Nelson McCormick’s “Prom Night” is not even technically a remake, at all. In fact most of the film doesn’t even take place during prom night. After drudging through an endless array of teen melodrama that was obviously only a lead up to the killing, director Nelson McCormack’s thriller seems to actively work at not being scary. Perhaps it’s to keep from offending the young audience to which this PG-13 snooze fest was touted to, but “Prom Night 2008” lacks any of the inherent terror the original film possessed, however minimal it is.
When I was a kid, “Hello Mary Lou” was one of my all time favorite horror movies. It was a sequel to a film I didn’t see until many years later, and it was always presented in edited, cut for time versions on Channel 11 WPIX in New York, but I sure as hell loved it. It was just a wacky, occasionally creepy movie that was so much crazier than I originally thought it was. The only theme that “Prom Night II” has in common with the original slasher movie is the overtone of revenge from days past. That is about as far as it goes, as “Prom Night II” takes a massive departure from the original premise involving an axe murderer out for revenge stalking high schoolers leading in to a disco centric prom with Jamie Lee Curtis front and center.
I don’t know what you can chalk it up to. Maybe it was the unfortunate illness of the late great Sid Haig that caused Rob Zombie to re-write a lot of “3 From Hell.” Or maybe he just didn’t know where to take his characters next. For a movie that takes great pains to explaining in detail how and why the Firefly Clan survived, it’s disappointing when “3 From Hell” does absolutely nothing new with them. Rob Zombie has a lot of windows to basically re-invent his characters and present some kind of social commentary, but in the end it’s just Zombie treading water with middling results.
Fantastic Fest 2019 has come and gone once again and we were lucky enough to take in some of their line up from this year’s festivities. There was some damn good short films at the fest this year, and we thought we’d spotlight the line up that played as “Fantastic Shorts,” “Short Fuse,” and were “Paired Shorts” with feature films in the festival. The festival had no shortage of genre shorts; if you’re ever near a film festival or are attending one, be sure to look out for these titles.
Stephen King is an author that never goes away even when he’s experienced something of a renaissance in pop culture. King’s “It” remains one of his most iconic and easily digestible novels, but peculiarly a book that needs drastic alterations to make it more palatable for film. Andy Muschietti had a bonafide challenge on his hands to deliver a two part film that confronted the terror of loss of innocence, and confronting the demons of the past. It all invariably comes dropping down on the Losers Club with the help of the mercilessly vile Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
In this anthology inspired by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, producer Staci Layne Wilson brings together a dozen shorts with themes and content about abuses of power, sexual abuse, and issues affecting women in particular. The stories range from a woman in therapy to a ghost attacking men in a public restroom. Here the shorts all contain storylines that will make viewers think with styles that entertain, scare, and even amuse. The talent in this anthology is of high quality and some of the shorts will be familiar those film festival regulars.
Although “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” has gone down considerably well with audiences it might remain one of the most misunderstood movies of the year. The original books from Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell were compilations of urban legends, urban folklore, and original tales, the former of which had been shared for generations by many people. They began life as morality stories and then became campfire tales. Sure André Øvredal could have turned the books in to a normal anthology, but in the end he opts for something of more substance. “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is about stories. The stories of the past. The stories we tell one another. The stories the characters tell each other to survive. The stories that can ultimately destroy us.
“The Tough Ones” is one of the pair of films that Umberto Lenzi directed that spotlighted the character Tanzi, a man almost driven mad by his need to thwart crime at every corner. Tanzi is something of a great scale anti-hero who spends a lot of his time tracking down a petty thug who is very much a creep and noting very spectacular. Tanzi inspects this crime and chases the criminals like his life depends on it. He spends a majority of the film talking through gritted teeth and shouting at just about everyone and he almost always is on the verge of hurting someone. Tanzi is not meant to be a hero or even a heroic vigilante so much as he’s the corrupt law that’s hell bent on taking down the larger criminal element including Tony Parenzo (Ivan Rassimov) and his efforts to create an underground criminal network.