Yutaka Kohira’s “Sonny Chiba’s Dragon Princess” (Or “Dragon Princess,” or “Lady Karate,” or “Assassin Woman’s Fist”) is a misleading title often being boasted as a Sonny Chiba film, even though he has nothing more than a glorified cameo. The actual star, Etsuko Shiomi headlines as a girl whose father Agaki (Chiba) is confronted by two martial arts masters who challenge him to a fight, intent on taking his position as top karate master.
Scott Glosserman’s horror masterpiece is a beautiful examination of the slasher sub-genre and its once simplistic genre elements takes a story, and provides a whole new twist to the axe wielding maniac. In the process, it presents us with dark humor that’s actually funny, great performances, and debuts from actors you’ll want to see more often after this. The humor in “Behind the Mask” is never smug of self-aware, and the movie never once breaks the fourth wall by making audiences aware that yes, they are watching a slasher film. Director Scott Glosserman breaks down the elements of the sub-genre forcing audiences to take a second look at the whole concept of the slasher film and the axe wielding maniac.
There’s some supernatural element in “Friday the 13th” that doesn’t fully reveal itself until “Jason Lives.” Before that, Jason was more of a mortal superhuman capable of being killed and he is presumably stopped in “The Final Chapter.” In Danny Steinmann’s “A New Beginning,” Jason is definitely dead and Tommy has difficulty moving on as he’s haunted by Jason’s image time and time again. Since the fifth film apparently still takes place in the town of Crystal Lake, Tommy is still facing the trauma of battling Jason, even though it’s established he’s buried.
Lance W. Dreesen and Clint Hutchison’s horror anthology is a movie that’s managed to slip under the radar and remain fairly obscure. Even in the age where old titles are being revived for physical releases, and even in the age of the anthology renaissance, not too many people talk about “Terror Tract.” It’s a shame, since the 2000 horror film is a bold mix of terror, dark comedy, and zany violence that make it feel like an EC Comic that is slowly losing its sanity as it unfolds. You wouldn’t think that the late John Ritter could have been a great person to lead such a stellar horror anthology, but he’s top notch in a film that’s so unfairly overlooked.
The “Tales from the Hood” series keeps chugging on and sadly doesn’t seem to be taking advantage of its platform involving racial and social commentary, anymore. While “Tales from the Hood 3” is a solid horror anthology, it doesn’t pack any of the social commentary we saw in the original movie and the zany sequel. That both works against and for the considerably low budget follow up. I doubt a lot of people are going to enjoy “Tales from the Hood 3” but I had a good time.
Beneath the surface of Todd Tucker’s, there’s a fantastic Halloween themed horror movie. “The Terror of Hallow’s Eve” is a movie with so much flab and filler that it ultimately loses sight of what it’s trying to accomplish, not to mention it distracts from the utterly fantastic special effects and supporting performances. You’ll have a hard time appreciating those elements since Zack Ward’s script’s pacing is so glacial. “The Terror of Hallow’s Eve” is a mix of “976-Evil,” “Halloween,” and “Cellar Dweller,” with a lot of spirit, but none of the sinister tone or deep rooted menace.
The “Slumber Party Massacre” movie series has never really been too much of a straight faced horror movie franchise. The original film is a dark, silly bit of slasher fodder that is famous mainly for its title. The sequel from Deborah Brock basically takes the whole series in a direction that’s bizarre, completely unusual, and borrows very much from 1985’s “Freddy’s Revenge” with its strong and blatant LGBTQ overtones.
The odd thing about Josh Hasty’s “Candy Corn” is that it feels like the first chapter in an anthology or movie series. I don’t know how far they’ll take this concept, but I’d love to see more Halloween based tales of revenge as coordinated by this traveling carnival and its vindictive ring master. I’m not going to say that “Candy Corn” is a masterpiece, but as far as Halloween movie treats, it’s a very good horror film soaked in the Halloween aesthetic.