap one of the survivors for someone who bought the farm… Humongous spoilers follow.

THE PROWLER

Joseph Zito’s nihilistic little splatter movie may be largely a bore-fest punctuated by some excellent grue but it did offer up a strange little moment of trickery where a teen boy and girl, who I’m calling HornySexCouple for lack of a better understanding of their purpose, creep away from supervision to do the dirty in the basement. A classic slasher flick error.

Meanwhile, nice teech Miss Allison (Donna Davis) goes to look for a missing (and in fact dead) student. The camera cuts between both parties challenging us to guess who’s gonna get it. We watch from behind blurry foreground objects HornySexCouple get in on while Miss Allison discovers a bloody pool where the now-dead chick was slashed up.

Alas, Miss Allison is hijacked on the way back to safety by the killer and gets a blade to the neck while HornySexCouple, it turns out, were being watched by the local perv rather than the psycho. A cruel trick on a nice character.

HornySexCouple were just non-dimensional fodder who would’ve bolstered the rather low body count and Miss Allison should’ve lived to twirl another day in her delightful pink-with-black-shapes dress.

SLEEPAWAY CAMP III: TEENAGE WASTELAND

I actually have nothing against eventual Tiffany-lite heroine Marcia (Tracy Griffith, Mel’s half-sis), she who along with Tony (Mark Oliver), are the only campers at Camp New Horizons who make it out in one piece after puritanical transsexual psycho-loon Angela does away with the rest, who are participating in a meeting of the privileged and not-so youths in an “exercise of sharing.”

Tony is from the less-privileged group, while Marcia is middle class all the way, and herein lies my objection: bad guys can survive but final girls almost always have to be good, moralistic and girly. So I champion Arab (Jill Terashita) as the preferred choice to Marcia.

Arab has ‘tude, silky long hair and a bitchin’ leather jacket. She’d have kicked Angela’s ass if she hadn’t fallen for her trick and lost her head in the process. In fact, looking back at the film, Arab didn’t actually commit any particular ‘sin’ of the type Angela is always so keen to act on.

Although, I should point out neither can hold a candle to Sleepaway Camp II‘s final girl, Molly, played by the lovely Renee Estevez.

FRIDAY THE 13TH (the remake)

Were you sad when final-girl-for-most-of-it Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) became nothing more than a bit of meat stuck to the end of Jason’s machete? Even though I saw her demise coming, it was still a rare ‘awww’ moment for a Friday film, where characters seldom graduate beyond well-trodden stereotypes who we don’t care much about.

Why swap her with Clay, you ask? Well, I loves me some Amanda Righetti in The Mentalist so I can’t bring myself to trade her in for Jenna but then I thought, why couldn’t there have been two final girls for like the first time ever (unless you count Bloody Murder 2 or the Scream movies)?

There’s nothing wrong with Jared Padalecki as the lead but in Jason movies, the main character should really be a girl who channels some inner-Xena to kick ass. A 6’4″ buff guy doesn’t quite press the right buttons but on this one I’m fairly forgiving and it’s clear that Chewie (Aaron Yoo) was the best character by a mile anyway.

Yes? No? Still reeling from my inclusion of Alice last time? Leave me a comment and let’s duke it out.

4 comments

  • LOVED Arab, and yeah I totally agree with the f13 Jenna character. I can’t believe she died! I mean really? I would’ve offed the sister character instead to make things more interesting!

  • honestly, the one f13 death i still can’t get over is Paula from Jason Lives. Even though I know that flick line by line, it still breaks my heart every time I see her blood splatter across the cabin window before she flies right through it, I guess a little part of me still thinks that she will get away..but alas..she doesnt :(

  • Ahhh the lovely Paula… Keep your eyes peeled for a future Trade-a-Life in that case, Miguel : )

  • I kind of liked that Clay made it through. It was slightly counter to expectations.

    He was obviously patterned after Rob Dier from part IV, and Rob…well, “HE’S KILLING ME!!!!!!”.

    If Clay had just been slashed and discarded, it would have hewed too close to the character he was based on. I appreciated that while the remake incorporated the first four films and many of their best elements, it also played around with them a bit.

    Though I can’t say I wasn’t also gutted by Jenna’s death.

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