I am not ashamed to admit that not only is “Cobra” a child hood favorite of mine, but it’s a movie I still quite love, if only for its unique villain. When you take a pumped up anti-hero like Cobra, you have to give him someone to match, and George P. Cosmatos gives us a serial killer cult leader who plans to lead a New World Order of other serial killers. Their plan is to begin a new civilization by—um—killing a lot of people? I wasn’t quite sure what the big plan was. The muddled plan by the film’s villain is made up for by Brian Thompson who is just the ultimate bad guy on film. He’s creepy, menacing, and can deliver lines with his deep grunt that make him sound otherworldly. The best aspect of “Cobra” though is Sylvester Stallone who plays Marion “Cobra” Cobretti. How cool and convenient is that name?
Stu Segall’s attempt at a horror movie is only seventy minute in length but feels like it goes on for an eternity. Resembling a really cheap and gory cop drama, “Drive In Massacre” is painfully paced and poorly plotted with a tone that is literally all over the place. Sometimes it’s a slasher, sometimes a murder mystery, sometime it tries to be a true crime drama, and other times, it opts for comedy. How are we supposed to take our heroes at all seriously when, in an effort to infiltrate the murderer targeting drive in couples, one of the officers decides to dress up as a woman? What is the intent behind “Drive-In Massacre”? Are we supposed to consider it a satire that was way ahead of its time? Was the director aiming for something in the vein of “The Town that Dreaded Sundown,” except it’s all confined to a local drive in?
The writing team of Chuck Norfolk, Steven Scott Norfolk, and Tim Norfolk have written a film that wants to be an 80s movie and gets some of the true 80s feelings and vibes, but they also use a lot of more current way for characters to act. Directed by Chuck Norfolk, the film feels like what a full-grown filmmaker thinks the general public wants to see about the 80s. It’s less John Hughes homage and more caricature of the 80s through a 2010s teen’s eyes. The film has some things that work, but the attempt at rendering the 80s feels force and like something without much thought put into it. The film uses a lot of clichés from other films without thinking if they fit in here, thinking if it looks like what we think the 80s were like, it will work. However, the 80s represented here do not feel right; they don’t feel like the 80s of many other films, or even the 80s this reviewer remembers. The characters in this setting feel mostly like caricatures with one feeling a bit less like so, but looking more like she would belong in this decade or the 2000s.
“BC Butcher” was made by Ms. Bowling when she was seventeen and she poured all of her resources in to making an hour long feature that paid tribute to the B movies of the sixties. Bowling has a clear cut love for drive-in trash like “Teenage Caveman” and “Eegah!” and delivers a schlocky indie film that also doubles as the first slasher film set during the caveman era. Filled with a lot of call backs to the sixties, and absolutely no attention to historical accuracy, Bowling has an obvious goal here, delivering a movie that’s more a practice in tongue in cheek, rather than straight up horror. You really can’t bash a film that features a supporting role by Kato Kaelin, and is narrated by Kadeem Hardison, too heavily.
It’s shocking how well 1981’s “My Bloody Valentine” holds up. While it is a holiday themed slasher film that would end up becoming one of many, it can be placed in a league of its own for how creepy, eerie, and tense it still is. Sure you can argue that George Mihalka’s film is a bit rough around the edges. In one scene when character Hollis discovers a young couple impaled on top of each other, in a quick edit, you can see the actress breathing. But that doesn’t stop “My Bloody Valentine” from turning in to a very tightly written and engaging horror film about a psychotic miner who really hates Valentine’s Day. Mihalka’s film transforms in to a slick amalgam of “Friday the 13th” and “The Town that Dreaded Sundown,” where our maniac Harry Warden is created after the result of gross negligence.
I can’t help but appreciate the inherent ambition behind the production of “Pitchfork.” Director and Writer Glenn Douglas Packard delivers a slasher film that offers the classic tropes, while also feeling like something completely different. He also manages to concoct a premise that’s actually original and doesn’t feature the same old idiot teenagers looking to party who get stranded or whatnot. He actually sets out to deliver a unique premise, and gives our characters their own motivations. It’s also not often we get slasher movies with final boys, but “Pitchfork” creates one who is not only genuinely heroic, and selfless, but facing his own dilemma when we meet him.
It’s Friday the 13th and once again I thought it’d be fun to take another look at one of the most widely derided and mocked entry in to the iconic horror series “Friday the 13th.” In 1989 Paramount promised Jason would be visiting New York, and promoted it heavily as a stand out entry in the series. I fondly remember the teaser blowing me away when my dad took my brother and me to see “Weekend at Bernie’s.” Sadly the studio cut most of the film’s budget big time, and in a one hundred minute movie, Jason is only in New York for a grand total of fifteen minutes. And a majority of that time Canada blatantly doubles for New York. Because, you know, New York has a ton of Hockey billboards around the city. In either case, here are five things the deliciously terrible “Jason Takes Manhattan” taught me.
After the slow burn of his indie thriller “Absentia,” director Mike Flanagan delights again with “Hush.” One of the many films in the grand tradition of “Wait Until Dark,” director Flanagan teams a disabled heroine against a merciless predator who not only wants to murder, but also delights in making her final moments as painful as possible. With a limited setting and cast, director Mike Flanagan is able to take what could have been a tired rehash of tropes and clichés, and transforms it in to a devastating and intense game of cat and mouse. Maddie is a woman who was left deaf and mute after a viral infection. Seeking to finish her new novel, she ventures out in to a condo in the woods as a means of getting away from a turbulent relationship and figuring out how to finish her new manuscript. One night, Maddie doesn’t notice the wolf standing at her door who quickly realizes her inability to detect him.