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!

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

Boy oh BOOOOYYYY!

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

props

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 just...you 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 'em...an 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.

Feb 23, 2014

The Seventh Victim (1943)

Finally got around to watching The Seventh Victim (1943) and man, it's terrific. Maybe you knew that, as it's generally regarded as one of the best horror films of all time. That's me, always late to the party! Well, hey, at least I still show up. Now point me to the snack table, and on the way we can talk about this super boss Val Lewton production.



  • The Seventh Victim boasts three of my very favorite themes in both cinema and life: Satanism, urban isolation, and ennui!
  • Even if you're some kind of freak who thinks this movie stinks, you cannot deny the effect it's had on the genre: its influence is obvious in horror classics Psycho and Rosemary's Baby.
  • Speaking of an influence on Psycho, the shower scene in this film is full of dread and menace like nobody's business. NOBODY'S I SAY
  • There are some gay undertones in the Frances/Jacqueline relationship, no? It certainly seemed like it could be read that way. Then again, I think most things could be read that way, so.
  • Speaking of Jacqueline, let's talk about her white hot, outrĂ© Cleopatra wig! It's perhaps the most startling thing in the movie. I looked up actress Jean Brooks because once you see that wig, why wouldn't you? The results were not as I'd hoped, to put it mildly: a few years of floundering outside the studio system until an untimely death of malnutrition caused by alcoholism. I was reminded of Gail Russell, whose equally sad tale I discovered after watching the superior ghost story The Uninvited (1944). It's always shocking when "I wonder if _______ is still around?" and some internetting deliver a depressing life story that's in complete contrast to the perceived glamour of Hollywood's golden era.
  • I understand there were a few scenes scrapped during production, and I'd really like to see 'em because this shit wraps up in about ten seconds, and some ideas come out of left field in the final moments.
  • Man, what a delightful downer of an ending!
I think perhaps the greatest lesson in all of this is that you really can't go wrong with a Val Lewton horror production. Also, that I love snacks...but unless this is your first time here, this is not surprising.