Monday, November 3, 2014

Zombie Blood®

I don't run any ads on this blog because I don't want to feel like I'm getting bought off to push products onto the awesome people who visit it. I also like being in control of what's promoted on my blog, though sometimes I do whore it out in support of stuff I genuinely think is really cool. I've done it a few times before to promote things like Cinema Sewer, Horror T-shirts, and even the Mortal Kombat game I was super excited about. But I want to be clear that I was never paid or given anything in return for a favorable post on any of those things and this situation is no different. I'm not a big alcohol drinker myself but I got a tweet on Halloween day asking me to spread the word on a new drink coming out called Zombie Blood®. I'd be lying if I said my interest wasn't immediately piqued. After checking out their IndieGoGo campaign, I was sold.

I have no idea what this stuff tastes like and I don't really care. To have a drink called Zombie Blood® that looks like blood in a bottle that glows-in-the-dark is just too awesome. What really sold me was the haphazardly choreographed Thriller dance at the end of their promotional video. Also, for them to reach out to me on Halloween, I couldn't help but find this whole product charming.

With the previous things I mentioned promoting earlier, I actually had the product in hand and could recommend it with confidence. I'm not telling everyone to start throwing money at this product blindly. Let me just reiterate that I wouldn't know if this stuff tasted like putrid shit leaking out of a rotting zombie carcass or not. I just thought the promotion for this product was on point and wanted to share it with anyone who might be interested, because I really wouldn't mind seeing a bottle of this stuff on the shelf the next time I walk into a bar.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist (USA, 1973) - Color, Director(s): William Friedkin
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 18]
Approx. 122 min.

Z-rating: 5 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 1 stars out of 5

Often called the "scariest movie of all time," The Exorcist is based on the book that's based on the real-life exorcism of a 14-year-old boy. Roland Doe, a pseudonym given to protect the child, was allegedly possessed by the devil and had as many as nine Jesuit priests involved in his exorcism. As an only child, he was particularly close to his Aunt who was a spiritualist and introduced him to the Ouija Board. After she passed away, they began experiencing strange disturbances such as furniture moving and objects levitating across the room. Some believe the child may have attempted to contact his aunt using the Ouija Board. When the child began acting strangely, he was examined by medical and psychiatric professionals who found nothing wrong with the boy. Turning to the church, they got approval and the boy received a number of exorcisms. During one of the failed exorcisms, the boy's hands slipped free of his restraints and used a bed spring to slash the priest's arm. The details of the exorcism vary from one account to the next, some saying that the words "evil" and "hell" appeared on his body. Others say the word "hello" appeared on his chest and the face of the devil appeared on his leg. Scratches, seemingly made by claws, were also said to appear on his body.

This almost never leads to anything good...

The story made it into the papers where it inspired William Peter Blatty to write a novel based on the exorcism, he also wrote the screenplay for this film adaptation. In it, a 12-year-old girl named Regan becomes possessed by the devil after playing with a Ouija Board. Her mother, who is an actress, takes her to doctors and psychiatrists but they are unable find anything wrong with her. At the same time, a priest named Damien Karras is shaken by the loss of his mother and his faith begins to waver. Father Karras is the one who collects evidence of Regan's possession and presents it to the church. The bishop green lights the exorcism and brings in Father Merrin, who has experience with exorcisms. As it turns out, Father Merrin has previously "defeated" Pazuzu, the demon possessing Regan.

Up until the exorcism, we're just watching this innocent little girl plan for her birthday party. The first half takes its time slowly setting up for the second half, things get completely out of control when the exorcism begins. Some things were obviously exaggerated for the movie, for example, I doubt Roland Doe's head turned completely around. In real life, some people suspect that Doe may have either suffered from a mental illness or that he might've been faking the entire possession. In the end, they were able to "successfully" exorcise the child, who supposedly went on to live a normal life. There have been documentaries that explore the story of Roland Doe, In the Grip of Evil is supposed to be a good one.

Nudity: None. Although Regan spouts some really vulgar things while she's possessed like "Let Jesus fuck you!" while repeatedly jamming a crucifix into her crotch. Then she screams "Lick me!" while pushing her mother's face into her bloody crotch. This is one of the most disturbing things in any horror movie ever.

Gore: There isn't much blood or guts but the special effects are really disturbing. Regan's make up is horrific and her head spins around on her body. She vomits on the priests performing the exorcism, which is famously known to be pea soup. The famous spider-walk scene, performed by a contortionist that was suspended by wires, was originally cut from the theatrical release because the wires were visible. In the later home video releases, the wires were digitally removed and the scene was added back into the movie.

Awesome: When I first heard the reputation this movie had for being the "scariest movie ever" I just had to see it for myself. I rented this and watched it with my mom but was disappointed when it didn't scare me so hard that I pooped a duke. I've definitely grown to appreciate this movie since, especially after having seen more films in the genre. Every exorcism film has pretty much tried to copy this movie with limited success. This is still the granddaddy of all exorcism movies, with its chilling atmosphere and haunting special effects. There's no denying the massive impact this film had, everything from Scary Movie 2 to Futurama has paid homage to this film. I know full-grown adults that still refuse to watch it to this day because of how much it traumatized them as a child. The Exorcist (hell)spawned two sequels, one of which was written and directed by William Peter Blatty himself, and two prequels. None of which would even come close to capturing the creepy and truly terrifying imagery of the original. Don't let this movie's reputation build your expectations up too high to where you'll be disappointed though. Just let your guard down and watch this with an open mind. This film will undoubtedly have a stronger effect on those with a religious background but if you believe there's even a slight possibility the devil exists, this movie will chill you to the bone!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Alien (1979)

Alien (USA/UK, 1979) - Color, Director(s): Ridley Scott
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 15]
Approx. 117 min.

Z-rating: 4 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 1 stars out of 5

What the hell are all those lights for?

When talking about the Alien franchise, most people think of Aliens, the action-packed sequel by James Cameron. Most of the video games based on the franchise have been shooting games, so it's easy to see where the association comes from. The original is much more of a slow, atmospheric horror that takes its time building up tension. Set designs and special effects are mind-numbingly detailed and look fantastic, even by today's standards. Much of the look is due to the work of H.R. Giger who designed, among many other things, the alien creature. Anyone who's seen enough Roger Corman pictures can tell you that a set can be quickly and cheaply built to look like the interior of a space ship, but they look so realistic here that it's easy to forget you're watching a movie.

We start with the Nostromo, a commercial towing vehicle with a crew of seven people, on its way back to Earth. The crew is awakened from stasis by the ship's computer after it intercepts a transmission of unknown origin from a nearby planetoid. They're ordered by the company to investigate the source of the signal, so they land on the planetoid. A member of the team accidentally gets a face-hugger attached to his... well, face that they can't remove. Every time they try, the tail wraps tighter around his throat. When they try to cut one of its legs off, it bleeds acid that burns through 3 levels of the ship. The crew is stumped about what to do when the thing just falls off and dies. The guy whose face it was on just gets up like nothing happened, so everyone just forgets about it and they have their last meal before returning to stasis. During the meal, something bursts out of his chest and runs off. The crew goes after it but it rapidly grows to over 6 ft. tall and starts killing off the crew one after another.

This movie is often referred to as a slasher in space because the alien creature, eventually dubbed "xenomorphs" in the the sequels, stalks the crew around the spaceship like Jason stalks teenagers through the woods. There are also some false scares like when they think they found the xenomorph using a motion tracker but it turns out to be the cat. Ripley, as the final girl, is the only one who wants to follow protocol when the face-hugger is attached to the guy's face. Ultimately, she's the one who figures out that the company wanted the xenomorph, a "perfect organism" they want to weaponize, brought back even at the expense of the entire crew. 

Hug me, dammit!

Nudity: At the end of the movie, we see Ripley strip down to her panties and an undershirt. The panties are so skimpy that we see some plumber's crack when she leans forward.

Gore: There's the famous chest bursting scene, which is probably the most famous scene of the entire movie. There are also splatters of blood each time someone is killed by the creature. The part where they beat the crap out of the android and all that white, milky stuff comes out doesn't really count.

Awesome: Very. The confined setting creates a suspenseful atmosphere and the crew being so helpless is what makes it terrifying. They aren't prepared to fight this thing and can't use conventional weapons because it bleeds acid. I think this movie is a masterpiece but the action-packed sequel is what really put this franchise on the map. I have to admit that I've always preferred Aliens because it's more exciting and has more than one alien. Even though it's more of an Action/Sci-Fi film, it's still scary as shit to know they were actually prepared to fight these things and still got their ass handed to them. Alien 3 had Ripley on a prison planet where another alien is running amok, killing inmates. Also, she finds out that she has an Alien Queen growing inside of her. Alien Resurrection takes place 200 years later with a Ripley clone. Obviously, they were trying to breed the aliens and end up letting them escape. Eventually, we got two Alien Versus Predator movies that were really lackluster. Much like Freddy vs. Jason, we were promised a crossover between the two franchises for many years. There was a comic book crossover way back in 1989-1990, a bunch of toys were released during the mid-90's, but we didn't get a movie until 2004! Unlike Freddy vs. Jason though, the AVP movies did not live up to expectations and many fans were disappointed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hellrasier (1987)

Hellrasier (UK, 1987) - Color, Director(s): Clive Barker
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 18]
Approx. 94 min.

Z-rating: 5 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 1 stars out of 5

The Lament Configuration

Clive Barker directs this adaptation of his own novel entitled, "The Hellbound Heart." From the very beginning of the film, you know you're in for a hell of ride! A man is shown paying someone off to get his hands on a cube that turns out to be some kind of puzzle box. In the next scene, he's kneeling in a dark room lit only by the candles arranged around him in a ritualistic manner. Once opened, chains with hooks shoot out from the box and tear into his flesh as he cries out in pain. The room is suddenly transformed into a nightmarish torture chamber with chains dangling from the ceiling as creepy, gothic S&M monsters dig through his remains. A mysterious figure picks up and closes the puzzle box and all of it disappears. The entire sequence sets a creepy atmosphere for the rest of the film and is incredibly violent. There's no dialogue except for the exchange over the puzzle box but the visuals paint a powerful picture.

Frank, the man that was killed, has traveled the world in search of the ultimate sensual experience. After having experienced every sexual pleasure known to man, Frank has become jaded and seeks more extreme stimulation. During his travels, he hears rumors about something called the Lament Configuration (the puzzle box) that opens a portal to a dimension of limitless pleasures. The monsters that come through the portal, called Cenobites, are so extreme that they don't differentiate between pain and pleasure. Larry and his wife, Julia, are moving into his mother's old house. During the move, Larry cuts his hand on a nail and bleeds onto the floor of the attic. The blood revives Frank, who was killed at the beginning of the film, but he's not whole yet.

I've talked about regeneration scenes before when I reviewed Child's Play 3 and Jason Voorhees has a good one in Freddy vs. Jason but this may be the best one yet. The blood seeps through the floorboards and we see Frank's heart starts beating underneath the floor. Bones push up through the floor and his brain reforms from a pile of goo, it's one of the most disgusting regeneration scenes ever witnessed. Frank slowly regenerates over time and gets his skin last, so he's walking around with his muscles and intestines exposed. Larry's daughter, Kirsty, manages to get ahold of the puzzle box and releases the Cenobites. Frank has killed her father and taken his skin but Kirsty must now prove that Frank escaped the Cenobites and get out of the house before she is taken herself.

Nudity: We see Julia and Frank fully naked in bed together but no gentials are shown.

Gore: Some of the best I've ever seen. The scenes with the Cenobites are so gruesome, people are torn apart by their hooked chains. The Cenobites are sadomasochistic monsters that modified their bodies in horrific ways to achieve some sick level of pleasure. A lot of the effects still hold up today.

Awesome: to the MAX! This is one of the greatest horror movies of all time, it perfectly blends creepy supernatural elements with being violently gruesome gorefest. This film spawned a series that would eventually become a direct-to-video franchise. The sequel was still decent but the rest of the series strays way off course, eventually going into space and a cyber world within a video game. Doug Bradley's Cenobite is now known as Pinhead and he reprises his role in all of the sequels with the exception of the remake. Most of these sequels do not live up to the original, in fact, the remake was released just to retain the rights to the franchise. Ignoring the sequels, the original is still one of the most truly terrifying and twisted horror movies ever made.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Dawn of the Dead (Italy/USA, 1978) - Color, Director(s): George A. Romero
MPAA Rating: UR
[UK: 18]
Approx. 127 min.

Z-rating: 5 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 2 stars out of 5

Dawn of the Dead? Why Dawn and not Night of the Living Dead? There's absolutely no denying the monumental influence of George A. Romero's classic, Night was the birth of the modern day zombie. Before that, cinemas only featured voodoo zombies but George Romero made them undead flesh eaters. Well, I'm saving Night for something else I'm doing, so I decided to review Dawn instead.

The second film in Romero's legendary Living Dead series, Dawn of the Dead was also a hugely influential film. This was first one in the series to be in color and the first to feature special effects by Tom Savini, this movie became an international sensation. In Italy, where it was released until the alternative title Zombi, it spawned its own Italian spin-off series of zombie movies beginning with Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2. Not to mention influencing a slew of knock offs like Hong Kong's Bio-Zombie and a ton of Italian-made zombie films like Hell of the Living Dead.

Following the outbreak of undead flesh eating corpses in Night of the Living Dead, it has now become a nation-wide epidemic. A couple that works for a TV station plan to escape using the network's helicopter, meanwhile a SWAT team is raiding an apartment building where the tenants are hoarding their dead. Two members of different SWAT teams decide to join the news couple in their escape and the four are off. They fly around for awhile before finding a shopping mall to hole up in while they gather supplies. Some people have interpreted the mall setting as social satire on consumerism but it makes a great setting for a zombie movie. They eventually find a way around the mall through the heating ducts and start the painstaking process of blocking off the entrances. Once everything is finally set up, that's when the real fun begins! They get to run around the mall trying on clothes, playing games at the arcade, and going on an endless shopping spree. For awhile, it seems like the ideal situation, until a biker gang shows up to loot the place and turn everything upside down. Everything the original group worked so hard to build is left in shambles after a matter of minutes.

Nudity: None that I can think of

Gore: This movie features the early work on Tom Savini but any time that Savini is involved, you're pretty much guaranteed a ton of gore. From the very beginning of the movie, you can see how awesome the bite effects look when a zombie bites a woman in the apartment building. There's also an awesome headsplosion effect when one of the SWAT guys goes apeshit and blasts a tenant with his shotgun. Tom Savini is actually in the movie as one of the bikers, he's the one that puts the machete into the zombie's head during the mall raid.

Awesome: to the MAX! George Romero's original Living Dead trilogy are some of the best zombie movies around. You can still see the influence of these movies today. Dead Rising was a game for the Xbox 360 that paid homage specifically to Dawn of the Dead, taking place entirely in a mall during a zombie outbreak. Call of Duty: Black Ops was a first-person shooter that featured a Nazi Zombie mode. In an expansion map pack, George A. Romero himself was featured as a non-playable enemy boss character. Dawn of the Dead is also the only one of the original trilogy to be made successfully remade. The original was followed by Day of the Dead, which also featured Tom Savini's special effects. In fact, it arguably has the best special effects of any zombie movie to date. Zombies have become extremely popular in mainstream with comics, video games, movies, TV shows, events, and merchandise of all kinds devoted to them. All owing George Romero and his original Living Dead movies for inspiring what has become a sub-culture all its own.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist (USA, 1982) - Color, Director(s): Tobe Hooper
MPAA Rating: PG
[UK: 15]
Approx. 114 min.

Z-rating: 5 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 2 stars out of 5

Fun fact: Did you know the PG-13 rating wasn't introduced until July 1984? That would explain how this movie gets away with a PG rating despite some pretty graphic and intensely frightening scenes. Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is at the helm of this movie that's co-written and co-produced by Steven Spielberg. Due the fact that real skeletons were used as props, it is believed there is a curse associated with these films because a few people involved with this film died prematurely. There's no denying how significant this film's influence has been. The first ever Simpson's Treehouse of Horror ("Bad Dream House") episode makes a couple references to this film, the house was built on an Indian burial ground and the house implodes at the end like the one in this movie. Family Guy had an entire episode dedicated to parodying this movie (Season 4 Episode 26 - "Petergeist"). Troma Entertainment produced a movie called Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead that obviously references this movie, a fast food restaurant is built on top of an Indian burial ground that causes the spirits to manifest as chicken zombies. Scary Movie 2 also makes a few references to this movie.

Craig T. Nelson plays Steven Freeling, a real estate agent whose house was built on top of a cemetery. Now the spirits of the desecrated graves are pissed off. The disturbances start out small like chairs stacking on their own and things moving around by themselves. They actually seem pretty excited about it at first, that is until a tree breaks through the window and takes their son! While the family is busy getting the son down from the tree, their youngest daughter (Carol Anne) is sucked into another dimension through the closet. A team of parapsychologists are called in to investigate. You can tell the movie has a sense of humor when one of them is bragging about how he captured a hot wheels car moving across the floor over a span of seven hours. Craig Nelson opens the door to Carol Anne's room and everything in the room is levitating through the air. Those funny moments lull you into a false sense of security because the next thing you know, a fucking steak is crawls across the kitchen counter and a drumstick that someone was eating is suddenly infested with maggots.

Nudity: None

Gore: There's a scene where one of the paranormal investigators starts ripping his face off and we see chunks of flesh fall into the sink. Even though it's a quick scene, it's pretty disturbing.

Awesome: Very. From what I understand, the premise for this movie was based on the history of Cheesman Park in Denver, Colorado. Originally a cemetery where vagrants and criminals were buried, a crooked undertaker landed a government contract to relocate the graves when they decided to turn it into a park. Instead of ordering new coffins for the bodies, he was ordering child-sized coffins and chopping the bodies into pieces to fit. Sometimes it would take up to three child-sized coffins to fit a body. After the undertaker fled with the money, a lot of bodies were left behind. There are an estimated 2,000 bodies still buried beneath the park. Supernatural occurrences have been reported every since. This is one of the most terrifying supernatural horror movies ever made. I know someone who still refuses to watch this movie to this day because of how much it scared them as a child. Zelda Rubinstein was fantastic as the paranormal medium, she will be greatly missed. There were two sequels and a TV series that followed, none of which were as successful as the original. There's also a reboot in the works, slated for a 2015 release.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (USA, 1974) - Color, Director(s): Tobe Hooper
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 18]
Approx. 83 min.

Z-rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 1 stars out of 5

Theaters called Grindhouses, that played mostly exploitation and violent horror movies, were becoming very popular in the 1960's and 70's. Even amongst these low budget films that emphasized sex and violence, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was considered controversial and banned in several countries following its release. Falsely promoted as a true story, this film's raw and gritty look made it feel like you were watching a crime documentary. The lack of music only helps lend realism to the horrors you're witnessing on screen. From what I understand, filming was particularly difficult because of how hot and humid it was. The crew decorated the walls of the house with drops of real animal blood from a local slaughterhouse and the floors were littered animal remains in varying levels of decomposition. Due to a lack of ventilation and the heat, the house supposedly stunk of death.

Loosely based on the murders of Ed Gein, this movie is about a group of five teenagers on a drive through Texas. More specifically the movie focuses on Sally Hardesty and her handicapped brother Franklin, who were on their way to visit their grandfather's grave. On the way, they pick up a strange hitchhiker who starts cutting himself and cutting Franklin's arm. Thinking the worst was over, they continue on their way until they accidentally stumble upon the scene of "one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history." After the slaughterhouse was shut down, one family apparently went crazy and started killing people. In one of the more disturbing scenes, Sally is tied to a chair and forced to sit at the dinner table with the family of lunatics. They taunt her and laugh sadistically at how terrified she is. All while Leatherface is wearing make up on his mask made of skin and howling like an animal.

Leatherface would go on to become one of the most popular horror icons, often credited as being one of the first masked killers in horror cinema. This film spawned four sequels and a remake that would go on to have its own sequels. The sequels would fail to capture the same level of disturbing and macabre imagery that the original had. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, also directed by Tobe Hooper over a decade later, featured some freaky new characters to fill out the crazy family. Also, Leatherface has the most batshit insane chainsaw battle with the late, great Dennis Hopper at the end. The next couple sequels weren't great but Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, which is supposed to be a sequel to the original but many consider to be a remake, did feature Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey before they were mainstream stars. There wouldn't be another movie for almost another decade until a remake breathed new life into the franchise. The remake was successful enough that a prequel to the entire franchise was made. The last film to date, Texas Chainsaw 3D, was also a direct sequel to the original.

Nudity: None

Gore: Despite not being the bloodbath the title would have you believe it is, this movie still manages to be really disturbing. Only one person is killed with a chainsaw, hardly what I consider a massacre. There is one part where they cut Sally's finger (played by Marilyn Burns) and let their decrepit old grandfather suck the blood from her finger. Supposedly, they had an effect set up that wasn't working or something, so they ended up having to cut her finger for real.

Awesome: This film is surprisingly effective despite not having a ton of gore. There are a lot of dried out corpses and bones that give the movie an eerie atmosphere. The feel of the first film is different from every other one in the franchise, the rest feel more like conventional movies. The grainy film quality and generic sounding narrator that reads the introductory text really adds to the documentary feel of the movie. This movie is really tame compared to the horror movies of today, it's hard to believe that footage had to be cut out to avoid an X rating. Tobe Hooper had originally hoped for a PG rating due to the lack of explicit gore. Still, there's no denying the influence this movie had on the horror genre, laying the foundation for slasher films like Halloween and many others. As with many of these classic franchises, there is another movie already in the works. The next one is supposed to be another prequel that will tell of Leatherface's origins.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Ring (2002)

The Ring (USA/Japan, 2002) - Color, Director(s): Gore Verbinski
MPAA Rating: PG-13
[UK: 15]
Approx. 115 min.

Z-rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 1 stars out of 5

Alright, I know The Ring isn't exactly a "classic" horror movie but if we're talking about influential horror films, you'd be hard pressed not to give it a mention. This movie single-handedly kick-started the Asian Horror remake craze that led to movies like The Grude, Dark Water, Pulse, The Eye, Shutter, One Missed Call, and a slew of others being adapted for American audiences. While proving that PG-13 films could be successful by outperforming R-rated movies such as: Ghost Ship, Cabin Fever, Resident Evil, Queen of the Damned, and even sequels to established franchises like Halloween: Resurrection and Jason X in box offices that same year. Based on a series of Japanese novels, The Ring has become a phenomena that has spawned an ongoing series of films and also popularized the trope of long haired ghost girls around the world.

Two teenage girls are hanging out when one of them tells the story of a killer video tape. After you watch it, the phone rings and someone on the other end tells you that you'll die in seven days. Exactly seven days later, you're supposed to die. Turns out, the other girl already saw the tape last week while up at a cabin with her friends and before you know it, the killer video tape gets her. The girl who witnessed her friend's death ends up in a mental institution and the other kids that saw the video all died around the same time. Naomi Watts plays a journalist who's asked by her sister to investigate what happened because her daughter was the one killed by the video tape. Watts' investigation eventually leads her up to the cabin where the kids saw the video and she ends up watching it herself. With seven days left to live, Watts needs to figure out how to break the curse. To make matters worse, Watts' son also watches the tape and time is ticking for both of them.

Nudity: None

Gore: Not much in the way of visceral gore but there are some disturbing images in the killer video, like severed fingers and nails impaling a finger. This movie relies more on creepy atmosphere and disturbing visuals than it does on violence or gore.

Awesome: Pretty awesome. I remember going to see this movie in theaters with a couple of buddies for Halloween, along with Ghost Ship, and being disappointed that both movies failed to scare us. We stayed up making fun of them until the early hours of the morning. Although it didn't scare us that night, there's no denying the influence this movie had. I used to have a small TV in my room that I used as a VCR, so it wasn't hooked up to the cable. Sometimes it would turn on by itself randomly and there would be nothing but static on the screen. I'd be lying if I said it didn't scare the shit out of everyone whenever it happened in the middle of the night. The same way Psycho made everyone paranoid when they got in the shower and Jaws scared people off the beach, The Ring made everyone shit their pants whenever static came on the TV screen. On that note, check out this prank where a room full of Japanese girls gets the crap scared out of them to the point where they're in tears.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Freddy vs. Jason (Canada/USA/Italy, 2003) - Color, Director(s): Ronny Yu
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 18]
Approx. 97 min.

Z-rating: 5 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 3 stars out of 5

After 16 years in development, two of the biggest icons in the history of horror finally meet on the big screen. At the end of Jason Goes to Hell, there was a big teaser with Freddy Krueger's clawed arm reaching up out of the ground and pulling Jason Voorhees' mask under. Now in the hands of veteran director Ronny Yu (the man who brought us Bride of Chucky, my favorite entry into the Child's Play franchise) we finally get to see these two monsters go head-to-head.

The movie starts with an introduction of Freddy Krueger's character, how he slaughtered children until the parents of Springwood came for him. They play a montage of Nightmare on Elm Street clips showing how Freddy could invaded the kid's nightmares and their fear would give him strength. Now he was trapped in Hell because they finally found a way to forget about him. Disguised as Jason's mother, Freddy sends Jason to 1428 Elm Street (Freddy's old stomping grounds) to start killing off some teens. Knowing this would spark a panic among the families of Springwood, who would all just assume that Freddy was back. His plan works but Jason is killing off the kids faster than Freddy's able to gather his strength. Now that Jason's been cut loose, not even Freddy can stop this killing machine.

Meanwhile, at Westin Hills psychiatric hospital, two former residents of Elm Street see a news report about the murders at 1428 Elm St. Recognizing this as his girlfriend Lori's house, Will and his buddy Mark escape from Westin Hills to make sure she's okay. They've been given Hypnocil to prevent them from dreaming about Freddy Krueger. In fact, anybody who had any contact with Krueger have been quarantined at Westin Hills. Now the teenagers are trapped between Jason who can kill them in the waking world and Freddy who can kill them if they fall asleep. Realizing that they can pit one against the other, they take Jason back to Crystal Lake and pull Freddy out of the dream world. Finally, the two meet face-to-face for their final battle.

Nudity: We get some nudity right when the movie starts, before the title screen appears. Ronny Yu really knows what he's doing! We also get the always beautiful Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, American Mary) baring her breasts on camera.

Gore: In an epic meeting between two of horror cinema's greatest slashers, of course there's going to be tons of the red stuff! People are stabbed, cut, slashed, impaled, burnt, electrocuted, decapitated, eviscerated, and torn in half.

Awesome: to the MAX! This movie was satisfying on every level for fans. The story is loyal to both franchises, including references to previous films like Westin Hills and Hypnocil. There were buckets of blood and guts with some quality T&A, both of which are staples of this genre. The best word I can use to describe this movie is FUN! I had a blast watching this movie in theaters and it's always a good time whenever I pop this into the DVD player. They did a great job marketing this film, having fans pick sides before the movie came out. They even had a weigh-in like they do for professional fights. I was so excited for this movie to come out, I had it set as my background on the computer. The only thing missing was Kane Hodder in the role of Jason. That'd probably be my only complaint. From what I understand, they kept telling him that he'd be in this movie up until things really started getting rolling. Then they wanted someone who was taller to tower over Freddy. Fans were really disappointed when they didn't bring him back. Aside from that, the movie was pretty much everything we've ever wanted from this crossover. One of the original ideas for an ending was both Freddy and Jason would end up back in hell. As they ran toward each other, chains with hooks would pull them apart and Pinhead from the Hellraiser would make an appearance. The biggest problem with this ending was that they didn't have the rights to the Hellraiser characters.