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Main Entry: exclusion
Definition: expulsion; forbiddance
Synonyms: ban, bar, blackball, blockade, boycott, cut, debarment, debarring, discharge, dismissal, ejection, elimination, embargo, eviction, exception, excommunication, interdict, interdicting, interdiction, keeping out, lockout, nonadmission, occlusion, omission, ostracism, ousting, preclusion, prevention, prohibition, proscription, refusal, rejection, relegation, removal, repudiation, segregation, separation, suspension, veto
Antonyms: acceptance, addition, admittance, allowance, inclusion, incorporation, welcome
send to Coventry, to refuse to associate with; openly and pointedly ignore: His friends sent him to Coventry after he was court-martialed.
People from the music industry that I respect, idolize or just simply appreciate: Ennio Morricone, Amy McDonald, Daan, David Bowie, Therion, Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen, Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Joy Division, Bobby Darin, the Everly Brothers, Bobby Vinton, Gene Pitney, Herman's Hermits, The Hollies, The Animals, The Byrds, Donovan, Vargoth, Drudkh, Behemoth, Triggerfinger, Falkenbach, Finntroll, Einherjer, The Smiths, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, BB King, Ministry, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rufus Wainwright, The Allman Brothers Band, Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, Raymond Lefèvre, Children of Bodom, Volbeat, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Anathema, Velvet Underground, Norah Jones, Fatboy Slim, Moloko, Angelo Badalmenti, Sarah Brightman, Lady Antebellum, Enigma, Muse, Army of Lovers, Chris Isaak, Lesley Gore, Kasabian, Pearl Jam, dEUS, Mumford & Sons, The Subs, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Cuff the Duke, Pulp, Oscar and the Wolf,
People from the movie industry that I respect, idolize or just simply appreciate: John Saxon, Mario Bava, Joe D'Amato, George Eastman, Darren Lynn Bousman, Boris Karloff, Enzo G. Castellari, Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Antonio Margheriti, Klaus Kinski, Lloyd Kaufman, James Gunn, Rob Zombie, Sid Haig, Matthew McGrory, Karen Black, Dennis Fimple, Irwin Keyes, Tom Towles, Bill Moseley, Wolfgang Petersen, Nicol Williamson, Fairuza Balk, Piper Laurie, Philippe Mora, Tom Holland, Ronny Cox, Lucio Fulci, Christopher George, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Catriona MacColl, Fabio Frizzi, Nicolas Cage, Todd Farmer, Tom Atkins, Paul Verhoeven, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer, Ray Wise, Stuart Gordon, H.P. Lovecraft, Jeffrey Combs, David Gale, Barbara Crampton, Fernando Di Leo, Joe Dallesandro, Terence Fisher, Anton Diffring, Hazel Court, Christopher Lee, Robert Stevenson, William Girdler, Rebecca De Mornay, Mako, Ti West, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, David Carradine, Roger Corman, Adrian Hoven, Monte Hellman, Warren Oates, Harry Dean Stanton, Steve Railsback, Ed Begley Jr., Peter Fonda, Nathan Juran, Lionel Jeffries, James Glickenhaus, Ken Wahl, Joaquim de Almeida, Sam Peckinpah, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Ben Johnson, Edmond O'Brien, Kurt Raab, Helene Cattet & Bruno Forzani, Karl Freund, Peter Lorre, Colin Clive, William Lustig, Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, Tom Savini, Charles B. Pierce, Robert Wise, Fred Dekker, Fritz Lang, David Hemmings, Michael Ironside, Jan-Michael Vincent, Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Victor Buono, George Kennedy, Charles Bronson, Richard Fleischer, Elmore Leonard, Paul Koslo, Michael Winner, Brian Garfield, Lee Marvin, J. Lee Thompson, Riz Ortolani, Yul Brunner, Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Steve McQueen, Michael Crichton, James Brolin, Mel Brooks, arry Cohen, Michael Moriarty, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Robin Hardy, Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, Herbert Lom, Udo Kier, Michael Reeves, Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Dick Maas, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Paul Naschy, Paul Morrissey, Truman Capote, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, David Niven, Elsa Lanchester, Peter Sellers, Gene Wilder, Patrick McGoohan, Herb Freed, Richard Kiel, John Landis, Tim Curry, Simon Pegg, Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Dario Argento, Quentin Tarantino, Everett De Roche, Stacy Keach, Russell Mulcahy, Brian Trenchard-Smith, Donald Pleasence, George Peppard, Simon Wincer, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, Gary Sherman, Faith Domergue, Alexandre Aja, Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd, Eli Roth, Ishirô Honda, Greydon Clark, Cybill Shepherd, Neville Brand, Vincent Schiavelli, Martin Landau, Jack Palance, Alan Rudolph, Jonathan Demme, Pam Grier, Mark L. Lester, Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Kilpatrick, Don Dohler, Everett McGill, Corey Haim, Gary Busey, Jake Busey, Charlton Heston, Lorne Greene, Walter Matthau, Peter Bogdanovich, Woody Allen, John Milius, Franco Nero, Crispin Glover, Dennis Hopper, Dick Miller, Barbara Steele, Armando Crispino, Sergio Grieco, Helmut Berger, Lee Van Cleef, Robert Forster, John Huston, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., George Miller, Mel Gibson, Robert Rodriguez, George Hilton, Kane Hodder, Michael Madsen, Tony Todd, Nicolas Winding Refn, William Grefe, Cirio H. Santiago , Joe Dante, Don Coscarelli, Angus Schrimm, Tobe Hooper, Tiffany Shepis, Brad Dourif, George P. Cosmatos, John Boorman, Stephen Boyd, Tommy Lee Jones, Rod Steiger, Brian DePalma, Gunnar Hansen, George A. Romero, Simon Boyes, Adam Mason, Jack Arnold, M. Emmet Walsh, James Stewart, Darren McGavin, Kathleen Quinlan, Jack Lemmon, Robert Foxworth, Olivia De Havilland, Michael Pataki, Jerry Stiller, John Carradine, Julian Sands, Freddie Francis, Don Sharp, William Castle, Bill Rebane, John De Bello, Terry O'Quinn, Peter Sykes, Wes Craven, Michael Sarrazin, Lewis Teague, Yaphet Kotto, Sergio Stivaletti, John Phillip Law, Michele Soavi, Umberto Lenzi, Anna Falchi, Lon Chaney, Sergio Martino, Edwige Fenech, Ursula Andress, Michael Sopkiw, Edmund Purdom, Hal Yamanouchi, Barbara Bach, Cameron, Mitchell, Alberto De Martino, Ernesto Gastaldi, Maurizio Merli, John Steiner, Mel Ferrer, Barbara Bouchet, Marty Feldman, Tomas Milian, Bruno Mattei, Lamberto Bava, Luc Merenda, Anita Strindberg, Luigi Pistilli, Ivan Rassimov, Sergio Corbucci, Tito Carpi, David Warbeck, Luciano Pigozzi, Gianfranco Giagni, Florinda Balkan, Rosalba Neri, Mel Welles, Dagmar Lassander, Neil Jordan, Walter Huston, Ray Bradbury, Gregory Peck, Orson Welles, Bert I. Gordon, H.G. Wells, Ida Lupino, Kirk Douglas, David Lynch, Eddie Romero, Bela Lugosi, Al Adamson, Tor Johnson, Edward D. Wood Jr, David Cronenberg, Christopher Walken, Tom Skeritt, Martin Sheen, Dino De Laurentiis, James Wan, Anthonhy Perkins, Curtis Harrington, Julie Harris, Ornella Muti, Ray Lovelock
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Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense: Tennis Court (1984)
Game. Set. Fail.
One of the biggest disappointments I ever encountered is the TV-series "Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense". The Hammer movies from the 50s-70s are legendary, and the early 80s series "Hammer House of Horrors" is also fantastic, but this show is a gigantic misfire. The best episodes are mediocre, but most of them are terrible. This one, for instance, is a 75-minutes long movie about a supernaturally possessed tennis court. I kid you not. The unkempt indoor tennis court has memories dating back all the way to WWII, when its owner died in an army plane crash, but the co-pilot survived and ran off with the girlfriend. Forty years later, the court still wants revenge. Or something like that, I wasn't really paying attention. Peter Graves also seems to wonder how ended up here, by the way.
Wrongfully Accused (1998)
Dumb > Dumber > Leslie Nielsen in the 90s
All right, I confess, my biggest guilty pleasures are those utterly and over-the-top moronic spoof movies from the 90s; - and preferably the ones starring Leslie Nielsen. Although a respectable actor in television disaster-, horror-, and thriller movies during the 60s and 70s, Nielsen found his true calling in the early 80s thanks to the ZAZ-team who cast him in "Airplane!" and "Police Squad". Nielsen turned out to have an incredible talent for keeping a straight face and serious voice even during the most absurd situations. This led to typecasting for the rest of his career, but I have a weakness of all the comedies he appeared in.
Although not exactly great, "Wrongfully Accused" is one of the better ones. In terms of entertainment value, it's somewhere on the same level as "Spy Hard" and "Dracula: Dead and Loving it". It's obviously less awesome than "The Naked Gun" and "Airplane", but much better than "Repossessed" or "2001: A Space Travesty".
In good old spoof/parody tradition, the jokes come at five per minute and there isn't a real plot. Writer, director, and overall genre-expert Pat Proft primarily spoofs "The Fugitive", but pretty much every blockbuster and successful TV-series from the 90s is made fun of ("Mission: Impossible", "Baywatch", "Titanic", "Braveheart", "Silence of the Lambs". Nielsen is terrific, and for once he's also surrounded by an excellent supportive cast including Richard Crenna, Michael York, and Kelly LeBrock. Pure fun, nothing else.
The Silencing (2020)
Know what an atlatl is? Well, watch this film.
"The Silencing" is the type of thirteen-in-a-dozen action/thriller that would normally pass by me unnoticed, but I picked this one out because of the director. Robin Pront is a young prodigy director, and compatriot of mine, from Belgium. After a more than decent debut film ("The Ardennes") and ditto TV-series ("Thieves from the Woods"), this was his first adventure overseas. I don't know if "The Silencing" was well-received or not, but meanwhile Pront already returned to Belgium to make the awesome and tremendously successful blockbuster "Zillion". I'm sure he will return to the US for more films.
As said, "The Silencing" is largely unremarkable, but that certainly doesn't mean it's bad. Quite the contrary, the script contains a handful of unexpected (albeit implausible) surprises and twists, and there's tension throughout. I read comparisons between this film and "Wind River", but that is obviously too much honor. Sure, there's the common (and depressing) theme of the unjust and miserable living conditions of Native Americans, but here it's merely the footnote. The main story is about a grieving father searching for the serial killer of his daughter.
There's action and suspense, good performances from a largely unknown cast (unknown to me, at least) and a creepily disguised killer who uses an ingenious weapon to hunt down defenseless young girls through a wildlife reservation. How many thrillers have you seen in which the killer uses an atlatl (primitive spear)? That alone makes "The Silencing" worth seeing.
All the Colors of Giallo (2019)
None of the colors, none of the joy. Only boring blah-blah
There are several reasons why I fanatically seek out documentaries about my favorite genre (and subgenres) of horror. For starters, in the hope of stumbling upon some unknown and obscure new titles to discover, even if only just one or two. Secondly, to celebrate and honor all the main contributors of the genre, like directors and other crucial crew members, and learn more about their visions, motivations, and challenges. Thirdly, and most importantly, simply to relive the clips and highlights of my favorite movies, and to witness how other people are talking about them as enthusiastically as I do! Based on those three reasons, there are documentaries that I genuinely rank as brilliant viewing experiences, like "Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films that Ruled the '70s", "Not Quite Hollywood! The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!", "The Man Who Saw Frankenstein Cry", and "Forgotten Scares: an in-depth look at Flemish Horror Cinema".
What I absolute don't seek in (horror-)documentaries is: dull and endless lectures by an anti-charismatic film historian, a simple summing up of the most obvious and widely acclaimed film titles everybody knows already, a severe shortage of clips and footage taken from genre movies, and a complete lack of joyful spirit, insignificant but fun little anecdotes, and an overall tangible love for the genre. Well, guess what. This paragraph sadly describes "All the Colors of Giallo" to the fullest...
I genuinely cannot fathom how this could have happened! How can you focus on a horror subgenre that is so versatile, exhilarating, and wonderful as the Italian Giallo, and yet make such a dreadfully boring documentary out of it?!? With all due respect - not - for the knowledgeable movie historian Fabio Melelli, I don't want to watch and listen to his monotonous talking for approximately half of the running time! If that would be interesting at all, I might not have dropped out of college, neither.
To make matters worse, Melelli's dull monologues only get interchanged by other dull monologues of personal heroes of mine. "All the Colors of Giallo" features Dario Argento, Umberto Lenzi, Lamberto Bava, Ernesto Gastaldi, Barbara Bouchet, Sergio Martino, Edwige Fenech, and voice recordings of Lucio Fulci, but they all behave as if they are giving a speech at a funeral. I didn't sense any love or nostalgia for the heydays of Italian cult & exploitation cinema at all.
Honestly, undergoing "All the Colors of Giallo" was close to painful. There's so much greatness to show and tell about the Italian Giallo, but this thing only features the bare minimum. Of course, there are landmarks the pioneers that deserve more attention than others. It's only logical to spend more time on "Blood and Black Lace" by Mario Bava, "The Bird with Crystal Plumage" by Dario Argento, and "Don't Torture a Duckling" by Lucio Fulci. But what about all those other great people in the industry, and the numerous gems and hidden treasures they directed? Lamberto Bava is interviewed, but he only gets to talk about his father. How disrespectful is that, when he also made several great gialli himself ("A Blade in the Dark", "Midnight Killer", "Delirium: Photo of Gioia"). What about Pupi Avati ("The House with Laughing Windows"), Massimo Dallamano ("What have you done to Solange?, "The Coed Murders"), Emilio Miraglia ("The Red Queen Kills Seven Times"), Paolo Cavaro ("Plot of Fear, "Black Belly of the Tarantula"), Luigi Cozzi ("The Killer must Kill Again"), Alberto de Martino ("Formula for a Murder"), Antonio Margheriti ("Seven Deaths in a Cat's Eye"), Tonino Valerii ("My Dear Killer"), and so many more!
Cocaine Bear (2023)
If it's brown, lay down. If it's black, fight back. If it's high, ... you will surely die!
Once every 10-15 years or so, there comes along a creature-feature horror flick so silly and yet so fresh & irresistible that you simply must see it! Remember how excited you were for "Snakes on a Plane"? You're likely to feel that same enthusiasm for "Cocaine Bear", even though you realize well from beforehand you won't be seeing a masterwork. If you dislike "Cocaine Bear" you only have yourself to blame, since we're pretty much getting exactly what the trailer (and two-word title, for that matter) promises.
In the National Park with the most awesome name in history, Chattahoochee, a drug courier drops his shipment from a plane, but the big brown packages are torn open by a black bear who develops an instant taste and addiction to the white nose candy. This is where the "based on a true story" part terminates, by the way. The poor bear to whom this really happened apparently OD'd immediately. This black mamma-bear goes on a violent rampage, which (thankfully) is a side-effect I didn't suffer from when I experiment with cocaine during my youth! The flamboyant drug lord (fun final role of Ray Liotta) wants his stuff back, obviously, and sends his minions to the National Park. They, together with a colorful variety of happy campers, rangers, school-ditching kids, youthful thugs, paramedics, and worried mothers, will all face the wrath of... cocaine bear!
The pacing is good, the humor is often absurdly over-the-top, and the gore is plentiful, with the ranger cabin and subsequent ambulance sequence as irrefutable highlights of the film. I watched "Cocaine Bear" together with my 7-year-old daughter and she laughed herself silly. Personally, I feel the film could (and should) even be more unhinged and brutal, but that probably wouldn't have worked. It's already difficult to blend horror and comedy as it is, and let's conclude Elizabeth Banks did fairly decent work. The script, by Jimmy Warden, often doesn't make a lick of sense (for example, why would a high-on-dope bear spare a teenage girl?) but even that, and the occasionally terrible CGI-effects, are forgivable.
Dip huet seung hung (1989)
John Wick's much older brother from an Asian mother!
Only a handful of directors, the chosen few, succeed in turning non-stop images of hardcore violence into a higher form of art! John Woo is one of them, obviously, and his already far above average Hollywood debut "Hard Target" brought me in the mood to rewatch his ultimate native Hong-Kong masterpiece "The Killer".
If you look at the extreme popularity of "shoot-em-up" action flicks nowadays, with the "John Wick" series as most notable example, the respect and admiration of "The Killer" only grows even bigger! Woo already accomplished this type of cinema 30 years ago, and much better, I may add.
Like in every great film, the plot is ridiculously simple (and not necessarily original). Invincible and insanely multi-skilled hired killer Ah-Jong accidentally wounds a beautiful jazz club singer during an assignment. The poor girl loses her sight, and Ah-Jong vows to accept only one more job to pay for her surgery. While the entire Hong-Kong mafia wants him dead, Ah-Jong unexpectedly gets a new alley in the shape of persistent police officer Lee Ying.
I can only find one word to describe the stunt work, choreography, stylish trademarks, and versatility of the shootouts: brilliant! There were the never-ending gunfight battles of wannabe similar movies (again I must refer to "John Wick") quickly bores me to death, the bullet rains in "The Killer" keep me glued to the screen. Numerous sequences, like the confrontation in the parking garage or the climax in the church, are pure art. Okay, admittedly, there's a little too much sentimental blah-blah about male friendship happening, but that's the only default I can think of.
Bande à part (1964)
Role models and "classics" can be so boring!
In my movie room at home, there's a pile of sealed DVDs that I don't necessarily want to see, but they are all purchased because supposedly they are "must-sees" and "must-haves". You know, those artsy, universally acclaimed, and influential landmarks that are usually included in books like 1000-movies-you-must-see-before-you-die, etc. "Band of Outsiders" is one of those. It's apparently the most accessible and joyful film of the French prodigy Jean-Luc Godard, and so good that even the almighty Quentin Tarantino recycled the title as name for his own production company.
Is" Band of Outsiders" a unique and highly influential film? Yeah, probably. Is "Band of Outsiders" a masterpiece that you must see before you die? Of course not! Is it fun & entertaining enough to watch at least once? Not even, in my humble opinion. I'm obviously just an amateur reviewer, but I thought this was an incredibly dull and badly dated flick with three incredibly obnoxious lead characters, idiotic situations, and far too many pretentious gimmicks. Godard supposedly pays tribute to film-noir and B-movie classics from the 30s and 40s, but all those films are far more sophisticated and superior to what he serves here.
The lead heroine, Anna Karina, is impossibly naive and that actually makes her even more insufferable than the two dimwitted thugs she hangs out with. The performers are annoying, but not half as annoying as the pointless narration via voice-over (apparently Godard himself) or the randomly spontaneous footage like dance acts or blitz-visits to the Louvre.
Love her six days per week, and twice on Wednesdays!
In my family, "The Addams Family" is sacred. Well, let me rephrase, the early nineties films directed by Barry Sonnenfeld are sacred. As much as I appreciate and enjoy the sixties TV-series and the recent animated movies, the definite and quintessential Addams family members to me are those brilliantly portrayed by the cast of those two hilarious films: Raul Julia as Gomez, Anjelica Huston as Morticia, Christopher Lloyd as Fester, and Christina Ricci as Wednesday. Since I'm the same age as Ricci, she - as Wednesday - was my very first childhood crush. We watched either "The Addams Family" or "The Addams Family Values" once per week.
Now, this useless bit of personal background information only serves to indicate that I was both skeptically and excitedly looking forward to "Wednesday" when I found out about its existence. Excited because it's another new chapter in one of my favorite film/television sagas, and if there's one character in the Addams' family who truly deserves a spinoff, it's definitely Wednesday. Skeptical because, although immediately confident about the choice of Jenny Ortega for the titular role, I can't imagine any others playing Gomez, Morticia, and Fester. Eventually, it turned out of minor importance, as they are just making guest appearances. For the record, though, beautiful and classy Catherina Zeta-Jones as Morticia sounds like a great idea on paper but it doesn't work, for some reason, and although much more reminiscent to their originally drawn characters by cartoonist Charles Addams, Luiz Guzman (as Gomez) and Fred Armisen (as Fester) are plain terrible.
Again, though, it doesn't matter. This is about Wednesday. She's now a 16-year-old but tremendously atypical teenage girl and standing on her own feet for the first time as she gets sent off to Nevermore Academy, after getting expelled at another normal school. As the Poe-inspired name suggests, Nevermore is a school for eccentric outcasts and supernatural beings, like sirens, werewolves, gorgons, shape-shifters and whatnot. This makes the series oddly comparable to the Harry Potter film-series, especially because of the omnipresent "coming-of-age" aspects the teenage protagonists go through.
The biggest differentiator of the "Wednesday" spinoff is the story. Whereas all previous "Addams Family" films and series had thin storylines and mostly revolved around sinister characters and morbid humor, this series needed a solid enough and compelling plot to last for eight episodes. The creators mainly succeeded. At her new school, and in the neighboring town of Jericho, Wednesday hunts down a murderous creature that may or may not gets controlled by someone else. During her search, she unravels the dark pages of Jericho's pilgrimage history, stumbles upon her own parents' history at Nevermore, and develops a lot more emotional connections with peers than she wants.
The story is very good but makes use of several cheap and ancient tricks to mislead the viewer. The script desperately tries to drag you along into Wednesday's tunnel vision theories regarding the prime suspects for the monster and master. If you manage to step out of that perspective, the answers aren't too hard to find. But hey, this certainly doesn't spoil the fun. The series has a splendid youthful cast and great direction (particularly, of course, the episodes directed by none other than Tim Burton). Wednesday's stoic body language and facial expressions are priceless, not to mention her genius and wit comments, comebacks, and observations.
I can't wait for Wednesday's adventures during her sophomore year at Nevermore and, judging by the immense success of the Netflix' series, I'm not alone.
Hard Target (1993)
Directors make the difference
There certainly wasn't a shortage of action movies, and - by extension - action movie heroes, during the first half of the nineties. Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Steven Seagal, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Sylvester Stallone, ... They all brightly colored my own personal teenage years with their action blockbusters, but only a handful of those still look top-notch and dazzling today.
One of them is "Hard Target" and, no, it's not because of Van Damme's adorable curly hair or because someone had the brilliant idea to set the story in New Orleans so that his thick French accent make sense. It's largely thanks to the man in the driver seat; - John Woo and his visionary filming style and value-adding trademarks. Woo's first Hollywood adventure isn't as great as his Hong-Kong classics starring Chow Yun-Fat (notably "The Killer") but he nonetheless brings out the best in what usually are mediocre actors, like Van Damme and Arnold Vosloo. And someone like Lance Henriksen is even more phenomenal than he usually is.
The plot certainly won't win any prizes for originality. "Hard Target" is another interpretation of the legendary 1932 milestone "The Most Dangerous Game" (see also: "Blood Camp Thatcher", "Deadly Prey", "Surviving the Game", "The Women Hunt", ...) in which hunting on human preys is turned into a sport for the elite. The film differentiates itself by the fierce and masterful action sequences, including shootouts with massive firepower, dazzling motorcycle stunts, kickboxing techniques in slow-motion, venomous snake traps, and fireworks in a Mardi Grass warehouse. Deliberate or not, John Woo also portrays a marvelous slice of biting social satire. In a grim city like New Orleans, nobody cares to help a dying homeless man, and his assailants mustn't even fear any witnesses.
We have such sights to show you... Not quite.
This may be an inappropriate comparison, my apologies, but for me the original 1987 "Hellraiser" is what the Bible is for Christians or what the Koran represents for Muslims. It's holy! It was the first horror movie I watched, at a far too tender age, and even before that, the mini-version of me already gazed at the posters and VHS cover-boxes of this terrifying lead Cenobite with nails in his head like it was some sort of deity I was destined to worship.
Wow, that sounds pretty weird and disturbing when I re-read it now. But it's true, Clive Barker is the reason why I became a horror fanatic, and I still consider "Hellraiser" and "Hellbound: Hellraiser II" as the most genuinely nightmarish horror movies ever made.
Why this intro? Merely just to emphasize that I was immensely skeptical and wary to watch a remake. Also, for almost as long as I can remember, a remake has been in talks but for various reasons never happened. That is never a good sign. Eventually, the film got produced by Hulu, an online streaming company much lesser known than Netflix or Amazon, and gradually became available on other platforms as well.
The first thing I'm tempted to say about the new "Hellraiser" is that it's not exactly a traditional remake. Sure, there are foundational similarities and overlaps, but it's a different interpretation of Barker's tale with a new setting and characters. Is lead girl Riley supposed to be the new Kirsty? Because, if so, she's a tremendous failure. She's a selfish and appalling person that you really don't care for if she's shred to little flesh-pieces by the Cenobites. Is Voight the new Frank or Dr. Channard? You know, the person obsessed with the Lament configuration and the evils it unleashes, but too cowardly to solve the puzzle himself. Is Serena Menaker the new Julia? Is Matt the new Larry? You can link most of the new characters to alter egos of the original, or you can simply choose to not bother comparing. The Cenobites - still the essence of the film, obviously - are a success. The lead Cenobite is uncanny regardless of being a woman or a man, and the disciples (The Weeper, The Gasp, The Asphyx) are equally impressive. Even our beloved Chatterer makes a comeback.
Overall, "Hellraiser" certainly isn't a terrible film. There's a thoroughly sinister atmosphere, grisly scenery, grueling bits of gore, and a grim soundtrack. Director David Bruckner ("The Signal", "The Ritual") does a relatively good job, but this 21st Century update sorely lacks passion, involvement, and emotion.
The Night Stalker (1986)
Before he was "Maniac Cop", he was ... just a random Maniac!
"The Night Stalker", not to be confused with the far superior occult made-for-television thriller and subsequent series, is one of those ideal mid-80s horror/action movies that you can watch with a bunch of friends and play a game of cliché-bingo to! Do you know the rules?
Each participant writes down 10-12 genre clichés on a piece of paper prior to starting the film. Then, while watching, you tick off the clichés when they appear on screen, and the first participant who sees all his/her clichés featuring in the film, wins. This largely (and righteously) forgotten 80s flick is a nearly inexhaustible source of clichés! The invincible serial killer; check. Practicing some sort of voodoo ritual; check. Preying on big city prostitutes because they are "disposable" victims; check. The heavily drinking, chain-smoking, unorthodox, and practically always suspended homicide officer; check. The mandatory liquor store robbery and overlong chasing of the culprits over rooftops; check. The good-hearted prostitute and her love-hate relationship with the homicide inspector; check. The constantly joking but loyal partner who dies halfway through the film; check. The arrogant police inspector nobody likes gets caught with a prostitute who turns out to be a transvestite; check. And, of course, there's plenty of more...
Undoubtedly the most interesting aspect about "The Night Stalker" is the cast. Charles Napier isn't known for playing the lead hero, and he's visibly uncomfortable. He usually stars in the supportive cast, as a sleazy corps detective or a corrupt authority figure, so he can't handle the responsibility of carrying a film. I wouldn't be surprised if Napier requested himself to turn his character into an alcoholic who's passed out half of the time. The stunningly beautiful Lydie Denier depicts the first victim, and the first person to discover that the maniac cannot be killed easily with bullets. Speaking of which, the prowler is none other than Robert Z'Dar! He would become somewhat of an 80s horror movie icon two years later, as Matt Cordell in William Lustig's "Maniac Cop". Z'Dar already does here what he would repeat throughout his entire further career, namely talk as little as possible and look menacing thanks to his impressive posture and unnaturally large jawbone.
Blood Relations (1988)
There's something about ... Marie
You know you're about to watch a very unusual film when, during the first 10 or so minutes already, a passionate love-making sequences is montaged together with footage of an open brain-surgery. The weirdness continues when an adult son, with the persuasive help of his new girlfriend, decides to play a prank on the father by pretending to have slit his wrists and lay dead in a bloodied bathtub. Nice! Nothing says "dysfunctional family" like tasteless and downright shocking jokes, I guess!
Now, I have no idea how "Blood Relations" ended up on my must-see list, but there's definitely something oddly compelling about this late 80s Canadian horror/exploitation effort! Three generations of men (and a gardener) live together in their large and secluded family mansion. Grandfather lies nearly dead in his bedroom, the pervy father is a renowned brain surgeon who may or may not killed his wife to inherit her fortune, and the twenty-something son is plotting a scheme to eliminate his father and get his inheritance much quicker and all for himself. In the middle of all this is the stunningly beautiful Marie; - the son Thomas' girlfriend and accomplice, but she's playing her part of seductress very convincingly.
Admittedly there isn't a lot of horror in "Blood Relations", but this widely gets compensated by nudity, erotic atmosphere, and a whole lot of wicked strangeness. For example, I don't recall having seen many other films in which a girl gets down and dirty with the son, his father, and his grandfather! Well, what can you do when a dying old man's last wish is to strip naked and give kisses? The denouement is odd and largely unsatisfying. Mostly odd, though. To be honest, I guessed the ending right halfway through the movie, but then rapidly forgot the idea because it was just too silly and far-fetched. Not silly enough for this crew, apparently.
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)
Okay, that's enough John Wick for a few years...
Of all the blockbuster franchises you'll ever watch in life, "John Wick" is the one most likely to stretch out your suspension of disbelief to epic new proportions! Not only we're meant to accept that our titular hero miraculously remains unharmed while he annihilates hundreds of insignificant opponents, but we are also supposed to believe that half of New York City is a professional killer, and that the most powerful criminal organization of the world uses Commodore-64 monitors to spread messages.
I don't want to sound too much like an old and whiny sourpuss, but this franchise is collapsing like a fragile house of cards with each new entry. The little gimmicks and curiosities that still made the original intriguing (the coins, the Continental, Wick's network and language skills) have either led nowhere or turned out disappointingly. And I concur with some of the other reviewers around here who stated that director Chad Stahelski hasn't made any profession progress whatsoever since the first film. Quite the contrary, in fact, the fighting sequences only get longer & duller, and Stahelski doesn't seem to realize (or refuses to) that the viewer wants more plot and less karate kicks.
Chapter two ended with a reasonably promising cliffhanger. After shooting a member of the High Table in the face, moreover in the forbidden zone of the Continental Hotel, Wick is declared "excommunicado". Basically, this means everyone is allowed to kill him, and there's a price tag of $14,000,000 on his head. The premise leads to an entertaining first half hour, with creative and well-choreographed action sequences taking place in a library, a horses' stable, a weapons museum, and on motorcycles. After that, "Parabellum" becomes really preposterous and repetitive. Wick escapes to Casablanca, becomes involved in yet another vendetta over a dead dog, and discovers that one of the most influential members of the High Table lives like a hermit in the desert. Yeah, sure. Part three ends with a fall from such a massive height that even John Wick himself couldn't possibly survive... Right?
John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
Stab, kick, shoot, repeat. Stab, kick, shoot, repeat. Stab, kick shoot, repeat.
Well, I committed to watching the first three "John Wick" movies consecutively, and in case I totally worship them - like apparently the rest of the world does - I would hurry myself to the theater and watch the fourth installment on the big screen. After the first one already, I knew this wasn't going to be my thing. Not that "John Wick" is a bad film, it's just a very monotonous 'shoot-em-all-up' actioner that rapidly makes you go like "yeah, whatever".
The first film doesn't have much of a plot, but it does make one thing crystal clear. You cannot kill John Wick, but he sure as hell can kill you without barely even lifting a finger. The plot of chapter two is identical, give or take a few minor details. And if you thought, after the 500+ body count of part I, there wouldn't be any more bad guys left to shoot to pieces, you thought wrong. Another couple of cargo containers full of disposable thugs literally stand in line to get executed by Keanu. This is ironically also where the film gets rather tedious. During some of the never-ending shootout, like in the Roman catacombs, it felt like I was gazing at the ultra-violent video games that my 13-year-old son plays fanatically. And I hate those.
I'll still watch number 3 as planned but the fourth isn't not worth the expensive price of a cinema ticket nowadays. It's more of the same anyways, so I wait patiently until it plays on television in a couple of years.
John Wick (2014)
You don't mess with another person's dog. It's as simple as that!
With the fourth installment scoring immensely at the cinemas as I'm submitting this review, and after three previous films that are apparently loved by everyone else in the world, I thought perhaps it would be time for me check out "John Wick".
But, even though I'm late to the party as usual, I don't feel like I've missed out on a lot. "John Wick" is a fast-paced and adrenaline-rushing action flick, but not the traditional type of action movie, like "Die Hard" or "Lethal Weapon". Since a good fifteen years or so, there seemingly exists an additional new sub-genre within the world of action/thriller cinema, which is best described as "Shoot 'em Up" films, and "John Wick" neatly fits into this category. Other examples include "Shoot 'em Up", - duh - , "Crank", "Hardcore Henry", "Free Fire", "Taken" and "Everly". You guessed it; - these are films with very thin plots and without any proper character development, but they primarily focus on non-stop violent action, excessively over-the-top gunfire action and a practically immeasurable body count. They are entertaining if you're in a completely undemanding mood, I reckon, but they are quite unmemorable as well. Moreover, despite all the action and bloodshed, these films are sort of boring, because they constantly repeat the same old "bang-bang-you're-all-dead" routine.
The most interesting aspects about "John Wick" are definitely the structural framework and background stories the script constantly hints at. The rudimentary plot of an invincible and stoic hitman coming out of retirement to extract vengeance of a personal nature is really old and has been told hundreds of times before. The organization in which our protagonist operates, however, is intriguing to say the least. He knows everyone, both the ones supporting him and the ones he's shooting up, there's a sort of code of conduct that includes the use of specific coins and the respect of neutral zones, the cleaning up bloody shootout aftermaths is referred to as diner reservations, and even the local law enforcer doesn't seem surprised when John answers the door with a bloodied face. None of these particularities ever get explained, but then again, there are at least three more films.
The sole thing to bear in mind when watching a film like "John Wick" remains: don't ask yourself any questions. Where does the never-ending supply of redundant henchmen keeps coming from? Why can't anyone hit a target expect for the hero? Why engage into a fistfight when there's a possibility for a clean shot? Why capture your target instead of killing him straight away, for that matter? You know he'll just escape again and kill you instead. Most importantly, why didn't anyone at least try to apologize to Wick for murdering his puppy?
If you seek logic and answers to these questions, "John Wick" is a terrible film. In case you accept what it is, there's entertainment aplenty thanks to the impressive stunt work, the solid performances by Keanu Reeves and the supportive cast, inventive little gimmicks, and a whole lot of mean people that get punished for making the wrong career choices in their lives.
Ma-girl wants to party all the time
Make no mistake, despite the involvement of acclaimed director Tate Taylor ("The Help", "The Girl on the Train"), and a cast with quite a few impressive names (Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans, Missi Pyle, ...), "Ma" is a raunchy and vicious exploitation B-movie at heart. I would normally be ecstatic about that, but unfortunately, "Ma" also is a very derivative and tiresome effort.
"Ma" is yet another 'seemingly-goodhearted-community-figure-turns-out-obsessive-psycho' story. It's predictable, implausible, full of improbabilities and plot holes, and - worst of all - not nearly as unsettling or shocking as the film itself thinks it is. Spencer plays Sue Ann, a shy and introvert veterinary assistant in a small-town community who suddenly becomes popular among the local high-school kids because she's willing to buy alcohol for them. She even becomes one of 'the gang' and gets lovingly referred to as Ma when she offers her basement as location for wild parties. But, as a matter of course, Sue Ann has bad intentions that link back to the kids' parents with whom Sue Ann went to school with and bullied her. Wow, who could have seen that twist coming? Everyone!
Especially because the climax is so clichéd and predictable, "Ma" feels incredibly slow-paced. There's nothing even remotely tense or noteworthy happening during the first full hour, and the bloodbath during the last twenty or so minutes comes to late to save the film. Octavia Spencer's performance is very good, though. Someone ought to make a similar (but less pretentious) movie with her and Dennis Quaid as a married couple, considering he's the male expert for this sort of role ("The Intruder", "Beneath the Darkness"). Oh, and I am giving "Ma" one extra point as a reward for featuring the most emotionless and abrupt hit-and-run sequences in recent history. This was the only genuine shocking moment of the film, and admittedly I re-watched the scene 4-5 times in a row.
Euer Weg führt durch die Hölle (1984)
Welcome to the Jungle; we are dull and daft.
There were two reasons why "Jungle Warriors" was on my must-see list. #1: because I love the juicy-sounding original title in German, "Euer Weg führt durch die Hölle", which roughly translates as "Your path goes through Hell". And #2: because of the downright sublime B-movie cast list including names like John Vernon, Sybil Danning, Woody Strode, Paul Smith, Alex Cord, and Marjoe Gortner.
Well, what can I say? "Jungle Warriors" wasn't worth my time, and it certainly isn't worth yours. Cool as it may sound, a title is a terrible reason for wanting to see a film. And the ensemble cast may look terrific on paper, but it this case it's meaningless. John Vernon and Woody Strode clearly weren't the least bit interested in their roles, only in their paychecks. Sybil Danning never looked more unattractive. Only Paul L. Smith does his stinking best, but he's not a good enough actor to carry the entire film.
The plot also could have been elaborated much better, as it holds quite some potential. During a photoshoot in an exotic jungle location, several fashion models and their producer are taken captive by a local drug cartel. When a major deal is about to take place between the cartel and an American mob boss, the models plan a daring escape. There's action, gore, sleaze, and yet for some incomprehensible reason "Jungle Warriors" is dull beyond words. According to the old and crummy VHS, I watched the uncut 95-minutes version, but the only thing more boring than the spineless gore is the earache-inducing theme song by Marina Arcangeli.
Cat in the Cage (1978)
Things that go meow-meow in the night
The only thing this "The Cat in the Cage" is really good at is establishing what everybody knows already. For example, everybody knows that Sybil Danning was an incredibly sexy woman in the 70s. Everybody also knows that ordinary housecats cannot be trained, so when a film features cat-attack sequences they just look silly. And, finally, ravishing young women only ever marry rich widowers when they schemed with their handsome lovers (usually the chauffeur or gardener) to murder them for money.
Or, otherwise said, "The Cat in the Cage" is a very unsatisfying thriller. Sybil Danning and the wooden Mel Novak carefully planned to kill Danning's businessman husband - after already successfully having eliminated his ill wife - but are confronted with a potentially psychotic son and his diabolical cat. Oh, and halfway through the plot there suddenly appears to be another brother. Scriptwriting 101, Mr. Tony Zarindast, you can't just introduce new and essential characters in the middle of a film without hinting at their existence whatsoever. Wickedly bad and uneven movie, only worthwhile to admire Sybil Danning at the peak of her beauty.
Son of my Father! Changing, rearranging into something new...
I wouldn't refer to "Son" as a particularly great movie, but writer/director Ivan Kavanagh sure did his stinking best to stuff it with as many controversial and shocking themes as humanly possible. Cannibalism, satanic cults, incest, body horror, psychotic parents, ... Those are some keywords that'll grab the attention of any horror fanatic!
Andi Matichak, known from the recent "Halloween" trilogy in which she plays Jamie Lee Curtis' granddaughter, stars as a young mother whose 7-year-old son suffers from a strange disease that may or may not been inflicted on him by members of the satanic cult where mommy escaped from when she was pregnant. Fact is that her boy David frequently goes into trances and craves human flesh.
There's hardly anything groundbreaking about "Son", but Kavanagh does an admirable job playing with the wonderment whether Laura is really running away from a cult or from a different form of abuse and traumatic events in her past. Most plot twists are painfully predictable, including the ending, but occasionally there's also a grisly little surprise along the way. Worth seeing but unmemorable.
Hey look, Stephen King wrote a grocery list... Let's film it!
Of course, I tremendously respect Stephen King for his numerous contributions to literature and the overall world of horror, but does it mean that every piece of text he puts on paper seriously must be transferred to film immediately? "1922" is - according to yours truly, at least - an example of a very ordinary, unremarkable, and passable story that never would have made it to the screen if it hadn't King's name attached to it. The number of King adaptation in 2017 alone makes you dazzle ("It", "Gerald's Game", "The Dark Tower", "The Mist", "1922", ...). I swear, if this man publishes his weekly list for the grocery store, directors will stand in line to turn it into a movie.
The plot of "1922" is watchable, but unoriginal and predictable. There's tension, but never edge-of-your-seat suspense. There's gore, but only for the sake of adding a bit of blood and gore. The performances are adequate, but not perplexing. In short, "1922" is a very average movie. It's obvious that Stephen King, and secretly director Zak Hilditch as well, hoped to parallel some of biggest previous successes. Like "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile", "1922" is a period piece with a lot more drama elements than horror characteristics. Further comparisons stop here, though, as the plotline is thin and uninvolving. Thomas Jane receives a lot of praise for his performance, but I think his accent, his grumbling, and his "farmer tics" are atrocious. None of the characters are convincing or even plausible, in fact. Extra point for the hilarious scene with the (poor) cow!
The Black Phone (2021)
The number you have dialed is not in use. Please hang up the phone and fight off your kidnapper...
In case switching on your internal suspension of disbelief button isn't too much of an obstacle for you, the least you can say about "The Black Phone" is that it has an intriguing and original premise. Finney, the latest victim of a feared child abductor and serial killer (whom, with "The Grabber", admittedly didn't receive a very creative media-name) is locked up in a soundproof cellar and starts receiving calls from a disconnected black phone on the wall. Talking to him are The Grabber's previous and sadly deceased victims, and they provide Finney with moral support as well as with tips and tricks to fight back. Is there a supernatural force at work here, or is it simply Finney's imagination? Whatever the answer, the conversation partners - including two of Finney's former friends - do give him the courage to not act as a helpless victim.
"The Black Phone" is an interesting mainstream horror/thriller with a couple of notably tense moments, an atypical performance by Ethan Hawke, and a good ensemble cast of strong and likable adolescents. We see more and more of those in the horror genre thanks to the success of series/franchises like "It", "Stranger Things", "The Babysitter", etc. The skeptic horror freak in me, on the other hand, did see many flaws. The film is often slow-paced and too patiently takes its time to introduce the characters (it takes more than forty minutes before Finney even gets kidnapped). There's also much allegoric drama in the script. Finney doesn't just battle against a creep with a nasty mask, but also against his abusive father, the bullies at school, etc. There isn't any gore, and director Scott Derrickson doesn't make full use of the suburban setting and timing. I reckon the only reason why the story takes place in 1978 is because back then child murderers could still drive around in conspicuous black vans, and because teenagers didn't have cell phones with geo-locators yet.
Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities: Dreams in the Witch House (2022)
How dare they give Lovecraft the "Twilight" treatment!
Some directors form a match made in heaven with certain historical authors. The best and most obvious example I can give is the perfect match between director Stuart Gordon and the oeuvre of legendary writer H. P. Lovecraft. Gordon helmed impeccable Lovecraft adaptations like "Re-Animator", "From Beyond", "Castle Freak" and "Dagon". And approximately a decade and a half before Guillermo Del Toro invented "Cabinet of Curiosities", there was another horror omnibus series entitled "Masters of Horror" for which Stuart Gordon directed a fantastic version of "Dreams in the Witch-House".
My point? There never was even the slightest chance that anyone could top Stuart Gordon when it comes to bringing Lovecraft to the screen, and most certainly NOT the director of the original "Twilight" flick. Gordon's version of "Dreams in the Witch-House" for "Masters of Horror" was a dark and genuinely disturbing tale of the macabre, whereas Catherine Hardwicke's interpretation is a faint and dull CGI-playground that throws many of Lovecraft's story aspects overboard and replaces them with sentimental tosh.
I'm halfway through Del Toro's ode series to horror now, and it's been hit-and-miss to say the least. For Lovecraft fanatics it's even a 100% fail, as both of his stories that served as inspiration resulted in mediocre and downright disappointing episodes ("Dreams in the Witch-House" and "Pickman's Model").
Der Gorilla von Soho (1968)
Great disguise, Mr. Killer. Very inconspicuous!
Alfred Vohrer pretty much made the same movie twice in barely 7 years. Both "The Dead Eyes of London" (1961) and "The Gorilla Gang" (1968) are based one on and the same Edgar Wallace novel in which several wealthy foreigners in London are found mysteriously drowned in the Thames, and all victims coincidentally have the same charity cause included in their testaments.
And yet, despite the same director, the same source material, and barely a handful of years in between the two of them, they are two utterly different movies. "The Dead Eyes of London" got released during the heyday of the German Krimi, and thus one of the best of the entire Edgar Wallace series. It's grim and atmospheric, without too many convoluted sub plots or redundant comic relief footage. "The Gorilla Gang" is one of the last titles in the series, released when the popularity of the Krimi had already collapsed. It's in color, containing far too many characters and confusing twists, and the comedy aspects provided by Hubert Von Meyerinck and Uwe Friedrichsen are painfully misplaced. Horst Tappert, a fallen hero from German television and cinema, is more than decent as the stubborn Scotland Yard inspector, but he's not as iconic as Joachim Fuchsberger or Heinz Drache.
The most remarkable thing about "The Gorilla Gang" is - like the title implies - that the murders and kidnappings are committed by a guy in a gorilla suit. Not an obvious choice for a criminal organization that wants to keep a low profile. At a certain point in the film gets hinted that the killer wears a gorilla disguise because his/her face is disfigured. Well, hiding it behind a gorilla mask doesn't exactly make it more inconspicuous.
Kill Her Goats (2023)
Starring boobs and a goat mask...
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner... "Kill Her Goats" must be the poorest and most useless excuse for a horror movie in history. And, please, don't let anyone tell you it's a spoof or deliberately bad. It's just plain bad. There are tongue-in-cheek elements present, for sure, but the skills and talent to process these into a good parody/horror comedy are missing.
In a strange way, I almost admire writer/director Steve Wolsh. Either this man has been living under a rock and never heard of all the socially & politically correct movements of recent years, or he has... but genuinely doesn't care! Fact remains that Wolsh treated himself to a party! He somehow successfully pretended to helm a film production and gathered a whole bunch of untalented but lewd 'actresses' that he could record in various stages of undress. Well done, Steve! Glad you had fun.
"Kill Her Goats" stars six gorgeous girls with perfect (and sometimes enhanced) measurements. Never mind their names because they were obviously just cast based on their bra-size and willingness to do nudity in front of the camera. The plot revolves around them being hunt down by some guy (or two guys?) wearing a goat mask.
75% of the running time exists of footage of girls taking showers, drinking wine in their undies, changing tops, getting ready for bed, or posing for social media photographs. In the barely 25% of time that is left, Wolsh still manages to ruin everything. Who are these killers? What are their motivations? What's the significance of the dream-sequence at the cemetery? Who's the couple in the tent? Why imply to make it look like a New England haunted house tale during the opening sequences? Why doesn't anyone so much as even think about calling 911? Etc. Sure, track down a copy if you want to gaze at cute girls without clothes, but I think there are easier alternatives for that.
Slumber Party Massacre (2021)
Okay, so you've got a large power tool... That don't impress me much!
Today it isn't nearly as easy anymore to remake a slasher classic from the 70s or 80s than it was, say, in the early 2000s. I bet you also know why. These days nothing can be offensive or provocative anymore, and everything must be so-called Woke. Beautiful blond women cannot be portrayed as dumb or as sex-objects anymore. Vicious killers aren't allowed to be physically deformed or mentally handicapped anymore. People of different color or race can't be murdered anymore, or at least not as the first victims. Let it just so happen that all of these were "trademarks" of the slasher. Why bother to make anymore remakes then?
Luckily, within every generation of horror directors and writers, there are a few gifted prodigies that find workarounds. And some people are even so bright and gifted that they manage to create an enjoyable blood-soaked slasher AND a playfully clever parody at the same time! For their re-imaging of the 1982 semi-classic "Slumber Party Massacre" (which already was sort of a feminist slasher, as it was directed by a woman), writer Suzanne Keilly and director Danishka Esterhazy masterfully depart from all the original slasher clichés and turn them upside down. The hot young girls are utmost lethal and relentless, while the males are disposable eye-candy, and the killer is an insignificant side-character!
"Slumber Party Massacre" can still be considered as an old-fashioned slasher, plentiful of gory kills and inventive murdering methods, but it's also an admirably slick and tongue-in-cheek spoof. The scenes with the hysterically pillow-fighting and gratuitously showering boys are formidable, and the simple fact that two of them are so redundant they are simply named Guy 1 and Guy 2 is downright brilliant. Oh, and one extra point for the (albeit predictable) "Friday the 13th" homage during the climax.