Take the unabashed violence of the eighties action films where all that stood between peace and war was one guy with a gun, throw in a slasher film, and you have what is one of my absolute childhood favorites. “Cobra” brings me back to a time where I’d watch Marion Cobretti bring down a thug with the cold hard steel of his Colt .45 and still have time to go home and unwind with some left over pizza. Thankfully “Cobra” still pretty much holds up today as a mixing of two very popular genres from the decade, and it works for the most part.
Jamie Blanks’ “Valentine” is one of the many latter day slasher films that would completely steal from the premise of “Slaughter High” and retrofit it to a new generation, as well as blatantly ape the gimmick of “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” “Valentine” is one of the more ambitious slashers that not only steals from “Slaughter High” but also jumps on the valentine holiday as its primary gimmick for the stalking and slashing. “My Bloody Valentine” always has my loyalty, while “Valentine” is just a sub-par absolutely vanilla slasher thriller with the classic whodunit plot motivation that also became a common element of latter day slashers post-“Scream.”
It’s fascinating to watch “10 to Midnight” today and explore how dated it’s become and how much the themes and overtones it presents have been somewhat flipped on its head. J. Lee Thompson attempts to appeal to the folks that love their Dirty Harry’s and Lee Marvins by basically trying to turn Charles Bronson in to something of an aged vigilante that we can root for. But he basically comes off as an anti-hero, and “10 to Midnight” ends up becoming a war between a psychopath and a corrupt cop, both of whom never actually come out looking pristine once the film draws to a close.
According to sources, Lee Harry’s “Silent Night Deadly Night 2” was given a horrible budget, and was asked to re-cut the original film to make it look brand new. What we get is basically a barebones plot about the brother of the original murderer… for about thirty minutes or so. About seventy five percent of the film is a highlight reel from the original film with everything from the origin of the series, to every single murder that ensues, right down to Linnea Quigley’s famous death. While that amounts to nothing, Eric Freeman works overtime to make this “sequel” a worthwhile viewing experience, and he accomplishes that.
This horror parody takes on the Friday the 13th franchise and other teens in the woods/camp in peril and gives it all a comedic spin. Here the campers are under threat from a copycat killer who is willing to go pretty far to get his kills, all in glorious 2D!Continue reading
Often considered one of the greatest of the horror movie boogey men, Candyman probably would have been a swing and miss were it not for the gravitas that Tony Todd exudes with every performances he takes on. “Candyman” is one of the more genuinely eerie and gruesome ghost stories of the 1990’s that also doubles as a gory slasher. It’s a great fit for a decade where horror was mostly a serious affair and audiences were looking for more novel, entertaining fare to get lost in. “Candyman” is one of the few genuine slasher icons of the nineties that was able to keep the horror genre mostly afloat. While the sequels leave a lot to be desired, it’s hard to top what sense of terror the original from Bernard Rose brings to the table.
While it’s important to note that Wes Craven’s 1995 horror entry “Scream” was a very influential horror movie that reinvigorated the slasher sub-genre, it’s also important to chronicle the films that it influenced. After the release of “Scream,” every studio far and wide began releasing their own slasher films, and many of them were whodunits, and or based around some kind of gimmick. While slasher movies are the breakdown of taboos and morality tales with the help of folklore, “Urban Legend” cuts right to the chase creating a slasher who uses urban folklore to dispense of hapless victims in a college. The results are, suffice to say, a mixed bag.
AJ Wedding’s found footage movie mostly gets by on its interesting concept that I had a very good time with. Wedding takes the found footage concept and imagines if the “Jackass” crew pulled off one too many pranks on one their crew prompting a psychotic murderous rampage. “The Jokesters” has a ton of potential to be a very original and fun horror comedy, but in the end shockingly feels only half developed. At eighty minutes, it’s surprising how little it realizes the big hook with the descent in to pure gore and horror.