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Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday the 13th: Part II (1981) - Steve Miner

1981 was really full of great horror movies. The Evil Dead, An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Halloween 2 and Friday the 13th: Part 2. Director Steve Miner takes the opportunity with this feature to tell the continuation of the lore that we had from the first film. He expands upon it in pretty great detail. This isn't just another F13 movie. This is the episode that introduces Jason Voorhees as the series antagonist that we all fear. 

A new person comes in to bankroll the reopening of Camp Crystal Lake after the events of the first film, Friday the 13th. We get a great deal of backstory and a quick recap of the events leading up to this point, including the decapitation of Mrs. Voorhees. New young adults means new blood and this time the old lady isn't doing the killing. Jason is awake and he wants to kill. 

Apparently this film franchise was going to be like that of Halloween and they had meant for this to be an Anthology series. However, the popularity of Mrs. Voorhees and Jason spawned this sequel and many others. We get a ton of the same elements that made the first film really good. The slow and intimidating hunting, the first person slasher views and the setting are all key elements to the franchise. 

This is a great feature and important addition to the franchise. The ending is a bit odd, but it's a horror movie. Those lapses in continuity can be excused. If you aren't familiar with the franchise then this isn't a bad starting off point. However, you should really watch the original to get into the groove. Keep in mind that this is a film in the F13 series and is considered to be a bit extreme. It's definitely for late-teens and up. 

Directed by: Steve Miner
Produced by: Steve Miner
Written by: Ron Kurz, Phil Scuderi
Starring: Amy Steel, John Furey, Adrienne King
Music by: Harry Manfredini
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release dates: May 1, 1981

Did ya know: The first Jason scene in the movie is a shot of Jason's legs walking across the street toward Alice's house. This is the only time in the series Jason was played by a woman. Jason's legs belonged to Ellen Lutter, the film's costume designer.

The Prowler (1981) - Joseph Zito

A horror movie with a World War II theme isn't something that you see all that often. That's part of what makes this movie unique. It belongs to that certain breed of film like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer or Lustig's Maniac. Joseph Zito, the Director, would go on to direct some schlock work as well as Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. And this would fall into obscurity along with thousands of other horror movies released during the Golden Age of Horror, the nineteen eighties. 

In 1945, on the night of the Graduation Ball in Avalon Bay, a young couple was brutally murdered with a pitchfork. The killer was never found. Thirty-five years later, the town is having their first Graduation Ball since the killings. It's being orchestrated by our heroine, Pam MacDonald and her friends. Things go bad when it starts to look like that same killer from thirty-five years prior, starts killing again. And he kills with extreme prejudice. 

With a horror effects master like Tom Savini working the slop. You know you're in for a treat. This movie delivers with entire boatloads of blood. It's no wonder that Savini considers this to be his best work. There are some really great kill scenes and it has a really eerie feel. The main killer is pretty strange, but it fits in perfectly. It's all very... eighties. 

The acting is pretty warm and fuzzy, but it's nothing memorable. It doesn't need to be. This kind of movie isn't appreciated for it's acting. In fact most of the on screen work is pretty cliche. It's the vibe that the movie gives off that makes it watchable and fun. It's the killings, the music and the practicality all-in-one. 

Initial release: 1981
Director: Joseph Zito
Budget: 1 million USD
Music composed by: Richard Einhorn
Produced by: Joseph Zito

Did ya know: Director Joseph Zito once told a guard at a movie theater where the film was being screened, that he was the director of this film. To this the guard responded, "You really DID kill those people, right?". 

Monday, May 09, 2016

We Are Still Here (2015) - Ted Geoghegan

We Are Still Here reminded me of so many horror movies but does a good job of staying true to it's own. I had seen the film referenced on Reddit and Rotten Tomatoes, so I thought I would give it a try. I think I had assumed that it was a House of the Devil remake or something due to the cover. So the producers need to do something about that. 

A couple that had recently lost their son, who was away at college. Has relocated to a small remote town with a really creepy secret. They moved into a large home there with a force in it that is just evil. The domicile is home to some really scary charred walking corpses too. Remember the Old Dark House motif? Well it's on full display here, just insert the entire creepy small town, some possession, some ghosts and some overall crazy shit. 

Wow this movie has some really nuts effects! Barbara Crampton was awesome, as she most always is. And it looks pretty good too. It is really vivid and brutal. If you're a fan of intense horror than this is for you. I had no issues with the acting or screenplay. It was all really good. Really original twists and turns. 

It is really independent and that shows through a bit during a few scenes. But it's really smoothed over and looks pristine. This movie is scary enough to entertain any level of horror fan. I highly recommend putting this one onto a Halloween playlist for a party or even a date. It's good enough. 

Release date: June 5, 2015 (USA)
Director: Ted Geoghegan
Music composed by: Wojciech Golczewski
Story by: Richard Griffin
Screenplay: Ted Geoghegan, Richard Griffin