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P-Q

Prom Night 4 (1992)

Damien Ross

Clay Borris

“I like to get laid on Friday nights, sorta leaves the rest of the weekend open... Jesus I love Friday’s!”

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Opening scene: Inside a church, Father Jonas is asking a statue of Jesus to help him save all the sluts and whores.

Hamilton HigH 1957, (again): Another prom. Although it’s 1957, all the teens looks like it’s 1987. Brad and Lisa arrived with dates, but that doesn’t stop them from sneaking off together after Brad utters the famous line, “It’s not who you come with, it’s who you leave with.” They go to his car to get it on, but they are not alone. A hand holding a dagger bursts through the window, slashing Lisa’s throat. It’s Father Jonas. He stabs Brad then blows up the car. Apparently, the only way to save sluts and whores is to kill them.

St. Basil Seminary, still 1957: A group of priests find Father Jonas in the basement, on his knees, shirtless, and whipping himself. Father Jagermeister calls him an abomination. Jonas, bleeding at the hands like stigmata (I don’t know how to use that word. Like a stigmata?), grabs Father Jagermeister by the face and kisses him on the mouth. They put him in a car and take him away, as one does with an abomination.

St. George Church 1991: Jennifer is saying goodbye to Colin (Brock Simpson, the actor who has appeared in all four of these films, and not much else), who is on his way to Africa to recruit. She’s always wondered what could have been.

While saying goodbye to Father Jagermeister, Colin inquires about his final test so Jager leads him down to the basement for a sneak peak at ol’ Father Jonas. His final test is to succeed Father Jagermeister watching Father Jonas. So much for Africa. But no one must know about the existence of Jonas.

Sitting under a tree, eating a sandwich we meet the troublemaker, Megan, then her boyfriend, Mark. Next we meet the other troublemaker, Laura, who likes to fuck guys in their cars during lunchbreak. So far the boyfriends are the bitches in this film and the chicks are the rebels.

Colin is in the church listening to Jonas tapes (not the brothers) and loading syringes. They’ve basically kept Jonas in a drug-induced coma for the past 33 years. I gotta feeling Colin is gonna fuck this up. He decides to speak to Jonas (told ya), he wants to help him. He hears voices, Jonas? He calls Jennifer, but hangs up when she answers, the good ol’ days before cell phones. He goes back to Jonas’ cell, armed with a syringe. He opens the door and the stigmata begins. Jonas awakens and grabs him by the throat and throws him. When Colin wakes up, his mouth is bleeding, and Jonas is gone. He calls the Cardinal as directed, but Jonas strangles him to death before he can say anything useful.

Megan is staying the night at Laura’s and they are half-naked trying on clothes together. Megan is insecure about her weight so Laura puts her hands on her shoulders and tells her she’s perfect. Laura starts putting the moves on Megan, making her really uncomfortable. Megan tells her to stop so Laura laughs and tells her she read an article in a magazine called How To Tell If Your Best Friend Is Gay, which reveals Megan as the innocent one of the two.

The priests soon discover Colin’s colossal fuck up as well as his corpse. They take him up to his room to make it look like he hanged himself. In his journal he admits not giving the 9:30 injection.

Mark and Jeff pick up Laura and Megan for the prom then ditch the prom in their limo and head to an old summer home in the middle of nowhere. Along the way they cheers to Jamie Lee Curtis as a little not so discreet tribute to the original. Why is it snowing on prom night? The summer home was a monastery before Mark’s parents bought it. Coincidently, its the same place Father Jonas was found after he killed Brad and Jennifer and now he is on his way back. For some reason, the house has been robbed of all the electronics and appliances.

Mark and Jeff find the wine cellar and snag a bottle. They start with a 57’.

The girls need wood for the fireplace cuz they’re planning to make a meal so Laura goes outside alone to the shed while a POV watches. It’s Father Jonas lurking about. She manages to bring the wood inside without getting killed.

Megan is planning to lose her virginity tonight and the Cinemax soft-porn sax is already blaring. But first, they all sit at the table, drink wine, and play a little game. It’s not Truth or Dare, but it does involve telling their darkest secrets. The game gets derailed when Mark finds out Megan tells her priest everything, including whatever will happen tonight.

Megan grabs another bottle of wine while Laura and Jeff go upstairs to get it on. Mark scares Megan, then carries her to the couch, and he’ll be right back. The phone rings, and for some reason Megan answers it. It’s Father Jonas calling to tell her that she’s a cocksucker. He’s in the house. When Mark returns she tells him about the obscene phone call and he’s not even slightly bothered by the fact that she answered the phone even though they’re not even supposed to be there. And who pays that phone bill and why? And why were all the electronics and appliances taken except for the phone?

Father Jonas is everywhere. One minute he’s inside making prank phone calls, the next he’s outside watching Laura and Jeff fuck.

Laura takes a shower and is ready for round two, but it looks like Jeff passed out under the covers. She hears a struggle at the door, but the real trouble is inside the room. Jeff is on the other side of the door with his hands full of wine and wine glasses. Jonas is in the bed with her!

Downstairs, Mark is trying to get happening with Megan right next to a giant statue of Jesus, and not the Baby Jesus. Jeff interrupts because he’s locked out of the room. The three of them go upstairs and the door magically opens, but no sign of Laura. Jeff wonders if it was something he did.

The search begins. Mark goes down to the wine cellar alone and finds, blood? But then he finds something more intriguing, a false wall. He goes through, still calling Laura's name. Somehow he thinks Laura found the false wall, went through, then recreated it from the opposite side, but despite being so secretive, she will now respond to the sound of her name?

Jeff goes upstairs to the attic and inside is a blonde figure sitting in a rocking chair with its back to him. He gets closer. It’s not Laura, just a wig of her hair and underneath is Jonas. He grabs Jeff by the face and raises him up Darth Vader style till his feet are off the ground. He squeezes his head till he dies.

Then there were two. Mark and Megan look around some more and then decide to check the attic. The rocking chair is now empty, but there are a bunch of lit candles. Megan finds fresh Jeff blood, but Mark doesn’t wanna call the police cuz he’s not even supposed to be there and cops are utterly useless in horror movies. They go outside and two giant crucifixes ignite in flames with a body attached to each. The good news is, they can stop looking for Jeff and Laura.

They go back into the house and Megan tries to call the police while Mark looks for protection. He returns just as Father Jonas is about to get her. They separate again. Jonas goes after Mark, even though he has a gun. Megan follows the gunshots.

Mark is on the roof shooting down at Jonas so Jonas stabs his Spawn-like crucifix dagger upward through the ceiling entering Marks’s foot, which causes Mark to fall to his death, and Megan gets back down to Mark in about .05 seconds. I guess she really did love him. But he’s not dead, not till Jonas drops his dagger from the roof impaling his chest.

Then there was Megan. The virgin. The Final Girl, the way a Final Girl is supposed to be. She cut her foot so she’s leaving bloody footprints. She hides in the cupboard below the kitchen sink. When Jonas opens the cupboard doors she sprays him in the eyes with roach spray, which seems to hurt quite a bit for a guy who just jumped off a two-story roof like it was nothing not too long ago. She runs outside and finds the pistol then back inside cuz somehow she knows where the bullets are. She loads the gun, then the phone rings. She answers it, it’s the cops, but Jonas interrupts the call from the other line in the house.

She hears her name so she follows the voice ready to shoot. Trapped in the shed, she shoots Jonas in the chest. He falls, but comes back for one final scare where he starts lighting shit on fire. She grabs a piece of wood and overpowers him, escaping and then locking him in the burning shed.

An ambulance takes her away. Inside another ambulance is the Cardinal, saving Jonas...The End.

Afterthought: Why is this movie so grainy? And why was it so important to keep Jonas alive, yet not conscious? Whatever happened to Jennifer?

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The Dumbass Award goes to Colin, for waking Jonas. I don’t know why they were keeping him alive, but all he had to do was follow basic directions and everything would have been fine.

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The Badass Bitch Award goes to Megan, for taking out Jonas, and being such a good girl. She’s the one with the dark hair.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don’t bail on your prom date!

2) Don’t fall in love with a priest!

3) Don’t split up when you’re searching for someone!


Prom Night 3 (1989)

Damien Ross

Ron Oliver

“I wasn’t gonna allow the actions of a single homicidal doof ruin the fun of others.”

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Marylou’s soul has escaped the grave, again (even though her body wasn’t actually there), and now she is back at Hamilton High. Although this series is more of an anthology and this is the only sequel that relates to the previous film, it does not pick up where the last film left off. She is no longer possessing principal Billy’s body, Principal Billy isn’t even in this one. It’s hard to tell exactly when this takes place. It has to be at least a year later cuz it’s Prom time again, but these new characters are oblivious to the events of the last film, which is weird. Marylou is back in her old body strolling through her high school after-hours when she runs into Jackie-Boy, the school janitor and one of the many boys she messed around with 30+ years ago. She electrocutes him with a jukebox and this time around she’s got puns. Terrible, terrible puns.

There’s a new principle who effortlessly cuts off his own finger with a pair of scissors at the ribbon cutting of the new gym. Why were those scissors so damn sharp?

Graduation is coming and Alex is trying to plan his future. His best friend, Shane, wants him to go on a road trip, but his girlfriend, Sarah, wants him all to herself. He wants to be a doctor, except his grades aren’t good and he has a fear of being average, but let’s face it, Alex is fucking dumb.

That night, Alex goes to the school looking for Mr. Rosso, but instead meets Marylou. Startled, he falls down a flight of stairs and knocks himself out. When he awakens Marylou is making out with him. He may or may not have had sex with her. He wakes up again, this time naked, except for a flag wrapped around him, and school is starting. He immediately goes to the school pay phone where he has a bizarre phone call with parents. The voice-over on the other end threw me off because it’s the first indication that this film is intended to be a comedy.

Marylou thinks she is Alex’s new girlfriend even though he already has a girlfriend. She changes the grade on the Biology test he failed then stabs his teacher through the hands with ice cream cones before killing him. I don’t know why she had ice cream or why those cones were so powerful.

Alex meets Marylou again, realizes that she is the same Marylou who died 30 years ago, but doesn’t question anything because hey, she got him an A on his biology test, nor does he let his teacher’s mutilated corpse disturb him. He hides the body. Marylou will do anything for Alex and in return she just wants him to be her boyfriend. It’s never really explained why, there’s no masterplan, she just does.

His parents celebrate his perfect paper, which confirms what a dumbass he must be if one test is that monumental. While wielding a huge knife, his dad announces he’s going to make his famous banana splits, the same way you might celebrate your child’s first little league victory. Afterwards, Alex drives Sarah home and they get into a fight. Sarah gets out and walks the rest of the way.

Marylou wants Sarah out of the picture, but despite multiple opportunities to take her out, she never does. This is because Marylou sucks at revenge. She couldn’t take Billy out in the previous film, and now she can’t take ol’ Sarah out. She’s probably the worst villain of all time. She’s not even scary, just kinda pathetic and needy. All she really wants is someone to love her and she’s stuck in high school. Fucking grow up!

Alex finally takes his Biology teacher to the football field to bury him. It looks like he’s digging a hole, but instead of digging a hole to put the body in, he’s burying him with the dirt from said hole. Also, there’s probably a trail of blood leading from the Biology room right to the burial spot, and how does he get into the school at night so easily? All the while, Marylou is doing a striptease from a school window while he digs, then somehow he has sex with her while he digs. She asks him if he loves her to which he says yes. They’ve met like twice.

On the football field during a game he sees the Biology teacher’s fingers sticking out of the ground even though he buried him in a bag and still the football field looks like nothing ever happened.

Next, Marylou kills the guidance counselor with battery acid in a hair salon situation. It becomes obvious that the guy who wrote this script had something personal against guidance counselors cuz he takes jabs at them every chance he gets. Alex finds his dead counselor and Marylou. Suddenly, being average doesn’t sound so bad. He is not okay with all the killing she’s doing, especially since he has to dispose of the bodies. But he is so stupid, he fucken buries them on campus!

Shane is kind of obsessed with Alex and Sarah is getting suspicious. Where does he go at night?

Alex made the honor role so his parents bought him a motorcycle. Nothing says “I don’t love you” like buying your kid a motorcycle. They also got him a leather jacket, but no helmet! Alex and his dad have a heart to heart while he cleans his rifle. His dad always seems to have a weapon on him. His dad is crazy, but somehow in tune enough to know that there is another woman. He actually gives decent advice while at the same time working in what a stud he is.

Alex buries his guidance counselor on the same football field and it still looks like nothing ever happened. The captain of the football team, Andrew, shows up and punches him as Marylou arrives in full football uniform and kills him so Alex breaks up with her. The next day, she catches him asking Sarah to prom. Alex then gets questioned about Andrew’s disappearance.

When the school re-sods the football field they discover the bodies. Shane somehow knows that Alex is guilty and offers to skip town with him. Alex’s sister, Lea, visits Shane wearing a sexy dress, only it’s not really Lea, it’s Marylou. She kills Shane cuz that’s her plan: Kill every one he loves so he’ll have no one left to love but her.

Alex gets his dad’s rifle and waits on the stairs. He is expecting Marylou, but instead it’s the cops. He shoots at them and they shoot back before breaking in and taking him into custody. Sarah doesn’t believe Alex is guilty and her mom forces her to go to Prom.

Marylou visits Alex in jail. She kills two guards and gives him the key to his cell. Alex is off to the Prom with a hostage, Officer Larry. Fun Fact: The actor who plays Officer Larry also played Nick in the original, and Josh in the sequel. The line, “It’s not who you come with, it’s who takes you home,” is featured in all four films.

Sarah goes to the Prom with Leonard the nerd. Marylou kills Leonard while Sarah boozes it up in the bathroom. Marylou goes after Sarah. Alex enters with Officer Larry’s pistol. The stage opens and Sarah follows them into a portal to Hell. She runs into Shane (why is Shane in Hell?) who spews some of the worst puns ever. Marylou and Alex are announced Prom King and Queen 1957. Sarah doesn’t get mad, she bakes, and she has a flamethrower, but it doesn’t work when she needs it most. She blows up Marylou after a scuffle. Alex and Sarah try to escape as all the zombies(?) follow them. Marylou is back and Alex tries to drive through her, which portals him out of Hell and back to wherever the hell they live. Marylou kills Sarah and Alex finally gives in, “You win!” The end.

This movie was fucking weird, but the more I think about it, the more I see Marylou as the victim. She was the Prom Queen, blessed with beauty, and not much else. It’s almost the perfect portrait of that person who peaked in high school, only to be doomed with the neverending non-future of not getting past it. A female Al Bundy. She was blessed with the popularity of high school so long as she never left. In her case, it was dying at her peak, between the walls of high school, Prom Queen, but there are a lot of people who keep living without ever moving on. Between the three films of this trilogy, so far, we get a glimpse of the high school totem pole: The loser who hasn’t peaked so he kills and has no future, and the winner who peaked too soon, so she’s trapped in her past. The moral of the story: Teenage years are temporary.

The Gilligan Award goes to Alex. It’s not really even his fault, he’s just a dumbass, and if you check out his parents, you can see where he gets it from. Granted, he didn’t have a car, so how far away could he have really taken those bodies? But I think his grades and actions speak volumes.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don’t go to school at night.

2) Don’t hook up with a dead person.

3) Don’t dispose of bodies at the scene of the crime.

 

Prom Night 2 (1987)

Damien Ross

Bruce Pittman

“Hey, ya got anymore of those mints? Your breath smells great.”

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“It’s not who you come with, it’s who takes you home.” I love a sequel that uses dialogue from the original and also the actor that plays Josh played Nick in the original. The film opens in 1957 at Hamilton High School, the same school as the original, 23 years earlier, although there is no tie into the prior film. Before the Prom, maybe even on her way to the Prom, Marylou goes to confessional to confess that she’s a little whore. At the Prom, her boyfriend, Billy, catches her messing around with another dude. He’s hurt, but he is especially upset by the fact that he’d pinned her all year and never got as far with her as this dude. He pinned her, but never nailed her. After Marylou is announced Prom Queen a stink bomb prank goes horribly wrong. For some reason, the stink bomb looks like a stick of dynamite and as Billy drops it down on Marylou the fuse ignites her dress, but what better way to get back at your cheating girlfriend than to make the area around her smell like a fart? Her dress goes up in flames while all the other horrified kids watch helplessly, especially her new flame who realizes he won’t be getting any tonight. She dies, which guarantees that at least two guys won’t be getting laid tonight.

30 years later and seven years after the original, 1987: Vicki is having breakfast with her parents. She wants a new dress for Prom. Her dad is cool, but her mom is not. They say Grace before eating breakfast? Her uber religious mother won’t let her get a new dress and hates her motorcycle riding boyfriend, Craig, who is also the principal’s son.

At school, Vicki goes to the prop room to look for Prom dress ideas. There’s a serious Prom Queen competition going on. There’s also an old chest that may or may not contain Marylou’s soul. The glass in the 1957 class picture frame inside the principle’s office shatters as Vicki opens it. Principle Billy is the same Billy from the opening of the film. How in the fuck does a rich kid who accidentally killed the Prom Queen, which coincidentally was his cheating girlfriend, become the principle of his old high school? Do they not do background checks? He should’ve been in jail at some point. She finds a dress, but it can’t be the same dress because the original went up in flames, however, it is consoling to think that if I died at my Prom the outfit I wore would be worn as a costume in future school plays.

Afterward, Vicki finds her goth friend Jess crying in the locker room. Her boyfriend blew her off and now she is pregnant. Okay, so it’s not a dress, it’s like a big shawl and now Jess is alone trying it on. When she pops one of the jewels out of the old Prom Queen crown she unleashes the soul of Marylou from the chest in the prop room and is hanged by said shawl and a very strong light fixture. She is then thrown out the second story window, but her death is ruled a suicide.

Father Cooper is mourning Marylou’s death with candles and a portrait. He is the boy from the Prom Marylou was cheating on Billy with. Ironic career choices for these two.

After an altercation with Monica in the hallway, Vicki recognizes the principal is Billy. Vicki is slowly becoming Marylou. Later, in gym class, Monica knocks out Vicki with a volleyball. That night in her bedroom, Vicki’s self-portrait turns into Marylou’s face and her huge rocking horse comes to life. She’s also wearing Hamilton High pajamas. She then goes to Marylou’s grave where she runs into Father Cooper, who doesn’t believe in ghosts? When you mention ghosts to a priest, shouldn’t he be the first to jump on your side? But maybe he did, because after a failed exorcism attempt, Father Cooper goes back to the grave and his Bible catches on fire. The next day he visits his old nemesis Billy. He warns him that Marylou has come back and he needs to be blessed.

Monica propositions Josh, $100 to rig the Prom vote, but he has a different fee in mind. More of an oral agreement.

After slapping the shit outta Monica in class, Vicki gets detention where she gets sucked into the chalkboard and becomes Full-Marylou. She goes to confessional and kills Father Cooper. The next day she shows up to school in 1950’s attire she happened to have lying around the house and has turned into a mega-bitch. Josh is the only one who knows she’s possessed. Well, he doesn’t know, but it’s definitely his assumption.

Next we have the lesbian shower scene, well almost. Perhaps disappointed by the lack of Kelly's interest, Vicki smashes her in the locker she was hiding in. Just then, Billy wakes up from a nightmare to find Vicki in his office with him, wearing Marylou’s ring. He figures out that she’s Marylou. She doesn't kill him, instead she goes home and makes out with her dad, who is totally into it, like he had made out with Marylou before. Then she kills her mom. If all of these parents are tied into the opening scene, that would make them all about 48 years old with teenage kids.

To stop Craig from going to Prom, Billy knocks him out with a shoe? He then digs up Marylou’s grave and finds Cooper’s corpse. He didn’t notice the grave had previously been dug up? The dirt didn’t feel fresh? Maybe he just thought he was really good at digging.

Monica fulfills her end of the oral agreement, but when Josh tries to fulfill his end, Marylou fries him with his computer and Vicki wins Prom Queen! Monica is pissed. Craig comes to save the day and Billy is back up on the the rafter, but instead of a stink bomb, this time he has a gun. He shoots Vicki, right in front of Craig! Luckily, a demon crawls out of Vicki’s body and totally redeems Billy’s homicidal decision. The demon slowly takes the form of Marylou, has telekinesis, and starts killing everyone. Craig pisses her off so she hunts him down and turns back into Vicki. As she sucks him into the prop room chest, Billy shows up with her crown, which flashes back to her Prom Queen dance that never really happened. I think Craig is wearing pajamas as he pulls Vicki out of the chest. What’s up with that chest? After it’s all over, Vicki and Craig get into the back of Billy’s car and Billy is wearing Marylou’s ring, because he is now Marylou. The car locks up then drives away and the license plate reads: Mary-Lu2, which is an excellent use of demonic power. The end. What in the actual hell? There is no explanation of how Marylou came back, however, there is a part 3, and 4. But why is Marylou evil? She has to know it was an accident and she did kinda fuck Billy over so what’s up with the killing spree?

The Gilligan Award goes to Billy for fucking up the prank that initially started this whole thing. Then he became the principle? Why would he do that? He should’ve served time and then gotten as far away as possible. I just killed the love of my life, I guess I’ll get a job there.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don’t hide in a locker.

2) Don’t piss off a demon.

3) Stop being so homophobic and just give into the lesbian shower experience.

 


 

Prom Night (1980)

Damien Ross

Paul Lynch

“For a guy so fast on the disco floor, you sure are the slowest!”

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A group of kids play a version of hide n seek called The Killer Is Coming in an abandoned convent. The game kinda looks like organized bullying as Robin falls out the second-story window to her death. If that wasn’t bad enough, the actual window then falls, landing on her and turning her corpse into a bloody mess. Fearing jail, the rest of the kids leave, vowing never to speak of the incident.

Six years later: Although it seemed weird for Kim and Alex to bring flowers to their sister’s grave before school with their parents, it was actually a clever way of bringing the viewer up to date: Yes, this is their sister. Yes, today is the anniversary of her death. Just like the ensuing prank phone calls aren’t necessary to the story except to reintroduce the kids from the opening of the film as the teenagers they will be for the rest of the film. Granted, this means they are now probably about 17 or 18 years old, making them 11 or 12 on the day of the incident, which seems a little old to be playing hide n seek. Their father is Principle Hammond and on the way into school we’re introduced to the first red herring, the creepy groundskeeper.

Mcbride, Nick’s dad, calls him down for school after loading his pistol. He’s a cop. On the way out of the house, the phone rings, but Nick doesn’t answer cuz he assumes it’s Wendy, his ex, who wants to go to the prom with him. Nick is already taking Kim, despite his involvement in the death of her sister. Did I mention that tonight is prom night? Hence the title.

Backstory: Leonard Merch was the #1 suspect in Robin’s Death because he was a sex-offender who lived near the scene of the crime. When McBride went to question him he fled in his car and got into an accident. Today, Merch escaped the state hospital taking a nurse with him. He then dumped the nurse’s corpse off at the abandoned convent from the opening of the film.

Kim goes into the seemingly empty auditorium and is confronted by Wendy while practicing her dance moves. Wendy lets her know that Nick may be her’s at the prom, but afterward everything will go right back to normal. This seems like a weird way to act for people who’ve known each other their entire lives. On the other hand, all of her friends were in on her sister’s death and have kept it a secret for the last six years so her whole life is kind of a lie.

Elsewhere, the prank caller cuts pictures out of the yearbook. How would a nurse-hating-sex-offender have gotten his hands on an Alexander Hamilton High yearbook?

In the cafeteria, Lou, wearing a ski mask, sexually assaults Kim so Alex comes to the rescue and proceeds to beat the shit out of three guys at once until Lou catches him with a kidney shot that looks like he shanked him. The school staff break it up. They unmask Lou, as if it’s a big reveal. Alex’s dad suspends Lou indefinitely and lets Alex off the hook. He then throws the ski mask into his trash can...Dun dun dun!

Wendy picks Lou up at lunch time. They go to a drive-in restaurant and she buys him lunch. Wendy is rich and lives with some old lady. She hatches a scheme. She must’ve had some sort of previous relationship with Lou because she thought he was the prank caller earlier.

After gym class, Wendy finds her cut out yearbook picture in her PE locker. Then, the mirror in the locker room somehow gets broken, scaring Kim and Kelly. Kim doesn’t bother to mention it to the PE teacher who is also the prom coordinator as her and Nick practice winning Prom King and Queen. I always thought that the outcome wasn’t known until the night of. Lou and Wendy spy from behind a curtain as I expect at any moment they’re going to make a big pig’s blood purchase. The creepy groundskeeper/janitor is also lurking about.

Jude opens her locker and finds her cut out yearbook picture with a shard of mirror stuck to it. That’s a big fucken picture! Kelly walks up with the same thing. That must have been a giant yearbook.

McBride has cops patrolling the area around the school in time for the prom to begin.

Nick picks up Kim and while he waits for her to come down the stairs he stares at Robin’s framed picture on the mantle. Either spill the beans about your involvement in Robin’s death or don’t, but don’t date Kim. That’s quite the secret to hold onto.

Lou and his two friends pick up Wendy. The prom theme is Disco Madness. McBride is there, smoking. Has he communicated anything to the principle? Probably not. Wendy and Lou arrive, and even though Lou was suspended indefinitely earlier that day, Principle Hammond looks right at him and does nothing. Taking matters into her own hands, Kim grabs Nick and appears to challenge them to a dance off.

After trying all day not to lose her virginity, Kelly finally gives in. Inside the men’s locker room, Drew professes his undying love for Kelly as he plans to romantically deflower her on one of the benches where the jocks plant their sweaty asses to change in and out of their PE clothes. At the last minute, Kelly decides she can’t go through with it, so Drew gets mad, says he knows plenty of girls who will, throws his corsage on the floor, and storms out. The killer was also in the locker room the whole time and even though Kelly was a virgin, she still got her throat slashed with a big shard of mirror.

Elsewhere, Jude and Slick are getting it on in his van. It was both of their firsts. Unfortunately, while busting Jude’s cherry, he busted his glasses in the process. While Slick pisses, they decide they want to do it again, this time on the bluff, not knowing they are being stalked. They hear a noise so they go back to the van and smoke a joint. Just as they both say they will remember this night for the rest of their lives the back door opens and the killer stabs Jude in the throat multiple times. Slick tries to escape only to wind up driving his van off a cliff. Poor Slick, he had nothing to do with Robin’s death and this killer clearly has no morals because he kills virgins and non-virgins alike. But Slick and Jude were right, they would remember this night for the rest of their lives. Such a cute couple, and to think, just yesterday they didn’t even know each other.

Next, the killer is not only back inside the high school, but he’s in the same bathroom as Wendy, the girl he shoulda killed first, and he has an ax. Wendy escapes. She runs everywhere except back to the prom. Does she not know where the fucken gym is? He finally kills her, and now we’ll never know what her revenge plot against Nick and Kim was, or will we?

Good news for McBride, the cops pulled the sex-offender suspect over about 50 Miles from there. Now McBride can finally enjoy the prom, you know, instead of leaving and doing some actual police work.

The creepy groundskeeper/janitor gets drunk while watching the prom before trying to warn everybody that a killer is on the loose. He gets dismissed and escorted off campus. See, high schools have always sucked at recognizing signs of potential danger and preventing catastrophes.

Not knowing that Wendy is no longer with us, Lou still plans to execute the plan. After all, she bought him lunch so the real tragedy is that even if everything had gone according to plan, he would still have to pay her back for said lunch that day. He and his goons knock Nick out and now Lou is gonna walk out as Prom King. Change in plan, Lou gets the ax and his head rolls down the runway causing all the kids to panic and flee, except for Kim, who goes back to save Nick. Now it’s Nick and Kim vs. the killer in an Ax Match, except there’s only one axe and the killer is holding it. Kim does a good job of protecting Nick, which shows just how much in love she is with this prick that knows the truth about her sister. The killer loses the ax so Kim retrieves it and smashes him in the head with I don’t know what part cuz he doesn’t die instantly. He gets up and staggers away and at that moment Kim realizes who he is cuz when he gets outside she saves him from being gunned down by the cops. It’s her brother Alex. “They killed her,” and then he dies. So Alex knew all along? The end. I like watching prom movies because I never went to prom. No one ever axed me, get it? That joke would've been even funnier if I was a girl.

This film was actually pretty good, much better than I remembered it. The second viewing was just a little tougher cuz all I remembered was the opening with the initial kill, and the reveal at the end of who the killer was. The second viewing is always harder when the killer is in sight the whole time because you catch all the inconsistencies, like Urban Legend, or High Tension. Leonard Merch escapes that day and conveniently, killed a nurse, ditched the body at the abandoned convent only to be a red herring. He’d never killed anybody before, he was there solely to confuse you. Alex keeping this secret, yet irked enough to seek murderous revenge, while at the same time coming from a stable family is ridiculous. Still, it’s a well played out movie, providing you only watch it once. The fact that he would start a brawl in the cafeteria to protect his sister shows you that if he knew the identities of his other sister’s murderers proves that he would have spoke up long ago. On the other hand, maybe knowing that he fucked up once led him to prove he’d never make that mistake again.

As much as I hate giving the Badass Award to the villain, it has to go to Alex, for the cafeteria fight and then even though he knew the truth all along and should have turned them all in, he still tried to avenge her death. Although, come on, he lived by McBride all those years and said nothing?

This is new, the first Piece Of Shit Award goes to Nick. His dad is a cop so maybe he could have at least gotten some insight, yet even after his dad nearly killed an innocent man, Nick still never told him the truth? Then he decides to hook up with Robin’s sister, and continue living the in-your-face lie on a daily basis for possibly the rest of his life?

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don’t play in abandoned buildings.

2) If you’re gonna have a date in your van, lock all the doors... And maybe turn the headlights off too.

3) If you’re gonna hide from a killer, try to do so in a way that you can still see where he is.

4) Don’t be the Prom King or Queen.

5) Be honest with the girl you fall in love with.


 


 

 

P2 (2007)

Damien Ross

Franck Khalfoun

“Trying to get me fired aren’t you? I bet you’d really like that.”

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Angela works in a large building, although I have no idea what she actually does for a living.While working late on Christmas Eve her co-worker, Jim, apologizes for coming onto her at the Christmas party. She has plans to spend Christmas with her family at her sister Lorraine’s in Jersey once she leaves work. She finally leaves the office down to the parking garage, P2. Her car won’t start. She’s the last one there so frustrated, she heads to the security office where Tom is working and he offers to give her a jump. It still won’t start. Why is there only one security guard in such a big building? She waits for a cab, which is an extra long wait on account of it being Christmas Eve, yet when the cab finally arrives it is literally the only car on the street. But she is locked in the parking garage while being watched through the surveillance cameras and the cab eventually leaves without her. All the lights in the parking garage dramatically shut off. After stumbling around in the dark, Tom appears and chloroforms her.

She awakens in the security office, wearing a skimpy dress and chained to a table with dinner on it. Tom is wearing a Santa suit. It’s the same little dinner he joked about earlier. He tries to make conversation while she tries to talk her way out of the situation. She makes up a boyfriend as he tries to poke holes through her lies. Does Tom live in his office? It looks like a studio apartment! He makes her call her family, who are waiting for her, and make up a lie as to why she can’t make it. Is it weird that they didn’t know the number she was calling from or were there still a lot of landlines in 2007?

Tom got her a present, a VHS tape. On the tape is Jim aggressively coming on to her in the elevator. As he unlocks her ankle brace to take her for a stroll she stabs him in the back with a fork. He’s pretty understanding about it though and they go for a drive through the parking garage. They drive up to P4 where Jim is duct taped to an office chair. Tom wants her to get revenge with a flashlight, to show him that she is not a slut and he can’t just grope any woman he wants. Typical social justice warrior being offended for other people even though she is over it. Since she won’t do it, he decides he needs to enforce the discipline himself. He hits Jim several times with the flashlight then gets back into the car. He runs Jim into the wall and smashes him then backs up and crashes into him two more times.

Angela escapes, but is still handcuffed. She goes back to Tom’s office and grabs her cell phone-which has no service-instead of just hitting redial on the office phone. She then hides in the elevator so he drops the fire hose down and proceeds to fill the elevator up with water. The elevator door eventually opens and she is free. Her already revealing dress is now wet.

She gets the emergency ax and proceeds to smash surveillance cameras while Tom rocks out to Elvis, Blue Christmas. She takes the ax into the office where a video of her passed out from chloroform is playing so she destroys the TV. On the surveillance screens she can see the police showed up, but Tom is right behind her with a taser. He gives the cop a tour. The cop drops him off at the office and proceeds around the parking garage. Angela is in the trunk of a car. She escapes just as the cops leave. They can’t hear her screams over Santa Baby.

Tom’s dog chases her into another car and she kills it with a tire iron. That dog had it out for her from the get go. Limping, covered in dog blood, and still handcuffed, she finds another phone. All the 911 lines are busy. Tom is upset when he finds his dog dead. Tom is hilarious when he yells.

A high speed chase in the parking garage eventually leads to a crash and she plays opossum then stabs him in the eye, chokes him out with her handcuff chain, finds the key, then handcuffs him to the car door handle. The car is leaking gas. She tases the trail of gas and blows him up. She finally escapes the garage. It’s a win, except she is wearing a wet dress, no shoes, and it’s snowing.

The Badass Bitch Award goes to Angela, for doing all the right things although both she and Tom made a lot of good choices.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Keep more than one security guard on the premises at all times.

2) Don’t speed in a parking garage.

3) Don’t make aggressive advances at women.

4) Never call a woman a cunt.

 

Psycho (1-4)

Damien Ross

Psycho (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock

"We all go a little mad sometimes."

This is the story of a woman named Marion Crane. Marion is a Phoenix secretary who is having an affair with a man, Sam, who is buried in alimony. If only there were a way to get the money.

Upon returning to work, an oil tycoon buying a home for his daughter as a wedding present drops by with $40,000 cash. Marion is entrusted to deliver the money to the safety deposit box at the bank on her way home. This is where she makes her break for it. Part of me feels like the tycoon deserved it the way he flaunted his money and acted like he could buy the girls if he wanted to.

I'm not sure why Marion was so miserable at her job considering how lax it was. She took long lunches, left early because of a headache, and usually came in late on Mondays.

She is paranoid the whole way out of town. She sees her boss crossing the street in front of her, which always reminds me of the scene in Pulp Fiction when Bruce Willis is waiting at the light when Marsellus Wallace walks by before stopping and spotting him. She also notices a cop eyeballing her at the dealership. Would she get fired? Arrested? But her fatal mistake is when she pulls up to the Bates Motel where she meets Norman and his mother.

While waiting for Norman to bring dinner back, Marion overhears an argument that leads to an awkward dinner conversation, Marion decides she is going to go back to Phoenix to face the music. At this point the plot twists and now the story is about Norman, and we have now seen Marion in her bra three times.

Next comes the classic shower scene where we see Marion killed by a bun-haired figure. Afterward Norman comes to the rescue with his mop and bucket, cleans up the crime scene and disposes of the body. Luckily, Marion signed in with a fake name and had traded in her car. Did Norman ever find the money?

Marion's sister, Lila pays Sam a visit at his shop a week after Marion's disappearance. There, they are confronted by a private eye hired by the tycoon. The private eye checks all the motels in town before finally coming across the Bates Motel where he meets Norman. After cross-examining Norman, he goes to a pay phone and contacts Lila.

The private eye is not satisfied so he goes back to the Bates Motel. He goes into the house where he meets Norman's mother and his doom as she stabs him several times before he falls down the stairs to his death.

After no luck with the sheriff, Lila and Sam check into the Bates Motel, room 10. They devise a plan for Sam to distract Norman while Lila goes up to the house to confront Norman's mother. Norman catches onto Sam's diversion and after a struggle hits him over the the head then runs back into the house. Lila sees him through the window in time to sneak into the fruit cellar where she finds Mother with her back turned. Lila turns her around to reveal a mummified corpse. She screams and Norman bursts through the door in a wig, dress, and a knife, but Sam makes it in time to save the day.

This reveal was a big deal when the movie came out. So much so that Alfred Hitchcock bought up all the copies of the novel and once the movie started, no one was allowed to enter the theater room. I never got to see this movie the way it was intended. I caught the end when I was a little kid and my mom explained it to me. I think it's old and popular enough that nobody gets to experience the shock of the twist.

When all is said and done, Dr. Richman gives us the rundown of Norman's condition: Norman poisoned his mother and her boyfriend ten years prior. Unable to deal with the consequences of his actions and due to their close relationship, he started to become her. He stole her corpse from the cemetery and acted out conversations with her, but I'm still not sure why she had to be propped up at the window all the time. Norma killed Marion out of jealousy because Norman was attracted to her.

I've always found the very last scene to be the creepiest as he sits in the institute and all you can hear is Norma's V.O., "I wouldn't hurt a fly."

I think Norman Bates is probably the first antihero in a horror film.

What did we learn? Survival tips:

1) Don't embezzle money from work.

2) Always use a clear shower curtain.

3) Knock before you enter someone's house.

4) Beware of people who do taxidermy as a hobby.

Psycho II (1983)

Richard Franklin

"It's happening again..."

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After 20 years of rehabilitation, Norman has been released from the institution. Dr. Bill Raymond has seen to it that Norman can go back home and to help him get straight, got him a job at a diner. I'm not sure why he needed the job at the diner since the hotel was still open.

At the diner he meets Mrs. Spool who introduces him to the rest of the crew. He is shunned by everyone except Mary. Mary is having trouble with her boyfriend so Norman invites her to his place for the night.

When Norman and Mary get back to the motel they meet Mr. Toomsey. Mr. Toomsey is a lot like Polly from Rocky, a real schmuck. Norman is upset to learn that Toomsey has turned the motel into a party house of sex and drugs so he fires him.

The next day at the diner Toomsey pays a visit, which is about the time Norman starts receiving notes from his mother. Toomsey causes a scene and is kicked out. Soon Toomsey is dead and Mary and Norman seem to be getting closer.

A random teen couple break into Norman's basement to smoke weed when a wigged figure in a dress with a knife appears and kills the boy. The girl escapes and now the police are after Norman, but Mary vouches for him and provides an alibi getting Norman off the hook.

Next we meet Mary's mother, none other than Lila Loomis, otherwise known as Lila Crane. She married Sam Loomis who is now dead. What kind of person hooks up with her dead sister's lover? The notes from Mother were a plot by Lila and Mary to make Norman think he was crazy so they he'd be locked up again, but Mary no longer wants anything to do with it. She feels bad for Norman and thinks that he has changed.

Lila presses on, calling the house and pretending to be Norman's mother. Dr. Raymond eventually spills the beans to Norman who Mary is and that it is Lila calling him, but Norman is convinced that it's his mother.

Lila goes into the basement where she stashed the wig, knife, and dress, but before she can put on the disguise she is greeted by another figure in a wig and dress, wielding a knife. Before she can scream, she is stabbed through the mouth in a pretty brutal kill scene for 1983.

The phone keeps ringing and Norman keeps answering still convinced it's his mother, but now he says it's his real mother. Frustrated, Mary goes down to the basement, puts on the wig and dress, and grabs the knife to show Norman it is all a hoax. Norman stands transfixed still on the phone talking to the dial-tone. She runs upstairs and picks up the phone at the top telling Norman it's not his mother. A figure sneaks up behind her. Startled, she turns around and accidentally stabs him in the heart. It's Dr. Raymond. He falls down the stairs.

Norman turns on Mary and she takes stabs at him to defend herself until they are in the basement. Something moves and reveals her mother's corpse. Now she is legitimately mad and wants him dead, which is when the police arrive and blow her away and Norman is off the hook for everything.

Later Norman is back home eating dinner alone when there is a knock on the door. It's Mrs. Spool. She comes in and sits down uninterested in food, but wouldn't mind some tea. Norman reaches into the back of the cupboard for the special stuff. She explains that she is Normans biological mother, but was very young when she had Norman so she had to give him up to her sister, which was right around the time she went crazy. She was locked up, but released soon before Norman and had been protecting him since he got out.

So it was her all along and Norman was innocent? Norman walks behind her with a shovel and cracks her in the back of the head. I assumed he would have poisoned her tea as an homage. He carries her upstairs and props her up in front of the window, then they get into an argument.

Well this movie certainly took a lot of left turns to throw you off. I was down with the Lila/Mary mother and daughter conspiracy, but the biological mother who happens to work with Mary and she's been locked up in a small town and nobody knows her ties to Norman? I think they were trying a little too hard at the end, to the point where Dr. Raymond would have had to be in on it based on what he did know. Better than I thought it would be, but still it worked too hard to trick you.

The Badass Bitch Award goes to Mrs. Emma Spool, assuming it was her who actually killed all those people.

What did we learn? Survival tips:

1) Don't smoke weed in random basements.

2) Don't talk shit to a psycho.

3) Don't keep ditching your victims cars into the same swamp.

Psycho III (1986)

Anthony Perkins

"Stupid bitch! You coulda been cummin instead of goin."

I assume the opening scene is an homage to Vertigo. It is very similar except the blonde doesn't fall to her death, she escapes. Instead it's the old nun.

Maureen is a nun who has apparently lost her faith so she runs away. On the run, she gets picked up by Duane, a rebellious loser who talks too much. He is on his way to California to be a rock n roll star.

When night falls, it's raining hard so he pulls over to the side of the road for the night. He tries to take advantage of Maureen, but she's not having any of it. She gets out of the car so he throws her suitcase at her and just leaves her there. He drives on until arriving at the Bates Motel.

Instead of getting murdered, he gets a job. He is the new assistant manager, 6 bucks an hour, and free room and board.

It has only been a month since the events of the last movie. There are missing person posters for Miss Spool and patrons of the diner wonder where she is, including a reporter who takes a particular interest in Norman.

Norman has a flashback of the ending of the last movie where he kills Miss Spool, which is shown in b/w. I think these sequels woulda been better had they all been filmed in b/w like the original (Filming the original Psycho in black and white was Hitchcock's decision, there were color movies in 1960).

Maureen shows up to the Bates Motel and to her dismay is met by Duane. She checks in, Maureen Coil. Norman sees her and is instantly reminded of Marion Crane: Short blonde hair, pretty face, and the initials M.C. on her suitcase. Duane checks her into room 1.

That night she is taking a shower and Norman can't help but watch her undress beforehand. When he shows up clad in a wig, dress, and knife, it is too late, the bath water is blood red. She has slit both her wrists. Norman manages to save her and they go out to dinner.

Afterward, they go back to her room and he's finally about to get some, which may have killed the voice of his mother in his head once and for all... Instead, he tells her he can't and they go to sleep. She wakes up after awhile and he is gone. She goes up to his house, but he tells her to go away.

The cops show up the next day, along with the reporter, because there seems to be a missing girl from the frat group that was there the day before. Maureen covers for Norman saying she was with him all night so he couldn't have had anything to with it. The reporter convinces Maureen to leave and stay with the Father at the church.

Maureen tells the Father that when she was lying in the bathtub waiting to die the Virgin Mary visited her holding a silver cross. This was actually Norman dressed up as his mother holding a knife. She thinks this is a sign that she must go back to Norman.

She goes to Norman's house to make up with him. They are standing at the top of the stairs when they hear Mother's voice. This startles Norman and he accidentally pushes her down the stairs. She falls in the same weird way as the private investigator in the original, but is impaled by an arrow on a statue of (fittingly) Cupid. Norman is horrified. It's Marion Crane all over again and once again he blames it on Mother. He goes into her room, but she is gone. Instead, he finds a note telling him to go to room 12. A drunk Duane is waiting for him with Mother. He wants Norman to buy his silence. I about lost my shit when Norman picked up an ashtray, cocked his arm back like a baseball pitcher and huffed it at Duane who makes absolutely no attempt to move as it cracks him in the head. An altercation ensues until Norman smashes him in the head several times with his acoustic guitar until it's in pieces.

While this is going on, the reporter is at Miss Spool's apartment. She finds a phone number written on a magazine. She calls it, Bates Motel. This reminds us that it was actually her calling in the last movie. She tracks down the original diner and finds out that Miss Spool was in an insane asylum for killing her husband.

Norman drives Duane's car into the swamp and goes back home.

The reporter shows up armed with a tire iron. This does her no good because as soon as she sees Norman dressed up as his mother, and for the first time we actually see Norman talking in his mother's voice, she drops it, but still manages to talk to Norman. She tells him Miss Spool was not his mother, she was his aunt. She killed Norman's dad because she was jealous and in love with him. So Norman hacks up Miss Spool's mummified corpse instead of the reporter's. The cops come and take him away.

Sitting in the backseat of the cop car, Norman realizes he is finally free. But then, and this was hilarious, he pulls out a hand severed about 5 inches above the wrist, Miss Spool's. There's no cure for loneliness. Freeze frame on Norman's ever psychotic smile.

What did we learn? Survival tips:

1) Don't go home with strange men you meet at the bar.

2) Shut the bathroom door when you're pissing.

3) Never try to blackmail a psychopath.

Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)

Mick Garris

"Ya see Norman, the only time you wanna be naked around a woman is when you're having sex with em. Any other time, it just ain't respectful."

Holy shit, the original theme is back!

Norman has been released again, and he has a new target, his wife!

Norman calls into a radio show, The Fran Ambrose Show, where the topic is, “Men Who Commit Matricide.” He uses an alias, Ed, but it doesn't take her long to figure out who he really is.

Norman has decided he needs to kill his wife because she is pregnant and he doesn't want to bring another psycho into the world. His wife works at the institution he was just released from and is one of the best psychiatrists in the world (therefore this would never happen in real life). She is against abortion. She and Norman agreed before they were married they would not have kids, but she secretly stopped taking birth control, not that either of these two are young.

Fran Ambrose gets Norman to open up about his childhood and the people he has killed. The first victim, other than his mom and fiancée, was a young girl who wanted to have sex with him. The next was an older woman who may have been the first to have her car pushed into the swamp. She was in the trunk, but not quite dead.

Norman's mother seemed to always be either overly loving, or overly hateful. She was manipulative and dehumanizing. If Norman didn't do something she wanted it was because he hated her. If he showed any attraction toward the opposite sex he was a perverted freak who needed to apologize for being born with a dick. She would beg him to stay while making him want to escape. He was torn and all he wanted was to please her.

One day she brought Chet home to the motel, room 1. Norman watched them fuck through the hole in the wall. The next morning, Norman's mother awoke in good spirits despite Norman's morose demeanor letting him know that he was not going to ruin her day. Her and Chet were planning to get married and he would start working at the motel.

Chet was your typical macho douchebag, the complete opposite of Norman. Norman is more of a quiet, timid, sensitive guy while Chet was an in your face man's man who was taking Norman's mother away.

One hot sunny afternoon, Norman put strychnine in their tea and watched as they died. He stole his mother's body from her casket, used his taxidermy skills to preserve her body, then continued his relationship with her.

This ended the call with Fran as he let her know what he had to do. He called his wife and told her to meet him at his mother's house. Confused, she agreed, and for some reason it is always pouring down rain when people drive to the Bates Motel.

When Norman's wife gets into the house he pulls a knife on her. There's a chase around the house and she apologizes for tricking him and eventually convinces him that he is not a killer, that's not him anymore, despite the fact that he has a knife and is chasing her.

Eventually, he surrenders to her logic, but there's something he must do. He has to burn the place down. Burn the past. He douses it with gasoline. Why didn't he sell it years ago and why are all the rooms still furnished? Eventually, after almost killing himself in the process, he burns it down. Except the basement is fine, till a rocking chair starts rocking and you hear Mother's creepy voice. And just like in the last movie he says, "I'm free."

When the screen fades to black, just before the credits roll you hear a baby cry, like they were leaving it open for another sequel.

I saw this movie for the first time when I was in 9th grade I think. It is the best of the sequels and I always enjoy a prequel-esque film that delves further into the character, like Rob Zombie's Halloween. But Bates Motel on A&E is doing a good job of that while deviating slightly from the original story line a bit for entertainment's sake, but staying true to the overall story. The time lines are off and I don't know why Psycho 2 and 3 had to venture off into that pointless Miss Spool twist, although Psycho was based on a novel by Robert Bloch, who also wrote the sequels, which I have read none of yet. Maybe the movies did to the novels what Marvel movies have done to the comics.

Overall, this chapter works as long as you don't nitpick, and thank God for no Psycho 5 (As far as I know Psycho 4 was not written by Robert Bloch). The sequels weren't great, but I love horror movies from this era. Probably because I was still young enough to properly be affected by them.

What did we learn? Survival tips:

1) Don't trick your husband into getting you pregnant.

2) Don't be a verbally abusive parent.

3) Lock your car doors.

Poltergeist (Franchise)

Damien Ross

Poltergeist (1982)

Tobe Hooper

"You son of a bitch! You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn't you? You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the headstones! You only moved the headstones! Why! Why!"

This film opens to the Star Spangled Banner emitting from the television and the Freeling family scattered about the house sleeping. Except for Carol Anne, the youngest. She is perhaps sleepwalking as she approaches TV, which is now static, and begins talking to it.

In the next scene we get a nice view of Cuesta Verde, which means green slope in English, the new housing development that Steve Freeling's company built (Spielberg actually named the main character after himself, what a douche). It's funny that one of his clients complained that all the houses looked the same, not compared to housing developments now!

Diane and Steve casually smoke weed after the kids have all gone to bed. Diane thinks that Carol Anne sleepwalks because she had a history of it growing up herself.

Robbie, the middle child, is freaked out by the huge old tree outside along with a clown doll sitting in a chair at the end of his bed. When I was a kid, I had a Ronald McDonald doll with a plastic head that freaked me out at night when the street light shined in on its face. Luckily, I hadn't seen this movie otherwise, I probably woulda gotten rid of that doll a lot sooner.

Steve goes to sleep watching the Star Spangled Banner show again (he was reading a book about Reagan when he was smoking weed with his wife earlier), when Carol Anne utters that famous phrase, "They're Here." Does the Star Spangle Banner trigger it? At any rate, it's on! Steve thinks it was just an earthquake.

The next morning, Dana leaves the house to go to school and one of the construction workers in her yard starts hitting on her loud and in front of everybody. She gives him the three FU signs: The folded arms with the fist up, the middle finger, and the thumbnail off the front teeth. I always wondered how the kids in my elementary school knew those. Her mom watches the whole thing and just laughs! This is the boss's daughter!

After seeing the chairs stacked on the table mom is a believer. She and Carol Ann do ghosts tricks in the kitchen until Steve gets home. They show him so he goes to the neighbor's to ask if he felt the earthquake the night before. He says no and also adds that neither he or anyone in his family has ever had a mosquito bite. I don't know why the neighbor is such a jackass, especially considering that Steve built the the neighborhood. I'm also not sure what time of year it is cuz the kids are in school, there's storms, mosquitos, and it looks like summer.

That night, Robbie is abducted by the spooky tree outside. They save Robbie and all the hauntings get sucked up in what looks like a tornado. Everything is back to normal, except Carol Anne is in the TV.

Steve calls the parapsychologists, every community should have this resource. He shows them the locked off bedroom where all haunted hell is breaking loose. Dr. Lesh lays out the movie ground rules: A poltergeist is an individual that could stop at any time, while a haunting takes place in a house or an area and could go on for years. They must find Carol Anne before the poltergeist leaves.

Later, they are all sitting around so Dr. Lesh pulls out a flask and there's a long segment where everyone is whispering. Maybe so the poltergeist won't hear them?

One of the parapsychologists decides he is hungry and goes into the kitchen. What kind of an asshole gets hungry at a stranger's house and decides he's gonna cook himself a steak? The steak turns into maggots so he runs into the bathroom and starts nightmarishly ripping the flesh off of his face, but snaps out of it and everything is back to normal, except he doesn't get the steak. That wasn't a haunting, that was karma.

Steve goes for a drive with the boss, Mr. Teague, who is played by none other than James Motherfuckin' Karen! He takes him to the site of what is going to be Phase 5, which right now is a cemetery. It won't be the first time they've had to move a cemetery, that's how they began this housing development in the first place. This is news to Steve.

This is too big of a job for the parapsychologists so they call in a true expert, Tangina, the "house cleaner." She has psychic abilities and notices the souls aren't at rest and have not crossed over. There is a powerful presence that clings to Carol Anne, which to Carol Anne is merely a child, but in actuality is a beast.

Through the portal in the living room ceiling and the help of a rope, Diane rescues Carol Anne who appears to have no memory of what happened.

And with that, the Freelings are moving, but instead of leaving right away, they pack their things and Steve goes out for awhile. But the house is not yet clean.

Robbie's clown finally attacks him and Diane gets attacked until she's out of the house and into where the pool is going to be. Corpses come swimming up. It's at this point that Steve discovers that when they moved the cemetery, they moved the tombstones, but left the corpses.

The Gilligan Award goes to Mr. Teague for leaving the corpses behind while the Badass Bitch Award goes to Diane Freeling for rescuing her daughter.

Although I didn't see this movie until later in life, it came out when I was six so there's still a lot of nostalgia around it and that time period, especially the Star Wars toys. You didn't have to see this movie to be fully aware of it. It came out a week before ET, which is why Steven Spielberg wrote it, but didn't direct it. He was contracted to work only on ET, but it still feels like a Spielberg movie and some of the ghost scenes remind me of the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I think he just put Tobe Hooper's name on it while he secretly directed it cuz Tobe has never done anything that looked like this previously or after.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't listen to The Star Spangled Banner as you go to sleep.

2) If your house is haunted, get out and let the "experts" handle it, especially if you have a family.

3) If you're going to move a cemetery, you have to move the tombstones and the bodies.

 

Poltergeist (2015)

Gil Kenan

"Our last closet ate me."

Okay, so I got up early this morning and watched the original Poltergeist and the remake back to back. I think it's fair to say that when people watch remakes the initial reaction is to rip it apart and I am no exception.

The movie begins by using technology to throw it right into your face that this is present day. Technology does nothing in the way of enhancing the story, but rather enforces the setting. That and the kids names, Madison and Griffin?

Instead of the dad being the builder of the neighborhood, the Bowen family is buying a house, even though neither parent is employed.

Within the first six minutes Madison is talking to the closet. Kendra, the older sister, is skyping and watching a haunted house reality show.

Once the kids are in bed, their parents, Eric and Amy, start drinking in their bedroom, instead of smoking pot. Meanwhile in Robbie's room, a box falls off his top closet shelf containing not one clown doll, but like 20! And Griffin catches Madison talking to the TV.

Eric goes out to buy a squirrel trap, I guess from the squirrel trap store. Oh, forgot to mention, it wasn't demons that knocked the box of clowns off the shelf, it was a foaming squirrel. When he tries to pay, his credit card is declined, so he tries another, which is also declined, but the third time is a charm. Instead of rethinking his purchase, he then goes out and buys pizza, a new cell phone for Kendra, and a drone for Robbie. Ironically, this decision never comes back to haunt him, it just gives us a drone for later in the story.

Eric and Amy go to a dinner party leaving Kendra to babysit. At the dinner party, they find out about the cemetery being moved. This movie is almost 30 minutes shorter than the original so everything happens quickly and conveniently.

Back at home, the ghosts attack. Clowns and trees and when Eric and Amy get home, Maddy is in the TV.

The next day, Eric and Amy head down to the Department of Paranormal Research. Coincidentally, Amy was once a student there. They could have tied that into her writing career, but I don't think they did. Despite Amy's paranormal education and Kendra's obsession with her ghost hunter show, neither of them seem to know shit about ghosts.

Dr. Brooke Powell lays down the ground rules for this movie: Ghosts are harmless apparitions while poltergeists are noisy, lash out, violent, object movers that can just come and then go away.

When Boyd, from the DPR goes to sit down in a chair the chair flies out from under him and shatters against the wall. The only reaction Eric has is a smart ass remark as he leaves the room despite that being the most intense thing they had seen at this point!

They find that the portal home is on the living room ceiling, but they need back up. They call none other than Carrigan Burke, the host of Kendra's ghost hunter show. Wow, such great foreshadowing.

This version is taken more from the kid's point of view rather than the parent's in the original. Maybe younger people are watching horror more these days.

Maddy's shadow on the wall as she ran upstairs was a nice touch, it kept her present and also they explained that maybe she was born with a gift. That kinda made sense cuz in the original it seemed kind of odd that although the whole neighborhood was built on a cemetery, the Freeling's were the only ones affected by it.

Out of the blue, Carrigan suggests that when they moved the cemetery they left the corpses. The spirits are angry and Maddy is their ticket back. In the original, the movie built up to this plot-twist, it wasn't just stumbled upon on a whim.

Amy volunteers to go in after Maddy, but before she gets the chance, Griffin passes her up and jumps right in. And just like that, they're out.

The house still isn't clean. Carrigan plays the martyr and there's a weird reveal that he and Dr. Brooke were once married, which added nothing to the story.

The Bowen's play it smart and as soon as they find an available car they get the fuck out of there.

In the end scene, a Realtor is showing them houses and one of them had an old creepy tree in the yard. Was that supposed to be the original house?

The Badass Award goes to Griffin for saving his sister, even though he did it out of guilt.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't follow the bright lights.

2) Don't stick your arm in holes that may possibly be portals.

3) Monitor what your kids watch on TV.

Pieces (1982)

Damien Ross

Juan Piquer Simon

"The most incredible thing in the world is smoking weed and fucking on a waterbed at the same time."

A woman catches a young boy putting together a puzzle of a naked lady. He is one piece away when she slaps him then throws the puzzle. She is in the process of searching for any other smut when he comes back with an ax and kills her, then saws her into pieces, hence the title.

Some lady knocks on the door, there's no answer, and despite the fact that there was no reason to think something was up, she calls the cops. The cops show up, see the body, and assumed the boy had nothing to do with it. How's that for white privilege? They ship the boy off to live with his aunt an hour away.

Present day: A girl is riding a skateboard. The camera follows her until she runs into a large glass pane carried upright by two men. That was an actual risk in the 80's, however not as prevalent as quicksand. This girl had nothing to do with the movie. As a matter of fact, there seems to be no real main character until about halfway through the movie.

The killer is constantly putting together puzzles of naked women, although I have never actually seen a puzzle of a naked woman in real life. His modern day puzzles look like they're from the same era as the one in the opening scene, but he has now graduated to real life puzzles made from the body parts of actual women.

Willard, the groundskeeper, finds the body of the skinny dipper along with a bloody chainsaw. Coincidentally, four cops walk in at that very moment, so Willard, instead of saying anything, just starts beating the shit out of all of them until one of them pulls a gun on him. Then they let him off the hook. He got in no trouble whatsoever.

The skinny dipper was supposed to be meeting Kendall at the pool, but the killer gave Kendall a fake note telling him not to come so she would be alone. This girl stripped down to her panties to wait for Kendall and upon hearing about her death he couldn't be less bothered.

Lt. Bracken is the main cop on this case. For some reason no one will give him a light for his cigar and he has this strange faith in Kendall, which is based on nothing. He puts Mary Riggs undercover as a tennis instructor since it's been women getting killed, but instead of putting another cop undercover with her, he relies on Kendall to keep an eye on her.

Kendall finishes having sex with a girl and then goes outside. Mary is out walking and runs into an Asian man who attacks her by throwing a series of crazy karate kicks, none of which land, before he just collapses. Kendall arrives and says the Asian guy is his karate instructor. The Asian guy gets up and says, "Bad chop suey," and just walks off. Kendall walks Mary home and tries to get into her room even though he just had sex with another girl like 20 minutes ago. She turns him down. Then his friend, who was apparently following him the whole time, scares the shit out of him, and just walks off. This is the first bitchass scream we hear from Kendall.

It's not until Susie's death, whoever she is, do we see Kendall muster any emotion about these murders, but not nearly as much as Mary when she yells, “Bastard!” Not once, not twice, but three times, each one more hilarious than the previous.

Mary goes to the Dean's house, who has been in this movie the entire time, I just haven't mentioned him. The Dean drugs Mary, which puts her in a state of paralysis, she can't move or talk, but she is fully aware of what's going on. At the same time, the police look through the Dean's file and see that his mother was hacked up when he was a child. Based on that, they realize that he is the killer and Mary is at his house.

Badass Award: Kendall, you were so close. The goofy looking ladies man who saves the day, except it was Lt. Bracken who actually saved the day while Kendall was an overreacting little bitch who eventually got his nuts ripped off by a corpse.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't turn your back on dudes with chainsaws.

2) Don't go skinny dipping alone.

3) Watch out for karate instructors that jog at night.

4) Don't slam a door on the killer and then lean your back against said door.

 

Phantasm (1979)

Damien Ross

Don Coscarelli

"Wait here, it's my brother, I think he's got some kind of a problem."

Tommy dies while having sex in the cemetery with a mysterious woman. He was a friend of Mike's older brother, Jody. Mike is the main character.

Mike wasn't invited to the funeral, but he follows Jody everywhere so he hid and spied on the funeral. This is where he sees Tall Man for the first time, who is picking up a casket all by himself and putting it into the back of a hearse.

This movie is kinda hard to recap. It was easy to follow while I watched, but afterward I was like, "What the Fuck?"

Reggie, the guitar playing ice cream man, was friends with Tommy and Jody, I think they had a band together.

Jody winds up in the cemetery with the same chick that killed Tommy. He is inadvertently saved by Mike who was spying on him, but runs past them after being scared by a Jawa. So if there hadn't been a Jawa, would Mike have stayed and watched his brother fuck the blonde?

Susie and Sally get kidnapped by Jawas, Susie is the girl at the beginning with the fortune telling grandma who's only purpose was to foreshadow Mike going through the portal at the end of the movie. Mike goes through the portal for less than ten seconds and figures the whole thing out: The Jawas are slaves and this is the gateway to their home planet. They are shrunken because of heat and gravity.

Tall Man is an inter-dimensional alien who steals corpses. I only know this because my version of this DVD has an introduction by Angus Scrimm, who was probably the tallest 89 year old ever, RIP.

The Jawa's are actually shrunken down corpses resurrected to be slaves and Tommy is now one of them! What I don't understand is, if the Tall Man just needed people that were already dead, but would kill anyone who caught onto him, why didn't he try to be a little sneakier? He was out in broad daylight heaving caskets, why not wait till after dark?

Jody comes up with the plan: Drop Tall Man down the mine shaft, but first take down all the mine shaft warning signs because if Tall Man reads them he'll for sure know what's up. The plan works, but there is a plot twist: Jody has been dead all along, car accident. Mike has lived with Reggie this whole time. This plot twist doesn't really work, but not a bad try for 1979. I guess Mike has been chasing the ghost of his brother because he misses him and Tall Man is a figment of his imagination, but wait, Tall Man comes back with the line Mr. Bungle sampled at the end of Squeeze Me Macaroni, "Boy!" And whatever happened to Sally and Susie? Confusing?

Phantasm is the Boba Fett of horror movies in that it has unearned notoriety. There, I said it, and this isn't necessarily a derogatory statement, it simply is true in terms of earned and unearned recognition. And don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of both, I just have a hard time explaining why.

The Badass Award goes to Mike, because even though he is only 13, he drives cars, drinks beer, shoots guns, and chopped off Tall Man's finger. More shit than today's kids can do.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't have sex in cemeteries.

2) If you see a Jawa in the cemetery, don't go back to the cemetery alone at night.

3) Don't break into morgues.