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Slaughter High (1986)

Damien Ross

George Dugdale

“A caretaker takes care of places, a janitor, he janits.”

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Opening Scene, Doddsville County High School: A popular girl, Carol, lures the school nerd, Marty, up to the girl’s locker room for some sex. Little does he realize it’s April 1st, but then again he has to know cuz it’s also his birthday.

A group of her friends, looking like a film crew, are in pursuit of the ultimate April Fool’s Day prank. They sneak in while Marty is undressing behind a shower curtain and get situated. When he comes out they all yell “April Fool’s!” and oh Geezus, within the first six minutes we get some dick-age.

I don’t know if the janitor is a pervert or just spotted something suspicious as he passed the girl’s locker room (or why the girl’s locker room door has windows to begin with), but he promptly goes down and tells Coach what’s up. Coach goes up to the locker room in time to catch them flushing Marty’s head in the toilet. Props to Coach for actually taking Marty’s side instead of just siding with his own, as most of the pranksters were jocks. He puts them on 3:45 gym punishment.

On the way to the gym, Carl and Ted pay Marty a visit and give him a joint as a peace offering. Marty lights up the joint in the Chemistry lab and suddenly his stomach starts bubblin’ so he goes to the bathroom. Why would a nerd spark up his first joint in a Chemistry lab, or at all? While in the shitter, Skip goes in and mixes some kinda white powder into one of Marty’s beakers. When Marty returns, a fire ignites and a large jug of nitric acid falls down from a tall, unusually shaky shelf. It breaks open and splashes him in the face.

The kids in the gym hear the noise and smell the smoke from the lab. They all run up and arrive in time to watch him die, did he die? The point is, they were too late.

Ten years later: Carol is now a B-movie actress and her high school reunion is tonight. She takes a shower and someone comes into her house. It’s just her friend setting up a weak jump-scare. Who sneaks in while you’re showering and yanks the shower curtain open?

The only people who arrive at the reunion are the original gang that terrorized Marty. They can’t get into the school so they get some beers and hangout anyway. At nightfall they decide to break into the school just in time to beat the thunderstorm.

They enter the gym and turn on the light. There’s a big “Welcome Back” sign, decorations, and plenty to drink. Also, their old lockers, even Marty’s, are there and each contains something they lost that year. Inside Marty’s is the high school yearbook he never got. It was funny cuz earlier I noticed that when Carl and Ted gave Marty the joint they were standing in front of lockers that were all slightly different heights. It looked like when you stand up all your books on a shelf.

Skip explains that Marty survived, but most of the skin grafts didn’t take, leaving him a mutilated monster. All these years later he can finally admit that they took a normal boy and turned him into a lunatic, but none of them seem to feel too bad about it. He goes onto explain that Marty continually tries to escape the nuthouse and haunts the halls. Little does he know that he is foreshadowing what’s about to happen right now.

11:30: Smoking weed and doin’ blow. Carol walks Nancy to the bathroom. Skip and Frank beat them there for a little jump-scare, but upon leaving get a little jump-scare of their own. The janitor still works there, only now he is the caretaker and the school has been shutdown for the past five years. The school is getting knocked down in a month so he doesn’t care. Why is he even there? What is he caretaking and why? Red herring? They give him a beer and separate. Then he gets killed.

Back in the party room: It’s after midnight and once again April Fool’s Day, which is a great excuse for a horror flick to say that all bets are off, anything goes, and nothing has to make sense, the goal is usually to trick the audience. That’s what all 80’s slasher films did when it wasn’t known who the killer was: Trick the audience, which they got away with until the sequel came out.

Ted shotguns a beer then his stomach explodes so the others quickly leave the room. They try to escape through the main door, but they’re locked in.

They find a window so Carl climbs out and runs to Carol’s car cuz it’s the fastest. He gets in, but it won’t start, something long and sharp goes through his back and out his chest. I couldn’t tell what it was, all I know is that Carl is dead and the killer is the backseat. The car magically starts up and drives back to the school. The others are watching and somehow Carl’s body is now propped up against the gate, like he’s just chillin.

Shirley is alone taking a bath to get Ted’s blood off of her, the only boob-age we’ve seen thus far. Why does the high school have a bathtub? She turns the water on and it turns brown, either she’s in Flint, Michigan or it’s nitric acid! Who would know how to do something like that? Marty the chemist! Who apparently also dabbles in plumbing. The others come up and immediately figure out that Marty has come for revenge, even though it was an accident. They take no responsibility, ‘cept Carol, but Carol is the most guilty of them all cuz without her there’d have been no joke.

Susan shows up, which is weird cuz it’s after midnight and she just walks right on into the building that the others are trapped in. She wanders down a hall and comes to a door with a mural of Marty on it. Hands break out....

Skip and Joey devise a plan to break out on a tractor. It’s a little rusty, but Joey’ll fix it.

Elsewhere, Stella comes onto Frank. She’s Joey’s wife, but informs Frank that he’s the father of her baby from when they had sex back in the day. Joey thinks it’s his. He talks her down, Joey is the better catch, but she ain’t having it.

Back at the the tractor, a figure walks in. Joey assumes it’s Frank and asks for a wrench. Joey is under a tractor held up by a jack while a murderer is on the loose and doesn’t even think twice when he hears footsteps. He dies a horrific death while his wife is trying to fuck her true love.

Meanwhile, Frank can’t get it up until she challenges his libido.* The bed frame is attached to a generator and upon climax, they both get electrocuted, which is why you don’t fuck with nerds. Why did the school have a bed?

And then there were three? Skip, Carol, and Nancy. Nancy turns on them. It’s their fault. None of this woulda happened if it wasn’t for Skip and Carol. And she’s probably right.

Skip disappears, but it’s 11am, somehow April Fool’s ends at noon. Skip gets hanged but manages to escape.

Carol and Nancy walk around to the previous murder scenes, but there’s nothing there. They continue to walk and find a room playing the video of Marty getting his head flushed and a yearbook opened up. Nancy is next! Nancy runs off. Outside, she sees a guy in a joker mask and falls into a well? I’m not sure what the fuck, but she climbs up in time to have Joker put his foot on her head and push her back down.

Back to Carol, on the run. She is the last girl, but I wouldn’t call her the Final Girl. She begins to discover bodies, then the Marty door as Joker breaks through. She hits him a couple times with her bat then runs away.

At this point, I’m expecting the plot-twist: Skip is the killer! The killer is wearing the same joker mask Skip wore the day it all happened. Also, he explained what happened to Marty, then even though hanged, managed to break free and we haven’t seen him since? Plus, he’s a main character who hasn’t really done shit else, yet they also haven’t made him an obvious red herring. Marty is the scapegoat (I think that was the plot of Most Likely to Die).

Now, Joker is back and trades his bat for a javelin. Carol finds a hatchet and plants it into who she thinks is Joker, but it’s Skip. So much for my theory. Before she even gets a chance to mourn Skip she Ronda Rousey’s Joker out a window from the second floor. He lands and she tosses the javelin down after him as the clock strikes noon. She walks away, but he gets up, and once again has a weapon.

He chases her into the girl’s locker room where it all started. He takes off the mask, it’s Marty revealing his half melted face. He looks exactly the way he looked the day it happened. He impales her with the javelin. He won! Until he goes into the hallway and gets haunted by the voices and ghosts. Suddenly, Marty is the one trying to escape, but he can’t!

He wakes up, head bandaged and he’s in the hospital. It’s the day of the incident. It was all a dream? An alarm goes off. There’s screaming in his room. A doctor comes in to see what’s going on. Disguised as the nurse, who is now dead, Marty stabs the doctor in the eyeball with a syringe. WTH? The End. I liked my ending better.

Afterthought: In reviewing this film, I read that there is a sequel that takes place right after this film, like it begins with him escaping the hospital, but it’s not on IMDb So I’m not sure if that’s true. It actually helped that all the headshots of the cast on IMDb are from this film cuz there were a lot of characters.

Although this film had one of the most eye catching covers of all 80’s horror, the cover in no way represents the movie at all.

I liked the score, most of it sounds very 50’s Horror.

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The Gilligan Award goes to Carol. Even though all of the characters were in on it, they probably couldn’t have pulled it off without her.

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Not So Fun Fact: Simon Scuddamore, the actor who played Marty the nerd, committed suicide shortly after this film was released.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don’t pick on nerds!

2) Don’t smoke joints around volatile chemicals!

3) Don’t keep a large jug of nitric acid on top of a shaky shelf!

4) Lock your doors when you take a shower!

5) Make sure to finish the killer!


*Mallrats

Summer of 84 (2018)

Damien Ross

Francois Simard

“Found you, you big-tittied butthole!”

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Opening Scene: Ipswich, Oregon June, 1984: Profound inner dialogue as a kid, Davey, delivers newspapers in a suburban neighborhood. “Even serial killers live next door to somebody.” He accidentally drops a newspaper by a mailbox as he ponders the mysterious underbelly behind the facade of smiling faces and fresh cut lawns in said suburbia. As he picks up the paper he catches the caption of the cover story: Freeport Boy Still Missing. The name on the mailbox reads, “Mackey.”

Just then, he is greeted by Mr. Mackey, who solicits him to come inside to help move something. Also, to make his monthly newspaper payment. Adults were such deadbeats when it came to paying for the paper. Sure, you had the good ones that paid by mail, but even they would slip up occasionally and treat you like you were the dick when they fell three months behind, and the checkbook was always with the spouse who wasn’t home. I digress, sorry.

Inside, while Mackey gets the money, Davey notices his big family by the many framed portraits on the wall. He helps him carry a chest down to the basement into the darkroom he’s building (for all you Millennials reading this, a “darkroom” is where and how you developed pictures back in the day. You didn’t have to do it yourself, usually you paid a good $10 to develop a roll of film which consisted of 24 photos. You had no idea how the photos even turned out until three days later when you picked up the envelope of shame). Along the way, he notices a door padlocked shut. Mackey has lived next to Davey since he was a baby. He is also a cop.

After dark that night, Davey and his friends, Eaton, Woody, and Curtis, play Manhunt. While hiding, Davey sees a boy about his age inside Mackey’s house.

After the game, Davey and the gang hang out in their clubhouse, looking at dirty magazines and talking about chicks. They talk about Davey’s huge crush on his slightly older neighbor, Nikki, then about the missing kids in their area. Davey rants about conspiracies and gets heckled by his friends for having once claimed their neighborhood was built on Indian burial grounds, which he still says is true-perhaps a little throwback to Poltergeist? Does this film take place in Cuesta Verde?

As they part, Eaton makes a foreshadowing remark about Woody’s mom after already mentioning all hell breaking loose in his own house.

Pan in on Davey’s room, with conspiracy headlines cut out of newspapers adorning the walls, long before “conspiracy theory” was a common term. Granted, there were always weird kids with weird knowledge that in the 80’s and early 90’s, was pretty much unprovable. Calling bullshit before the internet was basically just a way to spark debates, which were won by logical opinions rather than proof, over a cup of coffee in a nearby restaurant.

Davey has two windows in his bedroom. One holds a view of Mackey’s house, the other a view of Nikki’s bedroom window. She used to be his babysitter.

In the morning, raccoons have knocked over Davey’s trash can.

That night, watching tv with his parents, Davey hears that Nikki’s parents are getting divorced. Davey’s mom had no idea, another example of a neighborhood looking good from the outside. But when you’re a kid, the monster isn’t necessarily the murderer or child-abductor outside, it’s the parents inside. Not that all parents are bad, but kids are powerless, all they can do is react to the parent’s decisions and moods. Kids have no control so they go to school and take it out on each other.

Later that night, it is confirmed. Davey is right, there is a serial killer on the loose who has killed at least 13 kids. He invites his friends over. Despite being in the age range of the victims, this is still probably the coolest thing that has ever happened to him, which is fucked up, but I can relate. That’s why I like horror movies in the first place: Because life is fucking boring. Suddenly, they get distracted. Across the street, Nikki is changing her shirt so they fight over the binoculars. She starts to turn around so they all get down, all except Davey. Busted!

The following night, they get together with the other neighborhood kids to play Manhunt and notice Sammy is missing. His parent’s car is in the driveway, but no one has seen him in days. The party breaks up and Davey goes home. His parents aren’t home. He makes himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich then pours himself a glass of milk. On the carton, he sees a missing person (before the internet and smartphones, we got our Amber Alerts off milk cartons!), it’s the kid Davey saw in Mackey’s house the other night playing Manhunt.

He again assembles his friends at the clubhouse, and if you’re familiar with the recipe for the plot of this particular style of movie then you already know that none of them are going to believe him. So Mackey killed the kid on the carton and now the neighbors (Sammy) are missing? Mackey goes to the hardware store once a week to buy a hundred pounds of dirt for his garden. Mackey fits the description of a serial killer, ‘cept for the whole being a cop thing. Stakeout.

Operation: Mac Attack starts now. They spy on him and figure out his daily routine. No matter how odd his traits, they’re consistent. They see him take two trash cans to the curb so they decide that at 11 when he goes out for a jog, they’re gonna take a peek inside. If they make a mess, everyone will just assume it’s raccoons, but they find nothing.

Woody needs to sleep at Davey’s. He goes home to get his stuff and finds his mom alone drunk. What’s up with fat kids with hot moms?

Davey’s doorbell rings. He opens the door expecting Woody, but it’s Nikki. His parents are out, date night. What is it with parents always being gone in the 80’s? She goes up to his room and checks out his view of her room. It turns out she is the one who turned him into a conspiracy theorist. His parents come home and she sneaks out the window.

Elsewhere: A kid leaves his house on the same dark night. Sensing something evil, he makes a run for it before stopping in an alley that looks like the same dark alley where Tina first sees Freddy in the original Nightmare on Elm Street. He looks around, then gets nabbed.

The next morning, Mackey drives away in his cruiser. Davey and the gang are waiting in Woody’s mom’s station wagon. They follow him to the hardware store even though Woody is not old enough to drive. Mackey is buying a pickaxe and a lot of dirt. They continue to follow until getting pulled over. Despite their fears, it’s not Mackey. It’s Officer Cole. He knows Woody’s mom from church, and Eaton, cuz he’s a thug. He lets them go, but tells them to get their asses home where it’s safe, another kid has gone missing.

That night, Davey is spying on Mackey, until he hears a tap on his widow. It’s Nikki. He sneaks out and they find a place to have a beer and a lttle heart to heart. She tells him her parents are getting a divorce and that she’s leaving for college at the end of the summer. There’s no one else she can talk to. He tells her that he thinks Mackey is the Cape May Slayer. She shoots him down, Mackey is friends with her dad.

The next day, some younger kids are playing baseball in front of Mackey’s while he sits in his lawn chair drinking a beer and watching.

That night in the clubhouse, Curtis has a bottle of Macready’s Whiskey he stole from his dad’s liquor cabinet. Nothing like a little whiskey after a hard week of spying to take the edge off. They each take a swig then talk about Nikki, but Davey quickly steers the conversation back to Mackey.

They head over to Sammy’s and break in. They sneak around inside until Nikki jump-scares the shit out of them. Turns out she’s housesitting, Sammy’s family rented an RV and went on vacation.

At the next game of Manhunt, the goal is to plant one of Davey’s old GI Joe walkie-talkies next to one of Mackey’s windows. While keeping lookout, Eaton spies Mackey inside with rubber gloves on and bleach, among other things, before disappearing into the basement. The basement windows are painted over. As they try to disperse, Mackey looks out the window and clearly catches Davey watching him. Busted again!

The next day, while delivering papers, Davey goes back to check on the GI Joe walkie-talkie he left at Mackey’s to see why it wasn’t working and Mackey catches him, but plays it off like Davey scared the hell out him. At the same time, Mackey knows all the neighborhood kids play Manhunt most nights. He assumes Davey’s there to collect the newspaper money again and this time takes him into the backyard. Davey notices what looks like a freshly dug grave in the garden. Mackey returns with the money and notices the GI Joe walkie-talkie clipped to Davey’s belt and says he has some old ones he could have that pick up everything. IMDb Trivia points out that since Mackey has CB’s that pick up everything, and Davey and the gang have been using walkie-talkies to communicate throughout most of this film, what if Mackey has been listening in all along?

That night, as Davey does his usual visual peruse of Mackey’s house from his bedroom window via binoculars he catches Mackey staring back at him through his own binoculars! I’ve said this a million times, and I think this is just a movie thing, but if you’re going to look outside at night and don’t want to be seen, turn your inside light off!!! Now he’s busted. He peeks back out again, but instead of Mackey at the window, it’s his other GI Joe walkie-talkie. Now he’s freaked out, yet his bedroom light is still on!

Davey calls for a meeting at the clubhouse. They make a plan: Tomorrow night when Mackey goes jogging, Woody and Curtis will follow and keep tabs on him while Davey and Eaton dig up his garden.

The following night: Woody and Curtis follow Mackey to a storage unit. Inside, Mackey has a VW bug, Ted Bundy style. Not sure how Woody’s fat ass kept up with Mackey’s joggin ass, but it’s definitely gonna be harder to keep up with a car.

Meanwhile: Davey and Tommy have given up on the garden and picked the lock to the shed. Inside, all they find is usual shed shit, but Davey finds the milk carton kid’s shirt, with blood on it. Mackey has sodium hydroxide, which turns organic matter into liquid. It’s time to tell Davey’s parents, who of course don’t believe him. Mackey’s been they’re neighbor since before Davey was born. And he’s a cop.

Davey’s dad is angry and takes the kids over to Mackey’s house to confess their shenanigans. Davey confesses to digging through his garbage, digging up his garden, and breaking into his shed. Mackey laughs and is actually pretty understanding about everything. He says no hard feelings. He remembers what summers were like when he was kid and how it’s hard not to pass up on an adventure. Davey presses further, showing him the boy on the milk carton and asking him who the boy at his house was. Mackey says it was his nephew. It’s over, but to Davey, this changes nothing, although his friends are done. His dad says he’s going to call all of their parents.

Davey is grounded. He gets a phone call, it’s Nikki. He goes over to her house. He tells her he got busted for Mackey, she tells him to let it go.

The next day, Davey is home alone, and there’s a knock on the door. He opens the door, it’s Mackey. Mackey tries to smooth things over, but Davey ain’t havin’ it. Davey asks him to call his nephew. He agrees, but no one answers. They shake hands and Mackey leaves, reassuring him that he’ll do anything he can to catch the killer and to get his parents to let him off the hook. Davey calls the operator and asks for the last number dialed from his house. It’s Mackey’s number, he called himself, dun, dun, dun! Now Davey is determined to break into Mackey’s basement.

That night, Davey’s parents call him down to watch the news, Mackey has caught the May Side Killer.

New plan: Davey wants to break into Mackey’s basement, armed with his father’s camcorder, and find out what’s behind that padlocked door. Everyone will be at the Bay Festival so the neighborhood will be empty. All he needs is his friends to keep watch from strategic posts while he goes inside.

The next day after Davey’s parents leave, he breaks into Mackey’s, but instead of standing guard, Woody goes in with him. Jump-Scare! Nikki shows up. “Why do you keep doing that to us?”

Curtis calls Davey from the festival on the walkie-talkie to let him know that he was wrong about everything. The shovels, the dirt, it was all for a flower project for the festival. They go down to the basement anyway. I mean hey, they’re already inside, right? Davey picks the lock and for some reason it’s suddenly dark outside.

Eaton is still at his post when Curtis comes up and scares him. He tells him the whole thing is off. Eaton asks if he can stay the night-parent shit.

Back in the basement, on the other side of the padlocked door is what appears to be a child’s old bedroom, but wait, there’s another door. On the other side of that door, they find b/w pictures hanging on the walls of the victims, then a bathtub full of blood, and a body half eaten by acid. Then, a survivor?

Upon escaping, Davey looks at the wall of family portraits and upon further inspection he realizes that the pictures aren’t Mackey’s family, they’re family portraits of his victims. He sees his own family portrait and realizes he’s next.

They escape and take the video to the police. The police are gonna raid Mackey’s and tell Davey’s parents they should be proud of him, he’s a hero. Well now Davey’s parents feel stupid, and guess who’s not grounded anymore.

Woody’s mom is working the night-shift so he’s staying at Davey’s. Davey’s parents say goodnight and the boys look out the window at the flashing lights across the street at Mackey’s, although Mackey is still nowhere to be found.

12:15AM: The attic stairs come down. Mackey has been inside the house all along, waiting. Davey opens his eyes and is greeted by a chloroform hanky.

Davey and Woody wake up in the back of Mackey’s cruiser. They quickly exit the vehicle and find themselves in a forest before hearing Mackey’s voice over a megaphone. He knows they like games so they’re going to play Manhunt for real. They run, but it’s no use, they don’t even know where they are. They begin to find human remains. Davey decides to be the diversion since Woody kinda knows how to drive, but Mackey slices Davey’s leg then leaves him to go take care of Woody. And this is where the movie flips, from the fun adventure we fantasize about as kids to the “holy shit you will get killed if you do that” moment. Reality. Mackey tackles Woody, slits his throat, and bleeds him out. Davey limps over to Woody’s corpse and Mackey grabs him. Instead of killing him, he tells him he’s gonna let him look over his shoulder, wondering, waiting, thinking about when it’s gonna happen, because it is going to happen. Then he drives away in his cruiser leaving them behind. Davey drags his bum leg till he finds a road then eventually a car spots him.

In the morning he’s in the hospital greeted by family and Nikki. Part of me wonders if he wishes he would have just minded his own business. Eventually, he’s back on his bike delivering newspapers. Nikki waves to him from the back of her parent’s car as she leaves town. He doesn’t get the girl. The End.

Afterthought: I moved to Vancouver in the summer of 84 while Denise Williams, Let’s Hear It For The Boy, played relentlessly on the radio. Madonna was just losing her virginity while George Michael was still in the closet. That fall, I started a new school and made new friends. Two years later, I started another new school and once again made new friends. Two years after that, I started middle school.

In the 8th grade I got a paper route delivering to the neighborhood behind David Douglas Park where they found the two boys killed by Wesley Allen Dodd a few weeks prior. Never thought about it till just now, but maybe that’s why the original kid had to quit his route. Not cuz he got killed, but because of the location and Sunday papers had to be delivered before 7:30AM in the dark.

Did this film need to take place in the 80’s? Divorce was on the rise and two of the character’s parents were going through one while another’s were fighting all the time. On at least two occasions Eaton and Woody wanted to stay the night at a friend’s cuz they didn’t want to deal their home lives.

Milk Cartons constantly reminded us of missing children to the point that my grandma had me convinced that if I walked to the mailbox alone, it might be the last time I’d see her again.

In the 80’s a lot of films and TV shows took place in the 50’s and 60’s: Porky’s, Stand By Me, It (the original), Wonder Years, etc. Then you have the the throwbacks through time travel: Back to the Future, Peggy Sue Got Married... Cinema always finds a way to rewind.

In the last 10 years or so, there’s been a lot of 80’s throwbacks: House of the Devil, Haunting in Connecticut, It (the remake), Stranger Things... Maybe it‘s just a reminder that films nowadays are made by people my age and we’re all slaves to our childhoods.

The ending gets pretty dark and almost disturbing considering they could’ve just played it safe busting Mackey and having a happy ending. But no, they had to take it a step further. Like in The Body, the short story Stand By Me is based on. Ace’s gang gets their revenge, and so does Mackey as the film breaks the unspoken rule of not killing kids onscreen. It’s as refreshing as it is surprising and disturbing. Usually, this premise gets wrapped up in a nice little package and we get closure, but here, Mackey escapes. But before Mackey escapes, he does something I always pondered as a kid watching horror movies: He doesn’t kill him, he just lets him know he’ll be around and someday when he’s not expecting it... I thought about that as a kid: If you’re scared and the Boogeyman just kills you, you’re not scared anymore. You’re dead. That’s actually the nicest thing he can do, kill you quick. The first character to die in a horror film is getting off easy.

This film begins and ends with the same tag line, “Even serial killers live next door to somebody.” Coincidentally, the dvd cover of “disturbia (2007)” similarly states, “Every killer lives next door to someone.”

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The Gilligan Award goes to Davey. This one is kinda tricky cuz on one hand he caught a serial killer and prevented a murder, but on the other hand, he caused the death of one of his best friends.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don’t go down to the basement!!!

2) Don’t let your kid leave the house late at night if you know that kids have gone missing in your area. Unless you don’t like your kid.

3) Never let the killer know that you suspect he is the killer!


Stepfather (1987)

Damien Ross

Joseph Ruben

“Maybe they disappointed him.”

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Opening Scene: A paperboy delivering newspapers in a suburban neighborhood. A newspaper hits a house as we pan inside. A bearded man, covered in blood, stands in front of the bathroom mirror. He shaves his beard, gives himself a haircut, and puts in pupil color changing contact lenses. When he gets out of the shower, he puts on a suit, locks his briefcase, and heads downstairs passing framed pictures of his family. On the way out the door, he passes his dead family he just slaughtered. He walks out the door whistling Doo-Dah, then picks up the newspaper like nothing happened. All the horror locked in the house behind him. He gets on a ferry, and once far enough out, ditches the briefcase into the water, throwing away all the evidence of who he once was.

This became a common theme in late 80’s horror and thrillers: The suburban neighborhood where everything looks fine on the outside. Freshly maintained landscapes outside of the house hide the horrors going on inside the house. This was extra scary for me cuz I was a paperboy. I had to knock on these people’s doors once a month, all 95 pounds of me!

One Year Later: Stephanie rides her 10-speed home from school and gets ambushed by her mother with an armful of leaves. It must be autumn. Instead of getting mad, Stephanie engages her mom in a leaf fight, showing we the viewer, what a close relationship they have. But then Jerry, the stepfather comes home and Stephanie disappears. He lures her back out with a present, a puppy. She instantly loves the puppy, but not Jerry.

Stephanie is in therapy. Her dad died, hence, the stepfather. Since his death, she’s been getting into trouble at school. She was suspended three times the year before, and twice this year. It’s only November! Her problem is Jerry. There’s something off about him. Plus, he’s the wedge in her relationship with her mom.

The next day Stephanie gets expelled for getting into a fight in art class. At dinner, she says she wants to go to boarding school, which would mean going away, but Jerry is against it. I don’t know why, it seems like his life would be easier if she was gone, she’s the only one who sees through him. Maybe it’s his vibe, or maybe it’s just the jealousy kids feel when there’s a replacement. Either way he’d be better off sending her away. Then again, it wouldn’t be a family without a kid.

Jerry goes down to the basement when he gets mad and builds birdhouses. But he has power tools, unlike the dad in Amityville Horror who had to cut wood with an axe when he got pissed. He also likes to watch old black and white tv shows like Mr. Ed.

Stephanie can hear them having sex!

Harry Morrison killed his family and was never caught. Harry quit his job, but pretended to keep going everyday for three weeks before the murders. Harry is Jerry and his ex-wife’s brother, Jim, is on the case. Jim believes Harry is still in a certain mile radius of Seattle and tries to get a guy from the paper to print a picture of him to see if anyone recognizes him. Didn’t they already do that when it happened and he was a suspect? Well, I guess it makes sense to do it again now that he has adapted into his new self. I wonder who’s gonna see the picture first...Stephanie?

Family barbecue... In November? Jerry is a realtor. He invited all the neighbors he sold houses to. He sells the American Dream. A group at a table have a newspaper, the Bellevue Murders are back. Stephanie watches Jerry awkwardly react.

Unbeknownst to Jerry, Stephanie goes down to the basement to get ice cream. He goes down to the basement and flips out, then turns around and catches her watching him. He tries to talk his way out of it, but she was already suspicious. Now she’s in danger. Now he knows she knows.

After all the guests leave, she goes out back and gets the newspaper. Why didn’t he get rid of it? She takes it to her friend’s house, who of course doesn’t believe her.

Elsewhere, Jim is pissed that they ran the article with no picture.

Stephanie goes back to her therapist, Dr. Bondurant. He’s in favor of boarding school and at this point he’s her only friend. He agrees to contact Jerry.

Jerry checks the mail and intercepts the letter for Stephanie from the Seattle Examiner. He opens it and inside is a headshot of him before he shaved the beard. He takes it down to the basement then practices his machete skills. Is that basement soundproof?

Dr. Bondurant calls, but Jerry doesn’t want to talk to him.

Jim sleeps in Lt. Wall’s parking space (in his car). He figured it was the only way to ensure that Wall talked to him. It turns out Morrison is not Harry’s real name and his fingerprints were untraceable. A criminal psychologist said it was possible that he had done this before. All the cops can do is wait for him to do it again.

Jerry gets Stephanie back into school, but Stephanie tells Bondurant that he did that so he wouldn’t have to talk to him. The therapist schedules an appointment with Jerry to look at a house. Incognito.

When Stephanie gets home she checks the mail. It’s the letter from the Seattle Examiner, only Jerry has had the headshot photoshopped to look like somebody else. She looks disappointed.

Bondurant meets Jerry at a house. He gives him a fake name, Ray Martin. They go inside. Bondurant goes to work under the guise of stress management. He starts grilling Jerry, but Jerry catches on in a little slip up. He beats him to death with a 2x4 then checks his ID and realizes he’s Stephanie’s therapist!

Meanwhile, Stephanie is back at her friend’ s house with her photoshopped headshot believing she was wrong all along, not realizing that she is now in more danger than ever!

Jerry puts the therapist into his car, buckled up for safety, lights a rag in the gas tank, and drives it down a ravine. He likes to whistle Doo-Dah after he kills.

Jerry finds Stephanie in the garage working on her 10-speed and tells her the bad news: Bondurant died in a car accident last night. And since stupid Stephanie is devastated and believes the photoshop, her tears blind her to the parallel in front of her. Now the family is stronger than ever, but Jerry knows better.

Jim found some shit.

Thanksgiving and they are a family. Afterward, Stephanie goes to a diner. On the way out she runs into Paul, her sporadic love interest, on his mo-ped and he gives her a ride home. On her porch, they start kissing until the door opens. Jerry yells at Paul and calls him a rapist. Her mom slaps her and she runs off, then she yells at Jerry. She goes inside, and now Jerry is triggered, but at the same time, he seems to realize this is kind of his fault. Okay, not kind of.

Jim is getting closer.

Stephanie gets dropped off at the new therapist. The new office is right next to the old office and for some reason unlocked! So she goes in. She snoops around and finds his appt. note to see her stepfather. She didn’t know he was planning to visit Jerry. She goes to the address on the note and sneaks inside. A couple come in and scare the shit out of her so she bails.

Meanwhile, Jerry is on a ferry. He goes into the bathroom and puts on a disguise. He has made a new identity and is applying for a new job, meaning, instead of just quitting his old job, he’s getting ready to kill his family. I wish it was that easy to find a good job in a field unrelated to your previous experience. He already has a new place and is trying to make a love connection with the single mutha next door.

Finally, Jim finds Jerry’s house. Susan answers, confirming the name, he’ll be back later. She calls Jerry’s work, and finds out he no longer works there. There must be some mistake.

Jerry comes home. The jig is up. Susan catches Jerry on his bullshit. Multiple identities are hard to keep up with. He smacks her in the face with the phone. Of course she runs to the basement, rather than out of the house, so he knocks her down the stairs and locks the door.

Stephanie gets home and takes a shower. Jerry stalks until Jim rings the bell, waits a beat, then lets himself in. Jerry recognizes him. As Jim goes for his gun Jerry stabs him dead.

Jerry goes back upstairs, but Stephanie is already out of the shower. He chases her back into the bathroom. He bangs on the door breaking the mirror. When he finally gets inside, she stabs him in the shoulder with a shard of mirror. She makes a run for it to the attic, wtf? Absolute no! But it works to her advantage because attic floors usually can only hold a certain amount of weight per square ft. so his dumbass falls through, back to the main floor.

She walks over to the top of the stairs and sees her mom crawling at the bottom. Just then, Jerry jumps out, but mom has Jim’s gun. She’s a bad shot, but she gets him and Stephanie stabs him again, and Susan shoots him a final time sending him falling backwards down the stairs to his demise.

Ext Scene: It’s a new day as Stephanie cuts down the birdhouse she and her mom hung with psycho dad. Mom and daughter can once again be best friends... The End.

Afterthought: This film is actually about trying to be who you’re not. All the little whimsical impulses we want to act upon, but don’t. When you achieve the life you’ve always wanted, but you’re disappointed. It’s never quite what you expected, so you wear a mask. Everyone sees your face, sees the smile... You become the fresh cut lawn concealing the evil inside. The more you play the part, the better you get as you become a ghost. The only way to kill the ghost is to kill the past.

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Fun Fact: Jerry Blake is John Locke from Lost.

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The Badass Bitch Award goes to Stephanie for knowing all along, but at the same time being a troublemaking teenager with no credibility. Of course nobody is gonna believe the jealous kid, but in the end she persevered, and killed the enemy, or did she?

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don’t kill your family!

2) Don’t flip out in the basement! Go for a drive where no one can hear you or see you picking your nose.

3) If you’re walking into a murderous situation and you have a gun, keep it drawn!


Sand

Damien Ross

Isaac Gabaeff

“Why is Fat Albert in the trashcan?”

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This opens like a found-footage film. A group of college kids are at a Spring Break beach party while the camera bounces back and forth between the chaos of the party and the peaceful beach the next morning. At some point, Gilbert strolls up with a huge, slimy... Meteor?!

The morning introduces us to our eight main characters. Mitch and Kaylee wake up first, walking out of the lifeguard stand. Marsha is sleeping practically naked on a picnic table on the beach, Jonah, Chanda, Vance, and Ronnie are asleep in a convertible, and Gilbert is up past his waist in a big blue barrel on the SAND. Gilbert is a big black dude, I don’t even know how the makers of this film got him into that can, let alone some random college pranksters.

Kaylee seems to sense that something is wrong as the others wake up. While Marsha pukes off the picnic table, Kaylee watches a bird get swallowed up into the SAND. She warns Marsha not to step on the SAND, but it’s too late. Marsha is stuck and then she feels the pain. Vance jumps out of the convertible to go save her. He makes it about four steps before the SAND pulls him down sending him face first into the SAND, which quickly begins to eat his face before pulling him under while his friends helplessly watch.

All the phones are in a bag in the trunk because of the “no video” rule at the party, and the car won’t start. That’s what happens when you leave your lights on all night. Meanwhile, Kaylee is checking out the SAND as Gilbert awakens. He is in pain on account of being too big for that barrel. Everybody is stuck, but at least Mitch and Kaylee have access to liquor!

Hours pass. After pondering as a group they realize that everyone at the party slept on the beach, they slept on the SAND, they didn’t leave, they’re dead. They realize nobody is coming for them.

In the distance, Kaylee spies, with her little eye, the slimy meteor from last night that nobody seemed to think was even the slightest bit peculiar. Now, it looks more like a giant egg cracked in half. Rather than it being evil SAND, she thinks that whatever was inside is now under the SAND so she grabs a pack of hot dogs from inside and begins throwing them into the SAND.

Jonah decides he’s gonna make a break for the picnic table with the help of a couple of surfboards and a sleeping bag. A meme I saw described this film as a real-life carpet lava game, which pretty much sums it up. Jonah has two surfboards, so he puts one down, steps on it, then puts the previous board in front of him, steps on it, grabs the other, sets it down and steps on it, etc., and they said this skill would never come in handy. Jonah’s already used it more than he’s ever used Algebra!

At this point, I realize the real issue: These guys are fucken stupid. It was already pounded into our head from the beginning that all cell phones were in the trunk so why didn’t that motherfucker surf his ass over to the trunk and get the fucken cell phones!?! Not one person could remember that there was a bagful of cellphones in their 10-foot radius?! I woulda clawed through that backseat before I set foot near that SAND. Kinda hard to buy, in this smartphone dominated reality: These guys forgot about their cell phones while being stranded and bored for hours, hours that normally would pass rapidly had they had their cell phones to play with. Instead, they kinda just forgot that cell phones existed.

Jonah gets about halfway to the picnic table and decides this is a good time to call out Kaylee. Apparently, she’s his ex and he wants explanations. She basically says, “Nope,” and he gets attacked by the SAND, but just when you think it’s lights out, he’s alive on the picnic table. He finds a safe place in the SAND where the fire was then notices his stomach is all blistered and bubbly. Now that he knows he’s hurt, he pukes and starts acting hurt. A second ago he was Superman. The bag on the picnic table has warm soda and hot bottled water. He passes it to his friends then lays down on the table. Now Chanda and Kaylee are both crying over him.

Check out the big brain on Gilbert, he reminds them of the phones in the trunk. So now Ronnie tries to pull the backseat forward, y’know, like she shoulda done in the fucken first place! No luck, so Ronnie climbs onto the trunk, unlocks it, but can’t open it cuz she’s on top of it. Kaylee extends a big ol’ hook to her and she is able to open the trunk. A car comes rollin up, Beach Patrol, I don’t know if his honking scared her, but she slips and Kaylee lets go of the hook and now Ronnie is for some reason in agony.

Beach Patrol stops. They warn him not to get out of his car, but he thinks they’re all on drugs. He gets out, but he’s got boots on, which seems to protect him from the SAND. After being a dick for awhile, he decides that if Kaylee won’t come down voluntarily he’s gonna have to use force. He pulls out his pepper spray and drops his keys. He reaches down to pick them up and the SAND gets him. First it chews his arm off, then pulls him under, boots and all. Kaylee gets the pepper spray, but not the keys.

Mitch comes up with a plan: Put on a pair of thongs, wrap towels around his feet, and spray them with pepper spray. The guys who wrote this film have clearly never been exposed to pepper spray. He catches the first towel, but when he goes for the second one he somehow falls off the ramp and lands back first into the SAND. He screams for help, but they just stare and watch him die.

Kaylee takes charge. She jumps from the lifeguard tower into the convertible, which looked like it hurt. Then she punches Chanda in the face for sleeping with Jonah. They lay the broken lifeguard handrails out, making a bridge to the picnic table, once again forgetting about the cell phones in the trunk. Chanda and Kaylee make it, but the SAND can sense the blood from Ronnie’s fingers and pulls her in (she smashed her hand in the trunk). Now Gilbert is bleeding too from trying to spin around in that can. The SAND is after him now.

Chanda steals Mitch’s idea and makes a run for the Beach Patrol car. She makes it, but Gilbert is not so lucky and gets sucked down, even through the can. Chanda makes it to the car, but somehow gets knocked out. Nothing happens as the night comes in. It’s dark and Chanda is still knocked out? She wakes up and then there were three, kinda, Jonah still counts right? Even though he hasn’t moved in several hours.

Chanda finds a raft in the patrol car. Self-inflating. They use it as a bridge to get from the picnic table to the car. I can’t believe this is a real movie. Jonah and Chanda are in the car, but Kaylee is stuck on the roof and now the SAND monster is in full tentacled glory as Kaylee starts feeding it gas cans. She pours gas on the SAND and lights it. Apparently, the SAND monster was already flammable cuz it instantly went up like the Hindenburg. Now the three of them are in the car and it’s over, except Jonah is infected.

Morning comes and so does help, a surfer. The girls walk away, leaving Jonah behind. The surfer looks in at Jonah and says, “What the fuck?” The End.

It sucks when you have a horrifying idea that just does not translate to film at all, but it was good to see Jamie Kennedy again, he really picked the movie up, one-liner after one-liner, fucking hilarious.

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The Badass Bitch Award goes to Kaylee, for being the smart one from the get-go. She was figuring shit out, she didn’t take any shit, and eventually rallied everyone together.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Anytime you and your buddies find something that’s big and slimy and looks like it’s from another world, make questioning it a priority.

2) Teach your kids some rendition of “Lava Monster.” 

3) Listen to the crazy kids that tell you not to go into the SAND.


Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Damien Ross

Amy Holden Jones

“Not a smart move Jackie, Larry Bird you ain’t.”

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This could easily be my favorite slasher film of all time. This is the classic that truly opened my eyes to the horror genre in terms of vicarious movie watching. Not that I'm psychotic, but there is something therapeutic when you're an outcast about watching the popular kids get slashed. It's when the movie is over and that's not enough that there is really a problem.

This film offers boobage within the first two minutes as Trish wakes up and changes into her school clothes. She walks out of her room just as her alarm clock announces that the police are looking for an escaped murderer, Russ Thorn. He killed five people 13 years ago. I like that she’s walking out of the room during this bulletin. It almost insinuates that had she just heard this news, she could’ve prevented the rest of this film from happening. Then again, maybe it’s just innocent foreshadowing and I’m being too harsh.

For some reason, on this morning before school, Trish throws her Barbie doll into the trashcan outside. Does this symbolize her casting her childhood aside? Her parents are on their way outta town for the weekend, her dad’s business trip, so 80’s. It’s been made clear that she’s 18, she’s having a party as an adult, albeit no boys, yet they still call it a slumber party.

At school, there’s a “phone lady,” fixing some wiring. She gets hit on by two students, Jeff and Neil. Russ Thorn is hiding in her van and kills her, just out of earshot. Apparently, Russ Thorn is a sexist pig who has a strong objection to women in the workforce!

PE Class: The girls are playing basketball and have a distaste for the new girl, Valerie. They even called her the teacher’s pet for being good at basketball! The girl’s PE teacher is a woman, which isn’t unusual, but watch out Coach Jana, there’s an escaped sexist psychopath targeting career women!

After the game, they head to the girl’s locker room and it’s butt-city in the showers as Trish invites people to her slumber party, which seems almost awkward cuz she’s only inviting a few of the girls in said locker room.

There’s a weird eye-contact moment from a distance as Valerie and Trish lock eyes. Trish then walks over and tells Val that she plays well while she is still in the shower. Her friends don’t want Valerie at the party so Trish says no boys aloud. Gay undertone? Valerie already overheard Trish’s friends talking shit about her so when Trish invites her she declines. That, and she had to babysit her younger sister anyway, but its's still nice to be asked.

The girls leave school, but Russ is still on campus in his “phone van,” as Linda forgets her book and goes back inside. Alone. Now Linda seems to be the only one in the school, and she’s locked in! Russ finds her. He puts his portable drill to work. A portable drill with a 2’ bit?! Linda gets drilled in the arm, but escapes and hides back in the locker room. He finds her, kills her, and retreats back to his new van armed with a portable drill and denim.

Trish gets a ride home on motorcycle from some Jim Croce looking dude. She kisses him goodbye and says, “See ya tomorrow,” while Valerie watches. Who the fook was that guy? And more importantly, does this squash my gay theory?

As Diane walks home, she is stalked by a moving POV. The vehicle stops and the driver gets out. She stops to tie her shoe, a hand grabs her shoulder, but it turns out she knows judo, and flips the guy onto his back. Unfortunately, it’s just John Minor, her boyfriend. Instead of saying like, “Why ya sneaking up on me?!” Or, “Sorry,” she says, “Better learn to fall better, you could get hurt.” They kiss goodbye. Why didn’t he offer her a ride? Was that really Russ’s POV and he got out of his van, but didn’t do anything cuz he saw John, or more importantly, her judo skills?

Coach Jana is now hearing the Russ Thorn bulletin on her drive home, but pays it no mind as she changes the station. Good job Coach, but once again her knowledge wouldn’t have helped anything. When she gets home, as she somehow struggles to get the right key into the door a drill tip bursts through and almost drills her in the face. It’s not Russ, it’s the handyman, or should I say handy-woman. Another woman doing a typical male job in the 80’s. Hmm, three more and we’ll have a female version of Village People. Speaking of Village People, they were way ahead of their time. I heard that when they first got together, they were sitting around, and one of em said, “Hey man, we should call ourselves Village Men,” and another one said, “No man, that’s sexist, but what if we called ourselves, Village People?” (That’s funnier if you read that in Mitch Hedburg’s voice) What’s really funny is that as the handy-woman leaves, Coach Jana shuts the door and you can see that the peephole she installed is all fucked up and hanging out on the otherside.

Trish hears a noise in her house, but it turns out to just be the neighbor, Mr. Contant, who’s keeping an eye on the house while her parents are gone. He stays with her until her friends arrive. He looks like the kind of pervert who preys on high school chicks.

Jackie and Kim arrive, unaware of Mr. Contant’s presence, and show off the weed and beer they scored. Mr. Contant doesn’t do anything about it, he wants to be the cool neighbor, you know, the kind that comes over later when he knows they’re all fucked up and he can do whatever he wants... After Mr. Contant leaves, the girls get high and eat chips. They hear noises so they investigate, it turns out to be the coffee pot. Jump-scare as Diane arrives.

Next door, Valerie is making Kool-Aid for her little sister. They hear a noise outside so Valerie investigates while her little sister uses this as an opportunity to run upstairs and raid her porn stash (“Porn-Stash” can also be used to describe a certain style of mustache).

Back at Trish’s, while in the middle of a conversation, the girls take off their clothes and change into they’re jammies. Jeff and Neil are at the window watching. Trish orders a pizza, no anchovies: Back in the 80’s it didn’t matter where the pizza was from, how much it cost, or even what kind it was so long as there were no anchovies on it.

Diane goes outside to get some firewood when she has a run in with a snail. A meat cleaver crashes through it, but it’s just Mr. Contant, out snail hunting. Sure, looking for snails next door to your high school neighbor’s slumber party, just like George McFly was just bird watching. After Diane goes back in, Russ ends the snail hunt with a drill through Contant’s neck.

Diane drops the wood off inside, then sneaks into the bathroom to call her boyfriend while the other girls listen in. Diane catches on and the power goes out. They go to the garage to check the fuze box. Turns out it was just the two peeping toms playing a gag. One of the girls knocks Jeff on his ass with a flashlight then let them inside.

Valerie goes back outside. The garbage cans are down again. Her sister scares the shit out of her. Her significantly younger sister is a little horndog who wants to be beautiful, jerked guys off in the third grade, stole her porn, and now she wants to crash Trish’s party cuz she thinks there’s boys there, where the fuck is daddy? Did they even mention where either of their parents were?

Diane’s boyfriend, John, shows up. They roll his car into the garage and get it on till she tells him to stop. She doesn't want to do it in her friend's garage so he waits till now to mention that his parents aren’t home. Wait! So why wasn’t she playing house over there with him in the first place?! She goes in to ask Trish if she can leave, cuz she doesn’t want to make her mad, but first she says, “I’ll be right back.” When she returns to the car she goes to kiss John only to find he’s been decapitated! Inside, the girls are making margaritas. Diane honks repeatedly, but the girls can’t hear anything over the blender. That’s when she sees Russ and his portable drill. Bye Diane.

The girls drink margaritas as the doorbell rings, pizza! When they finally open the door, the pizza deliverer’s corpse falls down before them with drill holes where his eyes used to be. They scream, drag him and the pizza inside, then slam the door shut. Coach Jana was on the phone all along so now they all know something is up. They call the cops, but Russ cut the cord. Coach Jana calls Valerie to see if she can check on them, but instead decides to check for herself.

Jeff and Neil devise a plan, split up! Jeff goes to Contant’s and Neil goes to Valerie’s, but in the garage, Jeff discovers Diane’s corpse, just as Russ discovers him.

Neil makes it to Valerie’s where she’s watching a horror movie, like in the original Halloween. There’s several Halloween parallels in this film. He bangs on the door, but she can’t hear him over the tv. Russ hears him and after a struggle, no more Neil. Russ stashes him in the garage with the others, his new “dead whitey storage.”

Meanwhile inside: Kim, Trish, and Jackie. They’re sitting in front of the fireplace with knives, till they get hungry. They move the pizza guy’s corpse then remember he brought pizza! Crisis averted.

Jeff is still alive. They hear him, but they don’t want to open the door so Russ gets him and the girls run upstairs.

Valerie notices her sister missing so she knocks on Trish’s door. Afraid for Valerie’s life, they go to let her in, but she’s already gone, and Russ is there so it’s goodbye Jackie as Trish and Kim go back upstairs and try to barricade themselves in the bedroom. Then there were two.

Valerie left, but didn’t go home. She finds her sister. Valerie thinks something’s up. She leaves her sister to take another look and now Trish’s front door is open. She goes inside. Kim can hear Valerie and wants to go to her, but Trish hints at the possibility that Russ and Valerie are working together, which is weird. That woulda made sense coming outta Kim's mouth cuz Trish was team Valerie from the get go, maybe even a little gay for her, I'm still not ruling that out. All the while, Russ is sneaking in silently through the window behind them, which would be impossible, unless he's a ghost. He gets right up to them before his foot finds the one floorboard that creaks aaaand he’s busted! Trish bashes him in the back of the head with a baseball bat and he drops. Pussy. Instead of finishing him, she and Kim unbarricade the door so they can make a run for it, but Russ comes to, grabs one of their knives, and kills Kim. I was hoping that judo was gonna pay off.

Valerie and her sister are inside Trish’s house and the lights are back on. Valerie’s sister wants a beer and finds Kim’s corpse in the fridge. They hide and Russ goes on corpse recon cleanup.

Trish comes out of her hiding place just as Coach Jana shows up and walks in. She moves a rug that looks like it’s covering a corpse, but it’s actually Russ playing dead. The standoff begins. Meanwhile, Valerie is arming herself. Valerie’s sister trips Russ so Coach beats him down with a fire poker as Trish runs in and stabs him with a knife. For a last hurrah, he manages to get Coach Jana. Valerie finds a machete.

In a weird twist, Russ holds Trish down and tells her she's very pretty and he loves her. She knows she wants it as he’s about to drill her, but Valerie crashes the scene with a machete and chases him outside to the pool. He raises his drill and she chops it in half. She cuts off his drilling tool, then his hand, to which he screams like a bitch. She cuts him open good and he falls into the pool, but comes back for a final scare. Luckily, Trish is there with her knife to stab him. He tackles Valerie and she runs him through. The End.

This is the Slasher flick that made the Slasher sub-genre my favorite. I rented this with friends junior year from Hollywood Video while all the cool kids were out partying. That night through Russ Thorn, I killed all the cool kids in school who had actual fun to attend to on the weekends and stories to recap on Monday while me and my friends watched life through a tv screen in a basement. Yeah, I rooted for the killer, the killer exposed and killed my loneliness. I was Valerie.

The irony of this film is the mountain of shit that gets dropped down on the horror genre for its treatment of women, which is tenfold when it comes to Slashers, only to find out that this film was written and directed by women. This film came out in 1982, it was the age of the Final Girl, except that men writing and directing films were not showing boobage in the first two minutes, yet. They weren’t using a slumber party to kill naked girls. A lot of tropes were followed in the making of this film, but I wonder how many were created during the making of this film.

The males in this film were useless: John got flipped while trying to scare Kim, Jeff and Neil admitted they’d lose a fight with the girls because they failed PE three times, and the neighbor looks like a pervert. Oh, and her dad is making her mom go outta town. All the while, the alpha male is drilling girls with a 2’ bit. Can we say penis?

I am still left with two questions:

1) Whatever happened to Trish’s Jim Croce lookin boyfriend, did he have a slumber party bike trip?

2) Was Linda invited? Nobody ever mentioned her again.

There are a lot of Halloween parallels in this film, but that just shows you how good Halloween is. By 1982, had we already run out of holidays and special days? There was Halloween, Black Christmas, My Bloody Valentine, Friday the 13th, New Year's Evil, and now we have an escaped lunatic who has a problem with slumber parties? I wish he'd have had a back story where he went to a slumber party and lost a pillow fight or something. Unlike Michael Myers, Russ's victims are random, but he stalks them at school, picks them off one by one, and even kills in a garage. The neighbor, Valerie is watching horror movies and once again the Final Girl, granted Trish survived too, but just like Laurie Strode, Valerie is babysitting. Valerie gives the perspective of the neighbor rather than actually being in the house where all the action takes place.


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The Badass Bitch Award goes to Valerie. She learned a lot by looking at Sly in Playgirl (same year First Blood came out). She kept a cool head, and even though she should have been okay with the stuck up girls next door being killed, she still showed up to save the day.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don’t hide next to a door!

2) If you hear a noise in your house, and then find that your door is open six inches maybe take a look around the house before playing the piano!

3) When looking for power tools as weapons, use battery operated ones!

4) Don’t split up!

5) Don’t go upstairs to hide!

Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987)

Damien Ross

Lee Harry

“Punish…”

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An incarcerated young man named Ricky Caldwell puts his cigarette out. The warden walks in with a tape recorder. He plugs it in as Ricky lights another. Dr. Henry (or just Doc), walks in to counsel Ricky, who is uncooperative. The warden comes back in looking like he just wants to kick Ricky’s ass. Doc is Ricky’s last chance, his final opportunity to tell his story, and so begins the flashback footage from the previous film:

Ricky and his family are on their way to see his grandparents on Christmas Eve. After dark, his dad pulls over and offers a guy in a Santa suit having car trouble a ride. Santa pulls out a gun and a knife, kills Ricky’s parents, and leaves him and his brother, Billy, behind.

Ricky’s acting is abysmal.

Ricky and Billy are sent to St. Mary’s Orphanage, which is run by Mother Superior. One afternoon, she catches Billy spying on a couple having sex, but instead of immediately punishing him, she first barges in on the couple having sex. She pulls the man’s belt out of his belt loops: Punish! Afterward, she goes after Billy. She lectures him: When people are being naughty they get caught, and when they get caught they get punished. She then takes him upstairs and spanks his bare ass with the same belt. Who’s gonna punish her?

Ricky reenacts the emotions of the story to Doc as if it were happening to him. Whenever Doc asks him a question, he answers with Billy’s experiences: Billy had reoccurring nightmares about the night his parents died. He’d wake up screaming and running out of his room and Mother Superior would eventually find him. Instead of empathy or sympathy she gave punishment, she once even tied him to his bed. She was not a saint, she was just a bitter old cunt who hated kids, couldn’t get laid, and needed a paycheck. She probably hated men in general.

On Christmas Day, Billy knocked out Santa then ran up to his room and sat in a corner. Little Ricky tried to go after him, but was stopped.

Once Billy turned 18, Mother Superior got him a job in a store, playing Santa. So quick Billy recap: Santa killed his parents, he knocked out Santa, now he is Santa.

After a shift of kids sitting on Billy's lap, the store closes and everybody leaves except for the employees who stay and get drunk at a quasi employee Christmas party. Bossman tells Billy he’s got a long night ahead of him, “You know what Santa does on Christmas.” Billy takes that the wrong way.

Billy walks in on a couple, and to Billy’s defense, he did stop a rape, maybe he didn’t need to kill the guy, the girlfriend definitely thought he overreacted and even slapped him so he killed her too. When Bossman goes back to check it out, Billy kills him, with the not so friendly side of a claw hammer to the dome. The remaining woman figures out what’s going on and tries to escape, so Billy grabs a bow and shoots her in the back with an arrow. Suddenly he’s an archer?!

Ricky never blamed his brother. He blamed Mother Superior. Billy punished naughty people, which is basically just people having sex.

Just as Billy is about to get his revenge on Mother Superior with an ax, the cop on the case bursts in and shoots him several times in the back, killing him in front of all the kids in the orphanage, including Ricky. The orphanage closed down shortly after that.

After 40 minutes, we’ve successfully recapped the entire first film and are ready to move on. Now Ricky starts to recap his own Billy-free backstory: Sister Mary found him a family. He was 12 and finally had a normal family, till one day he saw two nuns and was triggered. Were the nuns real or just ghosts from his past? Santa suits also trigger him. The color red triggers him....

Five years later, his “step” dad died (foster dads and stepdads are not the same thing). It hit him hard so he started taking walks alone.

One day, he spies a couple having a picnic that’s about to turn into a rape. Triggered, Ricky follows the guy as he goes to get a beer. Ricky runs him over back and forth about six times in his own Jeep! A red Jeep. The girlfriend walks up and thanks him!?!

Dishwasher: After witnessing his boss get the shit kicked out of him in the back alley as some kinda shakedown, he kills the perpetrator. Ricky starts out as kind of a vigilante, like the Punisher, Foolkiller, or even Dexter....

Jennifer: The only thing Ricky ever cared about (seemed like he cared about his brother too). They met when she backed into him on his motorcycle, it was love at first sight. She made him a better man (but not a better actor). She was his first, but he wasn’t hers.

They go on a date to the movies. Jennifer picked a movie that just happens to be about a guy who dresses up as Santa Claus and kills people. There’s an obnoxious guy in the back row. Ricky gets triggered. He gets up and while he’s gone, Jennifer’s mullet-headed ex shows up. Ricky goes to the back row where the heckler is being naughty. Ricky takes him out. Her ex leaves and Ricky magically appears next to her. He’s beginning to like this movie.

The next afternoon, Ricky and Jennifer go for a walk and run into Chip, the ex, stranded with a dead battery. Back at the theater, it sounded like they only went out for a minute, but all the stuff he’s bringing up now makes it sound like they dated for at least a year. This is how Ricky finds out that ol’ Jen wasn’t a virgin when they met, so Ricky clamps the jumper cables onto Chip’s molars and electrocutes him. Jennifer gets pissed so he kills her too. A cop hits the scene so Ricky kills him and now has a gun. A neighbor runs out and he shoots him (Garbage Day!), then another. A little girl runs into him on her bicycle, but he lets her go.

Ricky walks down the middle of the street and a car comes. He shoots the car and it crashes and blows up. He keeps walking. Walking and laughing. He comes across two cop cars barricading the road, guns drawn, the cops tell him to drop it. He puts the gun to his head as they proceed to talk him down... Click... Ricky is all out of bullets, which brings us to now and why he’s talking to Doc. But as the second series of flashbacks end, we now see that Doc is dead and Ricky walks out.

The cops assess the aftermath and talk to Sister Sarah. Ricky finds himself a Santa suit and is making calls. Mother Superior has had a stroke. He calls her and confirms where she is. Even post-stroke she’s still in charge of children! Ricky shows up, like Jack Nicholson in that famous shot from The Shining. She locks him out, but he has an ax.

Who is in charge of Mother Superior? He’s making a lot of noise as she tries to escape, but no one else is around to do shit. He pushes her down the stairs. She gets back up into her wheelchair and keeps rolling. “Richard!” She remembers him, and then starts talking shit about his brother. It’s Punisher vs. Punisher! The cops show up and storm the house, but it’s too late, she's already been punished. Yeah, she dead. The cops shoot him several times and he flies out the window. He appears to be dead until a nun screams and he opens an eye... The End.

Afterthought: Not as funny as I remembered, but not tragic either. Is there a moral to the story? It almost feels as if Ricky was with Billy every step of the way on his killing spree until it is later revealed that he probably had no idea what was going on until actually witnessing the killing of his brother.

It’s childhood trauma manifested in Christmas. It’s only after Ricky became a murderer himself that therapy was offered, rather than as a kid who first witnessed the murder of his parents than later his brother. He was all alone in the world... Ah, just get him a new set of parents and he’ll be fine... Until Christmas time. All the red flags were ignored, get it, red? In the end, the killer gets killed, despite his total lack of free will.

Side note: When Billy killed an attempted rapist, the victim slapped him. When Ricky killed an attempted rapist, the victim thanked him. Had that much changed between 1984 and 1987?

My favorite piece of trivia from IMDB about this film: Ricky's eyebrows move up and down 130 times.

The Badass Award goes to nameless cops?! I’ve said this before, but now I’ll make it official: Horror movie cops never do shit except show up at the very end of the film when the killer is already dead. Even worse, anytime a character solicits the police for help or to give a heads up, the police always roll their eyes even when they’ve heard of the villain before. Not the case for the Caldwell brothers who were both shot dead on the spot by cops and they’re not even black! Granted, Ricky didn’t necessarily die, I haven’t actually watched parts 3-5... Yet. So, congrats to these horror movie cops for not being a stereotype.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Make sure the killer is dead before picking up the phone and dialing 911.

2) If there is a killer on the loose in a Santa Claus suit, maybe take the year off from playing Santa.

3) Don’t be “naughty,” even if it’s by nature.

Splinter (2008)

Damien Ross

Toby Wilkins

"You are suffering from a severe case of C.D.S: Can't Do Shit!"

In the opening scene, a gas attendant gets jacked by what looks like a rabid raccoon.

After the opening credits roll, a car drives by a sign that reads, Keep Out! Mid-State Oil, Inc. Experimental Extraction Field Site.

Inside the car is Jill and Seth, a late 20's couple on their way camping to celebrate they're anniversary. Seth is clearly not an outdoorsman.

Elsewhere, another couple's car breaks down, Dennis and Lacey. They're a couple of fugitives on their way to Mexico.

Seth ruined the tent so it's off to a motel. On the way they are flagged down by Dennis and Lacey. They basically get carjacked, but taken along for the ride. They hit something and get a flat and at this point realize that Seth is officially useless. Lacey thinks they hit her dog that died long ago revealing that she is batshit crazy.

Once they get back on the road, they drive awhile longer until the car overheats so they go to the nearest gas station. The gas station from the opening scene.

There doesn't seem to be anyone working and I don't know the time lapse between the attendant being attacked in the opening scene and their arrival, but it must not have been too long based on Lacey's bathroom experience. The attendant isn't dead, he has mutated and attacks Lacey. Dennis, Seth, and Jill wind up stuck inside, locked away from that thing and what Lacey is now turning into. Jill goes to call the police so Dennis immediately destroys the phone.

Dennis thinks Lacey is still alive so he tries to save her, which results in her hand being chopped off by the door. Now the hand is inside and it is alive! Luckily, Seth is a biology major so perhaps not quite so useless after all.

The sheriff shows up to save the day, but no luck. She gets ripped in half by the thing outside, but not before revealing a little bit of who Dennis is.

The Plan: Pour lighter fluid out the side door. It will trickle down until reaching the forest at which point they will ignite it and start a forest fire, which will result in the fire department coming down. How fucking selfish can you be? You're gonna start a forest fire, burning down who knows how many trees in the process and then let the firemen get killed one by one by this parasite as they try to put it out just to try to save your own ass?

Seth is the voice of reason. He talks them out of it and instead decides they should try to use a coat hanger to pull the sheriff's radio up to the drive-thru window. Luckily, this place still uses wire hangers.

They get the radio, but the creature got a hand inside while at the same time Dennis' hand is starting to turn on him. The hand attacks them (not Dennis' hand, the one from outside), which looked pretty hilarious, and Dennis saves them from inside the walk-in fridge.

Dennis' infection was growing from his hand up his arm so they decide to amputate, with a box knife. The box knife couldn't cut through the bone so Seth had to break it with a cinder block. Afterward, they drink beers in the walk-in and Seth has finally earned Dennis' respect. Dennis opens up and explains why he is a fugitive: He used to steal big rigs and shot a guy who died much later. The guilt ate him up so when he got some money he sent it to the guy's widow. This is the turning point for Dennis where we're supposed to feel for him and think of him as a human. The bad guy with a heart of gold.

They notice that while they're in the walk-in fridge the creature doesn't bother them. Seth puts two and two together and realizes it's the temperature, the parasite is only attracted to heat. Seth figures that if he covers himself in ice and lowers his body temperature he will be invisible to the parasite, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Predator.

After lowering his body temperature, he goes outside to get the cop car while Jill throws firecrackers out the side door. But wait, isn't that the same door she and Dennis poured lighter fluid out to start a forest fire? Miraculously, they didn't blow themselves up.

Dennis tries to be a hero by letting the creature into the store, which gets he and Jill trapped back inside the walk-in. The lighter fluid ignites so the creature no longer cares about them.

Seth returns with a shotgun. He gives it to Dennis and Dennis gives them the key to the money for the widow then blows up the gas station so they can get away. But the creature is still not dead.

Okay, so this is what happens when I wait too long after watching a movie to actually write about it. Personally, I love the aesthetic of a minit-mart on film, especially at night when it's just a bright little building surrounded by darkness, like a star. That's what attracted me to this movie in the first place, although I did enjoy it more the first time.

Unlike a lot of horror movies, especially slashers, where we see the female character develop, this time around she stays the same while Seth goes from being a useless bastard to a clever hero and Dennis turns from an evil fugitive, to a caring martyr.

The Badass Award goes to Dennis for his secret heart of gold, martyr mindset, and even though he didn't actually kill the parasite, while trying he cleared the path to save Jill and Seth. Now that I think about it, he should get the Gilligan Award, because him hijacking them was what put them in danger in the first place! All right, the Badass Award goes to Seth, because even though he wasn't the old-fashion stereotypical man, it was his intelligence that saved him and Jill. There, done.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't go camping with just your girlfriend unless it is at a campground where there are other campers.

2) Don't stop your car to pick up shady people who look like they need help.

3) Learn how to change a flat tire.

 

Sorority House Massacre (1986)

Damien Ross

Carol Frank

"It's time to put some wow in the pow-wow."

Beth is checking out a sorority, but when she gets into the house she has an overwhelming feeling of deja vu. She keeps having visions and weird dreams where blood comes out of the ceiling.

The sorority girls have the house to themselves for the weekend so they do what they've always wanted to do: Try on Cindy's clothes! There's nothing quite like an 80's dress up montage.

The mental patient we've been seeing glimpses of in between scenes escapes. He kills a couple of people and steals a stationwagon.

Beth comes clean to her roommates about the dreams and visions she's been having.

The girls are outside and we finally get the killer's POV creeping up for a failed jump scene, it's just their boyfriends playing a prank. Now the death toll potential has doubled, but for some reason, Steve thinks rafting is better than sex.

The group gets together in the main room and one of the guys tells a story that fills the viewers in on the back story: 13 or 14 years prior, a guy murdered his whole family except for his little sister who got away (sounds like Halloween). They were the last to live in the house before the sorority bought it. Beth goes up to her room and has another nightmare.

45 minutes into a one hour and 14 minute movie, we finally get our first casualty: Sarah's boyfriend.

The escaped mental patient's name is Robert Hinkle. What kind of name is Robert for a villain? Robert? Oh shit, it's Robert! Anyway, Robert pulls up to the house in his stolen station wagon and I don't know why, but whenever a psycho pulls up in a car after a long day of driving, it's funny to me. Maybe because it shows a lag whereas while Freddy and Jason just kinda show up, Michael Myers had to drive all the way to Haddonfield. That means he had hours to think about what he was going to do before hand, and he'd been locked up for so long he never even learned how to drive. So Robert's drive over seems funny to me. I don't know how long the drive was, but he had to maintain his inspiration.

Beth's psych major friends put her under hypnosis and it turns out she was the sole survivor of a family murder plot. She still doesn't realize it's the same house. She was five when it happened.

Robert takes out all the guys first. For some reason he calls Beth Laura. The girls slam the window on his hand and he screams like a bitch, and after a two-story fall, he's fine, despite there being nothing supernatural about him. The girls try to hide and Robert jumps through the second story window and nobody thinks that's weird. You can hear police sirens, but the cops don't show up until after Beth kills Robert. Typical worthless horror movie cops.

In the next scene, Beth wakes up in the hospital and Robert finally gets her name right, but actually, her real name is Laura and her middle name was Beth. The credits roll? They used a little trick from Friday the 13th and Carrie to make you think the killer wasn't really dead, but also to leave it open for a sequel. There was a sequel, but it had nothing in common with this other than the title.

The Badass Bitch Award goes to Linda. It took her about 20 swings, but she finally got him in the head and still kept swinging.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't have sex in a teepee.

2) Look down when you're climbing down a ladder.

3) Don't be afraid to talk to your aunt, who took you into custody, about your family history. At some point the truth should be told.

Sleepaway Camp (1-2)

Damien Ross

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Robert Hiltzik

"You're a real peckerhead you know that Meg?"

Two kids witness the death of their father at the lake as he is killed by an out of control boat. It's unclear who is actually killed in the accident, all we know for sure is that the dad died.

Fast-forward eight years.

Ricky and his cousin Angela, are going to summer camp and Ricky's creepy, Perry Ferrell looking mom has forged physicals for them. Nothing weird about that.

At the camp, Artie the head chef, is clearly a pedophile checking out all the "fresh chickens" and calling them "baldies.” Granted, the kids seem to be 12-18, but that's still too young considering Artie is easily pushing 40. One of the other cooks just laughs with him and blows it off like it's no big deal, locker room talk. You gotta wonder about grown men who choose to work teenage summer camps.

Artie tries to rape Angela in the kitchen until Ricky catches him. Ricky and Angela both come running out of the backroom while Artie comes out fastening his belt and none of the other cooks say anything.

Later, he has a ridiculously huge pot to boil corn on the cob in, but the pot is so tall, he has to use a stepstool to load it. The killer kicks the stool out from under him causing him to drop the boiling pot all over himself. He screams like a bitch as it happens and continues to scream the whole stretcher ride to the ambulance. Granted, I'd probably scream like a bitch too, but I don't know that I would achieve his octave range.

I'm not sure, but this movie may be the origin of the Airborne Sit-Up. My brother and his friends did this to a girl when the high school band took a trip to Florida. Everyone called her butt nose for the rest of the year.

Angela is a freak and everyone talks shit to her so Ricky is always having to stand up for her. Judy, Ricky's love interest from the previous summer, and counselor Meg are the worst. Angela just sits there staring with a blank look on her face. It gets to the point where even I eventually want to slap the shit out of her.

Ricky's friend Paul takes a liking to Angela and she actually starts acting normal. He even gets her to make out with him, which is when she has a flashback of watching her dad make out in bed with another dude.

Counselor Meg was going to hook up with the old guy Mel, what the hell was that? I really wish she wouldn't have gotten killed until after the date so I could see what that was all about. Was Meg really into old man Mel and his camp owner prestige? We'll never know.

Okay, forget the rest of this story. This movie was really fucking weird and you don't realize just how fucking weird until the very end. Spoiler alert: Angela is the killer, more like Man-Gela, cuz in the last scene she's naked with Paul's severed head in her lap. When she stands up, she has a boy's body, kinda muscular and her face looks photo-shopped on, or whatever they called it back then. Her mouth is wide-open and there's a weird growling sound. That whole moment is so weird and confusing that you don't even notice how fake it looks the first time. It lasts a moment and forever at the same time.

So in the beginning, there's a boy and a girl with their dad. The girl and the dad die, Angela being the surviving little boy, Peter. But Ricky's mom always wanted a girl. Was she the dad's sister? She was so creepy, was she really a man that became a woman and normalized it by making Peter a girl? It's kinda ahead of its time with the whole gender pronoun thing we've embarked on as a society, maybe it's prophetic.

At face value, it's a summer camp slasher flick, but at the root of it you have gay men, pedophilia, and transgenders. I'm not equating all these together, but the murders kinda make a metaphor for the inner conflict of a gender identity crisis, and it's good that the pedophile was the only actual pervert. I think it is the fear of the true Christian conservative that we would all watch and say nothing as the situation escalates and the downfall of marital morals and standards would eventually lead to perversion, which I don't agree with.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't make fun of people just because they're different.

2) Don't try to rape kids.

3) Don't stand in front of archery targets.

Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers (1988)

Michael A. Simpson

"Listen, you don't have AIDS or anything do ya?"

We start out around a campfire telling stories in what is actually a clever way to recap the first movie. But Angela is still alive and now a counselor, luckily no one could remember her name. In what has become a typical sequel beginning, she starts off with a big kill right off the bat.

Angela is now a highly reputable camp counselor and when any of the kids disappear, it's because she sent them home. This time around, instead of killing those who make fun of her, she's killing off disobedient girls who don't follow the rules she makes up as she goes along.

This movie has some A-list celebrity siblings in it, Bruce Springsteen's sister, Pam, as Angela and Charlie and Emelio's sister, Renee Estevez. No Shit.

Angela quickly becomes the most hated counselor for being too strict, after all, this ain't boot camp, and she also starts getting demoted because eventually it doesn't make sense for her to send these girls home because she doesn't have the proper authority.

Other than being an 80's camp slasher flick, this movie lacks the flavor of the original. There's no mystery and it's obvious she's gonna kill everybody. The 80's was kinda the decade where it became mandatory to set up horror franchises, but they shoulda left this one alone. The original left us with enough uncomfortable questions and this sequel gave no answers. We got a more confident Angela, who is now fully a woman, "rehabilitated."

It's a good 80's slasher flick, but it's a terrible and unnecessary sequel. Angela should have been played by someone like Chyna. It's not like it was a mystery for the viewer who Angela was.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1)Don't piss off your camp counselor.

Sinister (2012)

Damien Ross

Scott Derrickson

Ellison: I don't believe in any of, you know, stuff.

Deputy: Stuff, you mean supernatural, metaphysical, paranormal, that type of stuff?

Ellison: Right.

Deputy: Right, of course you don't. You never would have moved into a crime scene if you did, but here we are having this conversation.

Ellison is a true-crime novelist who moved his family into a new life in a new home. Unbeknownst to his family, the place is a crime scene where a family was hanged together, except for the daughter.

In the attic, Ellison finds super 8 reels that link this murder to several others. While trying to put all of the pieces together he begins to feel that he is slowly losing his mind, but despite all the weird happenings throughout the nights, he still leaves his family out of the loop.

Finally, one night he decides he's had enough and burns all of the tape reels and takes his family back home to their old house.

In all of the family murders there was always one kid who got away. Ellison goes back into the attic and finds that the box of tape reels and projector are back. So of course he starts watching them and finds out that the missing kids got away because they were the murderers. At this point he realizes he has been drugged and his daughter is standing in the doorway with an ax.

Okay, shitty synopsis by me, but I'm in a hurry. This movie was good, creepy, probably would have been better had I watched it in the dark. The only real problem I had was that Ellison was impossible to like therefore he was easy to root against. He was a total douchebag, which just made me feel bad for his family. If you don't like the main character it's not scary because you don't care if he dies. The deputy seemed a little off too, but he turned out to be okay.

The Gilligan Award goes to Ellison Oswalt for putting his family in that dangerous situation in hopes of reaching wealth and fame.

What did we learn? Survival tips:

1) Don't move into a crime scene.

2) If you do move into a crime scene, once you find out the murderer knows you are there writing a novel about him, move out, and show the cops the new evidence. Fuck your book.

3) Don't risk your family's well-being for your own personal gain.

Shark Night (2011)

Damien Ross

David R. Ellis

This film begins the way a good horror movie should: Like it could be any other movie. It builds up the feeling of normalcy and then out of nowhere, somebody gets killed, but it's not an accident. In this case, a group of college kids go to their friend Sara's lake house.

On the way, they run into some local trouble at the gas station, Sarah's old friends. Going in, there were already several things about this movie that didn't make sense: There's a shark in the lake! I haven't seen a creature more out of place since Snakes on a Plane. Let's say you put the shark in the lake yourself. Can it survive in unsalted water?

This movie shoulda been called, Fuck Sara! Sara obviously moved away to go to college to escape her past IE., the assholes at the gas station. The one with the fucked up face is her ex and his face is her fault. They thought it'd be funny to put a couple sharks in the lake so they could make shark attack videos.

So why did Sara come back? It would have been a better movie if she had been in on it and brought friends home to help get rich off shark attack videos. But no, she is just stupid.

What did we learn? Survival tips:

1) If you're in a lake and you see a shark, just get the fuck out of there. Google any questions later.

2) Girls can be douchebags too. Just because a girl is hot and you want to fuck her does not mean that she is not a douchebag.

3) Fill your car up with gas before you leave town, or at least while you’re still within the city limits, any city.

 

See No Evil (1-2)

Damien Ross

See No Evil (2006)

Gregory Dark

I remembered this movie being better the first time I watched it. Maybe I was expecting it to be so bad that when it was okay that made it seem good. This time I was expecting it to be good and it wasn't.

The Jacob Goodnight villain didn't make a whole lot of sense. They kind of pieced him together from flashback sequences of his past, but all that just from jerking off to porn? Christian nuts. Somehow, all the guilt made him impervious to tasers.

For some reason he kept Kira alive....

Eight juvenile delinquents are taken to a hotel to clean it up after a fire that took place thirty years prior, even though it looked in decent condition considering, but nobody actually ever made them clean anything up. It is worth sitting through because the ending is actually pretty funny, especially if you sit through the first part of the credits.

The Badass Bitch Award goes to Christine, even though she couldn't shoot worth a piss and wasted her only two bullets, but she did stick the pipe in Jacob's eye. I would have given Michael the Badass Award, but after he knocked Jacob down with the lead pipe, he ran away instead of finishing him. He can have the first honorary Bitchass Award because that's something a female character usually does to make the movie last longer.

What did we learn? Survival tips:

1) Always finish off the villain.

2) Never scale down the side of a building with an old hose you just found.

3) Although you always want to have a cell phone on you in case of disaster, turn your ringer off when you're hiding from a killer.

 

See No Evil 2 (2014)

The Soska Sisters

"Baby, get off the dead guy, I mean it!"

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Jacob Goodnight's body gets dropped off at the morgue along with flashbacks from the first movie and some that weren't. Kane actually talks in this one, which is something even the WWE won't let him do. He kinda sounds like a deranged preacher.

The only redeeming quality about this movie is Danielle Harris, who has become quite the little, I don't think scream queen is the right word, but she's become quite the little horror movie star with roles in both the original Halloween series and the remakes, the Hatchet trilogy, Urban Legend, and many others. I first remember her as the neighbor on Roseanne. Regardless of what you think of Rob Zombie as a filmmaker, he's definitely watched enough horror to be able to identify the usual suspects.

Danielle plays Amy, and it's her Birthday, almost. She works at said morgue so when the victims from the original start showing up, it looks like her party is going to be postponed.

Seth is her coworker who has a crush on her and Holden is his invalid sidekick. After Amy and Seth drop Jacob off in a room, Amy goes into another room where her friends she was supposed to party with are hiding and waiting for her. That's how fast shit happens in this movie: One minute they're waiting to meet her somewhere, the next, here they are in the morgue.

We are introduced to Amy's friends at the same time Seth is: There's Tamara, the slutty psychology major who gets turned on by psychos, and her boyfriend Carter. Will, Amy's "protective" older brother, and Kayla, who doesn't really do anything to affect the plot of this movie other than have a crush on Will, which fills in about three minutes of screen time. Amy's friends basically showed up so we could watch Jacob kill more than three people. If I were Seth, meeting Amy's circle of friends would really make me rethink my crush on her.

Somehow, Jacob knows the morgue inside out. Within minutes of his body disappearing, he has figured out how to turn off all the power, the phone lines, chain off all the exits, and then return back to Tamara and Carter without missing a beat. It literally took him less than five minutes to do that!

The kill scenes are not great and we still don't know how he came back to life. The first half of the movie is littered with flashbacks, but they eventually stop. He finds a mask and a cool knife that should have decapitated Tamara. If ever there were a time for an exaggerated knife decapitation, Kane's size would have totally justified it. Instead, she just got a gash on her neck and was still alive, which would have been fine if she were going to be the Final Girl, but he finished her off in the same scene. Step up your game Kane, I mean Jacob.

Usually, a sequel tries to one up the original, maybe not in story, but in effects. Either you one up or you make a mockery of the original or the genre. Like Alien had one alien, Aliens had several. Friday the 13th had Jason's mom, part 2 had Jason, and he got bigger and badder with each movie. See No Evil 2? Same dude, and we already know his origin story so we can't even delve into that more. Also, neither of these movies even follow slasher movie rules, so while that was original, there was no character development to attach to. All you had was Danielle's face and the assumption she'd live cuz she's Danielle Harris.

Amy and Seth are the last survivors and even though they work there, they have no idea how to escape. Eventually, Amy opens a window that only she can fit through and goes outside to get Seth's car, but of course, Jacob is out there. Jacob is always right where he needs to be. Amy goes back inside, and Jacob just randomly destroys the window she climbed through. He didn't even know she was in there!

Jacob kills Amy and we have no Final Girl, which is ironic because this movie was directed by two women.

If you didn't know Jacob was played by a professional wrestler going in, you will by the time you watch the final showdown with Seth when they square off in a Tables, Chairs, and Lockers match. This dual is ridiculous because real life Kane would destroy this little guy playing Seth, but Seth keeps bouncing back until eventually embalming him.

Seth goes outside into his car. He drives, but has to stop to open the gate. At this point I know that either Amy or Jacob is still alive. How are they gonna end it? Happy or slaughter? He freezes staring at his car and I have no idea what he staring at when suddenly Jacob appears behind him and pokes out his eyes. The End.

If you couldn't tell, I thought this sequel sucked. It's not that it couldn't be followed up, this was just a shitty attempt. And I didn't hate the first one, it sucked too, but it was fun. This was just... Disappointing would assume I had an expectation. I thought at worst it'd be like the original, I just figured with the Soska sister's name on it there'd be something refreshing about it. I don't like to be overly-critical when I write these, but this might be the worst horror sequel ever. But keep in mind, most sequels are spun off from originals that were good.

I thought about giving a Gilligan Award to Tamara for egging on the resurrection, but it's not like she actually caused anything.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't try to resuscitate a mass murderer.

2) Don't party at the morgue.

3) Don't have sex next to a corpse.