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!

Feb 27, 2009

Fango contest! Film Club pick! Fridays rule!

Yes, you read that headline right! I've got all sorts of goodies for you today. So why don't I just shut up and get to 'em already?

First up: I've got 4 day passes to Fangoria's Chicago stop on their Weekend of Horror tour! 4 passes to give away! In a giveaway contest! The show is coming up fast (March 6-9) so enter now by dropping me a line:

Send an email to stacieponder at gmail dot com with "FANGO" in the subject line by...mmm, 2pm (PST) on Monday, March 2. I'll draw winner names that day- they'll be drawn randomly, so butt-kissing won't get you anywhere.

Of course, that doesn't mean that butt-kissing isn't welcome.

The guest list is SA-WEET- Lamberto Bava! Ruggero Deodato! Marilyn Burns! Alan Rowe Kelly! Don't be a jerk...enter NOW!

Nextly, this recent discussion of Ye Olde Timey Slasher Movies can mean only one thing: it's Film Club pickin' time! And I'm pickin'...

Fulci, baby, and his 1981 goresterpiece (I don't know what that means) The Beyond. Boing!

The film has been recently released in a super-fancy-pants edition but it's not on Netflix's current rotation, so you "everything has to come to me or I won't do it" types may have to rethink your strategy. Or not. I guess it depends how cool you want to be. Or not be. Whatevs.

Prepare to have your mind warped!

The film: The Beyond
The due date: Monday, March 30

Feb 26, 2009

Trilogy of Terror 2, part three


Part one is here, part two is here!

thank ye thank ye

If you listened to Dead Lantern's Splatcademy Awards pod splattercast, then you already know this l'il tidbit, but now I have a fancy button to make it official:

A big fat THANK YOU and all two of my thumbs up to everyone who voted for me. You guys are really the knees, and I'm not just saying that. No, really. I mean it. I do. No lie.

Coming up later: Trilogy of Terror II, part 3!

Coming up now: the cast of television's It's A Living!

Feb 25, 2009

Feb 24, 2009

Feb 23, 2009

Awards-n-Things

Hey y'all, today's the day of Dead Lantern's Splatcademy Awards! For which I was nominated! In a category!

Let's all listen at 1pm central time today and find out if enough of you kind folks voting so I can be crowned "winnah". I certainly hope so, otherwise I'm sitting here in a Mishi Mooshi gown for nothing. Alright, so it's enough to simply be nominated. Sigh.

I made up Mishi Mooshi, by the way. This gown- and by "gown" I mean "appliqued vest" is actually from the Quacker Factory.

Anyway, give the good fellows at Dead Lantern a listen. And don't just say you'll listen- do it! Lest 1) you fail tomorrow's quiz, and 2) this happens:

Why that would happen, I can't really say. I DON'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS.

Film Club: F13 and MBV uncut

I couldn't "run" a "blog" that's "supposedly" about "slasher movies" for almost four "years" and not have reviewed Friday the 13th (1980) and My Bloody Valentine (1981) before today. Well, I could, of course, but that would be silly. The point is, you can click those links to read my original reviews; I love these movies, always have, probably always will. In the wake of the new remakes of each film, uncut special editions of the originals have hit the market- if you're a veteran like moi, are they worth your time and dollars? In the interests of answering that very question, I watched 'em back-to-back: a good old-fashioned early '80s slasher double feature. In further efforts to recreate the early '80s, I put a friendship ribbon in my hair, squeezed into a training bra, and chugged about half a gallon of Sunny D. No, it wasn't pretty at all, but thank you for asking.

In related news, holy crap, almost four years I've been doing this.

My Bloody Valentine

I'm still struck by how well this film fits the slasher paradigm while it also sets itself apart from its contemporaries. Director George Mihalka really captured the feel of a small mining town (perhaps because...umm...it was filmed in one)- far better than the remake did. The mine is still unbelievably creepy, the miner is still one of the great killers in all of slasherdom, and nearly thirty years on (!!!) the film still works.

Is it worth a double dip? Absolutely effing YES. Prior to My Bloody Valentine's release, the MPAA notoriously excised virtually all the gore; now we can all see what we were missing all those years ago and...wow. MBV doesn't fuck around! Every single kill has been amped up here and there are body parts and eyeballs galore. It's a completely sick thrill to see poor Mabel (excuse me...Madame Mabel) flop around in that dryer like never before.






In addition to the lost footage, there are documentaries, interviews, and everything else you could hope for on a Special Edition release. This DVD is probably the greatest thing to come from the release of a remake- if it weren't for MBV 3D, who knows when or if this would have seen the light of day? Hooray remakes!

Whoa, sorry, I take that back. Don't wanna get carried away, there.

Friday the 13th

Upon watching Friday the 13th, I was struck with some primo "Get off my lawn but bring me an icepack first because my bursitis is acting up!" I just couldn't help but think, "Golly, remember when the characters in horror movies were likable? And they weren't all douchebags? And even though they weren't necessarily deep or particularly well-drawn, they were still interesting? And they would even do things like read?"


Then I got really sad that Laurie Bartram is no longer with us and that she didn't make more movies while she was.

You know what? This movie still holds up, dammit. It's written off as a pile of crap all the time, even by horror enthusiasts, something I'll never understand. There's a bit of mystery, there are plenty of frights, and the explicit violence is still shocking and is still some of Tom Savini's best work. And Crazy Ralph is just so cool in this I can't even take it. So there.


Is it worth a double dip? Absolutely effing NO. If you're a Friday/slasher wackadoo like myself, that word "uncut" which adorns the DVD case may prove irresistible, and if you've never owned Friday the 13th, I'd probably still recommend you drop $10-20 more and get the box set containing films 1-8. The "extra footage", however, amounts to mere seconds- a few kills are a wee bit longer, and in one case (the famous Jack gets a spear through the neck scene), the additional angle actually gives away a bit of the fakery. Move along, kids, there's not much to see here.

There are a couple of documentaries- who wants to be the one to tell Robbi Morgan that Annie isn't the first one killed in Friday the 13th?- that are alright but not particularly groudbreaking. The sick thrill here is watching Betsy Palmer call the script a "piece of shit" as she sits next to writer Victor Miller. The short film Lost Tales from Camp Blood is, to be honest, a complete waste of time. A couple of morons in a plywood house get killed by...is it supposed to be Jason? I don't know. You can't really see him and in the credits he's just called "killer". If you want some no-budget horror, look elsewhere; Lost Tales is 8 minutes of your life you won't get back.


The early 80s have still got it, baby...Sunny D, on the other hand, is pretty damn nasty.

-------------------------------
Film Club Coolies, y'all!
-------------------------------

Evil on Two Legs
From the Depths of DVD Hell
Hudson Lee: Friday the 13th / My Bloody Valentine
Gorillanaut
Goremania: My Bloody Valentine
Invasion of the B Movies: Friday the 13th
Sam Hawken
Movie Moxie: My Bloody Valentine

Feb 20, 2009

film club's a-comin'

Don't forget, kids! Monday is Film Club Day. On the slab will be the uncut versions of Friday the 13th and/or My Bloody Valentine, so get ta watchin' and writin'!

awesome movie poster friday- the POWER TO THE PEOPLE edition!

As you may recall, I sent up a flare requesting some Awesome Movie Posters from you Awesome People. Those of you who aren't jerks sent in some awesome movie posters, and now I'm a-fixin' to put 'em up here.

Alright, so none of you is a jerk. I just tend to lash out at people who don't do what I tell them to do, probably because I'm some sort of megalomaniac. Man, life was so much easier when I was but a Lego maniac.

Anyhoo, behold the mighty creativity of people who visit the internet!

Astrogirl, the one who started this idea


Vicki

"Themes of love found, then lost, then imprisoned, and eventually eaten by the walking dead..."


Will Brownridge, Hagi's Movie-a-Day


Mike Royer,
The Blog To End All Blogs


B.E. Earl, The Verdant Dude


Goblin








Michael


RC


J. Astro, The Cheap Bin


The Dark, The Dark in the Dark


Placenta Ovaries


Corey, Evil on Two Legs


I sincerely hope some Hollywood Fat Cat sees these posters and does the right thing. Look at these ideas! Briefcase Woman! Tom Atkins! Linnea Quigley! Motorcycle Cars! A Jason who can swim! Carnies! These need to be seen.

Feb 18, 2009

other doin's

Pop on over to AMC and read my column all about POV horror.

"Put down the camera and READ IT!"

I mean, if you want to. I know you probably have better things to do. Or maybe you just don't care anymore...which...I don't know, what am I supposed to do about that? You probably found some other horror movie blog that's younger and prettier, right? RIGHT? Is that where you've been? You told me you were "working" "late" and now I find out you've been lovin' on some...some...slattern? Fine. Be that way. Don't read this week's column. And don't take the super wicked awesome ultimate Friday the 13th Fan Quiz either...the quiz I may or may not have made. If you paid a little more attention to me, then you'd probably already know.

Wow, sorry for the drama- I've been overdosing on Dallas lately. Will JR and Sue Ellen ever find peace?

Oh, happier days.

Feb 17, 2009

scenes i love - salem's lot

As Ben fashions a cross out of medical tape and tongue depressors, Mrs Glick awakens as a vampire. The waiting...the dread, knowing that the sheet covering her body is going to move- is almost too much to bear. I forget about it sometimes, but man, I heart Salem's Lot.

And David Soul totally brings it in this scene.

Feb 16, 2009

"Then he's still out there..."

Apparently Friday the 13th cleaned up at the box office, raking in more than $40 million over the weekend. If you added your hard-earned dollars to that total and you'd like to weigh in with your thoughts, well, here's a place to do it. Lots of opinions flying around. While everyone who disagrees with me about the film is obviously WRONG, I welcome your comments anyway.

Oh, and I don't mean to imply that only people who spent hard-earned dollars on F13 should chime in. Those of you who found a ten spot as well as those of you who sat on the sidewalk with a sign reading "Why lie? I want to see Friday the 13th" until you collected enough dimes to buy a ticket can play, too.

But Jason is so...so...three days ago, isn't he? Let's remain on the cutting edge and move on to the next wackadoo in the slasher cycle- Michael Myers! Yes, Rob Zombie's Halloween 2 is still going to happen, and here's the teaser poster to prove it:

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Stacie, you must be wrong. Rob Zombie can't be making Halloween 2. Why, I remember reading right here at Final Girl that he wouldn't do it! Let's see...what did he say? Oh yeah...
I'm done. I did what I wanted to do, I came in and I made a movie that I thought was a self-contained film and now I'm walking away.
So see? Why are you lying, Stacie? Or are my eyes playing tricks on me?"

Dude, it's neither. He said that, and now he's making the movie. However, we should take into consideration that before he made Halloween, he also said (regarding remakes):
Those movies are perfect- you're only going to make yourself look like an asshole by remaking them.
I guess the lesson here is...well, I'm not sure exactly. Money is awesome, maybe? Never say never? Stop, drop, and roll? Eh. I can't say that I'm at all excited about H2, and let's just leave it at that.

However, you know what I am excited about? This teaser trailer for [REC]2.



I know the original film has its detractors...however, I ate that shit up and I'm ready for more. This embedding might not work; if not, follow this link to Shock Till You Drop to check it out.

In other sequel news, I guess there's stuff floating around in cyberspace related to The Descent 2. I'm ignoring all of it- no pictures, no interviews, no trailers, NADA. I want to go into that one knowing only that it exists. I don't even know when it's coming out. How's that for being an ignoramus?

So many of you answered this call for movie posters, thank you! You guys are "mad awesome" as the kids say. Alright, so no kid talks like that. The point is, they're swell and I'll be posting them this Friday. I know I said that I'd post them last week, but 1) I wanted to give Jason his day to shine all alone, and 2) I'm a liar.


One last thing: I got nominated for a fucking RONDO! I can't believe it. Seriously, I can not believe it...and man, I'm in some wicked esteemed company. Head here to vote- you can do so until March 21. Now I know what they mean by "it's an honor just to be nominated". I also know what they mean by the "Boltzmann Brain Theory", because I looked it up.

Hooray for everything!

Feb 13, 2009

Friday the 13th review: Jason and the Jerks

Be warned fair reader, this post will be chock full o' spoilers! If that makes you feel funny, then turn back now lest ye be doomed. Doomed! You hear me? You kids are all doomed! This post has a death curse!


So, the new Friday the 13th. What follows will probably be the most inconsequential review I've ever written, in that people are completely predisposed to seeing or not seeing this film, and I don't think anything is going to change anyone's mind about it one way or the other. I mean, it's Jason. It's Friday the 13th. Calling it the most craptacular piece of crap that ever crapped a crap won't make people avoid it, and claiming that this film healed the lame won't make people seek it out. It is what it is, and either it's your bag or it ain't.

Similarly, it seems the bar is set rather low for this movie; attending the screening and subsequent press day, I heard variations on "Well, it's just Friday the 13th" more than a few times, as if that alone means the film is exempt from anything that makes a movie worthwhile. I'm bothered by this attitude. Sure, it's "just" a slasher movie and as such, folks don't expect much from it. I think, however, that it's alright to expect that a slasher movie should mostly make sense, and that- above all else- it'll be a bit scary. How did Friday the 13th fare on those counts?

The film quickly makes haste telling the backstory about Mrs Voorhees's homicidal rampage over her son Jason's death; the 90 minutes in the original film are condensed to about 90 seconds of freeze frame flashbacks. Essentially..."You let him drown!" *chop*...out of the woods strolls young Jason to collect his mom's head, his mom's locket, and the machete used to kill her. Take note, Part 2 fans, he does not collect her sweater. Feel the sadness.

Twenty years later, a bunch of douchebags set out to find a giant marijuana crop hidden somewhere in the woods. How do they know about it? Eh, who cares. Just know that two couples and the obligatory nerd set out to find mass quantities of drugs in the hope of reselling it later to reap a profit...it gets dark and they need to set up camp for the night. They do so in Jason's territory. Yes, the Mary Jane MacGuffin here is the same one used in that other Platinum Dunes production, Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Let's hear it for...err, consistency.

One couple breaks off to explore the environs; they stumble across Jason's house, complete with mom's head, mom's locket, and a bed helpfully labeled "JASON". Upon finding the locket and seeing the photos inside, it's noted that Whitney (Amanda Righetti) bears a passing resemblance to the late Mrs Voorhees. Hmm.

When Jason finds all these kids stumbling around his domain, he quickly sets about doing his thing: by "his thing", of course, I mean "serving tea and petit-fours to his guests".

Okay, I don't actually mean that. But wouldn't that be kind of awesome? What really happens is, he kills them more than just a little bit, even working in a loose homage to Part VII. Whitney's fate, however, hangs in the air.

A month has passed and a new group of douchebags (this group is, like, douchebags with jerk sprinkles on top) head on up to Crystal Lake for a weekend of partying. Also cruising around Crystal Lake is Whitney's brother Clay (Jared Padalecki), convinced that his sister is still alive even though police searches have turned up nada. As he hands out fliers to the "locals", however, we're led to believe that something's wrong at Crystal Lake; one old weirdo lady (perhaps meant to be a more subtle, subdued Crazy Ralph) informs Clay, "Somebody go missin' round here, they gone for good." Again, I say: hmm.

So, the douchebags set about partaking in "teen activities", ie copious amounts of drugs, booze, and sex. Jason upgrades from a sack to the hockey mask after he finds it on the floor of a barn- a scene which has far less eerie impact than his simply standing on a dock being mistaken for someone else in Part 3. Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) finds Clay dreamy, however, and decides to help him search for his sister instead of hanging out with the doucheys. Eventually they find Jason's...underground lair...somewhere.... around the lake, where Jason has been keeping Whitney chained up.

In related majorly spoileriffic news, Jason kills everyone but the sibling combo. They chain him to a wood chipper, which apparently just grazes his head enough to smart real bad.

Then they unchain him, haul him to Crystal Lake, and dump him in. Then he pops out, the end.

Right off the bat, let me say: I really loved this incarnation of Jason. He's mean, he's fast, he's relentless, and he's definitely human- albeit a hulking human who apparently spends his days in the woods working out...and by "human" I don't mean he has a life story, necessarily- I just mean that he's not an unstoppable supernatural monster. Derek Mears really did a fantastic job with the character, and I'd rank it up there in my ultra-cool, extreme list of "Best Jasons Evarrrr".

Pretty much everything else in the movie, though...I just about hated. Please, don't bust out the "But it's a slasher movie, a Friday the 13th!, what did you expect?", because that just doesn't fly. Even in its own shallow, ridiculous universe, the film has to make sense.

Alright, so they've essentially done away with the plotline of the original film because people just want to see Jason, not some mom running around. I can deal with that- this is a complete franchise reboot. But...a young child is standing about 5 feet away from his mother as she's killed and he does nothing? I mean, no yelling, no anything. If he didn't drown and he's been lost, wouldn't he run to his mother? How did he find her? If he didn't actually drown, why is Mama V killing everyone?

Crystal Lake. Yes, the douchebag family has built a big beautiful home on the shores of Crystal Lake, where the teens head to party. This is not their first time at the house or frolicking on the water. Yet he comes after them- why didn't Jason kill them before?

The locals seem to know about Jason- and let me say, I kinda dig the idea that the locals know about him, that he's the boogeyman in the woods you don't talk about. But...how many people have gone missing around Crystal Lake? The authorities never find any evidence of missing people or of Jason himself? Kids go missing, and no one investigates the abandoned summer camp? Clay found his sister on the first day he hit the camp. Yes, law enforcement in slasher movies is generally inept, but if enough people go missing in a small area- so many that Kookadook Neighbor Lady Who Never Leaves Her House notices- and the perpetrator has a sprawling house and campus in the midst of it, you'd think the cops might figure it out.

And can we retire the "Hi kids, I'm here to help!" "Sheriff, BEHIND YOU!" *kill* horror movie cliche? Thanks in advance.

Speaking of the Kookadook Neighbor Lady Who Never Leaves Her House, the townsfolk (for lack of a better term) in Friday the 13th are just as "scary" and "gross" as those in Texas Chainsaw Massacre- in fact, they're even portrayed by the same actors. Again, let's hear it for...err, consistency. Yes, yes, we city folk are terrified of country folk, but is it a rule in Platinum Dunes Country that city folk are nothing but supermodels while country folk are nothing but filthy, stinky, toothless weirdos who would eat you as soon as look at you?

Notice I said "abandoned summer camp". As in, it's not being used. Of course, the setting isn't used in the film either. See, the action here takes place largely at Chez de Douchebag or in Jason's underground lair. Which is a disused mine.

Yes, someone built a mine underneath a summer camp. Next to a lake. What kind of mine? We don't know. Isn't it a bit...unsafe to build a camp over a mine? Or a mine next to a lake? Yes, we can assume so. Why is the mine there, and why is Camp Crystal Lake not utilized in a Friday the 13th movie? Well, during those interviews I did with the filmmakers I learned the answers to those questions. There is a mine (a general, all-purpose "mine") because director Marcus Nispel wanted one in the film. The film does not take place at summer camp because Michael Bay doesn't think camps are scary. And that's that.

All right then, is this campless Friday scary? Despite all of Jason's power and menace, I'd still have to say no. There are jump scares a-plenty, but there's no tension- and jump scare after sting after jump scare simply gets irritating. There's no stalking, no question about who might be lurking out there in the darkness. Harry Manfredini's famous score is sorely lacking here. That classic "ki ki ki ma ma ma" is used but once, at a time when it adds nothing to the atmosphere. How can you have a Friday film and not use that sound to its maximum potential? Again, you can thank Nispel- he thinks the sound "telegraphs" the scares and he just wanted Jason to "appear"...and thus "There are jump scares a-plenty, but there's no tension".

It mostly goes down like this: character stands looking at something with a big empty space behind him, Jason pops up, death. A few deaths might stand out as homages for Friday vets- otherwise they're not nearly as outrageous as those in that other recent slasher remake, My Bloody Valentine.

My biggest gripe, I think- even beyond the horrible characters populating this film, beyond the women as blow-up dolls, the guys as jerks- came at the end. I understand suspension of disbelief. I understand the "need" for Jason to pop up out of the water at the end. Though I try, however, I simply can't wrap my head around how they achieved that end. Upon enduring this horrible night, upon watching everyone get slaughtered, upon escaping Jason's lair after being held captive for a month, Whitney and Clay are going to loosen the tangled chains around Jason's neck, freeing his mangled body from a woodchipper...then they're going to haul his 200+ pound body all the way to the lake just to dump him in? This guy- he's just a guy, after all- who killed all those people? They're going to go through all this trouble and destroy the evidence? No...no, they're not. People don't do that. Yes, people do stupid things in horror movies all the time- splitting up, investigating noises, etc- but sometimes, screenwriters need to stop and say "You, know, this is a bit much..." and figure out ways to make the characters' stupidity seem plausible. Even in its own shallow, ridiculous universe, the film has to make sense.

Am I being too hard on it? Maybe. It's just a slasher movie, after all, right? It's Friday the 13th. Jason gets his mask, he kills people. That's what folks want, mission accomplished.

Feb 10, 2009

kibbles and bits and CRAZY bits

Sorry for the lack of updates around here. I've been busy...umm...busy seeing other websites and...like, stuff. Look, it's not over between us, not by a longshot- I'm in this for the long haul, 'til the end, 'til we go careening off some cyber-cliff together Thelma and Louise style. Yes, that's a little extreme, perhaps, but everything I do is extreme...and we are talking about horror movies here.

Alright, so nothing I do is extreme, unless you count drinking Diet Mountain Dew.

ANYWAY, onto stuff.

The other night I caught Wicked, Wicked, the 1973 flick about a psycho stalking pretty young thangs in a sprawling California hotel (whether or not it was Hotel California, I cannot say). The film is...well, it needs to be seen for two reasons: 1) it's filmed in "Duo-Vision", meaning "split screen". Yes, the entire movie. At times it's interesting, at times it's irritating, at times it's clever...but it's worth checking out for the novelty alone. As we all know, I love a novelty...and 2) it stars white-hot piece Tiffany Bolling (Kingdom of the Spiders) as a lounge singer. An entomologist, a lounge singer...is there anything Tiffany Bolling can't do? No, there's not- and she'll look fly while she does it.

I caught the new Friday the 13th last week, but I'm not allowed to yap about it until Friday, so come on back for my review if you feel like it. Tomorrow my AMC column will feature some interview questions with some F13 peeps, and next week I'll be posting more spoiler-filled interview stuff here.

From the Department of ME ME ME (as if this hasn't all sort of been about me):

- A reminder that voting for Dead Lantern's second annual Splatcademy Awards continues until February 23. If you want to vote for Final Girl in the "best website/blog" category, that's cool. If not, well, I can't say that's cool but I'll try to understand. Of course, I thought we were friends here, but whatever.

- I've got stuff going on over at my website: cartoons, blah blah blah.

- The Chainsaw Mafia, an organization promoting women in horror and headed up by Fangoria "spooksmodel" and actress/filmmaker Shannon Lark, has selected my short film "Taste of Flesh, Taste of Fear" for the 2008 Viscera film series. You may remember it as being featured in the very first episode of Ghostella's Haunted Tomb- yep, my Barbie lesbo vampire movie won a prize. I'm so fucking psyched, you have no idea! I'll keep you updated on any developments...meanwhile, get ready for spring/summer 2009 when the Viscera DVD is released- that means you'll be able to clutch a copy of "Taste of Flesh" to your very own lesbian vampire bosom.

Super cool reader Astrogirl sent me a link to a website promoting the new Wii edition of the zombie shoot-em-up House of the Dead, wherein you can make your very own zombie movie poster. Observe Astrogirl's work!

This gave me a grand idea- GRAND I SAY! Here's the skinny: this week's Awesome Movie Poster Friday will feature everyone's creations- so get on it, chumpy! Make yourself a poster and email me a copy (600 px wide, lo-res PLEASE) at stacieponder at gmail dot com with "ampf" in the subject line by 12:01am Friday, Feb 13. Include your name and a link to your website, if you so desire, then on Friday I'll post 'em all up for everyone to see and you'll be well on your way to fame and glory. No really, I swear.

EDIT: Someone asked if the posters have to be made using the Wii/House site...let's say no, although that was my original intent. Please only submit posters for fictional films, however.

Hooray for everybody!