Posted on August 30, 2014
When people think Slasher films chances are the first thing they think of is ultra gore and how the newest ones will press the envelope to top the last. It’s hard to conceive now that the Genre (in it’s infancy) wasn’t always this way. There was a time when a slasher could bring something to the table without throwing gallons of viscera and blood at the camera, crushing heads and mutilating genitals.
Typically I’m of the party that likes lots of blood and guts in my slashers..but sometimes I miss the days of a bit more substance.
we’ll begin this article by discussing a few films that skip on the blood but still manage to bring us undeniably fun experiences.
The first film we’ll be talking about heralds the return of one of the most absurd (and not so coincidentally one of my favorite) Slashers of all time Crinoline Head, with DORCHESTERS REVENGE:THE RETURN OF CRINOLINE HEAD!
DORCHESTERS REVENGE:THE RETURN OF CRINOLINE HEAD Opens with a group of slacker College students making a last minute decision to do their local legends term paper on the Crinoline Head massacre of 1996. Packing up and hitting the woods where terrible events took place they have no idea that the maniac still hides in the woods, watching, waiting…and doll fetishsizing!
Wacky, self deprecating and at times laugh out loud funny. DORCHESTERS REVENGE:THE RETURN OF CRINOLINE HEAD is a silly and refreshingly non-mean spirited slasher satire sequel that trumps the original with leaps and bounds.
As much as I loved the original Crinoline Head film there was some issues with pacing, not so with this little outing that shows Director Tommy Faircloth dosing out a fun filled recipe that calls for 1 part ludicrous kills, 2 parts absurd humor and a pinch of titties to round up the mix.
The characters here manage to simultaneously fill the required stereotypes while also having enough spunk and attitude to make the audience root for at least one. My own personal favorite would have to be Betsy , the foul mouth perverted 40 something sexpot who has been hired on as caretaker of Crinoline Head’s former property. Her performance really helped make this one pop as it takes the stereotype of the sicko redneck we usually see in slashers and flips it on it’s head. It was fun to see male characters get harassed and made uncomfortable for a change.
Crinoline Head gets a makeover in this one. Instead of just having a dress lining over his head, we get the dress with a broken doll face as the centerpiece. This added a bit of creep factor to the whole thing but also served as a subtle yet funny salute to the age old tradition of drastically changing slasher’s look from one sequel to the next. It should also be noted that this version of Crinoline Head is quite a bit larger and more forceful which I liked. The original Crinoline Head seemed more like a parody of Michael Myers. This one came across as a crazed mountain man with a hard on for dolls and killing people which worked surprisingly well.
The kills here were done mostly off screen with the ones onscreen being very subdued by today’s standards..but to be honest this really wasn’t a bad thing. Too much blood and viscera would have made this thing alot meaner and therefore lost the feel it was going for. This film comes across less like a new movie and more like a displaced 80’s cheese fest and I’m perfectly OK with that.
Rather then sticking with his typical 16mm format Tommy Faircloth switched to a sleek digital look which disappoints the purist in me..But this was more then made up for by the much smoother camera work, transitions and fades and the color saturation was age appropriate for the era it was saluting.
Overall I give this film 2 middle fingers chopped off and sanded to the bone. It’s one I plan on picking up upon its release and recommend you do the same.
The next film we’ll take a look at is a dark comedy/quasi-slasher from first time feature film director Matty Castano called 1 Dead Party
1DEAD PARTY Introduces Bobby, a spineless loser with a gleefully sadistic cunt of a wife named Kim. While setting up for a 90’s theme party together Kim provokes Bobby to the point where he is about to strike back..but before he can fate intervenes and Kim tumbles down the stairs to her death. Things get substantially worse when the party guest arrive and Bobby desperately tries to stall them while he tries to figure out what to do.
Darkly amusing, surprisingly suspenseful and damn effective, 1 Dead Party embraces it’s breathtakingly low budget relying almost completely on it’s odd turns and interesting characters and succeeds in a big way.
The thing I dug most about this flick was that rather then take the typical approach of creating a mild mannered loveable main character the opposite is done. Bobby is a cheater, an animal abuser, a coward and just an all around unlikable fella. This works in the film’s favor as we don’t have to feel bad reveling in his misery..In fact I can honestly say all of the characters were morally reprehensible.
We have Kim, who is so self obsessed and sadisdic she borders on evil, Paul, the pretentious prick with self obsession so deep I thought at any moment he would pull out a mirror and start jerking off to himself, Nancy, a perpetually horny empty headed walking stereotype, Mike the walking talking penis who’s pretty much the male version of Nancy and Holly, Bobby’s mistress who has no quarrels not only fucking her friend’s husband but starting a relationship with him and then planning on marrying another man for his wealth when she gets pregnant.
The only character I felt a bit sorry for was Felicia, Kim’s occult obsessed cousin who’s only real sin is being weird. Felicia was also my favorite of the bunch as she managed to play such a quarky and over the top role with a completely straight face..not an easy task I’m sure.
You’d think all these assholes in the movie would take away from it but quite the contrary, it added a realism to the whole affair. After all with Kim being such a domineering, morally reprehensible bitch how could we expect her to have a decent man for a husband or likeable friends?
The kills here were bloodless and over very quickly but were secondary to the real focus of the plot which was simply to present a comedy of follies of sorts focusing on how desperation can effect a spineless man and how one event can set into motion a hell of a series of problems.
The cinematography here was midlevel Digital but with some creative shots that lead me to believe that with a larger budget and better equipment we can expect great things from this group in the future.
The only complaint I have here is the film’s original title (The Death together) was alot more cleaver and and I felt it fit the movie much better and had more pizazz.
Overall I give this film no middle fingers up. It’s lighthearted, funny and features some stellar character acting.
Posted on July 9, 2014
The sledge hammer can be a pretty imposing weapon, when used correctly (like in Doll Boy which i reviewed earlier this week) it makes for some really brutal carnage. The sledge is heavy, it’s blunt and it sure could wreak some havoc on a human body. It’s hard to believe that somone could arm a slasher with such a weapon and make a dull film…but that’s exactly the case in the upcoming film Sledge.
Sledge tells the story of five people (i instantly forgot their names we’ll get into why in just a moment) On a camping trip. One set is a couple and the other three people are comprised of a supposed “loveable asshole”, His ex-girlfriend and the guy she’s fucking because she “doesn’t feel like settling down” The group engage in aimless and pointless banter (which is of ten inaudible due to some of the actors’ inability to speak clearly and apparent lack of sound equipment of any kind) until our slasher, Adam Lynch shows up and dispatches them in some of the most uninspiring unimaginative kill scenes ever put on film.
…The problems with this film are too numerous to count so before we get into those let’s talk about what this film did right….the killer looks kind of cool i guess..that’s it, and even that is a stretch considering the killers mask appears to be a zombie mask stolen from the dumpster after Burial Ground was shot…the biggest problem with this flick is it’s tendency to try to flesh out what is, to begin with an extremely unoriginal half ass idea with needless filler. They showcase the entire film as if it’s being watched on television on a B-Movie television show called Assly’s True American Horror, which consists of a bumbling annoying puppet telling nonsensical jokes about werewolves and One Direction while an anorexic girl who has the screen presence of a plastic plant eats popcorn and bitches about her Ex. They cut to this crap at least three times and keep the film there for several minutes..Is it leading to something, does the killer pop up in the living room and smash her face into gumbo in the end?…No, nothing, there’s literally no reason whatsoever for these segments to exist! just as there’s no reason for the lover’s quarrel (which in and of itself consists of emotionless speeches that go nowhere), there’s no mystery, there’s no possibility that the “loveable asshole” is the killer, we know Adam Lynch is the killer from the get go, so why even put us through this?
The couple i spoke about earlier literally have no personality or character development whatsoever, they barely even speak let alone lend anything whatsoever to the film, and the “loveable asshole”? What makes him a loveable asshole you ask? Calling people douche, a few dick jokes and saying “I’m the loveable asshole” repeatedly..I’m not kidding the character states what he is supposed to be so many times you’ll swear that he kept forgetting and had to remind himself what his motivation was. I’m sorry but a character shouldn’t have to remind the audience of what his purpose to the story is, his role should speak for itself.
Speaking of roles, how’s about Adam Lynch himself? The film totes itself as original and hilarious, telling us that the killer is full of witty one liners. Here’s a sample of those one liners “It’s Clobbering Time!” “Hey fuckers” “I’m over here fucker what are you retarded!” “Fuckers”… Apparently calling people fuckers and stealing pop culture catch phrases is considered witty and hilarious. Also considered hilarious by these film makers is having Adam repeatedly set up a mentally handicapped ex drug addict with the mind of a three year old for murder. Yeah movie, you are so right, mentally infirm man children going to prison for murder because they aren’t capable of telling the police what really happened, that’s the pinnacle of comedic hilarity, in fact it’s so funny you should put it in the film twice! Never mind the fact that the guy would have been locked away for at least 20 years, fuck making sense! Let’s just make fun of people with brain damage that will get us some laughs!
Going back a bit let’s talk about the kills, first off they’re few and very far in between. When our slasher is killing it mostly consists of him smacking the back of someone’s head and them spitting out “blood” or stabbing someone, always either in the abdomen or the back. there’s barely any blood, people go from covered in blood to having a few spatters, and there’s not one NOT ONE head being crushed! Are you serious movie? it’s not that difficult to do, Troma has been doing realistic head crushing for 15 bucks for years. All you need is a cantaloupe, some red food die and kero syrup a wig and some hamburger! If i see a sledge hammer in a slasher film then damn it i expect to see someone’s head demolished or at the very least caved in!
The other HUGE issue is the camera work, whoever keeps telling film makers that shooting sideways while lying on the floor and doing so out of focus is edgy or more realistic needs to be shot! The driving scene on the way to the campground incorporates those tactics to the extreme, doing extreme closeups on the characters’ cheeks, out of focus sideways shots of nothing out the window, quick nauseating pans and shaky cam to the point where i was close to shutting the film off due to my annoyance and this scene lasted for well over a minute. Throughout the rest of the film the cinematography wasn’t much better, often cutting the character’s head out of frame and going out of focus. and the camera is never steady for more then a few seconds. The sound is similarly unsteady and inconsistent with some characters sounding like their shouting and others inaudible so if you’re watching this film at home be prepared to have to continuously adjust the sound
. I give this film two middle fingers up, the cinematography was atrocious, the dialog was infuriatingly boring and pointless, The kills were unimaginative and shabbily done, this flick is downright horrible and if this is the future of horror then perhaps i should switch to reviewing cat food commercials, at least those make me crack a grin once and awhile and are over quickly.
How many of us horror nerds growing up always secretly wanted our own Jason? our own Freddy? our own…homicidal flamboyantly gay vegetarian spatula obsessed Dallas fan…? Well for best pals and horror nerds Onkey and Merv that’s exactly what happens!….almost.
With tag lines like “cheap, sick and offensive…i loved every minute of it”(-BBC radio 1 ) and “gratuitous nudity, gross-out gore, foul language, arse piranhas…” on the box i went into Beyond Therapy’s Freakout expecting , quite frankly, soft core porn and shit gore thrown together to make yet another insult in a long line of insults to the splatter-stick genre, or at best another mildly amusing mediocre English horror-comedy (of which there are now literally hundreds since the release of the standalone awesomeness of Shaun of the dead) What i found was quite different.
fist and foremost i must tell you if you’re planning on watching this film in hopes of seeing a peter Jackson-esque gorefest…don’t. you’ll be disappointed and you’ll be doing a great disservice to a cute and very endearing little film about friendship ,the fear and hesitation young people going from children to adults feel and the dangers of exploiting someone’s weirdness.
After being taunted to the point of mental breakdown as a kid our hero (the little looney) escapes from a mental institution to get his revenge on the school that housed his abusers only to find an empty fenced in lot (and a really bad obviously cardboard sign that somehow lasted longer then the school itself ) soon after he stumbles upon merv doody’s video rental card and decides (for reasons never explained) that it would be a good idea to go to his house and give him a good scare. Soon after the little looney finds himself the protege’ of Merv and his idiotic asshole friend Onkey who decide it’s a good idea to groom him to become the next jason. what follows is more and more ridiculous scenarios as the two idiots try (and mostly fail) to transform an annoying (yet strangely adorable) lover of show tunes into a hulking mass of pure evil. All is fun and games for the two dim witted exploiters until Little Looney discovers his liqueur muscles and lives up to expectations alittle too much.
Contrary to the misleading box quotes Freak Out is an essentially harmless and innocent films with nudity no worse then the likes of titanic and language no worse then ace ventura. the gore is sparse and purposely laughably fake.
this film should easily get a pg-13 rating (in fact in Canada it received the equivalent 14a rating ) I don’t see how anyone but southern baptists would find this offensive (who consequently run the MPAA ) i had no problem letting my children (who are 6 and 2 and big horror nerds just like yours truly) watch it without hitting fast forward once. Little Looney is by far the most loveable (and quotable) slasher of all time it’s really too bad they made sure he wouldn’t be back or the sequel (sorry not going to tell you why) Although a spinof with Little Looney’s soul in the Little Looney doll would certainly be epic.
there was some issues with unsmooth camera transition that resulted in some fuzzy screen scenes but that just added to the whole 80’s b-movie salute thing it had going on and Merv’s Grandma being a Deadite certainly got rid of any dubt i may have had about loving this movie. overall
i give it one middle finger a centimeter raised and only because they ruined any chance of a true sequel.