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F

Final Terror (1983)

Damien Ross

Andrew Davis

“If you people wanna survive this thing you better start looking, and thinking, like a forest.”

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Opening Scene: A young couple, Lori and Jimmy, wipeout on a motorbike in the woods. Jimmy hurt his leg so Lori runs for help. When she comes back he’s gone. Eventually, she finds him dead, hanging upside down from a tree so she makes a run for it, tripping a trap made from soup can lids and tree branches. She’s dead now too in case that wasn’t clear.

Elsewhere: Eggar is a substitute park ranger drill sergeant filling in for Mike. He wakes up a group of young men: Nathaniel, Dennis, Marco, and Boone. He drives them (and Mike) to Mill Creek for park ranger boot camp. Along the way, they pick up a group of girls: Margaret, Vanessa, and Daryl Hannah. Daryl Hannah’s first film? Also, Mike’s girlfriend, Melanie. Eggar warns them the whole way up not to go. Don’t go where I’m driving you!

They arrive at the drop off. Everyone picks on Eggar while they get situated. It’s amazing that he can be both the harbinger and red herring at the same time.

Once set up, it’s night time and they sit around the campfire. Time for stories in the dark. Boone tells the story of a 14 year old who got raped by her lumberjack uncle then admitted to the mental institution they passed on the way. It turns out she got pregnant and had a son, 19 years ago. It’s just a story, but Eggar gets pissed, granted, he’s pissed most the time anyway. Is Eggar the kid? See Alabama, this is what happens when you make abortion illegal, especially in instances of rape and incest! Now we got a killer on the loose!

There’s supposedly weed growing in the area so Dennis and Nathaniel go on a search for weed leaving Marco on watch. In the morning, Marco is missing. See what happens when you make weed illegal?! Mike, Dennis, and Nathaniel search for him, but only find his bandana. Mike sends Dennis and Nathaniel back to camp so he can go skinny dipping while Melanie watches from the woods. She sneaks up on him and they have sex right out in the open. But the sex is cut short, by some sort of homemade knife!

Dennis and Nathaniel keep searching until they find some old cabins, one of which appears to be lived in. Inside, they find Eggar’s hat, some women’s clothing, and stuff that’s been missing around camp. Eggar’s a thief! Not sure exactly when he stole any of this shit, they’ve only been there 12 hours tops. Dennis finds a jar with shrooms in it so he takes it. They then find a severed animal head in a cupboard so they get the hell out of there.

Night falls. They make another fire. Marco, Mike, and Melanie are still missing and they think Eggar is behind it (although Eggar is missing too). Dennis makes a new rule: Stay in pairs. Then he takes first watch.

Margaret wakes up screaming to some creature petting her forehead. The others wake up and Dennis runs back, but the creature is gone. They hear a noise so they all go check it out. It’s Marco. He was hiding the whole time?

Vanessa goes to the outhouse, alone. While pissing, she discovers Mike’s severed head, then the rest of him. They go back to the campfire to devise a plan. They shoulda slept in the cabins, I don’t recall seeing any tents and it’s not like they didn’t know about them.

In the morning, they camouflage themselves and sneak over to the old cabins. There’s smoke coming out of the main cabin. Nathaniel breaks in with a big stick and a machete. The others soon join him. Judging by their reactions, it smells worse now than it did the day before. They find a human hand in a jar, but the good news is, Melanie is still alive. She’s under the floorboards, unbeknownst to them, with a knife to her throat.

They grab an air raft and head to the river. The creature follows them and watches them, until finally dropping Melanie’s body on them. Now she dead. For some reason, the creature really likes dropping bodies and parts on people, like your cat dropping a dead bird off on your doorstep. They bury her and get back into the raft. What the hell? They didn’t bury Mike!

They find the bus, but no keys. They take refuge inside and Daryl Hannah finally lights the joint she’s been carrying around for the past ten scenes. Seems like a bad time to get high. They still think they’re after Eggar. They always want to wait to attack. If it’s night, they wanna attack in the morning, if it’s day they want to wait till night. Something always almost happens, but never really does.

The creature shows up and breaks out a window with its pickaxe thing before chasing them off. There’s like seven of them and none of them decide to stick around and see what they’re up against? They lose Daryl Hannah and she gets pushed down by the creature. She’s got a gash on her neck. Marco and Dennis run back to the bus to get the first aid kit, which for some reason includes a sewing kit. Margaret sows her up while talking in the third person.

It’s daylight now as they continue the hike. Although it seems they are getting farther away from the bus, the raft, and hope, it’s actually part of the plan. The problem is, Dennis starts having Nam flashbacks cuz he’s on magic mushrooms. The others leave him, he’s too young to have served in Nam.

Alone, Marco calls out Eggar so he shows up, puts a rope around his neck, and starts choking him. But it’s a trap, the others jump out and kick the shit out of him. The creature shows up and kills Dennis. Then the creature, which is actually just a person dressed up as a creature, trips a trap and gets impaled and killed... The End.

Afterthought: What in the holy hell? This had all the ingredients: The mental Institute, the girl that got raped by her uncle and had the kid, Egger could have been the kid, the uncle coulda been in the creature suit, but nothing! Nine semi-main characters in the group and only three deaths? Seven total if you count Egger, the unnecessary couple from the opening, and the killer. I’m surprised they didn’t remake this movie in the early 2000’s, the era of explaining classic horror films.

This was filmed in 1981, the heyday of summer camp horror, but not released until 1983. Not only does it fall flat, but it’s based on a non-existent premise: There’s no such thing as park ranger boot camp, not that they actually called it that. All you need is a Bachelor of Science degree in one or more related areas. The title is misleading, there’s nothing final about this film, except that they didn’t make a sequel. And when and who built the fucking trap that finally killed the creature/person?

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Fun Fact: Mike (Mark Metcalf) went on to play the crazy dad and teacher in the old Twisted Sister videos then later played The Maestro on Seinfeld.

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Another Fun Fact: Eggar (Joe Pantoliano) is Teddy from Memento.

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The Badass Award goes to Dennis I guess, even though he was a jackass and got killed. Whether the group liked it or not, he was kinda the glue that held them together.

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Now I am introducing a new award, the Brother That Made It To The End Award: Nathaniel.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don’t ride your motorbike through the woods!

2) Don’t fuck in the woods!

3) Don’t do shrooms if you know there’s a killer after you!

The Fog (1980)

Damien Ross

John Carpenter

“I don’t believe in luck, good or bad. I don’t believe in much.”

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It is almost midnight, the night before Antonio Bay is about to celebrate its centennial on April 21st, led by Kathy Williams (Janet Leigh). 

An old man, Mr. Machen, tells a group of kids a story of the fog that took place a hundred years ago, and the sea crew of six that will come back from the dead. He basically spells out the plot of this film to a group of kids sitting around a campfire, a campfire just like the one that caused the demise of the crew on that vessel. His story ends exactly at midnight. Why is this guy allowed to be around kids? Oh that’s right, it’s the 80’s....

Father Maloney flips through the pages of his grandfather, Father Patrick Maloney’s journal, 1880. “From midnight to one belongs to the dead.” So one hour of carnage as the camera pans through the town and weird things, the supernatural, begin to happen: Parked car headlights come on while horns honk, gas nozzles fall off the pumps and spill gas, TV’s go static, radios turn on... The voice of Stevie the DJ haunts over the town over the airwaves beginning with a weather forecast that calls for a storm, although there is not a cloud in the sky.

We meet Elizabeth Solley hitchhiking as she enters a car. Behind the wheel is a younger Tom “Motherfuckin” Atkins with no mustache, but you can still recognize him by the can of beer in his hand, despite the fact that he’s driving. His character’s name is Nick Castle*, but as I do in every Tom Atkins movie, I will be referring to him as Tom Atkins, or Tom “Motherfuckin” Atkins, or TMA (stole that from Rollins, Henry that is). I will also be referring to Elizabeth as Jamie Lee Curtis, well actually since I'm lazy, JLC. They seem to hit it off until the windows of his truck simultaneously shatter, but hurting no one. He pulls over. 

It is now 12 minutes after midnight and a crew on the sea come across a fog bank. They saw a ship so they investigate. In the fog, they get killed by the crew that died over a hundred years ago.

Stevie’s radio staton is also a lighthouse. Her boyfriend, Dan, keeps calling her. He wants to take her to a party, but as the owner of the radio station, she has her own obligations.

Elsewhere, JLC is in Tom’s bed. They’ve obviously just finished having sex and are now exchanging names. There’s a persistent thump on the door. Tom goes to answer it, but as he does, the face of his clock shatters, saving him from certain death. It is now one O’clock.

In the morning on the beach, Stevie's son, Andy, one of the campfire kids from the night before, finds a piece of driftwood from an old ship that washed up on the shore. He takes it to his mom. The broken piece  reads, DANE.

Tom and JLC are now looking for the ship that never made it in. The one killed by the fog. While driving, Stevie hears a news bulletin about the missing ship. 

The people of the town react to the missing vessel. Both Jamie Lee Curtis and her mom, Janet Leigh, are in this film. Janet leigh is the original scream queen who played Marion Crane in Psycho. She visits Father Maloney at the church. There’s mention of a ship, the Elizabeth Dane, in his grandfather's journal, dun dun dun! Father Maloney thinks Antonio Bay has a curse on it and that they’re all cursed. That’s the problem with heavily religious people, they can’t accept coincidences.

Tom and JLC are now sailing. Actually, they appear to be stranded, but they’ve bonded, she tells him she’s bad luck. As badass as Tom Atkins is, his character's are always a bummer to be around. He's always the loner that women seem to flock to. A corpse crashes through the wall landing on JLC.

Stevie arrives at her studio, still carrying around the wooden placard that reads, DANE. Water leaks onto it and it now reads, 6 MUST DIE. The water spreads onto some electronics, instantly igniting a fire, to which Stevie immediately grabs a fire extinguisher and puts out. Does this sorta thing happen to her often? Now it reads DANE again.

Apparently, the corpse that dropped in on Tom and JLC had drowned. Although Tom hadn’t actually performed an autopsy, he concluded that there was water in his lungs among other mysterious circumstances, yet he never questioned how a drowning victim got back on the boat. He comforts JLC, it’s gotta be getting close to at least 12 hours they’ve known each other now.

Stevie calls Andy to ask about the DANE wood. She has to broadcast, but makes him promise he won’t leave the house. She starts her show. She sounds like a phone-sex operator from the 90’s even though she's just introducing jazz songs. Although, this was pre-internet porn and 90’s phone-sex lines, in 1980 a sultry voice on the radio probably was worth tuning into no matter what she’s pitching.

Tom and JLC take their corpse to the hospital. While Tom talks to the doctor, the corpse moves, scaring the shit outta JLC and further deepening her bond with Tom. Next, Tom is at a bar with Janet Leigh. It seems he was always type-cast as an alcoholic, even before the mustache. Janet has a meltdown and leaves. The bar is playing Stevie’s show. She calls this incident, The Fog. Tom calls her on the pay phone as the mysterious fog passes and weird things happen.

Afterward, Stevie’s shitty boyfriend calls her. She tells him about the fog and of course he doesn’t believe her. People might have a hard time believing this, but in 1980, on film, Stevie was an independent, single mother who took care of herself and her kid, despite having a piece of shit boyfriend. So far, the hardest part to believe about this film is that such a strong woman would date this douchebag, but more importantly, this is proof that strong women have been represented in cinema since at least 1980. I’m tired of the fact that since Jason Voorhees kills are 60% female means he never kills males. 

Tom and JLC head out to the lighthouse radio station as another fog bank approaches. It’s approaching the lighthouse. Stevie is oddly very afraid of the fog, like she's somehow an expert on this particular fog situation. All she really knows is that it glows. Dan plays along on the phone. There’s a thumping at his door. He sets the phone down as he goes to check it out. He opens the door and something grabs him by the throat. Stevie listens to the whole thing, then hangs up.

Janet Leigh is giving a speech at the centennial celebration as Stevie puts an emergency bulletin out over the airwaves for Sheriff Sims to call. He does, just as the phone line goes out. Then all the power goes out. It’s at this point Stevie thinks of Andy, alone at home with an old babysitter. She tries to start her generator. The fog is surrounding her house. She announces over the airwaves for Andy and the babysitter to get out of the house, but she’s the only one with power. The babysitter sends Andy to his room and as he turns around and shuts the door she gets nabbed. Now the creatures are busting in, but Muthafuckin Tom Atkins has the radio on in his truck and shows up just in time. Now the truck is stuck as JLC acts as getaway driver. They get away. Stevie apologizes to Andy on air. She has to stay at the radio station to keep everyone updated. She warns anyone in a car to get out of town or to go to the church.

Janet Leigh and Tom's group arrive at the church at the same time as Stevie narrates what the fog is doing. They want the journal. Six must die. It turns out, Maloney's grandfather stole the gold, built a church, and now they’ve come back for it. Maloney bails into a different room and is confronted by a small hoard of zombie pirate things. He’s holding a huge golden cross, which is the treasure?! What’s the point in stealing a bunch of gold if you’re just going to melt it into a ridiculously sized cross?Meanwhile, Stevie is dealing with some zombie pirates of her own back at the station. A zombie pirate grabs Maloney’s cross and a bright light emanates. Tom pulls Maloney back and all the zombie pirates disappear. The fog recedes and everybody goes outside and watches. Stevie makes a final broadcast about the fog, revealing that she has no idea why the fog came.

Maloney goes back in. They never killed their sixth. Fog comes in under the door and the zombie pirates are back as if they forgot about the sixth until Maloney got cocky and it's goodbye Father Maloney. The end.

Coincidently, this movie came out the same year as Stephen King's short story, The Mist, and although Stephen King's version has a Night of the Living Dead feel to it all the way through, The Fog doesn't actually feel that way until about the very end. It's a slow burning ghost story where nothing really happens until we get past the hour mark. Also, there wasn't a lot of death. Nobody I cared about died and Stevie was the only one I cared about who even got into any real danger, which only lasted a couple of minutes.

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The Badass Bitch Award goes to Stevie for showing us that yes, there were strong women in film in 1980 and despite personal obligations, she still took it upon herself to look out for all of townspeople and protect the greater good.

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The Gilligan Award goes to Father Maloney. Even though he didn't personally steal the treasure, he knew so much more than he ever bothered to tell anybody. Granted, he tried to play martyr at the end, I feel like he could have done way more in terms of prevention or at least laying things out on the table and if people thought he was crazy, so be it.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) If there’s a thumping on your door at night, don’t answer it.

2) Don’t climb to the top of a lighthouse to escape the bad guys.

3) Don’t steal treasure, especially if you’re just gonna do something stupid with it.

*Nick Castle is actually the name of the actor that played Michael Myer's in the original Halloween. Apparently, John Carpenter was never good at making up names for his characters cuz there is also a character in this film named Tom wallace. Tom Wallace is a real person and good friend of John Carpenter who has helped him with a lot of his films and even plays one of the zombie pirates in this one. The more you know....

The Forsaken (2001)

Damien Ross

J.S. Cardone

“Three days ago I had a fat job and not a worry in the world, now I’m gonna turn into a vampire.”

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Sean is a movie trailer editor taking a week off to deliver a car to Miami by Tuesday. It’s not because he needs the money, he’s looking for a cheap way to get to Miami so he can attend his sister’s wedding. His boss warns him not to pick up any hitch-hikers and no site-seeing. This film starts off as the plot of The Hitcher, then turns into kind of a combination of Lost Boys meets Point Break.

Sean hits the road. Out of nowhere, Sean blows out a tire, of course. He takes the car to a mechanic and even though he lost his wallet, checks into a nearby seedy motel. Luckily, he had a separate envelope filled with money for his sister’s wedding present. Don’t motels generally ask for ID and a credit card? Something is going on in the room next door. Either someone is having sex, or someone is getting murdered, or both.

In the morning, Sean pays for the car and meets Nick, the hitch-hiker he was warned not to pick up. Nick is probably about Sean’s age and is definitely no Rutger Hauer. Hell, technically he’s not even a hitch-hiker. They hit the road and Nick pulls out a beer. Sean tells him to get rid of it so Nick, almost as if on purpose, throws it at a cop car. Sean gets the ticket. Further down the road, they run into a group of obvious vampires who need a jump. Sean questions them, basically trying to place them at a potential murder site, his motel from last night. The vampires know that Nick is a hunter, but now is not the time.

Afterward, Nick and Sean go out to dinner and Nick breaks down the decline of western civilization, then gives Sean money for the meal and takes a piss. Sean notices a strung-out looking girl so he follows her outside. The waitress follows too, because the girl hasn’t paid for her coffee and apparently the restaurant is gonna go out of business if that coffee isn’t paid for. Nick seems to know what’s wrong with her and now Sean has two hitch-hikers! They check into a motel. The girl is infected. Her blood is boiling hot so Nick puts her into a cold bath.

Elsewhere, the vampires crash a beach party and try to bum a few beers off the patrons. These vampires are a bunch of mooches. Earlier they tried to scam money off Nick, and now they’re bumming beers off the locals? As the killing spree begins at the beach, the girl in the bathtub wakes up.

With his bag of pills, Nick can slow the virus down, but the only way to actually kill it is to find the source and kill it. Sean gets bitten while trying to stop Bathtub Girl from screaming and freaking out. He passes out as the vampires arrive with Nu Metal. The vampires kill the desk clerk and bring bodies into some kinda shack next door. When Sean wakes up, Nick informs him that he was bitten by a vampire. Of course Sean doesn’t believe him so Nick takes him across the way to the shack where the vampires are chillin. After watching one of them blow up in the sun, Sean is convinced. Even though the head vampire is inside and it’s daytime, they bail. They coulda ended this film right here and now, but naw, they bail, knowing what needs to be done and that Sean is now infected too. Huh?

Back on the road, Nick brings us up to date: He was bitten a little over a year ago. He went to the hospital and there was an intern who coincidentally had also been bitten. The intern told him what drugs slow the infection down then he answers the question I just asked: Why did they bail? Because the forsaken can only be killed on hallowed ground. I don’t know how the fuck he knows that, but if Sean turns before they kill the head vampire, he is fucked. Bathtub Girl is in the backseat. Her virus is growing stronger, which allows her to act as a homing device for the head vampire. Sean offers to be the decoy because he hasn’t been infected as long, but Nick says no. It’s night time and a car comes up behind them honking the horn and other shenanigans and they have no idea who it could be? It’s obviously the vampires! They lose them for a sec, after having just taken the time to explain in great detail that they’re using Bathtub Girl as a decoy! So the vamps come back and now they’ve got guns! The vampire car won’t start so they escape again. Sean is still somehow concerned about the condition of this car he’s delivering.

The fuel line is leaking so they stop to steal gas, but while they’re stealing gas somebody steals their car. Actually, Bathtub Girl just drove it away. While walking down the road with a gas can to find Bathtub Girl and the car, Nick and Sean have a heart to heart. Nick gives him his wallet back-turns out he had it all along, probably stole it from him somehow in order to set this whole adventure up, but instead of getting all pissed, all Sean says is, “That’s fucked up.”

They find Bathtub Girl and the car, then the vampires find them again, but now the vampires have two vehicles. Why do the vampires give a shit about them? If I were the head vampire I wouldn’t even care, I’d just stay off hallowed ground. Nick and Sean escape again. This time they find a seemingly deserted place, but there’s a dog and an old woman with a shotgun who ain’t got a phone. The old woman let’s them in and puts Bathtub Girl to bed. Nick and Sean don’t know anything about Bathtub Girl’s past, but the old woman pulls out a newspaper with Bathtub Girl on the cover: Arizona Bloodbath. This film answers my questions right after I ask them: The opening shows Bathtub Girl in the shower washing blood off of herself in the shower after her family was just killed. Bathtub Girl was not supposed to live. So the head vampire is after Nick and Sean to get to her. Bathtub Girl finally speaks, but nothing important.

The Showdown: The vampires find them again and now we’re in a gun battle. Head vampire beats Sean up and makes him his new daydriver. A daydriver is basically like Jerry Dandrige’s live in carpenter in Fright Night. He’s not quite vampire, yet not quite human, so he can take care of vampire shit during the day while the head vampire sleeps. Then head vampire starts singing Metallica. Sean is the worst daydriver ever. The first thing he does is crash into his master, then he shoots him, and the sun shines in and he blows up and dies. So much for that “Hallowed Ground” theory. Then the old woman’s whole house blows up. Thanks for your help....

In the morning, Bathtub Girl swings by Sean’s room at the hospital. He’s all fucked up while she looks like a million bucks? After she thanks him and leaves he goes into Nick’s room, but Nick is already gone. He left a note. It appears that that was not his head vampire. Sequel?! So far no, but it’s only been 17 years. Sean eventually finds him. It only took him three months, but he found him. And he did it in the vampire car. Wtf? This guy ruined his life and so he throws away everything to continue to help him? The end. Did he ever make it to his sister’s wedding? And what the hell was he planning to buy her as a wedding gift that woulda funded sucha trip?

The Gilligan Award goes to Nick. Nick starts off innocent enough, but as the story unravels, you see that everything bad happening is happening because of Nick’s own selfish needs. He stole Sean’s wallet, making him vulnerable and having to give in and give him a ride, which he did not want to do. He made him pick up Bathtub Girl, which once again, he didn’t want to do, and Sean got bit for his efforts. Instead of treating Bathtub Girl, he strung her out on morphine so he could use her as a vampire GPS. Then for his grand finale, while killing the main vampire, he blew up an old woman’s house, which turned out to not even be the right vampire so he basically wasted Sean’s time and put his life in danger for nothing! The car Sean was initially delivering got totaled, which this film never goes back to, and when all is said and done, Sean throws his life away to find Nick later to help him. Nick had initially been bitten by a vampire and didn’t give a shit who he fucked over to save his own ass! Bottom line: Nick is a fucking asshole, and in this situation, Nick is the definition of a vampire: He sacrificed everyone around him in order to survive.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) If you are going on a road trip, at the very least, make sure you have a spare tire and know how to change it. And not that little donut shit....

2) Don’t pick up hitch hikers.

3) Don’t throw open beer cans out of a moving car.

4) Don’t stop in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night to help a damsel in distress.

5) Never, never put your mouth around the barrel of a gun. Do anything but that, put up a fight goddammit!

Fright Night (1985)

Damien Ross

Tom Holland

“Oh you’re so cool Brewster!!!”

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So maybe Charley Brewster isn’t a total horror buff, but his favorite show is Fright Night hosted by Peter Vincent, the vampire killer. He definitely is a sexually frustrated teenager trying to pressure his girlfriend, Amy, into having sex. The only thing conquering his teenage lust is the suspicion that his new neighbor is a vampire because once Amy finally does succumb, he becomes more concerned with his new neighbors carrying what looks to be a coffin right outside his window than the loss of his virginity. This leads to a fight and she storms out of his house. Ironic, because if you’re a guy and get mad at a girl for not having sex with you, you’re an asshole, but if a girl gets mad at you for not having sex with her, you’re still the asshole.

The next day, when Charley gets home from school he is greeted by a hot chick getting out of a cab who is looking for his new neighbor. His single mom also seems hot-to-trot at the idea of a new man living next door. That night while studying, Charley hears a scream. Later, he continues to study, but now at a restaurant. Amy shows up and they begin to make up until a news bulletin shows a picture of a murder victim on the tv, it’s the girl from the cab. Amy gets pissed at him for once again ignoring her and smears a hamburger in his face. Charley just can’t seem to catch a break.

The next afternoon, Charley meets his neighbor’s creepy live-in carpenter, Billy. That night, obsessed, Charley spies on his new neighbor and his fangs just as he is about to sink them into his next victim, but the neighbor notices him. Charley tells his mom and of course she doesn’t believe him. He goes outside and catches them disposing of the body. Okay, so this review might feel a bit beat by beat so far, but that’s because this film has a strong pace. There’s no filler, it just continues to move forward. It builds from Charley’s point of view and as the viewer you see what he sees, but none of the other characters see what he sees, hence, they all think he’s crazy without actually telling him that they think he’s crazy.

The next morning, Amy doesn’t believe him either so he brings the cops over to the house next door, but once he spills the beans about vampires he loses all credibility and is fucked so he goes over to his buddy Evil Ed’s house, who doesn’t believe him either. He offers him eight bucks for advice. Evil Ed doesn’t like being called Evil, but for a guy who’s moniker is Evil, his advice is pretty rudimentary considering Charley also watches Fright Night so I’m pretty sure he already knows about crosses, and holy water, and not inviting vampires inside his home. What a waste of eight bucks. Charley goes home and nails his bedroom window shut when his mom calls him downstairs to meet the new neighbor, Jerry Dandrige, whom she invited over for a drink. Now he’s in.

Later that night, Jerry pays Charley a visit to give him a choice: Forget about him or die. On Jerry’s way home he destroys Charley’s car then calls him up to tell him about it and threaten him. Charley knows what he has to do: Find Peter Vincent. Charley finds Peter Vincent on the Fright Night set, where he was just fired, and explains his situation. Add Peter Vincent to the list of people who don’t believe him.

Evil Ed and Amy go to Charley’s and catch him vampire-proofing his bedroom and decide it’s time to intervene. They tell Charley to sit tight while they go to Peter Vincent, who happens to be holding an eviction notice pretty much the same day he got fired from his job. Amy offers him $500 to help and he accepts.

The next evening, the four of them go over to Jerry’s armed only with a vial of fake holy water. Jerry meets Amy and recognizes her from another life, she looks just like the girl in the painting from earlier that I didn’t mention, his cliche vampire love interest from oh so long ago. Jerry drinks the holy water with zero side-effects, passing the holy water test, and on the way out Peter checks his compact mirror to find that Jerry has no reflection. Shocked, he drops his mirror. Once outside, Peter abruptly takes off. Evil Ed and Charley walk Amy home. Jerry finds a shard of Peter’s broken mirror and the jig is up. He goes after the three and finds Ed first. He confronts Evil in a Faust-like pact with the devil and Evil succumbs while Charley and Amy flee through restaurants and dance clubs. Evil heads straight over to Peter Vincent’s and upon the discovery of the new Ed, Peter promptly brands his forehead with a crucifix.

Meanwhile, in da club, Jerry has Amy under a spell and they dance to a song you’d hear only in an 80’s movie. As bad as pop music was in 1985, they didn’t actually play shit songs like that on the radio. Jerry tells Charley to meet him with Peter Vincent the following night then takes Amy away. Charley goes back to Peter’s, who is now packing up to head out of town. He relies on Peter even though Peter is actually a coward, but Charley believes he can kill vampires cuz he does on tv, kinda like how Sylvester Stallone thinks he’s actually a boxer because he wrote Rocky.

Amy is now at Jerry’s as he tries to rekindle his old flame vicariously through her. He bites her. Evidently, some bites kill while others only enslave. Charley and Peter to the rescue, to the Dandrige house! Apparently, Peter’s faith in his crucifix was strong enough to fry ol’ Evil Ed’s forehead, but not enough to have any effect on Jerry. Luckily, Charley has enough faith, but Billy the carpenter steps in and knocks him over the banister so Peter runs back over to Charley’s where instead of finding Ms. Brewster, he finds Ed and they have a rematch. For some reason, Ed can turn into a wolf, which doesn’t help him at all because a stake in the heart still kills him in a long sad death.

Jerry carries Charley to the room upstairs where Amy is and Charley wakes up to finds she’s been bitten. Peter comes back. He says they can save Amy if they can kill Jerry by dawn and points out that so far everything else has been just like the movies. Bullets don’t hurt Billy, but they slow him down, so Charley puts a stake through his heart and Billy begins to melt, excreting green goo until he’s nothing but a skeleton. So what the hell is Billy?

Jerry goes into panic mode and summons Amy to do his dirty work knowing they won’t kill her while he escapes. Jerry seems paranoid about making it back into his coffin by dawn every morning cuz he has about 50 clocks around the house to remind him what time it is. Charley and Peter follow him down to the basement, but his coffin is locked from the inside and Amy is waiting for them. She tries to thwart them as Peter manages to break the lock and put a stake through Jerry’s heart, but Jerry just pulls it out and throws it, breaking one of the painted black windows, letting the sun in so Peter and Charley start breaking all of the windows, Gremlins style, until finally killing Jerry and turning Amy back into her old self.

End scene: Charley and Amy are making out on his bed and Peter is back on the air. It’s the beginning of the film all over again as if nothing ever happened and out the window in the distance you can hear Evil Ed, “Oh you’re so cool Brewster!” How is Ed back? What if this whole film was just a figment of Charley's imagination? The end.

So what’s so bad about becoming a vampire anyway? Most people spend their entire lives getting healthy or at least wanting to be healthy so they can live a long life, yet we fear the vampire that offers that with little repercussion. You age slower, you have superhuman strength, but there is the loneliness of immortality. So your outdated references to pop-culture from two hundred years ago don’t make sense to anybody (I feel that way already at age 41 working with millennials), and you find yourself repeating the same stories of your life ad infinitum. You get to live forever and you don’t even have to exercise! Have you ever seen an overweight vampire? No, they’re either beautiful or kinda creepy, but they always look somewhat in shape. And who cares if you’re in shape if you can still effortlessly throw a grown man across the room with one hand? Sure you gotta deal with the pain of that initial bite, but a lot of people voluntarily get piercings and tattoos. The only real downfall is that I procrastinate enough in a limited lifespan, I’d never get anything done if I were immortal.

The Badass Award should obviously go to Charley, but I’m gonna give it to Peter Vincent. Peter was a hero onscreen, but in real life became a loser, he was a coward and a fraud, a character who had to dig deep to eventually become the hero.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Mind your own business.

2) If your neighbor is up to no good, maybe try to keep it on the down low, at least a little bit.

3) If you are going to spy on your neighbor at night, make sure the lights in your house are off. Don’t ask why I know this.

 

 

Friday The 13th (1980)

Damien Ross

Sean S. Cunningham

"Kill her mommy, kill her. Don't let her get away mommy, don't let her live."

This film opens at Camp Crystal Lake on June 13th, a Friday night in 1958. There's a POV lurking about. After campfire songs, two counselors sneak away to have sex. They get caught and they get killed, but it seemed they knew the killer.

After the opening credits, we jump ahead to Friday, June 13th and although this movie was made in 1979, June 13th fell on a Wednesday that year thus making this movie take place in 1980, which means it took place a month and four days after its release in theaters on May 9th (coincidentally, it is May 9th as I write this, 37th year anniversary!).

Annie is backpacking to Camp Crystal Lake where she landed a job as a cook. She stops by a diner and asks how far away Camp Crystal Lake is. The reaction she receives from the patrons is much akin to the reaction Jack and David get at the Slaughtered Lamb in An American Werewolf in London, granted, that movie didn't come out until 1981. One of the patrons calls it "Camp Blood".

It's 20 miles away and Ennis, the oil truck driver is elected to drive her, but only halfway. On the way to the truck, they are accosted by Ralph, the "prophet of doom," who tells her not to go because it's cursed. Ennis tells him off and Annie thinks nothing of it. On the way to Crystal Lake, having completely dismissed Ralph, Ennis begins to validate everything Ralph just said. So is Ralph crazy or not? He tries to talk her out of going because Camp Crystal Lake is jinxed: A boy drowned in 1957, a couple of counselors were killed in 58', plus some unexplained fires... But instead of stopping her, he takes her halfway and drops her off.

A jeep pulls up and Annie hitches a ride with the POV. The POV drives fast and deliberately misses the turn to Crystal Lake so Annie bails out of the moving vehicle. She is then stalked through the woods until getting her throat slashed. Needless to say, Annie never makes it to Crystal Lake.

Meanwhile at the lake, instead of working while Steve Christy (the bossman) goes to town, the counselors: Alice, Brenda, Bill, Jack, Marcie, and Ned, play and hang out in the water while being watched by the POV.

A cop, Officer Dorf, stops by looking for Ralph. Officer Dorf has watched too many episodes of Dragnet. He harasses the teens before finally being pulled away to do actual police work.

It turns out Ralph was in the cabin hiding in the pantry. He is a "messenger from God" on a girl's bike warning them that they are doomed if they stay. If his message was so important, why didn't he just knock on the front door instead of hiding in the pantry? "I've got important news, if you can find me." Also, Ralph rode a girl's bike 20 miles?

A storm breaks out as Jack and Marcie sneak off to have sex while Alice, Bill, and Brenda start a game of strip Monopoly. All right Bill!

Jack and Marcie have sex on a bottom bunk, unknowingly beneath Ned's corpse. Afterward, Jack lights a post-coitus joint while Marcie goes to the bathroom. He feels a drop of blood hit his face before an arrow stabs him through the throat from beneath. Marcie gets an axe to the face in the bathroom.

Meanwhile, Steve is at the diner. On his way back to camp he has car trouble. Luckily he has a raincoat and a cop picks him up and gives him a lift.

Brenda leaves the game of Monopoly, but instead of putting her clothes back on she just puts on a raincoat. She goes to the bathroom and brushes her teeth. She hears noises on the way back to her room, but doesn't get killed. Instead she puts on a nightgown that she stole from the set of Little House on the Prairie and goes to bed. She starts reading when she hears a high pitched voice saying, "Help me!" So she checks it out. Bye Brenda.

Bill and Alice look for Brenda. They find a bloody axe sleeping in a bed. The phones are dead and the truck won't start.

The cop driving Steve gets a call and just drops him off. Steve gets killed next to the Camp Crystal Lake sign and it seems he knows the killer.

Bill goes to check the generator and Alice somehow goes to sleep. I mean sure, all her friends are missing, she found a bloody axe, the phone lines are cut, the truck won't start so she's essentially stranded, what better time for a catnap? She wakes up abruptly, shortly thereafter and makes some coffee. She then goes out to look for Bill and finds him dead. Like really, really, really dead. Deader than all the previous victims.

Alice doesn't know it, but she is the last survivor. She goes back into the cabin and tries to barricade the door so no one can get in, which is kinda futile cuz of all the windows. Brenda's corpse crashes through one of the windows.

A jeep arrives, the same one that picked Annie up earlier. It's Mrs. Voorhees, an old friend of the Christy's. She kinda looks like Ron Pearlman. Mrs. V. brings Alice and the viewer up to date: She was working at the camp the day Jason drowned, she was the cook. Jason was her son, her only child. He drowned while two counselors were making love. "He wasn't a good swimmer, they should have been watching him better." It's not like she dropped him off and was out of touch though. 22 years later, Mrs. V. clearly hasn't come to grips and apparently she believes that all camp counselors are evil! That's right, Plot-Twist: The slasher is a woman!

Alice knocks Mrs. V. down and makes a break for it, which is when she one by one discovers her friend's corpses. Alice goes back into the cabin and Mrs. V. proceeds to repeatedly slap the shit out of her then throws her onto the coffee table. Alice gets up as if she suddenly realized Mrs. V. has got to be about 50 years old and punches her in the gut then delivers a huge right hook to the chin, but then she runs away.

Mrs. V. finds her again and this time she has what appears to be a machete, however she keeps getting the worst of these exchanges. Alice knocks her out again then leaves again. Instead of trying to steal Mrs. V's jeep she goes and sits in a canoe? Mrs. V. finds her and after a struggle, Alice gets the machete, doubles back and chops off Mrs. V.'s head, which earns her the Badass Bitch Award, then goes back into the canoe and sleeps on the lake.

Alice may have a mild case of narcolepsy.

For some reason, the cops show up in the morning as Alice awakens to an ending that mirrors the ending of Carrie, only instead of Carrie's hand popping out of her grave it's little Jason popping out of the lake and grabbing her. She wakes up in the hospital and asks what happened to the little boy.

"We didn't find a little boy."

Friday the 13th is Jason's Birthday. After watching sequel after sequel of this series it's easy to overlook the significance of the actual day Friday the 13th because it is a cool title. I like that they are subtle about it and don't rub it in your face for 90 minutes.

This film captures everything a prequel or remake tries to do. We get Jason's origin, but no actual justification for how he keeps coming back to life. He's present throughout the movie without being seen until the end.

Poor Mrs. V. We'd do anything for our loved ones once they are gone. Maybe if we did more while they were here, they'd still be here. Chances are, Mrs. V. just wasn't a good mother to begin with and now she is looking for anyone but herself to blame for her son's death. And where is Mr. V.?

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't have sex when you're supposed to be working.

2) Don't hitchhike.

3) Listen to the "messenger from god" when he tells you to leave.

 

Friday The 13th (2009)

Marcus Nispel

"Why would you eat my leg? I can teach you how to fish, just go fishing."

friday-the-13th-2009[1].jpg

So one smart thing this movie did was to begin with a recap of the final scene from the original, which was good. I didn't need a remake of Jason's mom killing people, but it was nice that they didn't just ignore that angle altogether. The opening scene takes place on June 13th, 1980, which is when the original took place.

Fast-forward to present day, which is pretty obscure date wise. I mean how old is Jason supposed to be in this movie? There's not a lot of modern technology and there weren't a lot of details that suggest that this film is actually supposed to take place in 2009.

I watched this movie when it first came out on DVD and forgot most of it. The following scene confused me because as I was trying to figure out the character's names they quickly began getting killed off. They were all dead by the 25 minute mark, except Whitney, because we need to be reminded of what a badass Jason is. We then find out that this is just the opening scene "part 2."

Fast-forward six weeks. A new group stops at a gas station: Trent, Jenna, Lawrence, Nolan, Chewie, and Bree. They are on their way to Trent's parent's cabin on Crystal Lake. Inside the gas station they meet Clay, a motorcycle riding loner looking for his missing sister, Whitney. For some reason, Trent decides to be a total dick. Later we discover that Trent just is a dick. He's only cool in the first minute he is introduced.

I initially assumed that Jenna was Trent's girl, but as the movie progressed it seemed he just brought her along so he could get some. Since he is such an asshole, it gives Jenna an even bigger soft spot for Clay's predicament. Trent's the rich kid, while Clay is the bad boy who carries a pain around in him that shows he's sensitive deep down.

Jason pays a visit to the local kerosene guy and kills him, which is where he finds the hockey mask. I like that they managed to fit "burlap sac head" Jason, as well as "hockey mask" Jason, and Mrs. Voorhees into one film. However, it seemed a little late in the game to kill a local. He should have already killed all the locals he was gonna kill by now and stuck to only tourists by this point.

I'm kinda done with going into depth with this storyline. The storyline focuses more on the characters, who are all unlikeable and have you rooting against them, all the while it oddly humanizes Jason. For example, Whitney is alive and held captive in his lair, which means he's been feeding her and taking care of her for the past six weeks. Huh? Jason is not a sadistic serial killer who prolongs anything. He's not human, and doesn't have the compassion it would take to use someone as bait. Why would he keep her alive?

Most remakes focus, and I'm gonna sound like a broken record here, on the origin and depth of the villain. I'm not even agreeing that that's how it should be done, but if you're gonna do it don't half ass it. Jason's not supposed to have a lair where you find bodies alive or dead. He's angry revenge and kills on the spot. Besides, we already know Jason's backstory from the originals, if anything this film should have focused on what went on between him drowning and his mom getting her head chopped off, maybe like a prequel.

Jason looked cooler in this version than ever, but what a wasted effort. There was a lot of Jason this movie tried to bring, there just wasn't enough time, which makes that second opening that lasted 20 minutes an even bigger waste because either focus on the characters or focus on Jason and this film didn't do enough of either.

The Badass Bitch Award goes to Jenna, for being one of the only consistently likeable characters and taking care of business, despite that weird ending.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) If you hear noises outside your tent, don't go check it out. And keep the light off inside said tent.

2) If your friend tells you not to drive his boat, don't drive his boat.

3) If you're gonna camp somewhere that has an evil legend built around it, maybe proceed with a little bit of caution.

 

The Funhouse (1981)

Damien Ross

Tobe Hooper

"I hate people who preach... Especially in bathrooms."

The opening scene is a combination of Halloween and Psycho. A masked kid with a knife walks into the bathroom where a girl is showering. He opens the curtain and stabs her, but the knife bends, it's made of rubber. Amy, the girl, chases her little brother, Joey, to his room where he hides. Oddly, she seemed mad that he scared her, not because he saw her naked.

Joey's bedroom is decorated with all kinds of horror paraphernalia so he seemed like the kid you'd want around when all the carnival shit goes down, but he's basically useless.

Amy has a date with Buzz, but her parents do not want her to go to the carnival because two young girls were killed at this same carnival in another state. Amy lies and says they're going to a movie.

Her and Buzz pick up Liz and Ritchie. Buzz is a jock-type, although he looks like Jack Tripper, and Ritchie is a nerdy looking guy with big glasses. Chicks seemed to dig nerdy guys with big glasses in that era. Both girls are good looking and it seems they are all out of high school, but there is no mention of college. Although, it is kinda weird for Amy to check in with her parents as much as she did if she's out of school. I don't know how old they are.

Joey sneaks out. How did he know they were going to the carnival? As determined as he is to find Amy at the carnival, it doesn't interfere with his desire to also go on all the rides. I like how he looks around for her while on the rides.

It is Ritchie's bright idea to stay the night at the Funhouse, which is funny because Amy then talks to her dad and asks if she can stay at Liz's. Her dad, who initially forbade her to go to the Funhouse, bought the lie about the movie, watched her leave the house with just Buzz, and now he's just like, "Yeah sure, go head, stay at Liz's."

They spy on the weird guy in the Frankenstein mask as he propositions the psychic. She gives him a handjob, a little twang and a wang and he's off, but he gets angry because he feels he didn't get his money's worth. He kills her. You think she'd have seen that coming. It should be impossible to kill a psychic!

Eventually, the main carnival barker, Frankenstein's dad, finds out. He is not happy. Frankenstein's mask comes off and reveals the face of a monster. At this point I feel like I am watching the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre when Leatherface gets scolded by his dad and I start to wonder what Tobe Hooper's childhood was like. There's always a freak that you almost feel sorry for getting scolded by his dad in his films.

Ritchie stole money from the barker and the monster's stash so now it's on. Ritchie gets killed first, then Liz, but the money is never mentioned again.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't sleep over at a carnival.

2) Don't steal money.

3) Don't sneak out of your house at night.

4) Don't lie to your parents about your whereabouts.

 

The Fly (1958)

Damien Ross

Kurt Neumann

"Help me! Help meeee!"

Helene Delambre has just confessed to her brother-in-law, Francois, that she murdered her husband. Parts of her story don't add up until she recounts a more elaborate account to Francois and Inspector Charas.
For the past few months, Helene's husband, Andre, had been working on a teleportation device. Little by little, he was ironing out the kinks teleporting bigger items before trying to teleport a live animal, which didn't work out too well for the cat, but the rabbit had success. Eventually, he decided to teleport himself, but unbeknownst to him, a fly had gotten into the booth with him and the pair's atoms were disintegrated than integrated back together giving him the head and arm of a fly and the fly the head and arm of a human. What didn't make sense was that earlier he had teleported a bottle of wine in a chiller and that worked out fine. Good luck I guess.

How frustrating it must be to make such a minor oversight and now his life is ruined unless that fly can be found. But even after a thousand teleportations together he'll probably never put himself back together again. His growing frustration seems real, it's also a great metaphor for when you have fucked up bad, and you need your wife's help, but you don't want to tell her what you did. The horrific part of this movie is that it makes sense that it would happen like this based on my nonexistent knowledge of science.
This film was based on a story by George Langelaan. What a negative Nancy that guy was to take such a great phenomenon like teleportation and find the bad in it, but I guess that's kind of the point of the Sci-fi genre: To warn us against technology. Whether it's teleportation, Cylons, terminators, time travel, AI's... Technology always seems to bite us in the ass, but as a competitive species, still we push forward, despite continual warnings. Even smart phones that were designed to bring us closer together through convenient communication of talking, texting, and social media have instead become dividers of individuals in groups. Hell, I'd rather send a text than talk.

Helene is finally forced to kill her fly-headed husband, although it looked more like a suicide to me, but she may be charged with murder. Luckily, when the inspector and Francois go outside, they find the fly with the human head in a spiderweb about to be sucked dry by a huge spider. Without hesitation, the inspector picks up a large rock and kills them both, which leads to the moral dilemma: If killing a man with a fly head is murder then isn't killing a fly with a human head also murder?

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Hire some pest control. There were a lot of flies in this movie, I almost felt like I was watching a Spaghetti Western.

2) Don't let your obsessions pull you out of reality.

3) Keep your lab sanitized, especially if it's a garage.

Flight of the Living Dead (2007)

Damien Ross

Scott Thomas

"You thought it was me gnawing on the passengers? Nah, I'm a vegetarian."

A group of teens, a celebrity of some caliber, a convict, oh, and a zombie in the form of an infected scientist are on a flight together.

Movies like this and Snakes on a Plane make me wonder why I have never been on a plane this huge. When the convict is crawling through the ventilation system it's like he's in a 10-story Die Hard building and the amount of gunshots and fires that happen, which somehow don't affect the flight at all, make it hard to remember that they are even on a plane. Although it would suck to be on a plane in a zombie outbreak, it would be worse to have to sit anywhere near that group of teenagers.

Cause: Scientists were planning to build an army of the living dead, an experiment gone wrong, which is funny because to be a scientist you have to be fairly intelligent, but in sci-fi and horror movies it seems to blow up in their face every time.

The Final Girls (2015)

Damien Ross

Todd Strauss-Schulson

"Yeah, right! Gay guys can't have kids! They're too busy going to discos and having sex with each other... It's actually a pretty cool lifestyle."

Max's mom dies in a car wreck while the two of them are driving together. Her mom was an aging 80's scream queen.

Three years later: For the film's anniversary, there's a showing Camp Bloodbath in theaters starring Max's mom. Max has mixed feelings about going, but eventually goes with a group of friends.

A bottle of liquor is spilled and the cherry of a joint ignites a fire that spits the group, and only the group, back into 1986 where now they are in the movie. I love a script that just says fuck it. They don't fuck around building a time machine or looking for some other conceivable excuse to throw the characters into a weird scenario, they just play what if.

They are stuck in the movie and when they try to ignore the flow they find themselves in a loop. Duncan thinks they are exempt from being killed by the villain, Billy Murphy. Duncan has seen the movie several times and knows the script by heart and believes that if spotted by Billy, he will just get confused and move along. Duncan is wrong. They are not just spectators, they are indeed part of the movie.

The plan is to wait for Paula. Paula is the final girl who kills Billy at the end. If they stick with her they'll be okay.

They find themselves in a flashback scene, the summer of 1957: Billy was a scrawny kid who got bullied. One day while being picked on he hid in an outhouse so the bullies threw firecrackers inside. Trapped, Billy was horribly burned before breaking out and running away. Even though he didn't actually die, or really even get hurt that bad, he inexplicably became immortal. Either that or he's just really old, but either way, he's out for revenge.

Turns out, Duncan is not really dead, but Paula hits him with her car then crashes sending Kurt out through the windshield to his death, and then her car blows up killing her.

Now they need a new final girl. Max? But her mom also meets the qualifications because Kurt died before he could take her virginity. They all die rather quickly till it's down to Chris, Max, and Nancy. But Chris gets severely injured as does Max leaving Nancy to be the final girl. Nancy and Max have a heart to heart, and Nancy realizes that she can save Max, but the only way is to sacrifice herself leaving Max to be the final girl.

Max realizes that the only way to be with her mom is by watching her old movies, but suddenly, her wounds are healed and as the final girl, she has acquired new abilities. That might be a lame explanation or lack thereof, but it's better than most movies offer. Generally in movies, females magically acquire abilities and it's just accepted, like in the new Star Wars movie.

She kills Billy, then awakens in a hospital in a sequence where the whole thing being a dream would have been justified. We hear voices off-screen, it's her friends, they're alive, but it's not a dream. They are in the hospital too having their wounds addressed. Instead, they are in the sequel, Camp Bloodbath 2!

This movie was co-written by Joshua Miller who is the son of Jason Miller, who played Father Karras in The Exorcist. He is also the annoying child-actor from Teen Witch, Class of 1999, an episode of 21 Jumpstreet, among many others. Upon hearing about this screenplay being cathartic I figured his dad died recently, but it was in 2002. I don't mean to talk shit about Josh, I just remember he really annoyed the shit outta me when I was a kid.

I actually really enjoyed this movie though. It was a deconstruction of the genre without being over the top cheesy. It didn't need a bullet-proof setup and really made no bones about ripping off Friday the 13th. I appreciate an honest script.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't be a bully.

2) Don't be a camp counselor.

3) Wear your seatbelt.

Final Girl (2015)

Damien Ross

Tyler Shields

"I grandfathered in, I was there first."

Calling this movie Final Girl  is like Alanis Morissette calling her song Ironic: The term Final Girl has a specific meaning. Generally, the Final Girl is the timid virgin, the innocent one, who earns her stripes throughout the film before 180-ing into the badass who saves the day.

Like I Spit on Your Grave, this is a tale of hunters becoming the hunted, except Jennifer was after personal revenge while Veronica is more a vigilante with no clear motive.

Veronica's parents are dead, but we don't know how or why. She is approached by a man named William to become a trained killer and recruited based on how well she did on a maze and the recollection of a house she lived in. She is probably about five years old during the introduction and agrees based on the guarantee of unlimited ice cream.

12 years go by and it appears William is just now training her for the first time. What were they doing the past 12 years? She has a sexual fantasies about him, which is pretty suspect.

Veronica infiltrates the gang of hunters fairly easily based on her hair color. She was a brunette as a kid so it would have played better had they shown her change her hair color to appeal to the leader, Jameson. Instead, there is absolutely no mention. Fun Fact: The actor that plays Jameson is also in The Final Girls.

Veronica's training consisted of running through the woods barefoot, a choke, some punching, putting a gun together, and taking a "Chaos Cocktail" that consists of DMT and a truth serum.

The hunters take Veronica to the woods where she is armed with only a flask of Chaos Cocktail. They play Truth or Dare and the boys drink from the flask, except Jameson. Eventually, it is revealed that they are going to kill her and she has five minutes before the hunt begins.

As much as this movie tries to fill in the gaps with flashback sequences, they sure blow it on the big things like why do these guys hunt girls? Nelson has mommy issues, Danny is afraid of teddy bears in suits, and Shane is afraid his girlfriend has fucked Jameson.

One by one she takes them out in some of the worst fight scenes I've ever seen. Why couldn't they have gotten Paige Van Zant to play Veronica?

Finally we are down to Jameson, who she chokes out, but not without a fight. She pours Chaos Cocktail down his throat, which I don't think you could swallow if you were unconscious. I think he'd be more likely to choke on it.

He comes to, and finds himself standing in an elaborate trap consisting of a noose and a pile of rocks. There is no way she could have put him up there like that by herself, and where did she get the rope? If she knew where they would take her ahead of time you think she would have also stashed a pair of running shoes.

The Chaos Cocktail kicks in to reveal that Jameson's biggest fear is that all the girls would come back to life to kill him, or their ghosts, or something. This causes him to fall off the mound of rocks, making a noise like his neck snapped (There's no way that little six inch drop would break his neck).

The Badass Bitch Award goes to Veronica, obviously, despite her horrible technique.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't hunt girls.

2) Don't drink out of said girl's flask.

3) Don't go into the woods with four dudes you just met.

Final Destination (2000)

Damien Ross

James Wong

“I'm never gonna die.”

Alex is a teenager about to fly to France for his senior trip, but signs are telling him otherwise, like terminal and his flight number is the same as his birthday and John Denver is playing in the bathroom.

On board the plane he trades seats with the person next to him. The plane takes off then explodes in mid-air. Alex wakes up. He is alive and on the plane, when suddenly everything begins to happen the way it did in his dream. He freaks out and gets kicked off the plane, along with Carter, Terry, Billy, Mrs. Lewton, and Ted. Another student, Clear, is not kicked off, but follows.

Carter is the jock asshole who now wants to kick Alex's ass for ruining his ideal senior year and as the situation is being diffused, their plane takes off then explodes in mid-air. 39 students were killed. Parents came to pick up the survivors, but nobody came for Clear.

Months pass. Tod's brother died in the explosion, which has put a wedge in he and Alex's friendship. Carter is still an asshole, so instead of being grateful to Alex, he hates him and thinks that Alex is trying to control him. Billy thinks Alex is a psychic, so he constantly asks him for advice, and Mrs. Lewton is afraid of him. Clear, who seems to have the least to live for, is grateful and the only one who considers him a hero.

One night, Tod slips on some water in his bathroom and inadvertently hangs himself with the shower curtain. It is ruled a suicide.

Alex and Clear run into each other at the funeral. They don't buy the whole suicide thing so they pay Tod a visit at the mortuary after the service. This is where they meet Candyman, Mr. Tony Todd, “In death there are no accidents, mistakes, or mishaps.” Somehow Candy Man knows all about Clear and Alex and tells them they can cheat Death if they can figure out Death's design. They cock-blocked it once, but it is still their time to die. It is never explained how Candyman knows so much.

Carter and Terry spot Alex and Clear outside of a restaurant. Carter is still an asshole and still resents Alex and is talking shit when his girlfriend, Terry, steps into the street and gets slaughtered by a bus. It must be fate, because I have never seen a city bus in that big of a hurry to get anywhere. Props to the special-effect guys, I rewound that and watched it in slow-play and it looks like they really hit a girl with a bus. Hard.

That night, Alex sees the cause of the plane explosion on the news and now with two deaths down, he realizes that the survivors are dying in the order they would have died based on where they were sitting had they stayed on the plane so Mrs. Lewton is next.

Alex tries to save Mrs. Lewton, but he is too late. She dies in a Mousetrap (the board game) meets O.J. Simpson, a la Naked Gun, starting with her computer exploding,which eventually leads to a knife in her chest. Not nearly as funny as when O.J. bit it.

We are down to Billy, Carter, Clear, and Alex, and now they are all together. Since Carter is in control of his life, he takes them all for a little joy ride, which is a bad idea in any horror movie whether you know your number is next or not. They end up stuck on train tracks and the train is coming. The others exit, but Carter wants to play chicken. The train speeds closer and closer, before Carter decides it's not his time, but his car won't start and he is stuck. Alex saves him, cheating death once again as a hunk of metal shoots out from beneath the train and decapitates Billy, which is an understatement, it decapitates his cap. And then there were three!

Alex has locked himself in Clear's father's cabin, hiding. He rigs the cabin to be a safe little haven until... Well, I don't know how long, until suddenly, he remembers that he switched seats on the plane thus making it not his turn to die, but Clear's, because Death's design is based on the original seating chart. If Alex can cheat the design one more time then it is over! Long story short, he saves Clear.

Six months later, Clear, Carter, and Alex are finally in France just to rub it in Death's face. It's still Alex's turn, technically. Clear saves him when she shouts his name, stopping him from walking out in front of a bus, but then Carter saves him from a falling sign, but then it starts over, and Carter is killed.

This is my favorite horror movie from the early 2000's. It's smart, well thought out, and really makes you think. I like how it tackles fate and Death's design, like a Back to the Future of horror movies. I always hope for the happy ending that never comes. If something is meant to be, is there anything we can do to stop it? In this case, no. It's almost inspiring: You were meant to be exactly where you are right now.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Always shit before a long flight.

2) Don't be an asshole to someone who saves your life.

3) When you hear John Denver playing, run!

 

Feast (Trilogy)

Damien Ross

Feast (2005)

John Gulager

"I'm the guy that's gonna save your asses."

The film opens at a bar in the middle of nowhere where we are quickly introduced to the cast of characters: Bozo, Grandma, Coach, Bossman, Beer Guy, Honey Pie, Jason Mewes, Vet, Tuffy, Cody, Hot Wheels, Harley Mom, and Bartender.

Bartender Trivia: Bartender is played by Clu Gulager who also played Burt in Return of the Living Dead. He's also the father of the director and married to the woman who plays Harley Mom.

Hero shows up holding a creature's head and a warning that there are four more of these things on their way, but before he can finish his spiel, he gets his head ripped off by one of the creatures through the window. This scene would have been even more awesome had I not seen it in the trailer, but it's also the scene that made me have to see this movie.

Heroine walks in and finds her dead husband and from there things pick up into high gear. Vet, Jason Mewes, and Cody get killed, Harley Mom loses a leg, Bartender accidentally shoots Bossman in the foot, and Beer Guy gets slimed.

They pull the shutters down to barricade the windows and Heroine whoops Beer Guy's ass for trying to leave. She has a daughter to get back to so there's no way she wants to risk a creature getting in and killing her.

The attack scenes are fast paced and flashy, like strobe light flashy, so it's kinda hard to tell exactly what's going on. That's really my only beef with this movie, but it probably has to do with the budget or the rating.

Coach, who is a life coach, played by Henry Rollins, makes a speech. He tells them it's time to stop being victims and scare these creatures back. They throw the little creature they killed out the window and watch. As the two creatures look at it the patrons realize that it was a baby and these are the parents. The mama creature picks up the dead baby and swallows it whole then her and the daddy start humping. The mama immediately craps out a new baby.

Beer Guy is freaking out. He peaks outside through a crack in the shutter and loses an eye for his efforts. Coach loses his pants and has to borrow a pair of pink sweats from Tuffy. Honey Pie keeps getting splattered with people's blood.

They devise a plan to create a diversion while one of them runs out to get the truck. Bossman and Bozo strap explosives to Harley Mom, but as they try to put her outside they discover she is still alive. Just then, she gets pulled outside and face-fucked by a baby creature so they blow her up.

Heroine can't make it to the truck, but now it is Beer Guy who won't let her back inside because he doesn't want to let any creatures in. She goes a different way and stumbles in where Bozo and Bossman are fighting and Bozo accidentally shoots her dead.

Bossman gets killed by a creature through the floorboards and Coach gets used as a battering ram. Tuffy has Heroine's daughter's information and whereabouts on a piece of paper.

The new plan is to do a keg roll and take the creatures out Donkey Kong style. They roll out a barrel containing Honey Pie and she is able to get to the truck, but instead of swinging back around to pick up the others, she just gets the fuck out of there, which was pretty hilarious.

A creature gets inside and smashes Beer Guy's head. Tuffy beats the shit out of the creature's head with the butt of her rifle, sticks her hand down his throat, and pulls something out, but I can't tell what it is.

The sun comes up. Tuffy, Bozo, and Hot Wheels are the last three. They're on their way to find and rescue Heroine's daughter.

Grandma disappeared and was hiding in the walk-in fridge this whole time, but when she poked her head out, a creature got her.

This has kind of Night of the Living Dead premise, but instead of zombies it's weird Alien looking monsters. The main characters are trapped nonetheless. It's listed as action, horror, comedy, but it's not a typical horror comedy. It doesn't spoof anything, it's not goofy, it's got hip characters who occasionally say funny shit. There's a lot of characters to keep track of even after losing a big chunk within the first 25 minutes. It's a fun movie and I've watched it several times.

The Badass Bitch Award goes to Tuffy who went from single mom who can't make ends meet to Heroine 2, despite the death of her son. Also, she keeps her word to find Heroine's daughter in the end.

Runner up goes to Honey Pie for ditching everybody, even though that was a dick move, but c'mon man, in that situation are you really gonna go back for a bunch of people you barely even know?

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't stand near windows when you're hiding from monsters.

2) If you're gonna peek outside, use caution.

3) Never let just one person go after the getaway vehicle.

Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds (2008)

John Gulager

"Ever seen these things fuck? I mean, it's disgusting."

Feast_II_Sloppy_Seconds_1228228368_4_2008.jpg

In the opening scene, a dog is walking down the street carrying a human hand in its mouth. That is, until a woman that looks like Harley Mom shoots the shit out of it. She kills a dog that hasn't even done anything!

The thumb on the hand has a tattoo that reads, "Sisters," which matches the one on this woman's thumb. That's right, it's Biker Queen, Harley Mom's twin sister, and she wants some answers.

Biker Queen finds Bartender, who managed to survive and recaps the original, but blames everything on Bozo. He should have blamed it all on Bossman. You can't seek revenge on a dead guy, not that there's any way Bartender coulda known what really happened to Harley Mom. Now he has to tag along with Biker Queen in search of Bozo.

Next we meet Thunder and Lightning, a pair of Mexican wrestlers who happen to be "little people." If midget is no longer politically correct, this movie didn't get the memo. The two first encounter the creatures while Lightning is fucking his girlfriend, or whoever that chick was.

Hobo is in jail so he is relatively safe because the creatures can't get through the bars. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the cops. Damn I wish these creatures had a name.

Slasher is a used car salesman. He suspects his wife, Secrets, is cheating on him. When he makes his escape he finds out that he is not paranoid and his wife is in fact fucking one of his employees, Greg Swank, in the backseat of his car.

There's a shootout at Bozo's apartment, but Bozo is nowhere to be found. Instead, Honey Pie, the girl who bailed in the beer truck in the original and left them for dead shows up. Bartender immediately starts whooping her ass. He bangs her head into the toilet seat, repeatedly, bites off her ear, and then pushes her out the window. Despite everything she just endured, she just kinda got up and walked away.

The plan is to get into the jail. For some reason, they all think that is the safest place, but they need a key. Luckily, Thunder and Lightning are key makers.

This sequel is definitely more over the top and more disgusting than the original. During a dissection, ooze squirts out of a creature and everyone starts puking. This movie has more vomit than Stand By Me.

This movie is not just gross, it's fucked up. You'll see things in this movie you've never really seen before, like the dog getting shot to death at the beginning. Later, Greg swings down to save a baby, but while running, he had too many creatures on his tail so he just threw the baby up in the air and kept running. The baby hits the concrete and the creatures devour it. Granted, it looked fake as hell, but still.

Their next plan is to catapult Thunder from their rooftop to the jail rooftop. Since Thunder and Lightning's granny is damn near dead, Slasher decides to use her as a test run. She makes it over no problem, but Thunder doesn't even come close.

Lightning sneaks over to the jail with a garbage can over him, but Hobo is waiting for him with a stick of dynamite and blows him up. A piece of shrapnel flies off and hits Honey Pie in the distance seemingly killing her.

The tailpipe of the motorcycle shoots off and goes right through Greg's head sticking out of both ends. Still, Secrets loves him anyway despite his new deformity and chickenshit baby killing tendency.

The movie ends with them on the rooftop and the creatures about to bust through the access door.

This addition, much like most zombie stories on a long enough timeline, had more people getting killed by other people than by the creatures that actually caused the original chaos.

The Badass Award goes to Slasher for always having a plan. No matter how fucked up his plans were, he always had survival in mind, even if it was his own ass he was the most concerned with saving. He also remained quite civil with his cheating wife, except for kicking Greg down the stairs once.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Always blame the dead guy.

2) If you sleep with a guy's wife, be wary of him once you are stuck in a survival situation with him.

3) Don't catapult "little people."

Feast 3: The Happy Finish (2009)

John Gulager

"Awe shit. We're the only ones left, the worlds gone to hell. We hafta... We gotta do something, I'll tell you what we gotta do, we gotta repopulate the earth. We gotta start fucking, right now!"

The film begins with a death recap from the previous. It turns out Lightning survived. We already knew Honey Pie lived, but then in this opening scene she was decapitated and a creature ate her head. She survived two movies and a misleading death just to be decapitated in the first five minutes of the final movie, Why? Cuz that's how these movies operate: Don't attach to any of the characters cuz you never know who's next.

We are introduced to Shitkicker and he gets them into the jail where Biker Queen's band of chicks from the last movie that I never mentioned proceed to kick the living shit out of Hobo.

Shitkicker looks to be the new hero of this movie. He teaches Secrets how to use a pistol, then she accidentally blows his head off. This franchise begins to become predictable in its unpredictability. That, and the writers seem to love throwing in a hero just to rip his head off, which I gotta respect. It's a rebellion against 80's action movies.

Not sure why they thought the jail would be such a safe haven other than being behind bars means you're safe from the creature, but you're also trapped. There's also no food, not that in the span of three movies anybody ever ate or even mentioned food. The only ones eating are the creatures.

Slasher feeds Hobo to a creature in an attempt to escape, but the creature doesn't like him. Slasher gets fucked by a creature through a wall and impregnated. His stomach blows up. Slasher hybrid?

They get a school bus and meet the Prophet, AKA, Short Bus Gus. The creatures respond to him and leave so he leads the others to the storm drain.

Somehow Greg is still alive despite the tailpipe sticking through his head. Puker Girl kills Tat Girl as we meet Jean Claude Segal. Segal kills Puker Girl and her cohorts then gets his arm ripped off. What the fuck am I watching?!

He and Bartender slide down a tube then Bartender tries to put his arm back on, which doesn't work. Segal suffers an injury to his other arm and in an attempt to cauterize the wound, with doctor skills he learned from Rambo 3, Bartender blows his remaining arm off.

Greg is now suffering hallucinations and thinks Lightning is his baby. Then we get an incoherent brawl scene where they really do use a strobe light and you can't tell what the fuck is going on. If you've gotten this far into the series and not suffered a seizure, this is your final test.

Turns out, it was Prophet's hearing aid that was warding off the creatures, he's not an actual prophet. Slasher hybrid shows up and pulls the tailpipe out of Greg's head and then they all start eating him?

Eventually, they make it out. They strap a dead creature to Biker Queen's back and she rides off on her motorcycle as an attempt to get the remaining creatures to follow. Bartender decides it's up to the remaining three to repopulate the earth when just then, a giant robot foot stomps on Secrets. What the fuck?

I appreciate the writers of this movie to constantly shit on the good guys, but whatever happened to Tuffy, Bozo, and Hot Wheels? Did they go after Heroine 1's daughter or not? Based on how these writers work, should we just assume they didn't make it?

I watched this and the second one in a row and it got kinda rough. Some movies are hard to get through when there's no end in sight. After awhile, it seemed like every time a character died, a new one would show up in time to replace them. Looking back, it's a fun series. Sometimes the first viewing is the hardest and the rewatching is much easier. This one just got a little demanding after awhile.

The Badass Award goes to Bartender for surviving all three movies, but what do you expect when you're the director's dad?

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't point guns at people you don't want to kill.

2) Don't be a hero.

3) Watch out for giant robots.

The Faculty (1998)

Damien Ross

Robert Rodriguez

"I always wanted to do that."

In the mid to late 90's horror movies made their comeback to the mainstream. I kinda feel that Kevin Williamson was largely responsible due to screenplays like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, but I think The Faculty is the hidden gem. It's an homage to The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers and at one point even acknowledges it in the story. It also borrows from the concept of killing the lead vampire or finding the werewolf that bit you and wraps into a story of six teens who ordinarily would have nothing to do with each other. You have the jock, the cheerleader, the outcast, the rebel, the nerd, and the new girl, all of which are familiar characters. The dialogue is not quite as sharp and witty as his other scripts, but the pace of the story and action make up for it.

Aliens have landed. In order to adapt, fit in, and survive, they need hosts so they begin by infiltrating the faculty. The students catch on when one of the teachers mysteriously dies (her body was too old to be a host).

The six manage to team up although they don't know if they can trust each other, which leads to The Thing moment where instead of cutting themselves they must snort Zeke's homemade drug. The drug is highly caffeinated and dries out the hosts who are constantly trying to hydrate themselves. I don't mind an homage done well, which this was, this is much better than a remake of The Thing would have been. The end climax could have been a little stronger, but still good and closed with no possibility of a sequel, which is why this movie is still good 19 years later.

The Badass Award goes to Zeke for making "skat" and figuring out that it was the alien's weakness. What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't forget your keys.

2) When weird shit starts going down, always question the new girl, or guy.