Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D (1982)

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3: 3D (1982)

Directed by Steve Miner

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Starring Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Tracie Savage, Larry Zerner, Richard Brooker

After I saw Friday the 13th Part 1, I went back to Blockbuster to get Part 2… no dice. It wasn’t there, but Part 3 was. So I followed up Part 1 with Part 3 and got spoiled with the end of Part 2 in the beginning. According to Part 3’s opening, Part 2 really ended with Amy Steel getting Jason with the machete. Part 3 picks up right as he pulls it out of him.

The credits open with funny big letters, and even funnier music. Harry Manfredini goes hard on the soundtrack score and even has a full band. So many Chh Chh Chh’s. I didn’t find out til I started using the internet, that this was originally in 3D. It was a nice surprise when they re-released it with the glasses. More on the 3D part of it later.

This one is notable for Jason first dawning the iconic hockey mask.  Steve Miner now working with a bigger budget continues the familiar Friday style this time with more comedy added in. I actually do like that even though it took away a bit from the suspense the first 2 had. In fact one of Jason’s first victims in this is played by actor Steve Susskind, who played one of Al Bundy’s buddies on Married With Children.

The movie moves along at a good pace in the beginning when we are introduced to the next batch of teens or in this case, young adults. Chris (played Dana Kimmell) is going to her parents’ summer house with her friends for the first time in 2 years. Last time she was there she was attacked by someone (Jason) but got away. She is trying to overcome her fear in this by returning, but of course Jason makes his way over to her spot near the camp and the counselor training center. Crystal Lake is an interesting area.

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The body count is a little higher than Part 2 but not by much. It also takes a little longer to get the kills. I guess it all depends on who you’re watching the movie with. Shelly (played by Larry Zerner) is the idiot prankster that has the hockey mask.  But not long after that part and Vera gets it, game on. Jason does some great memorable kills as usual, and the first time with the hockey mask on! Classic. Hate to spoil it for you, but…


Rick’s crushed head with the eyeball popping out death is the best part.

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There are some pre-hockey mask kills that are really cool, too. After the biker gang getting killed, there’s a lot of filler time till we get to the next kills. But its okay, kind of worth the wait once Jason kicks in with the mask. I kind of get a kick out of Jason being more human-like and not as dead and rotted looking as the later sequels. He moans, moves back when a knife is in his face, and even uses his hand to go down the steps!  Although he is human-like, this is also the first Jason he dies more than once at the end.


My only big complaint is a rotted, decayed Mrs. Voorhees (with head attached) jumping out of the lake at the end to grab Chris. So dumb. I guess its part of her mental breakdown/freaking out at the end. It was all a dream though because it ends on Jason with the ax still in his head.

Once the DVD came out with the 3D glasses, I had to give it a try. It hurt my eyes, but at other times I could see the objects that were coming out at me. My only advice for fans watching in 3D the first time, you have to really, really relax your eyes so that they can adjust. All I can say is, Rick’s eyeball is worth giving a watch in 3D. But 3D or not, still another great Friday the 13th movie.

FUNNY THOUGHTS/NOTABLE OBSERVATIONS

I wonder if Abel, the old hermit that warned them about Jason, was drinking buddies with Crazy Ralph?

The first time I watched this I thought bong-tokin Chuck resembled Tommy Chong  and Harold the shop store owner looked like an older, married Cheech Marin.

Rick not being super pissed about the car situation. Seriously, Rick? You should’ve punched Shelly in the face for letting your car get fucked up, man. Not cool.

There’s a nice nod to Tom Savini in the Fangoria magazine Debbie reads.

Chris going crazy could’ve possibly added more ideas for a sequel, but looks like they went with the Tommy Jarvis character going crazy instead (see Part 5 in future blog post).

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Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
****1/2

Directed by Steve Miner

Starring Amy Steel, John Furey,  Adrienne King, Betsy Palmer, Warrington Gillette, Steve Daskawitz

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I didn’t get to see this one till later, but it wasn’t hard to figure out that this is the first one that Jason is the main killer in….AND he doesn’t have a hockey mask. He has a pillow case or potato sack with a hole cut out. I also want to note that Steve Miner directed this and Part 3. He worked on part 1 with Sean S. Cunningham, so he knew the formula. A lot of the style of Part 1 is still present but with some light humor added in. Harry Manfredini rocks it again with the classic Psycho-esque score.
Somehow Jason makes it to Alice’s house. The enigma of Jason remains as we don’t know if he truly jumped out of the lake at the end of Part 1 or not or if it was all in Alice’s head. He could’ve drowned and then came back as a zombie. Jason basically IS a zombie.
Well anyway, our lone survivor, Alice, gets taken out first.  It is supposed to take place 2 months later.  There’s a nice flashback dream in case you didn’t see Part 1.  Alice’s still freaked out by everything. She should’ve gone to California like she said. Some suspenseful moments later, she opens her fridge to find’s Mrs. Voorhees’ decapitated head in it. She is icepicked to the temple not long after. I felt her death was too soon, especially after seeing her name in the opening credits AFTER her death. The reason being there was a real-life stalker fan after Adrienne King at the time. Yikes. Poor Adrienne.

 


After the credits, flash forward 5 years later. Suddenly it feels kind of like an 80s Comedy with a cameo by Crazy Ralph (nice to see him come back!).

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Instead of these horny, young teens going to the abandoned camp itself, they go to a counselor training center that is nearby. All the cliche’s are here – Ted the prankster is introduced to us and right away you want him to be part of the body count. There’s the head counselor Paul (John Furey), his college girlfriend Ginny (Amy Steel), Jeff and Sandra the horny couple, Mark the wheelchair guy and his love interest Vicky, Scott the perv, and Terry the hottie he flirts with. There’s a classic scene early on where Paul explains the legend of Jason.

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It takes some time before it gets going and unfortunately it’s not Tom Savini’s amazing effects this time. The deaths are still good but again its very unfortunate that the cut scenes really are lost forever. They were apparently way more graphic.
Before the nubile teens get slaughtered, poor Crazy Ralph gets bumped off.  He was an enjoyable weirdo. I like how he was the prototype “prophet of doom” for the series.
Also a cop that discovers Jason in the woods gets it.
I very much enjoy the killing one-by-one style after the trainees stay behind during the beer run. Jason does some brutal kills such as a double impalement during sex and slashing a guy’s throat while he’s hanging upside down.

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When Ginny and Paul get back from the bar, Jason stalks and attacks. There’s some suspenseful moments, but the chasing around starts to drag a while. After the long chase scene, we get to see the almighty shrine to Mrs. Voorhees in Jason’s shack.

 


Ginny uses her psychology skills and pretends to be Jason’s mother. Before Jason figures out the diversion, Paul fights back at Jason and Ginny gets a good whack. The ending can be confusing. We don’t know if it ends how Part 3 says it does, or at the end-end here where Paul may or may not have been killed after Ginny being taken away by Jason jumping through the window.

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Despite all my complaints, this one’s still a classic Friday the 13th movie. Steve Miner created the style and formula that defines a “typical Friday the 13th”. There are some great shots of the woods creating the surreal atmosphere of Crystal Lake. I liked the cast in this one, too. It was great to see Amy Steel again in April Fools Day. I think John Furey should’ve been in more slasher movies and 1980s comedies. Just sayin’.
Overall, great sequel to Part 1 because it gets better. My only real complaint is Ted doesn’t get killed. He was smart for looking for after hours’ places. Dammit Ted. Also Jason’s P.O.V. gets too close some times. How do they not see Jason staring at them? It’s not every time they show his P.O.V., but certain ones. Also there are some more buildup scenes that are longer than needed… and Ted still doesn’t get killed. He’s the prankster! Even Ned got it in the first one. Sheesh!

Funny/Notable Observations:

– How did Jason get Mrs. Voorhees head in the fridge? He must’ve been carrying it the whole time on his long walk to Alice’s house, and put it in the fridge after she hears the noise.
– Still looks totally 1980-81, but I guess it could pass for 1984, if Part 1 happened in ’79.
– I see NJ License Plates again.
– – Every time I see the Jeff character I think of Danny Noonan. Speaking of Danny Noonan, the cop that chases Jason to his shack looks like Danny Noonan’s dad in Caddyshack. Weird.
– The only one of the series showing Jason’s shack. Great job with the toilet installation, JV!
– The bar band rocks.
– The KISS Pinball Machine in the back during Ginny’s Psychoanalysis on Jason.
– Paul vs. Jason first fight seems cheesy. I don’t know maybe its just how the music sounds and seeing Amy Steel just stand there watching all confused.
–  Did Paul die or…?
– This or Part 3 may have the most Chh Chh Chh Haaa Haa

Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th (1980)
*****

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Directed by: Sean S. Cunningham

Starring: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Kevin Bacon, Ari Lehman

Before I start anything here on Friday the 13th, I just want to say the bulk of these reviews are spoilers. So if you haven’t seen any Friday the 13th movie and think I am totally ruining it for you, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The original classic – the starting point of it all. I remember being in Elementary school and always wondering what the Jason story was. All I knew in those days was that Jason wore a hockey mask and killed people and there were a lot of sequels. I was even told by my friends that he killed people with a chainsaw. Of course they were probably getting him mixed up with Leatherface. It wasn’t until about 5th grade when I finally rented the movie at Blockbuster.  It wasn’t long after having just seen the first Halloween. Right away there was an instant love.

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One of the first victims

Laugh all you want but I really did find this scary when I first watched it. True fact. My first thoughts were that Jason was the killer. Nothing other than the eye view of the killer was shown, and that made it very creepy.   Harry Manfredini’s score, while very reminiscent of Psycho, gives it the right suspenseful tone. The “Chh Chh Ha Haa” is fucking brilliant.

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Our main cast that gets killed off one by one

The biggest highlight of this film is Tom Savini’s special effects. I knew for a while before watching it the first time that Kevin Bacon was going to be in it. It was cool to see a familiar face, even if it wasn’t very long. His death scene really jumped out at me and it’s the first one in the movie that gets gory. It’s followed shortly by his girlfriend walking around in her underwear, and gets a hatchet to the face. First time I ever saw something like that in the movie. Almost looks simple now, but back then that was a freaky movie moment for me.

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After those 2 deaths, the enigma of the murderer just keeps building. In fact, the next one who gets it, Brenda, hears the voice of a kid yelling “Help!” That part was definitely freaky and to this day I still find it creepy. It’s supposed to be Jason but I didn’t know that until later. You never know where it came from.

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Once we get to the end we are introduced to Mrs. Voorhees played by the amazing Betsy Palmer. She reveals that she once worked at the camp and her son Jason died there. At that moment I thought Jason was going to pop out with a hockey mask and chainsaw. No dice, but its Mrs. Voorhees herself! I had no idea the series started that way.

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Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer)

A semi-complaint I have is how long it takes till we get to the final showdown with Alice and Mrs. Voorhees. A really creepy moment it when she talks in a child’s voice (supposed to be Jason’s) while trying to track down Alice.

As we get towards the end of the film, Alice and Mrs. Voorhees get in an old woman/young woman cat fight.  Finally, Alice chops her head off with a machete… It’s an amazing Tom Savini special effect especially with her hands still moving after the decapitation. Its an epic moment, but the best is yet to come. Alice decides to float around on the canoe and take a nap. She is awoken in the early morning when she notices cop cars pulling up to the lake.  Boom ! Jason pops out from the water and pulls her under. That really was an actual jump for me at age 11. It scared the shit out of me because I never expected it and prior to that had never seen “surprise shock” endings like that before.  It worked well for me as a young fan of movies back then.

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I very much enjoy Manfredini’s end credit music. The other thing about the ending is that it is an enigma because of Jason coming back as an older adult looking for revenge in Part 2. They didn’t know at the time that the first movie would be a success, so it leaves the ending as a strange anomaly that may or may not have happened.

After I finished the first movie, the next thing that had to happen was to see all the sequels. Most importantly, I had to show all my friends who hadn’t seen any of the movies. That was the best for me because every person I watched these movies with either liked it or hated it, but always had funny comments to contribute.

While this is a staple in Slasher movie history up there with Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, my only real complaints are the long buildups to the offscreen kills. All the classic cliches’ of Slashers are here as well, just as expected.

The reason I give this a 5-star rating is because this was the movie that got me addicted to the Slasher style (even more so than Halloween) and I went crazy to find more and more. This was/is/always will be an important movie in my life no matter how much it will age over time.

Funny/Notable Observations:

  • The first time we are introduced to Crazy Ralph, the man who warns everyone that they are doomed.
  • Steve Christy, the guy putting Camp Crystal Lake back together, was definitely trying to bang Alice. Shortly after that moment in the movie, Alice goes to see Bill (Harry Crosby) and is being watched… close. How the hell does Alice not notice Mrs. Voorhees right next to her when she talks to Bill? The POV of the murderer just seems too close by.
  • Throughout the film, we see license plates and addresses that say Blairstown, NJ where it was filmed. Even though according to events of the F13 timeline, we are supposed to believe that they are in a little more northwards up in Connecticut.
  • I wonder what happened to Sandy the waitress. She seemed like a nice lady. Was Steve Christy checking her out? He still owes her a night on the town.

Movie Reviews

For some reason it’s hard for me to write movie reviews. I want to post as many as I can to this page for all of you to read. However at the same time I feel like my reviews would be too cliche of a reading for people that like the movie I’m reviewing.  So I am trying to edit the ones I have written now, and making sure my sometimes humorous commentary is all there. It won’t always be super critical, unless I personally dislike the picture and really want to just rant on it. If I get really into it, I always feel people are going to start arguing over what I say, so I may have to disable comments in case elitist trolls come in to defend their opinions.

Well anyway, as far as movie reviews on this page go, I wanted to put up my review of every Martin Scorsese film in honor of Taxi Driver‘s 40th anniversary. However, time has passed, and I am not done all the reviews. Its more like New York, New York‘s 40th anniversary at this point :\ They will be coming soon, I am up to his 90’s movies at the moment. But if I post each movie of his one at a time and not all at once, this may work.
I still haven’t seen Vinyl Season 1 pilot yet, or Silence. So I still got ways to go yet.
Keep checking back!

D. D. Bauchery

40 years ago

For those who don’t know, Taxi Driver is one of my favorite movies ever. I wanted to write a retrospective for it, but haven’t gotten it done in time, obviously. I originally wanted to write reviews for EVERY Martin Scorsese movie, but haven’t finished yet. The Taxi Driver Retrospective will be up soon though I promise! And it may be in a few parts, because I have a lot to say about my favorite movie 🙂

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Blackmail

Blackmail (1929)
*****
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Starring Anny Ondra, John Longden, Sara Allgood

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30 years before Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock broke down barriers with this infamous, groundbreaking film. Not only is it his first talkie, it’s also the first talkie to come out of Great Britain. Also it is probably the first film with voices to show this kind of subject matter. There is a lot of spoilers in this review, so be advised.
The movie starts like a silent movie because originally it was filmed as a silent movie, and then re-shot with the voices when the decision was made for the audio. So the first 5 minutes of the film are silent. We see the police arrest a man and we do not know why or what for. You first hear talking at the police station (Scotland Yard). The film then gets to the main story.
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A young policeman and his girlfriend go out for a dinner together at an expensive-looking restaurant. The girlfriend doesn’t seem too interested in her cop boyfriend. They have a brief argument about going to the movies after the dinner. She doesn’t want to, because is secretly meeting a guy behind his back after the dinner.
They go their own ways, and she meets up with the guy. He is an artist and has his own studio. He shows her his disturbing looking painting, and then she dresses up for him while he plays piano. He begins to advance on her, and attempts to rape her. She stabs and kills him. The look on her face is that of pure horror. It is a very intense moment in the movie. She makes it back home leaving behind some clues, and she can’t get her mind off the murder.


Her boyfriend ends up being the detective investigating the murder. A guy who was nearby the crime scene (and the subject of the disturbing painting), saw her that night going in and out of the building. He attempts to blackmail. However, his criminal record isn’t very good. He is chased by police, and found guilty of the murder. He falls to his death.
By the end the girl is indirectly responsible for 2 deaths, and she gets away with it.

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I thought Anny Ondra (who looks very beautiful) did a very good performance considering she had done both silent and sound work. I also think her dubbing was perfect. I had no idea they had to get an English actress to do her voice over because of her heavy Czech accent.
As I said earlier, this movie was definitely a landmark in movie history. It is a very important film in Hitchcock’s filmography as well. Like a couple of his silent pictures before, and the ones that would follow afterward, there are many Hitchcockian traits – a pretty blonde, a murder, someone falsely accused or framed, and an ending that is sometimes unsettling. It is absolutely brilliant work that laid the foundation of future Hitchcock suspense thrillers to come. Anyone that is trying to get into the world of Hitchcock and his great movies, I highly recommend seeing this.

In Memorium: Wes Craven

Wes Craven: Horror Maestro
(1939-2015)

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As you all know by now, one of the horror greats has died. Upon hearing of his passing not long ago, I felt the need to do something in writing of my thoughts and feelings for his films. It won’t be all of them, but a selection I have chosen. This is the man who brought us Freddy Krueger, and the man who reinvented the genre with the Scream movies. He also kept in the genre his whole entire career (with the exception of one movie), and explored all sorts of horror within the horror!

My favorite films of his were:
The Last House on The Left (1972)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Swamp Thing (1982)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The Serpent & The Rainbow (1987)
Shocker (1989)
The People Under the Stairs (1991)

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Now of course there were many others, but those in particular were the ones I was highly entertained watching. Some others include The Hills Have Eyes Part II (super cheese), Vampire in Brooklyn (Eddie Murphy as a vampire whaaat?), Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (the reinvention of Freddy for which I always had mixed feelings for), and the Scream series (1 through 4). Sometime in the late 1990s during his Scream regime, he made only one non-horror called Music of the Heart. Believe it or not that film got nominated for Best Actress Meryl Streep. It’s proof that Wes had potential for a lot more in movies as well!

His later stuff kind of died down. He made a werewolf movie called Cursed that was cheesy but a little fun, but everyone forgot about it. He also made Red Eye with Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy. I never got around to seeing it, but it looked decent. He made Scream 4 not long before he died. I still haven’t gotten around to seeing that yet, but I am sure it is just as entertaining as the others.

For the movies I will go over about him, I have selected:
Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Serpent & the Rainbow, and Scream.

The Last House on the Left (1972)

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I must say that this is one hell of a notorious movie and an interesting start to Wes’s career in horror.
In the early 1970s, there hadn’t really been any slasher movies at all. It wasn’t even a genre yet. All you really had prior to this movie were Psycho, Blood Feast, and Murder a La Mod that explored those themes.
When I first saw this, I was forewarned by others about what would happen. 2 cute young girls, Mari and Phyllis, decide to go out to a Blood Lust concert (cool, Metal-sounding name!) for Mari’s 17th birthday. On the way, they ignore the radio news talking about the escaped convicts and decide to pick up some weed. They are in the city and come across a burned-out dude who says he’s got good shit, and then leads them to the Manson-like group of sadists. From this point on, it gets really ugly. The leader of the group, Krug, along with his sick cronies, rapes, humiliates and tortures the girls from the night until the next day.
Meanwhile, Mari’s parents are concerned and 2 dimwitted cops go on a search to find her. The movie begins to feel bi-polar at this point – switching from a stilly comedy to terrifying scenes of horror. After another rape, and a death, this sad song plays (sang by David Hess who plays Krug), and the viewer just feels horrified at what just happened.
Now the killers’ car has broken down right at Mari’s house, but they don’t realize it. The parents think they are traveling business people, and let them stay the night. The parents figure out who they are, and soon set up a Home Alone-style trap to get total revenge on them. By the end, the parents are even more brutal to the killers than they were to the girls!
This movie leaves you shocked (and to this day will still shock people). The movie explores dark themes, and an extreme amount of unpleasantness that no other movie at that time ever did. What makes it worse is that it’s not fake and unrealistic like most horror movies with monsters, zombies, and supernatural serial killers. These are things that happen in real life that sick people really do to the vulnerable, and STILL DO. So because of that, this film will remain timeless for that reason. While it bombed as a movie, it still stands as a movie that left a huge scar in the genre and a stepping stone to the later horror that would ensue a year later in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

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Wes’s second movie takes us out to the southwest United States. It starts out in a seedy, hick-town where a family traveling through in an RV breaks down in the desert. Earlier, we are forewarned that there are strange people in town, so you know something isn’t going to turn out so good.
When they break down in the desert, the dog runs away, and the dad and son-in-law try to look for help. Soon you realize, they are purposely being watched by these ugly cretins that live in the hills. They kill the dad, attack the family, and I am pretty sure they rape one of the girls, and then steal the baby.
The son-in-law goes on a quest to save the baby, and confronts more of the cretins, who plan on eating the baby. Things get really ugly at the end. Again, like in Last House, you are left with the impression “Holy shit, that was so fucked up!”
Now of course also like Last House, this film was re-made. So when you bring this film up in a conversation these days, the remake will be mentioned and you’ll hear a lot of “Oh I never saw the original”. Believe it or not, I saw the remake first. I thought it was really good, and then I saw the original. I still think this is great, even if it is a little slow-moving at first. It’s a horror classic that people who love the genre need to see if they already haven’t.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

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I don’t really need to explain a whole lot with this film other than that this is where it all started. Freddy Krueger is first introduced in this Slasher classic. But unlike other slashers, this guy will kill you in your dreams; which is what gives this film originality among the others.
The dream sequences, to this day are still creepy to me. And unlike the later Nightmare movies, Freddy actually was a scary dude. There aren’t really many boring filler moments like the Slashers before it did. You are kept in close with the main characters, wondering what is going to happen next.
The cast in this film is very good. We got Robert Englund of course in the iconic role of Freddy, the lovely Heather Langenkamp playing Nancy, and John Saxon playing Nancy’s dad. We are also introduced to a very young Johnny Depp, playing Nancy’s skeptical boyfriend, Glen. The deaths are very brutal even compared to the deaths in the sequels. The suspense and creative dream sequences are the highlights of this film. This created a big franchise and deservedly so.
He didn’t direct any of the sequels except for Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, which brought along a new idea that Freddy is really real, not just a film franchise. It was an interesting concept and I remember enjoying the movie when I first saw it. However, over the years, watching it again on my Freddy binges, I don’t feel the same way. While it is great to see the original cast in this movie, I feel it contains some annoying elements to it that bother me at times, and I felt it was way too long. But the concept worked nicely, and lies as a precursor to Scream.

The Serpent & the Rainbow (1987)

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Wes takes us to new horror territory with this film. A young anthropologist (played very well by a young Bill Pullman) is doing some research in Haiti, where zombie-ism (the real life kind through voodoo) occurs. He gets too close. The tribe attacks him and hammers a nail through his scrotum (a very hard scene to watch). But it gets even creepier, when he gets buried alive and becomes a zombie himself…
Now I am very vague with the plot of this film because I saw this one time and can’t remember every detail. But I will say, like the other movies, it left a creepy impression on me when it ended. I would say it’s definitely one of Wes’s scarier films.
Besides that cheesy Tales From The Crypt movie The Curse, not many other films dwelled on this territory. Does this count as a zombie movie? It is hard to say; because this is based on tribes that do this kind of stuff.
I felt this was a bit underrated because it didn’t succeed at the box office or have a cult-following. So to people that are checking out Wes’s other movies that weren’t famous, please see this! It’s a real gem.

SCREAM (1996)

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For years, I had problems with the movie Scream. The first time I saw it, I was disappointed. I saw it as a spoof of slasher movies (the ones that I held dear), then a real slasher film. Kids my age of that era (1996-2000, 11-15 year olds) saw them as “scary movies” and that they were the greatest, the real deal, and better than the older “shitty ones”. By then, I had been obsessed with my favorite slasher series- Jason, Michael, Freddy, Leatherface, Chucky, Pinhead, etc. So to me, the addition of Ghostface was a joke (that Halloween mask you see at the store every year? Give me a break!) It was followed by I Know What You Did Last Summer, and countless others with famous “late 90s teen heartthrobs” stars in the cast. So again, to me it was like watching Dawson’s Creek with a Slasher movie parody. What a joke! When Scary Movie came out to spoof it, I was glad.
However, years went by, and that style of horror died down. I grew more of an acceptance to the series. I gave the Trilogy a re-watching, and it began to dawn on me that even though I thought they were bad at the time of my “horror elitism”, they weren’t actually THAT bad. They were still entertaining, definitely had some humor thrown in, and the kills were still bloody as ever. But I didn’t think of them in the same realm as my old favorites.
I also came to the realization that Wes did something that no other horror director (especially an old school one) did at that time. He brought it back into the pop culture when it was a dying genre. If you look at the movies before Scream, not all of them were very good, franchises and B-Horror were going direct-to-video and people my age of course would forget about the good movies of the horror past. So Scream brought it all back, and made horror movies fun to see again for my “bored” generation that didn’t want to see the older flicks.
That being said, I give Wes Craven mad props.

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It is sad to say the Master of Horror is now gone. He will be missed by horror movie fans all over the world. His Horror legend will live on for many, many years. I am glad he has quite a huge filmography to choose from.
I honestly can’t think of another director that could fill his shoes at the moment.
Let us hope one day someone new (who is creative and original) will come along to bring us more Horror movies.

Midnight Cowboy

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Midnight Cowboy (1969)
****

Directed by John Schlesinger
Starring: Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman


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I’ve come across the title for this movie many, many times, and it took me a long time until I decided to finally watch it. I always appreciated older movies that were cutting edge for their time of release. When I read this was originally Rated X, I had to see what the big fuss was about.
The story is about a dishwasher from Texas named Joe (played by a very young Jon Voight), who leaves to go to New York, dressed in his cowboy-getup. His plan is to bang a lot of women, and get paid for it – in other words, be a straight-up hustlin’ gigolo. Of course, things don’t work out so good for him once he gets to the Big Apple. He walks around with his transistor radio, and picks up on women, and only one follows through, and in the end he ends up paying her!
While down on his luck, he comes across a guy named Rico Rizzo (a.k.a. Ratzo, played very well by Dustin Hoffman), who is a street rat and knows the city very well. Joe thinks he can help him out, but totally burns him when he introduces him to a very shady pimp. Joe tries to get back at Rizzo but ends up befriending him and staying at squat in a very dumpy tenement.
Joe’s character has a lot of flashbacks of his past that are very disturbing, and in a way, kind of explains why he is the way he is. On the other hand, we don’t know much about Ratzo Rizzo, other than that he is street-smart, but very poor and sick. Their big escape plan goal is to get to Florida and start a new life. They do eventually leave New York, but before they do, Joe pulls a very bad stunt that could have him be put to jail for life.
I didn’t want to give away too much about the story, but I kind of did. I did enjoy the film, kept my eyes glued to the screen because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. The acting was really great by both (then young) stars. It was an interesting take that most movies back at that time didn’t have. It really shows the seedy, grim side of New York’s 42nd Street/Broadway Life back in its ugly hey-day. It also explores dark themes that other movies DEFINITELY did not show in those days such as male prostitution, and the sick low-lives living around that particular environment.
What also fascinates me is that this won an Academy Award, and the only movie ever Rated X to do so. It’s also interesting to note that this was also done by the same director that would later bring us another dark, gritty New York film, Marathon Man. Anyone into old school movies like me, or at least appreciates older movies that were cutting edge for their time, should see this!

Birdman

I was actually fairly shocked that I enjoyed this film. I don’t want to give out spoilers to people who haven’t seen it yet. But let’s just say I was in for a surprise. I’ve always loved Michael Keaton as an actor, so I figured this would probably be a decent film. After all, it did win for Best Picture. After seeing the trailer, my thinking was that it had to do with a guy who played in a superhero franchise, now getting old and wants to revive his career, but in the process he goes nuts. I was right, but not totally right. It’s different than that.


Basically, this guy Riggan is trying to revive his career with a play on Broadway that is full of issues. This includes the actors he has to deal with, one of them being Edward Norton. He plays a guy named Michael Shiner, and is extremely difficult to work with, and is a major pain in the ass. He also had a former fling with one of the actresses in the play, and is hitting on Riggan’s daughter played by Emma Stone. I won’t go into too much more detail about it, but it continues on and you wonder what is going to happen next. Is the play going to succeed with all the madness around him? Will he ever bring back Birdman who is constantly talking to him but you can’t tell if its his subconscious? I will leave it up to you readers to watch it, but the last half hour was very surprising in the turn of events and kept me glued to the screen.

The ending was great. The whole film has the dark comedy feel to it, but it works with the dramatics as well, because they feel real with the characters even if they are “just acting”. And I never thought about how hard careers must be for actors, directors, and people involved in plays and film. They are effected really hard emotionally from critics and the media. You can clearly see that aspect of the career portrayed in this film. I can see why it won for both Best Picture and Director.


Alejandro Iñárritu is a new, facinating director of whom his future works I would like to look into. He uses a lot of long shots that were terrific, and well timed. There is also a lot of long hallways in the theater and very colorful lights in the Times Square scenes. And the use of mirror images, which I thought was also creative, worked really well.


Overall, a great picture. I don’t normally enjoy new films too much, but I highly recommend that people who appreciate film see this. I also can’t wait to watch it again some time in the near future.