Wednesday, April 18, 2018

From the makers of Saw- Only one survivor. Only one chance to escape pure evil.

The Collector (2009)

Arkin is an ex-con looking to make a better life for his daughter yet he is drawn back into his old habits when his ex-wife is in debt to loan sharks. He decides to break into the home of a wealthy client only to find that another criminal has decided to target this family leaving a series of deadly traps that he has to avoid at risk of death. Director Marcus Dunstan wrote many of the movies in the Saw franchise and influence of that series is evident in The Collector. The booby traps are elaborate and quite deadly as Arkin tries to find a way out as well as helping the family he has intended to steal from. The Collector is one of the more minor entries in the Torture Porn genre and blends home invasion into a bloody chainsaw of death and gore. Savaged by critics The Collector has become a hit with gorehounds for taking a tired genre and injecting some new blood, the film is similar to Saw in many respects, yet the antagonist is a mad genius who only wishes to kill and torture. Followed by a sequel that is equally gory.

The Collection (2012)

The daughter of wealthy man is taken by the masked Collector who then seeks out Arkin from the first movie to assist in her rescue. Teamed with a band of mercenaries Arkin leads the group into the heart of the Collectors bizarre menagerie of death and gore. This sequel to the 2009 gore cult classic picks up were the first one ended and places the band of armed mercenaries into the heart of The Collectors domain. The traps are more elaborate, and the sheer cruelty of the Collector is on full display with much more gore to include an opening sequence that rivals Ghost Ship in its bloody presentation. Unlike many sequels, The Collection does an effective job of matching its predecessor by amping up the action and terror with a bit of dark humor. Written and directed by the people who made the Saw movies this film will not disappoint those who enjoy good old-fashioned blood and gore.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cool Website Mention on Shriek Freak Daily

My Friday the 13th page was linked to an outside website and included as part of its daily links. This is pretty awesome and looks like my Blog can get attention as I include more original content. Hope this is first of many links and nods.

Here is the link

Shriek Freak Daily

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Friday the 13th- The Worst to Best

12. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Once again Jason is back (Big surprise!), and this time he takes a bit of a holiday as he boards a cruise ship filled with partying teens and makes it into the "death boat." He kills some teens on board, and as the ship docks, we find our masked killer walking the streets of New York. Boy, do the street gangs have something to fear now!

Death Count: 19-21

11. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
With a title that screams bloody bullshit we find Jason being cornered by Feds and gunned down in the coolest manner, and right before the opening credits! His death then reveals that there are many nonhuman things inside and a coroner decides he must eat its black, tarry heart. This, of course, brings the spirit of Jason back like the horror film The Hidden for yet another teen kill fest and the discovery that Jason had a sister.

Death Count: 24-27

10. Jason X (2001)

Ok, in the future the planet is pretty much a wasteland, so a school field trip with a group of students travel to a barren Earth where they find two cryogenically frozen bodies and one of them is named Jason. They, of course, make the huge mistake of bringing the bodies aboard to find that unleashing the hockey-masked killer was a bad choice. The ship somehow rebuilds Jason and makes him into a bionic killing machine as if he needed the enhancement.

Death Count: 25-28

9. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)

It was no surprise that we would see yet another sequel, and in this one, we find a much older Tommy sent to a home for troubled teens. He suffers from nightmares and with a little help from the friendly staff Tommy tries to recover. We see a fellow patient murder an annoying boy, and his will death will lead to other similar murders. With no Jason Voorhees, we get a "who done it" that is so obvious the killer is practically waving his hand as he appears on the screen.

Death Count: 19

8. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Initially shown in 3-D, this third offering has the first appearance of Jason's infamous hockey mask as he cuts loose on yet another batch of teens. Although not as gory as the first films, the hokey 3-D effects make the film much more comfortable to watch for those squeamish types. With some intentional jokes and cool murder scenes, the film delivers well into its silly ending.

Death Count: 12

7. Friday the 13th (2009)

This remake of the 1980 Slasher Classic was an attempt at creating an origin story for Jason while portraying him with some sympathy despite his murderous nature. Instead, it is yet another slash and kill that was the norm for the 1980's. The movie blends elements of the first four movies with the primary plot focusing on a young man looking for his missing sister who was among Jason’s first group of victims. The movie did fairly well but failed to jumpstart a new series of sequels.

Death Count: 15

6. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

In what is jokingly referred to as Jason meets Carrie, we find the hockey-masked killer facing a serious challenge in the form of a telekinetic teenage girl. Her powers unknowingly release Jason from his watery tomb, and she then spends the rest of the movie trying to put him back.

Death Count: 16-17

5. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

The first attempt to put closure to the series (we know better!) introduces Corey Feldman as Tommy, a shy teen who has a knack for making horror masks. Jason is sent to the morgue, and he comes back to life to catch up on those teens stupid enough to have sex in the woods and trip in the forest.

Death Count: 14

4. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

This mashup of two of the most famous slasher franchises focuses on Freddy Krueger trying to regain his mojo after people have forgotten about him. Thinking he can scare up new victims by manipulating Jason Voorhees he soon finds that Jason is too good at taking out victims forcing the two into an epic grudge match. This movie was quite successful and is a favorite of slasher fans who long debated who would win in this slasher deathmatch.

Death Count: 20-26

3. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

This time the director must have forgotten about the previous movie as we find a seemingly normal Tommy digging up Jason's grave. His attempt to cremate Jason fails as a bolt of lightning awakens the maggot-encrusted killer. With the typical plot that follows we find Tommy trying to convince the authorities that Jason is alive, yet he gets jail time for his effort.

Death Count: 18

2. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

The sole survivor from the first film finds herself quickly dispatched by an unknown killer who then returns to Camp Crystal Lake to avenge the death of the first film's killer. As with the first, we have another group of counselor's who are preparing to open the camp. We see a creepy campfire tale about Jason and have him appear as a hooded killer.

Death Count: 9

1.    Friday the 13th (1980)

Sean Cunningham and Tom Savini were little-known players when they used their talents to create a film which would forever change the horror scene and create a market for cheap slasher copycats. The opening of Camp Crystal Lake brings joy and excitement to a group of teen counselors who soon discover that crazed murderer is taking them out one at a time with axes, knives, and assorted garden tools. The film tries to come off as a mystery but it is quite obvious who the killer is, and we don't see them until the last 20 minutes of the film.

Death Count: 10

Friday, April 6, 2018

If they can hear you, they can hunt you.

A Quiet Place (2018)

Dir- John Krasinski
A year after an unknown event has left the world largely empty of people a family somehow survives by keeping as quiet as possible. Despite all efforts to maintain as normal a life as the circumstance allows the threat of death looms closer as the family prepares for its future. Living in fear of a hostile outsider has been seen in movies with the antagonists ranging from native rivals to Nazis to rabid animals. How one can survive and fight back is portrayed quite effectively in this thriller from first time Director John Krasinski. The cast includes Krasinski's real-life wife Emily Blunt along with hearing impaired actress Millicent Simmonds who displays a fantastic range of feelings and emotions despite her handicap. The tension of the outside threat is offset by the internal conflict that the family faces as the parents struggle to protect their children while trying to raise them with some semblance of normalcy. A Quiet Place has an innovative yet straightforward concept that is directed quite effectively, the feeling of fear is ever present but hope still looms as the father finds ways to improve the situation for his family and shows the courage that is stronger than any fear he may feel. When confronted with the threat of death facing your family one can hope that we all would show this kind of courage no matter who stands in your way.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Someone has taken their love of scary movies one step too far!

Scream (1996) US

Dir- Wes Craven 
Well you know the routine, put in a bunch of generic teens, some big breasted bimbos, really dumb jocks, inept police officers and a killer with a cool mask and cell phone. Sounds so familiar, well this time Wes Craven deliberately makes it so to deliver a spoof which more then makes up for all those silly teen splatter flicks of the 80's. Scream is an homage to these and many other films which used buckets of corn syrup, bad jokes, and Xeroxed scripts to deliver gory splatterfests which lined video store shelves. The film stars Neve Campbell as a virgin teen who is being stalked by a killer who may have murdered her mother a year before. Courtney Cox is the intrepid yet sleazy tabloid reporter out to make a name for herself, and Drew Barrymore is a blonde bimbo who makes a big mistake by not paying enough attention to those silly horror films. In the course of the film, we have Campbell facing the attention of the police, media, and her friends as her boyfriend is nabbed for the crime and may very well be as innocent as the man she pegged as her mother's murderer. Who exactly is the killer, well I'm not gonna tell you!!! Craven blends plenty of blood and gore with enough clichés and cameos to make up for even his misfires of the 80's. Although the film does seem a bit confused on whether it is a spoof or a serious horror film with a few jokes put in, Scream is a rare horror gem that stands out because it is mocking the very clichés that plague films of this genre. In the twenty years since its release Scream would establish a new genre of self-aware horror spoofs called Meta Horror, that would include The Cabin in the Woods, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Shaun of the Dead and the three successful Scream sequels.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Five Horror Films for April Fools Day

On a day known for pulling pranks I decided to check out and review some films that have April Fools Day as a theme. Strangely, three of the movies were released in 1986 and were all Canadian. The more recent films were released twenty years later and were both copycats of I Know What You Did Last Summer. I have ranked the movies from worst to best so enjoy them if you can find. 

April Fool's (2007) 

Dir- Nancy Norman
Another silly horror film that seems to have borrowed heavily from other revenge-driven slashers, this one should have been titled "I Know What You Did in the Hood Last Summer." A group of high school friends plays a cruel prank on the school nerd but end up killing him by accident. A year later each of them turns up dead as police try to find who is responsible. The movie is low budget and looks like a poorly made student film; the only highlight is the appearance of hip hop rapper Lil Flip who performs a few songs for the school dance. If the film intended to fool you into watching it, then it succeeded as the only reason I watched was to include in a list of other April Fool themed horror films.  

April Fool's Day (2008) 

Dir- Phil Flores, Mitchell Altieri
This movie calls itself a remake of 1986 classic "April Fools Day," but it should have instead been called "I know what you did last April Fools Day." This movie differs significantly from the first film and is an entirely different film with the only plot elements they share along with the name is having one character videotaping their activities and a twist ending. The original movie had a great setting, likable characters and was littered with April Fools pranks to lighten the mood. Instead, this "remake" is a very predictable "who done it" with a cast of actors you can't like except for Scout Taylor-Compton. As it is direct to video release the quality of the movie is lacking, it seems more like a movie of the week instead of a remake despite having the same producer from the original film. 

Killer Party (1986) 

Dir- William Fruet
Three college friends are pledging a sorority, and during the initiation one of the girls shows a genuine talent for elaborate pranks. This skill gets her into the sorority but only because her house sisters want to stage an elaborate April Fools prank in an abandoned house that is being used for a party. Someone or something does not want them to use the house for their event, and the party gets crashed by something paranormal. Killer Party was released in 1986 and was going to be titled April Fools Day until Paramount Pictures announced they were producing a film of the same name. The movie is notable for not one but two fake opening scenes that will confuse viewers who may wonder if they have the right film. Killer Party does not take itself too seriously, the death scenes are not too graphic and seem almost comical in execution. 

Slaughter High (1986) 

Dir- George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, and Peter Litten
Revenge is a common theme in most slasher movies; it seems like every killer was done wrong by someone in the past, most likely for being an outcast or for merely being weird. A high school nerd is humiliated by a group of students who then take it further by playing another cruel prank that results in him being burned and scarred by acid. Ten years later these same students are invited back for a class reunion only to face a masked killer who takes them out one at a time. Like so many slasher films Slaughter High follows a formula that had already become as derivative as overage actors playing teenagers. This movie does stand out for the sheer cruelty of the prank, those classmates are horrible, and the revenge sought by the killer is so well deserved. It is worth noting that the actor who played the nerd committed suicide after the production of the film, so one has to wonder if any of those on-screen taunts went too far. With three listed directors it does not surprise me that the film is such a mess, it is riddled with numerous fake jump scares, poor lighting and some deaths that are pretty implausible. Slaughter High has gained a cult following for featuring the beautiful Caroline Munro and has been released on Blu-Ray and DVD. Originally titled "April Fools Day" it was changed as not to be confused by the far superior Paramount Picture featuring Deborah Foreman.   

April Fool's Day (1986) 

Dir- Fred Walton
A group of college friends gathers together at the remote island mansion of their mutual friend Muffy as she hosts a weekend party to celebrate their forthcoming graduation. At first, the guests are met with silly pranks, but then the gags begin to cross the line as each guest finds their darkest secret may be known to someone in their circle. As the weekend unfolds, we find guests disappear and turn up dead. Meanwhile, the hostess seems to have taken a dark turn as her personality is now distant and far from the pleasant and beautiful lady they all thought they knew. Trapped with no way off the island and no telephone the remaining survivors face an uncertain fate as they look for ways to escape their seemingly homicidal hostess. April Fools Day arrived amid the glut of teen slasher movies in the mid-1980's but stood out for the seemingly restrained violence that is more present in the standard slasher fare. The movie also features a twist that once revealed will make you appreciate the film after repeated viewing. The standout, of course, is the beautiful Deborah Foreman who was quite a star in her day and a delight to watch as the hostess who may or may not have a dark secret of her own. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Never Pick Up a Stranger

The Hitcher (1986)

Dir- Robert Harmon
We all have heard that picking up hitchhikers can be dangerous and despite our better judgment people often throw caution to the wind and stop to aid a soul in need. A young man named Jim is driving a luxury car from Chicago to San Diego, and while traveling through Texas, he decides to pick up a stranger in the midst of a storm. The man who is named John Ryder does not speak much but gives Jim the ultimate creep vibes compelling him to throw him out of the car after he fears John will kill him. This encounter sets a series of events in motion as Jim witnesses John being picked up by other travelers and later finding the aftermath of Johns bloody deeds. Jim then finds he is the target of a police manhunt as all of John's murders all seem to point to him. The Hitcher is one of the terrifying movies of the eighties worth checking out, mixing the violence of John's crimes with enough car chases to make this film a compelling chase thriller. The real star is, of course, the Dutch-born Rutger Hauer who has appeared in many classic sci-fi and horror roles. John Ryder is mysterious, relentless, and cunning enough to consider him one of the most underrated horror movie villains. There is no explanation for his crimes besides his desire to see carnage and inflict enough psychological harm to make Jim fear for his life despite his pleas for help from the authorities. The movie does not show John committing his crimes, but we do see the results of his work as Jim seemingly finds himself the target of John's attention. Even after 30 years, The Hitcher is intense and scary enough to remind us all that picking up strangers is always a bad idea. A sequel was made in 2003 as well as a remake in 2007, but both are nowhere as intense or original as the 1986 film.