FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE...beware yon spoilers!

Apr 23, 2014

Hold the phone... know, I watch these videos and I wonder why Slumber Party Massacre 2 isn't my favorite movie ever. Heidi Kozak, Juliette Cummins, and Crystal Bernard in some Designer Impostor version of The Bangles? I should have this movie on a loop forever, even if the killer is still the worst.

Apr 21, 2014

Two sentences and a verdict!

Gather 'round, children, and live vicariously through this exciting update about my movie-watching habits: I've watched a shit ton of stuff lately! You see, once "internet" "streaming" became a viable option, I largely did away with buying and renting DVDs. I even cancelled my Netflix DVD subscription. I mean, Digital Video Discs are so last century, right? I am far too hip and modern to be tied to physical media that forces me to wait- sometimes up to two days!- to watch something. I wanna watch and I wanna watch now. 

Months and months later, I hardly stream any movies at all. TV shows, sure. I can easily "just one more episode" a night away, and I've indulged in more than a few binge-watches. Movies, though, are a different story altogether. My instant watch queue has a couple hundred films in it, but I'll be damned if I ever want to partake in any of them. As sad as it may sound (and it may sound sad sad sad), there have been plenty of times I've gone to watch something, ended up scrolling through my list for 15 minutes, and turned it off altogether. It seems that whenever I search for something specific, it's unavailable to stream. I'm left with stuff that is interesting enough to "add to list", but I'm rarely in the mood for any of it.

So...while I have not given up completely on streaming, I have recently reunited with physical media and golly gee, it feels good! Netflix actually has everything I search for on DVD, it's great. And man, the tactile just works for me. My brain probably releases endorphins or something when I put a disc in the player- you know, something something science. The act is somehow tied to fond memories of video stores and "movie night"s. The ways I consumed film and music as a yoot left such an indelible mark on me that I generally find experiences lessened by instant gratification. I certainly don't need to, like, become intimate with every song or movie I encounter, but without the tactile I find it all but impossible. Those hours spent reading VHS and DVD boxes or poring over the liner notes were nearly as essential to my enjoyment as the films and albums themselves. Sure, I can dig a record without knowing every little thing about it. If I just have ones and zeroes to hold onto, though, it feels to ephemeral for my liking. A digital download of Like a Prayer ain't gonna smell like patchouli, you know?

We all consume things differently, and no two relationships to a piece of art are the same. This is profound, I know! If I had a headache and you were all "Here, Stacie, have an aspirin" and I was like "No thanks, leeches work for me!" well, then maybe that would be a good opportunity to tell me to get with The Times. But this is not about headaches and/or leeches. I am just saying that I'm old and this works for me, and realizing what works for me has led to my rediscovering and re-falling-in-lovening with movies. You kids keep your instant watch, I'll just sit here, suckin' on a Werther's Original, waiting for a DVD to arrive in the mail.

Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005, Paul Schrader)

Father Merrin vs Pazuzu, round one! FIGHT!

Two sentences: I knew this would be no Exorcist, but I gave it a fair shot- there's a lot of story to mine, after all, and I do love a possession flick. It started promising, but quickly devolved into laughable nonsense riddled with some of the worst CGI I've ever seen.

The verdict: It shouldn't take the power of Christ to compel you to stay the hell away from this piece of garbage.

Contracted (2013, Eric England)

A young woman is date raped at a party and soon discovers that she's caught something far worse than yer run o' the mill STD.

Two sentences: Fantastic practical FX and a solid lead performance by Najarra Townsend are the highlights of a disappointing film filled with unlikable characters and plot contrivances. Contracted is a fucking great idea hampered by mediocre writing and so-so execution.

The verdict:  Boy, it's way tougher to watch a film that coulda been so damned beautiful than one that's outright bad. I really wanted to love this! Still might be worth checking out, though, particularly for fans of body horror.

Amityville 1992: It's About Time (1992, Tony Randel)

A clock from the original Amityville house ends up in a house in California and look the California house kind of resembles the original Amityville house isn't that weird and all kinds of stuff happens!

Two sentences: There is no universe where this movie makes any sense: not our universe, not a parallel universe nor a perpendicular one. But who needs sense when a demonic clock wreaks havoc?

The verdict: This movie is a wackadoo delight. Like I said, it makes not a single lick of sense, but it is totally enjoyable, off-the-wall crazy schlock. Well, I could have done without the insanely sweaty sex scene, but still. It's surprisingly gory at times, there's a toddler with a mullet, and there's a scene where a girl gets fingerbanged by her own reflection. WHAT THE WHAT.

Amityville: A New Generation (1993, John Murlowski)

A mirror from the original Amityville house ends up in a loft apartment in Los Angeles and look the original Amityville house appears in the mirror isn't that weird and all kinds of stuff happens!

Two sentences: Ah, the 90s- those halcyon days where women wore dark lipstick, bowler hats, and hadn't yet discovered the tweezed eyebrow. Richard Roundtree, David Naughton, Terry O'Quinn...what are you doing here?

The verdict: Okay, I'm not gonna say I didn't enjoy this because I so did. It is a firm slice of 90s time capsule cheesecake (whatever that means) and of course it doesn't make sense. But all the familiar faces (also including Barbara Howard of Friday the 13th Part IV, holla) help transform crap into craptacular!

Sinister (2012, Scott Derrickson)

From imdb: "A true-crime writer finds a cache of 8mm home movies films that suggest the murder he is currently researching is the work of a serial killer whose career dates back to the 1960s."

Two sentences: What can I say, I'm most afraid of things that go bump in the night and Sinister is full of 'em. It threatened to go off the rails into cheesetown but it stayed the course and finished as one of the best new horror films I've seen in quite a while.

The verdict: I fucking loved this movie because I am totally afraid of noises in the dark, full stop. It's beautifully shot and the power of the soundtrack/sound design cannot be overstated. Sure, it was silly that Ethan Hawke never bothered to turn on any lights...but man, I'm so glad he didn't. I was surprised by how much I dug this. Wicked highly recommended!

Mar 29, 2014

Godspeed, Mr. Sleaze

Prolific producer Harry H. Novak bought a ticket to the Great Grindhouse in the Sky earlier this week, leaving behind a legacy of lurid flicks. From nudie cuties to hardcore smut to trashy horror flicks, throughout the 60s and 70s, Novak had a hand in virtually every genre that ends in "-ploitation".

Over the span of 1976-77 alone, Novak gave the world Rattlers, cult classic Rituals, and one of my personal favorites, The Child. They may not be good movies, but that matters very little when they're so goddamn entertaining. So raise a glass to The Sultan of Sleaze...they just don't make 'em like Harry Novak anymore.

Mar 27, 2014


I admit, the recently-announced Phantasm: Ravager (that's Phantasm V to you!) elicited no more than a shrug and an "I probably won't see that." from me. The original film scared the absolute crap out of me when I was a yoot and therefore occupies a sphere-shaped place in my heart forever. My only other foray into Sequelville was the dreadful Part IV; after that, I decided to leave well enough alone and keep my interactions restricted to one film and one film only.

However, the trailer for Ravager is making the rounds today and damn, if it doesn't look good! Sure, teasers are designed to look good, and I'll bet a skilled editor could make something enticing composed of footage from the the biggest piece of shit movies (yes, perhaps even for The Cavern). This trailer has me interested, by gum, and the details available at Entertainment Weekly are adding fuel to my fiery movie loins (I don't know what that means). Original cast members Reggie Bannister, Michael Baldwin, and Angus Scrimm have returned, as has series creator Don Coscarelli, who says "This film is a real turning point in the series. There’s real closure for the core characters that I hope fans will respond to.” Closure! I like it!

Oh, and there's “an extended sequence on the Tall Man’s home world.” Okay, fuck yeah, sign me up. I can't resist a planet full of hooded weirdo space dwarves!

Here's the trailer. For more info, check out Entertainment Weekly or probably every other website on The Internet.

Mar 25, 2014


Quick, name a Final Girl!

Who came to mind? Laurie Strode, I bet. Nancy Thompson. Sally Hardesty? Maybe Sidney Prescott. Ginny Field, I hope...or perhaps you simply blurted out "This blog!" I'm willing to bet, however, that you didn't name Chris Higgins, the Final Girl from Friday the 13th Part 3D, did you. DID YOU. DIIIIIID YOOOOOU. Well, friends, I think we need to change that. It's time to give Chris Higgins her props!

I realize it's too much to hope that Chris is added to the FG pantheon; there's something about her character that's oddly unlikable for a "heroine", isn't there? I'm not sure if that's owed to Dana Kimmell's performance or if Chris is underwritten (boy, that would be so shocking in a slasher movie), charmless, and cold or what- not that a character has to be charming and/or warm for me to root for him or her, but you know what I mean. She lacks whatever it is that lets the audience connect to her. She must, otherwise she'd forever be the #1 Final Girl because let's face it:

Chris Higgins gets shit done.

Jason Voorhees has pummeled and squeezed and chopped all her friends to pieces and everything has gone to hell, but Chris keeps a level enough head to really fight back. Though terrorized, she doesn't just run away and hope against hope that she'll be rescued. Let's take a look at what she do do to rescue herself.

  • she knocks over a giant bookcase onto Jason
  • she pulls a knife out of her dead friend and slashes at Jason, driving him backwards down a hallway, then stabs him with it
  • she smashes a second storey window and jumps out
  • she clocks Jason with a log
  • she hops in a van and drives away (only to be foiled by an empty gas tank and an unstable bridge)
  • when Jason reaches in a van window and strangles her, she rolls it up on his arms and escapes out the other door
  • she dangles off a barn roof beam, hiding, then drops onto Jason when he walks underneath her
  • she clocks him with a shovel, ties a rope around his neck, and throws him out of the fucking barn loft door
  • she buries an axe in Jason's head
Damn! That is some Nancy Thompson boobytrap-level shit all done on the fly, no planning or forethought. You guys, Chris Higgins might be the best. Let's remember that forever and always from now on!

Mar 4, 2014

some things

Hey guys, are you ready to hear about some things? Some things, yeah! Woo! Get ready, 'cause here are some things:
  • I've been doing some writing in other places. I figured it's time to resurrect and once again sporadically update over at my video game blog, Jill Sandwich. If you like games, check it out! If you don't like games, what the heck is your problem, they're great! Also, last week I started a new blog/project thing that I'm super duper wicked excited about: Dallas Reviewed, in which I'll be reviewing every episode of Dallas in chronological order. If you've been reading Final Girl for more than two minutes, then you know how much I loves me some Dallas. It's a ton of fun to write, so check that out if you're so inclined. It updates on Fridays.
  • I've been doing some art in other places. Once upon a long ago time, I did some stick figure illustrations of the death scenes of some Friday the 13th movies. Well, I've grabbed a hold of that idea again and I'm rebooting/revamping/rewhatevering it, in color even. I made a new tumblr for it and everything; Friday the 13th: Death Count updates just about every day, so yes...there's another thing to check out if you so desire.
  • My webcomic, RPG, has at long last started up again, huzzah! For the foreseeable future, it will update on Mondays.
  • Apparently that Michael Bay/Platinum Dunes-produced remake of The Birds is on again. You remember it, don't you? We clutched our collective pearls about it seven years ago. As it never came to be, I assumed that after all my trying, I'd finally wished something away to the cornfield. But noooo! It's back! I've mellowed much on the notion of remakes over the last seven years- if I don't want to see something, I know...don't- but still, I feel the allure of outrage tugging where my heartstrings should be. It's the kind of project that should be put down before a single dime is spent on it. It's one of those, uh, whaddayou call ' abomination! Yeah, that's it. Fart on you, Michael Bay/Platinum Dunes-produced remake of The Birds.
  • In Movies That Shouldn't Be Farted On news, I partook in a delicious double feature last night: Hard Candy and Brian De Palma's Passion. The former is a fantastic character piece, all tense and claustrophobic. Has Ellen Page ever been better than as Hard Candy's Hayley? I say to you no, no she has not. It is an uncomfortable delight for sure. 

    As for Passion, well, my goodness. It was an indulgent hot mess, I loved every minute of it, and I cannot wait to watch it again.