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|102 reviews in total|
Friday THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING (1985)
starring: Melanie Kinnaman, John Shepherd, Shavar Ross, Richard Young, Tiffany Helm, Juliette Cummins, Jerry Pavlon, Dominick Brascia, John Robert Dixon, Debi Sue Voorhees, Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Jere Fields and Corey Feldman.
plot: Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd) is all grown up and a bit screwed up. He is now being transferred to a half-way house which lets its patients walk around freely. Soon, a new series of murders start at the hands of a machete wielding killer in a hockey mask. Could it be Jason back from the grave? Or one of a big number of suspects around the area?
my thoughts: This is not as good as 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 or FREDDY VS. JASON, but I still think it's pretty underrated. Just because Jason is not the killer does not make this film bad, I actually had a lot of fun trying to guess who the killer is. It's very hard to guess, but some may find it easy.
My problems with this is it just didn't have enough entertaining characters or thrilling death scenes. This is also that one sequel that can be taken out of the series without any continuity problems and that makes this one less important.
But there's also stuff to love here. John Shepherd is fun as Tommy, he kept me guessing and he was a great fighter. I also loved Tiffany Helm as Violet, the punk chick who can do the robot perfectly. Corey Feldman has a great cameo as a younger Tommy in a stylish dream sequence. The ending was also pretty shocking and well done. Also, it's not too different from the first four and the next few, a hockey masked killer with a machete slaughters horny teens one by one. It's not like it abandons the concept.
Friday THE 13TH PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER (1984)
starring: Kimberly Beck, Corey Feldman, E. Erich Anderson, Crispin Glover, Lawrence Monoson, Barbara Howard, Peter Barton, Joan Freeman, Alan Hayes, Judie Aronson, Camilla More, Carey More, Bruce Mahler and Lisa Freeman.
plot: Jason Voorhees has survived the end of PART III and has set his sights on the Jarvis family and the eight horny teenagers that have rented a house next to them. Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) is a 12-year-old horror aficionado and may be Jason's perfect match.
my thoughts: I don't know what it is about this 4th installment of the longest running horror series ever, but it's just great!
Like the previous, this has it all: Jason, the masked killer wielding a machete, Trish (Kimberly Beck), the virginal heroine, and a bunch of horny teenagers.
One thing that makes this film great was that I actually cared for some of the characters. I don't know why, but I felt bad when they died. They're deaths are also gory and almost real looking, and that is because the great Tom Savini is behind the makeup effects.
The climax is also fun stuff, I really enjoyed seeing Corey Feldman battle it out with Jason, it would have made a great end to the series. Oh well, it didn't, and it made way for some more great sequels, especially parts 6 and 7!
Friday THE 13TH PART III
starring: Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Richard Brooker, Nick Savage, Larry Zerner, Catherine Parks, Tracie Savage, Jeffrey Rogers, David Katims, Rachel Howard, Gloria Charles and Kevin O'Brien.
plot: Chris (Dana Kimmell) returns to Crystal Lake after a traumatic experience two years before, along with her friends and her boyfriend. Her friends just want to smoke some dope and have some premarital sex, but Chris can't shake the feeling that something horrible is going to happen to all of them. Soon, Jason (Richard Brooker) crashes the party with his new hockey mask and machete to once against slaughter up a storm on Crystal Lake.
my thoughts: Although this is the Friday THE 13TH sequel where we're already introduced to Jason, we know there's going to be no more plot twists, Tommy Jarvis hasn't arrived yet and the gimmicks still haven't kicked in, this is still a very entertaining sequel.
We have it all: the masked killer, the virginal heroine, her hunky yet sensitive boyfriend, the horny couples, the stoners, the prankster and the tough black guy. We also get a new hockey mask, some great gore and a disco score to boot!
Even though this is not as good as parts 1, 4, 6, 7 or FREDDY VS. JASON, this is still a very entertaining Friday THE 13TH film with lots of cheese, gore and more!
Friday THE 13TH PART 2 (1981)
starring: Amy Steel, John Furey, Adrienne King, Stu Charno, Walt Gourney, Kristen Baker, Marta Kober, Bill Randolph, Tom McBride, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Russell Todd.
plot: Five years after a psycho mother murdered seven camp councilors at Camp Crystal Lake, Paul Holt (John Furey) and his girlfriend Ginny (Amy Steel) decide to open up a camp across the lake from "Camp Blood". There, another massacre begins at the hands of a killer in a pillowcase mask. Who is the killer this time? Crazy Ralph (Walt Gourney)? Or perhaps Jason Voorhees, who may not have died from drowning 26 years ago?
my thoughts: This is a very fun sequel, although it does have zero originality and a mystery which is easy to figure out if you've seen the following sequels. But there's more to love here.
The opening scene with Adrienne King reprising her role as Alice is great and sets the standard of whats to come throughout the rest of the movie.
The climax which has an extended chase/fight sequence between the killer and Ginny is very suspenseful and exciting. Steel gives us a very brave and down-to-earth performance.
The only part that's bad is the middle of the movie is mostly just like the first one. The killer spies on his/her future victims, stalks them around, and then kills them one by one. There's some pretty good gore though.
Friday THE 13TH (1980)
starring: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, Kevin Bacon, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Robbi Morgan, Mark Nelson, Peter Brouwer, Walt Gorney.
plot: Twenty-one years have passed since Camp Crystal Lake has been shut down due to an accidental drowning and two mysterious murders the year after. Now, the owner of the camp (Peter Brouwer) decides to re-open with seven councilors helping to fix the place up two weeks before it opens. During their first night, as they smoke weed, have sex and play strip monopoly, one by one they fall prey to a mysterious, unseen killer.
my thoughts: With the exception of PSYCHO, this is definitely my favorite slasher flick. It has it all: the unseen assailant with a knife, the virginal heroine the horny, stoner teens and the red herrings. This also has ten sequels (including FREDDY VS. JASON). Some people think the series is all about gore, nudity, bad acting and a hulking zombie wearing a hockey mask, unaware that the original was a well acted, written, directed and atmospheric horror film with great leads including 1950's television personality Betsy Palmer and hit actor Kevin Bacon. One actress that should get more recognition is Adrienne King, who plays Alice, our virginal heroine. Although not as cool as Amy Steel in Part 2, King is a worthy nemesis for the first film's killer.
THEATER OF BLOOD (1973)
starring: Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, Ian Hendry, Harry Andrews, Coral Browne, Robert Coote, Jack Hawkins, Michael Hordern, Arthur Lowe, Robert Morley, Dennis Price.
plot: Hammy Broadway actor Edward Lionheart (Vincent Price) has suffered horrible reviews for years and finally snaps. He fakes his death by plunging into the ocean and returns to kill the critics one by one in ways inspired by plays written by William Shakespeare.
my thoughts: I had bought this DVD to add to my Vincent Price collection and I really loved the premise. When I sat through the opening credits with the perfect score and the black and white Shakespeare plays going on, I knew I was going to be in for a great movie. And I was.
This film mixes comedy, horror and drama perfectly and no one could play Lionheart like Vincent Price. The rest of the cast also does great, most notably Diana Rigg was Lionheart's daughter.
The death scenes were very creative, my favorite being the opening death inspired by JULIS CEASAR. Douglas Hickox made the film very stylish as well, showing us where Anthony Hickox got his style from.
For Vincent Price and gore fans, this film is perfect to check out!
THE BAT (1959)
starring: Agnes Moorhead, Vincent Price, Lenita Lane, Gavin Gordon, John Sutton, Elaine Edwards, Darla Hood, John Bryant, Harvey Stephens.
plot: Mystery writer Cornelia van Gorder (Agnes Moorhead) has rented a spooky old mansion called the Oaks in order to give her inspiration for a new novel. Her maid, Lizzie (Lenita Lane), tells her of a serial killer called 'The Bat' who has just murdered several people in the mansion not a year before, and soon they both come under attack by the killer. Apparently, the killer is searching for loads of stolen cash that has been hidden in the mansion and as Cornelia tries to unmask the killer, the number of suspects only rises.
my thoughts: When I picked up this copy of the 1959 horror film, I had not heard of it before and just wanted it to add to my Vincent Price DVD collection. I figured it was probably about Vincent Price as a mad scientist who has found a serum that can turn into a giant bat creature. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this is a very early body count film based on a play.
Agnes Moorehead is very entertaining as the strong-willed author who is not afraid to turn the tables on the vicious killer while Vincent Price lends his great screen presence as the bat expert who is just one addition to the many suspects that arise around the mansion. And trust me, the killer is very hard to figure out! There are slight hints every now and then though.
Being in the 50's, there's no gore or very stylish directing, but the rest of the film is very worth while! Definitely check out THE BAT if you love a good murder mystery, or just love Agnes Moorehead or Vincent Price films.
starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan, Matthew Lillard, Jamie Kennedy.
plot: Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is not a very happy teenage girl. One year ago, her mother was raped and brutally murdered and a series of murders are taking place around her high school while her father is away on a business trip. After Sid is attacked by the masked killer, her boyfriend Billy (Skeet Ulrich) and her father quickly become prime suspects. Meanwhile, a dumb Deputy (David Arquette) and a greedy reporter (Courtney Cox Arquette) desperately search for the identity of the killer.
my thoughts: By 1996, we haven't seen a fairly decent slasher film since 1984 (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET), some of its sequels were pretty good but not as original. Now, horror director Wes Craven and teen-angst and horror fan writer Kevin Williamson have teamed up to bring us SCREAM, a slasher which pays homage, references and spoofs previous horror films while also revolutionizing the genre. After this, we got two sequels and countless clones (just like PSYCHO, BLACK Christmas, THE Texas CHAINSAW MASSACRE, HALLOWEEN, Friday THE 13TH and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET did) but none are better than the original.
This film really knows how to scare you without having the killer walk slowly towards you. In my opinion, it sometimes works that the killer runs at you rather than when he walks towards you. The case scenes build up a lot of suspense. Don't get me wrong, it worked to have The Shape and The Fisherman walk, but here it wouldn't have.
The mystery is also very well done. In a film where everyone is a suspect, and most are red herrings, it is very hard to guess the identity of the killer. Trust me, it's hard!
Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson's teaming also did wonders. While Craven is great with building the suspense and painting dread all over the film, Williamson does great with the hip dialog. I really love what both of them did with the film and every horror fan should. I also enjoyed the score.
But probably the best thing this slasher does is have the most developed characters in teen slasher history. Let's face it, although characters in teen slasher films before were fairly developed, they weren't fully developed. Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Rose McGowan, Matthew Lillard and Jamie Kennedy all owned their parts and some carried on their characters to the two sequels and were still strong characters. Drew Barrymore and Henry Winkler also did great in their smaller parts.
So if you want a slasher film that has a great director, a great writer, a great cast, very well developed characters, references and jokes of the great horror films before it and a shocking ending, definitely check out, it should be in every horror fan's collection!
URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY (2005)
starring: Kate Mara, Robert Vito, Tina Lifford, Lillith Fields, Audra Lea Keener, Michael Coe, Ed Marinaro.
plot: During Homecoming in 1969, Mary Banner (Lillith Fields) is having the night of her life with her jock-Homecoming date. She goes outside with him, unaware of the tradition to slip roofies in girl's drinks and rape them. When Mary tries to get away, the jock accidentally kills her and hides her body in a trunk in the school storage room. Thirty-five years later, Samantha (Kate Mara) is having a sleepover with her friends and they chant "Bloody Mary" three times before being kidnapped by the new generation of jocks. They get away unharmed but the spirit of Mary gets her revenge and murders them one-by-one to make them what she is, an urban legend.
my thoughts: While URBAN LEGEND follows in the vein of SCREAM and URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT referenced Hitchockian thrillers as well as urban legends, the new third entry in the series, URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY, explores the title character in a different way.
While the first two were slasher-thrillers, this is a ghost/slasher in the vein of films like A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, HELLO MARY LOU: PROM NIGHT II, RINGU and THE GRUDGE. Only, in my opinion, it is a bit scarier than the latter three. Bloody Mary is truly a creepy specter and even has this strange 60's love song that plays during the death scenes which worked.
Of course, being directed by Mary Lambert (PET SEMETARY, PET SEMETARY TWO), this has lots of style. Blue and green lighting, quick flashes, it's all here. There's also a creepy and subtle score orchestrated by Jeff Rona.
Also of course, being a slasher film this has to have good death scenes, and it does. Unlike the first two, this actually has urban legends coming to life instead of a killer trying to make urban legends come to life. My favorite is the spider bit, it's very gory but I won't give it away.
This also has pretty good acting by no-name actors. Kate Mara really stood out for me as the virginal heroine and Robert Vito was good as her brother. Tina Lifford, Lillith Fields, Audra Lea Keener and Michael Coe also handle their parts very well.
p.s. Notice that when Buck (Michael Coe) is watching a porno on a crappy television, it's actually the sex scene from URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT (2000)
starring: Jennifer Morrison, Matthew Davis, Loretta Devine, Hart Bochner, Joseph Lawrence, Anson Mount, Eva Mendes, Anthony Anderson, Michael Bacall, Jessica Cauffiel, Marco Hofschneider, Jacinda Barrett.
plot: Amy Mayfield (Jennifer Morrison) is a student at Alpine University, a very prestigious film school. In order to compete for the school's 'Hitchcock Award', she makes a horror film where a man kills people in the manner of urban legends. After word gets out about her film, someone actually is killing off her friends one by one in the manner of urban legends.
my thoughts: This sequel to the fun URBAN LEGEND is bashed by so many people, yes it is another "masked killer stalks high school or college students and everyone is a suspect" film. That is true, it is unoriginal, but in a different way.
This one manages to reference urban legends as well as Hitchcock and his films. It has suspense, a lot of it, the chase scenes are very tense and so is the way certain characters are played making you guess the whole way though.
This, being a slasher film, also must have some good death scenes. The very first death scene is something gorehounds will love, I won't give it away though. The rest of the murders aren't as gory but either have a cool setting, cool lighting and lots of suspense.
Also being a teen oriented film, this has to have quite the cast. We get the very down to earth Jennifer Morrison as the heroine, Matthew Davis as the brooding guy no one can trust, Loretta Devine returns as security guard Reese and she's still funny. Joseph Lawrence who I loved in this film, Anson Mount, Eva Mendes, Jessica Cauffiel who went on to play the same type of part in VALENTINE, Marco Hofschneider and Jacinda Barrett. It also has the comic relief of the hilarious Anthony Anderson and Michael Bacall.
This is John Ottman's directing debut but he handles it well. It is very stylish, not as stylish as the first but still stylish. My favorite thing was that he would focus on Jennifer Morrison's eyes during scenes where she is shocked, scared or curious that someone has been murdered. It's been done before but no matter how many times, it's still a brilliant effect.
Now with the flaws. Isn't a slasher sequel supposed to have a bigger bodycount than the first? That may just be me. Also, the fencing mask the killer wears was ... I don't know, pointless? In a film like this the killer should wear a mask that represents him or her. If it was to hide the face it was okay because you never know what the expression is on his/her face and during chase scenes when one is hiding you can't tell if he/she is looking at the victim. And, even though the revealing of the killer is surprising, he/she had the dumbest motive I have ever heard. We guessed an hour and a half for that loser's explanation? It did have a fun climax though.
Also look out for the amusing surprise ending.
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