Friday the 13th

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The ultimate anti-thesis to Michael Myers and the suspenseful bloodless Halloween, we get Friday the 13th by the writer of Last House on the Left, Sean Cunningham. It’s bloody, it’s goofy, and had Kevin fucking Bacon getting killed by that nice lady who was on Murder She Wrote a couple times. What more can you really ask for, on top of having your effects done by the legendary Tom Savini at that; what more could you ask for?

Gather round young people while Uncle Torsten tells you all the story of Camp Blood- and trust me, it’s in every damn Friday movie all the way down the line: long ago a young boy drowned at Camp Crystal Lake. His name was Jason. He was swimming out by himself, alone and drowned. The counselors were off boning each other while he drowned. The Camp shut down for many years until someone bought it and here’s where we begin. We have a group of young adult counselors that come early to set up. Ok, I can’t remember any of there names but I know a mysterious creepy fuck kills them one by one. One gets a ax to the face, another gets a pencil through the eye, and Kevin Bacon’s impressive death where he gets an arrow through his neck from under the bed. When were down to one girl left, nice old Betsy Palmer comes along. I’m saying this now, she is amazing as Pamela Voorhees, the deceased Jason’s distraught mother. She reveals that she’s the killer in revenge for poor Jason and that she is batshit insane. The girl fights Betsy and with some crappy slow motion, gets her head hacked off by a machete. The girl is off in a canoe, going merrily down the lake when Jason’s corpse springs out of the water and gets her!…but it was a dream. Oops.

Friday the 13th is a fun slasher movie that started a pop culture phenomenon and set the slasher standard for the modern day. The first is probably my favorite of the series. I had a few good laughs with the counselors whacky antics and Crazy Ralph spurting nonsense about the death curse of Crystal Lake. The kills are cool and memorably gory. Again, Betsy Palmer steals the show in such a small amount of screen time, being, sweet, crazy, and threatening all at once. I wouldn’t call it scary as much as a good party movie with friends. As always thank you and keep tuning in as I go through the whole saga of Jason Voorhees for our little Halloween special.

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Saw 2

saw 2

So Saw became a hit and of course we got a sequel, this time directed by Darren Lynn Bousmann who a couple years later would direct one of my favorite movies ever, Repo The Genetic Opera. Bousmann would do Saw 2-4.

Saw 2 picks up with detective Eric Matthews (no relation to Boy meets World, and yes I hear that question a bit if it’s the same guy. No.) investigating the Jigsaw killings with his team. Right off the bat we see his life is in shambles, broke, alone and his son Daniel hates his ass. He’s bitter with a violent temper. Suddenly his son goes missing when Matthews gets a huge break in the case; him and his team crack down on Jigsaw’s location and come by dying John Kramer, Jigsaw in the flesh. The cops quickly discover the means of Jigsaw’s game when they see the videos of a group of people trapped in a house full of nerve gas and horrific traps guarding the antidotes that will keep them alive. Daniel is among the group, and Amanda, original survivor of Jigsaw. Game is simple, Matthews just has to talk to John and he’ll find his son. We learn why John is dying and where his obsession of making people appreciate life comes from while were asked “What’s the cure for cancer?”…and in the end, we find his answer of immortality through his apprentice (I won’t spoil it until Saw 3 review).

I’d say Saw 2 is the last of the great Saw films, but even then I can see the flaws of the series beginning to show. Saw 2 is much gorier and the traps remain interesting and startling but I cared way less about the people going into them. Messed up part is, the only character I actually sympathized with and actually rooted for was Jigsaw. Matthews was a dick most of the time and seriously, all the stupid bastard had to do is talk. And he fucked it up, which becomes a common thread. Jigsaw talks, no one listens. At least here it’s a little vague, where in 5 Jigsaw’s instructions are so ridiculously blunt you almost want to jump into a deathtrap to avoid the stupidity. Saw 2 is a fine sequel. Thank you for joining and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows

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I feel I had to talk about the second huge horror phenomenon of my youth, The Blair Witch Project… well, how about in the same breath I talk about the sequel that most people hated but it was my favorite of the three.

Blair Witch 2 takes place few months after the movie for Blair Witch Project comes out and the world is taken by storm. Going on the film being real, people flock to Burkittsville Maryland to quench there thirst for Blair Witch lore. Our main characters Jeff, Kim, Stephen, Tristan, and Erika are part of a tour going through the woods. It’s lead by Jeff, who in the beginning we learn spent some time in the funny farm. Kim is the goth chick that may or may not psychic shit going on. Stephen and Tristan are writing a Blair Witch; Tristan is pregnant as hell. Erika is an actual wichan. So they go into the woods and scare some other people away from there shit. They drink and smoke some grass and…ORGY! Tristan has a really warped dream that leads to her miscarriage; snow of there destroyed book twirl around them in the morning and Jeff’s tapes are found in under the remnants of a old wall. No one has any idea what happened. They go to Jeff’s loft with the tapes and try to figure out what the hell happened. Meanwhile, they are being haunted by strange, creepy things they bring back with them and by the end it makes us ask if the witch was real or these fuckers were just crazy…

As horror sequels go, it’s really not bad. The score and some of the imagery mash really well together. Tristan’s dream of drowning the baby, the drowned rotted girl walking backwards, some of the video shit is legitimately creepy. What hurts the movie is sometimes the acting can be goofy and a couple of times the scares seem to backfire and crap on itself, like the electric chair flash. A cool feature is the little video at the very end that tells you about the hidden stuff in the movie with the clues where to find it later. As I said in my list of 5 fun horror sequels, me and my oldest friend had a lot of fun with it as kids but there’s some creepy parts with it. As always, thank you and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Saw

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Anyone want to play a game as I dig into the Saw movies per Savior’s request? No, well shit. Saw is a crazy huge modern low budget that spawned eight movies, two video games, and arguably the film that helped kick off the “gorno”  phase of horror films in the early-mid 2000’s.

Saw is the story of Dr Lawrence Gordon and a dude named Adam who wake up chained by a foot in a dingy bathroom with a dead body, a few strange clues, and a hack saw and are basically left to piece together what’s going on. Gordon recounts the stories he’s heard of the “Jigsaw Killer”, this killer that drops people into deranged and disturbing deathtraps they have to overcome or die. The most famous example of this is the first survivor we encounter, Amanda. A druggie, she awakens with with a strong, rusty metal contraption wired into her mouth that will pretty much break her head apart like a reverse bear trap; her salvation rest in the stomach of her past cellmate and with a a couple minutes to decide she has to cut him open to get the key before dying. We also join two cops on Jigsaw’s trail as they question Gordon, sure he is the culprit. Another player in this game takes Gordon’s family hostage and it is him left with the saw and the choice, how far will he go to survive?

Saw, as a standalone film is pretty solid. It was one of the earliest, if not the first movie James Wan ever did, and you can tell the man who would later give us the modern classics Insidious and The Conjuring has talent; he is one of my favorite directors today. Stylistically it’s interesting. The traps are interesting and actually pretty realistic which adds to the creep factor. Tobin Bell’s voice is iconic now for Jigsaw and the first time you hear his voice with the puppet it’s fucking creepy, I can’t lie. The ending of the movie is actually pretty cleaver and punctuated perfectly by a great score. The only real flaw I can say is sometimes it feels slow and essentially, yes half of the movie is two dudes talking in a filthy bathroom.  I’d recommend it. Thank you as always and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Shiki

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I don’t think I’ve seen an anime that made shift my opinions so rapidly in the span of 26 episodes, ranging from “this sucks balls” to “dammmm”. A little personnel background with me and the anime, I jumped into this because of probably the most deceiving trailer I’ve ever seen in my entire like. The trailer made this look like a ultra dark, grim, almost found footage vampire story and was going to be really disturbing and creepy and…no. This is not the case at all. If you caught my Salem’s Lot review, you’ll recall I called Shiki the anime version of Salem’s Lot and essentially that isn’t wrong. Pretty much a mysterious family moves into a quiet, sleepy little village town and people start dying mysterious deaths. First they get lethargic with flu kind of symptoms and die. The town doctor and a fairly emo high schooler are the only people that see these are vampire attacks and at the end the series abruptly switches paces and holy shit becomes a six episode vampire snuff film. I don’t call myself a anime connoisseur, but I know what I like and I don’t hate it Shiki but it’s my least favorite for three reasons. First, the pacing sucks. The first ten episodes drag and frankly I wasn’t even really invested until episode 14 or so. Secondly, this show feels way more like a soap opera than it should and that drags it down I feel. Third, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Salem’s Lot didn’t either but it had a good story to back it up. The story was fine but none really stuck out to me, hell I can’t even remember any names really. The ending does make up for it a bit, and there is a pathos to the vampires being slaughtered.  I like the designs for the vampires, with the ultra pale skin and giant black and red eyes; the score is fitting and nice. I can’t really recommend it unless you’re a hardcore vampire or anime fan, or you want to see a great fuck you to a truly annoying character that made my day- I will give it that. As always thank you and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

5 fun horror sequels

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Jason maybe a heartless killer and hockey fan but his movies knew how to have fun a bit. Sometimes there’s just a crappy sequel that makes us laugh and makes us appreciate the scary shit a bit more. Here’s 5 of my picks in no particular order of fun horror sequels good for a laugh.

friday6 1. Friday the 13th part 6: Jason Lives- The first movie that flipped off continuity and whatever realistic pretenses the series had by having Jason resurrected from the dead. The dark comedy moments are funny as hell and we get a decent end to the Tommy Jarvis arc. It was a hard pick between 6, 8, and 10 but 6 wins in my heart.

alienr1 2. Alien: Resurrection- “Resurrection” may have a curse when it comes to deeply terrifying horror franchises. The fourth Alien movie has a good concept but sooooo many WTF moments tossed in there and some pretty great moments of overacting. It can be a fun WTF movie if in the right mindset.

blair witch 2 3. Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows- I actually will defend this as a decent movie with some good heavy 90’s music in it and some creepy imagery. Sometimes the acting ain’t great in some places and one o two of the scares backfire which can be kinda funny. Me and my oldest friend had plenty of fun either laughing or decoding this sequel.

leprachaun 5 4. Leprechaun: In the Hood- I hope this says it all, and if it doesn’t, allow me- WHY THE FUCK IS THE LEPRECHAUN IN THE HOOD?…one scene says it all, a bunch of dudes hittin a bong with the Leprechaun. Yep.

halloween 8 5. Halloween: Resurrection- 2 words. All I need. Busta Rhymes. I’ve never laughed more at a horror movie than Busta’s crazy ass using kung fu on Michael Myers and cursing him out. You have to watch it for yourself to gather the absurdity of this movie.

Misery

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Ya know how there’s a drawback to every career choice, no job is completely great and wonderful. I know being famous ain’t all it’s cracked up to be but this made me not want to be a writer, director, or any kind of artist. Misery is the rare kind of story that believably real and so much more terrifying because of it. Much like Pet Sematary, which I covered earlier, both movie and book are great but this time I can say I prefer the book, though the movie is still an amazing adaptation.

Paul Sheldon is a famous author of a series of books named after the main character Misery, which he has gotten fed up with over the years. He has a tradition to go to a cabin he has in the mountains when he’s about to finish a book. He finishes the last book in Misery’s series to his relief. On his way back down to go to his publishers, he gets caught in a storm storm and crashes his car. His car totaled, his body unconscious and wrecked, it looks bad for the author. But he is saved by a large, heavy woman named Annie Wilkes that brings him home and nurses him back to health. Annie loves the Misery books with all her heart. Looking through his bag, she finds Paul’s manuscript for a new Misery; Paul lets her read it, after all she did save his grumpy ass and nothing could possibly go wrong, right? Annie is full of girlish glee…until she reads the ending. She snaps, screaming at Paul, slamming him and his bed up and down in a violent rage. She forces him to burn the new book he has been working on and begin a new book to revive Misery, dedicated to her of course. Paul is in living hell, immobile, isolated from a world that thinks he’s dead except for a sheriff in the mountain town. But can Paul hold out until then while Annie grows more intensely mad and her true colors reveal themselves…

A main difference I get between the book and movie is that the two main characters are much more flushed out. In the book we learn a lot about Paul as he struggles to finish the book he never wanted to make and how by the end he almost loves the series again because of how much it challenged him. Annie’s portrayal either way amazingly lifelike but there were touches in the book that strangely made me relate her to Blaine the Mono from the third Dark Tower book. The movie does an amazing job with the acting, especially Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes, and never ceases to loose tension in it’s confined space. I highly recommend it if you enjoy good old fashion suspense over gore and body counts, though who can forget the hobbling?