I just wanted to apologize for not having put up any writings in the past few days, but I've been very busy with my performance in the show "Cats" so I haven't had any free time at all. When I'm done with the show though, I will be able to get back to writing back before. Thanks for all the patience, and I hope you all keep reading.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
It's 1986....."Friday the 13th Part 5: a New Beginning" failed at the box office, and with critics, but Paramount still decided to fund another film. This film became "Jason Lives." This film is the third to follow the life of Tommy Jarvis, and his battle to end Jason forever. The film completely failed at the box office, but it was the first film since the original to receive any positive reviews. Honestly I like the movie for what it is, but I don't see it as anything special. It really didn't give me the same spark as others in the series, and it may be my least favorite of the Paramount films.
The story starts off with showing Tommy Jarvis and his good friend escaping in a truck from the institution. They are on a mission that Tommy leads to see if Jason is really dead. They then find the truth of Jason, and the rest of the film just shows what this reality is.
Okay this film has good and bad news, but to start I'll do the good. My first positive observation is the gore. The killings are brutal, and bloodier than ever. I feel it was one of the goriest installments of the series. The noises that went along with the gore were also very realistic and gruesome.
Another great part is that some(and I mean some) of the jokes were good. The whole RV scene is hilarious gag, and it's one of my favorite humorous scenes from all of films.
One of the problems of the film is the cast. I feel that there wasn't the same likable qualities as before. One of my biggest problems was the change of the casting Tommy. Thom Matthews was okay as Tommy, but not nearly as good as the part could've been. In Part 5, Tommy was shown as strong, and capable, but in this film, he was mainly just crazy and a little dumb. Also, the difference in actors is extremely apparent, because they look nothing alike.
Another problem is the cheesiness of the film. I especially hate the paintball people in the woods, because the music behind them is so cheesy, and they tried too hard to be funny. It reminded me of something like "Every Which Way But Loose," but while it worked for the latter movie, it was really a bad thing for this one.
Okay so Jason is back, but this time he is a zombie? I mean this isn't a bad idea, because it really shows that all of the victims are super screwed. I just feel that it was a little bit of a stretch also, because it took out any sense of reality in the film. Jason had been seen as someone that could've been completely real, but now he just looks like something out of a George Romero film.
As you can see, this film is nowhere near the top of my list. I might even call it my least favorite of the Paramount films. It really took away from what I saw as good in the series, and while some things worked(the violence, etc), a lot of it really didn't. I can't call it an awful film, because some stuff was pretty amazing, but if you are just spontaneously looking for a fantastic horror flick, choose a different one of the series.
Do you all agree with this review? Feel free to voice you opinions.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
The year is 1985, and this fifth installment of the series was released. The supposed 'Final Chapter' had been released the year before, and the filmmakers obviously pulled a Rolling Stones on that farewell. Here's this film, a resurrection from cinema death, a rebirth of a film series that millions of people had grown to love in the five years before. They were honestly as serious as can be when they said that the film was "A New Beginning" though. This film took such a different turn from the installments, because the movie doesn't take place in Camp Crystal Lake, and Jason is no longer the villain of the series. This caused the reception of the film to be awful, by both fans, and critics. I honestly don't see the film to be as bad as what many say, and it's a superb slasher flick.
The film starts off with young Tommy Jarvis(Corey Feldman) being terrorized by Jason Voorhees. This is found out to be a dream, and we are brought to an older Tommy, who is being brought to a mental institution. Here we meet many others that have disorders, and they are terrorized by an unknown villain.
One of the things I really like about this film was the increase of outrageousness. This film took a huge turn in darkness. While I find "The Final Chapter" to be gorier, this one definitely amped up the brutality. The film at the time held the record for body count in the series. The film also showed a lot more onscreen violence than past installments. He killings are also much more creative, and much much more gruesome. A lot of them are cringeworthy.
The suspense in this film is crazy. The moments of running away from the killer are so intense, that they really give a lot of anxiousness to the audience. The scenes were so well do, because the sets and environments were perfect. I especially love when Pam and Reggie are escaping in the woods as a massive thunderstorm takes place. You really can't get a better horror scene than that. The fear of the characters is so realistic, and the killer is as threatening as ever.
In this film, I would call the cast good. John Shepherd was very good as Tommy Jarvis. It was a hard task to take over for Corey Feldman in the role, because his performance was so iconic. I think Shepherd did a fantastic job of being a completely paranoid and occasionally violent version of Jarvis. It was a great idea to bring Jarvis back again, because he was one of the better characters, and they really left a huge cliffhanger of his fate in the previous film. Another standout character in the film was Shavar Ross' character Reggie. Like Tommy Jarvis in Part 4, he really took the role as the cute little kid that you don't want anything to happen to. He did a perfect job of being likable; much like his character on "Different Strokes." Carol Locatell was absolutely hilarious in the role of Ethel. She is so foul, and probably used the f bomb about 30 times her own. Richard Young was also great as Matt, because he was a very likable and genuine guy. Melanie Kinnaman definitely deserves a spot in the 'final girl' hall of fame in her role of Pam, because she had such a vibrant way of expressing her fear. Her screams are really piercing. As a character she was also much smarter and stronger than many of the girls. She had a very likable personality too, and she was great to Reggie.
I think the flow of the film was fantastic. You stay occupied the whole time, and there really isn't anything I could call a dry moment. I think that this is something the series is usually good about, but this one to an even bigger extent. I also feel that this film took a much more serious tone. Even though there is a lot of funny stuff, there really isn't much cheesiness.
I like the fact that the movie changed things up a little. When people saw that there was a new film in the series, they most likely expected another Camp Crystal Lake movie with Jason, but this one as much different. The fact that it takes place in a mental institution gives a huge amount of tension, because the characters themselves have a lot of issues to begin with. I also feel that the mystery of a different killer makes it great, because it brings back the shock of the original.
Many people like to kill on this film. I really don't see it to be nearly as bad as the mainstream calls it. It is a very enjoyable movie, and it really does have some extremely brutal moments. The cast really went above and beyond, and the movie tried to be original. It was also very well directed, and it had a good script. So I cannot call it a bad film at all. I highly recommend watching this film, because while it's not at the top of my list, it is still super fun, and it proves the point that there isn't a bad film of the original Paramount films.
What do you guys think of this film?
The first thing that makes a film scary is the personality of a really good villain. A villain that is frightening is one whom is subtle, demented, silent, and sadistic. You can't have a villain that just kills people. There has to be a deeper brutality in them, and maybe even a suggestion that they take pleasure from what they do. If you look at characters like Michael Myers from "Halloween", or Buffalo Bill from "Silence of the Lambs," you can really see that they're just twisted people. Even though Michael doesn't talk, you can really sense the insanity just by how he presents himself. In Buffalo Bill, you are able to be frightened by the warped dialogue he speaks, and in his happiness of what he does. In a character like Jason Voorhees, the idea that he goes after every teen in the area is pretty crazy, because you know it's a form of vengeance. The thing that will really get you with Jason is how threatening he is when he moves.
The next thing that a scary movie needs is surprise. A movie that just goes through killing people back and forth won't exactly scare you, because there won't be any suspense. But if there are scenes where the audience is under the pressure of not knowing the fate of a character, then they will get much more anxious and scared. One of the greatest examples of this is the film "Halloween." The whole last part of the film is completely insane, because Jamie Lee Curtis is literally on the verge of being murdered the whole time, and she is in like a rush hour chase scene in her own house. The best part of this whole entire thing is the scene where Jamie is hiding in the closet, and Michael opens it to try to find her. This is such a tense and horrifying scene for many, because she is sitting there completely in shock, and Michael has every opportunity to find and kill her. The fact that the scene is filmed dark, and that the closet is small makes it a very very mortifying scene. A horror movie really only needs one scene like this, because that one increment of the whole film will mark your memory forever.
I think a good soundtrack really makes a big difference in the scary nature of a film. The best thing to do is make a theme that will follow through the film as things happen. Great examples; "Jaws", "Halloween", and the "ch ch ch" theme in "Friday the 13th". These theme songs are great, because they really almost work as a way for building up tension in the film. The best thing they can do is tease you with them though, because while they usually are used when something bad is about to happen, if they're used to mess with you, it will throw off your readiness for the scary moments.
I don't think the violence in a film is what really makes it scary. I think it can disgust the viewers, or make them shocked, but I don't find them to be what really scares them. The really frightening things is when things are implied offscreen. When this happens, your imagination really kicks in, and you think of all of the horrible things that might've happened. If you hear loud noises and screaming while the screen is dark, then anything could've happened from a stabbing to torture. I feel this works well, and it will definitely freak people out more than just screen gore.
Overall, I find that movies are scarier when messing with psychological aspects of the audience are messed with. The gore is more for the fun or disgusting nature of the film. If you can really get a person worried, then you have a successful scary movie. What do you all think makes a film scary? Feel free to comment.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Hi all readers,
If you are enjoying this blog, but you don't want to have to check all of the time for new material, then feel free to like my Facebook page for the site. This way, whenever something new is made for the site, then you will just see it in your news feed, and you can read from there. The link is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Slasher-Movies-Uncovered/835176396532739. Thank you for all your support so far, and I promise you there will be a lot more writing to come.
I will start this review, just by saying that this is the BEST FILM OF THE ENTIRE SERIES. It may also be one of the best horror films I have ever seen. This film is the darkest, goriest, and most suspenseful movie of the entire "Friday the 13th" series. It has a great storyline, great characters, amazing performances by all of the cast members, and some really awesome kills. This movie beats the original by so much, and it really took the series to a completely different level in my opinion. There are funny moments in the film, but then there are scenes that fans abroad have found to be some of the most terrifying ever. While I don't find them scary, I've watched the reactions of my friends while viewing this installment, and they were shocked on so many levels. This film is absolutely perfect in the eyes of a horror fan. I literally would not change one thing the film at all. It just gives so much to you, even more than you would expect. While critics don't agree with me on this, I definitely think this was the best quality film of the whole series.
Alright so this film once again starts with flashbacks, but this time, they do scenes from 1, 2, and 3. This was a cool touch, because at the time this was supposed to be the final film, so they really summed up the series in five minutes. I think it was a very clever idea, and it worked great. The film then goes in to the lives of the teenagers, and then of the Jarvis family.
One of my favorite things abut this the cast. It was really the perfect chemistry between the characters to work in a film. The teenagers are especially likable. My favorite of all of them was definitely Crispin Glover. He totally stole the show with his perfect awkwardness and nice guy qualities. He was definitely one of the best young actors of the 80's. Corey Feldman was also awesome, being his performance started off as a sweet little kid, and completely changing by the end. Kimberly Beck was also great in the lead. She had the perfect horror girl qualities, with even a little more to offer. Ted White was also great in doing a horrifying performance as Jason. He really was intense as can be.
Another amazing part of this film is the brutality and darkness of it. This film is definitely the goriest of the series, and it also has one of the highest body counts too. Many fans will agree to name this film as one of the most terrifying ever. It has some of the craziest kills in horror. Corkscrews, axes, knives, anything you can name is used in this film. I definitely find it to be the craziest of the whole series. This makes the movie awesome, because there are many more moments where one will jump and be disgusted. It is also very well done, to the point where it isn't stylized, and isn't fake. The violence in this film is super realistic, and it is definitely awesome. Outside of just the killings, the suspense itself is truly amazing. There are so many moments that you're on the edge of your seat, especially the last quarter of the film.
I think something great that was unlike any of the previous films was that they brought a family into the film. In the previous installments, the victims of the killers were always just groups of punky teenagers. I think the family element gives a lot more sympathy, and a hope that none of them die. This is different from previous films, because a lot of the time you're looking forward to the teenagers dying, because it's almost laughable. Now you feel a lot of pressure that Tommy, Trish, and Mrs Jarvis end up safe. You especially feel sympathy for Tommy, because he is portrayed as an adorable kid. So this brings a whole new set of emotions to the movie, and I think it was a great move.
As mentioned before I loved Jason in this film. Ted White was great in the role, just like many other actors that portrayed the character. What was great in this film was the fact that Jason had a whole new spectrum of terror that came about him. I feel like this was one of his darkest moments. There was something even more threatening about him than in any of the films before. His look was great too, because the mask was great, and basically the whole body structure of him in this movie was awesome.
The film was called the "Final Chapter," but as you know, this wasn't true at all. I think that this name must've especially confused fans at the end of the film, because of the humongous cliffhanger. I think what the name truly meant was moreso that this was the last chapter in the way that the films were currently being made, because as seen in the future installments, the stories changed quite a bit. I like this title though, because even though it's mildly deceptive, it really gives the proper dark feeling to it, doing justice to the film's atmosphere as a whole.
Overall, this is defintiely the best "Friday the 13th" film ever. I really feel that this was the closest to a masterpiece of 80's horror flicks. It was dark, well made, gorier than ever, funny, and just a high quality slasher flick that I will never forget. I honestly have no idea of why the critics were so hard on this film, because it was definitely far superior in quality compared to the first. My guess is that by the time that this film was released, the press was starting to get tired of the series, so they just passed it off as rubbish. I really recommend giving this film a chance though, because it really gives everything a fan or slashers wants, and it just a fun fun movie that will keep you right on the edge of your seat.
Monday, November 10, 2014
It was 1982, and audiences all around the world had already been shocked by two "Friday the 13th" films. Many people people probably wondered if they would be able to witness another installment. Well the answer to this was yes. The thing that probably really surprised people was that now they could see the brutal antics of Jason Voorhees in 3D!!!! "Friday the 13th Part 3" is a different film. It follows the same theme of the first two, but it has a very different tone. This film went much more towards a fun factor. While there are still brutal killings, you spend a lot more time laughing than you are in terror. This film also marks the very appearance of Jason's iconic hockey mask. While I don't see this film to be as good as the first two films, or some of the others in the series, but it is still definitely a fun flick, and it has some awesome 3D moments. Critics panned this film to the bone. It was given 14% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. I think this was harsh for the film to be trashed this hard, because while it's not a technically good film, it definitely gives the audience what is wanted in a horror film.
The film once again starts off with flashbacks of the film before. This works very well, because in the time they were released, the people may have forgot what happened, so they get refreshed now and they can see the next chapter of the film. The film then starts with the logo/title sequence. While this one is cool, it is definitely a drop down from the awesomeness of the first two films. It is much more colorful, and the background is filled with a synthy 80's song. This is definitely a nice touch, but I almost like the simplicity of the first two intros more. This one took away from the intensity and terror of the original ones.
This film took a huge turn in personality. It was much heavier on the jokes. There are more laughing moments than there are scary in my opinion. This sometimes causes the film to be cheesy, but I don't see this as a problem, because it really makes a balance between the harsh realities of the series, and some good fun. One of the funniest gags of the film is the van scene where they think cops are after them.
I feel that the acting was lesser than the first two, but still good enough to be watchable. Some of the performances come across as sappy, and almost forced. The biggest example of the is probably Shelly(Larry Zerner). He is supposed to be a funnier character, and while this succeeds at many times, there also scenes where he is truly annoying. I think Dana Kimmell does a great job in the role of the lead female, because she gives you reasons to like her with her great personality, and she just really excels at giving a good horror girl performance. I also think that Richard Brooker did a fantastic job in the role of Jason, because behind Kane Hodder, I find him to be the most convincing and suspenseful Jason of all. Other than that, there aren't any huge standouts in the film, but the rest of the cast is neutral and good.
This movie is one of the least gory of the series, and I feel that it was hit too hard by the censors, because the kills don't really strike me the same way as in other films. They're still great ones, but they are mainly off screen or quick shots, so they don't have the same kick as other movies in the series. That being said, there is a couple great scenes of violence(one in awesome 3D). I don't know why this one was cut so much more than others, or if maybe it wasn't made to be gory. It definitely would've held up a little better if it was amped up a little in my opinion.
Jason in this film is great. The performance(as mentioned above), the look, and just everything. This film was the first to show Jason with the hockey mask, so it was not damaged at all, and it looked great. Richard was also a huge guy, so Jason has a hulking quality to him, and it worked really well. Look wise, he is definitely my favorite, but personality wise Kane Hodder did it best for me.
This movie was definitely influenced heavily by the 80's culture. Even though it was only two years into the decade, you can definitely tell that they were going for a hip movie with more synth music, and flashy clothes at time. One of the most apparent moments of this is the scenes with the gang. They're wearing lots of leather, and even as far as red leather. You can't get much more 80's than that. I also feel that this tied into the fact that there was a lot more marijuana use in this film, and it got a little excessive at points, even though it is looked down upon as it is in all of the films. I think that this film didn't age as well as the others, but it is still likable. I just think it was made more for the decade than in the long run. While the others were made in ways that people forever could love, this one strikes me as one that was made quickly for the season. This is understandable though, because they had made three movies in three years, and it is still a fairly good film in my opinion.
I think the greatest thing about this film is the ending. It is so memorable, and even though I won't describe it here in consideration that many of you may have not seen the film, I promise you that this ending will never be forgotten, and it will shock you too. The only part of the ending that I don't like is the fact that there is an ending on a boat, which is almost repeating the events of the first film. I wish they could've come up with something a little different, because repeating the first film almost shows that they were struggling for an idea, and this was very early in the series to be doing that.
In the long run, this is not a bad film, but it is not a great film. It was really made to be good horror fun, and not any masterpiece. I'd personally say, that there are much better films in the series. But this is definitely one that is worth a watch, and to find your own opinion on. I honestly liked it quite a bit, but I don't think it's at the same quality level as many others.
What do you all think about this installment? Is it your favorite? Least favorite? Or just a middle film in the series? Feel free to comment and voice these opinions on this blog.
What's great about a slasher film? Gore? Yes. Laughs? Sometimes... But the most iconic thing about a slasher film is the villain. My next question for you is, what makes a good slasher villain? Is it the looks? The personality? The outrageousness? The motive? The backstory? I honestly feel it's a little bit of all of these subjects. A good horror villain is not an easy person to make. It takes a lot of thought and creativity. Villains like Jason and Michael Meyers are my favorite, and I will let you know why they are. I will also talk about why other ones are good, but not as good.
The first thing I find important in a slasher villain is silence. I find them so much more frightening if they don't talk at all. For example, the fact that Jason Voorhees never talks in the film's makes him so much more villainous, because you never truly know what he is feeling when he is killing. This opens up so many more doors to analyzing, which is always really fun in a horror movie. Another example is Michael Meyers. In the movie "Halloween," his silence gives so much subtlety and causes a lot more suspense in his character. I think a character that is a little weakened by his constant talking is Freddy Krueger. There are so many moments in the films where Freddy just makes jokes throughout the films. Sometimes the jokes are good, but sometimes they come across as cheesy, and they water down the terror of the scenes. I will say though, that some of the most memorable quotes are from Freddy, so not all of them are bad, but there could've been a little less.
The next thing that is important with the villain is a balance between outrageous kills, and lesser ones. I think the taker of this category is once again Jason. Sometimes he'll do something as simple as a sword slash, but then he'll do something crazy like punch someone's head off in a boxing match. He just knows how to surprise you with the way he kills the victim, and it's another reason why he is probably the best villain in slashers. I think that Michael is good with his kills, but they tend to all be tamer, so I can't call him the best in this category. Freddy has some amazing kills, but all of his are outrageous, so there really isn't any balance, so he is lesser than Jason.
The next thing that I feel is vital for a slasher villain is that they should be physically hidden in some way. The reason for this is mainly because of the scare factor, and for the suspense of the time leading up to the unmasking. This can be done in many ways. The first being a mask. This has worked great with many characters in slasher films. The two best being Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. Both of these characters are hidden behind their masks, and the whole time you wonder what they look like. Then at different moments, you really get to see the unmasked villain. Jason being grotesque and monstrous, and Michael looking like a normal kid. This really builds such a shock factor when you get to see their true appearance, because you get the chance to witness whether they are a normal person, or a deformed monster-type. This is another factor that weakens Freddy's character. You know what he looks like the whole time, so there is never that suspense or shock factor.
I feel that the backstory of the killer is also a big factor in making them a great villain. This way, you can see what gave them the motive to do what they're doing, if they have any at all. Jason is shown to be a man of vengeance, Michael is just completely insane, and Freddy is just a demented child murderer getting revenge on the parents that burned him by killing their children. I think all of these characters have great back stories, but Jason is the best, because you see is killing as something more than just plain insanity.
Overall, I think that all of these factors really shape a great villain. As long as they follow most of them, then the character will work fine. The best of them all is Jason though, because he really has all of the qualities needed, and a lot more too. He is just a genuinely awesome character, and I'll love watching him in the movies forever. Michael is definitely second place, because he is a very subtle and frightening character, and he is a silent and insane killer that is shown to be a normal looking human. Freddy has his cool moments for sure, but I see him as the weakest of all, because he is too cartoony, and doesn't have the same scare factor to him.
What do you all find essential in a slasher villain? Feel free to comment on this post to speak your opinions.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
At the request of a member of one of my Facebook Groups on Friday the 13th, I decided I would watch and review the music video the song "Heed My Warning" by First Jason. I went in with high hopes, and I really wanted to see Ari Lehman do something neat. Sadly, I found this to be a pretty pathetic effort, being it was a really obnoxious song, and the video itself was pretty dumb. There were a few things I could give props to though. The first being the appearance of masked Jason. I thought he looked really great. Good size, good walk, good mask, etc. Another prop is that some of the kills were pretty decent. But when I look at this creation as a whole, I definitely couldn't bother to recommend it to anyone. The song was very cheesy and monotonous, and the vocals were frankly awful. I understand this video was made to be a spoof, but I just wish it could've been somewhat funny. It really struck me as bland, forced, and in bad taste. Ari Lehman did a great job in the brief scene that he portrayed young Jason in the original movie, but I find it kind of sad that he's milking that great moment he had by releasing trash like this. The much better bet is to watch his scene on YouTube or something if you really have the dire need to watch something with him.
I would like to finish this by saying that my reviews are not always going to be positive, but I hope all readers of this blog know that I will take any recommendation with an open mind. I would be more than happy to check something out that you find cool. If I don't agree on something, then please don't be offended. I will try my best to review the work respectfully while still getting the point of my dislike toward it out there. But always feel free to make a comment with any recommendations, and I will check it out as soon as possible.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
The year was 1978, and horror movies before hadn't yet broken in to the mold that was yet to come. In the decades before, there were movies like "Night Of The Living Dead," and "Psycho" that had struck a chord with audiences, but both of these movies had more of an offscreen suspense factor to them. In 1972, "Last House on the Left" came out, and it was one of the first true slasher films. In 1974, the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" came out, and this film took slashers to an even further level. But neither of these movies truly brought out true terror, and graphic killings in the way that "Halloween" did in 1978. This movie was the true forerunner for all slasher flicks after. Every film of the 80's has to give some credit to this movie. It was the first film to really innovate the formula of a psychopath murdering troublesome teens, and having one survive. Writers John Carpenter and Debra Hill were acclaimed like never before for this story. Carpenter's direction and score were also some of the greatest ever in a horror movie, because he did something truly different. To this day, Halloween has become one of the most acclaimed horror movies ever. It boasts a whopping 94% positive in Rotten Tomatoes. This is insane for a film of its genre, because critics usually pick on horror movies, especially ones that fall under the slasher subgenre. While I can't call it my favorite slasher flick ever, I definitely see it as one of the best, and it's legacy and influence on films to come can never be denied.
As the film begins, young Michael Myers is seen murdering his big sister in her bedroom after she makes love to her boyfriend. The film then implies that he is locked up in a psychological ward for his insanity. The film goes quite a bit to the future, where it is found out that Michael had just escaped the ward, and his doctor(Donald Pleasance) is on a search for him. The viewer then meets Laurie Strode(Jamie Lee Curtis), a high school girl that is very smart and shy. Laurie becomes paranoid as she is followed by a mysterious car. Her friends decide to hang out on Halloween, but Laurie has to babysit. The movie then goes into a huge slaughter as teenagers are killed by Michael. Laurie had to take care of the children, and attempt to save her life at the same time.
Being this was one of the first slasher films, it is definitely not as outrageous as some of the later films. The movie is still quite tame in the violence, aside from a couple semi-graphic killings. This does not take away from the terror that takes place in the film. Like I said in a past review, I don't get scared of these movies, because I just find them fun, but I know people that do get scared, and this is a film that will shake you if you're faint at the heart for horror. The opening scene is absolutely brilliant in the way the killing of Michael's sister takes place. You see a short child walking, but you don't see full vision; you see the surrounding through the tunnel vision of Michael walking. As you look through these eyes, you see the knife plunge in, and it makes the scene extremely tense, as you see the killing take place right through those small holes on the screen. This was a totally genius move in the direction, because it really gave so much more of a horrifying view; rather than if you actually saw Michael standing there to kill her. Little things in this movie are what really struck me, and are reasons why this movie will hold up forever and ever. This movie didn't overdose on gore like films in later years did, but it knew the exact buttons to push to ensure that audience got some real scares in. Michael is also not the most creative killer in slasher films. He sticks more to strangling and stabbing with a knife. While other villains like Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees went much more over the top, I think that the killings by Michael work, because they really just show him as a much more suspenseful character, and that his small killings are just as scary, if not more than the big killings of the others.
Another great thing about this film is the score. The theme in the intro is so fantastic, because it is such a chilling piece of music, and it is used very well throughout the movie. The score is just very dark, and almost repetitive, but I take the music as almost like a signal of something bad happening. It almost reminds me of "Jaws" in a sense, because of the way that whenever Laurie sees her stalker, the music starts up. A lot of the score ends up just being sounds though, and this works really well, because you get to witness jump scenes that get amped up even more by these random outbursts. Being John Carpenter also scored the film, you can really see that he was the creative genius behind its success.
The cast of this film works very well. I was extremely impressed by Jamie Lee Curtis' performance, because she was quiet, and shy, yet still very likable. I think that John Carpenter made her this way to help teens be able to relate to her character. A lot of the others in the film are loud, drug using and shallow teens, but she gives off more of the feeling of being a good girl, and one that tries to take her life in strides to be good for herself. I really like Donald Pleasance's performance in the film. You see that he has a darkness of his own, and he has a very bitter nature to himself. You can really tell that his job has taken a toll on him, and that he wants to just things with Michael over with. I really enjoyed Nick Castle in his role of Michael Myers in this film. He really did a great job of being subtle, and extremely creepy. The way that his character moves around and stuff is awesome, because he is very threatening to the characters, and he is seen as very intense and strong. I think the mask of Michael in this film is significant to the character, because the mask shows no expression at all, and I feel that this is how Michael really is. I feel that his insanity has almost taken away his soul. He seems to kill with no regret at all. You see this when he was a child especially, because even after his actions, he walks over to his parents like nothing happened at all. The supporting cast does a great job too. While their acting talents don't add up to the others, I see this as a good thing. The teenagers in this film are really fake people. They don't have much moral good, and the fact that their performance comes across as a little forced at times works very well. This way, you can see that the characters themselves try to forever themselves as something they really aren't, which is exactly what they were doing.
There are a few weaknesses in this film. The first one, in my opinion is the way the story goes back and forth from the doctor to Laurie. While I like the character of Doctor Loomis a lot, I feel that the switching through stories kind of throws off the flow of the film, and makes the movie feel like a mystery TV show. The last weakness in my opinion is that the film ends very quickly. It is almost too quick to the point where you feel unsatisfied. While they were most likely planning on a sequel already, I feel they should've at least put a little bit more substance in to the ending, and not made it so sudden. I think the scenes that take place in the outro are absolutely fantastic, high in energy, and iconic, but I just wish there was something more.
If you look at movies now and then you look back at a classic like this, you see how much more effort was put into this. Most people think of a slasher film and just think that it's pointless and violent, but if you really watch them and dig deep, you can find more. I see this movie as one that can be analyzed greatly, and it is one of the best horror movies ever. If you really want to sit back and watch a great movie, definitely pick this one up. It's definitely a great starter horror movie, because it's not as gory as some others, and it's truly innovative enough to make you want to dig deeper into the genre.
Sequels to movies usually get the reputation of being lesser than the original of a series. Examples like "Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge," "The Godfather 2," etc make this point proven. But this stereotype is not always true, because some sequels end up being much better than the original. Friday the 13th is one of these series, and this second installment is a perfect example of this. Seeing this movie, you start to envision what is iconic in this series, including the first appearance of Jason Voorhees, and the over the top kills that have plagued the young teenagers of this series. On a technical standpoint, the movie may not be better than the original, but if you look at what the fans have grown to love in these movies, it is definitely superior. Critics in the mainstream may not agree with this, being the original had a 58% rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the sequel was given 33% rotten. Critics are only one opinion though, because the fan base of the series more often than not calls this installment one of their favorites, and frequently as better than the original.
This film starts out very cool. Being it was released in 1981(a year after the original), the film's intro is a very well done flashback of the events that took place in the first film. I love how the original 7 sequels of the series did this, because it really treated the movies like a book, and in doing this, you remember what happened in the movie before, and then the next part of the story started right where the last film left off.
A difference in this film from the first is the sense of humor. The first one obviously had some very open jokes in it, but this one takes a different approach in humor, by making it much more subtle, and darker. I like it this way, because you really have to think about the laughs, and it has a better way about it than just regular jokes in a horror movie.
Even though the film returns to the original plot of the series, it still brings new stuff to the table. The film is once again about teens getting slaughtered at a campground by a psycho. This time though, a lot of new changes are brought in. There's not as much mystery in the film, because everyone knows that Jason is killer. With this, the movie doesn't have the same Scooby Doo feeling in the way that the killer isn't revealed until the end. This film goes for more of the jump moments, and the horrific murders for scares. The first movie was kind of tame in its kills, because they weren't too over the top, and they were basically quick kills with primary weapons like axes. So they were what you would expect in a normal slasher. Then in the second, they did much more outrageous kills. Machetes, spears, kitchen knives, violence by hand, etc were used. The kills were much more creative, and the gore and the brutality rose a lot. I personally do not get frightened, but I know for a fact that people found this move much more horrific than the original. Since I don't want to spoil any of the moments in the movie, I won't describe any of the kills, but I'll tell you right now that there are some crazy things that happen in this installment, and they make the original look like kid's stuff.
In this film, Jason is introduced as the killer, and I think his portrayal in this movie was awesome. He is not seen as the usual Jason with a hockey mask, but more as a redneck with a burlap sack in his head. I love mask Jason the best, but I think it was really cool to do this, because you really got no idea at all of what he looks like. In later films, you get a side view of his face the whole time because of the mask being small, but in this one, he is completely covered. This gives his character a whole lot of mystery. Both Warrington Gillette and Steve Daskawisz do a great job of playing Jason in this film, because they have a nice and menacing way of moving, and he shows to be a great threat to the teenagers.
One more point I have towards this movie is the lead girl in the movie Ginny. She is my favorite of all of the Friday the 13th girls, because she was more than just lucky, she was also somewhat intelligent, and was able to trick Jason a little bit. I think her scenes in this movie are some of the most memorable of the whole series. There is one scene that I won't give away, that I find to be the iconic Friday the 13th moment.
"Friday the 13th Part II" is an amazing watch. You won't regret seeing it. It is understandable to go in thinking it will be weak, because of being a sequel, but really go in with an open mind, and be prepared for one heck of a ride. This movie may be a déjà vu to the first in some parts, but I feel that a lot of the scenes were super original, and completely groundbreaking. The movie may not be a Oscar winning piece of art, but that doesn't matter at all, because it is more enjoyable than many films that do qualify for the award. This film is my second favorite of the series, and it will not disappoint you. If you're a slasher fan at all, then you must watch this movie because it is really a mold of what the whole genre became.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
In 1980, director Sean Cunningham, and writer Victor Miller came up with the landmark slasher film "Friday the 13th." This movie really skyrocketed the low budget slasher films to a whole different level. This movie really pushed the envelope for violence in films, and outrageousness in all different ways. While the movie was basically a knockoff of "Halloween," this movie and series really heightened up the blood and gore by a bunch, and they made made a much more fun experience that you never forget. This movie was met with mixed reviews at its time, with many critics trashing it for its disgusting nature and brutal content. The movie is now a cult classic, and it is seen as one of the greatest slasher films of all time.
I personally love this first movie in the series a lot(although I would never lie and say that it is the best of the series). There is a very funny undertone to the movie, even with the brutal killings and horrors that take place. I honestly laugh at the teenagers in this film, because they're very likable characters, and their bumbling nature is quite hilarious. The most likable in my opinion is an early Kevin Bacon. His character is very cool and funny, and is also part the most iconic scene of the whole movie in my opinion(don't worry I won't ruin what happens, as if you can't figure it out). The rest of the teens are great too, and they share many funny moments. For example, the scene when they freak out over the snake in the room.
I find the technique of filming this movie to be great too. I love how the villain(no spoiler) is shown in first person when it does the killings. It gives off the same suspenseful vibe that "Predator" later did in 1987. This idea made it so there was a lot of mystery in the killings, and to hide the identity of the killer. This was one of the strongest factors of this first film, because it was something different, and it was not repeated in any of the sequels.
One of the things that this film took from "Halloween" was the idea of letting one female live at the end of the film. I find this idea to be pretty brilliant, because they took out all of the characters that were sexually promiscuous and drug users, and let the purest of the bunch be alive at the end. I don't know if this was a statement of a sort, but I really think that it was a great idea for the movie.
One of the bittersweet things about this film for me is that Jason is only shown briefly as a child, and he does not end up being the killer. This is one of the most shocking things in a film series for me, because Jason is basically what everyone knows about this series, and he isn't even really in this film. This isn't completely bad though, because it leaves mystery of who the killer really is, and it is definitely shocking.
I feel that the violence in this movie was pretty good, but later films in the series definitely topped it. There were some truly brutal kills in this film; whether an arrow, axe, machete, etc was used. Some of these scenes are very shocking too, but it's definitely not as outrageous as you would see in a film like part 4. This, like the other films in the series were at great risk of getting the X rating, and a lot of cuts were done to keep that from happening. Thankfully, they released the 'Uncut' version of the film later which recovered all of the original brutalities.
Overall, while this film is not at the top of my list in the series, it is still an amazing watch. The original 8 films in this series were all amazing, so not putting this one right at the top is not in any way discounting it as a movie. It just doesn't have the same spark as Part 4, 2, or 8 of the series. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of Jason. Jason is my favorite part of the series, so not having him definitely makes it hard to call it the best. Definitely check out this film though, because it will shock you, make you laugh, and shoot you with adrenaline all in one hour and a half.
Hello all fans of the classic genre of the 'Slasher' film. On this blog, I will be doing reviews for movies in the slasher genre. To begin with, I will go through the "Friday The 13th" saga, because they're my all time favorites. As I watch more and more movies, I will put up more reviews too. Always feel free to voice your opinions on the reviews, because that just makes things cool. Hope you all enjoy, and maybe the will inspire you to revisit some of the greats.